The Tontons

When you have Texas rap legend Bun B as one of your biggest fans, you know you're doing something right. So spotting Bun at one of Houston indie-rock band the Tontons' shows—a not so uncommon occurrence—should be the first signal that you are about to experience something very special. "Its always a pleasant surprise to see Bun at our shows," says Tontons bassist Tom Nguyen. "He's told us that he's a fan our new EP Golden, which is pretty awesome to hear from such a legend in the business."

Since 2008, the Tontons have been garnering a reputation in Texas for their genre-mixing sound. Comprised of members who vary in musical taste "from jazz to doom metal to psychedelic rock to top-40 pop," the band has perfected a recipe of strong vocal wails and raw jazz and blues-driven indie rock. It's almost become laughable how much people struggle to categorize the band's sound, leaving the members curious to hear what fans and critics think. "It's a favorite past time to read reviews and see how real music critics classify our sound," Nguyen says. "We sorta just let people tell us what they think we sound like."

But even the band itself can't come up with a good comparison. "We get asked this a lot and still haven't come up with a good answer," Nguyen says. "Otherwise, our answers consist of, 'It's like this, but not like that, but sort of like this

sol cat

There is no such thing as a landlocked island, except the one where Sol Cat seems to live. It's like a place where the mind isn't fully aware of its surroundings, and confusion welcomes the creativity it inspires. Sol Cat's eponymous self-released debut album doesn't necessarily transport you to South Florida from Nashville, TN, but that is an appropriate enough concept. If Music City defines firm lines between genres, Sol Cat's album champions redistricting, creating challenging new sounds in this arena of the traditional.

Think of a midnight drive somewhere warm, certainly the top is down, and yes, a beauty is in the passenger seat. The six-piece band suggests you can take this foggy, dreamlike scenario with you wherever you go. However, Sol Cat finds its own contentment and happiness in the valleys of Middle TN, grateful for the opportunity to tap into the mystical and spiritual musical foundation on which the land is built. The Athens of the South has an appeal any artist can feel — an enticing, drawing temptation.

Before relocating, Sol Cat's members spent their time across the country, Miami to Los Angeles, New York City to The Gulf of Mexico. Musical influences span just as wide, yet an eclectic and oceanic resonance remains prevalent in their sound. Smooth grooves along the lines of George McCrae mix with semi-psych synth layers, while the likes of The Talking Heads and Laid Back inspire bouncy bass and slick guitar riffs.

With such a range of cultural and artistic influence, the creative process is equally interesting. Vocalist and writer Brett Hammann steers the musical direction of the band while guitarist Johnny Fisher leads the group into new and uncharted territory. Drummer Ryan Usher provides the rhythmic backbone for bassist Aaron Martin, who also acts as Sol Cat's Art Director. Lead guitarist Jaan Cohan brings catchy licks and skills to melt any face, leaving keyboardist and studio engineer Jeremy Clark to play intuitively as the music essentially produces itself.

The group is now prepared and eager for the road, with its groundwork set for the message to spread. The Sol Cat sound is not as unfamiliar as it is forgotten; and those feelings and emotions poured into music past are ready to gracefully wash over a new generation.

-Pedro Sanchez III

$5.00 - $7.00

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The Tontons with sol cat

Tuesday, October 8 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Zanzabar