Sharks and Sailors
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Sharks and Sailors

Houston, Texas, United States

Houston, Texas, United States
Band Rock Alternative


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



"Album Review -"

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so the physicists say. You cannot effectively defend your position without understanding the opposition, so the orators say. You cannot know up without down, dark without light, good without evil, so the philosophers say. Ours is in many ways a world defined and understood in terms of opposing forces.

Sharks and Sailors understands this. The very fiber of Builds Brand New is built around this concept. It is these opposites, contrasts if you will, that are the texture of the music: sweet melodies versus grating noise, ambient fluidity versus sharp angles, technical skill versus emotional release. While this is a fine technique, it is hardly unique in and of itself. But there is another wrinkle to Sharks and Sailors: They don't use these opposing forces against each other as a means of creating tension. Instead, they are more like yin and yang, forces spinning around the Taoist center of the overall album.

They have clearly taken a few lessons from the Smashing Pumpkins in their prime, but these songs voice something more cerebral than Gen X brattiness. "Metes and Bounds" stretches out so far that it feels epic as it alternates between sharp art-punk angles and airy prog spaceiness. It manages to compress time almost, concentrating what should be a 20 minute opus into six minutes. It is like the ocean dripping into the dew drop. And that's how this album goes, wide and expansive, yet it would nearly fit onto one side of a 90 minute tape (for those of us who remember those days).

Without getting into the realm of the nearly unlistenable, Builds Brand New manages to find an unturned patch of ground in rock music. What they've sown there is both musically and philosophically compelling.

Satriani 7/10
Zappa 9/10
Dylan 8/10
Aretha 8/10
Overall 8/10 - Rock n' Roll Meandering Nonsense

"Album Review -"

Much like both the creatures of their title, this Texas trio are difficult to keep in one place. Opener ‘Thrill’ starts off sounding like something The Smashing Pumpkins made in 1995 before piling on the pressure and the upping the riff count considerably, the title tracks taps and gently twists and turns like Minus The Bear, and ‘Condor’ soars close to post-rock bliss. And if that sounds like you could still cast one big indie rock net over the band and be done with it, ‘Metes And Bounds’ is made of enough lurching psychadelia to weird any fan of Coldplay out forever and the spiky superfuzz of ‘Rickshaw’ will rip any such genre trap to bits. Diverse then, but pretty damn good too. -

"Houston Press Feature - Front Page Music Section"

Sharks and Sailors' Slow-Developing Debut Album, By Brigitte B. Zabak

Published on July 29, 2008 at 12:08pm

A short drive down Washington Avenue, where condos are springing up like crabgrass and local trio Sharks and Sailors will release debut CD Builds Brand New at Walter's Friday night, is all it takes to get a taste of what Houston once was, what it is and what it may yet become.

Like many who have grown up in and around the city, Michael Rollin (guitar), Phillip Woodward (drums) and Melissa Lonchambon (bass) have watched Houston change over the years, and Builds Brand New chronicles their observations. After being away at school for several years, Rollin recalls coming home to an almost unfamiliar place.

"When I moved back to Houston — I was away for six years — this town was completely different," he says. "It was right after the Enron fallout, and that had a really profound effect on me. I saw the city in a completely different light."

One of the album's underlying themes is Houston itself, Rollin says. The title references the frenzied pace of new development around the Washington corridor and elsewhere. But while the lyrics may articulate the trio's feelings toward its surroundings, the music is a resounding representation of how far the group has come creatively.

Rollin and Woodward met in Corpus Christi, where the guitarist was attending college, almost a decade ago. The two shared a deep appreciation for bands like Shiner, Jawbox, Fugazi and Chavez — groups that dealt in both punk-rock volume and prog-rock complexity — and eventually started playing music together.

Unplugged guitar in tow, Rollin strums random chords as he recounts the past — specifically the first time he and Woodward met Lonchambon, then playing with well-remembered local band Panic in Detroit.

"After I graduated, I came back to Houston in 2002 and Phil eventually followed," he says. "Phil and I started Voltes in 2003; it was just an excuse to play really loud. In fact, [Melissa] came to see our first show, which was really cool."

As fate would have it, both Panic in Detroit and Voltes disbanded around the same time, and with the addition of a fourth member, guitarist Allen Hendrix, Sharks and Sailors was born. The early days were filled with jagged guitar riffs, sparse vocals and volume — lots and lots of volume.

