Tax the Wolf
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Tax the Wolf

Houston, TX | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Houston, TX | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Psychedelic

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Aug
11
Tax the Wolf @ Mango's

None, Texas, USA

None, Texas, USA

Jul
30
Tax the Wolf @ Fitzgeralds

Houston, Texas, USA

Houston, Texas, USA

Jul
14
Tax the Wolf @ Fitzgeralds

Houston, Texas, USA

Houston, Texas, USA

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

Music

Press


Out of everything from 2010, this album is something that I have been criminally negligent when it comes to posting. Tax The Wolf put together a rolling, soaring, and diving mixture of progressive and psychedelic rock, were kind enough to pass me a copy of it, and I let it sink down my to-do list like a boulder.

Hopefully this post will make up for it in some minuscule way. Because today and tomorrow, the Wolf boys are giving the album away on Bandcamp for free, in hopes of spreading word about it. Go grab it, share it, tell your friends to swipe it, etc. Because someday, when you finally meet frontman Mario Rodriguez, you’ll realize he’s one of the nicest people around town. And when you tell him that you’ve heard the artfully crafted album, his eyes will brighten with an honest joy, and you’ll feel like a new person. - H-Town Rock


?Tax the Wolf, "Eagle"
Album: Hold the Sun
Then again, there are superb young acts like Tax the Wolf who've come along to fill that void. A spaghetti western-styled intro, complete with whistles and plinking acoustic guitar, start things off, but the guys eventually settle into a creepy psych-rock groove that's enchantingly post-apocalyptic in feel.

Fans of Deadwood, The Preacher, Pink Floyd, and stirring guitar work will love what they hear from this song. To continue an earlier analogy, this band could easily be the rambunctious little brother to listenlisten - both share a dreary view of the world, but Tax The Wolf is a bit more frenetic and out-spoken with its response. - Houston Press


Across the street at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, festival-goers were enjoying short films and the festival’s wrap-up awards ceremony before heading to Crockett Street that night for the festival’s big live music night.


Houston indie band Tax the Wolf closed out the night at the Gig. Beth Rankin/cat5

Attendees were able to jump back and forth between two venues – the Gig and the patio of Tequila Rok – to catch shows from local acts like Sourmash and Ashlynn Ivy and non-local bands like Alligator Assassins.

My favorite band of the night was definitely Houston indie rock band Tax the Wolf, whose energy and precision made their show a must-see. Don’t be dismayed if you missed it because the band will return to Beaumont March 11 to play at South by Southeast Texas. - Beaumont Enterprise


Tax the Wolf
9:05 p.m. Friday, March 11 at the Back Room
Style: Rock, progressive, psych rock
From: Houston
Sounds like: Radiohead, Tapes ‘n Tapes, the Mars Volta

When this Houston progressive rock band (named the city’s best by alt weekly Houston Press) played the Boomtown Film and Music Festival a couple weeks ago, we found ourselves glued to the front of the stage at the Gig, heads moving in unison while we exchanged holy-s***-they’re-kinda-good glances with our neighbors.

Their energy and precision made it clear that this was a practiced group, ready and able to create undulating soundscapes intermingled with unadulterated rock. This was by far my favorite band from the Boomtown festival, particularly because I’m a sucker for any band that can seamlessly integrate a little trumpet into their instrumentation while still seriously rocking out. - Beaumont Enterprise


Who loves the sun? Tax the Wolf does. Dressed for the occasion in ties and turtlenecks, the Houston prog-rockers downshifted into downtown chic to cover most of the Velvet Underground's 1970 album Loaded at the return of Rocks Off's Reduxion Wednesday night at Walter's on Washington.
With very special guest Andy Warhol looking on via laptop, the Wolf opened with a stout "Rock and Roll" and closed with a punchy "Sweet Jane" that brought out the rocking underpinnings of perhaps the VU's best-known ballad. In between, Rocks Off's personal favorites were a chugging "Oh, Sweet Nuthin'" and pillow-soft "I Found a Reason."

The group and their friends JUZCOZ returned for a set of material from Tax the Wolf's debut LP Hold the Sun that proved their earlier talk about covering Radiohead wasn't just idle chatter. We'd love to have them back sometime for that, but in any case, Reduxion will return soon. - Houston Press


With trippy guitar figures and tempos that change on the dime it’s all too easy to stick the prog rock tag on Tax the Wolf.

But where prog rock was often pockmarked by instrumental dillydallying, Tax’s songs have a more cohesive feeling, a series of brush strokes that together make a greater whole. The result are songs that are plenty melodic but with enough intriguing parts — a left-field trumpet here, a shift to Spanish-language lyrics there — to initiate a click of the repeat button. “None of us are trying to get noticed, it’s about the camaraderie of playing music we think is good,” says drummer Adrian Graniel.

