The Riff Tiffs
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The Riff Tiffs

Houston, Texas, United States

Houston, Texas, United States
Band Rock New Age


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Riff Tiffs : Afflictinnitus"

"If anyone needs reminding why alternative rock was once one of the best things to ever happen to commercial radio, look no further than the Riff Tiffs' Afflictinnitus. Like early R.E.M., these Meyerland teens wear their influences — Explosions in the Sky, Radiohead, maybe some Wilco and Trail of Dead — on their collective sleeve, but they process them with a surprising level of sophistication. This means pleasing melodies and downright beautiful guitar riffs arranged into songs that are organic yet delightfully unpredictable. In "Nightmare," halting guitar chords snap into a gently soaring emo chorus, then a cleverly restrained solo suddenly becomes one of those noodly, echoey things Explosions does all the freaking time. The music stops, and the guitar plays a familiar, but hard to place, arpeggio. Afflictinnitus is rife with these vague recognitions, which come to a head in "Timing Out." Guitarist Curran Rehm's arena-rock solo gels with the band's driving beat to become a chilling blast from another decade. The Riff Tiffs' intelligent music and singer Chris Rehm's pretty voice make them easy to like, but it's this ability to plug into the pop tradition that makes them worth listening to over and over." - Houston Press

"Riff Tiffs - Afflictinnitus"

"Okay, I give. I've been listening to The Riff Tiffs' Afflictinitus for several weeks now, off and on, and I've had quite a time getting a handle on it, somehow. I don't know how to take these four H-town kids -- are they part of the whole nu-space-rock movement that seems to've hit our fair city, or are they a straight-ahead indie-rock/pop band, a la Superchunk, Spoon, and the like? Or, hell, are they some kind of psych-rock revival thing? As Afflictinitus spins, the band seems to manifest its multiple personalities at random on different tracks.
In reality, the band seems to live happily in all three of the aforementioned musical worlds at the same time, drifting beautifully like an Explosions in the Sky outtake on one track ("James Ralph Brown Part I"), pulling off a throwback to the mid-'90s indie-rock scene on another (the Buffalo Tom-esque "Nightmare," "Timing Out"), and coming off like a trippier retro-rock band on a third ("Cornman"; holy freakin' Pink Floyd, y'all...). And it's good. I mean, "good" as in "really good," like "damn, I wonder how long it'll take these kids to find their way onto some hipster indie label" good. (Anybody from Thirty Ghosts Recs reading this? You Jagjaguwar folks?) This is some wonderfully sublime, drift-off-in-a-painkiller-induced-haze-type music that makes me kick myself for not having seen the Tiffs live in the year or three they've been around.
My one quibble is that while I dearly love the opening track (the aforementioned "James Ralph Brown Part I") on its own merits -- I dig those brightly-drifting "Texas"-sounding but still shimmery guitars -- it kind of does a disservice to the rest of Afflictinitus to stick a meandering instrumental up-front, even when it's a good one. The Riff Tiffs don't truly kick into gear 'til the second half of "James Ralph Brown Part II," once the song mutates from EitS-style melancholy into an Elephant 6-tinged pop-rock track (one that practically shrieks "your favorite Austin band!") and then subsequently surges back skyward near the close.
From then on through the end of the album, the momentum stays strong, all the way through the appropriately Rogue Wave-ish "In My Brain (There Are Waves)" and the gentle, sweet, proto-emo dynamics of "Snow" to finisher "Sailor's Scorn," which does the swirl/sway thing quite nicely before building to some gorgeously majestic choruses. The songs drift in and out, sailing along on beds of static and classic rock-tinged guitars, coalescing every once in a while to allow singer/guitarist Chris Rehm to yelp out some words over the top.
The more I listen, the less I care about the genre-jumping, instead feeling more and more impressed at the Riff Tiffs' ability to switch from blissed-out spaciness to full-on rawk at the drop of a hat and still make it feel like the most natural thing in the world. Whatever kind of music I think the Tiffs are making, it really doesn't matter; it's obvious that they know how it should all go, on a gut level, and neat-and-tidy boxes be damned. Let the guitars crash and soar, let the drums lull you into a head-nodding trance, let the trippy, not quite sensical lyrics bob around in your consciousness, and just trust the kids. They know exactly what they're doing." - Space City Rock