A short, self-titled EP was released in January 2006, containing a few songs the Sailors' dedicated fans had grown to love from the band's live gigs. Soon after, Hendrix and the other Sharks parted ways, for reasons the remaining members would prefer to keep between themselves. Rollin, Woodward and Lonchambon had to reconnect creatively and didn't struggle when their music took a different turn.

"We have old stuff that we're thinking about busting out just because it's still credible, like 'Battle' or 'Topple,'" says Woodward. "We haven't played either of those songs in a long time. It's just [that] after we wrote 'Cliffs' and 'Rickshaw,' the band just kind of took off in another direction, and we're really happy with it."

Even while going through the lineup change, the group's instinct was to keep writing. "I think it's an unspoken, rhythmic capability that we all have," says Woodward.

"When we first started, it was all about volume and busy-ness and lots of notes — which is cool, but now it's kind of like that less-is-more type of approach," says Rollin. "We just wanted more space. Melissa's got really great vocals; they're very evident on the album. But if you don't leave space for them, they kind of get lost."

Now it's Lonchambon's turn.

"When we started the band, we didn't know if we were going to have vocals at all," she admits. "We had to experiment for a long time. But I think we have a better idea of what we're doing now, especially when we went to record. Over time, I figured out that I had to really sing — not fake-sing or half-sing or whatever. I feel a lot more comfortable with it now."

Builds Brand New finds Sharks and Sailors settling just fine into its new arrangement. They agree the changes they made, both musically and otherwise, are doing wonders for their sound.

"Melissa gave us that melodic balance that we needed," Rollin says. "Phil and I have a kind of real rhythmic, angular dissonant approach to writing, but she helped to complement the melodic part and just filled it out perfectly."

Despite the fact that Sharks and Sailors' fans have been craving new material for years, the band opted not to leak any songs before the album was finished so each track got the attention it deserved. With Builds Brand New finally complete, their long-term preparation has yielded an album whose every song reflects the band's deep connection to its music. The care Sharks and Sailors invested in the material is readily apparent, as is the members' deep connection to their ­hometown.

"The whole concept behind [the album] is kind of loosely based on the things going on in Houston lately," says Rollin. "It's really about how things are being torn down just to build it all new again. Which sometimes is good, but Houston always seems to be struggling for its own authenticity and identity." - Houston Press

"Album Review - Stereo Subversion"

Builds Brand New, the first full-length release from Sharks and Sailors, is one hell of a record. It’s also a difficult album to describe. Like stepping back into the best of ‘90s-era grunge and alternative, yet with a nod to some of the dreamy aesthetics often found in today’s more inspiring melodic rock and piano-pop music, this album demands your attention from start to finish because you rarely know where it’s headed next.

The band’s deft mixing of genres and their ability to fit comfortably within various complex rhythms makes them shine. Before the first track, “Thrill,” is done, the trio displays a few of the techniques that will be heard throughout the rest of the album. Chunky-yet-jangly guitar riffs collide with groovy melodies, many songs undergo time changes galore, and bassist/vocalist Melissa Lonchambon’s vocals go from a melancholy mumble to echoing beauty in two seconds flat.

The band has a number of tricks up its sleeve too, the first of which is the vocal interplay of Lonchambon with guitarist Michael Rollin. The title track, apart from being catchy as hell (check out the drums especially), is People’s Exhibit A for why the band ought to have both members sing parts of every song together. They meld together so well that after this song, each individual’s vocals sound incomplete without the other one. Lonchambon sings well within her thin range, and Rollin sounds steady if unimpressive on his own, but when they combine their talents, it’s as if two halves of the same vocal are coming together in a glorious union.

The inclusion of instrumental tracks in the album’s second half becomes another curveball thrown at the listener. The album contains 10 songs, and three of the final five have nary a word. The powerful “Rickshaw” plays like an outtake from Veruca Salt’s Blow it Out Your Ass sessions, the style of “Hello Sister” goes from languid to blistering to sedated with ease, and “Condor” is a plodding, nearly-eight-minute opus that gradually ratchets up the distortion. Collectively, these songs offer the unexpected within the unexpected, as each one is entirely distinct from the others—yet another testament to the band’s creative streak.

Builds Brand New is filled with odd juxtapositions that work better than you might expect, and that is one of the band’s strengths. “Cliffs,” for example, is utterly hypnotic and strangely captivating with the otherworldly guitars dancing along the edges of this mid-tempo track, but then the band breaks out with the headbanging, gut-pummeling riffs in the aforementioned “Rickshaw” and you wonder if this is the same band.

