“Adept at telling stories via tender, heartfelt folk music.” – Clint Hale – Houston Press
“Stage name is Paper Sparrow, which is perfect because there’s something delicate about each of those words…there’s a tenderness to it, but it doesn’t always float like a feather in the breeze. At times, it soars like a winged passerine.” – Jesse Sendejas Jr. – Houston Press
“As far as I’m concerned this is a quality album as a whole, rather than just a random collection of songs – very surreal, very chilled out, and very good at setting a defined mood that has already been predetermined by the songwriter. A clear sign that the music has achieved its goal!” – Rick Jamm – JamSphere
An obsession with money, an unfaithful lover, a friend’s accidental pregnancy, misogyny, loneliness, death… This is just some of the lighthearted subject matter that makeup LONER––the darkly comedic second album from songwriter/producer Caroline Rose. Armed with an arsenal of new instruments and equipment, an ever-growing sense of “ahhh fuck it,” two years of exploration, and a wicked sense of humor, Rose delivers a set of serious songs wrapped in a sprightly, angsty pop burrito. Because, as Rose puts it, “Sometimes sad songs just need a cocktail.”
LONER captures the cheeky satire, comical musings, and often jarring mood swings––sometimes goofy, sometimes emotional––that make up much of Rose’s personality. “I call it Schizodrift,” she says sipping on a martini with her pinky out. “I want to make music that sounds as manic as I feel.” Filled with catchy synth hooks, Ray Manzarek-esque Farfisa, surf guitar, depth of thought and a punk attitude, LONER captures the energy of bands like Le Tigre and The Cramps, and nods to the styles of Blondie and DEVO, the pop hooks of icons like Justin Timberlake, all the while being inspired by the artistry of Kate Bush. “I’d say this album was as much inspired by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as it was late 70s punk.” How did she get here? According to Rose, the transition was natural.
LONER began about three years ago. “I was 24, lonely, and realizing life might actually be as hard as people said it was. Gandalf had yet to raise his staff and part the seas for me,” she says with a straight face. “I felt a bit disillusioned with my music; it didn’t sound like my personality. I hadn’t dated in years, I was going to lose health care. I felt detached from the modern world.” So what did she do about it? “I joined Tinder. I turned 25 and rented my first real apartment and painted it bright colors. I started socializing more and little by little, weeded out all my clothes that weren’t red. I embraced my queerdom. I had a girlfriend, we traveled the country, we broke up. I discussed politics, capitalism, and Rihanna. For better or worse, I became a member of the modern world. Turns out the modern world is terrifying,” she says attempting to pluck an olive out of her glass.
When it came to writing about all of it, what followed marked the beginning of a fully formed Caroline Rose. “I needed to get more personal, more aggressive. more humorous and more sonically diverse than my older material,” referring to 2014’s slinky indie-folk-rockabilly-tinged album I Will Not Be Afraid. The record was penned over four years ago while Rose was living in a van traveling the country, and received critical acclaim from national press outlets like NPR and Rolling Stone. LONER, however, marks a significant leap forward both sonically and emotionally, unleashing a burgeoning confidence teeming with character. Asked how she’d describe the transition, Rose responds, “It just felt like a bubble inside me that had been growing and was about to pop.” In a burst of creative energy, she penned and produced a slew of songs that began circulating among labels and press, resulting in a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Music.
Over the next year and a half, Rose “got super into production and mixing––I was working 10-hour days creating new sounds, finessing EQ, blending tones, sampling basically everything. Having an apartment [rather than living in a van] gave me the space to have more instruments than just a guitar. I started collecting synths and recording equipment and tracking my material. I signed with a label that gave me a lot of creative control and resources.” After sessions and meetings with over a dozen producers, Rose chose to co-produce alongside Paul Butler (Devendra Banhart, Michael Kiwanuka, Hurray For The Riff Raff) at Panoramic Studio in Stinson Beach, California and the studios of Butler and Rose. A multi-instrumentalist and producer herself, Rose brought to the sessions pre-recorded work the two used as a foundation off which to build, having written and arranged strings, played and recorded keys, guitar, and bass, sampled layers of found and recorded sounds, and programmed synths and drums. “The rest was a lot of experimentation in the studio, trying out different sounds and getting weird,” She adds. “Paul added a lot in that way. Neither of us are afraid to try things and throw a bunch of sounds at the wall.”
Another thing that drove Rose to pursue production more seriously was the blatant lack of gender diversity in the music industry. “I noticed over the course of all these meetings there was not a single female or nonbinary producer. Then the more I read up on why, the more I realized there actually are a lot of us, we just aren’t taken as seriously and either don’t receive or don’t demand the credit that we deserve.” In response, Rose stepped up across the board, having a hand in mixing as well as directing creative control over all aesthetics regarding the album. “I wanted to make sure everything was as me as it could possibly be.”
