On The 1st Day of Tampa: Byron House

3 12 2009

-Byron House playing at Bloodfest

“What’s it All About?”

The 1st download of December will be noise punk duo Byron House.  To put it quite forward, this band fucking wrecks everywhere they go when the two cross paths (Carlos Gonzalez and Brandon Poplin haven’t lived together in the same city since ’05?). I see them as the jump starters of the Tampa left-field punk scene of this past decade with the help of other ambitions such as Haves and Thirds and label Cephia’s Treat which operated as an umbrella for these kinds of young dark artists to form under. Consider me clueless at the time, but I only knew Carlos (guitar/vocals) and Brandon (drums) as fellow Sickles high school students, not edgy performers that were playing guerrilla styled punk shows around the bay with the kinship of Yukhonic, E.N., What’s Yr Damage and Hepatitis Youth. All I knew is that almost every rad art girl had a crush on Brandon and Carlos sat in the hall every morning with head phones and asked me one day (because of my goth attire) if I’ve heard Joy Division’s ‘Closer’ or liked Bauhaus. I said “totally but it’s not a good album to listen to if you’re depressed.” Little did I know how to take dark feelings and put it into form like these guys.

-Byron House playing a slowed down set at Post-Inc, video from Alex Gaesser

It wasn’t until Andrew (no Then and Than was back then!) in my TV Productions class showed me some of his recordings from a short lived venue called Kids where lo-fi noise, skate kids and rough punk bands played such as The J.F.K.’s, which was an afro flailing Gonzalez’s/Poplin’s early project of sheer intensity. It opened my mind to this kind of local music because the only things I knew going on locally were teeny bopping emo pop bands and what people these days consider “hardcore;” the notion of having tattoos, piercings, middle school mentality and trying really ‘hard’ to get laid by whatever trendy means possible, quite the opposite of the original term. I think the J.F.K.’s and Yukhonic projected the real style, intentions and sounds of real hardcore that would make Big Black proud without even trying to. I didn’t quite have my foot into this scene yet though because I was never told when these events were organized, but thankfully after hanging and establishing better contact with Sean and Josh (who formed the still strong and active MLU back around that time) I started to attend more shows and get a glimpse into a scene that had some of the pushing limits foundation of the post punk, no wave and noise rock/experimental groups of the past. Shows of unique experience that pretty much unconsciously banned tradition in one way or another in order to make something new. Anyways, that brings me back to Byron House!

-Byron House playing at a Pre-INC in Orlando, by Orlaphant

Most of you that actually read this already know who they are, where they came from, how awesome and dangerous their shows are and what they’re doing now. But just in case you don’t, Carlos carried his dark art into his solo project Russian Tsarlag, well hidden side projects and new band Solid Susan (Under Ice) while Brandon has settled down in Louisiana but has electronically defined the party lifestyle into his best work Pro Bro Gold within the past couple years. Both dudes are highly influential, especially to those that grew up with them in Tampa and started bands alongside in their shadowplay. This release, an out of print c30 called “Green Eyes” is a very early Byron House tape; it’s got the downbeat Joy Division lines, killer repetition on both parts, Carlos’ snarly vocalism, and side two’s bass levels are so high that Brandon’s drumming sounds like rapid fire among crashing cymbals that are actually quite catchy in a hex producing way.

Although rumored to now be disbanded, I’m stoked to of been to a good number of Byron House performances while they blasted (also some shows were accompanied by a female vocalist and trumpet players who shrilled along with Carlos). Maybe they’ll make their return one day to the Tampa they helped sparked, but for now only the ears alone can make that return.

Download spider-linked from Oubliette’s Swamp Touch


Cephia’s Treat has Byron House albums still in print, so check out the Catalog

playing at INC 2008





2 responses

3 12 2009

Byron House rules! I’ve seen people freak out and stick their head in the bass drum while brandon was playing.

5 12 2009

god, yeah I remember when they played at Skeleton Warrior’s new years eve party there were firecrackers being lit everywhere and a garage door almost fell on the crowd. Their fans just get fucking possessed I suppose

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