Household Names
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Household Names

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop

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Press


"Household Names has a strong DIY aesthetic going for them to match their obvious gift for song crafting." - Dallas Music Guide


"[The Trouble With Being Nice is] a pop kaleidoscope that will satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles." - POPISM


"These guys are clever. Sonically they have everything going for them…[Bright Spot is] reminiscent of Badfinger and is great. I like Household Names." - Garageband.com


"[Trouble is] packed to the gills with towering, glorious guitar tracks. Some highlights include the moody, crashing, Beatlesque "Secrecy," which opens the album, "I'm Just the Rain," which has one foot firmly entrenched in '80s new romantic pop, and "Bright Spot," whose upbeat, euphoric rock could serve as the group's calling card." - All Music Guide


"[Jason Garcia is] one of Austin's best young pop songwriters, employing dead-on melodic instincts and let-it-all-hang-out lyrics with equal flair." - Christopher Gray


"South by Southwest is really about discovery, the unplanned stumble on something surprising. That was the case with Austin's Household Names...very Brit textures powered engaging songs like 'The Great American Public' -- with a hook wryly urging 'have faith in television' --  Major labels, pay attention!" - hollywoodreporter.com


"Their music inspires many of the same feelings that more blatantly commercial records do - swelling joy, monumental melancholy, the inescapable urge to sing along - but it's music for the mind as much as the ears." - Randy Anthony


The second album from this highly stylized local pop trio is precision-tuned and oversoaked with hooks. Cynical chin-scratchers might quibble with the notion of always aiming for the universal chord, but it's rare to find capital-P Pop pulled off with such a slick punch, particularly in an organic-leaning nape like Austin. Ace producer Lars Goransson mixes Picture in My Head extra hot, which compliments Household Names' big bright sound well. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Garcia is fueled by the same unrequited aspirations as Big Star devotees like Matthew Sweet and Jellyfish. Soaring group harmonies and a snap rhythm section add to the wallop. The latter figures prominently in "The Latest Success," an urgent, hold-and-release power cut that makes you want to drive too fast. "Anytime, Mrs. K" is a summer-sweet mash note to a fleeting office fling that sounds like the logical successor to Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom." The only thing missing from the Top 40 circa 1979 yearn of "Beggar's Radio" is transistor-radio crackle, but that production trick shows up soon enough between the lushly padded choruses of "Handle On." As tricked-out as these sounds are, they remain secondary to Household Names' quest for the perfect pop song.
***1/2 - Greg Beets

- Austin Chronicle


“…a radio-friendly mix of fat guitars and strong power-pop hooks. The trio really excels on the more straight-ahead pop songs, and on the mellower songs that populate the second half of the record which make the best use of Jason Garcia's pure singing voice.”

- Pop Culture Press


Household Names return with "Stories, No Names" their 3rd full-length release and definitively shed the power-pop label, once and for all. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but this Austin quartet now generates a more mature and textured sound. Lead singer Jason Garcia displays a broad vocal range, from the British-influenced "Definitely" to the quieter tones of the Elliot Smith-invoking "Firefly." Guitar parts are often softened by a range of keyboard techniques, from subtle synth touches that lean toward the progressive -- as in the dreamy "Driving to LA," to a toy piano break that lightens the mood in "Firefly." The hooks are here, but share space with dark lyrics and innuendo, as in the Lennon-esque "Happy For You" which seems a joyful ditty, until the end when the tempo slows, and the lyrics "I want to be happy for you" seem a little harder to eek out. "Live Without," the most rockin' tune of the set, goes in the other direction, starting with the pessimistic ("Keep your distance in these times/even angels turn to crime"), but ends on a positive declaration ("I believe in love/a simple love/if your faith should fall/we'll lift it up"). Each song is a fleeting vignette, short films with a lifetime of influences as the soundtrack. The characters don't have names, but you can fill in the blanks. CINDY ROYAL - On That Note advance review


Household Names is an almost too-perfect descriptor for an alternative pop group. And with this group’s extensive background of songs used in television appearances, it is even more appropriate. There was a time when groups like Soul Asylum or Gin Blossoms were the centerpieces for any given film or TV show. And now, Jason Garcia and crew have created the perfect songs for a speeding car shot, moment of clarity, or running-through-the-streets-in-a-hectic-fashion. And all can be found on their third self-released album Stories, No Names.

“Driving To LA”, the kick start of Stories, No Names, is a prime example of a song that can be about nothing and everything all at once. You might not understand what Garcia is trying to say, but you will definitely feel some emotions of which, as the group’s songwriter, was desperately trying to make you feel in the first place. “Definitely” is another cut that brings out the 25-cent bouncy ball of emotion with an upbeat rhythm section and powerful electric guitar. “Firefly” is where the Rufus Wainwright in all of us is explored. Sadness lies not only in the desperate, Household Names makes this terribly clear as they throw this sad-hearted tune into their mixed bag of sunshine and temporary sanity.

