Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Houston-via-Dallas band Narrow Head is often classified as shoegaze, but as the band’s guitarist, vocalist and only original member Jacob Duarte puts it, “I don’t even think I like shoegaze.” He elaborates, “I like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Chapterhouse all the main stuff — but when it gets too on-the-nose, it’s like, I need aggressiveness. ”Released through Run for Cover Records, blast of grungy hard rock that reminds me of Nirvana but with even more guitar. The most “rock” of any record I bought this year and loving it.

“Nobody has riffs anymore,” says founding member/vocalist/guitarist Jacob Duarte when asked about his approach on Narrow Head’s highly anticipated LP due out  on August 28th. “That’s the kind of band we are and to me, that’s just how you write songs. Drums, bass, guitar, vocals. Nothing else. There are no other instruments on the record.”

The Houston-based band’s latest entry is the distillation of the greatest moments in 90’s alternative and hard rock with a fresh set of ears, thirteen tracks of their signature brand of bludgeoning lullabies bursting at the seams with creative ideas, new directions and yes, massive, monolithic riffs. In between the sparkle and smash, open-hearted and emotionally naked song writing showcases a core piece of the band’s identity as one of the best releases of 2020.


Delving into deep-seated themes of self loathing, desolation, self-medication, the loss of loved ones and hopeful redemption as the title suggests, a rock-focused LP themed on transition– exploring the vast abyss of darkness just before the sun cracks upon the horizon. Using distorted guitars as their primary vehicle, Narrow Head’s wall of riffs add stark contrast to their best quality– deceptively sweet pop melodies that channel the lessons of My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, Helmet, Deftones and Guided by Voices all at once.

Released August 28th, 2020

Narrow Head is:
Jacob Duarte
Carson Wilcox
William Menjivar
Ryan Chavez
Kora Puckett

Performed by Jacob Duarte, Carson Wilcox, William Menjivar, Ryan Chavez

Robert Ellis recasts himself from an alt-country guitar-slinging troubadour to a white-suited, top-hatted barroom pianist making an album full of jaunty stompers about growing up and growing sober (“Topo Chico” and “Nobody Smokes Anymore”) and acerbic, affecting love songs (“Fucking Crazy” and “Passive Aggressive”). Ellis teared down a set at SXSW , The album  is among our music highlights of 2019, and this record is a perfect companion for all the turns 365 days can throw at you.


Released February 14th, 2019

Pianos and Keyboards – Robert Ellis
Guitars – Kelly Doyle
Bass Guitar – Geoffrey Muller
Drums and Percussion – Michael “Tank” Lisenbe
Congas and Auxiliary Percussion – Josh Block
Background Vocals and Vocal Arrangements by Robert Ellis and Michael Lisenbe

All songs written by Robert Ellis

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There’s softness in the trippy funk of Khruangbin’s “White Gloves” that has wrapped around me, and I have no intention of letting it go. Delicate psychedelics spin into velvety rock that’s rooted in ’60s Thai funk and surf music. It might not be what you’d expect from a primarily instrumental Houston trio, two of whose members started out playing gospel music together, but it works.

“This is the first song with lyrics we’ve ever written. We never really thought of ourselves as having a “singer” but we knew that we wanted a voice for Khruangbin. We decided to write about something close to us, tell a story as simply as possible, and sing it together. We created the footage for ‘White Gloves’ many years ago by creating a video feedback loop with a vhs camera and an old television. We always wanted to use it in some way with Khruangbin, and after all of this time, it found what it was missing. It lets the story and the song speak for themselves. ” – Khruangbin

Even the name Khruangbin, which means “engine fly” in Thai, adds another color to the band’s story and sound. After discovering the group through its contribution to Bonobo’s Late Night Tales compilation, I have Khruangbin’s debut album,The Universe Smiles Upon You, in my personal heavy rotation

Band Members
Bass: Laura Lee
Guitar: Mark Speer
Drums: D.J.

Formed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums; Khruangbin’s sounds are rooted in the deepest waters of world music infused with classic soul, dub and psychedelia. Their 2015 debut album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ was heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s Thai cassettes the band listened to on their long car journeys to rehearsal in the Texan countryside. ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ takes inspiration not just from South East Asia but similarly underdiscovered funk and soul of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran.

‘Con Todo El Mundo’ is in part dedicated to Laura Lee’s Mexican-American grandfather, a formative influence on the bassist. She says, “My grandpa would always ask me ‘Cómo me quieres?’ (how much do you love me?) And he’d only ever accept one response: ‘Con todo el mundo’ (with all the world). He created his own world to live in. Khruangbin is the world we’ve created.”

Though outwardly unassuming (but no less stylish), the trio’s diverse backgrounds aligned with a shared worldview and passion are at the heart of what makes Khruangbin tick. Their desire in representing international culture is notable given the climate and agenda in certain areas of the US. In some respects it’s throwing back a compliment by reinterpreting artists of other countries reinterpretations of US-based music, which again drew influence from the world. Throughout ‘Con Todo El Mundo’; Laura Lee’s melodic low-end theory, Mark’s lyrical, free-role guitar lines, and DJ’s ever-steady, ever-ready backbeat form something greater than their parts. A statement that crosses languages, ages, cultures and borders.

