At the Alamo: A Band Called Death, A Band of Brothers

In the end, A Band Called Death is less about its namesake or even about the music at all; it is the journey of three brothers bound by love and driven by faith. The sounds that they made together upstairs in a small house in Detroit in 1974, while revolutionary, take a back seat to the story of David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney, brothers.

Encouraged by their parents, the youngest three Hackney brothers grew up like so many American teenagers since the birth of rock and roll, listening to a wide spectrum of popular music from folk to funk. But even in the heart of Motown, it was ultimately bands like The Who and The Beatles that would speak to David and his brothers.

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5 More Bizarre "Basement Tapes" We'd Like to See

My God... it could be ANYTHING.
Recently over in England, someone dug up some old tapes of a band called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, a band who may have gone largely unheard of for the rest of time, were it not for the fact that their drummer was one Ringo Starr. Yes, two years before he started drumming for The Beatles, Ringo was in another, showier pop band that may have influenced the early glam-rock scene. Maybe not, but we'll at least be able to hear what they sounded like when their album is released later this month.

Aren't there other performers out there with tapes tucked away in a basement or closet somewhere? Perhaps of an earlier musical project they'd rather never saw the light of day? Oh, there simply must be!

Why, we can almost picture the surprisingly detailed descriptions, which we are certainly not making up...

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Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 8 Jukeboxes

jukebox may2.jpg
Along with pickled pig's feet and a steady supply of Slim Jims, a good jukebox is a prime element for any great bar. But, like dinosaurs, jukeboxes are a vanishing breed. Unlike digital jukes, iPods or DJs, jukeboxes require love, care and maintenance, as well as -- among the truly great ones -- some thought.

Until recently, Poison Girl had a killer jukebox, but it went down and owner Scott Walcott hasn't been able to get a mechanic familiar with his type of machinery, so it's currently on hiatus. Last year Under the Volcano's dollar-swallower shorted out and caught fire, so there are perils that most civilians wouldn't necessarily consider.

But with that in mind, here are eight local jukeboxes that only make the party better.

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The Best LP Side Ones Ever

Spurred on by the realization that both David Bowie's commercial breakthrough Let's Dance and Queen's News of the World had solid, sturdy side ones on their vinyl releases, I then began the hunt for other great vinyl slabs with amazing side ones.

Of course, the idea is that this could only include albums from the (first) great rock vinyl heyday. I am sure that Wilco and others have turned in great side ones in the past decade, but only a select few of you have heard them on vinyl.

The secret to great albums, of course, has everything to do with genius and gripping songs, plus proper sequencing and editing. And you may remember a few years back, when I attempted to cut some of most popular double slabs down to one lean collection.

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side ones

Rockin' In Plain Sight: Our Favorite Hidden Album Tracks

In the days when compact discs and tapes ruled the world, hidden tracks on albums were like secret gifts from your favorite bands. Off the liner notes, not in the original track listings, and totally unassuming, sometimes tucked away after minutes and minutes of silence on a disc.

With the way music is disseminated now, it's harder for bands to keep that air of mystery and keep a song hidden. Most of our previously hidden tracks are spliced from the minutes of silence and posted as downloads on torrents, or made into attached parts of an album.

Maybe the first hidden track we noticed was "Endless, Nameless" on a copy of Nirvana's Nevermind. The cut was not like anything on the album that unreeled before it, and it was kind of scary (OK, for a third-grader in 1991) to hear after the 12 bits of tuneful grunge that came before it.

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Boogie Chillun

Perhaps inspired by Miss Pop Rocks’s ill-fated trips through Wikipedia’s labyrinths of information, I set out this morning to round up a few of the worst tribute bands on YouTube and wound up sidetracked with this little video treatise on the boogie.

So, y’all ready to boogie? I don’t mean disco-boogie, I mean primal one-chord boogie like you’re crab-walking through ninety degree heat in a Mississippi cotton field with a full Mason jar full of corn liquor coursing through your veins and the devil in your soul.

I’m gonna skip over ZZ Top and John Lee Hooker and jump off with some lesser-known lights.

All right, then, let’s go. Hey, it’s Friday, people.

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Muxtape Monday: African Diaspora

Categories: Hidden Tracks

Editor's note: This muxtape no longer exists in its current form.

Have you ever heard of Apparently, it’s this new site where you can share whatever songs you want legally. Or something. Apparently.

At any rate, I made my very first one today. Since the upcoming Houston International Festival honors Africa and the African diaspora, my muxtape does the same.

It’s here.

Here are the track notes:

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Reverberations: Garage Rock Downloads on MySpace

For whatever reason, I seemed to forget that MySpace offers the opportunity for actual downloads, in addition to streaming music.

This revelation was thrilling, despite its embarrassing belatedness, and I’ve decided to make the MySpace Mixtape a regular practice on Reverberations. The rules are simple: Selections must be downloadable, posted on an official band page (I’ve taken care to avoid “fan pages,” or any instance where consent is not implied by the actual band, management or label) and not patently obvious. The bands were found through compilations, linking from other bands’ pages, random friend requests, or simple trolling. In the future, it may be interesting to explore themes (region-specific compilations spring to mind), but for now, we’ll just rock at random. Happy listening:

The Nomads “Been Burnt” - Start things off with this shot of screaming guitar and caveman percussion from this Swedish band who’s been at it for 25 years.

The Hot Pockets “There Goes the Night” - Punk rock from the Netherlands that sounds like a cross between Something Fierce and The Born Liars.

The Satelliters “Go Away” - More than a passing resemblance to Brian Jonestown Massacre; loose, laid-back beat with a harmonica lynchpin.

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MP3: Jackie Wilson and Laverne Baker, Like You’ve Never Heard Them Before

The official version of “Think Twice” barely dented the pop charts in 1966, though it was something more of an R&B hit.

This NSFW version, recorded just for fun at the end of a recording session, was never even released. And given that the two of them sing about cocaine, reefer, cunnilingus and sing just about every swear word in the English language, right up to the C-word, it’s easy to see why.

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Exclusive: Craig Kinsey's "Montrose Boulevard Blues"

I’ve been feeling pretty down about a bunch of crap lately – the march of condos all over town and the douche-ification of Washington Avenue, among other things -- but the Sideshow Tramps' Craig Kinsey has gone and cheered me up with this here jazzy little ragtime-feeling “Montrose Boulevard Blues,” a Houstoned Rocks World Exclusive.

That is some handmade music, people. It makes me homesick for the neighborhood I called home for so much of my life. (Now if only someone will pen a song even half as good about Stella Link.)

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