Local Judge Brings Veteran Punks to Play for the Pooches

Photo by Victoria Renard
Texas cowpunk pioneers the HIckoids play one for the pooches at Rudyard's Friday night
It only takes a few minutes of phone time with Judge Michael Schneider of the 315th District Juvenile Court to get the feeling that here is a public official who is genuinely trying to make a difference. This Friday the judge plays host to a benefit for Friends of B.A.R.C. (Bureau of Animal Rescue and Control) at Rudyard's.

Assisting His Honor musically will be three bands, some dating back to Schneider's days as a mosh-pitting punk at joints like the Axiom: Dead Cowboys, We Are the Asteroid, and San Antonio cowpunks the Hickoids.

"I've been a fan of the Hickoids since I first saw them in 1988, at the Axiom, I believe," says Schneider. "As a judge, I'm bound by ethics that prevent me from raising money for charities, but I can put on a show and let others donate."

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Music Trends That Should Stay In 2014

Photo courtesy of Big Machine Records
Will we hear even a little less about Taylor in 2015? One can only hope...
Despite what the editors of Rolling Stone want you to believe, 2014 was not, in fact, "another great year for music." In all honesty, it was one of the worst on record for new creations that innovated or inspired. Sure, there were some highlights: Jack White, FKA Twigs, Schoolboy Q, St Vincent. But overall, the year was somewhat of a bust.

The good news is that there is no need to abandon hope for popular music. All that needs to happen is that these dreadful pieces of 2014 need to stay on this side of the calendar when the clock hits midnight on December 31. Here's to 2015!

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The 10 Best Texans-Cowboys Rapper Tweets

The 2014 Houston Texans have a new coach, new players, new hope and the same dedicated fan base of Houston-based rappers. As in years past, they took to Twitter on game day to comment on the home team's gridiron action.

And, as in years past, Rocks Off read their tweets more thoroughly and efficiently than Tony Romo Ryan Fitzpatrick reads defenses. 'Murica's Team eaked out a win in overtime and gave Cowboy fans in nearby Dallas suburbs like San Antonio and Michoacan, Mexico something to brag about. Their myopia notwithstanding, here's how H-town's rappers saw the game:

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The 10 Best Music-Oriented Secrets on Whisper


Remember when the prospect of Big Brother was frightening? This was back in ancient times, when people shuddered at the thought of anyone being able to watch their each and every move any time of the day.

That was before the Internet, before Facebook, before apps that track your mobile device so your stalkers can follow you. At some point, a bunch of us decided there was no keeping others from peering through the windows. We just pulled the curtains back to give them a better view.

Whisper is a popular Web site that lets voyeurs look past the surface and into the soul. Users anonymously post their secrets on the site. Using Internet images and meme-ready lettering, they've created the tech-warped, info-age version of the confessional booth.

Some of the secrets are horrifically creepy. Occasionally, they're poignant. Others are likely outright lies. And at least some are music-oriented. Here are some of the best.

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The Walmart Toe Sucker: A Musical Search for Answers

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Photo by awesomnesslol666 via Flickr Commons
I know I'm not a cynic because the strange-but-true news stories involving our species still sometimes shock me. Even after all these years, I rarely ho-hum something like this. Or this. Or, especially this.

So when I read the tale of Michael A. Brown I naturally had questions. You may know him better as "Man Arrested for Sucking Toes at North Carolina Walmart." Before I go much further, I'm fully aware his alleged actions constitute a crime and that he is a registered sex offender. Apparently Brown is a vile predator who forces his will upon others.

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What It's Like Being Pepper-Sprayed at SXSW

Our barbed-wire view of Scoot Inn during Tyler, the Creator's SXSW set.
It's hit all the major news outlets now: Odd Future's main attraction Tyler, the Creator was arrested on Saturday while trying to board a flight out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for the misdemeanor crime of inciting a riot.

This came as little surprise to those of us who were there at the Scoot Inn on Thursday when the riot itself occurred. While the mayhem was controlled to a certain extent, thankfully, the situation could have escalated very quickly if not for the efforts of all involved (including Tyler himself) to quell the insanity.

Of course, it didn't stop your humble writer from getting pepper-sprayed twice as part of the outside audience.

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Safety and SXSW: Was the Mohawk Tragedy a Tipping Point?

Photos by Marco Torres
A memorial to Thursday morning's crash victims outside The Mohawk on Red River Street
The last morning of SXSW 2011 was not a pleasant one. Not because of any kind of personal debauchery the previous evening; that had come a few days before. Reprimands had been handed down, wrists had been slapped, and tails were hanging between a few legs, these two included. The specific infractions have long since been forgotten, but what I remember now is sitting at Starbucks downstairs at the downtown Austin Hilton Sunday morning, watching one of the SXSW directors telling a local TV station that the festival might have to take it down a few notches. So I'm not the only one, I thought.

That cup of coffee was the one single moment when SXSW finally stopped being fun for me.

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Houston's "Worst" Music-Venue Restrooms

Photos by the Sendejas Family
Lola's ladies' room
I'm not really into "worst" lists. For one, labeling anything the "worst" sounds so negative. This is a music blog. Just as you would after using a restroom, you should walk away feeling better about the few minutes you spent here than worse. Right?

Also, there's a fine and subjective line between something being incredibly rank and that same thing having timeless, endearing character. One man's trashy restroom is another man's urine-caked treasure.

And finally, my experience suggests no 50-year-old beer guzzler should turn his or her nose up at any place that offers sweet relief during a long night out. Still, these water closets could use a makeover.

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10 Bands So Bad You Forgot About Them

Photo by Sam Howzit via flickr
There are two kinds of reactions to a long-forgotten song. First, and most optimal, are the obscure bands whose music hits your iPod and brings on the euphoria of resurrected-music magic.

But then there are the ones that play over the loudspeaker in the dusty aisles of your local discount store as you shop for marked-down electronics, and that when you hear them cause immediate claustrophobia.

These are not the bands that give you the happy-happy joy-joy's when you hear them again. These bands cause total discount-electronics-aisle meltdown, and you'd probably forgotten about them until this blog. We're sorry.

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Houston's Worst Places to Get Put On Hold

Photo by Nic McPhee/Flickr Commons
Joe V's Smart Shop is a Houston-based offshoot of one of the state's most successful brands, H.E.B., aka the H.E. Butt Grocery Company. Or, as it's known in my home, The Butt. If you're a fan of The Butt -- and really, who isn't? -- you know why it's an awesome place to shop. I don't know about you, but when I'm in The Butt it just feels right.

As it were, Joe V's recently emerged from The Butt and it's still a little sloppy. When I called to ask about a certain item, someone answered by saying "Hold on a second..." The second turned into about a minute and a half. When she returned, she simply said, "Hello?"

"Is this Joe V's?" I asked, because, what, what, that's not how they do it in The Butt. You're greeted like your call is the only thing keeping them from bankruptcy when you dial up H.E.B. proper.

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