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On Market Street

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Original punk chanteuse Penelope Houston must be of hardy stock: still touring with a revised version of her groundbreaking band Avengers some 30 years after their heyday, she also makes records of her own, having released roughly a dozen since 1988. Singer/songwriter aficionados may be reticent to trust the onetime punk queen to deliver the goods. To them, we say phhhht!. Named for the rough-and-tumble avenue that runs through her hometown of San Francisco, On Market Street replaces some of the folkier flavors of past records (and instruments like mandolin and accordion) with a more polished, radio-friendly sound. Delightful touches like B-3 organ, Wurlitzer piano, and Mellotron build ambiance alongside guitars and strings, and Houston’s voice is pretty and robust on the sultry and soulful “All the Way,” the lush, string-laden “Winter Coats,” and the Lucinda Williams–ish “Missouri Lounge.” Houston exorcises and soothes recent personal demons (like a painful divorce and a messy lawsuit) but manages several playful moments too. “USSA” and “Scrap,” which show an artist still clearly having fun.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most individual and eclectic figures on the Northern California music scene, Penelope Houston is a singer and songwriter whose music is guided by one sole constant, a fierce honesty that’s informed work encompassing elements of punk rock, indie pop, contemporary folk, jazz, and many points in between. Houston was born in Los Angeles, California on December 17, 1958, and spent most of her childhood in Seattle, Washington. She grew up in a household of music fans and as a teenager she was...
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On Market Street, Penelope Houston
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