Taking Back Sunday Confronts the Future "Kicking and Screaming"

Photo by Groovehouse
Adam Lazzara with Taking Back Sunday at House of Blues in 2009.
Tonight Taking Back Sunday will grace the stage at House of Blues. Unlike their retrospective jaunt two years ago in celebration of their classic 2002 album Tell All Your Friends, this is in honor of the re-release of their newest album, Happiness Is. Though many might view them through the lens of nostalgia, Taking Back Sunday is always looking forward.

We recently spoke with front man Adam Lazzara about the reissue of Happiness Is, a deluxe edition of their 2014 record containing bonus tracks which will be released next Tuesday, the touring life, and, of course, Tell All Your Friends, in advance of the show.

More »

Is Aphex Twin Up to His Old Tricks Again?

The cover of Aphex Twin's Richard D. James album, released in 1996
When Richard D. James stated to a reporter that he possesses a vault of over 1,000 songs, fans never doubted his claim; they, however, wished for him to dump out the entire treasure trove of buried gems all at once.

Be careful what you wish for, especially from Mr. James himself.

One of music's sacred tricksters, James has pulled clever pranks on an industry which prides itself on profitable marketing templates used by artists ad nauseam. Large costumed bears resembling stuffed animals with Richard D. James' face once danced onstage while James lazily laid on the floor, comfortably resting on his elbow while manipulating sounds from his laptop, surrounded by well-sculpted female bodybuilders. Music-industry representatives watched on puzzled by Aphex Twin's performance, or lack thereof, wondering if he cared at all about his equally puzzled audience.

More »

Spencer Sotelo Talks of the Juggernaut That Is Periphery

Photo by Groovehouse
Spencer Sotelo singing for Periphery at House of Blues in 2013 on the Summer Slaughter Tour.
In the world of progressive metal, few names stand above Periphery these days. You've got your legends, of course, like Dream Theater, who will forever tower over their peers. But for a young vital band making original and relevant music, look no further than Periphery.

On January 27, they'll release their latest full-length, Juggernaut, and it's an epic sized package. Call it the Use Your Illusion of prog metal; it's two whole album's worth of material released as two separate albums on the same day. One album is called Alpha and the other is called Omega. They're concept records too, so you have to buy both halves to get the whole thing.

It might just sound like shrewd marketing, but this band is onto something big here. In advance of their show in Houston this Saturday night, we caught up with singer Spencer Sotelo.

More »

Believe It or Not, It's Okay If You've Never Heard of Paul McCartney

Photo by Deepti Hari/Flickr Commons
Not fade away? One day, even McCartney will

Oh, music 2015, you cheeky little baby new year. If this whole Kanye West-Paul McCartney thing is a sign of what we can expect from you as you grow older, I've gotta say, I like your style, kid.

"Only One," was delivered by proud parents Yeezus and Macca on New Year's morning. Slapped on the ass and thrown into an unsuspecting world, the collaboration between two music icons of seemingly clashing backgrounds and followings has been some of the biggest news - music-related or otherwise - of the fresh year.

Even with its incantation to "Tell Nori about me" - the nickname for West's daughter, North - the song's no "Hey Jude." But it is poignant and quiet in a way that respects the Beatles legend, which is probably more than can be said for Ray Charles' "Kan-tribution" to our modern musical canon.

So, the real news has been the visceral reaction of those who succumbed to Internet trolling that followed the song's release.

More »

Derek Trucks Keeps It All in the Family Band

Photo by Mark Seliger/OnTour PR
The Tedeschi Trucks Band: The per diem costs alone must kill their accountant. From left to right: Mark Rivers, Tyler Greenwell, Kofi Burbridge (sitting), Kebbi Williams, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Mike Mattison, Maurice Brown, J.J. Johnson (sitting) and Saunders Sermons. Tim Lefebvre had not joined the group yet.
For many a bluesman, standing at the Crossroads is a mostly apocryphal experience, the stuff of myth and legends. But when Rocks Off reached Derek Trucks at his New York hotel room last month, the myth is quite real.

