Kemo for Emo Explains Recent Reunion

Photos by Aaron "El Jefe" Michulka
One of Houston's best bands, Kemo for Emo is back in the saddle and rocking this weekend after a breakup that saw Larry Fenix leave the band to join Mike Terror. Lead guitarist Jake Rawls sat down with us to do a brief interview about the reunification.

Rocks Off: What brought you guys back together again?
Jake Rawls:
Larry (Fenix, Vocals/rhythm guitar) and Brian (Gibbs, bassist) have been lifelong friends and still kept in touch post-breakup, and they started kicking around the idea of starting the band up once again shortly after Larry had left Mike Terror. They contacted Matt (Martinez, drums) asking if he wanted his old spot back and he happily obliged.

They contacted me last, and essentially said they were doing this thing with or without me. I could sense a renewed vigor in their attitude, without the negative feelings or pettiness that often permeated our last breakup. At the time we broke up, we knew we had a lot of unfinished business. But it felt like they had the drive to finally finish the songs we were working on when we split, and it got me excited again. I slept on it, and agreed to it the next day.

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Top 10 Awesome Old-School '80s Jamz

Photo by makerbot via flickr
Remember when those sweet, sweet jamz were full of rhymes about gettin' down with the underground? The '80s were the best, man.

That's why we're here. We dig old-school jamz, you dig old-school jamz, and we want you to have a festive Throwback Thursday. What better way to do that then to jam out with Shannon? That's right; she's on here. But even if we're drooling over her, ultimately it's all about you, baby.

Well, you and Sir Humpty, anyway.

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K-OTIX Redux: Houston's Legendary Anti-Gangstas Reunite

Photos by Marco Torres
"We'll do the pause, then when we're ready..."
- Russell "The ARE" Gonzalez

What if I told you that Houston rap is much more than slow, loud, and bangin', syrup-dripped, gangster, pimped-out, and/or trill? That a certain rap crew from Houston that headlined SXSW's very first official hip-hop showcase in 1994, and has performed and successfully toured nationally and internationally (with De La Soul, Talib Kweli, and the Black Eyed Peas), and whose members continue to be instrumental in the city's rich musical tradition? That their debut LP Universal (2001) is perhaps one of the best Houston rap albums, ever?!

Such a group existed, and, at times, exists still. I'm talking about K-OTIX, a.k.a. The Legendary K.O. Lead by the MC duo of Micah Nickerson (Mic or Big Mon) and Damien Randle, backed by beat master and DJ Russell "The ARE" Gonzalez, K-OTIX took what they learned from the East Coast sound and integrated a pensive delivery combined with the grittiness absorbed from living in the tough H-Town environment of the mid-'90s through the early '00s.

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Everclear's Art Alexakis on Living In Montrose, Fatherhood and Summerland

Photo by Jody Perry
Everclear at House of Blues Houston in January 2010
It's 10 o'clock in the morning, and I'm still wiping the sleep from my eyes when a chipper Art Alexakis answers the phone with a warm, "Good morning." Only a few minutes later, he's laughing and regaling me with stories of his time spent in Houston, becoming a father and misadventures in San Francisco with the Rolling Stones.

This is the life of a rockstar-turned-father who still manages tour and write music. The front man and creative force behind Everclear, now 51 years old, has matured quite a bit since 1997's So Much For the Afterglow landed him on the musical radar with "Father of Mine." Why? Primarlly because he's dad now himself.

"I wish I could tell you a specific way I do it," Alexakis says of juggling it all, "but I suppose the textbook answer would be, you just manage. And it's really true."

For him, life seemed like a rehearsal up until he become a father. Then it all changed.

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Kelly Rowland: A Timeline From Sweet to Grown and Sexy

Kelly Rowland has been on an incredible yet rocky road throughout her musical career. As an original member of the popular R&B group Destiny's Child, which she joined at just 16 years old, she made multiplatinum hits and sold out tours worldwide.

Eventually she stepped away from singing alongside world-renowned singing superhuman Beyonce and in 2002 she dropped a debut album Simply Deep, which produced two popular singles that got attention. In the years since then, she has released two more albums and turned her sex appeal up a notch with one.

Next Tuesday, Rowland's fourth studio album, Talk a Good Game, will be released. Let's take a look at Kelly's career and how things have grown sexier -- much sexier -- over time.

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Top 20 Songs Dedicated to Drank, Part 2

Friday we brought you the first installment of songs passionately devoted to syrup. So far we've confirmed that Houston is indeed the only City of Syrup. It's also safe to say that the late Screwed Up Click legend Big Moe sang about sipping more than anyone ever could, as he dominates this list with seven out of 20 songs.


Top 20 Songs Dedicated to Drank, Part 1

Houston artists' love/hate relationship with syrup starts to surface after the 2000 death of the beloved DJ Screw and eventually Moe himself in 2007. In this batch of songs (once again, in no specific order), we'll take a look at ten more Houston classics, including how some younger Houston artists express their love of lean.

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Top 20 Songs Dedicated to Drank, Part 1

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Photo by Charne Graham
Some call it lean; others call it barre or simply drank. Whichever you prefer, promethazine with codeine cough syrup is the ever so popular recreational drug used by many people. Houston's hip-hop culture has made lean something everyone has wanted to talk about or even try for decades. If you type in in your Web browser you will be linked to the City of Houston's official site. Not sure exactly how that happened but it's a fun fact and proof is in the pudding guys. [Ed. note: No lie.]

The city and hip-hop in general is engulfed in syrup. On the late, great singer Big Moe's debut album cover (which is also titled City of Syrup) , he is seen pouring purple syrup over the city's skyline. Houston artists are the originators and the reason some folks worldwide sing and sip in unity. The late DJ Screw, members of the Screwed Up Click, the folks on Swishahouse and other local artists have provided further soundtracks to syrup-sippin'.

Drank has also been the alleged cause of the deaths of legends like DJ Screw, Big Moe and Pimp C. it also has been the alleged cause of New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne's recent hospitaliztion. In some songs, the artists will admit to being addicted and hooked on the drug, while others are subtle cries for help with letting go of lean.

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drank, lean, syrup

MKT Bar: Tale of an Unexpected Hot Spot, Acts 3-4

Photos by Altamese Osborne
Katy (the server); our narrator

Outside. 9:15 p.m. As we pass the lineup of chairs placed outside MKT's front doors, we realize: It's quiet. Too quiet.

The quiet doesn't stop once we get inside; there are only a few evening eaters, and the Christmas/Kwanzaa setup remains -- but there is no music. Are we too late?

There's Katy!

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All The September 11th Dubstep Tribute Videos You'll Ever Need

Photo by uhuru1701.
Most of the email I get in my Rocks Off inbox is pretty boring. The bulk of it is press releases for bands I'm never going to listen to with the occasional new album download sprinkled in, but every now and then something comes along that stops me in my tracks.

It started off as a Facebook link that lead me to an event titled "America F*ck Yeah!" So far, so good.

Then I read "Red, White, and Wobble at Jet Lounge." Not bad, but "Red, Wobble, and Blue" would have been better.

Then I read "September 11th".


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Start the Revolution! 10 Songs About Historical Events

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If you ever look at music throughout time, along with a history book -- they kind of complement each other. Some of the greatest songs in rock, R&B and rap have chronicled history both social, major news events, sports, entertainment and political.

In my opinion, many times, the song is about what the artist thinks about some of these events, or it captures the mood of the country.

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