I like the kind of band that when you first hear a song of theirs, it peaks your interest. It sticks with you, but not in a HOLY SHIT kind of way. More of a Hey now, that’s nice kind of way. Then the more you hear this song, the more it grows on you and the more it starts to become a part of you. You find yourself humming it, then quietly singing it, fumbling over the words and parts you don’t know before finally belting it out while driving home from work. Songs that come to you in such a way tend to stick with you longer because a connection has been formed. It’s not a one night stand, but an established relationship.
“Casino (Bad Things)” by Houndmouth was one such song.
It came across the ol’ Spotify radio, a station based on J Roddy Walston and the Business, and thanks to Spotify radio’s penchant for repetition, I heard it a couple times in one afternoon. With each time, I liked the song more and more. I liked the thumping bass drum and burnt edges of the song. The tune sounded like one I might have heard before, yet also like something I had never before- a musical geographical oddity.
The rest of the story is familiar:
check out the album
like the album
like other albums
like the band
But dude, I really like Houndmouth.
Because Houndmouth is dope.
Houndmouth consists of four folks from Indiana- three dudes, one gal- four singers which helps create an expansive sound seemingly bigger than would initially appear when you first see them, as they are unassuming and for all intents and purposes, non-threatening. They look like good-time having people, all signs point to people who would be pretty chill to drink a few beers with. And really, all four of them sing.
They harmonize, they trade lead vocals. And it sounds so natural and effortless, like four friends signing around a campfire, and I would best be sure that at least one member of Houndmouth knows their way around a campfire and probably at least one of them has crafted a makeshift fire pit at some point.
The band’s second full length, “Little Neon Light,” came out earlier this year. It’s the kind of sophomore effort that makes people take notice, and not just because it’s anchored by an excellent lead single.
“Little Neon Light” is what you’d want from a band’s second album- the taste and smell of the first album, just with more polish and confidence. It’s not a hard right turn, nor is it a lackadaisical straight ahead plodding. The album essentially welcomes you back if you dug the first album or politely introduces itself to you if you are just meeting them. And while yes, “Sedona” is a wonderful tune, it’s the tip of the melodic, alt-country, roots rock ice berg.
Seeing Houndmouth live sealed the deal; straight up solidified A) why I like them and B) that I would continue to like them for sometime.
It was up the road in Asbury Park, NJ at the Stone Pony…also known as the legendary Stone Pony…also known as yes, the place where Bruce Springsteen got his start. End of September, the tail end of Local Summer, which is at the tail end of regular summer and a dabble of fall was in the air, accompanied by a breeze strong enough it was able to occasionally alter your path as you crossed the street. The club was packed, much more so than I thought, but then again, I mostly listen to Podcasts and to be honest, don’t really know how people discover new bands these days…you know, maybe by rambling blog posts like this. So scratch that- people discover new bands thanks to
rambling informative blog posts such as this one. Satellite radio is also keen on “Sedona” and I’m sure that’s helped. But regardless, more people than I thought- but a crowd consisting of presumably like minded individuals ready for a great show.
And we got a great show.
I have a thing for bands/musicians who are enjoying themselves on stage and more importantly, are not afraid to show that enjoyment. Playing music, especially playing music in front of people, is one of the best things a person can do and definitely one of the most enjoyable things. Good God I hate when a band looks as if they are getting a root canal while playing a show. Dude, look the part- you know, the part of someone who is lucky enough to be doing what you are doing. Houndmouth legitimately looked like four kids playing in the sand box. They were having a blast and were clearly appreciative of the crowd, if not a little taken aback by the reception they received and continued to receive throughout the show. People were into it, man. There was a lot of singing along.
Like a lot.
And it was a lot of fun. I mean, how can you not sing along with Houndmouth. There songs all but beg you to do so. You’d be a damn fool not to.
I left the show impressed. I was impressed by the band, by how well their songs came across live, by how enamored they were with the crowd, by the interplay and interactions between band mates, by the eagerness of the crowd to show their love and appreciation. It left me feeling good about music- about the power of music, both from a power of bringing people together stand point and from an enjoyment of original music stand point. I truly hope Houndmouth keeps on trucking. I hope they don’t get discouraged by baloney and mularky and keep making music. So many bands pop and fizzle; they don’t make that third album check point. That may very well happen to Houndmouth. The reason may be good, it may not. What they’ve already left behind will make that separation slightly easier to handle but dude I hope it doesn’t happen.
Because Houndmouth is dope.
Learn more about the band HERE.