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bauwaves | u r everything

A new Austin power-trio turn despair into devastatingly powerful SST-style songs.



bauwaves is a new Austin, TX band featuring Lew Houston, former singer/guitarist for beloved late-’00s Austin-DIY-scene stalwarts Wild America (featured on Matador’s Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010 compilation); Rob Barbato, former bassist for The Fall and Darker My Love; and Art Limon, former drummer for Austin’s The Anchor. bauwaves began when Houston fell apart, succumbing to a crippling bout of depression in 2016 that led him to stop writing songs for the first time in 10 years. In early 2017, after therapy and energy healers and meditation and, finally, medication; a new song popped into Houston’s head on a walk home from his weed dealer. He dug his guitar out of the closet and started working on the songs that comprise u r everything­, bauwave’s debut LP. With Limon and Barbato on board the band tweaked the songs at Houston’s house for most of 2018 and went into Barbato’s comp-ny ATX studio in the spring of 2019 to record. The upbeat, catchy, raucous ’90s-by-way-of-’70s-and-’80s vibes of the songs (think desperate and distorted Lemonheads with a hint of Hüsker Dü and The Ramones) are belied by the at times heavy lyrics in which Houston starkly chronicles the year he spent contemplating self-harm while doing too much crying. These days however, his depression under control, Houston has found new focus in bauwaves, who are already at work on their second album.”


I’ve got issues. You’ve got issues. Everybody’s got issues. Big freaking deal. That’s just the hand we all got dealt. Like it or lump it. In the end, what you’re going through doesn’t really matter to me or anyone else. I’m too busy dealing with my own, ya know? The only thing that really counts — and the only lesson you might be able to impart or import in this whole senseless endeavor called existence — is your ability to find a way to blaze some sort of trail through your own valley of the shadow of whatever the hell is slowly killing you. To his credit, bauwaves singer-guitarist Lew Houston apparently has. And not a moment too soon, judging by the pit of depression he wallowed in a few years back. What didn’t kack him made him stronger. That’s good for him. What’s good for us: It made him write some devastating songs. On his power trio’s debut platter, his unflinchingly clear-eyed lyrical confessions lay the whole grim affair out there bare and bold for all to see: The despair, the desperation, the bottomless darkness into which he descended. It’s so honest, so real, so matter-or-fact that you can practically see him lying on the couch right in front of you. (Not to mention: It’s so universally true that it could just as easily be you on that leather sofa. You don’t have to say it; we all know it’s true.) But don’t think for one red-hot second that u r everything is some sorry-ass, sad-sack pity party. If it’s anything, it’s a fight for survival. And like any cornered creature, Houston comes out swinging and stabbing and slashing, going for the jugular with a fierce and formidable arsenal of razor-sharp post-punk weaponry forged from the hallowed molten landscape of vintage SST shitkickers like Hüsker Dü, Dinosaur Jr. and their hotwired brethren. The resulting mayhem (and magic, if I’m being honest) jolts straight through you, blasting from the top of your head to your tippy-toes like a lightning bolt (or an ECT session, if that ain’t way too on the money). And even after it goes, it leaves the air crackling and the hairs on the back of your neck at full attention. Maybe you’ve read the punk-rock tome Our Band Could Be Your Life. Sounds like Houston’s band might have helped saved his. It might just help yours a bit too. In any case, it’s cheaper than therapy.