Carry That Weight: Musicians, Fitness & Body Image

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So, February is here and it's time to reflect back on your recent promise to eat less, exercise more and lose weight. The first month of 2014 was filled with hope for a lighter and brighter tomorrow.

How did you do? If you shed even a few L-Bs, congratulations to you, friend. You're one out of every five who swore to do better and is maintaining that goal. The rest of us have already returned to the sofa with our chili cheese fries and super-size sodas.

Body image is a heavy matter, particularly for the young and uncertain among us, those who haven't yet come to the mature realization that what someone else thinks of you is far less important than what you think of yourself.


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Melodic Ingredients: Music at the Saint Arnold One Pot Showdown

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Photos by Adrian Sendejas
The Confused Bavarians, One Pot Showdown contestants

My brother, Anthony, enjoys cooking and he is also quite good at it. I enjoy drinking beer and am also quite good at that.

So, Saint Arnold Brewery's One Pot Showdown seemed like a great, local event to partake in to boast our respective talents. Last Sunday afternoon, we joined 80 teams, all gathered to fix the best meal possible, cooked with Saint Arnold beer and entirely prepared - from start to finish - in one, single pot.

Weeks of debate over what to serve ensued. Gumbo? Etouffee? Chili? We couldn't decide.

But, the one ingredient we all agreed upon was music. Whatever we chose to prepare for Houston's fun-hungry would be served with a big side helping of musical deliciousness. As we've done for countless tailgates and family picnics, we devised a playlist to entertain ourselves and those we hoped would gather around our booth.

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Houston Elementary Schoolers Tell Us Their Favorite Songs

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The Wiggles: One Direction they are not.
Tonight, Australian children's band The Wiggles premiere their "Taking Off!" world tour at Bayou Music Center. The group has been performing together for more than 20 years, and tonight reveals a brand-new cast, as well as their first female member, Emma Watkins. That's a waste of time, as a recent study proves that the K-5 crowd would be more likely to enjoy the ratchet grooves of "Bandz a Make Her Dance" than "The Monkey Dance," a song from their 1994 album, Yummy Yummy.

We polled children at a local elementary school on their favorite songs, and here are the responses we received. (Names have not been changed to protect the innocent; you don't know who these damn kids are anyway.)

  • "Stay" by Rihanna. "It's kind of sad" -- Shermia, fourth grade
  • "To the left, to the left [Beyonce]" -- Naomi, third grade
  • "I'm Out" by Ciara and Nicki Minaj. "'Cuz it makes a beat" -- Tyrone, third grade
  • "Ain't Worried About Nothin" by French Montana. "Because it's good to me" -- Amon, fourth grade


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Frank Zappa and Other Quicksand Artists

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Frank Zappa and Frank Zappa, er, Mike Nesmith.
Tonight House of Blues will be graced by Zappa Plays Zappa, led by the late Papa Frank's oldest son Dweezil, who inherited some of his father's guitar skills. Zappa Plays Zappa is the preeminent traveling Zappa tribute show going, and Dweezil's love letter to his father's body of work, which has only grown more mythic since Frank passed away in 1993.

Rewind:

Rusted Shut's Don Walsh Loves Him Some Zappa


Frank Zappa is an example of what I would call a "quicksand" artist, meaning that their allure is so strange and enigmatic that by taking just one step into the discography, you could become obsessed, embedded and maybe even a lost cause.

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Essential Rock and Roll Literature for Budding Music Writers

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Right about now young, budding rock writers and nerds are sitting on gift cards and credit from the holidays, and may need to know what books to pick up at the local bookstore or Amazon to further their education.

It's not enough to just read every new music blog or (gasp!) pick up a few music magazines whenever the mood strikes. At least it wasn't for this writer. It was spending hours at used-book stores and finding fellow nerds' leftovers. Rolling Stone, Nick Kent and Lester Bangs compilations, stuff like that.

A healthy dose of Chuck Klosterman ushered me along the path, too.

I still owe my local library a chunk of change for "relieving" them of a cool Stones book in 2003. I also acquired a handful of reference books, popular music guides, and encyclopedias from bookstores and garage sales.