According to Rose, the visuals and aesthetics of LONER are an important vehicle in bringing out her personality, as well as a lot of the more sarcastic elements within the music. “I’ve gotten really interested in the visuals over the years, from producing videos and creatively crafting the images to how I express myself via what I wear.” The video for “Money,” for example, written and directed by Rose and Horatio Baltz, depicts Rose playing all of the parts––a sort of maniacal, Coen Brothers-meets-David Lynch two-minute story involving three people (perhaps the same person?) that leaves viewers asking…What just happened? Not too different a feeling after listening to LONER, in fact. And this is precisely how Caroline Rose wants you to feel.
Houston native Nathan Quick belts out his bluesy, raspy growl atop lush boogie/roadhouse guitar rhythms and soaring lead guitar. His sound draws from a vast pool of genres including classic rock and roll, blues and contemporary Americana. He is a multi Houston Press Music Awards winning singer/songwriter and looks forward to sharing his sound with you.
“The passion and electricity sorely missing in the music of many of Clay Melton’s peers is abundant in the fantastic performance of ‘Timing’s Everything,’ a new single on the upcoming 2017 album release. It’s another reason why Clay is certain to be recognized as one of this generation’s guitar heroes.” – Ritchie Adams, Editor in Chief, Red Hot Rock Magazine.
When does inspiration find any of us? For Clay Melton, it was at the tender age of eleven when he listened to Jimi Hendrix playing ‘All Along the Watchtower’ while riding in the car with his father. Clay was mesmerized by Jimi’s sound and style. So he asked his parents for a guitar, and only time would tell if music would become central to this young man’s life. Soon Clay was strapping his electric guitar and amp on his bicycle and peddling his way through the neighborhood to a family garage where he practiced with his good friend, Kyle Tomchesson. His ability with the guitar was growing faster than anyone could imagine, and after a year and a half of lessons, his teacher admitted that he couldn’t take Clay any further. Since then, Clay has taught himself, and like Hendrix and SRV, he plays by ear. By the age of thirteen, Clay was playing live in clubs all around Texas. At fifteen years old, his stage experiences as a guitarist and songwriter began to grow: The Dallas International Guitar Festival proclaimed, “Clay Melton one of the TOP 10 Guitar Players in Texas under 20 years old!” The emotional intensity of his live performances at such a young age was incredible, to say the least.
“Melton has more critical praise than artists twice his age.”- David Garrick, Free Press Houston
“This kid is a force of nature.”- Jared Lee Gosselin, Grammy Winning Producer (Macy Gray, Velvet Revolver)
“He is straight up one of the most electrifying guitarists I’ve seen in all of my 43 years.”- Kenny Pipes – Almost Austin
“This young man stands tall when it comes to talent.”- Michael Sutton, iMerica Entertainment (Motown, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder)
“Very talented – what a monster career he has ahead of him.”- KPFT 90.1 FM Houston
In October 2016, at 22 years old, Clay approached the world famous SugarHill Recording Studio where such greats as Beyonce’ and the Rolling Stones have recorded. He met with owner, Dan Workman, long-time mentor and fellow member of The Recording Academy (the Grammy’s). Dan assembled the talented team of Steve Christensen (Grammy-winning engineer), and Josh Applebee (amazing drum tech). Planning began for Burn The Ships, the first full-length album from Clay Melton, releasing Summer 2017. Dan remarks, “I’ve had the privilege of watching Clay evolve from a gifted intuitive guitarist to a complete performer and songwriter. He has managed the hardest of tasks: crafting a musical identity that lives up to the promise of a precocious talent.
Clay bares his soul through his original music. His songs are authentic to the core, and they expose his very intimate and personal vulnerabilities. Clay is not an imitation – he is unique and his music is crossing genre barriers for good reason.
At the 2016 SXSW event in Austin, Texas, Paul Heath, CEO of Radio X Brussels, met with Clay in a busy, bustling hotel lobby and the following interview took place. It was not a rehearsed monologue but rather an all-telling impromptu conversation that reveals Clay in his own words. A very interesting self portrait…
Singer-songwriter Brittany “Bee” Ardoin’s love of music was cultivated at an early age. Coming from a musical family, the Houston native was surrounded by gospel, R&B, classical and blues. From the early days in her family band to now, Bee has continually blown audiences away with her powerful stage presence and vocal range. Her talent has lead to performances on some of gospel’s biggest stages like the Stellar Awards and The Celebration of Gospel.
