The line-up for Free Press Summer Festival was announced this week, and includes another diverse set of bands. deadmau5, Modest Mouse, Violent Femmes, The Black Angels, Blue Healer, White Denim, The National, Trae Tha Truth, Built To Spill, Children of Pop, and many more will play June 4-5, 2016, in Houston’s Eleanor Tinsley Park.
Local electro-rock band Starline–former Pale frontman/guitarist Calvin Stanley III and former NBA player Matt Maloney–releases its new album, CJM, today (2.25.16). It is available to purchase online and on streaming services.
The duo hosts an album listening party tonight in Houston at Hughes Hangar on Washington Ave. near downtown.
Houston Press recently published an article on Starline, which you can read here.
As previously posted, local musician Cameron Dezen Hammon is currently working on Words Don’t Bleed, an album of cover songs from the 80s and 90s, which you can help support at Pledgemusic. There are currently less than 10 days left in the campaign for the album.
Houston Calling is happy to bring you the video of Dezen’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”:
I’ve also heard her version of “Addicted To Love,” which made me almost forget the original. It’s excellent.
Also, you can currently vote on which song by The Cure she should record for the album. I’m rooting for “A Night Like This.”
I recently asked Dezen Hammon some questions about the upcoming album.
Houston Calling: What prompted the idea for a covers album, or specifically an Eighties/Nineties covers album — songs originally performed by men, no less?
Cameron Dezen Hammon: I just finished a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing through Seattle Pacific University (I graduated in August,) and met some amazing poets and writers through the program. Poet Lisa Russ Spaar, during a talk she gave, said, “Art loves limits.” We were talking about how to manage one’s worldview and art. The concern was that having a particular idea of how things work, or seeing things within parameters, can limit what you create. Art has to be free, man! Her point was that when you give what you are creating limits, it has the chance to actuate, to become something. It has something to strain against. That’s why I chose those criteria. I don’t want to cover my sisters’– they’ve already done the best interpretations of the songs they sing. Interpreting songs that have originally been performed by men gives me the opportunity to think about gender and the way it influences the listeners’ perspective on the lyrics they are hearing.
HC: And also, how did you choose which songs to cover? I think I’d have a difficult time choosing one song from a band like The Cure, for example.
CDH: We are choosing the songs based first on requests, then out of that pool, I choose the ones that appeal to me, and then I sit down at the piano and see what happens. With The Cure, it’s been very difficult for obvious reasons. I had it narrowed down to “A Night Like This,” “Lovesong,” and “Just Like Heaven.” Then I played all three of them on the piano, and “Lovesong” came alive in a way the others didn’t. And then I realized Adele covered it, so I’m back to the drawing board.
HC: Is there any particular musician who’s influenced your music? How?
CDH: From a production standpoint for this record, yes. A friend of mine told me to get Lykki Li’s new album a few months ago and I did. I had heard of her, vaguely, but had no idea what her thing was. I got excited about sounds while listening to her. I love the way the drums and piano sound on her records. I love the way the vocals sound. She is not trying to make pretty records; beautiful yes, but maybe not “pretty.” There is a grit to the records I love. In terms of an artist who has influenced me nearly all of my life, and more than any other, Nina Simone. She wasn’t trying to make pretty records, either. Every note that ever came out of her mouth was devastating. That’s something to aspire to. [Read more →]
The good folks at Free Press Houston and Free Press Summer Festival host the upcoming Day For Night music festival, which combines light and sound to gives attendees a unique concert experience. The two-day festival–which runs December 19-20, 2015, near downtown Houston–features a slew of local musicians, such as Indian Jewelry, Hearts Of Animals, and Children Of Pop, along with an array of impressive acts such as New Order, Philip Glass Ensemble, Flying Lotus, and Battles.
El Paso’s Jim Ward, an excellent musician you may know from his work in Sparta, At The Drive-In, and Sleepercar, returns to Houston this Friday night (12.4.15) at play a solo show at Wonky Power Live.
I believe the last time Ward played Houston was at The Mink’s (RIP!) Back Room a few years back, and that was an excellent show. Ward’s latest Sleepercar release, the five-song EP Breathe and Count (out on his own Tembloroso label), is available for download now at www.Tembloroso.com.
I first heard The Ocean Blue when the band’s song “Between Something and Nothing” was included on Sire Records’ Just Say Mao compilation in the late Eighties. Being a huge fan of Echo & The Bunnymen, the song’s similarity (deep vocals and jangly guitars) instantly resonated with me. Their debut album was favorite in college, and the song’s drums are still among my favorite to play along to.
I haven’t followed the Pennsylvania band much since the early Nineties, but the band resurfaced in 2013 with a new album, Ultramarine, and also released Davy Jones’ Locker earlier in 2015 (which you can purchase on Bandcamp).
