Thursday, March 25, 2010

Houston Twestival at Caroline Collective today

posted by Mills-McCoin @ 11:55 AM

Are you on Twitter? No, you're not? But why not? You hate it and want to die a gruesome and violent death? Well too bad because this still concerns you.
Today, "people in hundreds of cities around the world will come together offline to rally around the important cause of Education by hosting local events to have fun and create awareness. Twestival™ (or Twitter Festival) uses social media for social good. All of the local events are organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of all ticket sales and donations go direct to projects."
The site for Houston's Twestival is Caroline Collective. Beer, food, music, Twitter, TwitterAnonymous signup sheets and people that look exactly like their avatars.

For more information and set times for the bands... Touch This.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Space Jam : Occupancy laws in Houston are bad for business and the environment

posted by Free Press Houston @ 1:48 PM

By Omar Afra
There is a glaring contradiction in the City of Houston’s ordinances regarding occupancy for buildings.  For those who do not know, every public building which houses a business is issued a certificate of occupancy which states what the maximum capacity of individuals allowed to be in the building at any given time. Now, of course we want local government to ensure that buildings only hold the amount of people that can safely fit. You don’t want 65 overweight people crammed in a 10-person elevator, naturally. But there are some critical flaws in the way our City determines the occupancy of each building and it is unfortunately based more on business and transit than it is safety. Most importantly, capacity is determined by the City first and foremost based upon the available parking. The ordinance requires that a restaurant must have eight parking spaces per 1,000 square feet and bars are required to have ten spaces for a square footage. Keep in mind this does not include public parking on streets. For example, a retail store or a restaurant, which has the actual capacity of 100 people, could be given occupancy of only 12 people if it has only 3 parking spots.  So what about bike riders and walkers? People who ride the bus or even the light rail? You got it: the city makes no such allowances. You could have bike racks to facilitate 100 riders yet not get any additional occupancy.  Even businesses on Main St. where the light rail runs are faced with this dilemma. Surprisingly enough, the Montrose area was recognized by Walk Score as the ‘2nd Most Walkable’ neighborhood in all of the United States.  Then why are local businesses forced to use an antiquated method of create transit through their place of business?  Calls made to the City’s Occupancy office were at first passed around once we inquired about making allowances for bicycles, mass transit, and foot traffic.  Phone calls to the City’s Occupancy Permit office were bounced around and met with an anonymous chorus of  "I don’t know why bike riders and mass transit does not equal more occupancy." I also got this nugget of wisdom,  “We don’t care one way or the other if someone walks or rides a bike, we still need parking spots cause you can’t guarantee bike riders.”  This is a battle fought long and hard by local business people and entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily rely on automobiles for the lion’s share of the customers. Ziggy’s Healthy Grill on Taft at Fairview is in danger of being shut down by the city for their lack or parking as they were previously leasing an adjacent lot but the lease has since expired. But Ziggy’s lies smack dab in the middle of a dense neighborhood and could rely exclusively on foot traffic to sustain their business.  Even businesses on the infamous light rail line on Main St. are immune to this inconsistency in the law. Remember Main Street Improv? It was a grassroots run comedy club and event space. They hosted many upstart comedians in Houston as well as he famed Bill Hicks Ressurrection Society. After a long fight with the city, they were forced to close doors as they had too little parking. Solutions for Hair on Westheimer near Woodhead has fought a protracted battle with the city as they have required him multiple parking spots per salon chair. Why someone getting a trim and color correction needs to arrive with 3 cars is beyond me but I am sure the city has an explanation. Or maybe not. When quizzed about this strange requirement, anonymous city officials said, “ Houston is a driver’s city. People need to park. If you don’t like it, call the mayors office.” Well, calls to the Mayor’s office about this subject have yet to be returned. Giving the new and obviously busy Parker administration the benefit of the doubt, I imagine she has much to tackle this soon into her stay in the Mayor’s Office. But the problem remains and it is in complete contradiction with the vision she so deftly laid out for the city.  The meta-narrative is that federal government is the one setting up obstacles for small business owners. But this is a great opportunity for our new mayor to help get the city out of the way of entrepreneurs while stimulating green practices.
The inconsistencies in the laws fly in the face of efforts to make Houston a less car reliant city.  The last several mayors have made relieving traffic congestion a priority and made them cornerstones of their election platforms. Why not encourage bike riders, walkers, and mass transit through our city’s business practices? Cafes, shops, and bars often shape neighborhoods and if there is a place within walking distance people will walk.  Additionally, many businesses rely on bikers and walkers now as opposed to some distant hope for the future. Luckily enough, Café Brasil on Dunlavy has a building old enough that it falls under a Grandfather Clause, which allows it to operate without private parking. They rely heavily on neighborhood walkers, bike riders, and public street parking. After Houston getting such poor Green ratings from several national sources on recycling, transit, and air quality, it makes sense to move in this direction.
Ultimately, a change in the ordinances has the potential to take cars off the roads, encourage a few people to talk a brisk walk, and maybe, just maybe, allow the City Occupancy office to spend more of its precious time on other pressing matters.

