Conor Houston – Evenings With The News
David Bowie used to joke that his music is either appreciated by millions or by no more than six people. He was right. However, his career presented him with several cycles of both types of fandom. Typically, his less appreciated works were the more personal, experimental ones, made in the latter part of his career.
Freed by commercial expectations, Bowie created a new host of characters. His performances resembled theatre more than they did pop music-making. This revolution was less obvious, but it certainly changed the artistic trajectory of many bands and singers.
Conor Houston echoes Bowie here through an industrial rock lense. Evenings With The News is an opportunity to write his own character, one that has a knack for melodrama while also drawing powerful, hallucinatory pictures. It’s the kind of song that plays on the radio while you’re in a strange dream. It’s the kind of record made by the kind of professional actor that knows how keeping a straight face is half the battle won.
The Ugly Facade – The Robots Can Make Rocknroll
As with any musical trends, 90s alternative rock sure provided us with some terrific records, and even more excruciatingly band imitators of those that traded on these tendencies for major success. It’s difficult to find the common denominator for all of the rock music that achieved some form of notoriety during that decade.
From alt-metal, indie, industrial, or grunge, there’s plenty from which to choose. What they did seem to have in common though, was … anger. Now, heartfelt lyrical themes have always been integral to music being played on the radio. However, for the most part, the mainstream has shied away from sounds that seem to directly express rage. It’s not a theme that usually works well when trying to advertise everyday projects.
It’s strange that in a time of so many upheavals, like the ones we are living through right now, anger would be the refuge of eccentric musical groups that have little hope of ever getting played on the radio.
The Ugly Facade’s The Robots Can Make Rocknroll sounds like the song that could bridge the gap. The vocals are especially noteworthy, bringing to mind both the emotive performances of Trent Reznor and the overdriven vocals of Layne Staley. The future’s here, it’s mostly scary, and it needs these kinds of sounds to echo the uncertainty.