+ Thursday, 1/24/19 @ 5:00pm
Parker Gispert (The Whigs)
+ Saturday, 1/26/19 @ 1:00pm
Amanda Pascali And The Family
+ Thursday, 1/31/19 @ 5:00pm
Listening Party! Mandolin Orange “Tides of A Teardrop”
Renaissance woman and singer/songwriter, Amanda Pascali was born in Queens, New York and is based in Houston, Texas. Amanda’s Immigrant American Folk Music showcases her traditional influences, but she is no copy of anyone. As the daughter of an Eastern European refugee with Sicilian heritage, Amanda writes with a sincerity which shows us that home is truly where the heart is.
Amanda’s music tells the story of a girl, transplanted from the Corona and Forrest Hills neighborhoods of New York City to the center of Houston, Texas. With a father who was thrown out of his home country for rebelling against the government, Amanda was driven from a young age to be a messenger of her family’s stories and diaspora. Her words tell of her experiences growing up in the light of her family’s compelling memoirs and the grave semblance to the plight of refugees today.
In 2016, Amanda recorded a solo, self-titled EP which she released before forming her trio- Amanda Pascali and The Family. The Family consists of seasoned accordion player “Uncle” Felix Lyons, who turned seventy years old on the night of their first show together, and violinist Addison Freeman who is classically trained and experientially tempered to the folk tradition. The group formed after all three musicians joined the Houston Balalaika Orchestra, playing traditional Eastern European music in a living room on the south side of town. The trio’s debut, full-length album is to be released in the winter of 2018.
Accompanied by her family, blood related or not, Amanda Pascali has released music and performed internationally, including packed houses in Italy and Romania. Her art is inspired by the love story of her parents as working-class immigrants in the 1980s as well as the stories of first-generation Americans throughout the United States. Her music is consistently carried by the one thing that joins both love and revolution: great passion. In addition to speaking at scientific conferences and conducting field work in the mountains of west Texas as an aspiring geologist, she travels the eastern hemisphere piecing together the stories of her family and documenting them in song. Amanda’s music, now coined Immigrant American Folk, delivers a powerful narrative on being “too foreign for here, too foreign for home, and never enough for both.”
The Houston Press describes Amanda and The Family as “Houston’s newest artist for you to adore” and “a welcomed addition to the Houston music scene […] with songs that will be stuck with you for days”.
Parker Gispert was still in college when he helped form the Whigs in the early 2000s. But after five critically-acclaimed albums, hundreds of tour dates all over the world with the likes of Kings of Leon, Drive-By Truckers, the Black Keys and many others, and television appearances everywhere from the Late Show with David Letterman to Jimmy Kimmel Live! , the Athens, Georgia-bred rockers decided to pull back on activity in 2017.
Which left Gispert, who had spent the majority of his adult life either in the studio or on the road with the band, at a crossroads.
“It occurred to me that if I wanted to record and tour that I was going to need to do it solo,” the singer, songwriter and guitarist says. “I’d always thought about it in the back of my mind as something that I wanted to do one day, but ‘one day’ had never really come.”
Now, ‘one day’ is here in the form of Sunlight Tonight , Gispert’s debut solo album (produced and mixed by Emery Dobyns). The eight-song effort finds Gispert, known for leading the Whigs through raw and jangly southern-garage rave-ups, taking a decidedly different musical approach—biting electric guitar riffs are cast out in favor of gentle acoustic picking and strumming, and his band mates’ raucous rhythms are traded in for minimal accompaniment that includes light bass and drums, orchestral strings and even trumpet. Gispert’s lyrics, meanwhile, are his most introspective and personal to date (albeit with a bit of humor thrown in here and there) and they’re delivered in a vocal style that finds him pushing out on his range. “I didn’t need to project over a band, so I was able to sing in registers I hadn’t really used before, like a lot of high falsetto,” he explains.
The end result showcases a different side of the artist, to be sure. But it’s one that Gispert felt compelled to explore. “A lot of guys from rock bands that go solo, they just hire another bassist and drummer and go make another album,” he says. “I didn’t want to go that route.”
Ultimately, his change in musical direction was helped along by a change in geography. A longtime resident of Nashville (by way of Atlanta, and then Athens), Gispert last year accepted an invitation from a friend to visit his 100-acre hemp farm, located roughly an hour outside Music City. “It was like out of a total time warp,” Gispert recalls of the property. “No heat or AC. No animals. No active crops. Water from a well. It was just, like, a house and a plot of land. I ended up staying there for a year.”