"Riff Tiffs"

"Seen the Riff Tiffs live? You should. This band is masters of slowly building a crescendo without prematurely ejaculation. (Sorry for the lewd comparison but it was the most fitting thing I could come up with.) Riff Tiffs find a cleaner sound and a more concise direction on this album than ever before..." - Free Press Houston

"Riff Tiffs Play End of Summer Shows; Massacre Ton Tons on Court"

"Summer lovin’, it happens so fast. Summer lovin’, we wish it would last. But alas, the calendar waits for no one, so even though the cool crisp refreshment of fall is still many many Mad Men (vote for Ty, btw) episodes away, school is starting back up again soon. In the next few weeks, just as many tears as people will spread, and the Houston diaspora will fan out across the states to resume their KNOWLEDGE QUESTS. Godspeed young seminarians. Among those leaving is the fine folks of the Riff Tiffs, who are otherwise in our dog house for making it so difficult for us to get our hands on their new EP.

Starting tonight, the city is in store for two final SUMMER 08 4 LYFE evenings of their glistening chandelier of sound, starting with a slot at the weekly Free Press Recession Thursdays event at Numbers. They’ll be sharing the stage this fine evening with a cadre of contemporaries including The Eastern Sea, Earnie Banks, Electric Attitude, Old Coyote, ALARMA! and Lazy Horse. Always looking to improve the event, we’ve caught word that there will be a new PA in the house tonight, so expect less of the sound issues you may have encountered in the past. Party. If you’re not the out on the weeknight type, The Riff Tiffs will also be playing a warehouse party show Friday at 2220 Commerce with the Wild Moccasins and (once again) the Eastern Sea. Double Party.

In other Riff Tiffs news, they and the already done for the summer folks in The Tontons recently encountered one another on a distinctly urban field of battle - the basketball court. No doubt inspired by the then upcoming Olympic Games, it was, as Tom Tonton recounted to us, a clear victory for the athletes from Shoegazistan over those from Summerbluesagonia by a score of 30-21." - Skyline Network

"With Success Comes Graduation and Uncertainty"

