Bad Astronaut - Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem (Cover Artwork)

Bad Astronaut

Bad Astronaut: Houston: We Have a Drinking ProblemHouston: We Have a Drinking Problem (2002)
Honest Don's

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: owenowen
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This is the second release from this studio project band on Honest Don's records. The first being the "Acrophobe" EP which came out over a year ago. I call this band a studio project because they have never actually performed together live, although its varied members have certainly racked up the .
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This is the second release from this studio project band on Honest Don's records. The first being the "Acrophobe" EP which came out over a year ago. I call this band a studio project because they have never actually performed together live, although its varied members have certainly racked up the miles in their respective original bands.

Fronting Bad Astronaut is Joey Cape, most recognizable as the frontman of Lagwagon and to a lesser degree as the rhythm guitarist of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Also amongst the band's rotating lineup are Marko from Sugarcult (also ex Ataris), Derrick Plourde who was Lagwagon's original drummer, and Angus Cooke who is more commonly known as the owner of Santa Barbara's Orange Whip studios and also as the producer of bands such as the Ataris. The album also features a handful of guest musicians such as a female background singer and even Blues Traveler's harmonica prodigy John Popper.

The material itself really does not sound all that similar to what you might hear from the members' other bands. Obviously, Joey's distinctive voice will identify him immediately but it brings on a somewhat somber and poignant vibe when removed from the ferocity of Lagwagon's music. There are some chord progressions and melodies akin to stuff heard in that particular Fat Wreck Chords band, but they have been significantly toned down with the prevalence of acoustic guitars and keyboards.

It is no secret that Joey is a big fan of Elliott Smith's songwriting. Bad Astronaut even covered his song "Needle in the Hay" for its debut EP. On this sophomore album the band has adopted even more of an Elliott Smith approach with layered pianos, synthesizers, multiple vocal harmonies and unplugged instrumentation. Almost all of the semi-punk leanings of the first EP have been abandoned in favor of a more organic almost folky feel.

While I am fairly certain Bad Astronaut will only remain a venue for its members to release material not suitable for their other bands, it would be nice to see the guys convene on stage for at least a short tour.


People who liked this also liked:
Bad Astronaut - AcrophobeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldNOFX - The DeclineBad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant DisappointmentLagwagon - ResolveThe Clash - London CallingDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteAlkaline Trio - Alkaline Trio

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
brookslikesmusics (June 19, 2012)

One of the most epic punk(ish) albums I've had the pleasure to obsess over. Somebody called it similar to a punky radiohead, and I think that's accurate musically. Lyrically Joey writes much different kinds of songs than Tom, and I definitely relate to Joey's songs in a more meaningful way. Great album, though my least favorite of the Bad Astronaut releases.

strizzmatik (September 3, 2010)

So much fail on this site's treatment of this record.

Anonymous (January 16, 2006)

ridiculous review and rating.

nikko (October 19, 2005)

one of my favorite albums probably ever off the wagon, these days, the passenger...all fuckin awesome neone no is the new albums still coming out?

Anonymous (December 12, 2002)

all i have to say is read the lyrics to 'off teh wagon' i mean really read them. its fucking amazing. no one can touch lyrics like that. joey's alchoholism, but told so poetically. fuck. this is joey's best work, this side of hoss.

Anonymous (November 14, 2002)

This album gets better with every listen...in a week or two I'd rate this 5 stars. - bigjerk

Anonymous (November 1, 2002)

Acting like he is 13 years old.

Anonymous (October 31, 2002)

dude, jim17 be cool to that guy. he knows joey cape and he is a fucking encyclopedia. don't fuck with him. why do have to be so 13.


Anonymous (October 31, 2002)

13 is 31 but backwards, and it's more kick ass than 42. Keep it real yo.

pinchejim (October 30, 2002)

I wouldn't get to 9, I think anonymous was just feeling 7. Everyone needs to 15 and get over it. By the way, can someone please tell me what the fuck 13 means.


Anonymous (October 30, 2002)

Dude, the comment was not meant to impress anyone...

Just to establish credibility in my statements that Marko 72 was in the Ataris.

