Best CD by Local Musicians (2002)

Simpleton's What Do You Want to Do

Normally the words "rap rock" and "sounds like the Red Hot Chili Peppers" set off alarm bells. Uh-oh, we think, another bunch of loud, heavily tattooed white kids who can't rap or play guitar, jumping around on stage in their briefs bellowing about blunts and the porn starlet du jour. Fantastic. Houston and the world needs that like it needs another energy-trading scandal. Luckily, Houston has Simpleton instead. Like the Chili Peppers with their City of Angels, Simpleton revels in the ins and outs of their hometown -- and at its best, Simpleton is the sound of this overlarge, brawling city. Sly, hilarious front man B.C. is the rare rap-rocker with mad flow, and Marc Armaos is probably the only upright bassist in the rap-rock game. Simon Reynolds's guitar is another highlight -- every song on this disc has a riff you can sink your teeth into, and the scratches of DJ Sun are another big plus. "Milo," Simpleton's ode to the Lima-era Astros, is the best sports-related song to ever come out of this town, and the fact that Houston's nine don't take the field to this rip-roaring anthem is a crime.


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