What's on the Musical Menu at These New Houston Spots

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Photo by Billy Hathorn via Wikimedia Commons
Last Chance Saloon at Frontier City, Oklahoma, 1959
Just three months into 2014, Houston already has a fair amount of newly opened restaurants and bars that host live music. Seeing that the Greater Houston area is large, diverse, ever-changing and all kinds of grand, we all could have probably guessed that. It's still early in the year, but here's what's already come along so far.

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Andrew WK's Top Five Partying Lessons: "Positive and Ridiculous Times You!"

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Andrew WK is so many things: musician, motivational speaker, spokesman, and entertainer, but more than anything, the guy is a walking encyclopedia on the power of positive partying. As multitalented as he is, what he's really good at is looking at a situation and finding the party at the end of it.

Whether WK is dropping golden nuggets of partying wisdom on his Twitter feed (@AndrewWK) or schlepping sex napkins for Playtex, with their "Fresh + Sexy" campaign, he's a one-man party machine. And he does it all with that infamous bloody nose to boot.

That positive partying wisdom has helped catapult WK to the height of his career. He's gone from underground positive party guru and metal musician to a household name seemingly overnight. It makes sense, though, given the sheer amount of stuff he's been a part of this summer alone. Andrew WK is worldwide now, and using that exposure to spread his positive partying across the globe at a rapid pace.


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The Five Weirdest Rap Beefs

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Do you remember J-Kwon? If you don't, I'll remind you. He had a song called "Tipsy" back in 2004 that hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts. After that he dropped off the face of the earth (literally, for a while). Well, J-Kwon is back and he's having a big couple of weeks. First, Kanye West gave him a namedrop in West's big-deal New York Times interview. Second, J-Kwon dropped a new track gunning hard for West's GOOD Music labelmate and former Clipse member Pusha T, as well as Odd Future.

To be fair, Odd Future and Pusha had both made jokes about J-Kwon and his status as a forgotten one-hit wonder in verses, but on the other hand, who cares? This whole beef seems incredibly random and sparked by seemingly nothing.

Then again, that could be said for a lot of rap beefs. Maybe that's why it got me thinking about some of the other weirdest, most random rap beefs to have come up over the years, which might be clues to J-Kwon on how to resolve his beef quickly before the far superior rappers he's up against eviscerate him in song.


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Atlas Genius: Brothers Lead Next Wave of Badass Aussie Rock

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The thing about Australian accents is that they're way awesome. They're even better on the phone chatting with Keith Jeffery, who just happens to be the front man for the indie-rock band known as Atlas Genius.

Does that name sound familiar? If it does, you might be onto something, because it's damn near everywhere at the moment. From Atlas' recent stints touring with bands like Silversun Pickups and Imagine Dragons, plus a new album and hit single, "Trojans," that has taken over mainstream airwaves, these guys are seeing the kind of massive success that takes years of groundwork to cultivate.

Atlas didn't quite follow that well-beaten path to fame, though. Besides Keith, the band's only other full-time member is his brother Michael Jeffery on drums. From the moment Atlas uploaded their first song to the Web in 2011, the duo has earned rave reviews across the blogosphere. Their synth-driven sound and breezy yet candid lyrics helped Atlas sell thousands of records before even signing to a label.


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Hell Freezes Over: The Ends of Five Great Musical Feuds

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Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher - together for the first time.
Last month marked the end of one of the great musical feuds of the 1990s.

Any Britpop fan knows you can either be a fan of Oasis or of Blur, but not a fan of both. The two bands hated each other's guts and were in constant competition throughout the decade. So all of us in the press were shocked when former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher joined Blur front man Damon Albarn onstage to perform for his Teenage Cancer Trust benefit concert.

Noel's brother and former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher is still no fan of Blur, nor of his brother. But it got me thinking about the eternal power of forgiveness.

Truly it seems that in the world of rock and roll, and wherever there's money to be made, all fences can be mended and all burnt bridges can be rebuilt. I decided to take a look back at some of the most historic feuds and their noteworthy ends.