Despite the all for one approach that Tax — Graniel, singer/bassist/guitarist Mario Rodriguez, guitarist Alan Garza, and guitarist/trumpeter/bassist Johnathan Presas — used on its excellent album Hold the Sun, we’ve asked Graniel to talk specifically about practitioners of his instrument.

So was there a drummer that made you want to pick up the instrument?

Well, of course Ringo Starr was a big inspiration. John Bonham, the regulars that everybody is influenced by. I’m drawn to the ones where the band is great as a whole. Drums are actually the last instrument I picked up. I played bass and guitar first. I was kind of late to play the drums. So I really like bands where the drummer’s not necessarily doing big long solos. I like the guy from Blonde Redhead (Simone Pace). It’s not about being the best drummer in the world, it’s about being a good drummer that makes your band better.

Ringo doesn’t really get his due often enough.

No, he doesn’t, but he had a style. You can be the best drummer in the world and suck playing with a band. It’s more about style than being good. Ringo never tried to be too flashy, he never took solos. He had a particular time signature, a roll, then he’d stop, then finish the roll. I heard a quote from John Lennon where he said something like Pete Best was a great drummer but Ringo Starr was a great Beatle.

Any unheralded drummers you like?

Hmm.... I guess I’d say the drummer for Blonde Redhead. His playing is weird, it’s very simple at times and very complex at others. I like drummers like that. I liked Neil Peart a lot, but he got too technical for me. I prefer soul to being technically great. Mitch Mitchell (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) is another of my favorites, not that he’s unknown. He was a jazz drummer but he played very well with them. Nobody else could’ve done what he did with that group.

Do you have a favorite Bonham bit?

Mine is, I really like D’yer Mak’er. And Fool in the Rain, it has that parade with the whistles. He’s one of those guys who every drummer would have on his list. The energy and the soul he had, he just felt it. Nothing was choreographed. He didn’t try to be the (expletive), he just was. He just felt it.

Did you ever watch Freaks & Geeks?

Yeah, I really liked that show.

If memory serves, Jason Segal had a monster drum kit on the show.

Yeah! Man, 28 pieces. He went into a rehearsal and tried to cover Rush and was terrible.

I think they told him to come back when he hit an even 30 pieces. I take it you can get by with fewer than 30 pieces.

Oh yeah, no need for 30. (Laughs.) I only need a four piece. Five at the most. - 29-95


There are many Halloween themed festivals and concerts going on this weekend, but if you’re in the Houston, Texas area the best one is GhoulsFest. The line up for this event is very diverse. You’ll hear Rock, Pop, R&B, Rap and more. Besides music there is a free arcade, $4 draft beer until 5pm, a skate park and plenty of yummy food.

One of the bands performing this year at GhoulsFest is called Tax the Wolf. This group really stood out as I was browsing through the festival’s lineup. Their music is Rock but with a Latin flair. They also like to experiment with different sounds which is why Houston Press said that they are “Houston’s spacey rock experimentalists” and that their music is “catchy, mysterious and vaguely threatening”.

I just saw a tweet from the band stating that they will be giving some free downloads away tomorrow. Currently, they only have one free download which is “184 Chromosomes”. This is one of the slower tracks on their album “Hold the Sun”. It’s a good representation of the way they experiment with different sounds and tempos. They go from 3/4 time to 4/4 and back again. Plus the song is bilingual, has a trumpet, miscellaneous percussion instruments and other interesting sounds. Get your ears on for this one. - Indie Shows


What is it that makes Tax the Wolf a man among boys, yet still so youthfully refreshing? They’ve been compared to early Radiohead and Mars Volta. They’ve been called progressive, indie, and all manner in between, but you know what I say to that? I say poppycock! Poppycock. And now Tax the Wolf gets the distinctive honor of being the first review where I’ve used the word “poppycock” in print a record three times.
When I listen to their latest album, Hold the Sun, I don’t hear a group of guys trying to sound like this band or that, or trying to be inventive or interesting, or trying to be progressive or indie. I just hear a group of dudes coming together to play music, and what comes out of it is just what personally appeals to them. So, if that means that they’re going to throw a trumpet on a track, or that this song will be an instrumental, or that this song will be sung in Spanish, so be it. If it means that you can dance to it, relax to it, fight to it, or imagine it on the ending credits of a Twilight movie, so be it. This is the most organic, least pretentious album from a “progressive” band I’ve heard in ages.
I’ll admit, I was slow to come around to the Tax the Wolf bandwagon. I’d been hearing about them for a while, been to a few packed shows of theirs, but I’ll admit I didn’t get it. Then, after happening to see them live yet again by accident, I was taken by the effortless simplicity of what they were doing. It felt a little soulful and pure, if I can romanticize for a bit. Sure, I may’ve been a little drunk at that show and feeling sentimental, but it didn’t change the fact that finally my eyes were open.
So to any other holdouts who might not yet be on the Tax the Wolf bandwagon and continue to hate just for hate’s sake, keep listening to these dudes. They’re like beer — it may take a while, but once you love the taste of beer, you can’t even remember what it tasted like when you didn’t. - Space City Rock


