Lil Keke's Heart of a Hustla

Will it be any good? Maybe, but yet again we have a band whose prime is past in this depressing Top 10 list. Unless you really believe that whatever we hear on this album might be as good as or better than Undertow, in which case, may the forces of good forever protect your gentle, optimistic soul. This is sad, Loudwire, fucking SAD.

Will it actually come out? Who even knows with Maynard?

2. Black Sabbath

Jon Read, a.k.a. The Wiggins, says Houston is "in a cultural lag now."
Courtesy of Jon Read
Jon Read, a.k.a. The Wiggins, says Houston is "in a cultural lag now."
At Bayou Music Center September 21, Fiona Apple had some harsh words for some of her cellmates in Hudspeth County.
Craig Hlavaty
At Bayou Music Center September 21, Fiona Apple had some harsh words for some of her cellmates in Hudspeth County.

Previous entry's ranting aside: We admit we are very curious about this one. Sure, the last album by a band called "Black Sabbath" came out in 1995, but this is the first featuring most of the original lineup since 1978. Yes, Ozzy, Tony and Geezer are all back, missing only drummer Bill Ward, who couldn't reach an agreement in contract negotiations. Really, Bill?

Tony Iommi recorded some of the music that will be on this album while undergoing chemotherapy, but you just couldn't iron out the fine points of the contract, huh? Anyway, unlike the new Judas Priest album, we actually have a reason to care with this one.

Will it be any good? Well...the last album they did together, Never Say Die!, was not very good. But they have had a while to fine-tune, so we'll give it a fair listen.

Will it actually come out? Seems like they're pretty serious about it. Everybody but Bill, that is. John Seaborn Gray

We Want the Airwaves!

KACC Is Houston's Last Great FM Rock Hope

Like a wound that never truly heals, the sorry state of commercial rock radio around here continues to be a sore point for many Houstonians. Not a day goes by that several people don't search for 103.7 FM on the Houston Press Web site — almost two months after the station changed formats from Adult Alternative to Christian rock.

Just last week, a post to the Reddit's Houston subgroup called "Why does Houston radio suck?" drew almost 200 comments. With today's vastly improved mobile and wireless technology, people seem to be abandoning terrestrial radio in general in favor of satellite radio, custom streaming apps like Pandora and Internet stations like the recently revamped Rock 101.

But there is one FM station in the area that is "Texas Loud, Texas Proud" — it just happens to be a low-power station on the campus of Alvin Community College, staffed almost entirely by students at the two-year school. That would be 89.7 FM KACC, the "Gulf Coast Rocker," and it's not going anywhere.

Longtime KACC Station Manager Mark Moss is in a better position than most to know that Houston has a rock-radio audience that feels its needs aren't being met. He's doing everything short of sending up signal flares to remind people that KACC is there. Somehow a lot of them find out anyway.

"All the radio stations are rated by Arbitron, and for years we didn't even show up on the scale," Moss says. "And now we are. It's a small share, but nonetheless it's still the fact that we're there. If you start looking, we're actually rated better than other stations that are much higher-power than us."

Because it is supported by Alvin Community College, KACC is not beholden to advertisers for revenue, which means that it can be a little looser and more experimental with its playlists. Moss emphatically believes the chokehold local commercial stations exert on their rotations, limiting air time to only a few well-known hits, is a big reason many listeners continue to abandon terrestrial radio.

"I mean, you can only hear the same song so many times before you switch the channel," says Moss. "You know, I think 'Hotel California' was a wonderful song. And it was well-written, but after about 15,000 times of hearing it, I really don't need to hear it anymore." Chris Gray

Listen Up!

The Wiggins'
The Myth of Man

One thing that Houston has had for decades is an incredible avant-garde noise scene. Bands like Fiskadoro, Female Demand and Black Leather Jesus all bring definition to the indefinable genre here in town, but the king of them all is Jon Read, better known as the Wiggins. He followed the evolution of experimental noise here all the way from Cleveland in 2003 and has maintained an A-level artistic status ever since.

His new album is The Myth of Man, and in many ways it's both amazingly new and comfortably typical. All those Read touches are there: Punk-rock voice, the rockabilly twangy guitars, and the industri-goth drum machines and distortion. Each track is a quick shot of something cheap followed by dirty sex in the bathroom of your ears.

The notoriously touchy artist, infamous for his wild onstage behavior, was kind enough to sit down for a brief interview about the record.

Rocks Off: Houston has always had a pretty damn impressive experimental noise scene, and you're definitely one of the brighter spots in it. Why do you think the city is such a fertile ground for the avant garde stuff that you do?

Jon Read: I'm not sure how fertile Houston is for experimental stuff, or at least it has a fraction of the audience of bands going for a mainstream sound. Aside from outsiders like Jandek, the scene doesn't have much patience for much of anything homegrown or from the "dark side." Time-tested genres (pop, garage, blues) are the way to go in Houston if you want a big crowd or any press attention. Music is conservative and in a cultural lag now, and on the surface Houston reflects that.

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