SA Sound: Saakred worries, Colleens pack promise

SAAKRED GOES BALLISTIC On December 20, Saakred (Melissa Ruizesparza Rodriguez) released her amazing FLI HY EP at Collective. The following day, she thanked her fans with a message on her Facebook page: “Last night was really beautiful. Thank you all to the ones that continue to come to my shows and tell me not to stop. But honestly, I continue to feel that San Antonio is not ready for my project Saakred. This is why I’ve decided to let it fly for a moment. But Los Teardrops is gonna kick your ass.”

OK, several things here. First of all, if Melissa thought the mayor was going to give her the keys to the city and crowds would fall at her feet, she better wake up fast. Despite the fact that the Saakred concept is one of the least commercial projects this city has, in just a little over a year she earned rave reviews and all the shows I attended had a good crowd, which was a feat in itself (that includes a freezing weeknight fundraiser at Hi-Tones in November with her new band project, Los Teardrops). But even if she’s right and San Antonio is, in fact, “not ready” for her, what’s the point of putting Saakred in the drawer and solely concentrating on Los Teardrops? Why can’t you do both and stop worrying so much about external recognition? Saakred is too important to leave it at the mercy of “success.”

“[That FB message] was one of impulse, and something I should just stop throwing around,” she admitted. “The CD release left me high and dry. There was so much intention and effort and money and all to get this done, and seriously like 20 people showed up. The performance was one of my best but A LOT of people I thought would be there weren’t.”

Isn’t that the story of any musician’s life? Any event announced on FB promises huge numbers of attendees, and then only a few of them show up. (Another reason for the low turnout should be attributed to the fact that Bad Breaks was playing that same night at 502.)

“I mean, I really get that I can’t complain, for all the reasons you said, but the two or three shows you’ve seen are not a complete scope of the three years,” she continued, and she may be right, but it’s an irrelevant fact—Van Halen played for peanuts at the Whisky A Go-Go for 10 years before they even started “making it.” Three years is nothing, especially for a project like hers. “It’s been a really rough ride,” she said, describing how she has to do everything, from “booking shows, the website, the flyers, setting up photo shoots, the projections, the songs, designing and printing the shirts,” etc. Yes, Melissa, everybody’s doing it. So chill out and take a break if you have to. But after putting out something as glorious as FLI HY, we won’t just let you forget about it.

WATCH OUT FOR COLLEENS In addition to the list of up-and-coming local albums, there’s another to keep an eye out for: Colleens’ Wild Dreams is a seven-song, 31-minute psych Americana/alt-pop feast that is, as they say, “all killer, no filler.” If you missed the tour kickoff show January 4 at 502, the band (Josh Harter on guitar and vocals, brother Jonon drums, Deric Wynne on bass and Jackson Floyd on guitar) will return to that venue to officially present their gorgeous-sounding debut on February 7. It’s not surprising the album sounds so lovely: the Harters are the sons of Keith Harter (owner of KHM studios, where the brothers work as engineers and producers) and Wynne helped cement 502’s sound. So write it down: Wild Dreams by Colleens is a local must have for 2014.

PHILLIP LUNA NEEDS HELP Don’t panic, Boneshakers’ former co-owner is perfectly fine, and ready for a January debut from his band Please Help! The self-titled album features Luna on vocals, Brant Sankey on guitar, Jerry Rincón on bass and Sean Sankey on drums. As soon as he’s ready for a CD release party, we’ll give you more info.

FICTION’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE A little bird told me Fiction (whose self-titled debut was my second favorite local release of 2013) was disbanding. But guitarist Jessica Bartolett put my mind at ease: “We will still be together in 2014,” she wrote in an email. “[Singer-guitarist] Mercedes [Smith] was going to move due to school but has decided to stay in San Antonio and we just started writing our second full-length album! Hopefully to be recorded sometime in March/April and will be out by summer.” If you haven’t heard Fiction, the album, stop everything you’re doing and go to NOW.

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