Jimi Hendrix Has New Music Out...and It's Legal

Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings
Before the fiery guitars and feather boas, Curtis Knight & the Squires: "Jimmy" Hendrix (left) with (clockwise) drummer Marion Booker, Bassist/Tambourine player Ace Hall, and singer Curtis Knight.
Before he became a psychedelic shaman and the most lauded guitar player or his (or, arguably, any) era, Jimi Hendrix was "Jimmy" Hendrix.

A jobbing, wandering axeman for hire, he spent lean years lending his brewing talents onstage and in the studio by backing acts like Little Richard, King Curtis, the Isley Brothers, Don Covay and even Joey Dee and the Starlighters. One of his more lasting relationships was with the Harlem-based R&B combo Curtis Knight and the Squires, with whom he both performed and recorded numerous sides in 1965-'66.

That was before ex-Animal bassist Chas Chandler whisked him away to England, where he became a sensation and the most talked-about American import since Elvis. And then returned him to these shores for Monterey Pop and worldwide success. Now, fans can finally hear a number of those cuts with Curtis Knight and the Squires -- legally, and after decades of litigation -- on the new compilation You Can't Use My Name: The RSVP/PPX Sessions (Experience Hendrix/Legacy Recordings).

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Thelma and the Sleaze Ain't Here to Play Nice

Photos courtesy of Thelma and the Sleaze
What sort of video might an all-woman band which travels in a church van playing songs titled "Cum" and "Motor Tits" conceive? What images would be captured to visualize songs described by one of the band members as "Eddie Money woke up in the South on a pile of Judas Priest cassettes," from albums with names like These Boots Won't Lick Themselves?

If any of this sounds intriguing - and, seriously, why would it not? - then you'll want to take a gander at "Maria," the latest video from Nashville's Thelma and the Sleaze. The band is making its way through Texas for SXSW gigs and hits Rudyard's tonight. The Bad Drugs and Giant Kitty open a night that is going to be chock-full of femme badassery.

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A Few More Words With Oceans of Slumber

Photo courtesy of Oceans of Slumber
Coming off an exceptional year with a critically acclaimed album and turning out to be one of Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy's favorite bands for 2014, Oceans of Slumber could easily be lauded as Houston's hardest-working metal band (or hardest working any band, for that matter). Once described by Russ Russell - the iconic producer for Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, etc. - as "the perfect mixture of sheer brutality with ultimate musicianship," the band has the chops to juggle many genres while at the same time still walking on the tightrope that puts the heavy in metal.

OOS have just released a new EP, Blue, and are about to make their live debut with new line-up that includes new female singer Cammie Gilbert. But at the helm is Dobber Beverly, drummer for the band. He takes a minute out of his busy schedule -- they'll soon be releasing a new full-length album and heading out on tour -- to chat with us. Trust us: catch them tonight before they take the world by storm.

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Oceans of Slumber Pushing Harder Than Ever

Photo by Jeremy Pierson/Courtesy of Oceans of Slumber
When local prog-metal troupe Oceans of Slumber take the stage at Fitzgerald's on Friday night to celebrate the release of their new EP, don't be surprised if they look and sound a little different than you remember. The band has added a keyboard player, for one thing. And then there's the small matter of their brand-new singer - the young woman with the light-brown skin and the big, soaring voice.

One familiar element that definitely hasn't changed is that the middle of the stage will still be occupied by Dobber Beverly, the headphones-wearing drum demolisher still best-known to many around these parts as the skin-smasher from bygone grindcore greats Insect Warfare. Now appreciated around town as much for his gentle grooves as for his bone-shattering rolls and fills, Beverly has been the backbone of Oceans of Slumber since the group's formation in 2011.

The idea back then was to get together and jam out some progressive tunes with no holds barred, pushing the boundaries of what metal could sound like. Four years later, they're pushing harder than ever.

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Canada's Whitehorse: "It's Just Roots Music to Us"

Photo by Paul Robert Wright/Courtesy of Six Shooter Music
Whitehorse were finalists for Canada's top music prize, known as the Polaris, with 2012 album The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss.
Melissa McClelland, one half of the Toronto-based marital duo Whitehorse, has a little bone to pick with this Americana thing. She and husband Luke Doucet operated as two independent solo acts before joining forces in Whitehorse. The duo picked the name Whitehorse, the capitol of Canada's Yukon Territory, for its Canadiana associations.

