Frank Critelli writes songs. He dabbles in haiku and other short poetry. Sometimes he writes other stuff too. Like postcards. His songs are available on compact disc and for download at Independisc Music Club and other places like CD Baby. You can read more about his music at his website or MySpace page.

Frank Critelli often performs live. Sometimes he performs solo, and sometimes he is accompanied by one or more musical co-conspirators. Over the years he’s played in streets and subways, coffeehouses, classrooms, barrooms, clubs, colleges, festivals, theaters, and (most recently) in his kitchen.

–SOLD OUT– THE 1975 – WEDNESDAY, 11/26 @ 2:00PM

  • Cactus is proud to announce a very special in-store performance and fan event with The 1975 set to take place on Wednesday, November 26th at 2PM.
  • Fans who purchase The 1975’s debut album on CD or LP will receive a priority wristband that guarantees their entry to this closed door event.
  • The Manchester, England group will perform a short acoustic set on the Cactus stage for the first 250 people that purchase their debut album immediately followed by an autograph session.
  • There will be an opportunity for an additional 250 fans to Meet and Greet the band AFTER the performance.
  • Space is limited for both the in-store performance and autograph session afterwards.
  • The first 200 fans (performance only!) to purchase The 1975 will receive a free poster.
  • Do not wait.
  • Space for this event is limited and it will sell out.
  • Wristbands are available with purchase beginning Monday, 11/17 at 5PM.
  • One wristband per CD or LP.


“My sisters were the heavens / My brothers were the depths / Now I’m rolling into battle with a smoke between my lips,” Justin Kinkel-Schuster sings on “I Want Blood,” and it’s a presiding image on the self-titled third LP from Mississippi’s Water Liars. Joined by GR Robinson on bass and fresh off the success of their album Wyoming and the reissue of their debut, Phantom Limb, Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant strut into this effort with their feathers out, driven by a need to create. Forget your precious bands that take years to release their next album: Water Liars don’t know how to stop working. A punk aesthetic – a desire not to overdo songs until they’re shiny with emptiness – is the band’s defining feature, and it’s why their songs are filled with such raw sorrow. When Kinkel-Schuster and Bryant’s voices twine together somewhere in the greater stratosphere of sound, as they do on “Tolling Bells,” try not to feel like a psalm. To call the songs here an improvement over what they’ve done before would be to sell the earlier work short. They’re simply telling one story, a story that doesn’t end, about the ways we save ourselves and kill ourselves, about the terrors and joys of being a small thing in a big world, and this is just the latest installment.

What strikes you most on this new LP is the violent imagery countered with lines about love and redemption; the band’s sound – also a study in contrasts, loud and quiet, fast and slow – builds off of this. There’s hope here, dreadful and beautiful, but we’re never far removed from having blood pooled at our ankles. On “Cannibal,” Kinkel-Schuster sings, “When you taste the flesh and sweat of the one that you love / Do you feel like a cannibal?” It’s a question that haunts this collection of songs, which sways somewhere between darkness and light, between urgency and unrest. Even in love, Kinkel-Schuster’s narrators drift like worried fire.

Kinkel-Schuster’s voice achieves a new level of weariness here, while still sounding battle-ready. “Strange lands hold no fear for me” he sings on “I Want Blood.” And no wonder – he’s a troubadour and these songs are his weapons, dripping with guts, screaming with guilt, softened by the sweet blossoming of love. His songs rumble across the plains in a gritty swirl, trailed by black clouds and lightning flashes. He has a trembling awareness of the music in our blood, and he’s filled – as poets should be – with wonder and despair.

Bryant – his drums and backing vocals like a deep thread of goldenness laced through the record – is the engine underneath the hood, everything he does a rage against blandness. It’s impossible not to fade into his rhythm. Bryant started as a drummer in the church he attended as a kid, and the congregation would fall into the aisles, calling out to the Holy Ghost, repenting on the spot; that kind of religious fury still seeps into his playing and is alive here in new ways.

“Let It Breathe,” a stand-out, is Kinkel-Schuster’s tenderest song. It’s weather-beaten and weary, reminiscent of Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” in its presentation of love-struck awe. But “Swannanoa” may be the best song he’s ever written. “I

looked death in the face / It was only my father / If I’d known all along / I wouldn’t have bothered / with being afraid, with being a coward,” he sings. The song is deeply indicative of his rich personal mythology. Like Jason Molina and Jeff Mangum, his narrators are often swept up in a numinous dream of the world, in long mystical visits to the provinces of lonesomeness and fire and blood. These songs are testimonies, prayers, from the frozen ground to the dark universe of stars.

If you haven’t listened to Water Liars, let the music be your introduction. Is it important to know that Bryant is from Mississippi and Kinkel-Schuster is from Arkansas, that they’re shaped by the writers whose influence shines through in everything they make – Frank Stanford and Barry Hannah especially – and that their pain is the pain of the wretched and beautiful South? Sure, and it’s all there in the songs. On “Vespers,” Kinkel-Schuster sings, “When I left her house / It was snowing out / and I left her for the South / But who cares? / We don’t want no one to see us cry. / No, darling, we’d rather die.” These are songs about leaving and staying, about lost fathers and new loves, about distance and memory. These songs are a consideration of what Kentucky poet Joe Bolton called “a future that seems already to have acquired / The irrevocability of the past.” These songs smell of autumn. These songs are the hugeness of rain, the heaviness of breath, the strangeness of cities. Light a cigarette and close your eyes – let these songs whiskey into you, let them brighten your blood, let them be endless in the night.