So, what should you aspiring rock writers have in your personal curriculums? Well, stop aspiring and start being, for one thing. Start a blog. Make us sweat.



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Why the Beatles Never Go Out of Style

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drinksmachine via Flickr
Liverpool, UK
Imagine one of those tween magazine quizzes, one that is supposed to show what your favorite music says about you by asking you cute questions about your musical taste. Except in return, this one would provide you with some stone-cold harrowing insight into your soul as to specifically why you may prefer The Beatles A Hard Day's Night over Yellow Submarine.

While I cannot provide you that kind of insight, it is a fact that The Beatles evolved between each of their albums in a fashion that resulted in their branching out enough to reach a wide array of tastes and personalities, arguably more than any other pop group in history. This is what enabled them to capture the world's imagination, and probably why you're even reading this.


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Rolling Stones Let Psych Flag Fly On '67's Their Satanic Majesties Request

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The Rolling Stones' 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, turns 45 today. The album's subject matter and oddity make it a strange holiday release, but hey it was the '60s.

Best-known for the saccharine "She's a Rainbow" and oft-covered "2000 Man," the album gets lost in the Stones' greater late-'60s shuffle. It was also the first Stones album to have gimmicky packaging, the lenticular job preceding the naughty Sticky Fingers zipper, and the die-cuts on Some Girls.A year later, the group would release Beggars Banquet, which would be the first in a run of five LPs that would solidify the Stones as the "Greatest Rock and Roll Band In the World."

Coming off the stately Between the Buttons months earlier, Request most definitely isn't a favorite of most fans, sticking out as a faddish trifle. Released just months after their rivals in the Beatles unleashed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, many critics laughed it off the Stones' attempt to cash in on the mystic/kooky fad.


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Top 5 Bands Influenced by Public Image Ltd.

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Public Image Ltd will be performing in the Greater Houston area on Friday, tomorrow, and as previously mentioned here, their choice of Scout Bar out in Clear Lake is a little unexpected.

Rewind:

Talking Politics, and Almost No Music, With Punk Legend John Lydon

For those who haven't heard of PiL, this is a project founded by John Lydon (otherwise known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) directly following The Sex Pistols' breakup in the late 1970s.

Now, here's to you younguns (because I'm old, right) that may not be aware of the scope and significance of Public Image Ltd's work since they aren't posted to performing somewhere inside the Loop alongside other legends (Converge, Rakim), or something like that. Hence this blog category: Eat Your Vegetables! Okay.

Public Image Ltd is described as one of the pioneering post-punk groups. So, the Sex Pistols set a precedent for Public Image Ltd., who set a precedent for many currently popular acts. That being said, here's another list for you all of some of the most popular bands influenced by PiL.


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An Obamacare Playlist You Can Afford

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memegenerator.net
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act has now been almost two weeks ago. If you keep up with national news, or maybe just don't avoid the Internet machine, well, you have probably observed that people are still noticeably buzzing about the ruling.

It does happen to be one of the polarizing issues of our current president's term, so, granted, the existence of these fiery debates -- including the comment wars via social-networking sites --do make sense. Better yet, uncensored discussion of any issue is part of what makes the Internet a pastime, right?

That being said, I'm not a constitutional scholar myself. I'm here to accordingly provide you with a short soundtrack to these contentious times, with all points of view taken under consideration. If you're lactose intolerant to cheese, with the new healthcare system in the works, you'll be OK soon enough after reading this. Debatably.


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Parental Advisory! Another Look at the PMRC's "Dirty 15"

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In 1985, the Parental Music Resource Center was formed as basically a watchdog group over popular music. Essentially, their goal was censorship.

However, there was one big problem: The group was made up of the likes of Tipper Gore (wife of then-Senator and future Vice President Al Gore), Susan Baker (wife of then-Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III), Pam Howar (wife of realtor Raymond Howar) and Sally Nevius (wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius).

These "Washington Wives" had some big ties to the U.S. Senate, enough to convince the upper half of Congress to hold a hearing about music's effects on young people. With it they made a list of what they considered to be the 15 dirtiest songs in the nation at the time. However, that list was both flawed and, in hindsight, subjective.


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