Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Houndmouth at the Bowery Ballroom

Matt Myers & Katie Toupin
Based in New Albany, Indiana, a small suburban city across the river from Louisville, Kentucky, guitarist/vocalist Matt Myers crafted some songs in his bedroom using automated beats as backdrops. Houndmouth started coming together in 2011 when Myers recruited bassist Zak Appleby, with whom he had played in cover bands, and keyboardist/vocalist Katie Toupin, with whom he had worked as an acoustic duo. Drummer Shane Cody, in turn, had been a collaborator with Toupin since high school. Myers discovered that all three band mates also had songs for Houndmouth. Four months later, the four twenty-something pals had a homemade EP in hand. The band's second album, Little Neon Limelight, was released on March 17, 2015.

Headlining at the Bowery Ballroom tonight, Houndmouth kept the show loose and natural. To call Houndmouth an alternative country band is to use the term very loosely. The quartet is comprised of four singer-songwriters who have harmonized their vocal and musical styles into something that falls somewhere between the Band, Dr. Dog, Lucero and Drive-by Truckers. Starting with "Black Gold," the music was from the heartland, telling melancholy hard luck stories to sturdy, bouncy rhythms rooted in soft, unpolished garage-rock musical arrangements and very polished vocal harmonies. A highlight was when Toupin switched to guitar and sang "Gasoline," a woeful country song that started softly and ended with a bang. The final encore ended with Houndmouth being joined on stage by opening artist Parker Millsap and his band for a rousing cover version of Dion & the Belmonts' "Runaround Sue." A fair amount of the audience sang along to most of the songs, hinting that this lyric-driven music may find a larger, loyal following in short time.

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