The Five Best Concerts in Houston This Week: Karmin, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, etc.

Photo courtesy of Epic Records
House of Blues, April 8

Almost the anti-Sleigh Bells, Karmin are still attempting to pull off the Pinocchio-like transition from viral sensation to offline pop success. The Boston-based duo of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan let the genie out of the bottle in April 2011, when their cover of Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" lit up the YouTube switchboard (a staggering 89 million-plus hits to date), followed closely by versions of recent Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne hits; Heidemann especially has a taste for hip-hop, and the flow to match.

Unable to resist, Sony signed Karmin shortly thereafter and has since been hoping they'll go viral on the pop charts as well, but it's been a rocky start. It took until this February for their debut LP, Pulses, to be released; the reception so far has been lukewarm. Nevertheless, there are a few simple-enough pleasures to be had here in easily digestible, paint-by-numbers tunes like "I Want It All" and the well-titled "Puppet." CHRIS GRAY

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CityCentre's Breezy Bars Teem With Nightlife

Photos (except Yard House) by Angelica Leicht
The bar at Straits Restaurant is hardly ever this uncrowded.
'Hi. Can you make me a ­lychee martini?"

"A what?"

"A lychee martini -- it's on your menu."

"I don't think we have those."

"I'm pretty sure you do; you guys serve them at dinner. And at lunch. L-Y-C-H-E-E martini."

We're trying desperately to communicate with the bartender at Straits, but there's no use in screaming over the thumping dance music. Still, it's a lychee martini, made from the Chinese subtropical fruit, and some things are worth the effort.

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Houston's Top 10 Rock Bars

As our sister blog Eating...Our Words does, from time to time Rocks Off will be giving your our picks for the top taverns in various Houston-area neighborhoods. Of course, the lines can be porous, but here anything with a TABC license that cannot reasonably be considered either a restaurant, coffeehouse or live-music venue is fair game.

Veteran rock jocks like Outlaw Dave should know a thing or two about how to open a killer bar, and luckily the radio god doesn't let us down. Outlaw Dave's WWHQ on Wash Ave is an awesome place to rock out with out, so you get over your fear of bros and go sometime. Not only is the bar home to Kiki's Sordid Sideshow -- a titillating circus-themed burlesque troupe -- but it's also where you'll find Dave himself and assorted guests broadcasting his KPRC 950 AM radio show 5-8 p.m. weekdays (plus 7-9 p.m. Saturdays), since it's equipped with a studio. Beer, grub, rock, and Outlaw Dave. It's like your '90s wet-dream is coming to fruition, right?

6502 Washington, 713-862-3283,

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The 10 Best Concerts In Houston This Weekend: Pearland Crawfish Festival, Sleigh Bells, etc.

Quiet Company
Warehouse Live, April 4

Quiet Company are quickly becoming Houston's favorite Austin band, which must make Bob Schneider's crew a little nervous. It's was hard not to get swept up in the dapper five-piece's symphonic rock in the grand tradition of The Who or ...Trail of Dead ("You, Me & the Boatman"), cut with a little power-pop on their outstanding albums We Are All Where We Belong and A Dead Man On My Back. In concert, sometimes they'll break into the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, too. CHRIS GRAY

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The Rocks Off 200: Mister Insane, Host of The Insane Show

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Images courtesy of Mister Insane
Would you watch a program called The Insane Show? No? Are you nuts?!

Up in Crosby, of all places, is the base of operations of (it's safe to say) the Houston area's online music-oriented TV show that kicks the most ass. Very much backing up the claim "supporting local music worldwide," The Insane Show is a take-no-prisoners repository of videos, live performances and interviews with underground bands that fall along a wide metal/goth/industrial/hard-rock curve.

In other words, if you've ever fallen under the spell of the three Ms (Ministry, Manson, Metallica), you'll probably flip out about The Insane Show. Episodes can stretch past an hour in length, and don't exactly skimp on the T&A. Produced "roughly biweekly," it's like Austin City Limits with a lot more piercings and occasional plugs for midget-wrestling bouts; it's also fucking cool, and unlike anything else we've ever seen around here.

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Upcoming: Fleetwood Mac, Lucinda Williams, Too $hort, Peter Murphy, Skid Row, Swans, etc.