Her passion for music and love of performance has also lead to her work with youth. Bee began teaching at Theatre Under the Stars, Houston’s premier musical theatre and arts education company. While there, she taught musical theatre basics to various members of the Houston community. Currently, Bee works as the assistant director and music teacher for The Imagination Campus where she mentors and teaches young children the joys of the stage and musical theatre.
Having toured with the Grammy-nominated ensemble FIYA (Free In Yahweh’s Abundance), Bee has shared the stage with gospel giants like Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams. Bee’s work throughout the community and her experiences as a single mother have provided the motivation behind her music. Being inspired by such vocalists as CeCe Winans, Brandy and Kim Burrell, Bee’s particular blend of gospel and R&B speaks to anyone trying to find their way. Her first EP The Truth About Walking, debut on Billboard at #3 on the Heatseekers – South Central Charts and #43 on the Christian Album Charts, respectively (Feb. 10, 2018) The album is guaranteed to inspire you to keep walking, keep praying and keep trusting.
Tommy Stinson and his buddy Chip Roberts and a couple of guitars. Some laughs, some songs, a lot of fun.
Buy Tickets HERE.
Join us as we celebrate Waterparks’ newest release “Entertainment” with an intimate in-store performance followed by a meet & greet signing with the guys. The performance is open to everyone to attend, but you will need a wristband for the meet & greet signing. To obtain a wristband just buy a copy of “Entertainment” either on cd or vinyl here at Cactus Music to get a wristband.
As they wrote and recorded their second full-length album Entertainment [Equal Vision Records] out January 26, 2018, a wise prophet’s words stuck with Waterparks… “Tina-motherfucking-Fey once said, “Everything that’s good comes from honesty’,” repeats lead singer and guitarist Awsten Knight. “When you’re being that open, others connect. We’re not vague and subtle in our songs. I want everything to feel colorful and real. This band embodies that idea.”
Since their emergence in 2015, the Houston trio—Awsten, Otto Wood [drums], and Geoff Wigington [guitar, backing vocals]—have kept it real and catapulted to international renown as a result of a signature style that seamlessly slips-n-slides between rock, pop, and alternative. Their full-length debut, Double Dare, earned a rare 4.5-out-of-5 star rating from Alternative Press and spawned the hit “Stupid For You,” which generated over 4.6 million Spotify streams and counting.
On the road, they tore up venues everywhere alongside All Time Low, Good Charlotte, Sleeping With Sirens, State Champs and more in addition to selling out their first UK jaunt and 14-out-of- 23 dates on a US co-headliner. Among various accolades, Awsten graced the cover of Alternative Press for the Warped Tour issue, and the entire band covered Rock Sound. Not only did they play the Alternative Press Music Awards, but they took home the award for “Breakthrough Artist” and garnered “Best International Newcomer” from Rock Sound. In the middle of this whirlwind, they hunkered down and created Entertainment. For the first time, they switched up the writing process and traded H-Town for Los Angeles. Awsten holed up in a North Hollywood Airbnb, but he wasn’t alone…
“The place was totally fucking haunted,” he recalls. “There would be random door closings. One night, I literally heard a couple of female voices whispering in my ear, ‘It’s okay. Come with us.’ It felt super demonic. Then, it was all quiet when I got up. I was like, ‘Fuck this.’ I stole some Holy Water and sage from a Catholic church, but I said a prayer and apologized since I needed it. It was definitely a different creative process.”
Having exorcised the living quarters, the bandmates hit MDDN Studios with producers Benji Madden [Good Charlotte, 5 Seconds of Summer] and Courtney Ballard [5 Seconds of Summer, All Time Low] behind the board, reuniting the Double Dare team. “It was nice to get out of that haunted ass Airbnb,” laughs Awsten. “It worked so well the first time with Benji and Courtney, so it made sense to do it again. It’s such an easy process with them. They trust our songwriting.”
The boys introduce Entertainment with the upbeat, up-tempo, and undeniable anthem “Blonde.” Palm-muted guitar kicks off the verse before building into a stadium-size refrain, “I think the blondes are done with fun. At least it’s all about you.”
“It’s the closest thing to Double Dare,” he explains. “I wanted to come out with a fucking smasher that’s fast. It captures all of the elements fans liked from Double Dare and puts them into one song. As far as the lyrics go, they discuss the stresses and pressures I’ve felt from touring. I try to disregard them as much as I can as they wear on you. This is the first release where anybody is paying attention and watching. I quit looking at comments online because I don’t want to see good or bad mentions. That many opinions one way or the other never helps.”