That plot of land was where Sunlight Tonight came into being. “I would wake up early and get my guitar and walk outside and come up with all these songs,” Gispert says. “And without a band to turn to as the deciding factor on, say, a melody or a lyric, I ended up turning to the scenery and the landscape I was dealing with instead. The farm was like my collaborator—it kind
of answered everything for me, as weird as that sounds. And the songs started coming pretty quickly.”
The first one that came is also the one that opens Sunlight Tonight —a psychedelia-laced meditation titled “Through the Canvas.” Built on a bed of acoustic guitar and cello, the song finds Gispert laying out what is essentially a statement of purpose: “Suddenly I got up / Suddenly I could move / shook off all the bullshit that was weighing down my shoes.”
Explains Gispert, “With the Whigs, I had been in that band since I was a teenager. So when that slowed, I found myself in a place where I was almost paralyzed, like, What do I do next ? It was just confusing. But that song sums up what happened when I got to the farm. It was like, suddenly I got up, grabbed a guitar, walked down to this big field and…”
Shook off all the bullshit?
Gispert laughs. “Yeah. And bullshit was exactly the word to describe it. It was all the worries. All the fear. All the drama. All the stuff you can’t even articulate. After I put all of that behind me I was able to set out on this journey of making a solo record.”
That journey ended up being very unlike any Gispert had embarked upon previously. For starters, he says, “I wrote all of the songs for the record while outside, and that’s something I’d never done before. Usually I’d be in a cramped apartment or a studio space—not, like, walking around outside in a big open field at 1:00 AM, just singing and playing.”
He laughs. “And the good thing is, I was on this secluded property, so nobody could see me—it didn’t matter if I looked like a total goofball just wandering around in my jean shorts strumming an acoustic guitar.”
The material that Gispert came up at the farm with was primarily acoustic-based, but at the same time still incredibly diverse, from the dark folk of “Magnolia Sunrise” to the ambient tones of “Life in the Goldilocks Zone”; the T. Rex-y groove-glam of “Volcano,” to the lo-fi garage-fuzz of “Is It Nine”; the exuberant mariachi-horn-rock of “Too Dumb to Love Anyone” (the one composition Gispert says was originally written with the Whigs in mind) to the oddball genre exercise “Do Some Country.”
That last one also features some witty wordplay (“I am a rock artist,” Gispert sings, before adding, “I paint pictures on limestone”), as well as a unique origin story regarding its title. “I was at a Nikki Lane show,” Gispert recalls, “and in between songs this woman in the audience kept yelling (in a heavy southern accent ) “C’monNikki! Do some country !”And my friend and I were just like, ‘Man…that would be such a sweet song title!’ ”
There are other lighthearted moments on Sunlight Tonight, such as the nursery-rhyme-like “Is It Nine,” on which Gispert attempts to determine which number would fit best into the alphabet. The genesis of that riddle? “It was just a ridiculous question I asked myself, and I had never heard a song about that particular question before,” he explains. “So I thought for my first solo album it would be a good idea to have one track that was uniquely ‘Parker.’ Because there are so many love songs or political songs or whatever out there already.”
Which is not to say that Gispert shies away from those topics on Sunlight Tonight . “Too Dumb to Love Anyone,” for one, addresses his present station in life as an unwedded man. “I’m 36, and most of my friends are at that point where they’re getting married and having kids,” he says. “And my friends’ wives will say things to me like, ‘Parker, when are you gonna meet
somebody and join the club?’ So I always say, the only thing standing in between me and a great relationship is that the idea has never occurred to me.”
Then there’s “Magnolia Sunrise,” which unfolds somewhat uneventfully, with Gispert grabbing breakfast at a local diner (“Coffee, Tennessee / grits made to order”) before an anxious waitress shatters his mundane tranquility: “There’s still a lot that could go wrong,” she tells him. As the guitar accompaniment builds and the orchestral strings turn frantic, Gispert intones, ominously, “One Saturday morning / there will be no warning.”
The narrative, Gispert says, “is based on a real interaction I had, at a diner right down the road that I’d go to all the time in the mornings. I ended up talking to this waitress who was having irrational fears of, like, a hurricane coming, or a nuclear threat. It brings up this idea of, you could be chilling out, enjoying your day, and when you least expect it, that’s when something happens—tragedy could be right around the corner.”
Clearly, Gispert’s environment and experiences at the farm factored heavily into the words and music he wrote for Sunlight Tonight. But when it came time to record the material, he left his rural surroundings behind and headed back into Nashville, cutting tracks at Blackbird Studios and Hacienda Studios, with producer Emery Dobyns (Patti Smith, Antony and the Johnsons) at the helm. Dobyns also added various instrumentation to the tracks, alongside contributions from Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, former Sparklehorse vocalist Sol Seppy and Adele bassist Samuel Dixon, among other musicians. “It was like there was one phase of the record, which was me alone writing everything,” Gispert says. “And then there was the second phase, the studio phase, which was very much a team effort, with Emery shaping the record sonically and production-wise.”