In a time when radio has long settled on formulaic song structures and heard-it-all-before lyrics, albums like this one—intelligent, creative, daring—are a rare find. Sharks and Sailors is a band that is flying under the radar for the moment, but with this debut offering they are about to turn some heads.

Highlight Tracks: “Builds Brand New,” “Cliffs” - Stereo Subversion

"Album Review -"

The beauty in the odd time signatures and stop-start dynamics of math rock/post-punk/whatever it's called these days is that the system the song is built on is not immediately apparent. Other genres, like folk, hip-hop and country, gain their pleasure from the assured execution of a preconceived formula. The song structures, especially with folk, are based on the tried and true traditional sounds hammered at for centuries by performers taking a familiar composition and tweaking it slightly to meet their socio-economic needs. The habit of underground rock bands to embrace polyrhythms, combining non-4/4 time signatures and complimentary dissonance began in the '80s, though it's for diehards of luminaries like Slint, Fugazi and Breadwinner to fight over who pioneered it. It is kind of silly to argue over who decided to take advantage of centuries-old musical conventions, though. The modern classical repertoire presages mathematical post-punk with a fuck-you attitude that pressed for whole-tone scales, 12-tone rules and rhythms that refuse to find a groove. Though bloated prog rock sullied the concept of embracing musical concepts for their own sake, artists like John Zorn brought punk attitude to mathematically precise songs that use on-a-dime tonal shifts to reflect the tightly-wound energy of dealing with personal demons and anxieties.

Though Hoover, Cul de Sac and Don Caballero flew the flag for what's commonly called (despite the derision of Chavez's Matt Sweeney) math rock into the '90s, emo happened. They liked Drive Like Jehu and loved their Karate records, but their girlfriends just broke up with them so, y'know. It's hard to equate the poppier post-hardcore bands nowadays with the ragged, sludgy, jazz-obsessed bands that preceded them, but something survived, thanks to metal. As it always (sometimes to its detriment) embraced chops over songwriting, metal heads found sanctuary in playing 5/4 solos over 7/16 rhythms. Those teens ended up in bands like Botch and Coalesce, highlights of the '90s wave of extreme bands that plowed through metal songs with the energy and attitude of hardcore. As bands like that seemed to reach a zenith with what was humanly possible to play, it's no surprise the members ended up in poppier, melodic bands like Minus the Bear and the Casket Lottery.

The Casket Lottery, which consisted of two former bass players for Coalesce, are important in respect to Sharks and Sailors, who seem to have finally been mentioned in this review. If there's ever a clear reference point for this band from Texas, it's the Midwestern trio. Both balance ultra-melodic guitar with throat-shredding screams, utilizing metal chops without calling attention to themselves. King Crimson, this is not.

Builds Brand New is an accomplished record, combining male/female vocal trade-offs, instrumental songs and long instrumental passages that shift from soothing to abrasive. The raw metal of the instrumental "Rickshaw" is played off the mellow, jangly "In the Sandbox", though the latter climaxes with a mountain of distortion. "Thrill" opens the record with a song that harkens back to '80s indie rock with its almost R.E.M.-style melody and lightly strummed distorted guitars that explode into quasi-metal riffs, all intensity and blunt edges that are cut through with a dreamy chorus. There's some obligatory "are we done with this riff? No. Yes. Just Okay one more time, but backwards" messing around but they don't detract from the songs as a whole.

"Condor", the lengthy instrumental closer, is a slow building prog epic that ebbs and flows like a symphony. Anthemic riffs dissolve into ambient textures without losing the main two-note motif. Near the closing couple of minutes it seems like the whole song is going to repeat, but another riff is thrown in, slightly different than before, illustrating another unexpected turn that makes this debut full-length all the more enjoyable. (7.7 out of 10) -

"Album Review - subba"

For a 3 piece band, these guys sure make one hell of a racket on their debut self released album of compact epics.

With Melissa Lonchambon on bass, Michael Rollin on guitar and Phillip Woodward on drums, these three churn out turbulent, stormy music, with their heavy pounding riffage and melancholy ambience.

They change time signatures, rhythms, tempos, and entire moods of songs with ease, bringing together their signature hard-hitting chugs and hammering on their guitars, with post rock wanderings: the notes soaring, falling, crashing into each other in lush harmonies.

