Chica y Los Gatos
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Chica y Los Gatos

Portland, Oregon, United States

Portland, Oregon, United States
Band Jazz Pop

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Music

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"(Flipside) CD Review - Chica y Los Gatos - Perfect Weather, Self-Released"

If Latin-jazzy-folk-indie music floats your boat, pull in the anchor and prepare to set sail on the open waters of concurrence. Perfect Weather displays a remarkable ability to dramatically shift from Latin dance numbers such as “Baby, I’m Not Blind” to mellow introspective ditties like “Lighten Up.” Lead singer/guitarist, Renee Muzquiz, sings as though she were a storyteller. This is a really fun album, worthy of a spot in your already seasoned collection. It plays well alongside Celia Cruz, Eddie From Ohio, Ani DiFranco and Fishing For Comets.
(Shane Epting) - Harder Beat Magazine (Dallas, TX)


"Quirky Queer Indy Rock - A look at some of the more interesting indie rockers out there."

Out-lesbian Renee Muzquiz has worked both solo and with a revolving cast of backing "gatos," including her younger brother Ramon Muzquiz. Though she's recently decided to explore the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Ore., specifically), this debut album is a band effort produced last year in her hometown of Denton, Texas. Ranging form the sparse acoustic folk of "Lighten Up" and "Not Fair" to the jazzier pop of the title track and the melodic opener "The Core of Me," this self-released nine-cut disc is less aggressive than the other albums mentioned above, but the bulk of it still fits into an indie pop-rock category---even the twangy slide-guitar stomper "Shoes Without Souls" and Latin-jazz flaired "Baby, I'm not Blind." Muzquiz's lyrics cover her personal struggles and triumphs in life and love, and her dramatic vocals fall somewhere between a young Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos. The album took a few listens to grow on me; I'm so curious to hear how the Portland music scene influences her sound. Keep an ear out for this one. (myspace.com/chicaylosgatos) - Curve Magazine - Margaret Coble


"Rethinking Love and Music"

Renee Muzquiz may not at first appear to stand out amongst the seas of starting singer/songwriters. But her voice, strangely seductive while somehow innocent, demands its audience to listen closer.

I watched as she bravely followed a too-long performance art piece, which shocked the audience’s senses with screeching feedback and ready-to-serve bacon. The impatient crowd, complaining over “bleeding ears,� paused from closing their bar tabs when Renée took the microphone.

The room quieted as she passionately delivered her original lyrics over soulful, round-belly guitar sounds. Her voice is flirtatious, headstrong and at times shuddering with anger. But the underlying dark tone declares itself within a voice of optimism.

Her tunes are up beat and her voice boasts dynamic timbre and refreshing harmonies. Her bridges break from the heavier guitar vibrations just long enough for everything to sink in and make your skin tingle. Her strategic pauses force you to reflect on the difficult experiences she reveals. This young woman may have suffered the gauntlet of pain implicit in young love, perhaps even more so, considering she is gay(?), but she emerges now as an inspiration.

Listening to her CD, "Phased,"? one can run the gauntlet with her. From issues of suicide, fear and dejection, you travel full circle with Renee as she achieves a calmer, wiser perception by the sixth song. Her sad, self-reflecting voice blossoms into a gentle mentor that endorses life, despite its problems.

Maureen's Song? is the most poignant on the CD. Her simple lyrics are loaded with familiar afflictions of youthful uncertainty, abandonment and heartbreak. Meanwhile, she garners understanding for an issue that perhaps some music listeners take for granted. Love songs are too often perceived as heterosexual experiences. Renee awakens appreciation to the contrary. She reinvented my empathy for the struggles of the gay and lesbian community when, instead of ambiguously referring to a generic romantic relationship, Renee boldly describes the difficulty of loving some one who does not share the same sexual preference. Maureen, the subject of her song, she describes in a heartbreaking gasp: "did not want to love a girl."

Perhaps it's a simple thing for some. But in a country and a time that is showing little compassion for the rights and interests of gay and lesbian couples, I think it is important to celebrate young artists who are not afraid to share their unique experiences. Renee's songs evoke empathy and passion with intelligent and intimate lyrics. This listener looks forward to hearing much more from Renee Muzquiz as long as she continues to break the boundaries of this culture's perception of "love norms."? - Bond Huberman


Discography

Perfect Weather - Debut LP (2007)
(g-robot studios)
Phased - Renee Muzquiz solo Debut EP (2005)
(music shmuzik productions)

Single: "Perfect Weather"
Premiered and played again on streaming radio: www.netteradio.com
Also received airplay on KNTU 88.1 Dallas, TX

Photos

Bio

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

Chica y Los Gatos aims to entertain as well as inspire. This Singer/Songwriter project, formed by vocalist/guitarist Renee Muzquiz in December 2004, combines jazzy chord progressions with Latin flavor to produce colorfully inventive modern pop.

This ensemble features Renee’s younger brother, Ramon Muzquiz, on drumset and percussion and many guest “Gatos” to fill in the sound at concerts as well as on their recordings. Renee's recent move to Portland, OR has proved a positive and promising choice for the (for now) solo songwriter.

“Perfect Weather,” Chica’s self-released debut album, recently reviewed in the April issue of Curve - the national bestselling lesbian magazine, is an emotional testimony of Renee’s young adult life that openly reveals her struggles with lost love, falling short of dreams, and her triumph over these pitfalls.

Chica y Los Gatos promises musical style and substance, delivering inimitable soul and passion rare to the modern stage. Undeniably, this is “Music that strays from the rest.”

FULL-LENGTH BIOGRAPHY

"Music that strays from the rest," is the slogan, and "Refreshing" is the word on the street. When Chica y Los Gatos hit the scene in Denton, pleasantly surprised listeners flocked to Renee Muzquiz to gush about their overwhelming feelings towards her music.

"I haven't heard anything like that since I was in college in the 90's," one woman claimed.

There is definitely a part of Renee that misses the early 90's. Her early influences are groups like the Gin Blossoms, Oasis, Ben Fold's Five, Joan Osborne, Tori Amos, and Alanis Morisette.

"Chica," is what they call Renee, and "Los Gatos" refers to the jazz "cats" from the University of North Texas that enrich the sound on the album. In live settings, Renee likes to mix it up a bit and invite a variety of musicians to play with her, including her younger brother, Ramon, on drumset, and her twin sister, Rochelle, on backup vocals.

The full band sound is something 1970's folk-jazz, but also uniquely indie rock. At some of it's most glorious moments, "Perfect Weather," Chica's debut album, evokes Carole King's songwriting and Joni Mitchell's spirit.

Whether performing solo or with her band, Renee's command of the stage can arrest an audience's attention even in a crowded bar. Her songs are monologues of her life, and they achieve an intimacy that many songwriters fearfully bury in vague metaphors.

Since December 2004, Renee and her band performed at nearly every venue in Denton, TX, and they are quickly spreading across North Texas. Chica y Los Gatos' recognizably distinct sound and inimitable talent reaches a wide range of audiences, and has already fostered a devoted fanbase.

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CHICA Y LOS GATOS CREDITS/ACCOMPLISHMENTS

COMPILATIONS
"Baby I'm not Blind" featured on Strawberry Fields Denton Deluxe Vol. 1(2007)
"Maureen" featured on Sing! OUT LOUD (2007)

RADIO
"Perfect Weather" featured twice on 'Nette Radio (2007)
"Perfect Weather" featured on College Radio KNTU 88.1 North Texas Jukebox (2007)

PRESS
Harder Beat Magazine - Half-page Interview (Dallas, July 2007)
Harder Beat Magazne - CD Review (Dallas, August 2007)