Why Fleetwood Mac Is Bigger Than Ever

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Photo by Jay Lee
Fleetwood Mac in 2009
Fleetwood Mac will be playing a very special show in Houston on Monday night. It's special because it is the first time Christine McVie will be joining the band in a performance here since the early '90s at least. For many younger fans, this is their first opportunity to see the band's full classic lineup performing together.

And those younger fans? Well, there's a lot of them -- in fact, there may be more than ever. Against all odds, Fleetwood Mac has gone from a classic-rock band, relegated to bargain bins, to a thriving, relevant enterprise. Monday night's show will be a celebration of that fact.


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"I'll Be Stoned for Christmas" Argues for Keeping Weed Illegal

Categories: Hipsters, Holidaze

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Photos courtesy of Force Field PR
You know what, maybe weed shouldn't be legalized after all.
So that photo happened, apparently at the hands of a dude named Dent May. And not only is he the culprit for the worst Christmas photo known to man, but his holiday-themed song is a little foggy, too.

And yes, we remember that awful Mariah Carey earworm. "I'll Be Stoned For Christmas" lights that one up.

Described in the press release as having "the restless musical mind of a DIY pop auteur," May supposedly "investigates life's timeless mysteries, touching on youth, mortality, alienation and unrequited love with startling honesty and humor." The song does indeed sound kinda funny -- especially considering May's self-proclaimed funnybone -- but we're not that amused.


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The Ugliest Indie Feud of 2014

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Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012.
Let's assume you don't follow the indie-rock blogosphere. You may never have heard of Mark Kozelek or his project Sun Kil Moon. Think of him as like an acoustic guitar-playing, folkie version of Trent Reznor; he's a brilliant musician who performs under the name Sun Kil Moon. It's a "band" in the same sense Nine Inch Nails is a band, but at the end of the day, Sun Kil Moon is Mark Kozelek.

I used to be a fan of his, but I am no longer. If you don't know who Sun Kil Moon is, you likely don't know why that is, so here's a little background on exactly why Kozelek may be the most immature, idiotic person in the indie world and why I can no longer stomach even his older recordings.


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The Flaming Lips' Shtick Is Getting Stale

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Photo by Mark C. Austin
Let's have a talk about the Flaming Lips. The Oklahoma City band made their name in the '90s alt-rock scene with "She Don't Use Jelly," but they were nothing like their contemporaries. Their history was checkered with intense experimentation, and that song was an outlier in their catalog.

This sort of teeter-totter balance between accessible, mainstream rock music and vast sonic experimentation has continued unabated as the Lips have become one of the most successful bands in modern music. But as they've gotten more famous and more financially stable, the whole thing might be growing stale.


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Relax, It's Okay to Like Weezer Again

Categories: Dig This, Hipsters

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Photo by Emily Shur
Weezer
"Take me back," singer Rivers Cuomo intones in the chorus of Weezer's latest hit single, "Back to the Shack." It's a familiar sentiment from him, going all the way back to the early portion of his career when he sang "I've got to get back" in Pinkerton classic "The Good Life."

Is "Back to the Shack" the return to form he's pining for in its own self-referential lyrics? Not quite. It's maybe the worst out of the recently released singles from their new record, Everything Will Be Alright in the End (in stores today), yet it does a pretty damn good job of sounding like the old Weezer, something the band has consistently failed at for the last decade.


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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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Dear Arcade Fire: No More Covers On This Tour, Please

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Photo by Marc Brubaker
Arcade Fire's Win Butler at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, May 2011
Folks, I have made it no secret over the years that I am no fan of what Arcade Fire does. The Woodlands expats make lightweight pretentious rock for hipsters and bored suburban kids. That's fine, because it's a market that apparently Jason Mraz wasn't quite cornering well enough.

But now they have crossed the line with me. On their latest tour, which pulls into the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on April 9, they've taken to covering classic songs and the results have been pretty much as expected for a band of this, ahem, caliber. So here and now, I would like to respectfully request that Arcade Fire please, please, please stop covering songs I love.


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How to Play a Vinyl Record

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Photo by acidpix via flickr
So you want to play a vinyl, eh?

Perhaps you've come across your grandma's old record player, or maybe you've found a sweet stash of vinyls at your local Goodwill that would look perfect in your hipster pad, and you want to test them out to impress your moustachioed friends.

There's only one problem, though. You're well out of the demographic that remembers 8-track players, much less those strange, disc-looking things you're holding haphazardly, and you can't just ask the dude in skinny pants that won't get off your couch. You'd lose way too much street cred.

Well, you're in luck. An official old is here to teach you the ways. Watch and learn, childrens.


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Mason Jennings/Lily Kershaw at House of Blues, 1/26/14

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Photos by Nicholas Zalud
Mason Jennings with Lily Kershaw
House of Blues, Bronze Peacock Room
1.26.14

House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room was the perfect intimate setting for Mason Jennings' stellar showcase of songs on Sunday night. Ranging from his vast catalog of music, Jennings came to perform for his fans' sake, and that he did.

Opener Lily Kershaw isn't exactly a household name, unless maybe you are an avid fan of the CBS show Criminal Minds (apparently Kershaw had two songs on the season finale this year). That being said, she certainly is naturally talented. Her voice is reminiscent of Jewel but slightly warmer. It is to be seen if there is anything discernably different about Kershaw than the 1000 other talented songstresses that release music each year in the hopes of success, but her music is pretty and non-irritating or cheesy. Maybe that is the difference.

After Kershaw's appropriately timed 45-minute set and an intermission, Mason Jennings took the stage. Jennings opened by saying, "Thanks for being so warm, Houston. I'm from Minnesota." A Houston transplant from Chicago and Minneapolis myself, I understand what he means. Nonetheless, this winter has absolutely sucked for Texans, and I'm glad for Houstonians sake that we have music like Mason's to keep us warm.

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Six People to Avoid When Starting a Band

Categories: Hipsters

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All illustrations by Dave Watt
Being in a band is hard. Assembling a band is almost impossible.

As anyone who's been through a few bands can tell you, meeting a self-proclaimed "musician" should instill about as much enthusiasm in you as meeting someone who is going to college for a career in law enforcement. You're either about to talk to a caring, compassionate, intelligent person or a psychotic, self-serving demon. By the analogy, you can probably guess which is more common.

Despite the intense joy we all take in watching a singer refuse to take the stage until the drummer changes his silk Western-style shirt, there comes a time we must rise up and take a stand. So furrow your brow and focus as we save your sanity by providing six people to avoid when forming a band.


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