"They're on the porch of a Meyerland Starbucks, sipping coffee, taking stock. Amid all the kids streaming in and out — Bellaire High School is just a few blocks away — these four stick out.
They're such old friends, they move like a single unit.
And they look different, like they're in a rock band.
Meet the Riff Tiffs, a high school garage band starting to make some waves in area rock clubs. Curran Rehm, the kid perched on the railing, plays guitar. He also guards the band's money and pays the bills. Inches away is his brother, Chris. He's easily identifiable by the giant hair. He's also the band's songwriter, singer and muse.
Across the table is Sean Hart, the drummer, who keeps the Riff Tiffs in T-shirts, fliers and press kits. He also knows half the club owners in town because he's always trying to land gigs for the Riff Tiffs. Often, he's successful.
Shoulder to shoulder with Sean is Althea Topek, the bass player. She is the mediator, the thoughtful decision-maker, they say. "Our conscience," Chris says.
The thing about the Riff Tiffs, three of whom are graduating from Bellaire on Sunday, is they can't quite decide if they're enjoying the happiest days of their lives or mildly depressed.
The good news first. The band is releasing its second CD at Bohemeo's, 708 Telephone, Friday night. They're looking at a summer rich with bookings here and around the state.
"We're gigging musicians," Chris says, exultant. "We're becoming a big part of the local music scene."
If nothing is as fabulous as their own CD release party, the Riff Tiffs' gig June 1 will come close. They'll play at Walter's on Washington, opening for By the End of Tonight, an Alvin-based instrumental band they idolize.
When Sean first told Chris he'd scored that gig, Chris thought he might explode. "It was one of the happiest moments of my entire life."
In other good news, they won a "battle of the bands" contest last year, which earned them free recording time at Houston's Sugar Hill Recording Studio. That allowed them to produce their first CD and brought them in contact with John Griffin, a Sugar Hill recording engineer.
While the Riff Tiffs paid for the CD coming out Friday, Griffin guided them through the production process.
"I think they're amazing," Griffin says of the band's melodic and experimental sound. "The sky is the limit for the Riff Tiffs, if they can just keep it together."
There's the rub. Sean, Curran and Althea are picking up diplomas Sunday. This fall Sean is moving to New Orleans to study music at Loyola University. Curran heads to the University of Arkansas to study architecture. Althea will be at the University of St. Thomas, so at least she and Chris, who has one more year at Bellaire, can jam and keep tabs on the local music scene.
Althea knows for a fact that members of By the End of Tonight started college, then took a break to tour the country.
She thinks this could work for the Riff Tiffs. Chris does, too. They look at Sean and Curran, who say nothing.
A few days later, the Riff Tiffs assemble at Sean's house. His room and their practice space is above the garage and feels separate from the rest of Sean's family. Still, the Riff Tiffs are loud, so loud they can be heard five houses down.
His neighbors are understanding, he says.
Like the elderly couple who moved in next door, only to learn they were neighbors with the Riff Tiffs.
"It's OK," they told Sean's mom, Colleen Hart. "We raised three boys. We know what it's like."
The kids are getting ready to play. Althea works on the set list for Friday night. Curran tinkers with the innards of his guitar.
"I'm a gearhead," he says.
Chris adjusts his microphone. Vocals are an important part of the Riff Tiffs sound, but not overriding. He thinks about his voice, he says, as if it were another instrument.
The Riff Tiffs were a work in progress for years. Curran and Chris used to play guitars together as kids. Curran and Sean met in kindergarten. The three boys played their first gig in middle school. Sean met Althea freshman year at Bellaire. She was such a natural addition Sean moved from bass to drums.
Their parents have been a big help, the Riff Tiffs say.
Althea's folks helped pay a chunk of the costs for the new CD. It's called Afflictinnitus, partly because all of them suffer from ringing in their ears.
The Harts have donated the practice space all these years and give the kids carte blanche to raid the pantry.
Mom Linda Rehm contributes sandwiches and snacks. And the Rehms' dad, Kevin, wins the prize for fan who has attended the most Riff Tiff concerts. He's attended them all.
Early on, he says, he wanted to make sure the kids were safe.
Now it's different. He wants to share in their lives and their successes before they fly away." - Houston Chronicle

"Review: Riff Tiffs - Afflictinnitus"

"So. Here's something Diddy ain't done yet. He hasn't become a ghost dolphin. Which is a shame, cause we have a perfect record for him should he find himself bottle-nosed and sleek, gliding effortlessly through the breaking surf in slow motion as an impossibly large moon crests over the Pacific horizon. Sure, there would be some details to work out, such as whether his tasteful but blingy earring would need to be relocated to the dorsal fin or flippers. And what of his signature mustache and gautee combination; do dolphins even grow hair? But it matters not, these minor details as to the shape of things to swim, once magically transformed (something achievable by so powerful a god as only Neptune himself) the eternal soundtrack to his days of exploration in the cool deep blue could only be Afflictinnitus by the Riff Tiffs.