“Cliffs” is a rumbling, spacey song, with glittering drums, the high hats glistening and the vocals swimming overhead. Sharks and Sailors are a tight, professional band. Their sung harmonies are beautiful. They have intelligent wordless voids in their songs; yet write them abrupt enough to keep a catchy quality.

“Hello Sister” is purely instrumental, it’s frantic and frenzied, whilst “Cliffs” is a chugging, calm, brooding song, with stalled guitars plunging into glorious bottomless depths of sound. “Mates And Bounds” is made up of tantalising guitar mastery, with build-ups that are pant-wettingly intense – the instruments complimenting each other, and rising together.

For a self-released debut album, this is an amazing achievement. It shouldn’t be too long before a label sees sense and snaps them up…I would. -

"Album review -"

Rating - 7.5/10

Sharks and Sailors is a 3 piece band hailing from Houston Texas. Their music style is a tough one to put my finger on, but it is quite enjoyable. When I first popped in the record I wasn’t feeling it at all and almost turned it off after the first song. Good thing I didn’t. The second track is the title track of the record. For whatever reason I love when bands have title tracks, but I digress. The song is very melodic and moving instantly i get a huge Chavez vibe, which is awesome because I am a huge fan. As the record moves on the songs keep getting better. The shared vocal duties between bassist Melissa Lonchambon and Guitarist Michael Rollin, give an almost calming vibe to the slightly chaotic and spacey tones of the music itself. But don’t think this is just some low key indie record, the band pounds out some in your face riffs ala Floor on tracks like Rickshaw. I can see this band rolling with the Hydrahead type bands and being very successful.

The one thing about this record that I wish was better was the recording. While it’s not bad sounding, I feel that they could benefit from a bigger sounding recording. Someone sign them and get them in the studio with Steve Albini. -

"Album Review - Built On a Weak"

I don’t think I’ve heard a record for quite awhile that is as two sided as the debut Builds Brand New from Houston, TX’s Sharks and Sailors. And I don’t mean that as any slight towards the band or their record, it’s just kind of interesting to hear an album that starts one way and ends entirely in another. Sharks and Sailors however seem to have a pretty good feel for whatever they choose to play though as evidenced through their debut which was self-released by the band at the beginning of this month.

Through the first few songs on Builds Brand New it appears that Sharks and Sailors are band that is firmly entrenched in a Midwestern post-hardcore sort of sound, albeit a bit more of a dreamy variation. I suppose that could have been my first indication that this band had something more up their sleeve. Songs like “Builds Brand New” and my personal favorite “Terminal Lesson” both feature the large riffs and gripping melodies that are to be expected, however it’s the laid back and intriguingly chill vocals from both Melissa Lonchambon and Michael Rollin that push these songs into more captivating territory. Thrown in the mix is “Cliffs”, which is a glimpse of the other side of the Sharks and Sailors coin and the shape the album takes more so towards the last three songs. With their shift to a moodier and darker sound, the band almost appears to be influenced by the burgeoning post-rock crop, at times even sounding a bit shoegazy. However, thanks in part to the bands overall soothing tone throughout the album nothing ever sounds out of place. Builds Brand New is a solid debut that covers a lot of ground in its ten songs and certainly leaves the door open for unexpected developments with future material. - Built On A Weak Spot


'Builds Brand New' - 2008 - Recorded in Houston by Chris Ryan at Dead City -Sound.

'EP' - 2006 - Recorded in Houston by Chris Ryan and Eric Faucette.



Born in May, 2005. Released a s/t EP in January 2006. Toured regionally and in the Midwest in 2006 and 2007. Full length album titled, 'Builds Brand New', released August 2008.

The dedicated trio spent the last year writing and composing songs that speak to their personalities and highlight each member's musical strengths. The end result is a crisp conglomeration of ambient melodies and thunderous chord progressions; a sublime combination that has helped make a name for Sharks and Sailors around the country. Their songs, both old and new, have a controlled chaos that ebbs and flows with remarkable dexterity. Bassist Melissa Lonchambon's captivating voice compliments the deeper, edgier vocals of guitarist Michael Rollin. Together, their voices create the perfect melodic balance to compliment the raw, pounding rhythms of drummer Phillip Woodward.

Their relentless vision has helped them land a number of stellar gigs with notable bands like Battles, Mono, Helmet, Red Sparowes, Parts and Labor, Maserati, The Life and Times, and The Appleseed Cast. Their ability to translate calculated and complex rhythms into a live show full of texture and earsplitting goodness makes Sharks and Sailors an undeniable asset to the indie rock world.