In a few days, he'll take the stage with the Allman Brothers Band for their annual run of shows at the Beacon Theatre. Except it will be the last-ever live dates with the venerable group for both guitarists Trucks and Warren Haynes, both having previously announced their departure. And - depending on which member speaks to the media on which day - may be the ABB's last live dates ever.

"It's a trip. We started rehearsals last night for the last run, and I can't tell who is processing what in what way yet. I don't know if we'll ever be on the same page about [any future for the group], but for me, this is it. And I know Warren as well," Trucks says.

More »

Food for Thought in "All About That Bass"

Photos courtesy of Epic Records
The new song you can't escape is called "All About That Bass," and sounds nothing like its title. You won't be hearing it in the DJ's club mix or slow, loud and banging in the streets. But you might hear it if Taylor Swift and Adele ever square off in a celebrity death match.

The song is a lot of things, but the one that truly matters is it's a megahit for newcomer Meghan Trainor. Saying it's catchy is like saying the ebola virus is deadly. Sure, one or two people may be able to stop humming it after a listen, but they'll need intensive treatment in an American hospital overseen by the CDC to do it.

Trainor's voice has a sweet country twang, which belies the fact that she grew up in Massachusetts. Girl's got some blue-eyed soul, too. It might be the whole "Bass" and "Super Bass" connection, but does she sound a little like Nicki Minaj at times?

More »

No, Drake Isn't Performing at Warehouse Live Tonight

Update (1:19 pm): We made a few more phone calls this afternoon, and this is the statement we got from Warehouse Live:
Warehouse Live cannot confirm or deny whether Drake will be performing there soon, but Drake will not be performing there tonight.

Sorry Houston, your dreams of seeing Drizzy up close are just going to have to remain that for now. The good news is that there's plenty of great stuff going on in Houston tonight. If you like rap, then hopefully you already have tickets for Htown's Next Up Hip-Hop Concert. If you like sad songs about heartbreak, we recommend Jimmy Eat World.

Original Post: There are lots of truths in this world - go-karts are awesome, pie is delicious - but one very Space City-centric is that Drake loves Houston. It's one of his homes away from home, a place he loves to rap about and, we assume (since details remain cryptic), the city he'll be appreciating next month.

But could he be performing in Houston tonight?

This morning Rocks Off received the above video of him saying that he'll be over at Warehouse Live this evening.

Needless to say, this has our attention.

More »

Longtime Booker Mike Sims Leaving Rudyard's

Photo courtesy of Mike Sims
Teresa Kolo and Rudyard's booker Mike Sims moving to Seattle
Rudyard's British Pub is one of those local watering holes that just never seems to change. But change is in store for the venerable "living room of Montrose," with longtime talent booker and manager Mike Sims moving on to Seattle.

Sims' last day will be April 15. This Sunday, he and his significant other, local folk singer and cancer researcher Teresa Kolo, whose new job in Seattle is behind the couple's move, will host a going-away party upstairs at Rudz. The festivities kick off with a solo set by Kolo at 5 p.m.

More »

The Five Funniest Onstage Banterers

Photo by Mark C. Austin
Tom Waits
Being a front person of a band is a lot like being a stand-up comedian or a radio-show host. The worst thing is dead air. Yes, you want your music to breathe, but you also can't leave the crowd hanging for too long before they get restless.

Some fill those gaps between songs by thanking the audience, but that's boring. The best are those who use it to be completely crazy and hilarious, and those are the singers we celebrate today. We might not even mind if one of these folks pulled a Having Fun with Elvis on Stage on us.

More »

Children of Pop Is Throwing You a Pizza Party

Last year was a busy year for Houston's Children of Pop. So busy, in fact, that the act never had time to host an official release party for its latest album, Fiesta/Drift, which was voted one of Rocks Off's top local albums of 2013.

But that's all about to change when Children of Pop hosts the official Fiesta/Drift Tape Release Pizza Party tonight at Houston House of Creeps. So it seemed there was no better time to sit down and find out more about this local act that has been making waves on a national scale.

Of course, getting to know Children of Pop means checking expectations at the door. Though the act can be considered a "band," it's actually the brainchild and persona of one Houston local who prefers to remain nameless in the press. When asked why, his answer is simple enough.

More »