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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Houston's 10 Most Merciless Mosh Pits of 2014

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Photo by Jack Gorman
New York's Cro-Mags incited one of the best mosh pits in Houston this year.
2014 was another bruising year for punk and metal fans in Houston, and naturally, most of those bruises were self-inflicted. From the southern outpost of Scout Bar to the northerly slope of the Woodlands Pavilion hill, alcohol-fueled crazy persons made a sport out of slamming into one another, turning the city's clubs, dives and amphitheaters into rock and roll proving grounds. In mosh pit after mosh pit, we watched the adrenalized mayhem turn boys into men and girls into badass chicks who are not to be fucked with.

At times, it was beautiful: Only at a rock show can you see a grown man hug the guy who just violently knocked him off his feet. Other times, the moshing got flat-out scary, sending all but the most indestructible mutants scurrying towards the bar. More than once, the action in the pit proved to be more memorable than the music onstage.

While nobody can claim to have caught every mosh pit in Houston this year, we here at Rocks Off are proud to say we braved quite a few of them to bring you those pictures you like so much. And a few of those pits stood out more than others, forcing us to stand back and simply admire our city's lack of sanity. What better evidence of a great show can there be?

So for all the skankers and the skaters, the bros and the bullies, we present to you now our official accounting of the Top 10 mosh pits of 2014:

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Amazon's Funniest One-Star Classic Album Reviews

Photo by Nathan Rupert via Flickr
As a music writer, it can be beneficial to seek out other music reviews to see what people are thinking, aficionados and trolls alike. Let's look at Amazon, a popular site where I admit I've spent a bit of money and time. You can find anything here, down to your most basic grocery-shopping needs.

As with all other comment sections, really, Amazon's consumer reviews can be deafening. These critics have opinions that they absolutely have to defend, or else they just want attention. Others just get really excited sharing their naysaying opinions, and sites like Amazon provide a wide audience. Today we thought we'd help widen some of these reviewers' audiences (hopefully alongside our own) with a top-notch, annotated selection of Amazon's one-star album reviewers.

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Houston's 10 Gnarliest Mosh Pits of 2013

Photo by Groovehouse
Cannibal Corpse at Fitzgerald's

Punks and metalheads don't always see eye to eye, but one commonality they can always high-five over is the predilection to batter one another senseless at every opportunity. Houston played host to countless shows and tours this year that forced fans to keep their knees bent and their elbows out if they wanted to remain upright. Most were typically joyous affairs; some were a tad nastier than that.

Whether it was with hardcore floor-punches or thrash-metal clotheslines, you really beat the shit out of one another this year, Houston. Kudos! Now, at year's end, Rocks Off salutes your best concert scrums of 2013 by reliving a few of the scariest, most exciting mosh pits of the past 12 months. If you ran towards these mini-riots instead of running away from them, you're indisputably bigger, younger and (possibly) crazier than we are. Difference is, we got the photos.

For those who weren't there or were simply too concussed to remember much, let's take a look back at the bands who left the most scars, shall we? If you found any of them wanting, remember: The best mosh pit is always the next one that you start.

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Fall Out Boy at Bayou Music Center, 6/7/2013

Photos by Stephanie Truex/
Since Fall Out Boy did not approve photos from Friday, please enjoy these stills from the band's new video, "The Phoenix."
Fall Out Boy, American Fangs
Bayou Music Center
June 7, 2013

I was telling someone on Friday, "I get to go to Fall Out Boy tonight!" Her reaction? "Ha! Is it 2004?"

I couldn't blame her for the response. Fall Out Boy's name prompts memories of bad piercings, worse haircuts and overly dramatic kids, aka the Era of Emo. Fall Out Boy was one of the most popular bands of the era, and for good reason. Their songs were super catchy and their lyrics were undeniably relatable, whether you were an emo kid or not.

It may not be 2004, but Fall Out Boy still makes super-catchy rock songs with great lyrics. Friday night at Bayou Music Center, they played the hell out of them.

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Killing the Music: The Mumfordization of Top 40 Radio

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Here a banjo, there a banjo, everywhere a twangy banjo.
Twenty-eight. That is the amount of times in one day that I heard the songs play. Between my daily morning routine, my various commutes throughout the city, and a quick visit to CVS, "Home" came on eight times, "Ho Hey" seven, "Little Talks" also seven, and "I Will Wait" six.

Phillip Phillips and company really have made this place their home... and this place is Top 40 Radio.

I guess it isn't exactly "news" that Top 40 radio kills music. A song gets popular and then completely destroyed through massive amounts of overplay. This is still happening to some of the greatest bands of all time. I often think that classic-rock stations seem to only be aware that the Rolling Stones have five songs, and three of those songs are "Brown Sugar." So why is it any more annoying this time around?

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Hey There, Feuding Musicians: Let's Play the Twitter Quiet Game

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Hey there, Twitter-feuding musicians. It's time we take it old-school with a kindergarten version of the quiet game. Don't know the rules? Here's a crash course: Whoever shuts up the longest wins.

I know you love the media attention, and you've got a subpar album to promote, but there's nothing hard about fighting over social media. Think about it; you're using a little blue bird to deliver insults with the chirp of his "tweet," and it's causing your virtual girl panties to show.

Perhaps it's time to hike up your britches and play along with me, no?

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Ol Dirty Bastard: 6 Reasons We Sure Miss That Guy

Categories: Flipping Out

Ol' Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan is the only rapper to use his welfare card as an album cover; and the only rapper to take America along with him as he used the card to pick up his welfare check.

Ol Dirty Bastard was a breakout star on the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), but as he began his solo career, he contributed less and less to successive albums. In fact, he may have invented more names for himself than verses on Wu-Tang records: Dirt Dog, Dirt McGirt, Freeloading Rusty, Big Baby Jesus, and Knifey McStabb, just to name a few.

But whether he was Big Baby Jesus or Ason Unique, he aaaalways kept it real. He was unrelentingly erratic and seemed to be constantly battling legal troubles. He also was convinced that the government was trying to kill him. But maybe Ol' Dirty was right.

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Elvis Costello to Fans: "Don't Buy My Overpriced Record"

Categories: Flipping Out

In a recession, particularly one as deep and annoyingly persistent as the one we currently find ourselves in, it is tough to justify larger purchases, particularly for things that aren't necessities. As much as we love music here at Rocks Off, we too are often shocked at the price of boxed sets and special limited releases that come out around the holidays. While some of them are worth it, many are just garbage wrapped up to look like a Christmas present.

Well, we aren't alone. Apparently, Elvis Costello also thinks some of these are too expensive, namely, his own limited edition release of The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook. No, seriously. The release, which includes the CD, the DVD and a limited vinyl pressing (only 1500 of the entire set are available, but each piece will sell separately after the first of the year) sells for over $200 on Amazon, but you're eligible for free shipping, so that's something.

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Where Didn't Monotonix Play Last Night?

Dig on these video of Israeli titans Monotonix playing last night at Super Happy Fun Land. We followed the band from the floor of the venue, to the bathroom of the venue, to the dumpsters, and all the way out damn near the train tracks off Polk. We have a harrowing sweat-drenched slideshow coming tomorrow morning, along with a review. But hell, with footage like this and the video below, anything we say won't really do this video justice.

Monotonix at Super Happy Fun Land in Houston (Full Tilt Boogie, Ya'll)