Household Names

Household Names

Household Names

Stories, No Names

If you could get Austin to absorb CO2 like it cranks out solid bands, no one would worry about global warming. Instead, we get a steady stream of excellent singers and songwriters producing urgent, infectious music like Household Names.

These guys are balladeers at heart; each song has a story arc and every word is up front. They’ve got their hearts on their sleeves and dreams and disappointments, and while you might not be sympathetic, you will ask for more. Heading up this collective is Jason Garcia, a man with a decade or so of releasing records that garner great notice. “Driving to LA” opens the disc and it captures the feeling of arriving in that sprawlopolis and getting lost, not even realizing you were as far from your real destination as this guy is from connecting with his girlfriend. There is no fear of minor keys; in fact, they seem custom made for this emotional maelstrom, and “Firefly” puts them to good use — “Oh firefly, burn bright and die… That’s not how it’s meant to be.” Any sadder, and I’d go find someone new, just to break up with her. A fun surprise lies near the end, and there’s a re-arranged “Making Plans For Nigel” which you elders might recall as XTC’s break-out hit. Here the rhythms are a bit syncopated and a buzz of static fills your ears, sounding just as Nigel’s burnt synapses must sound.

To sum up: clear, clean pop songs, interesting arrangements, and tears-in-the-toilet emotional journeys. If you’re in Austin and need to cry on someone’s shoulder, seek out Household Names.

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