Chaos in Tejas, 2011 Line-up
My music tastes have significantly mellowed since the late 1980s when bands such as the Cro-Mags (Emo’s, June 2nd) and Youth of Today (Mohawk, June 4th) propagated my skateboarding mix tapes. So, to be perfectly honest, the first six iterations of Chaos in Tejas never really appealed to me; but this year–the 7th incarnation of Chaos in Tejas (June 2 – 5, 2011)–there is such a diverse line-up of bands that I found numerous shows that excite me.
On one level, bands such as YellowFever (Antones, June 3rd), Ringo Deathstarr (Red 7, June 4th), Eternal Summers (Beerland, June 4th) and The Beets (Beerland, June 4th) may seem like odd choices for Chaos in Tejas; but I think it takes some grande cojones for a festival that has traditionally focused on punk, hardcore, and metal bands to toss some indie pop flare into the proverbial mosh pit. And what better opportunity for indie pop’ers to prove that they too can incite chaos and mayhem than Chaos in Tejas?
Austinites Isabel Martin and Jennifer Moore (Voxtrot, the Carrots), otherwise known as YellowFever, strictly abide by the tenants of minimalism as they strip down their songs to the core fundamental elements, opting to accompany Jennifer Moore’s vocals with only a couple of instruments at a time. Their resulting sound is by no means simple; instead, the song structures are playfully complex and the lyrics are brimming with witty and literate humor, as YellowFever toy with contradictions and imbibe in rich references to the music of yesteryear.
If there is one indie pop band that is sure to blow out the eardrums of Chaos in Tejas attendees, it is Ringo Deathstarr. Though Austin’s Ringo Deathstarr often draws comparisons to The Jesus and Mary Chain, their debut full-length–Colour Trip–mashes-up a sonic spectrum of influences from the 1980s Creation Records cannon, first and foremost My Bloody Valentine. Countless bands have attempted to ride on the blissed-out coattails of the tremolo-infused feedback produced by MBV, but Ringo Deathstarr might just be the first band in this century to truly do their predecessors any justice. Colour Trip may not possess as cohesive of a concept as MBV’s iconic Loveless, but it is a startlingly magnificent attempt nonetheless.
The Roanoke, VA-based duo, Eternal Summers consists of guitarist/vocalist Nicole Yun and drummer Daniel Cundiff, both of whom are members of the Magic Twig Community (a Roanoke-based local art and music collective). Their debut full-length–Silver–playfully pits post-punk with dream-pop in catchy yet minimalist gems. Hearkening back to the late 1970s when bands such as the Raincoats, the Slits and LiLiPUT were classified as punk primarily because of their novel approach to music, Eternal Summers come at a time of total over-saturation within their particular sub-genre. If you are going to toss your hat into an already crowded ring, it better be a damn fine hat, and Silver is damn fine indeed.
It’s one thing to create a crappy sounding record by using the best recording technology that you could afford, but it’s another thing to purposefully record at such a low fidelity that your resulting album is practically inaudible. The Beet’s latest–Stay Home–thankfully finds The Beets in a not quite so sonically self-destructive state of mind as their previous release (Spit in the Face of People Who Don’t Want to Be Cool). While Stay Home is still quite gritty, the degraded sound quality works with the songs rather than against them as The Beets conjure up the anarchistic freak folk of the Fugs and the concise pop hooks of the Ramones, all the while meshing quite well with their current tour mates Eternal Summers.