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Keep Your Tired Love-Song Cliches off My Mixtape

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Leah Tihia via flickr
I'm a firm believer in the old adage "Never date someone who makes you a mixtape," so please don't break that rule this Valentine's Day and proceed with your plans to create a mixtape full of love songs.

Yes, throwing some romantic songs together may seem like a cheap way to get out of having to buy a gift, but trust me. No good can come from it.

Think about it; you're giving the person you love a montage of songs about dying in his or her arms and watching every step he or she takes. If this person is smart, he or she will run. Nothing screams needing a protection order like a CD full of songs about stalking.

I'm a realist, though, and I know that despite my fair warning, there will still be a few of you who tempt fate by putting together those songs for your significant other. While I question your sanity, I admire your tenacity, so I'm going to help you out.

Below is a guide to the most overused love-song clichés; avoid them on your mixtape at all costs. You'll thank me, I promise.

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Top 10 Bands Your Girlfriend Cannot Stand

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Photo by Barry Sigman
Not all the girls are mad for One Direction.
A shared taste in music can be a critical part of any couple's relationship, from going to a concert on their first date to narrowing down that one special song for their first wedding dance. But what if that's not the case? Just from a bit of casual Googling, it's not difficult to find divorce attorneys' Web sites that list album collections as a common example of personal property that gets disputed when couples decide to untie the knot.

Recently, as a sort of experiment, Rocks Off asked ten of our male contributors to ask a woman in their life -- wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, even a close friend, just not a blood relation -- to name one band or artist they just cannot abide.

What a great question, right? Easy to answer, but almost impossible to agree on. Some answers came back almost right away in replies that seemed almost reflexive, while others took a few days and came in the form of carefully considered paragraphs.

Either way, it was clear that the women we asked did not require much prompting at all.


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20 Albums To Leave Your Children Plus Five To Grow On...

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It started as a simple question: What albums would you leave your unborn children, if you knew you were on borrowed time and may not be around to show them the way. At first I asked for albums for sons, but then it grew broader, not out of needing to pacify the PC-thug in me, but to make sure everyone, regardless of gender, had a sort of Rosetta Stone of musical history in their hands.

You could leave them pristine vinyl versions of these, a collection of cassettes, or maybe just a diamond-covered flash drive, if are so inclined. As for me, I will also leave my unborn child my Rdio account. That's not a paid endorsement, that's just me being expedient.

To get some obvious picks out of the way, the entire Beatles catalog will come standard with being my child, like seat-belts in cars. As will George Strait's Strait Out Of The Box, and ZZ Top's catalog.

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Five Musical MILFs Who Rocked Pregnancy

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Beyoncé's ever-changing baby bump.
In the world of prominent celebrities, it's headlining news even if that famous person sneezes. So in when Houston's own Beyoncé announced her pregnancy at the 2011 VMA's in August, the media and fans went into a frenzy of reactions. Some were elated, some hopeful and then there are the others who don't believe B is pregnant at all.

It seems that Beyoncé's belly grew way too fast for some people who saw her on stage ten days prior to her VMA performance at one of her four intimate shows in New York. After seeing Beyonce's belly bump allegedly deflated and folded as she took a seat for an during an interview in Australia last Sunday the conspiracy theorist got to work again. Beyoncé's publicist dismissed the fake belly rumors as "stupid and ridiculous."

Once again, the public is not satisfied with the little bit of private life celebrities share with them. Despite photos of Beyoncé in a two-piece bathing suit with her bare pregnant belly showing, people want to know more. It's almost as if a celebrity can't be pregnant without someone having an issue with it. Pregnant or not Beyoncé looks amazing. The public won't be happy until B does a nude pregnant magazine cover. The following is list of five musical milfs that rock or rocked pregnancy effortlessly.

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Lil Wayne Documentary At Center Of Lawsuits

Lil Wayne is currently shooting a documentary for his I Am Music IItour, but he's come under fire for a different film. Tha Carter, a Weezy-sanctioned documentary released in 2009, is at the center of a litany of lawsuits between Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment and film production company Digerati Holdings.

Wayne sued the filmmakers in 2009 for breach of contract after the documentary screened at Sundance Film Festival. In the lawsuit, Weezy claimed that the producer failed to get his nod on some unauthorized pictures in the film.


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