Local Judge Brings Veteran Punks to Play for the Pooches

Photo by Victoria Renard
Texas cowpunk pioneers the HIckoids play one for the pooches at Rudyard's Friday night
It only takes a few minutes of phone time with Judge Michael Schneider of the 315th District Juvenile Court to get the feeling that here is a public official who is genuinely trying to make a difference. This Friday the judge plays host to a benefit for Friends of B.A.R.C. (Bureau of Animal Rescue and Control) at Rudyard's.

Assisting His Honor musically will be three bands, some dating back to Schneider's days as a mosh-pitting punk at joints like the Axiom: Dead Cowboys, We Are the Asteroid, and San Antonio cowpunks the Hickoids.

"I've been a fan of the Hickoids since I first saw them in 1988, at the Axiom, I believe," says Schneider. "As a judge, I'm bound by ethics that prevent me from raising money for charities, but I can put on a show and let others donate."

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Friday Night Shaping Up to Be a Rocker

Power-pop master Paul Collins headlines Walters' Record Fair tonight
Friday is shaping up right nicely for those of us who frequent H-Town's lower dens.

The biggest news is that the Paul Collins Beat is at Walter's as the centerpiece of a record fair sponsored by Sound Exchange. Collins first touched the hem of fame as drummer for the legendary Los Angeles power pop band the Nerves. Featuring Peter Case and Jack Lee, the power trio took L.A. by storm.

Their searing live shows apart, the Nerves are probably best known for Blondie's smash hit cover of the Jack Lee tune "Hanging on the Telephone." After Lee left the band, Case and Collins worked with a changing cast of musicians and recorded together as the Breakaways. Their best known song was "Walking Out On Love," which the Nerves had been playing live but never recorded.

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2015 Dawns With a Din of New Year's Noize

Photos by Stephan Wyatt
This way lies one of the most unique New Year's Eve celebrations in the nation.
Somewhere in the cosmic afterlife, John Cage is grinning from ear to ear. The pure celebration of music coupled with welcoming a new year clashed at Super Happy Fun Land, on a floor sparsely covered in green and purple balloons and small children indiscriminately tossing silver confetti in the air. There was no other place on the planet saying goodbye to a year riddled with both extreme joy and strife this way.

If time is a vacuum, then Super Happy Fun Land is proof positive of that theory. For several hours I was gratefully trapped in a raucous theater of splendid noise, embraced by people amused by simple yet outrageous experiments in sound, an experience that integrated the audience, friends, family and, yes, small children riding around on a pink Big Wheel before performing music onstage with their mother.

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Pachanga Tour w/ Los Rakas & Bomba Estereo at Warehouse Live, 9/12/2014

Photos by Marco Torres
Pachanga Tour
Feat. Bomba Estéreo, Los Rakas, Bombón Houston
Warehouse Live
September 12, 2014

"Maaannn.... We've got a million stories!" proclaimed Raka Rich as we chilled in the Los Rakas green room at Warehouse Live last Friday night. Stories about meeting fellow Panameño musician El General at the "white people gym" back in Panama, how Scarface and Devin the Dude are their favorite Houston-based rappers, and how a bird mysteriously fell from the sky during the video shoot for their just released remix of Wiz Khalifa's "We Dem Boyz."

Within the last few years, Rich and his cousin Raka Dun have elevated themselves to the top of the Latin charts with their energetic and light-hearted mix of hip-hop, reggaeton and other Latino-Caribbean sounds. Their name is derived from the Panamanian slang "Rakataka," which means "hood rat" or "ghetto." By reclaiming the term and wearing it proudly, they provide hope to everyone who hears their hip-shaking and motivational tracks.

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Sofar Houston Feat. The Suffers, 8/23/2013

photos by Marco Torres

Sofar Houston (Songs From A Room)
The Suffers, The Caldwell, Arthur Yoria
Secret Location
August 23, 2013

The premise is intriguing and creative: hold an exclusive, invitation only concert in a non-traditional venue (like a living room), without charging a cover at the door, specify BYOB, and accept donations for each band after their individual performance. Oh, and the only "rule" asks you to refrain from talking during each band's set.

Sounds like heaven, amirite?!

According to the organizers, Songs From A Room (Sofar) began in London sometime in 2011. Incarnations of the concert series occur around the world, with Houston having hosted eight previous editions, Friday night being the ninth. The series is entirely volunteer driven, from promotion to production.

