These Bands Know Mental Health Is Serious Business

The Walk for Mental Health Awareness Houston is a nonprofit organization that hosts events to, as the name implies, raise awareness for mental-health issues in the Houston area.

This is an issue that is close to my heart, so I'm happy to report that The Walk will be hosting a benefit show called Rockin' For a Cause tomorrow night at Fitzgerald's featuring Mellow Riot, Cassette Tape, Soul Creatures, Handsomebeast and the Trimms.

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Will H-Town Acts Impress Mile High City Fans?

Nick and his new CD, straight from Houston
My ongoing commitment to the young adults I parent is strong. Occasionally, it leads to weekends like one late last month, which included 30-plus hours of driving to and from Denver to help my daughter, who lives in nearby Boulder.

Errands aside, my wife and I had about six waking hours in the Mile High City, which wasn't much, but was enough to check out the music scene. It was a perfect weekend for that, since the Denver Post was holding its annual Underground Music Showcase. Better known as "UMS," it brought together dozens of Denver's best local acts, plus regional and national artists, like People Under the Stairs and Blonde Redhead.

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The Deep Roots of Houston House Music

Categories: Local Motion

Photo by Carlos A. Martinez, courtesy of Extended Play
Extended Play: the re-mix
About six weeks ago, I met with some notable figures to get the real story of Houston's house-music scene. And, as I've learned since the first half of this blog ran, still others are waiting to tell their stories and fill in the blanks even this trio of respected artists missed.

For me, this all started with an article about two Houston brothers who were entirely new to producing house music. They wanted to find and maybe learn from some of the city's EDM talent, especially artists who were producing original house music.

It didn't take long for Josh Dupont, Eddie Spettro and James Reed to step forth. They collectively bring music to the masses at regular gigs at Boondocks, Jet Lounge, Royal Oak, The Davenport and elsewhere. Outside the city they've played major shows too, most recently the Denver 2014 Winter Showcase, hosted by Beatport's Beta Nightclub.

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Houston House Music 101: An Extended DJ Summit

Categories: Local Motion

Photo courtesy of Extended Play
L-R: Josh Dupont and Eddie Spettro of Extended Play
Recently, I blogged about two brothers who are professional accountants by day and amateur electronic dance music producers by night. It was a story about doing something outside the box and finding and fostering the creativity within us, no matter what we do to pay the bills. It was about how music brings people together, which should generally be celebrated.

I was a bit surprised when my quaint little blog brushfired with heated vilification normally reserved for stuff like Mein Kampf and that poetry book Jewel wrote. Some people were unnecessarily rude in their critiques of the brothers' work. Some were at least funny -- no, the McFadden Brothers aren't my coke dealers. And at least one offered a serious invitation to learn more about EDM in Houston.

That invitation came from Josh Dupont, a fixture in the local dance-music scene. He agreed to arrange a summit of sorts, a sit-down with some of the city's most successful DJs and producers. Since I'd already covered the exploits of a pair of upstarts, I agreed it would be good to know more about the people who have toiled to establish Houston's electronic-music scene.

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Look Out, Boy DJs of Houston: Here Come the Girls

Photos courtesy of Here Come The Girls
At their first gig ever, a funny thing happened to Here Come The Girls.

The boys came running.

"It was a bit hectic getting all of the gear set up and we had guys coming up to us all night fixing our levels on the mixer," says co-founder Darenda Weaver. "We thought it was really funny because if it had been a male up there DJing, people would likely expect him to know what he was doing or tell him to fix the levels rather than touching his gear. It was just all in all a fun night, so we decide to book some more shows."

Since then, Houston's all-female DJ group has cut out the kinks and built up an audience from shows at MKT Bar, Eastdown Warehouse, Big Top Lounge and the like. This Sunday the group kicks off their second year together with a noon-5 p.m. showcase at Pop Shop Houston, 1657 Westheimer.