Local psychedelic rock-influenced band Tax The Wolf–voted best progressive band (and band name) in this year’s Houston Press Music Awards–recently released its album, Hold The Sun, which the band is offering as a free download until Saturday night (10.30.10). TTW bassist/singer Mario Rodriguez recently answered some questions for Houston Calling in advance of the band’s appearance at Ghoulsfest (which, as a reminder, is this Saturday at Houston’s Tom Bass Park).



Houston Calling: Are you guys excited about playing at Ghoulsfest?

Tax The Wolf: We’re very excited to be performing at another special music festival in our hometown. The line-up is very impressive and scheduled for a good month of the year. We’re also looking forward to watching Bad Brains perform. We’ve been fans since our middle school years.

HC: What are you thoughts on how Houston is evolving as far as its music scene? With Summer Fest and now Ghoulsfest, we seem to have made a turn for the better, no?

Tax The Wolf: We’re definitely ecstatic to be a part of the evolving music scene in Houston. These annual music festivals are creating tremendous opportunities for our music community. Houston needs this and we’re all going to make it. We’re looking forward to everything coming up.

HC: Why should someone take the time to come see Tax The Wolf’s set at Ghoulsfest?

Tax The Wolf: You should go check out Tax the Wolf at Ghoulsfest if you’re wanting a twist on some old styles and favorites. The curiosity that we build in each song through melodies and time signatures were made to keep you entertained. We can honestly believe that if you take the time to listen to us you will find something in our music worth sticking around. We’re performing something quite different, out of the ordinary and it’s all for the music lovers. Music festivals are meant for music lovers.

HC: You guys recently released your debut album. Have you been pleased with the response so far? I know you did an in-store at Cactus to help promote it — how did that go?

Tax The Wolf: We have been very pleased with the outcome of our first album release. We were very anxious to release it and get a proper response from our friends, fans, and press. Slowly people are taking the time to listen to the CD .There’s been a lot of positive opinions and it’s a huge relief but we’re not settling into a comfort zone just yet. Everything has been motivational in the past months. We had an in-store Cactus show performance…the afternoon show was great! New crowd. We got an interview, new fans, plenty of attention, and we signed a Peter Frampton record.

HC: What can fans expect from Tax The Wolf for the rest of 2010 and into 2011?

Tax The Wolf: Our fans can expect new music, inspiring shows, a music video, live webcasts, and a small Texas tour. We are also in the process of recording our collaboration project with local Hip-Hop duo, Juzcoz. Most likely it will be an EP (enigmatic, classic hip-hop, psychedelic, and pop sound). We are definitely going to try to break some boundaries for the next couple of months. We hope you can join us.

Tax The Wolf plays this Saturday (10.30.10) at Ghoulsfest in Houston. Visit the band online at www.taxthewolf.com. - Houston Calling


Beware of what prowls the streets of Houston. A new band named Tax the Wolf is bringing the Progressive Rock Movement at you. Their new album “Hold the Sun” spits mad lyrics and beats, attacking your sound system with melodic tendencies. This group of cuatro is comprised of Alan Garza on lead guitar, Adrian Graniel on drums, Johnathan Presas on trumpet and rhythm guitar and Mario Rodriguez on bass and lead vocalist. Tax The Wolf calls Houston home, these boys know what it means to lay down tracks with what started out as jam sessions, now pack venues around town and will soon infiltrate the streets of Austin, San Antonio, and possibly Louisiana.


Tax the Wolf. L to R: Alan Garza, Adrian Graniel, Mario Alberto Rodriguez, and Johnathan Presas. Photo by Michelle Tovar.
Their sound is unique and memorable.

“We’re the baby mix of Zeppelin, Mars Volta, Radio Head and The Strokes. Not too progressive and not too hard rock. It’s something like instrumental pop and we just tricked you into liking pop music,” said Garza.

The band name stirs up questions, which they agree has no straight answer but love to hear what listeners believe it means to them. This from a band who not only won the Houston Press: Best Rock Band Award but also the HP: Best Band Name Award this year. The name has changed over the years yet it derives from a website they have, which Mario dubbed the band after.

As far as creating music they are inspired by their surroundings and collectively they all like the same music which stimulates spontaneity and instinct.

“When you hear something, your just like ‘say did you feel that?’ kind of like, when you kiss a girl,” Graniel said when in creation mode.