Opener ‘Cómo Me Quieres’ sets the tone with its exotic, spacious, slow-motion funk while in antithesis the album’s first single ‘Maria También’ is filled with urgency and attitude. ‘August 10’ is a classic Khruangbin track, infused with their signature bass-heavy sound, while also introducing new elements to their chemistry. There’s time for solid disco-funk in the form of ‘Evan Finds The Third Room’ and the band even finds space to nod to P-Funk with a chant towards the end of the evolving jam ‘Lady and Man’. Closing the album, ‘Friday Morning’ – “a song about jumping into love” – skips between laid back Isley Brothers-esque vibes via delicate tempo changes into gentle hymnal passages.

Since the release of ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’, Khruangbin have spent the past two years playing non-stop worldwide. From a European tour with Father John Misty to supporting Maribou State at Koko, a string of festival dates at Glastonbury, SXSW, Dimensions, Gottwood, Love International, The Great Escape, The Downs with Massive Attack, a joint US tour with Chicano Batman and extended headline excursions; Songkick estimates Khruangbin played around 100 gigs in the past year. The band count it at a fair few more. As a nod to their travels, Laura and Mark have been presenting a weekly “AirKhruang” DJ set live each Friday on their Facebook page, where the pair play a selection of music by artists from a particular city.


The trio continue to play live around the world throughout 2018 starting with a UK tour to follow the album release. A vibe-synchronous soul-unit travelling the planet, honing their craft, absorbing the sights, sounds and feels from cultures across the globe, processing them through the Khruangbin filter and gifting the result back…with all the world.

released January 26, 2018

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As Bruce Springsteen continues his sold-out Springsteen on Broadway run, he has continued to release live concerts from his archives.

Released a couple of weeks ago is Springsteen and the E Street Band live from Stockholm, Sweden on July 3rd, 1988.  This concert was part of Tunnel of Love Express tour, which was of course supporting 1987’s album “Tunnel of Love”.  What makes this concert significant, however, is that the first 90-minute set was broadcast to radio stations at the time, making it one of most known concerts in the Springsteen canon.   “Chimes of Freedom” from the show was released on an EP of the same name.  But the broadcast did not contain the full concert, which would continue for another set and three encores.  Now, for the first time, the entire concert is being officially released, remixed from the multi-tracks.

Shortly after this tour, Springsteen would disband the E Street Band.  Other than recording a couple of tracks for Springsteen’s first Greatest Hits album, the full group would not come back to together until 1999’s Reunion tour.  The concert that has just been released is the final one from the tour:  July 1st, 2000 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Portions of this concert were included on the Live in New York City album released in March, 2001, but this is the first time you can officially hear the entire show.  Unique tracks from this show include the closing number, “Blood Brothers,” which had never been performed on a tour before.

Perhaps to tie in with the concept of Springsteen on Broadway, another recent concert is from March 19th, 1996 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Falling between the other two concerts released, this concert was is support of The Ghost of Tom Joad and features a solo, acoustic set from Springsteen.  He had performed in this way before, but this was the first time he embarked on a full tour in the format.  Many of his familiar songs were recast with new arrangements to sit alongside newer material.

In addition, Springsteen has also released the concert from December 8th, 1978 in Houston, Texas.  This show first appeared in The Promise: Darkness on the Edge of Town boxset in 2010, but this is the first time it has been available separately.  All proceeds from the sale of this concert will go to benefit MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund.

All three newly released concerts have been mixed by Jon Altshiller and mastered by Adam Ayan at Gateway Mastering.

All the shows are offered in a variety of formats: Direct Stream Digital or DSD (with 64 times the sampling rate of CD), MP3, FLAC or Apple Lossless, HD-Audio (24 bit/192 kHz, FLAC-HD or ALAC-HD) and CD-R ($26.00).  A CD-R plus MP3 package is also available for each.

All previous ten volumes of The Bruce Springsteen Archive Series are available at Springsteen’s official live store for download and physical purchase.

A special reminder: all titles are on sale today for Cyber Monday (25% off CDs, 50% off downloads)!

Houston troubadour Avery Davis is back with his brainchild the track is “Us” . and we could not be more excited. Hot off the release of his second EP Contact, the multi-talented musician shared the lead single “We First Started” recently and it is as advertised. A master at blending genres such as chillwave, pop, and R&B with indie rock, the gifted producer evokes shades of ‘80’s new wave with his new hit. His style is as dreamy as it is tangible and shows the confidence of a much-celebrated performer. It is impressive to point out that Avery plays every instrument found on the new EP as well as sings ever challenging vocal part.

With years of multi-instrumentation, performing and producing under his belt, Avery Davis takes on a new electronic solo project, -Us. Having played with bands such as Wrestlers and Twenty Eleven, the current drummer of Wild Moccasins ventures out to form his own sound, combining elements of the many genres with which he has surrounded himself in the past. Playing every instrument and singing all the vocal parts himself, Under -Us., the independent Houston musician has released several covers and remixes, as well as original works, a five-track EP that incorporated all of Davis’ influences — including Thom Yorke, Neon Indian, Washed Out and James Blake — into a single project. EP, “Contact”, is to be followed by full-length release.



