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  • Article

    We're Number One

    Chicago's alternative rock bands can take themselves pretty seriously. From Tortoise's postrock self-indulgence to Liz Phair's postfeminist diatribes to the Smashing Pumpkins' grandiose tendencies, it's obvious that having a sense of humor isn't ...

    by David Simutis on February 11, 1999
  • Article

    That's the Breaks - Houston rap labels and their artists look for that big deal

    There was a time in Houston when "rap music" meant Rap-A-Lot, and that was it. For the better part of the decade, that rap label, led by James "Lil' J" Smith (now known as James Prince), was at the epicenter of rap in the region. Thanks in part to Th...

    by Craig D. Lindsey on February 11, 1999
  • Article


    Blondie No Exit Beyond Most pop comebacks, particularly recent ones, are pathetic. Disastrous. Mortifying. (Case in point: Bauhaus.) So when Blondie, a band that defined new wave while somehow managing to maintain street cred, reunites afte...

    by Liz Belile on February 11, 1999
  • Article

    Perseverin' Papas

    The Soul Survivors, a quintet of R&B/ jazz/studio veterans, features a repertoire of '60s and '70s pop/R&B tunes, jazz standards and soulful originals filled with a unique, greasy, sticky sound -- not surprising considering who its members are. Guita...

    on February 11, 1999
  • Article

    Traviata: Racette's Latest Triumph

    Lyric soprano Patricia Racette practically sizzles between rasping coughs in her role as the consumptive Parisian courtesan who dies before she gets her man in La Traviata. As the curtain rises in the Houston Grand Opera's new production, she lies vo...

    by Cynthia Greenwood on February 11, 1999
  • Article

    Hot Country Punksters

    In Austin, the obsessively self-referential city that calls itself "The Live Music Capital of the World," there is an unwritten book of frequently apocryphal notions about its music scene. One of the major fancies that turns out to be true is that it...

    by Rob Patterson on February 4, 1999
  • Article

    Hitting the Blue Notes

    With the possible exception of Verve, no record label is associated with jazz more than Blue Note Records. Founded by German immigrant Alfred Lion and writer/financier Max Margulis, Blue Note's beginnings were modest. Lion produced a recording sessio...

    by Paul J. MacArthur on February 4, 1999
  • Article


    Ray Wylie Hubbard Live at Cibolo Creek Country Club Misery Loves Company Mythology can be a very powerful and sometimes dangerous thing. This is something Dallas native Ray Wylie Hubbard no doubt understands. A veteran of the early 1970s' g...

    by Paul J. MacArthur on February 4, 1999
  • Article

    Slightly Off Kilter

    On the quintet's third and latest record, Prolonging the Magic, Cake gives lots of play to its country influences, without giving up much of its laid-back attitude. With wordplay bordering on absurd, singer/guitarist John McCrea deadpans lyrics whil...

    by David Simutis on February 4, 1999
  • Article

    Becoming a Lead Dog

    With its third major label CD, How Does Your Garden Grow, Better Than Ezra has stretched well beyond the guitar/bass/drums trio sound of its previous CDs, Deluxe and Friction, Baby. Fans accustomed to such songs as "Good," "In the Blood" and "Ki...

    by Alan Sculley on February 4, 1999
  • Article

    Smart Pop

    Between the Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" and Fastball's "The Way," there was barely any time left to have Semisonic's "Closing Time" driven into your skull by the radio this summer. It was hard to let a day go by without hearing the Minneapolis band'...

    by Bob Ruggiero on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    Stressing Strauss - Da Camera examines the 20th-Century Enigma composer

    Most strangers to classical music don't realize it, but they really do know Richard Strauss. If nothing else, they're sure to recognize the pounding drums of the opening to Also Sprach Zarathustra, immortalized by Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odys...

    by Cynthia Greenwood on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    From Zero to Hero

    There are reasons, upon first inspection, that Remy Zero's second record, Villa Elaine, should suck: Bio says they sound like Radiohead; first record not so good; long-standing friendship with singer from Counting Crows; from Birmingham, Alabama; bot...

    by David Simutis on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    Internalizing the Blues

    The shadow of Janis Joplin has been following Susan Tedeschi for almost as long as she can remember. "I have known who Janis was ever since I was little," Tedeschi says. "I mean, believe it or not, I've always had that comparison ever since I wa...

    by Alan Sculley on January 28, 1999
  • Article


    Miles Davis The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions Columbia Legacy Over a quarter century after it shocked the music world, Miles Davis's watershed album, Bitches Brew, still generates controversy. Considered the most important jazz work of the...

    by Rob Patterson on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    In The Dark

    Black Sabbath -- One of the more interesting entries into the recent spate of musical "reunions" (which has delivered everything from Fleetwood Mac to Mstley CrYe) is this second go-round from rock's own four horsemen of the apocalypse. Though long d...

    by Paul J. MacArthur on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Another Time, Another Country

    Country music in the '90s is Alan Jackson inexplicably hyping Ford trucks via a rewritten version of "Mercury Blues," a venerable number covered during the early '70s by Steve Miller. It's Shania Twain, a singer whose producer/husband/Svengali, Rober...

    by Michael Roberts on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Black Blues, White Label

    North Mississippi blues guitarist R.L. Burnside's new record, Come On In, features drum programming, loops, samples and remixes by hip white producers such as Alec Empire, Beal Dabbs and Tom Rothrock (who is credited as main producer on the recording...

    by Ross Johnson on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Several Seasons of Success

    No one predicted George Winston would change music in 1981. Nine years earlier the unassuming pianist recorded an independent album which sold modestly, Ballads and Blues - 1972, and he wasn't heard from on record again. When he returned to the studi...

    by Paul J. MacArthur on January 21, 1999
  • Article


    Ani DiFranco Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up Righteous Babe On Up, Up, Up, Up, Up, Up DiFranco expands her palette by adding Julie Wolf, a remarkable keyboard player whose organ and piano work add considerable weight to DiFranco's already phat sound...

    by Craig D. Lindsey on January 21, 1999
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