Elsewhere, “Not Warriors” builds from eighties-style synth swells into a hypnotic and hard-hitting refrain. “Again, it was written around a time of heavy touring,” he goes on. “My girlfriend is an actress, so she’s often gone as well. It’s about having a small amount of time together and wanting more. It’s bittersweet. I get to do what I want, but I miss her.” “Crybaby” embraces more sampling and programming, illuminating the group’s growth. Meanwhile, “TANTRUM” (purposefully in all caps “because it’s loud”) stands out as a full-on rocker that “borders on hardcore.” At the same time, there’s the ebullient “Lucky People,” which Awsten calls “The most Michael Bublé, Jazon Mraz-ass song ever! If I was a ukulele guy, that would’ve been a ukulele song…”
They’re not ukulele guys though. They’re just Waterparks, and that’s more than enough at the end of the day.
“I want fans to hear Entertainment and know we’re just being real,” he leaves off. “We don’t want to be pigeonholed. We can make rock, we can make heavier music, and we can sound pop. It’s who we are. Ultimately, it all comes down to the hooks and songs. These are the biggest and best we can write. I know every band says that, but fuck it. I’m being honest.”
Come to Cactus Music and get a small taste of the sounds of Latin America. We’ll have acoustic performances by Kiko Villamizar, El Fandanguito, Robert Kuhn, Elyze, and Bradley Basker Espantapajaros.
Check out the complete lineup for Saturday’s event at The Continental Club and Big Top here:
SUR FEST 6
The Continental Club – Big Top
The one-of-a-kind festival is back and bigger than ever for its 6th edition!
Sur Fest presents works of the Latin scene in music (ranging from folk to rock), poetry, dance, and photography. This year, we are proud to have the participation of Houston Latino Film Festival and fair fashion by Todo Fresh.
The organic growth of the festival through the years brings us to the perfect space for it where the talent can be displayed on three different stages (The Continental Club, Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top, and the Pachinko Hut) to provide a fitting frame to each act and make for a memorable experience that can be shared by people of all ages and from all places.
Our headliner this year is Kiki Villamizar, an Austin Resident from Colombia.
We also have Elize, Espantapajaros, Lupe Olivarez (Bomba Chica) Robert Kuhn, El Chaman Candombe, Mas Pulpo, Myrna Garibay, Nico, Kronika, Arthur Yoria, Lucien& Signo elemental Bradley Basker,El Fandanguito Gonzalon Andre etc.
Also Tango and Flamenco PerformanceS. FOOD, EVERYTHING!!!!
Get immersed in the sounds, sights, and warmth of Latin America.
The new additions to the line up are DEM, Free Radicals.
Giant Kitty continues the tradition of strong female voices in punk while bringing along eclectic influences, diverse backgrounds, and a comedic sensibility. This four-piece combines elements of punk, new wave, hard rock, and riot grrrl to make both relevant and irreverent songs full of energy and sharp lyrics. Their sound is often described as a mix between the Runaways, Bikini Kill, and Blondie.
Known for their intense live shows, Giant Kitty is just as at home opening for national and international acts like Shonen Knife, Dressy Bessy, Girl in a Coma, and Peach Kelli Pop as they are in festivals like Dallas’ Deep Ellum Arts Festival, Houston Whatever Fest, and headlining therepubliqfest 2016 SXSW showcase. They conducted an actual wedding between band founders Cassandra Quirk (guitar, background vocals) and Trinity Quirk (drums) officiated by Miriam Hakim (vocals) in the middle of a show and helped organize an Inauguration Day show called “We Belong: Houstonians of Muslim Descent Dissent” which raised nearly $2000 for the ACLU of Texas and was covered by every major Houston news outlet and the Huffington Post.
Their debut album, “This Stupid Stuff,” dropped January 2016 and addresses topics from the serious to the ridiculous over energetic, aggressive, and danceable music. Produced by Spin Doctors bassist Mark White, the album was recorded by Joe Omelchuk, mixed and mastered by two time Grammy nominee Roman Klun, and distributed by Brooklyn label Innsbruck Records. The first single, “Don’t Stop That Bus,” was named one of the best songs of 2016 by the Houston Press. Its music video garnered over 15,000 views in the first week alone and was made entirely out of paper puppets and sets. The second video, “This Stupid Stuff,” chronicles daily activities of a variety of people while they are plagued by post-it notes with slurs and insensitive remarks. Striking a chord with many people, the video premiered on Colorlines and Spark Mag and within a week spread through the Huffington Post, Bitch Magazine, Bustle, Take Part, the Ladies Finger, and even Kathleen Hanna’s twitter account.
In 2017 Giant Kitty goes back to the studio to record their second album, “Rampage.” The album appears on Roologic Records in June 2017 and will be accompanied by multiple music videos and a national tour with the Kominas. Four songs from “This Stupid Stuff” will be featured in the 2017 short film Acid Test by Jenny Waldo which has been accepted for distribution through platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Video. Additionally, the song “No Home” will be featured in 2017 horror film “Party Time.”