And we're back!

posted by Free Press Houston @ 1:47 PM

Sorry guys, Blogger issues had us unable to update..but we are back and will be on it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bluegrass Pickin'

posted by b.s. @ 10:58 AM

On Tuesday March 9th, Avant Garden presents The Soft Legs Tour ( with special guests Oh Clementine!, Able Windham, and Eric Todd. Soft Legs is three Tennessee songwriters (Joe Garner, Randolph Robinson, and Matt Haeck) who have teamed up for a singularly unique musical experiment. Soft Legs is not a ‘band’ in the traditional sense of the word. On stage Garner, Robinson, and Haeck each sit with their acoustic guitars and trade songs and talk with each other and the audience in a sort of songwriter’s circle that creates a genuine intimacy that is sometimes rare in the world of popular music, an experience that feels more like a workshop or an evening with close friends than a traditional rock concert.

With tones that immediately recall deck chairs, fireflies, and easy laughter, The Soft Legs Tour brings with it all the pastoral candor and charm that West Tennessee has to offer. The trio’s layered vocal harmonies and catchy southern hooks threaten to carry you away on a river of honesty and hopeful longing for the possible and impossible alike. Individually, Joe Garner, Randolph Robinson, and Matt Haeck all have solo careers of their own, but together they each provide a seamless compliment to the others’ unique skill sets. This is their second such tour, and, in addition to this Houston show, they will be playing SXSW dates on March 17th and 18th.

Oh Clementine! is the solo project of former Sew What instrumentalist and singer Rachel Toombs. A Houston native, Toombs’ enigmatic lyrics and fanciful melodies have helped her carve out a niche for herself as one of the real gems of the Houston music scene. An experience not to be missed, this will only be Rachel’s second show as Oh Clementine! and will certainly be a distinct pleasure for anyone lucky enough to catch it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


posted by Free Press Houston @ 4:28 PM

Where do I even start with this Brooklyn band? No words that I could ever write to appraise this band will ever amount to what they are. If this is your first time to know about this band then congratulate yourself and give yourself a pat on the back for finding this blog. They are The Drums.

Interview with Jonathan Pierce (vocals)

Jacob:To my knowledge The Drums have not done any heavy touring in the US, but you guys seem to love Europe. Could this because of the label that is supporting you?

Jonathan: No, we have only done one tour to date, and that was last month in the UK and Europe. We do like Europe a lot, but the reason we toured there first is because things are moving even faster there for The Drums. There is huge excitement for us, so it made sense to tour there. We did some light US mini tours, I guess, but nothing full-blown. That is coming soon.

Jacob: And I see that you guys are selling out at every show over seas! How does it feel to be a new band and to be doing this well at such a fast rate?

Jonathan: It is pretty surreal. I mean, since this band's first show was last May in NYC, we were sorta plunged into the deep end. We feel lucky because we are being received all over the world, and have never once had to compromise anything. We do only what we want to do, really. Only what feels right.

Jacob: Now you guys are performing Austin's very own SXSW will you guys be touring to this parade or will you be flying out because I see just after this you guys are going back to Europe.

Jonathan: No, we have a lot to do in NYC over the next two weeks, so we are flying in. I wish we could drive. I love being on the road in America, it's like being in a movie.

Jacob: Not to get fanboy on ya but you have not been around for very long and just off that record I can say you guys are my favorite band right now. How do you feel that this might be a lot of people's opinion on your band right now.

Jonathan: Well thanks. That's very nice of you to say. If we are a lot of peoples favorite band, well, I think that's really nice, but you should check out The Smith Westerns. Those guys are cool.

Jacob: When I listen to your record I hear The Cure, Joy Division, and The Smiths. These were bands that were formed when we were just lads and now it's 2010 and your band has decided to pick up that style and rejuvenate that sound. Do you suppose this is why the media is creating all the hype that you guys well deserve?

