Houston's O Pioneers!!! cook up jagged, fevered, punk-rock convulsions that rattle and thunder like it might fly apart at any moment.
Front man Eric Solomon's hoarse, hectoring scream presides over the tremulous crunch like its foreman, shouting encouragement and anguished outlines of the obstacles ahead. The shuddering pulse; stabbing, slashing guitars; and Solomon's vocal bluster very much recall late, great, underappreciated Michigan rockers Bear vs. Shark.
In February, O Pioneers!!! released its second album, "Neon Creeps," which boasts a tunefulness occasionally missing from 2006's "Black Mambas," and the positive fan and critical response has been nearly deafening in comparison. With a handful of new releases on the horizon, the future looks bright for the South Texas trio, but the going has been a tough for Solomon, who's suffered more lineups than a New York City cop. O Pioneers!!! head to Oklahoma City for a 7 p.m. Thursday show at The Conservatory with The Anchor and Over Stars and Gutters, so the Gazette caught up with Solomon in Houston, where he runs a screen-printing shop, I Heart U Productions.
QUESTION & ANSWERS
OKG: What's the deal with all the personnel changes? Are you some kind of dick?
Solomon: I ask myself that all the time, to be honest with you. I think it's hard being in a band that is semi-active nowadays. You have two types of groups, those like Fake Problems, Broadway Calls and Gaslight Anthem, which are on tour constantly, and then you have the bands like Able Baker Fox that record an amazing record, but they have normal things in their lives. It's only something they do for fun.
We're somewhere in the middle of that where we kind of have day jobs, but every three, four months, we'll go on tour for three weeks. It's especially hard, since we're in our mid-20s. It's a critical point in our lives, where we're, "Do we want to try this band thing and go play live, or do we want to have a day job?" That's kind of been a question with musicians that have been in our band in the past.
OKG: You aren't even going to have your regular band this time through, right?
Solomon: I'm doing a tour with friends in August because the two guys in my band just started new jobs and they can't go out this time. So it's a little bit of a clusterfuck because there is so much in and out with this band. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not an easy thing sometimes.
OKG: You have some disparaging words for the latest online craze on one of "Neon Creeps"' best tracks, "Chris Ryan Added Me on Facebook." What are your thoughts?
Solomon: I had a hard enough time talking to people that I've met and become great friends with on tour. I feel awkward and I don't necessarily feel like I'm very good coming up with conversation, even with the people I do care about. So what am I going to say to people that I don't have any interest in? It doesn't make any sense to me.
OKG: What's the story with all the releases you've got coming out: a one-sided 7-inch, a split 7-inch with Nu Bruises featuring you covering Piebald's "American Hearts" and a three-song vinyl split with Andrew Jackson Jihad in October?
Solomon: We usually work on one song and get it done, then immediately go and record kind of a demo for ourselves, to make sure it's how everyone wants to do it. If we're happy with it, sometimes we'll put it on a record. Sometimes we'll just keep it for a future release.
The newest songs I've been writing with different people I feel are just as good, if not better, but it's in a completely different universe than the ones on "Neon Creeps." We'll see how it goes. I think around December and January, we're going to try to write another record. I don't know who's going to play on it, I don't know who will write it with me, but hopefully, I'll figure it out by then.
O Pioneeers!!! with The Anchor and Over Stars and Gutters perform at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western. "Chris Parker