Houston musicians share their essential songs to play at home
Need a little sound to get you moving?
Music venues are still shuttered across the city while many local artists are finding creative ways to perform and share content with fans. Many are hosting online shows with the ever present Venmo handles and merch websites (bands gotta eat!). Others are using this time to work on new music.
While we don't know when live music will return to the Bayou City, no doubt that first show back after stay at home orders lift will be absolute fire.
Until then, we had so many Houston acts send in their top five songs to listen to during quarantine that CultureMap has compiled Part II of our quarantine playlist. Put it on during that Zoom chat happy hours with friends, while cooking dinner, or working from your dining room table. Enjoy and wash those hands!
Paw Patrol: "Paw Patrol Theme Song" (Jose "Chapy" Luna, percussion) - This is my daughter's favorite song right now. Everything goes away when this song comes on. Singing out loud and dancing along to your favorite kids jams is something I hope every parent is doing during these times.
Caloncho: "Brilo Mio" (Michael Razo, trumpet) - My wife has been playing this song non-stop and it jams! It’s basically about being in love and doing anything for that person. Since we have been “hunkered down” in the house, I feel like we’re making up for lost time from the demands of being on tour, and it’s made our relationship even stronger.
The Police: "Message In A Bottle" (Kevin Bernier, guitar) - You can think of the bottle as a metaphor for our connections through social media - a way to communicate what we know and how we are feeling, and as a way of looking out for each other. Not only is it a great song from one of my very favorite bands ever, but it's one that is ultimately uplifting.
Ariel & Sean: “Honey” (John Durbin, trumpet) - Reminds me of when the sun starts to peek out behind the clouds then emerges fully. It’s light, refreshing, and has that uplifting vibe that makes you want to dance around your house while smiling!
The Wood Brothers: "Atlas" Juliet Terrill, bass) - It’s fun, it’s upbeat, and it reminds me to put my own oxygen mask on first before I try to go around saving everyone else!
Issac Hayes: "(They Long to Be) Close to You" (Kam Franklin, vocals) - I’m pretty sure this song helped me calm the hell down during this time. I slept on his Black Moses album. It’s magical. Pure magic. I’ve listened to it 3 times this week. Between him and Parliament, I’m in heaven right now. This song though, it’s slow as hell, black as hell, and vibey as hell.
George Benson: "Affirmation" (Nick Zamora, drums) - I used to fly a couple times a week for work and I saved this one for those flights where I was somehow sandwiched between the two guys even bigger than me on the plane. If your urge to kill is rising, this will lower it considerably. Jorge Dalto’s clavinet solo on it is rad.
The Suffers: "Better" - This is a song about second, third, and fourth chances. We’re all going through a roller coaster of anxiety right now, but whenever we perform this, we are reminded that we’re all in this together.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: We are currently in the middle of working on our third album. Creating in times like this is a bit bonkers, but we are making it work. Our tours have all been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but we’ll be back on the road as soon as we are allowed to make it work.
Jess Howard and Richie Alejandro, Mind Shrine
Mind Shrine: "5 Long Days" - It was our first time out of state as a band to finish some songs off of our recent EP. We had planned on working with an artist who offered to mix our songs and let us crash at his place [in Los Angeles]. The day of the departure he ghosted us without any explanation, we arrived at LAX, with literally no place to stay and from there, the inspiration came about.
Bobby Oroza: "Falling in Love" - This song has wonderful tones that we wish to replicate one day. It's a song to enjoy a sunny day.
Stevie Wonder: "For Once in My Life" - The vocals and harmonica solo in this song is at an all time high and shows the level of professionalism Stevie had at such a young age.
Video Age: "No Tomorrow" - '80s sounding pop with infectious leads, lyrics are strong on this one.
TOPS: "I Feel Alive" - This song has wonderful melodies and a chorus that sticks in your head all day. Short and sweet.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: New music video coming out for our new single, "5 Long Days." Next show is TBA, opening up for Glass Animals from the UK with two dates at The Aztec Theater in San Antonio.
Stevie Wonder: "Sir Duke” - I’ve always loved this tune and have turned to it many times before and lately to keep things positive. Also, I feel the message that music is something people all over the world connect to is something that is really prevalent and being shown to us during these times.
The Vaughan Brothers: "Tick Tock" - It's so positive. It’s a straight ahead pop tune, which is a different side of SRV [Stevie Ray Vaughan] or Jimmie Vaughan. The message is simple and uplifting, written about a dream one night where people started being kinder and helping one another.