Here’s a few videos from the band:
You can purchase the vinyl reissues of The Ocean Blue, Cerulean, and Beneath The Rhythm and Sound from SHELFLIFE/Korda Records.
Local musician Cameron Dezen Hammon (most recently of The Rebecca West) needs your help. She is asking fans to fund her new album, which will be a series of cover songs from the Eighties. In exchange, she’s offering videos and other special items for pledgers.
Here’s the latest from Cameron on the project:
Here’s why you should pledge :
1.) Immediate free download of my acoustic covers of Don Henley’s classic “Boys of Summer,” AND Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” These are totally new arrangements and I think you’re going to love them. Preview it HERE.
2.) I’m choosing the songs based on requests from pledgers–that’s you– and I’m recording them as the requests come in. Pledge and tell me why I should cover your favorite song and I just might!
3.) You’ll get immediate access to exclusive live videos and behind the scenes footage. Videos for “I’m on Fire,” and “Boys of Summer,” are in production now and we will be releasing them to pledgers in the next day or two. Get in on this.
4.) I’ll write you a poem, send you a book, meet you for coffee, or play in your living room, depending on which level you pledge. You choose. I’m game.
Finally, pledge because it means that my record will get finished. 10 songs. Done. Songs you will dance, smile, cry, and laugh to. Songs that I know will become part of your favorite playlist. Help me make it a reality.
More information about the project may be found here.
In related news, you can also help Dezen Hammon’s brother, Alex Dezen, with his debut solo album. The Damnwells frontman has already surpassed his goal, but you can still pledge and get exclusive songs and other content.
Brother and sister will play a house show on 12.15.15 at a yet-to-be-disclosed location in Houston. Seating is limited, so be sure to get your ticket while you can.
Houston Whatever Fest is this weekend (November 21-22) in and around Warehouse Live. There will be more than 90 music and comedy acts performing on five stages, and also artists, vendors, and food trucks. Passes are available online at www.houstonwhateverfest.com.
HWF, now in its second year, is great about supporting local music, and this year’s event promises some great ones. Check out the daily line-up of acts below.
Ghostland Observatory, GWAR, Lil Flip, The Atari’s, The Front Bottoms, Born of Osiris, B L A C K I E, Fat Tony, Battlecross, Family of the Year, Def Perception, Ape Drums, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Vockah Redu, The Smith Street Band, Auto Fellatio Dreams, DJ Damon Allen, DJ Lacey Youngblood, DJ Fredster, Gio Chamba, We Were Wolves, Night Drive, Guilla, Satellite D’Homme, Second Lovers, MNYNMS
T.J. Miller, Doug Benson/Doug Loves Movies, Ian Abramson, Caleb Synan, Chris Cubas, Billy D. Washington, The Underwear Show, Chris Trew, Mathew Broussard, Andy Huggins, Dusti Rhodes, Andrew Youngblood, Dale Cheesman, Warren Wright, Stephen Brandau, Albert Deleon, Joe Bates, Nia De Bose, Bob Morissey, Justin Blandford, Zach Dickson, Kristen Lindner, Scotty Peterson, Zach Eaton
Metric, Saint Motel, Heartless Bastards, GZA, Grupo Fantasma, Shock G, Knox Hamilton, Elvis Depressedly, Kaleo, Catch Fever, To Whom It May, The Suspects, Black Kite, birdmagic, Dead To The World, Say Girl Say, The Dead Rabbits, Seldom, Brand New Hearts, Waterparks, Bang Bangz, K Dot, Sunrise And Ammunition
Brooks Wheelan, Ari Shaffir, 7 Minutes In Purgatory, Randy Liedtke, Dan St. Germain, Joe Pettis, Air Sex Show, Chase Durousseau, Bob Biggerstaff, Gabe Bravo, John Nguyen, Ku Egenti, Ashton Womack, Nick Meriwether, Brian Zeiolla, Victor Tran, Reed Becker, Chet Ranger, Zahid Dewji, Barry Laminack, Greg Deal, Rich Williams, Russel Simek
Single day passes are $45, and passes for both days are $65. There are also “Big Shot” and “Baller” VIP passes available. Get your passes to Houston Whatever Fest here.
This weekend (November 21-22), Houston’s The Center for Hearing and Speech hosts its annual Via Colori street-painting festival in downtown Houston. There are several bands playing throughout the weekend, including The Glass, Runaway Sun, The Mighty Orq, and Colonial Blue.
Via Colori is held in downtown Houston at Hermann Square at City Hall and the surrounding streets of McKinney, Bagby, and Walker. Click here for maps and directions to the festival.
While you’re there, visit the inaugural LB Lounge, which pays tribute to former event coordinator Lisa Benitez. During both days of the festival, Via Colori artists will stop by the LB Lounge and create a collage. Attendees will also be able to contribute to the mural. Lisa was one of the faces behind Via Colori for many years, and the lounge is held in her honor.