Jonathan: Maybe... But I think it's more about a band finally not caring about production or even genre really and just focusing on The Song again. Everyone forgot about The Song and we are doing our best to bring it back. Simple and classic. I think what happens is everyone who starts a band these days tries to be really edgy and hip and new and weird, and we are actually anti-edgy. We rely on classic songwriting and classic melodies and classic subject matter. Tried, true, and pure.

Jacob: So this is your first SXSW. What are you hoping to bring on stage that will set apart from other bands?

Jonathan: We just try to keep things as simple as possible. We are very enthusiastic about what we are doing, so hopefully that shines through.

Jacob: When not performing during this week what bands do you guys want to check out?

Jonathan: I'd like to see Best Coast and The Smith Westerns.

Jacob: And last, what upcoming bands are you guys diggin' on that you guys learned about from your Europe tours.

Jonathan: Nighthawke!

THE DRUMS will be performing at SXSW at the following venues:
Friday 19 March - THE FADER FORT @ 3:45pm (FREE IF YOU RSVP)
Friday 19 March - NME Showcase at Latitude @ 1:00am (BADGE PEEPS GO IN FIRST)
Saturday 20 March - with Minus the Bear at Stubb's @ 10:00pm (expect to pay $20) (heads up on this twitter to get the updates on the RSVP)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rodeo Schmodeo - Your Weekend Starts Now!

posted by Free Press Houston @ 12:42 PM

By Anna Garza

Urban cowboys and cowgirls, saddle up. Fasten one hand tightly to the flat braided rope and get a good grip because starting tonight, there will be a show every night until the end of this weekend that will attempt to buck you off el toro quicker than Wes Hightower manning the mechanical bull at Gilley's.

THURSDAY March 11:

Loyal readers (all three of you – including my mother) might remember the interview I conducted with Sandy Ewen & Ms. YET a few weeks ago. Tomorrow night you can witness, firsthand, their esoteric configuration of guitar and belly dance. The recent addition of videographer, Christopher Nelson, has added a new dimension pushing the limits beyond sound and movement into Extended Techniques.

Opening the show is the all girl band sensation, Strawberry Watermelon. Contrary to an earlier report floating around the internetz, this is not their debut show. I should know. I am in the band. Fans of dissonance and experimental /improvisational music with an appreciation for Pauline Oliveros will find solace in, with, and around Strawberry Watermelon.

Sound Exchange 1846 Richmond @ Hazard. 8pm. Free. BYOB.

FRIDAY March 12:

The legendary man in a mask and cape is back. No, not Batman... Blowfly! It makes perfect sense for Blowfly to return with his repertoire of raunchy funk jams and play a show centered on naked bicycle riders and bike smut. Ain't America great!?! Don't fight the funk. Peddle yo booty to superhappyfunland and smother Blowfly (and the 12 other bands on the bill) with some southern hospitality.

Complete line-up:

Houston Organizational Rally for World Naked Bike Ride Day

Joe Firstman (Los Angeles)

Midtown Dickens (North Carolina)

Beloved Binge (North Carolina)

Bike Porn 3: Cycle Bound - Film screening 11pm - (no one under 17 admitted)


SHFL 3801 Polk St.

The Hell City Kings are throwing a record release party and handing out free 7"(with admission) as a party favor. Helping the Kings celebrate the release of their Wolf EP are White Rhino, Shit City High and The Wrong Ones. Speaking of their new EP, a review written by yours truly will be posted on this site in the very near future. Until then, go to Mango's, pay the cover, grab your free 7", and drink beers until you forget about your crappy life. Corey Haim would have wanted it that way.

What can be said about Fernando ZlatanCopWarmthTheTakesSomosuno Alejandro that hasn't been said already? The guy radiates everlasting kosmic energy. If Fernando doesn't have a smile on his face, something is wrong with the Universe. It is only fitting to celebrate the birth of this wunderkind before his official date of birth. Fernando's band, SOMOSUNO, will lead the chorus of ¡Feliz cumpleaños! along with Caddywhompus and sIngs.

The Green House (Speak easy on Nance St) 9pm. $4.

Xiu Xiu, Noveller and Girl in a Coma are playing at Warehouse Live. Lots of people care about these bands but, with all due respect, I am not one of them.

Warehouse Live. All ages.