—William Boyle


Paris Falls are a rock band from Houston, Texas. With a wide rage of influences from Fugazi to Pink Floyd, Paris Falls have released 5 albums and 2 singles on their label Paper Weapons Records.


“Gorgeous… just gorgeous!” – – John Mayer

“This voice won’t stay small long. Straight from Berklee College of Music, singer-songwriter Liz Longley traffics in the type of sweet, heartbreak-ready tones and guitar strummed melodies that seem destined to a bigger audience.” – – The Washington Post Express

“A rare find with phenomenal vocal ability, tone and performance. Longley’s lyrics have the spark and spunk of Patty Griffin, her voice has the eloquence and mastery of Alison Krauss. – –

“Longley delivers songs that stand out for their emotional honesty”. – – Morning Call

MEET & GREET JULIAN CASABLANCAS (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz) – FRIDAY, 10/31 @ 4:30PM

Julian Casablancas will be doing a special meet & greet DJ session! Buy his new album “Tyranny” and get a wristband for priority line placement. Hang with him before his House of Blues Houston show going on later that night.

THE WHIGS – THURSDAY, 11/13 @ 5:30PM

For their fifth album, the Athens-bred/Nashville-based power trio The Whigs wanted to find the exact midpoint between raw and rehearsed. After more than a decade together—during which they’ve released four critically lauded studio albums and toured constantly as either headliners or openers for the likes of the Drive-By Truckers, Kings of Leon, and MGMT—the three members all agreed that they wanted to flex their muscles a bit: write some good songs, get them down as tight as possible, hit , and tear shit up.


Subterranean Hum is a modern, vivid, and eclectic collaborative poetry book by writer, folklorist, drummer, and educator David Ensminger and Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Peter Case. As a core member of the indelible indie rock icons Nerves and Plimsouls, Case describes this collection as such: “The days pile up like snow drifts in Atlanta, & here we are—recombining & reclaiming the world from psychic & somnambulistic free-fall, one post-human block at a time: commuting on Interstate 10—winding through Exxon-lands Satanic Mills—learning to speak & see in the dark—driving with the lights on at noon in a Gulf Coast storm—writing in difficult circumstances—moments snatched ballpoint on three by five cards—seen from trains—planes—van windows & waiting room benches—throughout America, Australia & the U.K.—shared with each other & you for inspiration & to keep the words flowing—situations with friends & lovers—troubles & actions on the streets—who keeps the roads open if we’re shut down? who keeps the language alive if we go silent? Subterranean Hum proclaims pockets of resistance—coming up from under—scattered lights seen from the sky in the small hours—& nevertheless, was composed for KICKS!”


I was born in Houston and I went to college in Denton. I “grew up” in Dallas, and learned invaluable life lessons while living in Nashville, Austin, and Wimberley. Since 1999, I’ve lived in 31 different residences; I understand the plight of the Gypsy.

People and places are my greatest sources of inspiration.

I’ve seen the rain come down in Northern Ireland. I’ve ridden a motorcycle across the Sacred Valley in Peru. I spent entire summer drinking sangria in Spain under the guise of college credit. I’ve slept on the roof of a shanty in Hidalgo, Mexico and saw more stars than three lifetimes of a hundred people could count. I rode a bike 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in a single day, in the name of charity.

I prefer Whataburger to In and Out Burger.

I can usually blend quite well, but I rarely feel like I fit in. I have mixed feelings about this.

I’ve mowed lawns, I’ve delivered pizzas, and I’ve made lattes. I spent half a decade working in the corporate world. I’ve worked retail. I’ve hated working retail. I’ve waited tables, bartended, and pretended to be a freelance writer. I’ve been a day-laborer, worked a call center, and sold houses. I once ran a small event staffing company. I’ve even been paid to sing songs in all kinds of places.

I believe I can do almost anything for 6 months.

I taught myself how to play guitar. Some would say that explains a lot.

I have a certain affinity for college football and refer to any professional sports team in Houston as my own. I carry an abnormally large chip on my shoulder thanks to the 1993 Houston Oilers.

I’m afraid of heights, except when it comes to mountains. I’m also prone to paradox.

I have absolutely no interest in running a marathon. But I’ll cheer you on if that’s your thing.

I’ve loved more than I’ve lost.

I’ve lost as much as I’ve left.

I’m genuinely overwhelmed by the splendor of sunsets and the sheer size of the ocean. Conversely, I’m not impressed by reality stars.

I like good wine, good whiskey, and good food. And I believe good company makes all of them better.

I love to write.

I’m not cool. In my head, saying that makes me sound like maybe I am.

I’m better today than I was yesterday. And I’ll be better-still tomorrow.

I have the best friends and family anyone could ever ask for. Most of the time, I remember that. When I don’t, they remind me.

In a short amount of time I’ve been fortunate to play a lot of great rooms. One day maybe I’ll feel deserving.

More than anything, I’m thankful.

Record Ranch
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