"We named our band Whitehorse as sort of a gentle response to the term Americana," McClelland laughs. "Whitehorse, even by Canadian standards, is in the middle of nowhere, but that resonates to Canadians. It is actually a great little town and a fun place to play music, so naming ourselves after Whitehorse is a bit of tongue-in-cheek Canadian humor. And us pushing back just a little bit."

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They Came From the '60s! The Zombie Invasion Continues!

Photo by Andrew Eccles
The Zombies today: Tom Toomey (guitar), Rod Argent (keyboards/vocals), Jim Rodford (bass), Colin Blunstone (vocals), and Steve Rodford (drums).
So imagine this sonic scenario. You are a member of a '60s British Invasion band looking to distinguish yourself from various Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Animals, Pacemakers, Hermits, Troggs and Pretty Things.

Your group has had a couple of Top 10 hits in America a few years before, both nothing that was sustainable careerwise; or reflective of the new, heavier, and trippier sound that is in vogue.

Then -- partially to the thanks of a well-known U.S. record-industry insider who brings a copy of your most recent record back across the pond -- one song goes into heavy rotation on radio and is picking up steam. Interest and curiosity in your band begins to surge, inquiries are made from promoters about tours, and the music press begins to take note.

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Alt-Country Wit Ramsay Midwood Has a Quip for Every Tune

Photos by William Michael Smith
Ramsay Midwood and Randy Weeks playing "Crawdad"
Ramsay Midwood, who rolls into Under the Volcano Wednesday, wants everyone to know he's a nice guy.

"You're not going to print all those terrible things I said about people, are you," he asks as he's getting off our phone call. "Only print the nice stuff...I want to be the nice guy."

This from a scruffy ball-cap-wearing hippie who once wrote about himself in his own PR:

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Bob Suren: Confessions of a Former Hardcore Punk

Photos courtesy of Bob Suren
A recent photo of Bob Suren in Costa Rica
For many, Florida is the land of humidity-boiled punk, mostly epitomized by the fabled roster of No Idea Records (from Assholeparade, Less Than Jake and A Wilhelm Scream to Against Me! and Hot Water Music); earlier iconoclastic waves including the Eat, Gay Cowboys in Bondage, and Maggot Sandwich; or rare legendary venues like Tampa's 403 Chaos.

Bob Suren tends to embody an even more vitriol-lined side of the state. His label Burrito Records, much-cherished distro Sound Idea, and own tumultuous bands like Failure Face (named after a Charlie Brown strip) and Murder-Suicide Pact mapped out the American hardcore subgroup splinters that took hold even as punk often became little more than vapid Hot Topic fare in the post-Green Day void.

After years struggling to keep his work afloat and his music ever-meaningful, he closed up shop, dropped the scene like a dirty sock, headed to international lands, scoured for happiness, and now finds himself in Texas "redefining his comfort zone."

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Torche Gets Back Into a Heavy Groove With Restarter

Categories: Inquiring Minds

Photo courtesy of Torche
For just about a decade now, Torche has more or less locked down the dubious title of world's heaviest band to politely decline the "metal" tag. Hard to blame them, really. Torche is its own trip. The proudly down-tuned outfit packs the same percussive wallop as sludge titans Mastodon and Neurosis, sure, but also finds room for the pop songcraft and melodic vocals of heavier alternative acts like Nirvana and Failure. Though thoroughly crushing, the band's music defiantly retains a sunnier disposition and a lot more heart than that some of their hairier contemporaries.

That central dichotomy has never played better than on Torche's new album, Restarter. After the upbeat and tightly choreographed Harmonicraft raised the band's profile outside of the heavy-rock underground three years ago, Torche has returned with a darker, heavier and more wizened product. It's their most well-rounded effort yet, wedding a weighty crunch to their poppier sensibilities more seamlessly than ever.

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Santa Muerte Puts Houston Flavor Into Latino EDM

Photo by Marco Torres
DJ Panchitron of Santa Muerte
In the short time that DJs Panchitron (Pancho Briones) and Sines (Leroy Bella) have joined forces as the duo called Santa Muerte (stylized as SVNTV MVERTE), their music has already been heard across the country at popular dance parties in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Portland, as well as here in Houston.

With a dark and wild mix of Reggaeton, UK Grime, hip-hop beats, and Dirty South rap, the group is at the forefront of the new sound of Latino-based electronic dance music. Rocks Off spoke to them in anticipation of their guest appearance at Bombón Houston this Saturday night at Fox Hollow.

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