No need to get all 13 about it.

Anonymous (October 30, 2002)

1-800-INO-JOEY (thats 1-800-466-5639)

call me.

Anonymous (October 30, 2002)

HOLY SHIT! someone knows Marko, Joey and Derrick. dude, you rule, plain and simple. i can't believe this. i just shat myself. hey i was wondering if maybe i gave you my phone number, you could call me and get to know me too. then maybe i could be on that super cool list of super cool people that you know. yeah, sound good?

Anonymous (October 30, 2002)

This record is pretty good...

It has some really great high points but also a few low points that make it just above average...

Great tracks:

Killers and Liars
The Passenger

'Break Your Frame' is an Armchair Martian cover that honestly adds nothing to the original song... 'You Deserve This' and 'Not a Dull Moment' were covered by Armchair Martian on the split CD with BA and IMHO their versions are better than BA's. If you don't have that split, get it. That record really rules.

Think punk rock meets Radiohead, kinda...

In some places, this record suffers from being "overthought". There are places where they should have just gone for the rock instead of sterilizing all of the parts and having them be perfect.

If you're looking for something that is new and different, check it out. It's way more true to the band than Acrophobe is... The next stuff from BA will be even more out there...

And the word is, yes, they will tour next year.

Anyway, there are so few good records coming out recently, pick this up.

Anonymous (October 30, 2002)

Marko 72 is currently in Sugarcult and Bad Astronaut.

He used to play in a band called Popsicko.

He DID play in the Ataris briefly, when Kris first moved to Santa Barbara from wherever the fuck he is from... Derrick Plourde, original Lagwagon drummer and BA drummer, also was in the Ataris...

Marko never played on any Ataris records, but he was in the band.

I've known Marko, Joey, and Derrick for years...

Anonymous (October 29, 2002)

wasn't marko 72 in nerf herder? not the atari's (that was a different marko). anyway, thank god that someone else reviewed this amazing album, that last guy was a fucking joke. bye for now!

Anonymous (October 29, 2002)

Just wanna say Joey rocks and keep it up man!

Anonymous (October 29, 2002)

That was the worst review ever, because it didn't tell anyone shit about the album. Stop flaunting your knowledge of what people play in the band, and start flaunting your knowledge of what the band plays...
However, for those of you who want to know, this album is good, but not as good as Acrophobe. Killers and Liars is a great track on this cd though.

Anonymous (October 27, 2002)

its marko 72 fools--emptycauses

Anonymous (October 27, 2002)

is it just me or do people tend to review reviews more so than they actually write reviews.

Anonymous (October 26, 2002)

Is it just me, or did this reviewer not even review the fucking album? I don't care who's in the band, I care how good this record is compared to Acrophobe so I know if I should spend the money.

Anonymous (October 26, 2002)

This CD is definitely something different. Its found its way into a continual loop in my car, and in the house. The songwriting, the different sounds. Overall this CD, and Bad Astronaut really give the listener a great experience. Each song has its own sound.

Anonymous (October 26, 2002)

First of all wussy, pat riley left ataris bout 2 years ago then marco pena last year. Now they have some dude from the band Beefcake. Now to the musical journey known as "Houston..." This album is unlike anything I've ever heard. Rock mixed with electronics, classical and a hint of country. "These Days" is the pefect intro song just like "Greg's Estate" was to "Acrophobe". Recommended for Lagwagon, Armchair Martian, and Elliot Smith fans.


Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

A great follow up LP to a great EP. Also an excellent follow up review on a not so excellent review.

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

The Ataris suck. This band kicks ass.

WussEmoRock (October 25, 2002)

much better review. I am going to go and pick this record up. oh and, who was the guitarist that left the ataris say 2 years ago? I could have sworn his name was mark, i dont know


Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

Marko used to play bass for the ataris...

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

Yes Marko is dumbass

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

Marko 32 isn't Ex-Ataris.

...and all of the sudden for this album, their a 7 peice, when on their first album they were a 3/4 peice.

still, great record.

Anonymous (October 25, 2002)

a great follow up to the EP and i can't wait for more from cape and the gang

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