Sam John Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982), better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist, from Houston, Texas. Rolling Stone magazine included Hopkins at number 71 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Lightnin’ Hopkins I was expecting something ancient, something old, but Hopkins sounds modern and his guitar playing is just out of this world!
Hopkins’ style was born from spending many hours playing informally without a backing band. His distinctive fingerstyle playing often included playing, in effect, bass, rhythm, lead, percussion, and vocals, all at the same time. He played both “alternating” and “monotonic” bass styles incorporating imaginative, often chromatic turnarounds and single-note lead lines. Tapping or slapping the body of his guitar added rhythmic accompaniment.

Much of Hopkins’ music follows the standard 12-bar blues template but his phrasing was very free and loose. Many of his songs were in the talking blues style, but he was a powerful and confident singer.[citation needed] Lyrically his songs chronicled the problems of life in the segregated south, bad luck in love and other usual subjects of the blues idiom. He did however deal with these subjects with humor and good nature. Many of his songs are filled with double entendres and he was known for his humorous introductions

Born Sam John Hopkins in Centerville, Texas, Hopkins’ childhood was immersed in the sounds of the blues and he developed a deeper appreciation at the age of 8 when he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas. That day, Hopkins felt the blues was “in him” and went on to learn from his older (somewhat distant) cousin, country blues singer Alger “Texas” Alexander. Hopkins had another cousin, the Texas electric blues guitarist Frankie Lee Sims, with whom he later recorded. Hopkins began accompanying Blind Lemon Jefferson on guitar in informal church gatherings. Jefferson supposedly never let anyone play with him except for young Hopkins, who learned much from and was influenced greatly by Blind Lemon Jefferson thanks to these gatherings. In the late 1930s, Hopkins moved to Houston with Alexander in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the music scene there. By the early 1940s, he was back in Centerville working as a farm hand.

Hopkins took a further atempt at Houston in 1946. While singing on Dowling St. in Houston’s Third Ward (which would become his home base), he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los Angeles-based record label Aladdin Records. She convinced Hopkins to travel to Los Angeles, where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names and dubbed Hopkins “Lightnin’” and Wilson “Thunder”.

Hopkins recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947. He returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label. During the late 1940s and 1950s Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas. He occasionally travelled to the Mid-West and Eastern United States for recording sessions and concert appearances. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career. He performed regularly at clubs in and around Houston, particularly in Dowling St. where he had first been discovered. He recorded his hits “T-Model Blues” and “Tim Moore’s Farm” at SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston. By the mid to late 1950s, his prodigious output of quality recordings had gained him a following among African Americans and blues musicaficionados.

In 1959, Hopkins was contacted by Mack McCormick, who hoped to bring him to the attention of the broader musical audience, which was caught up in the folk revival. McCormack presented Hopkins to integrated audiences first in Houston and then in California. Hopkins debuted at Carnegie Hall on October 14, 1960, appearing alongside Joan Baez and Pete Seeger performing the spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep”. In 1960, he signed to Tradition Records. The recordings which followed included his song “Mojo Hand” in 1960.

In 1968, Lightning Hopkins recorded the album Free Form Patterns backed by the rhythm section of psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s, Hopkins released one or sometimes two albums a year and toured, playing at major folk festivals and at folk clubs and on college campuses in the U.S. and internationally. He toured extensively in the United States and played a six-city tour of Japan in 1978.
Hopkins died of esophageal cancer in Houston on January 30, 1982, at the age of 69. His New York Times obituary named him as “one of the great country blues and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players.”

Buxton’s forthcoming album, “Half A Native”, signals a departure from the rustic sound they have become known for and adds elements of indie rock, psychedelia, honky-tonk, ambience and distortion, resulting in their most realized album to date. Having enjoyed great success regionally in their hometown of Houston and throughout the South, the five-piece band decided to shake things up for this album and headed to Los Angeles to work with producer Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks). From the dusty tones of guitar-slinging anthems to lonesome acoustic affairs that look outward and within, Half A Native is music for the search for home; the long journey to find somewhere, something, or someone that makes everything fall into place. Across 11 eclectic tracks Buxton ventures into vast sonic territories blanketed by singer-songwriter Sergio Trevino’s heart-clenched voice and melancholic, but optimistic lyrics. “We take from a lot of different genres and present it in a way that I think is most honest for us,” Trevino says.


The Rolling Stones Video “Ladies and Gentlemen” a full concert movie first released in 1974 filmed in 16mm by Butterfly Films( A company owned by John lennon) recorded at concerts in Fort Worth and Houston Texas in 1972 during the north American leg of the tour to promote “Exile On Main Street” Released on Blu Ray in 2010,Now with some extras an interview with Jagger at the Dorchester, some clips of the tour rehearsal at the Montreaux Festival