When it comes to playing this material live, however, Gispert has been going it alone—an atypical arrangement for him onstage, but one that he’s been finding incredibly satisfying. “I love it a lot,” he says about being out on his own. “I feel really comfortable up there by myself, and in some respects I’m able to connect with the crowd in a way that I never was able to do with a band.”
That said, Gispert still gets plenty of opportunities to play with his band, as the Whigs continue to reconvene for sporadic live shows, including a recent spate of dates celebrating the tenth anniversary of their 2008 record, Mission Control . But far from his solo endeavors having a negative impact on the group, he’s found the opposite to be true. “I’d always been afraid of doing something solo because I thought it might mess up the band vibe, but now I’m able to see that it actually helps,” Gispert says. “When we do get back together to play, it’s fun and it’s fresh and it has new life.”
As for what the future holds, Gispert is open to any and all possibilities that might follow in the wake of Sunlight Tonight . “Because I didn’t even see any of this happening, you know?” he says. “So I can’t really say what comes next. But it’s almost like a weight off my shoulders to not really know where I’m going from here.”
One thing he can say for sure: the farm that served as both inspiration and companion to Gispert throughout the writing process for Sunlight Tonight is now a thing of the past.
“I’ve moved away,” he reports. “I’m living over by a lake now.” Gispert laughs. “I’m trying to switch it up.”
Parker recently co-wrote a song with Alice Cooper and Bob Ezrin for Alice Cooper’s latest studio album “Paranormal.”
Parker grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and later lived in Athens, Georgia where he graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Philosophy. He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Divine Kegel (El Paso, Texas), whose name is taken from the hilarious Key & Peele sketch of the same name (if you’ve never watched please do yourself a favor here), is a garage-punk two-piece featuring Daniel Lopez on guitar and Elijah Watson on drums.The group has been described as a trifecta of Death From Above 1979, Lightning Bolt, and Black Sabbath.
Divine Kegel has played shows in Marfa, Austin, El Paso, and New York (Brooklyn and Queens), as well as played alongside the likes of bands CFM & Together Pangea.
In 2016, the band played at the unofficial Stay Gold x Mother Of Pearl Vinyl party in Austin, as well as the Neon Desert Music Festival in El Paso, which featured headliners Deftones, Future, Tyler, the Creator, and others.
In 2017, they were a part of an unofficial SXSW showcase at Empire Control Room, which featured headliners Grupo Fantasma and Madame Gandhi. n In 2018 they performed again at the Neon Desert Music Festival with headliners At The Drive-In, Cardi B, and others.
In 2018 they performed again at the Neon Desert Music Festival with headliners At The Drive-In, Cardi B, and others.
“Rosewood Thievz carry a classy elegance not usually seen in a town famous for Tippin’ and Sippin’. They can seamlessly move between cerebral hip-hop and buttery-smooth R&B without any disruption in mood or musicality. Yet if you ask them to define their sound, they’ll sum it up in one word, “groove,” which may indeed be the perfect response. Formed in 2012 in Third Ward, the diversely talented Killa Swami, Big Game James, and Joe-yo release a vibe of earthy realness, a sapiosexual essence that’s intoxicating to watch and compelling to hear. Brave enough to celebrate all facets of Southern sounds (even zydeco), Rosewood’s music is continually surprising, but the trio is more than that, too. Active community members, they even do things like create historical video lessons with the Buffalo Soldier Museum. Rosewood Thievz are the kind of trio that only H-Town could create — a mix of alternative hip-hop, funk, and groove played with a humid thickness that feels like the soundtrack of the Bayou City on a hot and steamy day.” – Houston Press 4/2017
Christina views Christmas through the eyes of a busy mother and caregiver. The to-do lists, the traffic noise, the quiet roar of family gatherings– much like the cacophony of bells that introduce and end the Christmas with Christina & Alli album. For Alli, December is a reminder of her honeymoon in New York City. A time of cold streets and warm fires, and relishing in the romance of the season– a perspective that weaves its way through the album in sultry renditions like her version of Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime”
The seeds for this album were planted in Christina & Alli’s hearts last year when they spent December of 2017 singing Christmas songs in their kitchens to lift their spirits and express themselves as they do best, in song. A favorite on the album and one of Alli’s first arrangements for the duo is the song “Mary Did You Know/Breath of Heaven”.By weaving these two songs together, Alli tells the story of Mary giving birth to baby Jesus from two very different perspectives. But you will find this album takes you through the serene and holy to the sexy and playful. The song list reads like a Who’s Who of music history, with songs dating as far back as 1818 and covers from artists such as Donny Hathaway, The Carpenters, Joni Mitchell and even The Eagles.