Acid Mothers Temple: With Perhaps, Pink Mountaintops. Thu., May 1, 8 p.m., $10 to $14. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Houston, 713-862-3838.

Al Staehely: Tue., April 8, 7 p.m., $20 to $22. McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, Houston, 713-528-5999.

Android Genius: With X!Lo, Broken Satellite, Bizzy Vicious. Thu., April 17, 8 p.m., $5. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Houston, 713-862-3838.

Angel's All White Fundraiser feat. Slim Thug: With DJ Young Streetz, MC Kane. Thu., April 17, 8 p.m., $40 to $1000. Stereo Live, 6400 Richmond, Houston, 832-251-9600.

Baths: With Young Fathers, Stephen Farris. Fri., April 18, 8 p.m., $13 to $17. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Houston, 713-862-3838.

Bermuda: With Deserters, Seekers, Destruction of a King. Sat., April 26, 7 p.m., $10 to $14. Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, Houston, 713-862-3838.

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The Five Best Concerts In Houston This Week: Debonair Lounge, Merle Haggard, etc.

Photo by Marco Torres
These two enjoyed Debonair Lounge earlier this year.
Debonair Lounge
Cafe 4212, March 31

Since approximately Labor Day 2013, the only way to get each week off on a good foot has been at this Museum District oasis of cool. Debonair Lounge has already welcomed a who's who of Houston's hottest young hip-hop and R&B performers -- this week's "Ladies Night" features Tia Gold, Donnie Marie, Prince Cannon Mi'chel Rose and, as always, that smooth-ass Debonair house band -- strutting their stuff for one of the most stylish audiences in town.

Hosted by local scenesters Tay Mitch and Brad Gilmore, whom Channel 39's Newsfix called "ebony and ivory at its finest," these few hours will have you looking forward to every Monday...just not Tuesdays. The party never stops on Instagram at @DebonairLoungeHTX, too. CHRIS GRAY

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Texas Hookah Lounge: Not Just Blowin' Smoke

Photo by Angelica Leicht

Smoke billows from our mouths as we draw out the syllables of each word, then dances above our heads in a mesmerizing manner. We have just taken a drag from the hookah pipe sitting in front of us and are attempting to create clouds of smoke-letters in the air.

Needless to say, we are failing miserably. We look much less like the caterpillar from Alice In Wonderland than we'd hoped..

Fortunately, though, no one here at Texas Hookah Lounge (1431 Westheimer) seems bothered by the abundance of smoke our attempts are producing. The haze is just par for the course in this place. To us it seems pretty late to have such a packed crowd, but the staff doesn't seem bothered in the least.

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Houston's Best Weekend Shows: SCOTS, Deltron 3030, Roky Moon, Queensryche, etc.

Photo by Jay Lee
Southern Culture on the Skids
Continental Club, March 28 & 29

Taking a 30th-anniversary victory lap this year, Southern Culture on the Skids has parlayed their image as overalled, chicken-flingin' hillbillies into a virtual empire of lowbrow kitsch and randy "toe-suckin' geek rock." On the Chapel Hill, N.C. trio's Web site, you can learn how to make "Fried Pickle Stabber Slabbers" or "Apple Juice Pork Ribs," or replenish your stock of tacky SCOTS gear from the "Skidmart."

But their music has never been cheesy: SCOTS is a high-powered trio that can tackle everything from rockabilly to surf and swamp-rock, and has particularly astute taste in covers, as heard on 2007's Countrypolitan Favorites LP and live staple "Daddy Was a Preacher (But Mama Was a Go-Go Girl)." After inaugurating their own Kudzu Records with 2010's The Kudzu Ranch, SCOTS' latest project is last year's career-spanning Dig This!: Ditch Diggin' v. 2, complete with a bonus disc of karaoke-ready instrumentals. CHRIS GRAY

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25 Shows In Houston You Should See This Spring

Mango's, April 4

Right now acoustic folk is a sleeping giant within the music industry, but Katie Crutchfield (who works under the stage name Waxahatchee) is one name to have on your radar. If you're a fan of acts like Screaming Females, Hop Along and Laura Stevenson, you'll likely find something to like here. ALYSSA DUPREE

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