“I’m open-minded, if I hear a type of note it sticks to you,” said Presas.

The first track, “Fighting Tigers” the band dedicates to the people who have fought for our country. In this song you can hear a voice over of WWII correspondent Edward Murrow from Trafalgar Square in London during an air raid. Now seventy years and three generations later this image has comes to life again, to a new generation with little or no knowledge of the past.

Track four, “184 Chromosomes” is sung partly in Español and English, two languages all band members know quite well.

“Out of all possible creations our parents made, we are 184 chromosomes,” Graniel said.

Other tracks on this album include, “Korea,” which was recorded in a house the band thought to be haunted and “Freddy & Stephen Hawking’s Great Space Exploration,” with a voice-over of Mr. Hawking himself.

”We really hope our message comes across and it opens your eyes to the music around you. Find inspiration and take it somewhere. We are gonna use this momentum and we’re not gonna let it go,” said Rodriguez.

Tax the Wolf will be playing at Ghoulsfest 2010 on October 30th at Tom Bass Park along with Bad Brains and Macy Gray not to mention a great lineup. The band also said there might be a treat for the ladies attending their show at Ghoulsfest, so be on the lookout for flying goodies.

Tax the Wolf is also working on a video that Mike G of the band “we are halffnelson” is doing for them according to Adrian expect the video by the end of November.

“It will incorporate downtown Houston,” said Rodriguez, When asked what the video would look like and without revealing too much.

In the near future, Tax the Wolf will be collaborating with a local hip hop duet named “JuzCoz” on a new EP to come out early next year.

The CD is available online at Amazon, iTunes, and on www.taxthewolf.com. Other merchandise will be available soon.



Article written by Deyadira Trevino - UH El Gato


In these contentious times, it's downright refreshing to see a band that seems willing to reach out across the great divide. Tax the Wolf's name not only nods to the iconic status of los lobos both within the young quintet's Mexican-American heritage and the annals of indie-rock (Wolf Eyes, Wolf Parade, Peter & the Wolf, etc.), but the ever-present issue of rendering unto Caesar. Whether Tax the Wolf's moniker has helped raise the group's standing among Houston-area Tea Partiers we have no idea, but we imagine it certainly can't hurt. More important, it's an accurate reflection of the music they make: catchy, mysterious and vaguely threatening. - Houston Press


Hold the Sun, Tax the Wolf’s first official offering, is a rich album full of complex melodies and spacey textures. This is not your typical sort of meat and potatoes rock album by any means. Each musician carefully fits the melodies he is playing into the melodies of other band members resulting in a very tight and technical sound.

Though the sound is fresh, I can’t help but hear echoes of Radiohead in the guitar, drum, and bass playing but not in a copycat sense. Tax the Wolf seems to have tapped into whatever amazing sort of otherworldly, melancholic, inspiration that Radiohead has accessed in their best work. The vocals are definitely different though, they are raspy and distant unlike Thom Yorke’s distinct falsetto yet convey the same sort of desperation. They also use trumpet in some tracks as well which works amazingly well, especially live.

The best tracks are Tanks, Sleeping Patterns, and Korea but the entire album speaks for itself. After seeing them live and hearing their work in the studio I am extremely excited about where this band is going.

–Jack Daniel Betz - Free Press Houston


God, Clint Black's lyrics are fucking terrible.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight a battle will be waged for your musical souls. In this corner, in the hat and shiny shoes, is Clint Black, bringing with him all the simple, inoffensive country music you can stomach at the Arena Theater.

And in this corner, weighing in at 98 lbs. soaking wet tied to a brick, but with tit-rocking spacey experimentation that is sure to leave the newly renovated Fitz's looking like the unrenovated Fitz's, TAX THE WOLF!

Cue the entrance music... this is Cage Match!

RO: We're here with Mario Rodriguez of Tax the Wolf. Mr. Rodriguez, as one of Houston's best progressive bands, why should the city come to see you, The Manichean and Sideshow Tramps at Fitzgerald's tonight?


?MR: We consider Tax the Wolf a best-kept secret in this small town of Houston, and we are having a static time being here. We're not sure where we will be in the next year but we do have big plans in the works and difficult goals that we will reach. Tax the Wolf is definitely a statement and we are here to entertain this city with a rich blend of weird compositions made to trigger your visual state through our lyrics and melodies.

This band is yours and you should not let it go away without giving it an opportunity or shining your light on it.


RO: But Clint Black is a veteran performer, a senior statesman of music! Doesn't that worry you?

MR: We are the young band that is exploding onto your music scene. In the past couple of months we have had the pleasure of playing bigger shows and festivals (Free Press Summerfest 2010, Ghoulsfest 2010, Oct.30) releasing our first album and being named by YOU as "Best Progressive Rock."

