Longtime Booker Mike Sims Leaving Rudyard's

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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.


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The Five Funniest Onstage Banterers

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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.


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Children of Pop Is Throwing You a Pizza Party

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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.


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Touché Amoré's Jeremy Bolm: "It's All Kind of Overwhelming"

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Photos courtesy of Deathwish, Inc.
Touché Amoré has been one of the shining stars of the emo/post-hardcore revival that has taken place over the last few years. Their style sits comfortably alongside the genre's mainstream forerunners from the past decade like Thursday, but just as easily places them among heavier, more aggressive counterparts like Converge.

Sitting on that middle ground has led the the L.A. band to underground acclaim as well as crossover success. Their most recent record, Is Survived By, hit No. 85 on the Billboard 200, which is a pretty damn impressive showing for a band that credits little-known screamo acts like Ampere as inspirations.


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Five Artists (Other Than Trace Adkins) Who Should Fight Their Impersonators

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Leave it to a wily country artist to get into some serious shenanigans with his impersonator, while on a cruise dedicated to himself. The lyrics to the twangy, semi-obnoxious song nearly write themselves, don't they?

So, if you haven't heard, Trace Adkins, the country music crooner who brought you songs like "Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk" and "Brown Chicken Brown Cow," was headlining a cruise to Jamaica recently when, according to TMZ, he fell off the wagon after being sober for the past 12 years and got himself into a fight. Not terribly abnormal for a country singer to get into a bar brawl, we know.

Thing is, what makes this story ridiculous is that he got into a fight with a Trace Adkins impersonator who was singing some Trace Adkins karaoke at the time, and that...well, that is just seriously beyond epic.

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Dear Grammys, We Can Be Friends Again

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Hey there, Grammys -- remember when we broke up with you last year? Well, it seems we've made a mistake. We take it all back. We are back on professionally.

So LL Cool J hosted again last night, same as last year, and it turns out he's still boring. But here's the thing: We can still forgive your indiscretions from last year, even though you're insistent on putting that pretty, pretty man onstage to host when he should really just be sitting down because his hosting skills are a total yawn. Want to know why? Two words: Imagine Kendrick.

Yep, Imagine Kendrick. The Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar collab was, in very technical terms, fucking awesome. That one performance redeemed you so hard, and seriously, we kind of wanted to jump your awards show bones for it.

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Insane Clown Posse Is the New Beavis and Butt-Head

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It turns out the murderous, crazed clowns from Insane Clown Posse have a side gig that we weren't aware of. Apparently, in addition to catching them holding court and downing Faygo at the yearly Gathering of the Juggalos, you can also catch them heckling the more "controversial" mainstream videos on cable's Fuse network.

Yep, you read that right. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, the dudes who brought you songs like "House of Horrors" and "Piggie Pie," have their own show critiquing videos by the likes of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. It's a bit confusing, but just go with it.


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Second Lovers at Fitzgeralds, 10/19/2013

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Photos by Nathan Smith
Second Lovers, Emily Wolfe, Matt Harlan, Yello Echo
Fitzgerald's
October 19, 2013

Word around town is that the Second Lovers are a band on the rise, and the buzz is starting to pile up in a hurry. Rocks Off bossman Chris Gray wrote last week that the local folk-rock/Americana act is the best group to emerge from the Houston scene of late, which is some tremendously high praise given their competition. On Saturday night, the band headlined a free show downstairs at Fitz to celebrate the release of their new EP, New Mexico, and I figured it was high time to hear for myself just how much of the recent hype was justified.

A rule I try to follow pretty closely is that when there's a free show at Fitzgerald's, it's a good idea to go, and bring friends. Saturday's bill was the kind that could have had even the whiniest excuse-maker in your crew asking when the next gig will be. The first band up was Yello Echo, a bangin' local indie pop-rock group that made me wish I'd showed up on time to catch their entire set. Tardy as I was, I still caught their hard, mean cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and a slower, more plaintive original called "Another Road."


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Noise-Rock Lords Melt-Banana Return For a Bruising Round of "fetch"

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L-R: Melt-Banana's Yasuko "Yako" Onuki and Ichirou Agata
Japanese noise-rockers Melt-Banana are a lot of things. Some people say they're crazy, others describe what they do as being in the realm of math-rock and metal. Some think they're closer to Yoko Ono, while others think they skew more towards the lineage of their more mainstream descendents like Anamanaguchi.

MxBx, as the shorthand goes, were also once a particularly prolific band, at least until the long break from the studio following 2007's Bambi's Dilemma. But earlier this year, out of nowhere they announced this year that they'd be following up that record with a new album, "fetch", and that they would be launching their first major U.S. tour in some time.

That tour will also mark their return to Texas when they first hit Dallas' Club Dada and then Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest. In advance of their return to the Lone Star State, Rocks Off corresponded with vocalist Yasuko "Yako" Onuki and guitarist Ichirou Agata.


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House of Creeps Packs 'Em In at "We're Getting Sued!" Party

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Photos by Nathan Smith
Saturday night, everyone was a Creep.
"We're Getting Sued!" Party
House of Creeps/The Doctor's Office
August 17, 2013

The Houston House of Creeps never set out to be a landlord's worst nightmare. When the dedicated roommates/DIY collective began hosting house shows at their old address on Carrollton Street three years ago, all they wanted to do was host a few local and touring bands that couldn't find a stage anywhere else in town. Trouble was, they were a little too good at it.

After seeing the size of the crowds the Creeps were drawing to their not-quite-weekly parties a couple years back, their former landlord freaked out and evicted them. Being given the boot wasn't much of a setback, all things considered: A bigger, better House on William Street was located in short order, which has been regularly showcasing live music and beer-soaked debauchery ever since.


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