Nightfall catches Indiana folk rockers in midst of meteoric rise - June 6

Nightfall catches Indiana folk rockers in midst of meteoric rise - June 6

June 5th, 2014 by Casey Phillips in Chattnow Music

Houndmouth is, from left, Zak Appleby, Katie Toupin (seated), Matt Myers and Shane Cody.

Photo by Photo from Rough Trade Records

Despite a lifespan that's roughly equivalent to that of a toddler, Houndmouth produces songs that sound weathered and aged with an authenticity that belies the band's youth.

The Indiana-based folk/rock quartet's songs seem written by troubadours with stripes earned after decades of experience. The sometimes melancholy arrangements and warm harmonies could fit comfortably alongside the likes of Levon Helm, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan or Kris Kristofferson.

Based on their music, you expect gnarled hands and wrinkles. Instead, they're a bunch of 20-somethings sporting V-necks and smooth skin. Think more hipster, less hip replacement.

IF YOU GO

¦ What: Nightfall concert series featuring Houndmouth.

¦ When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 6; Eight Knives open at 7.

¦ Where: Miller Plaza, 850 Market St.

¦ Admission: Free.

¦ Phone: 423-265-0771.

¦ Venue website: www.nightfallchattanooga.com.

¦ Artist website: www.houndmouth.com.

THE OPENER

Eight Knives is an indie alt/garage rock quartet from Chattanooga that freeindie.com describes as "White Stripes + whiskey." For more info, visit www.eightknives.com.

"We totally don't listen to a lot of new stuff," says frontman Matt Myers. "It's all the music we grew up on. You can just keep going back and digging, and we still find stuff in the late '60s that we haven't heard before. I suppose we have old souls."

Myers and drummer Shane Cody joined forces as Houndmouth in 2011, quickly bringing in bassist Zak Appleby and Myers' former musical partner, keyboardist Katie Toupin.

In the beginning, the instruments were distinctly bottom-shelf, either permanently borrowed without permission or bought on a ragged shoestring. The important thing wasn't the quality of the equipment, Myers says, but that they were all approaching music from a similar place.

"We all had very similar interests and knew what we wanted," he says. "It seemed genuine to what we grew up on. We didn't know what else to make."

In 2012, Houndmouth performed at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Those shows attracted the attention of London-based indie record label Rough Trade, whose owner, Geoff Travis, signed them shortly after seeing them play.

Since then, the band has racked up mountains of acclaim.

Paste Magazine placed Houndmouth at No. 16 on its list of the 20 Best New Bands of 2013. They've also toured with the likes of Alabama Shakes and Drive-By Truckers, played Bonnaroo and made late-night TV appearances on "Conan" and "Late Show With David Letterman."

Friday, June 6, they'll take the stage at Miller Plaza as this week's Nightfall headliner.

However, Myers insists he and his bandmates are no flash-in-the-pan success, that Houndmouth's not-quite-three years together are laid atop a foundation of thankless grinding with other projects.

"I know things happened really fast for Houndmouth, and people say that we didn't pay our dues going out on the road, but we played for a long time and got no real reward from it," he says. "It was super nice to start something we believed in and felt good about and have something happen right off the bat."

Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.