10 Texas Bands That Don't Get Enough Credit

Categories: Texas Me

Photo by Mike Brooks/Dallas Observer
Baboon rocks out at Dallas' Trees in 2011
Baboon has a rare gift for squeezing the dense guitars and brawny drums more often heard on post-hardcore records into bittersweet pop-rock tunes. Some of Weezer's better albums mine the same territory, but for our money this Denton-based crew had better songs, especially on 2002 personal favorite Something Good Is Going to Happen to You Today. Once badly burned by the same label that unleashed Creed on the world, Baboon have largely curtailed their recording and touring activities, although they still play out in the Metroplex from time to time.

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The Essential Houston Punk Starter Kit

Photo courtesy of Jay Francis
Legonaire's Disease front man Jerry Anomie once dispelled rumors that he had died by staging a "funeral" in a Houston record store.
Top 10 lists are notoriously blunt instruments to sift through musical history, so Rocks Off crowdsourced this piece to provide a sense of Houston's indie and punk heritage from the ground up. The input below is not meant as a declarative end-all but as a conversation in action.

Sure, exemplary singles from the likes of the Hates, Spunk and Truth Decay are AWOL, but the list does shed light on more obscure vintage and contemporary bands that usually fall through the cracks. Plus, some may argue the semantics of what constitutes a 'single,' but sometimes a little leeway helps stir discussions and memories.

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Music's 10 Biggest Losers of 2014

Photo by Marc Brubaker
Creed's Scott Stapp in 2012
You know how the old saying goes. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...

Between the divorces, public meltdowns and court sentences, there was just something in that bad boy (and bad girl) water that made these ten artists lose big in 2014. Here's to all the photographic evidence of that bad behavior, y'all. May they pull it together in 2015, and give others time to shine.

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The Only Houston Rap Gift Guide You'll Ever Need

Categories: Swagometer

Photo by Marco Torres
Screwed Up Records & Tapes is practically Santa's workshop this time of year.
If you know someone who lives and breathes H-town hip-hop you may want to surprise them this Hanukkah or Christmas by showing them your cultural awareness and gifting something related to the rich local rap scene.

Use this handy guide that showcases books, custom automobiles and of course music created for and about Houston.

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The 10 Best Concerts In Houston This Weekend: Molotov, Lee Fields, Andrew WK, etc.

Photo courtesy of Secret Service PR
Mexico City sure shot: Molotov
Scout Bar, December 19

Taking their admiration for Public Enemy, Beastie Boys and Rage Against the Machine south of the border, Molotov makes party-friendly rock en espanol with a pointed message. The Mexico City quartet has won four Latin Grammys since debuting with 1997's ¿Dónde Jugarán las Niñas?, which translates as "Where will the girls play?" and whose answer is "Why, at a Molotov concert, of course."

Released this summer, their latest LP Agua Maldita nods at the Red Hot Chili Peppers and features a guest rap by Run-DMC co-founder Darryl McDaniels. Houston rock en espanol homies Espantapajaros and La Sien open.

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Cheap Trick Are Classic In the Best Possible Way

Photos by Jack Gorman
Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen and Robin Zander, shrugging off another snub by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Cheap Trick
House of Blues
December 17, 2014

In rock and roll, as in most genres of popular music, there are benefits that come with youth. You have more energy, odds are good you haven't hit your creative peak yet and, if you're lucky, you haven't been in the world long enough to become completely cynical. There's something to be said about writing, recording and performing knowing you still have most of your life ahead of you.

But there's also something to be said for our rock and roll survivors, the road dogs who have put in decades doing this whole music thing we all know and love. Yeah, it's easy to pick on those bands limping through playing the Scout Bar/Concert Pub circuit, but if you can play and you've got the songs, why not do what you love?

And so we come to Cheap Trick, who can still play and who do have the songs and have been doing this whole rock and roll thing for four decades now. And somehow still have the energy to go out and put on a hell of a show.

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Is Country Music Ready For Sturgill Simpson?

Photo by Jason Wolter
Sturgill Simpson at a recent show in Houston
So the big new noise in the increasingly noisy -- or static-y -- genre known as Americana is this Kentucky guy Sturgill Simpson. With 2014 appearances on Letterman and Conan and a first-ever Grammy nomination for his sophomore album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Simpson has been branded (not by him, but by those who take it upon themselves to brand such things) as a new hope for country music, a Waylon/Outlaw Movement throwback, a loophole through which we can crawl back toward the Holy Grail: legitimate, old-school country music that sounds like, well, country music rather than background noise at a Young Republicans meeting.

If you live in Houston and remember the old Whiskey Wednesdays at Mango's and later at Fitz, you probably thought young Robert Ellis would eventually fulfill this role, but, well, he's gone in another artistic direction.

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Dear #Texans: Please Let Kam Franklin Sing the National Anthem

Photo by Mark C. Austin/Courtesy of the Convoy Group
Kam Franklin warms up at a Houston Rockets game...could NRG Stadium be next?
In accord with the time-honored tradition, before every Houston Texans football contest at NRG Stadium, someone is trotted onto the field to perform the national anthem.

In a nod to fans, something the hometown football team truly excels at, it is "auditioning" talent to perform the song before the team's December 28 home game. It's part of a contest the Texans have done previously, inviting fans to load their video auditions to the team's Facebook or Twitter accounts and use the hashtag #TexansFanthem.

When that game arrives, it'll be a merciless beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars. And, my hopes are that sweet victory will be preceded by a stirring rendition of the anthem performed by Kam Franklin of The Suffers.

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My Disabled Wife Won't Put Out. Help!

Welcome to Ask Willie D, Rocks Off's advice column where the Geto Boys MC answers reader questions about matters, in his own words, "funny, serious or unpredictable." Something on your mind? Ask Willie D!

Photo by Mario Jaramillo

Dear Willie D:

I made the colossal mistake of befriending a girl that I met on Facebook. She was a friend of a friend so we just started following each other and liking one another's updates. After knowing her for less than a week she asked if I wanted to meet up at a popular bar for happy hour. Even though I thought it was too soon to be hanging out with someone I didn't really know, considering we both were females and in the same circle, I threw caution to the wind and met up with her anyway.

She arrived at the bar before I did and had already ordered appetizers, which was fine by me because I was hungry. As I took my seat at the bar the waiter asked me what I wanted to drink and she suggested, or shall I say ordered the same thing she was drinking for me. Now I'm thinking to myself, "control freak."

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Ranking ZZ Top's '80s Videos

Screenshot via Locke Bryan Productions
Those seeking a tasty holiday treat need look no further than Billy F. Gibbons' new Fiesta ads; our favorite is the one where the ZZ Top singer/guitarist breaks down his recipe for homemade tamales while wearing an adorable "BFG" apron. It's obvious the camera loves the right Reverend, and it's not exactly shy about winking at his bandmates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, either.

The Top has been laying low while Hill recuperates from the fall that sidelined him with an injured hip last September, a few days before the band was scheduled to play the Cynthia Woods Pavilion with Jeff Beck. (Make-up date is May 2, by the way.) Anyway, all of this is to say that those Gibbons spots -- we just caught the new "Christmas" one typing this Wednesday night -- got us thinking about all those great videos ZZ made back in the '80s. From there it was a short hop to all the ones that maybe weren't so great, but have retained a certain hairspray-and-Velcro charm. So happy holidays, all you sharp dressed men and women.

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