We take pride in what we do for you and have invested everything revolving our lives to continue this journey.


?So as opposed to going to the same old inflated, crowded, obnoxious rock star gig that may leave you feeling no better than you did before you got there then why not come to Fitzgerald's and experience Tax the Wolf, a vibrant, new, exploding, good-looking fucking band that can promise you an amazing time?

Just save your money this Friday, don't give it to Live Nation, Ticketmaster or the overly priced movie theaters and grab a bike, catch a bus, hitch a ride or drive to our show because we need you and want to inspire you.


RO: Impressive words, Mr. Rodriguez. And what response do you have, Mr. Black?

Clint Black (from "One Emotion"): One emotion's got a hold of you and me...

RO: Fear, Mr. Black. It's fear - Houston Press


Joe Mathlete:

I'd been trying to get Tax the Wolf into my living room to make a video for what seems like forever, but fate and scheduling conflicts conspired against us until a few weeks ago. They are one of the only bands in town I can earnestly say remind me of Radiohead - not so much the boundless, bleepy experimentalism of Kid A and beyond, but TTW's chiming, interlocked guitars mix with frontman Mario Alberto Rodriguez's wordless falsetto often and effective enough to recall a scrappier take on Yorke and Co.'s more muscular late-90s moments.


There's a lot more going on with these guys than Radiohead-aping (not that dozens of bands haven't become millionaires over the past decade doing just that), but it's fitting that Tax the Wolf brings to mind one of modern music's most ambitious, outsized groups. Since forming in 2007 they've built up a strong, loyal fanbase with epic live shows and savvy use of this here internet (among other things, the band periodically performs live via webcam on their website, which features a particularly badass G.I. Joe via Charlie's Angels logo). August 27th sees the release of their debut full-length; based on the tracks I've heard, Tax the Wolf are due for some rather large things in the coming year.
- 29-95


Tax the Wolf nominated and won Best Progressive Rock in Houston, 2010//

?So the 2010 Houston Press Music Awards, ceremony and showcase, have come and gone - quite recently, really - and as you're reading this, Rocks Off is probably still working on our wrap-up of the show. Or asleep, but we doubt it. We've been having a little trouble with that lately.

Anyway, we'd like to thank all of you - thousands of you - who voted this year, and especially all of you who make up the audience for Houston's teeming crop of local musicians. We're sure you may not agree with one, two, some or even many of the names on this list - it is 44 categories long, after all.

Tell us about it. Tell us why. Our name may be on these awards, but they're really yours. So let's get to it.

BEST LP/CD
Devin the Dude, Suite 420
BEST EP/7"
Grandfather Child, "Waiting for You"

BEST SONG
Mike Stinson, "No One to Drink With"

LOCAL MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Nick Gaitan

BEST NEW ACT
Tim Qualls

BEST MALE VOCALS
Lee Alexander

BEST FEMALE VOCALS
Ira Perez

BEST SONGWRITER
Kristine Mills

BEST ROCK
The Lotus Effect

BEST PUNK
Skeleton Dick

BEST INDIE ROCK
Wild Moccasins

BEST PROGRESSIVE ROCK
Tax the Wolf

BEST HARDCORE/NOISE
Adream Asleep

BEST METAL
Pinche Gringos

BEST INSTRUMENTAL/EXPERIMENTAL
Two Star Symphony

BEST LATIN TRADITIONAL
Mango Punch

BEST LATIN CONTEMPORARY
Los Skarnales

BEST LATIN HIP-HOP
Chingo Bling

BEST MAINSTREAM HIP-HOP
Bun B

BEST UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP
Fat Tony

BEST REGGAE/DUB
Potbelly

BEST JAZZ
Free Radicals

BEST R&B/FUNK/SOUL
2 Dollar Sound

BEST BLUES
Little Joe Washington

BEST ZYDECO
Zydeco Dots

BEST COUNTRY
Robert Ellis & The Boys

BEST FOLK
Flying Fish Sailors

BEST ROOTS-ROCK/AMERICANA
Sideshow Tramps

BEST COVER/TRIBUTE BAND
Beetle

BEST GUITARIST
The Mighty Orq

BEST BASSIST
Nick Gaitan, Nick Gaitan & The Umbrella Man

BEST DRUMMER
Ash Hendley, World's Most Dangerous

BEST KEYBOARDS
Jennifer Grassman

BEST MISCELLANEOUS INSTRUMENT
Geoffrey Muller, Sideshow Tramps (musical saw/banjo)

BEST CLUB DJ
GRRRL Parts

BEST PRODUCER
DJ Red

BEST RADIO PERSONALITY
Rod Ryan (94.5 The Buzz)

BEST RADIO STATION
KPFT (90.1 FM)

BEST RADIO PROGRAM
The Rod Ryan Show (KTBZ)

BEST RECORD STORE
Cactus Music

BEST LOCAL LABEL
Space City Records

BEST LIVE MUSIC VENUE
Warehouse Live

BEST INSTRUMENT/EQUIPMENT STORE
Guitar Center

BEST LOCAL TWITTER PERSONALITY (MUSIC)
Slim Thug - Houston Press


Several weeks ago, we saw a middle-school-aged kid wearing a T-shirt that simply read "Tax the Wolf." We assumed it was a band, and since we were also wearing a shirt that supported a band (Austin electronica/indie-rockers Sounds Under Radio), we went ahead and asked him about it. It was a bad move on our part.