For the pop lover in all of us, Household Names create the songs you want to hear on a small stage in a medium sized venue. The echoing vocals and harrowing guitar work spin through the air like the visuals of a Spike Jonze film. Although there seems to be a bit of self-preservation within their music, it is nonetheless severely entertaining. This band and Stories, No Names are the epitaph for clear and conscious alternative pop music. - Fensepost


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. - Ink19


Household Names hail from Austin, TX, and are no newcomers to crafting sing-along melodies around their soulful guitar work. Their music sweeps over an emotional and sonic landscape, from the pangs of memory explored in the first cut with its Fray-like tones to the hilarious and slightly eerie "Making Plans For Nigel," rocking a vocal track that would make Dave Grohl's voice itch. The true measure of a master is the ability to do a lot with a little, and Household Names are some true sonic maximizers. — J. Lincoln C. Moore - Ear Candy


Household Names may very well land in the center of your radio dial. Although, I could imagine hearing them on some college radio station. Their brand of American Pop Rock (“Definitely”) comes coupled with enough variety and indie spunk to land them outside of the pop part of the Spectrum.
Stories, No Names opens with “Driving to LA” and “Every Third Time” that sound a bit like Jars of Clay’s Folk-influenced American Rock while also reaching for a College Rock like Whole Fantastic World. A Jars of Clay eclecticism shows up on the ballad “Firefly,” where I can also see why others have compared the song to Elliot Smith.
“Definitely” is a jazzy pop pushed along on a Beach Boys wave of keys and horns. “Live Without” has that Minneapolis alternative rock guitar tinged by keyboards and a pop overlay like the Melismatics.
Jumping out among the rest of the disc is a great cover of XTC’s “Making Plans for Nigel,” which is tremendously punched up by the guitar and drums. - Music Spectrum


The Austin, Texas rock quartet nailed this melodic, shimmering ballad on their latest album, “Stories, No Names.” It’s polished, but for those prone to nostalgia the song is especially moving. Lead singer Jason Garcia recalls, “It wasn’t bad staying at your dad’s/there were flowers on the ground…” - Tideline


When it’s blue-skied and sunny like today I can’t help but think of my hometown and it’s sun-kissed streets and beautiful people. Household Names have a pretty solid anthem for me to sing along to as I dream of sand between my toes and palm trees overhead. “Driving To LA” is pretty polished and poppy and I see no reason why it shouldn’t become a mild radio hit. Seems perfect for cranking up on those summer days stuck in beach-traffic and singing along to the lyrics about poverty, boozing and love in the city of angles. These guys are from Austin, TX and have apparently been around for over 10 years. I’ve never heard of them before now and haven’t yet heard Stories, No Names, the 2010 album that opens with “Driving To LA” but so far this is my jam. - The Burning Ear


Austin, TX alt rockers Household Names may have one of the best monikers in music. What the quartet also has is a new album, Stories, No Names, coming out on May 11th. The album will be the group's third.

You can get a sense of what to expect with the sun-drenched track "Driving To LA". - Snob's Music


Hooked on power pop? Need something that nods to The Posies, that plinks and plonks like The Apples in Stereo? Want to try something new that’s not TOO new? Need a track for the closing credits of a 1987 teen film, maybe one with Matthew Broderick in it? This is the album for you.

Household Names are from Austin, Texas, where the only thing to do is to form a band – it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone in that place whose left to drive ambulances or stock shelves. It’s not spectacularly original, apart from perhaps a quite self-conscious take on uncool big production parts of the late 80s (I’m thinking John Waite, Boy Meets Girl, that sort of thing, and I wish I wasn’t). But it’s fun, espeicaly the poppier tracks (‘Every Third Time’ and 'Live Without', and there’s a cover of XTC's ‘Making Plans for Nigel’ that has a joyously jolly menace.

For the young and the young at heart. - Americana UK


Discography

The Trouble With Being Nice (LP 2002)
Hold On Tight! (EP 2003)
Picture In My Head (LP 2006)
Stories, No Names (LP 2010)

Photos

Bio

Household Names is a 4-piece alternative rock band from Austin, Texas with their third self-released album, "Stories, No Names" now out on iTunes and other digital download sites. Now counting the Killers, Interpol, Band of Horses, Phoenix and Rogue Wave among their influences, the band's third album is their best and most developed record to date. "Driving To LA" starts the album off with guitar and beat-driven wistful nostalgia; "Every Third Time" keeps up the band's signature hooky rock and adds some moody atmospherics. "Definitely" is pure pop, a Beatles and Beach Boys singalong, while "Firefly" showcases a quiet, minor-key, Elliot Smith-esque sound. "Got A Good Thing" shimmers with atmospheric, yearning guitars and simple piano, creating the album's prettiest track. As with the band's previous albums, "Stories, No Names" is co-produced with Lars Goransson (Blondie, The Cardigans).

Songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Jason Garcia released "The Trouble With Being Nice" as a solo artist in 2000, which drew immediate comparisons to Elvis Costello, Suede, Oasis, the Kinks and Blur. After 2003's home-recorded "Hold On Tight!" EP, he found the perfect musical foil in bassist/vocalist Chris Peters, and together with drummer CJ Barker they recorded 2006's "Picture In My Head" of which The Austin Chronicle raved: "guitarist/vocalist Jason Garcia is fueled by the same unrequited aspirations as Big Star devotees like Matthew Sweet and Jellyfish...precision-tuned and oversoaked with hooks." "Only One", from that record, featured prominently in an episode of the ABC prime time series "What About Brian?", and several of its other tracks have been used by MTV and CNBC.

The following is an (incomplete) list of the band's TV and film placements: What About Brian, American Made, Flipping Out (Canada), Webdreams (Canada), Fashion Television (Canada), CMT Cribs, Bromance, Mean Green Machines (Canada), Where You At Baby (Canada), Brooke Knows Best, Hogan Knows Best, Extreme Waterparks, Man V. Food, True Life, Cruise Ship, American Justice: Palm Beach Law, Broken Homes (pilot)