SATURDAY March 13:

Pace yourself for this show because you don't want to do something stupid like get too drunk during the first two or three bands; then pass out under the sink in the ladies room and miss the rest of the lineup.


Walter's on Washington 4215 Washington Ave. Doors @ 5pm All Ages $10

SUNDAY March 14:

Looking for a perfect, low-key ending to your perfect, out of control weekend? Search no further, my friends. A house show featuring the haunting, dark and rich melodies of Inoculist, Golden Arrow Holy Face and Wols set the tone for a serene and tranquil Sunday night.

3910 Driscoll. Free. BYOB.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Test 123

posted by Free Press Houston @ 7:24 AM

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla lacinia faucibus lacus, sit amet fringilla eros tincidunt eu. Mauris posuere rhoncus risus, eu sollicitudin odio molestie at. Morbi est velit, tempor eu consequat sed, dictum sit amet arcu. Integer blandit ligula in velit pretium quis sodales libero porta. Curabitur ornare odio vel sem ultrices at venenatis nisl viverra. Aliquam vitae augue sed justo luctus consequat vel ut nunc. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Praesent massa nibh, rhoncus at faucibus sed, vehicula at felis. Morbi sem mi, fringilla nec semper sit amet, suscipit a turpis. Pellentesque vitae elit est, at mattis magna. Nunc quis tempor elit. Quisque cursus, nunc non sagittis euismod, purus metus volutpat nisl, vel sagittis erat justo quis massa. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas.

Monday, March 8, 2010


posted by Free Press Houston @ 4:52 PM

by Johnny DiBlasi

In a non-descript red brick house nestled in the maze of Houston’s bohemia, Michael Brims’ “A Video-Centric Exhibit” flickered through a maze of stark white walls, casting ominous. The pieces commanded space, talking to each other-- the kind of scene depicted in Fahrenheit 451 where family and friends have a conversation from giant screens in Guy’s mother’s house. Surprisingly, the show consisted entirely of video works-- something I rarely see at art functions here in Houston. I hope that Michael Brims show is a sign that we will continue to see more events that fully utilize video and digital media without regards to outdated and tired (and yet prevalent) traditions of art. Video works may supplement photography one day, but for now I am happy to see digital media employ experimental uses for HD monitors and projectors. Using different shapes, sizes and orientations, some screens in “A Video-Centric Exhibit” were hung like paintings with a frame while others were placed on pedestals.
Like fellow German artist Joseph Beuys, Brims’ own body is central to his videos. Stubbles, Nipple and Vertical Ear focus and zoom in on body parts in HD, creating pink and orange hairy landscapes. Here the body was a formal focus, a coarse substrate. I wonder how much more time and effort is going to go into masking and covering up the body’s imperfections in television and film shot in HD, all for the sake of keeping up with an unrealistic standard of beauty.
Relatively quiet, the audio added little to the bodily landscapes in most pieces. Two Untitled works gazed at each other from across the room, focused on close-ups of the artist’s face, lying down, and thinking. The silence, slow movements, blinking eyes and shifts in posture gave the work a meditative quality. Suddenly the calm was broken with Laughter from the other room; a close up of Brims laughing in an exaggerated tone stood gigantic on the wall.
I appreciated Brims’ ability to narrow in on a single function of the moving image. With degrees from the University of Munich and Houston, his influences have produced a vision that is straightforward and gothic, simple but mysterious. “A Video-Centric Exhibit” isolated and addressed what Deleuze dubbed the Movement Image, while completely disregarding the Time Image. The works functioned almost as photographs. With no narrative, Brims stripped his videos of a key function of the moving image and subverted normal viewing habits-- so often produced and packaged for us. Experimental video questions these systems of media and force viewers to think about what one is tuning into throughout the day. What are you tuning into today?

