Gig Seeker Pro


San Antonio, Texas, United States | INDIE

San Antonio, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


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



"CD Review from Lollipop"

Saustex Media

Four piece from San Antonio with laid back grooves,
warm tones and a strolling meoldicism who’se first lp
gives the non-metal non-pop rock audience something
to grab onto. It’d be appropriate if the general
audience out in radio land got the chance to hear
this. If you have a Ted or Jack radio format;
y’know the hits from 25 years or so, you could
program the fifth track “morning larks” in the midst
of it and there wouldn’t be much dial twirling. Radio
genre marketing makes that tougher than it oughta be;
people like good tunes even if they prefer one “kind”
of music. Much of the time if those “kinds” of music
are based in the guitar/bass/drums/ thing they aren’t
that different outside of accent and melodic coloring.

So; it oughta appeal to folks who dig the Willie
Nelson, Dwight Yoakum, Steve Earl side of country- the
side shot thru with Tex Mex grooves and nods to a wide
selection in roots/folk music. That width being
Willie and Steves taste for reggae and Dwights
non-country covers like the Clashes “Train in Vain”.
The garageland drumming keeps the disc from being too
laid back or meandering into mere balladry. Over all
these are rock guys moving into rootsier music; kinda
like Golden Smog did. The vocalist sounds a bunch
like Big Audio Dynamite/Clash singer Mick
Jones-friendly and kinda wistful. I wound’nt be
surprised if these guys knocked out the Clashes “stay
free” or “Hitsville” UK for fun. Or “beer barrel
polka”. With their peddle steel in place of the
accordian it’d flow great.

Here, I’ll start a mix you can stir a few of these
Snowbyrd tunes into. Sublime, Elvis Costello, The
Jayhawks, Pearl Jam, The Drive By Truckers, Bob
Marley, Neil Young, REM, Los Lobos, Neko Case and
Little Feat. General label info:
Search myspace for Snowbird; they’ve got a good
selection of tunes up.

Craig Regala

- Lollipop

"Byrds of a Feather"

Three weeks ago, someone broke into Snowbyrd’s rehearsal space and stole most of the band’s equipment. When a police officer arrived on the scene to survey the damage, he asked the band members: “Do you all have any enemies?”

It was a simple question, but the answer was more complicated. “Enemies” might be too strong a word, but the artsy punk quartet certainly has left a trail of wreckage in its wake.

Both in their present incarnation and previously as the River City Playboys, the band — which includes sibling guitarists Chris and Scott Lutz, drummer Manny Castillo, and bassist Mark Fleming — followed the competitive dictum established by KISS’ Paul Stanley: All is fair in love and rock ’n’ roll, and once you hit the stage, your goal must be to obliterate all other bands.

For Castillo and Chris Lutz, that hardball streak even victimized Fleming’s former band: punk-pop quartet the White Heat.

“We always had this attitude, we’ll go in and demolish whoever we’re playing with,” Castillo recalls. “And the sound kind of lent itself to that. We had a rivalry in our minds with other bands, and [the White Heat] was one of them. We’d go to shows and I’d throw Chris into Boxcar [Satan]’s drum set or he’d throw me into White Heat’s drum set, just to fuck with them. We were like the bullies.”

Such tactics would be less forgivable if Snowbyrd didn’t deliver some of the most inventive, skewed, underground pop heard in this or any other music scene. With a loose-limbed, indie-rock swing and a taste for harmonic misadventure that recalls Pavement in its prime, Snowbyrd applies a wild, gratifyingly incongruous pedal-steel (played with virtuoso aplomb by Scott Lutz). It’s tempting to call this a punk-era Flying Burrito Brothers, but even that description doesn’t convey how deftly this group straddles musical categories without ever fitting into a single one.

“We’re too heavy to play with bands like Buttercup, and for the metal people we’re too melodic or something,” Scott says.

“And we’re not country enough to play at Gruene Hall or Casbeers,” Chris adds. “So we’ll be under the radar. That’s probably what we should have named the album.”

“The album” he refers to is Snowbyrd’s self-titled debut release on Saustex Media, which hits stores on November 14. Jeff Smith, Saustex label founder and San Antonio punk pioneer, first caught wind of Snowbyrd while scouting for musicians to help him form a band. “That didn’t really go very far, but I always appreciated what they did and thought they had a good sound. I think they’ve got something going. They’ve got good melodies and they work really hard.”

Snowbyrd, by all acounts, plays pretty hard, too, which might explain why, if you count their River City Playboys period, they’ve been through a staggering 13 bass players in four years. What Spinal Tap was to drummers, this group is to bass players, and it seems inevitable that one day a Snowbyrd gig will end with a tiny green globule found in front of the bass-amplifier cabinet.

“There have been broken marriages, multiple lost jobs, motorcycle crashes, mental breakdowns,” Chris says of their bass-player curse. “Basically, the first three practices we have with a new bass player involve a lot of partying, to see if they can handle it. In the case of about three or four of them, not only did they not handle it, they lost jobs or marriages. And then we’ve had multiple bass players that quit at one time call back and want to get back in the band later. But it doesn’t work that way.”

Castillo and the Lutzes met in 1993 when Castillo was playing in El Santo and the Lutzes were working together in the Dropouts, a band they formed, but from which they were ultimately fired. Scott moved to Austin and played in a variety of bands, including a large mariachi group that once took a resturant request for “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Watching his brother excel in the mariachi format broadened Chris’ punk-informed sense of his own musical possibilities.

“Mariachi is the most raw punk rock there is,” he says. “You walk into a place, no amps, no nothing, and you’re loud as hell. That was kind of a wakeup call for me. A lot of times, with art bands, shoe-gazing bands, you can kind of hide behind the fuzz of everything. I think there’s a purity in the directness of something like mariachi.”

Scott is the lone trained musician in the group, and his keyboards and pedal-steel provide the sonic icing for Chris and Castillo after years of working together in power trios. The thick, soft-focus melodicism of “Las Vegas Buffet” and “St. Mary’s Nights” is elusive but accessible, and when they turn the twang factor up to 10 with the Alamo City club crawl “Tower of Pearl,” they sound like a convincing country band.

Like almost every aspect of this band’s history, the album’s recording had a tortured history. Working, on Smith’s recommendation, with Kurtis Machler at Austin’s Million Dollar Sound, they found themse - Gilbert Garcia-San Antonio Current

"Snowbyrd Takes Flight"

Looking to feed your indie-rock jones? San Antonio’s SNOWBYRD may be just what you’re seeking. Hard-driving, chugging guitar rhythms, melodic songs with off-kilter Phish/Meat Puppets/Grateful Dead (pick your generation) harmonies, a flair for weird turns, and, of course, a proud lo-fi aesthetic are all combined on the band’s self-titled debut (Saustex). And it’s a winning concoction. One thing is noticeable right off: Most songs are accompanied by a floating, disembodied pedal steel. On the more alt-country tunes (such as “Tower of Pearl”), this is a natural fit, yet it is also strangely at home on the rockers (“Remember U,” “Las Vegas Buffet”) and the fuzzed-out psychedelic numbers (“Ram,” “For Today”). Led by brothers Chris and Scott Lutz, Snowbyrd is one of those young, hungry bands that’s easy to love. Despite losing its home base, S.A.’s famed rock hangout Tacoland, when owner Ram Ayala was murdered during a robbery last summer, the band shows no trace of disillusionment in its infectious music. Its members write their songs together, and several, like “St. Mary’s Night,” perfectly conjure a certain subset of Alamo City nightlife.

- Jeff McCord-Texas Monthly

"CD Review"

