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Wonders Never Cease

Houston promotes its present-day music scene to the national media.

Only in Houston

About six months ago, Rocks Off wrote an article expressing our surprise and disappointment at the paucity of musical content on the City of Houston's tourism site, visithoustontexas.com, the Texas-friendly smiling face it officially presents to the Web and thus the world. There wasn't much at all, just a few live-music listings buried in the bowels of the site.

Even officials at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, which operates the site, admitted that acknowledgment of our music scene was a little lacking. But to their eternal credit, they did something about it and then some. Some weeks back, they added a guide to 20 prominent local music venues to the site's "Nightlife" section.

They didn't stop there, though. The bureau's new "Houston 2.0" marketing campaign is placing fancy-pants ads touting the Bayou City's abundance of culinary and artistic talents in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Texas Monthly and Forbes.

Best of all, the materials the GHCVB sent out to these 500 or so media outlets (even us) come with a CD featuring Houston artists that fans can go see in local venues most weekends, including this one.

The disc, H-Town Presents, features 19 acts that, taken together, offer a better-than-average representation of what our scene actually sounds like, curated by photographer-turned-promoter (and former Houston Press contributor) Mark C. Austin of the Convoy Group.

Thus it is flush with Houston's indie scene — the Tontons, Featherface, Wild Moccasins, The Manichean — but not exclusively, and also features DJ Sun, Come See My Dead Person, Shellee Coley and now-honorary Houstonian Robert Ellis, among others.

Such an eclectic range of sounds is second nature to those of us who live here but probably not what your average tourist coming from Fargo or Fort Lauderdale would be expecting. Overall, the CVB and Austin, and of course the performers, have done the city a great service by helping the national media get a clearer picture of what "Houston music" means today.

It's certainly nice to have Beyoncé, ZZ Top and Lyle Lovett — featured in the bureau's previous national campaign, "My Houston" — as proverbial feathers in our cap, but the H-Town Presents artists are all on their way up and likely to be acting as Bayou City musical ambassadors for years to come.

The feedback has been encouraging, according to Lindsey Brown, the CVB's director of marketing.

"The wine editor from Travel + Leisure told me he listened to it," she says. "A lot of the chefs in the campaign really like it. I'm glad people are responding to it so well."

H-Town Presents is only destined to become a collector's item, though. Due to various copyright, publishing and licensing issues, the disc is for promotional use only and not commerically available. About 800 copies are left over from the production run of 2,000, and Brown says the bureau plans to give the remaining copies to its sales team to use in goodie bags for visiting media.

But, she adds, the public can hear the music on the Houston 2.0 pages on the CVB site, and the remaining copies will be offered as "takeaways" at events the bureau sponsors. So there's still an outside chance of snagging a copy yourself.
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Hey, the Kids Like It

Kids Don't Follow
These pop songs may not be the best parenting advice ever.

Angelica Leicht

I'm not sure who thought to film the fabulous display of parenting that is documented in the new video "Booty Pop" (search YouTube), but after watching this hot mess for ­exactly two minutes and 39 seconds, I've decided there's nothing quite as disturbing as a six-year-old rapping about how he can make my "booty pop."

I refuse to list everything wrong with this equation because I don't want to end up on a list somewhere. I mean, I like to pop my booty as much as the next white girl, but there's something utterly illegal about accepting this challenge from a kindergarten-age child.

What the hell were his parents thinking, setting this up? Yes, I know it's in every stinkin' rap video known to man, but those are grown-ass men, and they might actually understand what they're rapping about. Six-year-old boys are not supposed to follow in the footsteps of dudes like 2 Chainz.

This tiny Don Juan's video makes me wonder what would happen if we stopped parenting and just simply let our kids follow the advice they're given in pop music. I mean, hell...would they all be starring in their own booty-pop videos, or would we be insulated from that disaster thanks to some good ol' fashioned desensitization?

I'll let you be the judge. Here are some of the more obvious reasons to clear out the old iPod and replace these with gospel songs.

Afroman, "Because I Got High"

Do you really want your kids using Afroman's advice on life as an excuse for mediocrity? Teach them to be productive stoners by forcing them to hide their habits like the rest of the population. It'll benefit them in the long run, trust me.

Pussycat Dolls, "When I Grow Up"

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