10 Great Lost '80s Punk Bands

Photo by Jay Francis
Legionaire's Disease Band
Ah, punk rock. No matter how many times declare its demise, it just keeps coming back upon us. Right now, Houston's underground scene is bubbling over with talent and the influence of the '80s scene is going strong. Underground bands are getting resurrected by 7-inch collectors, and the look going forward seems to be looking back.

In the midst of all that, it might be time to explore some of the more underrated bands of the time. Some were influential, some just outright forgotten, but there were so many people kicking ass in this genre at the time that it was hard to keep up. These aren't your Black Flags or your Misfits, but are worth remembering all the same.

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Answering the Questions: A Handy Guide to the Band Tool in 2014

Photos by Jim Bricker

You've probably read online that Tool is touring again (and was in fact in Houston Tuesday night), and if you're like most music fans you probably have a lot of questions. According to the rules of rock, bands only tour for a handful of reasons, and since you haven't heard any news about Tool recently, you're probably thinking you missed something big.

REWIND: Tool at Toyota Center, 3/25/2014

Fear not, casual to semi-casual Tool fan; we just saw them live and we can answer any question you might have.

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Music's Got 99 Problems, and Jay Z Ain't One

According to a recent report, Justin Bieber's mom -- who we'll just call Mama Bieber -- is planning to launch her music career.

Yes, that means exactly what you think it does. Two Biebers will be working the fame-whore stroll -- probably together, since rumor has it that they're recording a duet. We know what you're thinking: The world doesn't need a Bieber duet, and we'd have to agree with you. The last thing we want to see is more Bieber headlines, about mother or son. They've done enough already.

And the idea of a Bieber duet may be a travesty, but so are a lot of things happening in music at the moment. Miley's tongue shoved down Katy Perry's throat is a prime example. So much wrong; so little right.

So you may be having girl problems, and we do indeed feel bad for you, son. But the real issue here is that music's got 99 problems, and a bitch still ain't one.

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Five Reasons to Be Excited About Kimbra's New Album (Remember Her?)

You may know her from pop star Gotye's 2011 hit single "Somebody That I Used to Know," but Australian export Kimbra is anything but your typical pop singer. While her work as of yet has definitely held a large mainstream appeal, it's clear she has every ambition to break the mold and tread experimental ground for someone in her position.

Taking the road less traveled seems to be the motto for her as-yet-untitled upcoming record, her second after 2012's Vows, and Kimbra is definitely planning something big for those interested in any kind of experimental music. Let's take a look at what she's cooking up and why this should be one of your most anticipated new-album releases right now.

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The Five Most Important Ways Emo Changed Popular Music

Some things never change. For a few years when I was younger, "fuck emos" was a battle cry among fans of "real punk" or "real music," who hated the wave of emo in popular music and as a lifestyle of teenagers across America. Now, in some ways, that sentiment seems to be back again.

Not only was I a self-described emo kid, but I still wave the flag proudly while the revival currently takes place in the underground led by bands like Touche Amore (playing Fitz tonight) and La Dispute. The funny thing is though, even if people did hate emos, even if they still do with the current revival, they lost the war a long time ago.

Emo has infiltrated our modern lifestyles in so many ways, whether some people like it or not. Here are five of the most important ways that emo changed popular music and the world at large.

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Six Beloved Bands That Are Shameless Knockoffs

Photo by Faith Silva
Brian Aubert of Silversun Pickups
Originality is scary sometimes,especially in entertainment. After all, it can be really off-putting to see something you don't understand, even if it is new and innovative. We like comfort-food entertainment. Hence Hollywood's obsession with sequels and remakes and all those band reunions we complain about but secretly adore.

But sometimes bands can really verge over into the territory of being just too damn familiar. I'm not knocking inspiration. Even homages, while eye-roll-inducing, are fine. But when a band's whole sound is defined by the sound of its predecessor, you're dealing with a knockoff, no matter how much you might love it.

It's becoming more and more prevalent these days, too. Let's take a look at five pretty popular bands who are just copying their forefathers, and one old one that's still inspiring copies of copies after several decades.

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Eight Albums to Look Forward to in 2014

The cover of Warpaint's upcoming self-titled record
I know we're still all digesting the musical releases of 2013, but it's officially a new year and time to start talking about 2014's offerings. With the early part of the year's release schedule set in stone, we know we have a lot to look forward to, and it won't stop there. With albums expected to be released, we're looking at a hell of a year.

So to get you an early start, here's a guide to what I'm looking forward to and what you should be anticipating going into the new year. It's an eclectic bunch.

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It's Really Time to Stop Encouraging R. Kelly

R. Kelly and Lady Gaga in an uncompromising position on Saturday Night Live last month
He crossed the line with my daughter. It didn't get to the extreme of that [sex tape] video or else I wouldn't be here, if you know what I'm talking about... The reason that I'm talking about this, it's not just for me, it's not for my wife, it's not for my daughter, but it's for other fathers and mothers because it doesn't have to be a superstar, it could be the dude on the corner.

There are guys who sit around and give your child a couple of bucks to go to school and then wait until they get a little older, then they set that trap.

-- George Daniels, husband of former R. Kelly spokesperson Regina Daniels, 2008
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Upcoming: Arcade Fire, Beach Boys, Elefante, Journey/Steve Miller Band, Kem, etc.

6400 featuring DJ Xcess: Sat., December 7, 9 p.m., $10. Numbers, 300 Westheimer, Houston, 713-526-6551.

Arcade Fire: Wed., April 9, 7:30 p.m., $30.50 to $60.50. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., Spring, 281-363-3300.

The Beach Boys: Sat., January 18, 8 p.m., $59.50. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Fwy., Houston, 713-988-1020.

Clarence Bucaro: Fri., January 24, 9 p.m., $12. Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe, 413 20th St., Galveston, 409-762-9199.

Come See My Dead Person: With Two Star Symphony, Jake Levinson Band., Sat., November 30, 8 p.m., $10. Continental Club, 3700 Main, Houston, 713-529-9899.

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UPDATED: Norwegian Duo's Pop Sendup = Funniest Song of the Year

UPDATE (Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.): Clarifies the chronology surrounding "Stonehenge."

Hey, remember how hard you laughed at "Gangnam Style" the first time you heard it? Before it got played into the ground and somehow became a legitimate radio hit, separate from the video that made it funny in the first place? Yeah, well, feast your eyes on the successor to the "Gangnam" throne.

It's called "The Fox" and it's the new single from Norwegian duo Ylvis. They're a brother comedy group from the land of black metal who do variety shows. Now the duo of Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker -- yes, I copied that last name off Wikipedia; you think I can spell that off the top of my head? -- has struck gold with the most brilliant parody of contemporary American music I've heard in ages.

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