Noose Left Outside Houston Singer's Home

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Photos courtesy of Erica Nichole
Artists are used to criticism, but nothing could have prepared Houston pop-jazz artist Erica Nichole for waking up to find a noose had been hung out side her home at South Rice and Chimney Rock over the weekend.

"I noticed it after I came home from my gig Friday night," says Nichole via email. "Basically, it wasn't there after my friend and I came into my apartment, and then an hour or so later, it was there. I have NO idea who would/could have done this. I have lived here 13 years, and NEVER had an incident like it."


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The Five Best Shows in Houston This Week: Wrestlers, John Legend, Rock Baby Rock It, etc.

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Photo by Jasmine Lee Richardson
DJ Sun
The Flat, July 21

On last year's One Hundred -- amazingly, his first-ever full-length release -- DJ Sun pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout. Its intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man and easily made it one of 2013's standout Houston albums.

Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running "Rocksteady Mondays" residency at the Flat, where he is now managing partner, is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work. CHRIS GRAY

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The 10 Best Concerts in Houston This Weekend: Jay Z & Beyoncé, Invincible Czars, New Mercies

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Photo by Robin Harper
Jay Z & Beyonce
Minute Maid Park, July 18

So far one of the biggest blockbuster tours of 2014, with a top ticket price of $251 to match, has not been a disappointment in terms of drama. Jay Z's elevator brawl with sister-in-law Solange made a fitting prologue, and then came Beyonce's recent onstage insinuations of her husband/partner's possible infidelity via some new lyrics to her B'Day song "Resentment."

Or it could all just be an act, part of the couple's carefully constructed bad-girl/boy personas for this "On the Run" summer outing. At the very least, Minute Maid Park should make a fine venue (as stadiums go) to catch two of the millennium's biggest pop stars at the peak of their considerable powers, with the added benefit of the Houston media going absolutely haywire with Beyonce sightings anytime the Beyhive's queen is back in her hometown.

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The Rocks Off 200: Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

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Photo by Lauren Holshouser
Who? Props to Deep Cuts' Chase Harris. Not only does he have a pretty astute bead on what goes on around the Houston music scene (as far as we can tell), he's the first person we've asked to join the Rocks Off 100/200 to give us five Desert Island Discs we've never heard of. He's also solved the mystery of Cat Power's odd behavior at Free Press Summer Fest 2013 for us. Well played, sir.

Harris' right-hand man in in the two-year-old group (a current HPMA Best Pop Act nominee) is his best friend/co-founder/collaborator Zach Alderman, with whom he's been tight since the two were four years old. If their band name somehow isn't a clue, Harris says he's been into music since about that age as well.

"I've loved music since I was a kid," Harris says. "My parents said when I was little I would go nuts listening to CCR's 'Susie Q.'"


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UPDATED: Seven Years of Lunaface: The Illest Promoters in Town

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Photos by Marco Torres
Lunaface founder Hector Del Valle
UPDATED (Tuesday, 2 p.m.): An earlier version of this article credited Lunaface for bringing Wu-Tang clan to Numbers in December 2010, which is not the case.

For the better part of the last decade, Lunaface Promotions has provided Houston music fans with top-notch showcases that range from classic hip-hop, rock en Español, legendary DJs, musica Latina, hardcore rap, local talent, and even jazz.

Founder Hector Del Valle is constantly in search of the next great show, something he learned from his years an an understudy of Jeff Messina and passing out flyers all through his twenties.

Lunaface celebrates its 7-year anniversary tonight with The God MC Rakim at Numbers (300 Westheimer). Here's a look of some of their highlights from the last seven years.


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The Rocks Off 200: Dave Callier, Grindcore Guitar God

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

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Photos by Stanislav Smrcak
Who? If you're at all interested in Texas' extreme-metal scene, you're going to run into Dave Callier at some point. A total sucker for unchecked speed and aggression, the guitarist serves as the front man for P.L.F., Houston's thrashiest international grindcore export.

The band just recently returned from a 32-date European tour promoting their new LP Ultimate Whirlwind of Incineration that took them from Barcelona to Moscow and every weird little hamlet in between. But one band could never be enough to contain all of Callier's hyperspeed riffs and mucous-burbling shrieks. He also fronts the speedy local death-metal standouts Oath of Cruelty and shreds brutally in the long-running blackened death outfit Morbosidad. If it's loud, fast and heavy, he's into it.


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Houston's 10 Best Dance Clubs 2014

Categories: Only In Houston

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Photos by Marco Torres
Grooving to the beat is all well and good and all, but sometimes when the music burrows deep into your veins, there's only one way to unleash that energy...and that is to get down on it, shake your bombon and boogie. Houston is filled with a plethora of dance meccas, where our fellow citizens go to forget the stress of life and get sweaty on the dance floor, one club anthem at a time.

In order to create this list, we pulled from our own experience of covering the nightlife scene in the H, and also surveyed our social-media friends for their input in order to create a more well rounded selection. Thus, we present to you Houston's Top 10 Dance Clubs 2014.


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The Five Best Shows in Houston This Week: Rakim, Lady Gaga, the Neighbourhood, etc.

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Photo courtesy of South Central Music
John Egan
The Big Easy, July 14

Give John Egan credit for taking chances. The longtime solo Houston bluesman's new album, Amulet, is in some respects the polar opposite of its 2012 predecessor, Phantoms. Besides bringing in a few side musicians and respected Americana producer R.S. Field (Billy Joe Shaver, Webb Wilder),

Egan has expanded his songwriting reach to include Latin-tinged jazz and melancholy pop, showing he's less reliant on his Resonator guitar's unforgiving tone but comfortable keeping the instrument as his anchor. The end result is a softer mood than Phantoms, whose songs sometimes showed visibly bared teeth, but Amulet's overall disquieting feel suggests Egan has done little to ward off the same tormentors who were after him last time. CHRIS GRAY

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Hearts of Animals' Mutation Poses a Beautiful Puzzle

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One of my favorite things about reviewing music in Houston is that you don't just appreciate or criticize the music the city produces. You solve it like a video-game puzzle...if you're lucky. How can someone really stand up and try to do a conventional review of a P.L.X.T.X. album? That's not dancing about architecture, it's more like trying to describe the beauty of a butterfly to a blind water snake by putting it in one of Jigsaw's traps.

Case in point: Mlee Marie Mains and her wild band, of which she is sometimes the only member, Hearts of Animals. The woman is brilliant, and so is the music on her latest album, Another Mutation.


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Here's Where Houston Whatever Fest Came From

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andrewwk.com
Scheduled HWF performer Andrew WK already gives the new festival a big thumbs-up.
If you happened to head down to Lucky's Pub during the height of this year's World Cup action, you probably noticed the district around BBVA Compass Stadium, the several apartment blocks in the area and Warehouse Live has become one of those thriving urban pockets that so-called "livable city" advocates always talk about. Turns out it's even got its own nickname, the "EaDo Party Park."

Wednesday afternoon word started circulating on social media of a new music festival in this Party Park, which longtime Warehouse Live talent buyer Jason Price confirmed to us Thursday morning. Dubbed "Houston Whatever Fest," the two-day indoor/outdoor event is scheduled for August 9 and 10 at a most reasonably price: $55 for a two-day pass.

The HWF lineup currently features some some thirtysomething performers, predominantly hard rock, punk, indie and electronica, with outliers like female rapper Kreayshawn, New Orleans funkateers the Rebirth Brass Band and a reunion of popular Houston DJ crew the Boys and Girls Club. But plans also call for HWF to put almost as many comedy acts onstage, making it a kissin' cousin to Austin's popular Fun Fun Fun Fest.


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