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Children of Pop at Cactus Music, 3/1/2014

Photos by Alyssa Dupree
Children of Pop
Cactus Music
March 1, 2014

One week removed from their album-release pizza party at House of Creeps, Saturday Houston's Children of Pop welcomed a sizable crowd to a mid-day Cactus Music in-store amid rows of music merchandise and the infamous keg of Saint Arnold.

The band kicked off by working through the noise of the latter half of debut full-length Fiesta/Drift before truly finding their bearings on "Power From the Sun." Because the song structures of Fiesta/Drift balance rock and electronica so carefully, it's became evident that it's going to be hard to pigeonhole them as one thing or another. It's not easy to balance two genres as bold and diverse as those two, but Children of Pop found a way to work through dreamy synth parts before jumping head-first into heavy, intricate guitar playing on songs like "I Know" and "Build a Home."

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Children of Pop Is Throwing You a Pizza Party

Last year was a busy year for Houston's Children of Pop. So busy, in fact, that the act never had time to host an official release party for its latest album, Fiesta/Drift, which was voted one of Rocks Off's top local albums of 2013.

But that's all about to change when Children of Pop hosts the official Fiesta/Drift Tape Release Pizza Party tonight at Houston House of Creeps. So it seemed there was no better time to sit down and find out more about this local act that has been making waves on a national scale.

Of course, getting to know Children of Pop means checking expectations at the door. Though the act can be considered a "band," it's actually the brainchild and persona of one Houston local who prefers to remain nameless in the press. When asked why, his answer is simple enough.

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At Houston Tattoo Shops, "Nothing Gets Done Unless Music Is Playing"

Photo courtesy of Electric Chair Tattoo
Stephanie Purnell inks a RIPPER band member
Late last year, I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas and she said she wanted the entire family to get tattooed together.

It was so much easier when I could just buy her a Barbie dream house and be done with it; but, as she'd just left home to live on her own, how could I deny her? It was tougher to convince Mrs. Sendejas this was a fine idea, but was managed and so off we all went one Friday evening to get inked.

At nearly 50, I had no tattoos on my body until last month. I'd been in tattoo shops before, of course. One thing I appreciated about them was that they always had music going. I'd heard better music in some tattoo shops than I'd heard in bars or other music venues on occasion.

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Meet the McFadden Brothers, Houston's EDM Accountants

Ryan (L) and Kyle McFadden, a.k.a. Kyle Dux
I once wrote here how my kids work at being musicians. Their hand-to-mouth life demands and modest success mean they don't have to bus tables for a living.

But many Houston musicians do work for the man. Admirably, they create and perform music by night, then do the day job. For many, it's changing tires at the auto shop or stocking shelves at Guitar Center.

Or, in the case of the McFadden brothers, Kyle and Ryan, it's the staid corporate work of accounting. Over the past year, these honest-to-Pete siblings have joined forces to create original, Houston-based electronic dance music. Under the banner of Kyle Dux -- yes, that's a nod to Bloodsport's larger-than-life hero, Frank Dux -- they focus on house music and hope to help advance a local EDM scene that seems too small for a city this large.

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Melodic Ingredients: Music at the Saint Arnold One Pot Showdown

Thumbnail image for onepot1560.jpg
Photos by Adrian Sendejas
The Confused Bavarians, One Pot Showdown contestants

My brother, Anthony, enjoys cooking and he is also quite good at it. I enjoy drinking beer and am also quite good at that.

So, Saint Arnold Brewery's One Pot Showdown seemed like a great, local event to partake in to boast our respective talents. Last Sunday afternoon, we joined 80 teams, all gathered to fix the best meal possible, cooked with Saint Arnold beer and entirely prepared - from start to finish - in one, single pot.

Weeks of debate over what to serve ensued. Gumbo? Etouffee? Chili? We couldn't decide.

But, the one ingredient we all agreed upon was music. Whatever we chose to prepare for Houston's fun-hungry would be served with a big side helping of musical deliciousness. As we've done for countless tailgates and family picnics, we devised a playlist to entertain ourselves and those we hoped would gather around our booth.

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