Thursday, May 6

Eight Houston music releases you need to hear in 2021


(Top row) Andrew Karnavas, Haunter, Bigg Fatts, Crank Up the Silence; (bottom row) Imagine Box, J-Mike, Lizi Bailey, Something Else.

Photo: photo collage

New year, new music.

A slate of heavyweights — including Adele, Ed Sheeran, Travis Scott and Rihanna — are expected to release new projects in 2021. But if we narrow the focus a bit, there’s a city full of talent waiting to occupy space on your Spotify playlists.

Several Houston acts are readying singles and albums this year. Some have already been released. And per usual, they range from pop to rock to hip-hop. Here are eight that you should pay attention to.

Andrew Karnavas

Photo: courtesy

1. Andrew Karnavas

Title: “Sound of the Future”

The song is “set in a dystopian future where people frequent oxygen bars and dance with robots that have taken their jobs,” Karnavas says. “Spinning in a ‘Blade Runner’ nightclub near you.”

Release date: Out now

Houston rapper J-Mike

Photo: courtesy / courtesy

2. J-Mike

Title: “Way Up”

J-Mike calls his new single a hip-hop “anthem of perseverance, on a hype, trap-style beat with fire lyrics.”

Release date: Out now

Lizi Bailey

Photo: Daniel Karr

3. Lizi Bailey

Title: “Run Away”

This song was composed, recorded, mixed and mastered at home. It’s described as a “chilling, haunting, thought-provoking” song with “supernatural depth.”

Release date: January

Crank Up the Silence

Photo: Dianny Henriquez

4. Crank Up The Silence

Title: Singles “Amygdala” and “Falling Through the Clouds”

This new rock band plans to shake up the local scene with a series of original songs.

Release date: February

Houston band Haunter

Photo: Zach Alan / Zach Alan

5. Haunter

Title: “Illuminate”

The pop/rock single was produced and co-written by Grammy-nominated producer Tyler Smyth and should appeal to fans of Ellie Goulding, Imagine Dragons and Demi Lovato. “We wanted to write about those quiet moments when you breathe in and realize you’ve fallen hopelessly in love,” says guitarist Enoma Asowata. “Something in the way your partner looks at you just ignites this fire. We’re fascinated by that magic.”

Release date: Feb. 25

Houston rapper Bigg Fatts

Photo: courtesy / courtesy

6. Bigg Fatts

Title: “The Mill Prep”

“This album is about being ready for success, preparing yourself for everything that you’ve been working for,” rapper Fatts says. It features Z-Ro, Dougie D, Killa Kyleon, Ronnie Spencer and others.

Release date: Spring

Isaias Degollado/Imagine Box

Photo: courtesy

7. Imagine Box

Title: “Songwriter’s Notebook”

Electronic music with a groove and pop vibe, grounded in standard form to showcase songwriting skills.

Release date: March 22

Indie-rock band Something Else from Houston.

Photo: courtesy

8. Something Else

Title: TBD

Catchy rock with some retro punk and garage flavor.

Release date: November or December

joey.guerra@chron.com





  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. He also covers various aspects of pop culture. He has reviewed hundreds of concerts and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He’s appeared as a regular correspondent on Fox26 and was head judge and director of the Pride Superstar singing competition for a decade. He has been named journalist of the year multiple times by both OutSmart Magazine and the FACE Awards. He also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”



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