The Austin Chronicle dubs them psych-pop, which might be the case on the stirring “St. Mary’s Night,” which is almost post-punk (check out that bass line, in cohorts with Gang of Four or Sandinista-era Clash) in feel and vibe, yet when the chorus kicks in with power pop stirrings there is a weird guitar part hanging around the neck that makes keeps it just slightly off-center. The subject of the song might be the gal stepping off the train, looking to dance at St. Mary’s, but there is a sense of hollow despair, for the narrator seems conflicted over carrying her home. The bare, distilled approach of the song’s atmosphere matches that sense of dislocation. “AC Satellite,” however, sorta rumbles together in a barroom rock way — slightly sawdust and Neil Young. It’s more taco and tequila than Magnet magazine. In fact, the Dallas Observer condemns the band name, suggesting their “moniker [sounds like] an awful Jimmy Buffet cover band from Denver.” Yet, they don’t even get near Florida, and there is a certain chilliness to segments of their approach, such as in “Tamara,” perhaps embodying what the Oberver called “lubricated twang,” but I would suggest a finesse and lo-fi-ish Back-to-Basics 101 sound, all off-center enough to make one listen more intently than first expected. This type of cut is in contrast to the mild-mannered, poppy, hand-clap toss-off “Traffic Light,” which is like the Rasperries without the mid-1970’s cheese and warmth. It’s bouncy and bright, similar to an over-lit Polaroid snapshot. I prefer the more trad and rootsy “Figs’n’Fountain,” with its secret nods to the New Order song “Love Vigilantes” (no lyin’, it’s buried in the texture!).
With an arty Americana approach that actually resembles Polvo or Pavement colliding with the laconic approach of Centro-Matic, these San Antonio natives self-admittedly blend Mott the Hoople with electronica and Bowie with Badfinger, even as they snap promo photos outside of Pearl beer company, emblem of all things down-home grunt’n’snore Texan. They have also suffered from a revolving door of bassists, gotten everything stolen from practice spaces, and become lone guns in a city known more for molten metal and straight, salty-of-the-earth country, or even the whiplash garage rock of Sons of Hercules.
Guitarist Scott Lutz is the only trained musician among them. Having done stints as a Mariachi player, he told the San Antonio Current, “Mariachi is the most raw punk rock there is,” he says. “You walk into a place, no amps, no nothing, and you’re loud as hell. That was kind of a wakeup call for me. A lot of times, with art bands, shoe-gazing bands, you can kind of hide behind the fuzz of everything. I think there’s a purity in the directness of something like mariachi.” Well, instead of indie rock fuzz creating a morass of impenetrable gauze, Snowbyrd has intersecting guitar work that is dizzying to hear riff off each other, noted in songs like “Mourning Larks” that features a lead guitar snaking round the rhythm as basic and direct as Joe Strummer cramping from his downstrokes. On “Remember U,” the drummer ends up in a manic, spaghetti-armed, Muppet (Animal!) incarnation, exploring ever nook and cranny of the syncopated Who-esque rock’n’roll spillage. The vocals are strangely lite and appear to be in another room, aloof and yearning, which heightens the overall high-wire tension. The fuming fuzz and almost equally cascading drums of “For Today” unleash the inner fury, again a nod to great Mod acts like the Creation but with more muscle and acrobatics. It’s a ringing, though managed, volcano to wrap up this blend.
- David

"Critic's Pick-Show Preview"

It's nice to catch an act before everyone knows what's going on and enjoy that giddy satisfaction of having a pocket band all your own. San Antonio's poorly named Snowbyrd (the moniker suggests an awful Jimmy Buffet cover band from Denver) offer the rare chance to get in on the ground floor. These four rather normal-looking river walkers combine--and generally torment--a slew of classic influences (Mott the Hoople, Big Star, Clash) and end up producing a noise distinctly Texan, a punkish, reggae-inflected, well-lubricated twang. Mentored by legendary weirdo Jeff Smith (Hickoids, Loco Gringos), Snowbyrd are centered by brothers Chris and Scott Lutz, whose upcoming debut is going to be called either Bexar County Blackout or Another White Meat. Tough choice, whatever, but songs like "Figs 'n' Fountains" and the garage dub workout "St. Mary's" will thrill those looking for a band that everyone hasn't told them about - Darryl Smyers-Dallas Observer


Snowbyrd (2006-Saustex Media)



Snowbyrd is San Antonio's most innovative new band. The continuing collaboration of brothers Chris Dor (guitar and lead vocals) and Scott Lutz (lead guitar,pedal steel, keyboards and vocals), drummer Manuel Diosdado Castillo and bassist Mark Fleming defies easy description, comparison or categorization.

All four Snowbyrds are veterans of the San Antonio underground music scene, with Scott Lutz having spent many years playing in one South Texas' best
Mariachi groups. The band draws on elements of Brit Pop, Glam, Roots and Electronica, to create a sound very much their own.

You can hear the Big Star, the Mott the Hoople and the Clash all presented with a unique San Antonio / South Texas punk-pop ethos.

The four river city rockers lost their spiritual and musical home with the murder of Ram Ayala, proprietor of the world-famous netherworld venue,
Tacoland. In the two years since this tragic time, they have continued to write new material, play venues throughout Texas and the Southern United
States and rock to honor Ram, Tacoland and the lives of all the great San Antonio musicians who have come before them.