We pretty much ended up just standing there for a few minutes modestly saying things like, "Well, have you heard of X, do they kind of sound like that?" while he responded with "I don't know about X, but have you heard Y, it's a little like that." It was unexpectedly awkward and, in hindsight, we would not be surprised if he went home and told his parents that a pedophile attempted to pick him up. Such is life.
At any rate, we Googled "Tax the Wolf" and found them to be a very enjoyable indie-rock quartet. Their biggest achievement is that they shift nicely between ethereal spook-rock and somewhat bubbly pop with relative ease, particularly when you consider that they've only been in their line-up for about a year or so.
So we hit TTW up and asked them to talk about how one song reminded us of a movie starring the seventh-greatest action star of all time (Antonio Banderas), the Latino uprising in the local music scene, and "Merkexlla," our sleeper pick to make this year's Best Local Indie-Rock Songs list. Enjoy.

Rocks Off: You know what's cool about that song "Korea"? The first few seconds of it sound just like the first few seconds of Desperado, that bomb-ass movie with Antonio Banderas. Smart move, because that movie owns.


Tax the Wolf: It began as a slow, melodic introduction to a show but stretched out to a full song. We really enjoy playing it live. The actual sound and imagery it gives is something we're trying to aim for heavily. Some sort of dark melancholy and unexplained vibe.

The lyrics mention "Children being swallowed by bombs coming from the sky but as an individual you bring all the bombs down to save your fellow friend." "Korea" is just a preview, and we've thankfully gotten a lot of great feedback. I can hear the Desperado sound in there. We have to keep it real for the raza [laughs].
RO: You know what we've noticed, and we're Mexican, so it warms our heart to say this: it seems like we - "we" being "us mojados" - are beginning to flex a little muscle in the indie-rock scene. It's cool, right? And don't give us that "Oh, I hadn't even noticed" nonsense, because we know you have. We know you've been out at some of the shows and thought, "Man, there sure are a lot of Zacks here and not very many Slaters."


TTW: It's really awesome that you mention us Mexicans and our existence in the indie-rock scene. We're slowly progressing upwards and being recognized [as something] other than being mojados [laughs]. We gladly appreciate being noticed in any local scene, because it's quite an honor in a city filled with millions. Just a year ago, we were dying to play shows anywhere. No 'ifs' or 'buts' about playing live. We just do this for the sake of releasing stress and playing what we love.
Now that we've played more and more shows it's overwhelming in a very good way. We're four Mexican-Americans from the southeast side of Houston and we're being noticed! But aside from all the wonderful fans/local artists we've become friends with, it's still a tough competition and we've slowly noticed how this local scene works, from people playing favorites or to bands just performing with only certain others.


This is all like the high school lunch hall and no one wanting to look for change but just sticking to their table of pretty friends. We Mexicans don't have time for clowning around; we just want to go to class and see what's next after this. Hopefully we can reach out to all the Zacks and definitely all the Slaters very soon.
RO: Tell us the story behind "Merkexlla," because it ends up being the best of the bunch, and when we eventually hear it played somewhere when we're out we want to be able to tell everyone something really insider-y about it and sound like we rock the shit.


TTW: "Merkexlla" is one of our other favorite songs to perform live. The actual meaning behind the song has nothing to do with the title. The lyrics for the songs are written by Mario but they always seem very abstract, as if it were the last coating of a painting. You don't really understand the true meaning but it makes the outcome that much more enjoyable. [The] lyrics are about a town blowing up in flames while money-driven characters are undoubtedly out to grab what they can for greed.
We made it one year ago while we were trying to stop sounding like the Strokes or Interpol. We definitely sat down and grabbed some acoustics and told each other to make something worth listening to. After hours of some "stop playing that shit" or "Do you know what B minor is, pinche cabron?!" the melody stuck out to us and there was "Merkexlla." - Houston Press