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Malcolm, Less Martin

posted by Free Press Houston @ 6:24 PM

I have touched on this before but I have to revisit the recent concept of 'DIY'; the hip new abbreviation of 'Do it yourself'. It baffles my mind that people keep giving themselves gold stars for being 'DIY'. But who else can do something for you other than yourself? Mom? Did she do that diorama for your 2nd grade science class? Understand, 'DIY' is a concept that only exists with artists and musicians that are Anglo-Americans who are probably dressing down to hide their affluence. Never do you hear artists in the hip-hop community touting their DIY adventures. They have been 'doing it themselves' from the get go. So please, stop getting on your soapbox and telling people how you deserve some honorable distinction by actually being self reliant. Speaking of self reliance, our buddy Malcolm X is on the cover of this issue courtesy of Houston poster art progenitor Jermaine Rogers. Jermaine has done several covers for us over the years yet not in quite some time. We are honored to have his work gracing our cover again. This punk rock depiction of Malcolm X is sort-of our 'better late than never' tribute to Black History Month. Malcolm X's writings on self-reliance and defiance of tyranny were some very important stepping stones on my ideological journey. Yet, my post-adolescent fervor for firebrands like Malcolm has ebbed and flowed. In recent year's I have ascribed to more pacifist teachings attributed to MLK or Gandhi. But fact of the matter is, neither of those men scared my white in-laws. So today we salute you Malcolm X. Keep on scaring them white devils.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Your weekend starts NOW!

posted by Free Press Houston @ 9:38 AM

By Anna Garza

Thursday March 4, 2010

Tonight is your last chance to wish B L A C K I E a bon voyage before he embarks on a tour which will lead him over spacious skies, through amber waves of grain, across purple mountain majesties and above the fruited plains.

RAPEWORM & WIFE will give their kind regards via live performances; it will be up to you to do your part. Don't hate, participate. B L A C K I E is blowin' up and you better catch him so you can say you knew him back when.

B E T H E R E (all caps, with spaces)!!


1816 CALUMET $5 8PM.

After the Calumet show, do not go home. Go directly to Roc Bar. YES, ROC BAR!!

Tonight is a special SHOCK TREATMENT featuring the raw, rowdy, sleazy sounds and antics of the Born Liars and No Talk. I can smell the whiskey emanating Jimmy Sanchez’ breath already. Chances are extremely high you may have to call in to work the next morning but it will be oh so worth it. Trust me.

Roc Bar 530 Texas Avenue 10pm

Friday March 5, 2010

Nameless Sound continues to produce stellar shows. Presented in collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Houston; An extremely prolific artist, Maja Ratkje’s wide-ranging creativity has been revealed in an explosion of work over the past 15 years. Ratkje is an artist who clearly sees no boundaries. She is a free improvisor, but also a composer for other musicians. Her primary instruments are voice and electronics. But her astonishing vocal dexterity and range of sounds might confuse the listener as to which they are hearing. Her conservatory training may be clearly evident in much of her work; but her credentials for noise-making would not be debated by many. But this particular noise, while truly anarchic, has a beautifully detailed and meticulous quality. There is a personal humor and strange beauty that mark her work across the board, affirming Ratkje as an artist whose uniqueness and personality are identifiable in any context (regardless of medium.

The caliber and wide-range of her work can be testified by a list of her collaborators and ensembles, who include: SPUNK, Trinacria, Jaap Blonk, Jazzkammer, Frode Haltli, Jaga Jazzist, Carlos Giffoni, Paal Nilssen-Love, Ikue Mori, Matmos, Zeena Parkins, Otomo Yoshihide, and Fe-mail.

The tightly focused clarity in the duo of Frode Haltli and Trgyve Seim is expressed with an austere beauty worthy of their famed record label, ECM.

Frode Haltli is placed firmly among the small and distinguished individualists who have made the case for the accordion as a distinct medium for the investigation of modern consonance and dissonance. But in spite of his ‘new-music’ credentials, Haltli’s sound is one of direct and simple beauty, with a range of colors that contain trace evidence of folk forms and echoes of a Nordic tonality.

The serene and controlled saxophone of Trgyve Seim had its original inspiration in the ‘Nordic Sound’ of ECM stalwart Jan Garbarek. But Seim has distinct warmth and expression that are all his own. His compositions are perfectly balanced; exhibiting a focus on the composite whole of their parts. Seim not only transcends influence; he erases categorical markers of ‘jazz’ and ‘new music’, forging a unique, intimate, and direct type of chamber music.

Frode Haltli - (Norway) accordion
Trygve Seim - (Norway) saxophone
Maja Ratkje - (Norway) voice, electronics

Maya Ratkje:
Frode Haltli:
Trygve Seim:

Norway House 3410 West Dallas. FREE.

Saturday March 6, 2010

You don't have to wear sweatshop made clothes to have a good time. You can dance and party all night at Mango's with a guilt free conscious supporting a good cause and good bands.

Sweat Free Houston Benefit:

Muhammad Ali

Giant Princess

Ghormeh Sabzi

Cop Warmth

Rape Worm


Mango's 403 Westheimer 8:00pm $5.00