Let's Meet Our Houston Press Artopia 2015 Bands

Rocks Off is excited to announce the musical lineup of Houston Press Artopia 2015, the quickest way to warm up your winter with an evening of the city's top visual and performance artists, fashion designers, purveyors of victuals and of course musicians. It all goes down 8 p.m. Saturday, January 24 at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter St.

The Artopia presale is available right now and runs through 10 a.m. this Friday, November 21; go to this link and enter the promo code ROCKSOFF. Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday at noon. (Prices start at $45 but consider the luxe VIP package, where you'll be swimming in swag.)

Now, let's meet our bands.

BLSHS are winding down a huge year that saw the synth-pop trio's stock within the local scene vault to blue-chip status. (Sorry, Marketplace was on in the car this morning.) The group played a number of high-profile local events including Free Press Summer Fest and Untapped, not to mention our own Houston Press Music Awards in August, where they took home glass LPs for Best New Act and Best Electronic Act.

The group has begun working on the followup to debut EP Abstract Desires, but last week announced they have put together a New Year's Eve "Masquerade Ball" at Fitz; free for ages 21 and up. Among the other acts scheduled to appear are Children of Pop, Teeel, Yung Slutty and...

Earlier this month New York City Queens were mentioned alongside Artopia alumni Young Mammals and Deep Cuts, as well as a number of other acts familiar to our readers, on multi-city lifestyle Web site Green Label's "10 Indie-Rock Bands From Houston You Need to Know About." Invoking Radiohead, Beach House and the Strokes, writer Alex Gomes said, "The band pretty much takes every type of rock...and blends it all together to create their own unique sound."

The Queens, winners of the first-ever HPMA Reader's Choice Award last year, have launched several successful nationwide tours off 2012 LP Burn Out Like Roman Candles. Last month, they announced on Facebook they are practically done with a followup, Glass Houses, which they describe as "an exploration of new sonic territory for us...while a departure from our previous two albums, this is definitely us." (Big congratulations to two band members, John Stephens and Daniela Hernandez, on their impending nuptials too.)

Our final Artopia act and a former HPMA Best Modern Rock winner, PuraPharm has gradually become known as one of the trippiest live acts in town. Fueled by Niki Sims' saxophone, Tessa Kole's Siouxsie-ish vocals and a passel of electronic effects, PuraPharm is one of the very few Space City acts carrying on the fine tradition of Curve and My Bloody Valentine. Scrolling through recent social-media updates, they appear to be putting the finishing touches on an upcoming 7" or EP. (Check this out.)

Also, catch a preview this Friday at Rudz with local newcomers Raceway and Empty Shells. Below, enjoy "Medicine Girl," perhaps a tribute to the great L.A. noise-pop trio.

If you can believe it, this will be Artopia's lucky No. 7. The other six installments amount to a recent timeline of the Houston music scene's top acts, so you can see what kind of company this year's bands are in. See you there!

2009: Karina Nistal, Arthur Yoria, Sideshow Tramps 2010: Runaway Sun, Benjamin Wesley, Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans 2011: Peekaboo Theory, Lee Alexander Trio, Grandfather Child 2012: Young Mammals, Finnegan, Folk Family Revival 2013: Bang Bangz, Bagheera (now Wrestlers), Poor Pilate 2014: Electric Attitude, Deep Cuts, Featherface

Details available at This is a 21 and up event.


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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray