Love Dominique Ready to Crash the Men's Club of Houston R&B

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Tonight is homecoming night for Love Dominique, but a homecoming in the non-traditional sense.

She's a Missouri City girl born Dominique Henry, the kind who dreamed of big lights and stardom after hearing Brandy records in 5th grade and pestering her mom every single chance she got before, becoming an even bigger Tina Turner fan. She's the Willowridge graduate who stayed close to home and only took a leap of faith to focus on her music solely this year.

She's the woman who thanks to a deal with Altavoz Distribution will be able to release her self-titled debut album, Love Dominique understands that staying completely independent is harder work than running to a label to be coddled.

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A Conversation With Texas Punk Icon Gary Floyd

This photo by David Ensminger/Others courtesy of Gary Floyd
Gary Floyd today
Gary Floyd is a long-loved underground music icon entangled in fiery black music, queer outrage, punk vendettas, barbed-wire politics, and Eastern spiritual bliss-outs. Whereas the homegrown Texas musical tornadoes the Dicks (later reinvented in San Francisco) were ribald and cantankerous, Sister Double Happiness were rootsy purveyors of sweeping, mesmerizing alt-rock that helped initiate the Nirvana generation.

By the mid-1990s, his Gary Floyd Band buried themselves deep in East Texas saggy porch-howling blues, while Black Kali Ma soon followed by unleashing Shiva as a devouring rock and roll entity. Now, Floyd effortlessly evokes wisdom, transcendence, and transience in his latest guise, Buddha Brothers.

Floyd recently spoke with Rocks Off before heading down for Friday afternoon's meet-and-greet at Cactus Music, his first Houston appearance in the last half-decade. (Note: David Ensminger is also co-author of Floyd's forthcoming autobiography and featured the singer in his book Left of the Dial: Conversations with Punk Icons.)

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Jayhawks Take Flight Again on Raft of Reissues

Marina Chavez/UME
The Jayhawks "Sounds of Lies" lineup 1997: Karen Grotberg (keyboards), Tim O'Reagan (drums/vocals), Gary Louris (guitar/vocals), Marc Perlman (bass), and Kraig Johnson (guitar).
At the end of 1995, Gary Louris had a problem. A big one.

His band, the critically acclaimed, Minneapolis-based Jayhawks, was just starting to gain some commercial traction after a decade of existence at the front of the No Depression/Americana/alt-country pack. Their release earlier that year, Tomorrow the Green Grass, was (and is) considered a masterpiece, and single "Blue" seemed to have them poised to break even more.

Then, Louris' fellow singer/guitarist/songwriter Mark Olson quit, relieving the band of its co-leader and, more importantly, one half of the harmony vocals that were the band's trademark.

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Rock Survivor Glenn Hughes: "The Kids Went Apeshit!"

The heavy-hitting California Breed is Jason Bonham (drums), Glenn Hughes (vocals/bass), and Andrew Watt (guitar).
Legendary rocker Glenn Hughes is on the phone, ostensibly to talk about California Breed. It's the new band he has with drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Andrew Watt and who have just released a loud, crunchy, self-titled debut CD. But before he gets to that his rapid-fire mouth has something he wants Rocks Off to know.

"Look, man, you need to know this off the bat. Houston, and the reaction the city has given to my music, is the reason I'm probably talking to you now!" he offers. "Talking to anyone from Houston brings back all the love, and I'll never forget it."

As Hughes tells it over the phone, as well as in his autobiography, his band Trapeze had finished a tour in 1970 opening for the Moody Blues. But nowhere did they get the frenzied reaction they did during their set as at the Sam Houston Coliseum.

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Glenn Hughes's California Breed Redefines the Power Trio

California Breed: Jason Bonham (drums), Glenn Hughes (vocals/bass) and Andrew Watt (guitar)
It was the late summer of 2012, and hard rockers Black Country Communion had just released their third album. But the co-singer/bassist of the very successful group, the legendary Glenn Hughes, was pissed.

That's because the very future of the band featuring Hughes, co-singer/guitarist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian was in doubt. Hughes wanted to tour, but Bonamassa's thriving solo career limited their opportunities. The two traded barbs in the press and on Twitter, and a planned big concert was cancelled.

Cut to spring 2013, when Bonamassa announced his departure, officially ending the band.

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The Fast-Moving Mind (and Mouth) of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The Ian Anderson Band 2014: Scott Hammond (drums), David Goodier (bass), Ryan O'Donnell (vocals and "stage antics"), Ian Anderson (vocals, flute), Florian Opahle (guitar), Jon O'Hara (keyboards)
It seems that, Gerald Bostock, the noted writer and lyricist, is at it again.

Bostock first came to fame in the early '70s when, as an 8-year-old boy genius, his award-winning epic poem Thick as a Brick was adapted into a concept album by English rockers Jethro Tull. However, his prize was revoked in a scandal; it's all there detailed in a tabloid shocker on the record cover.

His subsequent life was chronicled in Tull's 2012 effort Thick as a Brick 2: Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock? Divergent theories ran rampant that he possibly ended up as a greedy investment banker, homosexual homeless man, soldier, evangelical preacher or simple English storekeeper.

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Likable Lunice Has the Inside Track to "Higher Ground"

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Photos courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
It's not just a Canadian thing to say that Montreal-based Lunice, with Hudson Mohawke one-half of EDM monsters TNGHT, is overtly polite in describing himself. It's an everyday thing. There's not a speck of bad press to be found about the producer listed as 25 or 26 years of age, depending on the source. In fact, there may not have ever been a bad mark on his report card for all we know.

While perusing interviews with Lunice for this article, I stumbled across a NPR appearance from this past SXSW, where he humbled himself in the presence of A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad. He admitted to never rapping, insisting he was terrible, before saying the B-boy aspect of hip-hop lured him into making music. So. Damn. Likable.

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Georgia Rockers the Whigs Uphold Hometown's Vibrant Legacy

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Joshua Black Wilkins/New West Records
The Whigs: Parker Gispert (vocals/guitar), Julian Dorio (drums), and Timothy Deaux (bass).
There is one thing that rock trio the Whigs would like the general music public to know: the Athens, Ga.-based group has nothing to do with the '80s/'90s (and since-reunited) alt-rock band of a similar name, albeit with the addition of a certain well-known central/south Asian country in the moniker.

"We understand that the Afghan Whigs are well-respected, but coming up with our name was just a coincidence. And even that just came from the suggestion we call ourselves just The Wigs," says drummer Julian Dorio. "And they were [inactive] at the time. It hasn't caused problems. Although maybe the confusion is just starting!"

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Please Don't Ever Call Parquet Courts Slackers

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Photo by Ben Rayner
In Journalism 101, students are taught to use adjectives sparingly, as their overuse actually weakens a description. Parquet Courts, a band that's been descriptively categorized by critics ad nauseam, might be particularly interested in recalling this oft-forgotten rule of thumb.

Since their 2010 debut, the Brooklynites have been frequently branded with variations of "slacker-rock '90s revivalists." While Parquet Courts' music does bear a striking likeness to at least the spirit of golden-child '90s bands like Pavement, the comparison really pisses them off.

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Milk Carton Kids Learn to Keep Pushing Each Other

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Photos courtesy of Anti- Records
Despite the fact that The Milk Carton Kids released their Grammy-nominated album The Ash & Clay in 2013, to Joey Ryan -- one of the Americana-folk duo's two singer-guitarists -- it might as well have been during the 20th century when he tries to recall what the band's mindset was like while making the record.

"It feels like an eternity ago!" he laughs. "I think we were, creatively, in a place where we really wanted to push ourselves as far as what we could do in the format of two guitars and two vocals."

This itch to push themselves in new directions and expand their horizons has been a constant presence in the band's life since forming in 2011. Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale were both solo artists before they met, and much of their output up to that point would have passed for standard singer-songwriter fare, focusing heavily on emotional, personal content. And while the duo has made significant strides in terms of songwriting and lyrics in their few years together, there was still a sense heading into Ash that they could do more.

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