La primera vez que uno escucha al quinteto houstoniano de rock Tax the Wolf, la impresión es de desconcierto, porque su música es un caldo de cultivo, aunque claramente sin desperdicio.
La banda, integrada por cinco jóvenes méxico-estadounidenses que apenas rebasan los 20 años, mezcla en sus composiciones sonidos de punk, rock, ruido experimental, pop melódico, una pizca de free-jazz, ritmos antillanos, blues y música mexicana tradicional.
“Nosotros creemos que la música es como un cuerpo humano que tiene extremidades, pelo, ojos, saliva”, explica Mario Rodríguez, el bajista de la banda, en una pausa durante un ensayo en su estudio en el sur de Houston. “A ese cuerpo, que es nuestra música, no le puedes quitar nada porque lo rajas (deshaces). Todo lo necesita porque lo hace ser lo que es”.
Además de su variedad melódica, las letras de sus canciones, cantadas en inglés, tienen una gran carga de conciencia política: hablan de la pobreza, la injusticia social, la desolación y las guerras.
“La música tiene que comprometerse con letras que hablen de cosas importantes como la pobreza, la guerra, la soledad, la angustia en la ciudad”, asegura Rodríguez.
En la prepa
Tax the Wolf se formó hace dos años en las aulas de la preparatoria Cesar Chavez High School, cuando en charlas de pasillo y cafetería los jóvenes descubrieron su pasión compartida por el rock.
“No sé cómo nos conocimos, creo que empezamos a hablar de música uno con otro y ése conocía a otro. Así fue como nos dimos cuenta que más o menos nos interesaban los mismos grupos”, relata Rodríguez ante la mirada y sonrisas cómplices de sus compañeros.
La banda, además de Rodríguez, está conformada por Rogelio Benítez (teclados y percusiones), Alan Garza (guitarra), Johnathan Presas (guitarra y trompeta) y Adrián Graniel (batería).
Las influencias musicales de Tax the Wolf son tan diversas como su propia música, que ellos definen como rock experimental.
Los miembros de la banda reconocen como sus maestros al cantautor estadounidense de blues-rock Tom Waits, al grupo mexicano de rock mestizo Café Tacvba, al grupo británico de rock Radiohead, al grupo británico de heavy-metal Led Zeppelin y al grupo estadounidense de funk-punk Red Hot Chili Peppers, entre otros.
Por si eso no fuera suficiente, los cinco músicos aseguran que están siempre ávidos de nuevas propuestas musicales que les enseñen otras rutas de sonido para enriquecer su arte.
“Todos aprendemos de todos... para nosotros es muy importante siempre escuchar a otras bandas, en vivo o en disco, para alimentar nuestro arte”, asegura Garza.
Rodríguez y Garza aseguran que el nombre de su banda no tiene ningún sentido especial ni implica mensaje alguno. “Simplemente lo escogimos porque nos gustaba cómo sonaba”, explica el guitarrista.
“Nuestro sonido lo ensayamos mucho porque queremos que cuando la gente lo escuche piense que es algo bien original... dedicamos muchas horas a buscar y pulir nuestro verdadero sonido”, precisa Garza. Él y Rodríguez llevan la voz cantante en la entrevista, mientras sus otros tres compañeros asienten con sus respuestas.
Bienvenida la tecnología
Una de las características de Tax the Wolf es que el grupo recurre a las nuevas tecnologías de Internet para difundir su música.
Uno de sus métodos es presentar conciertos desde su cuarto de ensayo con una webcam, que difunden de manera instantánea a quien se conecte a su página de My Space.
“Las formas de dar a conocer la música están cambiando mucho y cada día hay nuevas tecnologías que expanden el arte”, asegura Rodríguez con decisión.
El músico recalca convencido que ellos creen que no necesitan “una gran compañía de discos detrás de nosotros o mucho dinero para expandir nuestra música por el mundo. Creemos en la idea de ‘hazlo tú mismo' y no esperes a que nadie te impulse”.
Para pulir su sonido, Tax the Wolf está ensayando actualmente tres horas diarias, de lunes a viernes. Quieren estar listos para el mes próximo, cuando entrarán al estudio de grabación para hacer el que será su primer disco.
El álbum, que todavía no tiene nombre, contendrá entre sus canciones War Machines of 1964, Linus Forest of Adventures, Sirens of War y Safety and Sorry Bastards.

david.dorantes@chron.com - Houston Chronicle


Tonight Tax the Wolf unleashes their new album, Hold The Sun, onto Houston audiences at Mango's. In the wake of the band's Best Progressive Rock win at this month's Houston Press Music Awards, they have a lot to prove, a fact not lost on the boys.


Rocks Off's own Shea Serrano profiled Tax the Wolf last summer for his ongoing Artist Of The Week series, right after the band had made its first splash onto the Houston scene. You may have known them before as Wolves At The Door, and with the name change the plot thickened and their space-y rock stew got all the more heartier.