We recommend this record because, as Dolphditty would no doubt realize given his afore-demonstrated ability to spot talent, his iPod is rocking the sounds of the submerged. Generally, the metaphor employed to ramble on and on about a band whose sound and songwriting invokes large, open spaces is outer-space (or, if you’re Edmund Burke, vast untouched landscapes. Damn, we’re starting to wonder if it might not have been better to make this review about Burke rather than a rapping dolphin). There’s something far more fluid to the Riff Tiffs, however. Rather than vacuum, there are the reverberations of shear waves; the radiating death of solar winds are replaced by the massive undersea conveyors, the current system. Space will freeze you as it violently sucks your gut out; the sea will drown you with a comforting cool. Unless you’re Puff Porpoise – then a chill life of smooth sailing is what you have in store.

This album, the Riff Tiff’s first, is an impressive frigate of sound, with pressure-treated wood so bright not a barnacle one could set-up shop on her hull. It is an ACES escort for casual chilling with the school and introspective dives into the deep alone. We’ve been rocking it out for a week and, like Flipper Daddy will do so until we say So Long, and thanks for all the fish. Recommended.

The Riff Tiff’s CD Release Party is tonight at Bohemos with sweet jams provided by Helicopter Jones. Apologies to the Riff Tiffs for writing sodumb/bad a review of a record we really enjoy." - Skyline Network

"Riff Tiffs: Afflictinnitus"

"Its far too little that I get to describe a song as having the same substance as dreams, however after listening to The Riff Tiffs album Afflictinitus I have the great pleasure of describing the entire album as something straight from a dream. They draw you in with the peaceful lullaby of James Ralph Brown pt1/2 , terrify you with the frightening melodies of Nightmare and the remainder of the album is a beautiful ride through a dream world. One second your floating along electronic noise on par with that of M83, when without hesitation they switch and hit you with an indie rock riff and just when you are beginning to realize what happened they switch again and you’re now being serenaded by Chris Rehm, whose voice is incredibly unique and reminds me of Thom Yorke.

The Riff Tiffs ,Sean Hart(Drums), Chris Rehm (guitar/vocals),Curran Rehm (Guitar) and Althea Topek(Bass), understand music and with Afflictinitus they have shown that they are able to put together an album not just throw a bunch of songs on a cd like so many other bands. You can grab this album from CDbaby here or if you want low bitrate files they’re also on Itunes, or wait till their next show June 27 @ Warehouse live and pick up a copy directly from them." - Houston Vanguard

"Riff Tiffs: Festival/Snflwr"

"festival/sunflwr, the new twenty-three minute (plus!) CD from the Riff Tiffs, opens with eloquence and grace. Starting with an undercurrent of drums and slow-motion guitar textures, "Festival" creeps up as everything builds into crashing eruptions, only to calm the storm when Chris Rehm's enigmatic vocals enter the atmosphere, giving a glimmering feel to the equation. As Sean Hart's marching drum rings out through the cosmos, Althea Topek's bass holds the musical constellation together, making it a solid takeoff. Almost six minutes into the first song, and you're taken through the melodic territory into which these young navigators are headed. And it's a sound not heard much in our city.
"/" releases an explosion of ambient noise into deep space, spiraling past the limits of distortion pedals, echoes, and black holes. A soundscape to get lost in for a few minutes. A good time to gaze through time, space and beyond.
Before you know it, though, you're heading back towards the clouds with track three. Coming in for the landing, "snflwr" ends the disc with more of a rock feel than either of its predecessors. The song starts with riffs reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. and ends with the structure of Sonic Youth; the guitars never seem to stop until the final touchdown. Fusing guitar leads, smooth bass, and Curran Rehm giving us a safe ride home with his crafty pedal work, "snfler" grounds us. At least, until the next journey. I can't wait to see where they take us next." - Space City Rock


"Riff Tiffs" E.P. (May 2006)
"Afflictinnitus" Full Length (May 2007)
"Festival/Snflwr" E.P. (June 2008)
"What If We're Apart" (tba)



The Riff Tiffs are Chris Rehm, Curran Rehm, Sean Hart, and Althea Topek. After disbanding for 4 years, the band has gotten back together to tour and release a new album.