The magic of Christina and Alli is much like the magic of Christmas. Kids from 1 to 92 can experience the combined joy they bring to their listeners and followers on their weekly YouTube show (The Christina & Alli Show). Alli’s high lilting soprano like a calligraphy pen writing vocal runs and Christina’s deep rich voice lending warmth at the other end of the vocal spectrum. And like Christmas, this album has a little something for everyone.
In 2015, singer/songwriter Jeff Paxton released his debut full-length album, The
Importance of Being Shackleton. “Shackleton” quickly gained the attention of the local press,
earning a spot on the 2016 Houston Press Music Honor Roll and a Houston Press Show of the Week
mention [April 2016], being described as “a spicy hash of folk, alt-pop, and rock ‘n’ roll… musical
ingenuity and wisecracking bite.”
In April 2017, Jeff Paxton and his band recorded audio and video at a house concert, which
turned into their second full length release: Live at Chuck’s House. Live at Chuck’s House is a raw
and direct, all-acoustic album that emphasizes both the quality of the songs and musicianship.
After its release, they were asked to be featured artists at Bayou City Art Fest, KPFT Songwriter
Studio, River Revival Texas Music Festival, and SXSW.
After spending 2017 touring regionally and perfecting new material, Jeff Paxton and his
band decided to create a new project called Minor League, which will have a more focused and
melodic, energetic rock and roll sound, heavily influenced by the music of the early 90s. These new
tracks will be released in November, 2018.
Live from Houston, Texas, Space Kiddettes invite you to jump around with them to the galaxy’s hottest new wave jams. A three-time finalist for OutSmart Magazine’s Gayest and Greatest Local Band and listed as one of the “8 LGBTQ+ Local Artists You Should Know” these space-brained delinquents mix pop culture sound bytes, onstage banter, and pop sensibility in the ultimate tribute to being strange.
Their debut EP was included in the Houston Chronicle’s 2017 List of Most Anticipated Local Releases and were also included in this year’s list for their latest 2018 E.P. DOMESTIC ADVENTURES that dropped on November 2nd. Space Kiddettes’ debut E.P. LIVINGSPACE//HEADSPACE chronicles the drama of love and Scary Boys and their sophomore E.P. DOMESTIC ADVENTURES is the tale of suburban kids trapt in the monotonous cycle fighting to break out of the future that’s been set out for them and the expectations of their surroundings by using their imagination and finding their chosen family.
Besides their music, they also have a weekly podcast called SPACE CASE where they aim to solve the mysteries plaguing their personal lives and sometimes real mysteries as well. They also are the directors and hosts of Drag Queen Storytime in collaboration with the Houston Public Library promoting literacy, diversity, and inclusion in the community.
“Hailing from Galveston, Darwin’s Finches write catchy, raw, loud indie-rock that all blends together to create a feeling that the band may be enjoying the music more than their fans. Still, if you catch the Finches on the right night, you might think you’ve stumbled upon the area’s answer to the White Stripes.”- Houston Press
Blazing the R&B scene with thrash metal solos, poetic lyrics and smooth vocals, Singer/song-writer/guitarist/producer JonoJono has taken a rebellious path in todays music on and off stage. Experimenting with the fusion of soulful melodies and aggressive vocals, he introduced new sound with his debut single “Life(feat. Neisha)” which fine-tuned the seamless integration of distortion and volume associated with hard rock with the melismatic and synthesizer-heavy sounds associated with R&B. Before his debut as an indie artist, he was generally producing live instrumentals on his pastime using Garageband iOS and he soon produced and released “Contradictions (Interlude)” which hybridizes poetry/spoken word, electronic, neo-soul and rock guitar. Upon release of “Contradictions”, his debut visual, on YouTube and other social sharing platforms, his social presence had been cemented by the swift, growing buzz the project had garnered. Following his debut EP “The Life” and his buzz single “Wavy” he generated peak interest from notable radio outlets like : “The Breakfast Club” on 93.7 The Beat and other major platforms. This soon inaugurated his career with gritty, high energy live performances at notable venues and festivals in the southern regions, creating an eager fan base for his anomalous sound and attitude. With an eye on the horizon, JonoJono strives to blaze his own movement in music for listeners and fans alike.