The excitement lies in the delivery. The bands are never announced beforehand, so every night is a mystery. Three bands play along, including two short opening sets and a longer headlining set. The bands play their best stuff in order to win new fans, all in the name of great music.

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The Rocks Off 100: Richard Ramirez, Noise God and Black Leather Jesus

Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.

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Photos courtesy of Richard Ramirez
Who? Richard Ramirez is one of Houston's finest noise artists under the monikers of Black Leather Jesus https://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Leather-Jesus/117719674921150, Werewolf Jerusalem, An Innocent Young Throat-Cutter, and many more. His work is dark, terrifying, and full of the sort of sounds that you'd expect to emanate from beyond the doors of Hell itself. He got started in the late '80s after listening to experimental music broadcasts on KPFT and KTRU, then haunting Sound Exchange and Vinal Edge for albums by Merzbow, The Haters, Nurse With Wound, and the like.

Ramirez just returned from a tour that took him all up the West Coast of the United States and Canada, and is planning for a European jaunt next year. In addition, he has an upcoming collaboration with Blue Sabbath Black Cheer scheduled for a vinyl release soon, as well as works with Smegma, Nihilist Assault Group, and Andrew Liles.

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Local Musicians Come Together For Charalambides' Tom Carter

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Courtesy of Nameless Sound
Tom Carter with Charalambides in 2003
Rewind: Charalambides Guitarist Tom Carter On the Mend

Some local musicians are rallying to help out one of their own this weekend, and it appears that some good, weird tunes will be a happy side effect for the rest of us.

Tom Carter, guitarist for long-running H-town expatriate avant-gardists Charalambides, fell seriously ill while on tour in Germany earlier this summer, and his recovery has been difficult. A pneumonia-like infection turned septic and spread to the musician's heart, prompting doctors to place him in a drug-induced coma.

Carter ultimately spent 40 days in intensive care in Berlin, and the long-term cardiac complications that resulted remain rather grave. I caught up with him via email this week for an update on his health:

"After the hospital, I entered a three-week physical therapy program to regain enough physical strength to fly back to New York City, which is where I am now," Carter says. "I am much stronger than I was when I entered therapy, but my heart is still far from fully functional. Thus, my abilities to travel, work and perform basic household tasks are limited."

Carter lost his job due to the long hospital stay, and although he has health insurance, it's still unclear how much of his hospital bills it will cover. Luckily, Carter has a lot of friends, and many are springing into action to help.

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Rockabilly Filly Rosie Flores Slings a Working Girl's Guitar

Rosie Flores, known these days affectionately by many as the Rockabilly Filly, has had several careers: Punk rocker, cowpunk alt-country badass, potential country star, rock and roller, and rockabilly queen. Born in San Antonio, she spent her teen years in San Diego before striking out to find a career as a performer, writer, and guitar player.

Over the last four decades, the Bloodshot recording artist has released 14 albums and is set to release her fifteenth, Working Girl's Guitar, in the next few months. As a producer, she has just finished an album on legendary early rock and roll singer Janis Martin, known as "The Female Elvis."

Flores' trio will be rocking the Continental Club Friday night. Rocks Off caught up with her at her home in Austin.

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Father Sean Horrigan Set to Rock Leon's Lounge Tonight

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photo courtesy of Sean Horrigan
The Celebrity DJ" Fridays at Leon's Lounge take a turn from the secular to the sacred tonight when Father Sean Horrigan, pastor at Christ the Redeemer Church, commands the turntables.

Horrigan, whom we ran into last Saturday night at the Wagoneers show at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, was the music editor at the Daily Cougar at University of Houston during his Eighties college years and says his set will be primarily an '80s revue.

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Roman Showers Throw Up Their Stomach Contents

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Several weeks into June, there's no escaping summer: the sweltering season's here in all its flickering-horizon, bathed-in-sweat glory -- filthy, glaring, suffocating. Which makes this the perfect time for psychopathic burr-stuck noise blurts like Roman Showers' Show Me Your Stomach Contents.

The joke, of course, isn't so much that Roman Showers are ordering listeners to puke on command so that they can examine our collective evening repast; it's more that they'd like to examine that steak tartar as we're actually digesting it.

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