By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
By Craig Hlavaty
If you're not already following God's favorite rapper, then what are you even doing?
Houston has a professional football team. They are called the Houston Texans. A lot of people like them. Some of those people are rappers.
The Internet has several forms of social media. One of them is called Twitter. A lot of people use it. Some of those people are rappers.
Rocks Off perused Twitter during the September 30 Texans game against the dreaded, awful, despicable Tennessee Titans (formerly the beloved Houston Oilers) and grabbed the best tweets from the following rappers. See images at right.
Broken: The Movie Trent Reznor Didn't Want You To See
Fans of Nine Inch Nails and loud music know the story of the Broken EP, but for those less familiar, here is the Reader's Digest version on the occasion of its 20th anniversary last month: Upset with his record label, Trent Reznor recorded, in secret, an album of loud, aggressive rock completely unlike his first album (1989's Pretty Hate Machine). He would eventually win a Grammy for the track "Wish" before finding the biggest success of his career with 1994's The Downward Spiral.
There is a lesser-known story concerning Broken, a story that survived the '90s and early '00s as hearsay on messages boards and 8th-generation VHS dubs found at record conventions. It was the story of a movie, also titled Broken, that was so vile it would never see the light of day.
And then in 2006, everything changed. The movie that was supposed to be the stuff of nightmares suddenly appeared online.
Your enjoyment of the film is going to come down to a lot of factors, the most important being how much realistic simulated violence you can stomach. The violence isn't stylized to look cool, and it's not a movie that wants you to jump out of your seat; its mission is to disturb.
Consider the videos that were produced that eventually ended up on Nine Inch Nails' Closure home-video release. "Pinion" features a man being drowned with water that comes from a toilet; "Help Me I'm in Hell" features a man eating flies; and "Happiness In Slavery" features a man being turned into ground meat.
They're all pretty difficult watches for the average viewer, and yet Reznor decided to make all of them available. If "Happiness In Slavery" ruins your day, my advice is to avoid the full movie at all costs, because it only gets worse. Much worse. Blowtorches-and-razors worse.
But if you can stomach it, it's a pretty fascinating watch, and not just for the gore. Cory Garcia
Albums You'll Always See in Thrift Stores
I have been cursed with an affliction to mindlessly buy vinyl at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, and estate sales, without regard for how much room I have at home. The problem now encompasses compact discs, too. It's a genetic trait. My father collects containers. His garage looks like The Container Store. Portions of my house look like an antique mall.
The best things I have ever found? Every '60s Kinks LP in one crate at a Salvation Army and Black Flag's Everything Went Black and Public Image Ltd's Second Edition at an outdoor flea market near Almeda Mall. Everything else came in spurts, making the hunt ever more thrilling.
Along my record-hoarding travels — beginning around 1997 — I manage to keep seeing the same albums over and over again. I'm not the only one who has written about these misfit collection castoffs, albums whose only crime was not being a Beatles or Rolling Stones LP.
Any great record missing an inner sleeve: It's true. Most of the time you will find a great classic record — say, Houses of the Holy — only to find it sans inner sleeve and scratched all to hell. At that point you are just paying for a wall piece and not something you can jam out to.
The First Family: Comedian Vaughn Meader took on President Kennedy and his clan in this 1962 release at the height of Camelot mania. It was a rarity too on the pop charts, a comedy album hitting number one that same year. After Kennedy's violent death, all remaining copies of the album were pulled from stocks and later destroyed. Now, almost 50 years since Kennedy's assassination, it's a fun listen from a more innocent time in America.
Billy Joel, Glass Houses: Billy Joel is big in the refuse-bin record world, with nearly his entire early discography a mainstay of Salvation Army and Goodwill inventories. Oddly enough, it's his Glass Houses that I see the most, with Joel in tight, dick-hugging jeans about to throw a rock through a window. As far as his sometime touring partner Elton John goes, his stuff is pretty common on the secondhand market, too, especially Tumbleweed Connection (of all albums) followed by Honky Chateau.
Neil Young, Harvest: I buy this one no matter its condition, whether it's weather-beaten, half-eaten or missing the LP itself. It just feels good in your hands, and the rough-textured cover feels like home.
Chicago (any): Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles must have really, really liked Chicago at one time, but not enough to hold on to their albums. You are most likely to see any number of Chicago releases collecting dust and gunk on a shelf, with almost pristine covers and vinyl. So people just bought them to donate to a thrift store 40 years later? Craig Hlavaty
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city