We talked to the shaggy and wooly boys, who are making a regular weekend of it with another show Saturday night at Rudz with Spain Colored Orange, about us unintentionally stalking them at the HPMA showcase, their hair, Twitter, and the otherworldly influences on the recording of Sun. They also hinted at what their upcoming Reduxion covers set may entail.
Rocks Off: We're sorry for unwittingly following you guys around during the HPMAs. We're sure that visage behind you wasn't the most reassuring thing.

Tax The Wolf: It was a better feeling than the scorching sun behind us. We hope you all continue to follow.


?RO: We're also sorry for being enthralled with Afros. We think it's the fact that we are part white and balding.

TTW: We're part-Wookie and Hispanic. No need for apologies.

RO: You won Best Progressive Rock at the HPMA's earlier this month. Was that a thrill or did you see it as motivation, a kick in the ass if you will, to keep working that much harder?

TTW: We saw it as a thrill because it was a very unexpected moment. We never thought we could go against the other nominees. After that night we felt determined and motivated to keep pushing for something authentic and original for Houstonians to call their own. Finishing this first record is a goal that we finally reached. We have many more in store.

RO: As far Houston bands go, rock ones especially, the band is very active on Twitter. Do you think embracing social media has made a big impact on your popularity?

TTW: We try to use the efficiency and power of the Internet as much as possible. The social media monster is definitely a huge impact on our growth as a band. We've done live webcasts which were a convenient and amazing thing to jump on. We're trying to reach a mass audience and be up to speed with technology. A rock band shouldn't be twittering though, it's not hardcore enough.

?RO: Tell us about Hold The Sun. You had said something to us earlier this year about the place you were recording it at being haunted. The album definitely has a spooky vibe to it at times.

?TTW: This album has many stories behind it. We put a lot of physical and emotional efforts into every song. The first song on Hold the Sun was recorded in four different parts and three different locations.

"Freddy & Stephen Hawking's Great Space Exploration" had four different fully-recorded versions, and we decided to go with the first. "184 Chromosomes" was the most expensive song to finish in this album. "Hold the Sun" was the last song that we created before closing the album off.

There are many stories as any other album has. We had to adapt to our recording environments and it wasn't fun at times. The main space where we worked definitely had a surreal and spooky vibe to it. Audio files would go missing, guitars and equipment would get moved around, unexplained noises, and the overall movement of the vacant, recording house was an experience. It definitely had our ideas and hearts racing.

Would we go back and record [there again]? Fuck yes.

RO: What's the band's favorite track on the album? We know it's like a parent picking their favorite child.

TTW: I think "Eagle" is one of our favorite tracks. It's hard to decide but there's a bond that we have with the song. We spent a huge amount of time producing it and we're really happy with the end result. We feel like every one of our songs is a soundtrack to different scenes in a movie or something.

This song has a haunting feeling to it. From the piercing guitar mimicking an eagle to it's grand-layered outro with Indian chants. It's a fun song for the whole family.

RO: You guys are set to take part in Rocks Off's new Reduxion night in the next few months. What band are you zeroing in on covering for us?

TTW: This question is definitely the toughest. We have so many ideas and we're very indecisive. We're not entirely sure who we're gonna choose but we won't let anyone down. We have Gorillaz, the Velvet Underground, Radiohead, Dr. Dre and Nirvana in our sights. Rocks Off will be the first to know what we decide.

RO: What's the plan for the rest of year touring and gig-wise? Playing with Dead Confederate tonight is a shot in the arm for anyone.

TTW: We're planning out our first tour at the moment and are aiming towards a November and December run. We've never played outside of Houston. Touring is going to be a challenge, but we're truly excited to play outside of our own safe zone.

Performing with Dead Confederate tonight will definitely be a hard wall to bring down, and we've played with them before and they're really nice people. We'll see how it goes down.

We're still gonna steal the show, though. We have fancy lights, new discs and cool shirts tonight. C'mon Houston...
- Houston Press


Discography

Live Sessions 'EP' 2009 / Hold The Sun- 2010. We have had local radio airplay in houston,tx. 103.7 Fm/ 91.7fm. You can stream our music on LastFM/SoundCloud/ Itunes/Bandcamp

Photos

Bio

Tax the Wolf brings a soundscape of surreal melodies and thick vocal structures with their own form of Prog-Rock. Forming in late 2007 and all hailing from Houston,TX,Tax the Wolf has been forming a sound of their own using latin roots and modern rock structures. These 3 young musicians have garnered a loyal fanbase and underground attention in their hometown of Houston,TX and continue to reach audiences by collaborating w/hip-hop and pop artists. Tax the Wolf has been compared to Radiohead,The Mars Volta and Cafe Tacuba to name a few. Their influences range from Led Zeppellin,Sublime,The Red hot Chili Peppers,Gorillaz,Tom Waits and Nirvana.