Friday Free for All: Karaoke Underground, Blink-182, Chicano Soul, Kluster, etc.

A scene from last month's Karaoke Underground
A scene from last month's Karaoke Underground
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.

The Friday Free For All relays albums, artists, videos and vibes the Houston Press Music staff has been grooving to over the past week.

What’s your “go-to” karaoke song? Any self-respecting music lover has one. Mine is Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right,” which is found on practically any karaoke list anywhere – except at The Karaoke Underground. An Austin institution since 2004, this karaoke night like no other sprouted wheels and has been road-tripping all over the U.S., giving would-be singers a chance to attempt the indie and punk hits that are woefully missing from your standard karaoke bar. We saw it in glorious action recently, and the best thing we heard was the collective sigh of relief that no one would attempt that terrible Kid Rock-Sheryl Crow song. The night we visited, we saw a fellow Houstonian crush a Neutral Milk Hotel song, and another spurred a sing-along to “Start Wearing Purple.” The show hits Eastdown Warehouse tomorrow night, which means I’ve now got less than 48 hours to choose my new go-to jam, currently a toss-up between the Mountain Goats’ “This Year” and “Flower” by Liz Phair. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

A mysterious Reddit user with the handle blinkforlife182 showed up unexpectedly yesterday to leak (just hours before its official release) an unlisted lyric video for “No Future," the third single for their upcoming album California. Based on the user’s language patterns and access to official band materials, dedicated patrons of the blink-182 subreddit wasted no time identifying the self-described lurker as blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus. As of this writing, the true identity of this punk-rock Snowden has been neither confirmed nor denied, which makes the song’s sudden appearance all the more exciting. As with any of blink’s post-breakup songs, theories are already cropping up that the lyrics describe booted guitarist Tom DeLonge (after you replace all the ‘She’s' with his name, obviously). Lines like "Let the music seal your fate” all the way down to Tom’s characteristic “All the Small Things” Na Na Na’s at the end seem to reference the former member and predict that he has “No Future” outside of his most famous band. Tip: This song is best enjoyed as a brief respite from the ten-hour loop of their all-time greatest song, “Built This Pool.” ERIC SMITH

When I was little, my parents had a console stereo with a deep bin for storing vinyl albums. In the mix were some oft-played records like El Chicano’s Cinco, Malo’s Dos and the mandatory Santana albums. I listened to them, but when disco emerged, and then rap and New Wave, they fell away from memory. Recently, some young Houston locals have reminded me how amazing those Chicano rock and soul albums were. When I chatted with Jon Black ahead of his recent album release, he confided that one of his musical influences was the brown-eyed soul band Malo. And DJ Simmer Down’s Tejas Got Soul Sound System frequently dusts off oldies like Thee Midniters for his groovy events. Listening to those songs again isn’t just a trip down memory lane, but a fun way to hear the influence of artists like War and Tierra on today’s Chicano acts like Girl In a Coma, Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man and Los Nahuatlatos. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

Where have you gone, John Frusciante? I really wanted to like the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, The Getaway, mostly because I respect the band's longevity even if I didn't always adore its sound. But when Frusciante left the group following 2006's Stadium Arcadium, the band lost its heart. As subsequent releases have proven, he took the band's focus with him as well. I'm With You (released in 2011) was all over the place, and so too is The Getaway, a somber, tired record that finds the Chili Peppers in transition between superstardom and nostalgia act. The Getaway marks the band's first album since 1989 without producer Rick Rubin, but this misstep isn't on new producer Danger Mouse. It's on a band that, quite frankly, hasn't sounded inspired in more than a decade. CLINT HALE

I don't blame Memorial Park runners for craning their sweaty heads to see a 50-year-old bearded man behind the steering wheel gesticulating like a 1930s blues chanteuse in a backwoods bust-out joint. I just blame the singer who's making me act a fool. In this case, it’s Louisiana’s best present-day singer, Maggie Koerner. Check out this album and get excited knowing a new one is on the way. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

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A few months ago, I popped into Vinal Edge to ask after something by this artist, Dieter Schutz, whose horizontally constructed music acted as a sip of aural kava kava on quite a few long drives on my band’s last tour around Europe. Obviously, the music of Dieter Schutz is gorgeous, and worth knowing. I’m sure many of you are ahead of me on this. Except I remembered only his first name, that he was German and that he’d gone a bit New Age (as witnessed above) later in his career.

So what I got for all my troubles was this:

You see, ignorance and a lack of attention to detail sometimes pay off in my line. For while I knew a little  of Dieter Moebius’s work, my listening had been to confined to Kluster, later Cluster.

Obviously, my life now is rich in German treasures.

Sometimes when I’ve forgotten to balance my checkbook, I will try to bribe my way out of overdraft fees by whistling a little bit of “Subito” to the tellers. And if that doesn’t work, I am not above resorting to a full serenade of this. TEX KERSCHEN

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