Pinegrove: “Neighbor” - I’m a huge fan of this band. This specific song to me speaks of being kind to others and all life around you even if you don’t understand or agree with their actions always; and I think that we could all use a little bit of that mindset right now.
Stevie Ray Vaughan: "Riviera Paradise" - I’m going to double up on SRV picks. “Riviera Paradise” is simply a masterpiece to my ears, a calming tune that you can get lost in. It’s one of those songs to close your eyes and melt away with, providing some much needed comfort and meditation during these unpredictable times.
Clay Melton: “Rain" - I wrote this song five years ago, and it appears on our 2017 album, Burn the Ships. Listening today, I feel like the message of “Go away right now/I’m not who you’re looking for” says to me, “We can get through this, but all we can do right now is stay home when possible, enjoy your alone or family time and wait for this storm of a virus to pass.”
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: With the recent cancellation of every gig and gathering in the universe, I’m currently working my second full length record. We have exciting news to announce regarding studio collaboration and plans for release and tour later this year!
Fugees: "Killing Me Softly" (Gisselle Lizama, bass) - I love this song because its a throw back. The break down is amazing, and it definitely takes my mind to simpler times.
True Widow: “Four Teeth” (Nate Dietrich, guitar) - True Widow is a band that consistently sounds unique in their own brand of melancholy. I feel that this song sets an appropriate backdrop for the current climate.
Broncho: "Boys Got to Go” (Justin Martinez, drums) - My favorite tune lately because ya boy’s got to go back to work.
Air: "Empty House" (Valentina Daboin, vocals) - If you know, you know.
Goodgirl: “Purposeless” - Heavy tones, droning melody and chaotic lyrical content seem to express a lot of our inner monologues right now.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: No shows yet on the horizon, but we are working on a single from our respective isolation. This will be a dreamier bedroom style single and will be released in the coming months.
Trent Lira and Devin Will, Space Kiddettes
Perfume Genius: "Describe" (Trent's pick) - I’m always excited for what Perfume Genius is going to do next. He’s definitely up there for my all time faves and given all the singles so far this year I’m highly anticipating his upcoming full length release. This track is fresh and bold while also calling back to a bit of '90s alternative with a harrowing lead vocal. He’s perfection!
White Zombie: "El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blast-O-Rama" (Trent's pick) - I listen to Rob Zombie (or Rob Zombie adjacent content) at least once a day but lately this is the track that has been taking me there, you know? I listen to new singles and new music every week but sometimes, especially in times of distress, you really lean on those old faithfuls to keep me grounded.
Father John Misty: "I Love You, Honeybear" (Devin's pick) - It’s got this bittersweet feeling, like everything is falling apart, but the two characters in the song are grounded and comforted by their love for each other.
Orville Peck: "Winds Change" (Devin's Pick) - Orville Peck’s music has got this driving rhythm to it, and his baritone sounds so triumphant at times. It makes me want to see things through to the end.
LIZ: Cloudbusting (Maor Levi Remix) (SK Mutual Pick) - This already iconic cover got even better with this 2000s DJ Sammy spin on it! We recently asked LIZ personally why she chose to cover the song on her latest album and why she made it the opening track. She said she loved the story Kate Bush told with the song and that she related to it in such a deep way that she felt it would help introduce the world to what she was trying to create on the album and we couldn’t agree more!
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: We have livestream content weekly on our Instagram. LiveSpace on Mondays at 7 pm and Blood, Sweat & Tears on Thursdays at 7 pm. Our podcast, Space Case, has new episodes every Tuesday and our web series, Domestic Adventures: The Series, has new episodes the last Friday of the month on IGTV and YouTube.
Teresa Vicinanza, Tee Vee
Peggy Gou: "It Makes you Forget (Itgehane)" - There is something about the sounds that Peggy Gou makes, that makes me feel like I'm in a whole different world while staying indoors and away from the outside world.
Yaeji: "Waking Up Down" - This is my motivational song! The song that tells me I can still be productive every day even though I'm confined to certain spaces.
DJ Shadow and Nils Frahm: "Scars" - This track is meditative for me which is something I really need to practice during these trying times.
Tee Vee: "So Far" - I remember when I wrote it, I thought about that feeling when you're at Numbers or some place similar and you're in a room full of people dancing but you feel far away from everyone at the same time.
Toro y Moi: "Freelance" - Interpret this song however you want, but I saw an interview where Toro y Moi is talking about creativity and using technology as a tool and he said something about technology being no better or worse than actual life itself.
Latest project or upcoming show that hasn't been canceled: I'm currently working on a ton of new music. I have some shows scheduled in the future but considering the current status of public events everything is tentative at the moment.