By Chris Gray and Matthew Keever HONORABLE MENTION: SUNNY SWEENEY Thus far mainstream success has eluded Sunny Sweeney, but not for lack of either talent or trying. According to her Facebook page, Sweeney (a former standup comic) has now played the Grand Ole Opry 41 times but continues to reside in ... More >>
Aretha Franklin Arena Theatre, September 9 Through no fault of her own, Aretha Franklin stumbled into 2014's more improbable headlines in July, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (class of '87) stopped off to grab a post-concert burger at a Niagara Falls-area Johnny Rockets and was told her chose ... More >>
Islands Walters, September 6 Given the recent excitement of the Unicorns' first shows in a decade, opening some recent Arcade Fire dates, the good news that their Canadian indie successors Islands are headed back to town for the first time in a while should make a few townies happy. The show should ... More >>
Several years ago, my mom told me about an incident in which one of my cousins and his friends were told, or more fittingly "yelled at," to "go back to their damn country." They were playing basketball in a local, empty outdoor court, when some white people drove by and started slinging slurs at the ... More >>
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival wrapped up its 45th anniversary celebration this weekend with an announcement that Shell Oil will remain the festival's presenting sponsor for at least five more years, when it will turn 50. The seven-day event was blessed with near-perfect weather and play ... More >>
Thanks to a drought across much of the major cattle-ranching states and a deadly pig virus, we may soon be doing what those pesky Chick-fil-A cows are always encouraging on the billboards: "Eat mor chikin." Or veggies. Or tofu. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that beef prices ar ... More >>
Many moons ago, or one or two anyway, our friends over at L.A. Weekly's West Coast Sound decided to evaluate Southern California's two main universities, USC and UCLA, using a set of music-oriented criteria and declare a winner. We're not talking matriculation either, though that's certainly part of ... More >>
Zagat Houston: There's a lot of food at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo; some good, some bad, and some so incredible that you can't miss trying. Zagat Houston's Amber Ambrose lists the five best foods at the Houston Rodeo this year, beginning with the Pickle Dog from Get Pickled; it's a corn dog ... More >>
I recently received an e-mail from my nephew, Orlando, inviting me to join something called the "Mix of the Month" club. The correspondence detailed how 12 members of this group would each have an assigned month to create a mix CD to send to the others. Original, creative cover art was encouraged. I ... More >>
"The album is dying in front of our very eyes," Variety columnist and music business know-it-all Bob Lefsetz wrote recently based on weak LP sales, including Katy Perry's Prism, which sold only about 220,000 copies in its first week. "If your plan is to increase your audience, spread the word and ... More >>
The phrase "renaissance man" is so overused that coin has lost most of its value. But Jon Langford -- artist, musician, playwright, radio disc jockey, songwriter, death-penalty opponent, punk rock pioneer, and philanthropist who rolls into the Continental Club Saturday with his ragtag ensemble of mi ... More >>
Last week was NASA's 55th birthday. However, the folks over at NASA didn't have a giant cake or some crazy party to celebrate 55 years of the space program. Instead, 97 percent of NASA employees were deemed "nonessential," sent home without pay and told to wait and not work until the government fina ... More >>
Think of the government shutdown as you would a hurricane. Stock up on canned food, sit tight and wait it out. Evacuate if you must, but you're going to have to travel pretty far to get out of this mess. The government has been getting a lot of (much deserved) grief over the shutdown, and I was o ... More >>
What do they really mean?
Last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report titled "The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America". The gist of it is something that most Americans can probably agree on: Labels on our food that seek to aid us are often very confusing. Some lab ... More >>
Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir By Linda Ronstadt Simon & Schuster, 256 pp., $26 Linda Ronstadt hasn't made a solo record since 2004, graced a concert stage since 2009, and while doing advance interviews for this book announced that she suffers from Parkinson's Disease. More than likely, she won't ... More >>
Anthony Obi has always been a humble and gracious Houstonian. Better known to the public as rapper Fat Tony, this week he drops Smart Ass Black Boy, his first retail album. It's been a long journey from his first LP RABDARGAB, which was inspired by an H.I.S.D. campaign to get children to read. The ... More >>
This summer will mark my 10-year anniversary of moving to Houston. I don't miss Oklahoma often, but the last two days have been particularly hard. I've been glued to the Internet and NPR, absorbing the news with an emotion that can only be described as helplessness. Moore, Oklahoma, the area hardes ... More >>
Tift Merritt makes country music for city dwellers, the kinds of songs that NPR adores but Nashville doesn't have much use for anymore. Still, the thirtysomething singer-songwriter managed to score a Best Country Album Grammy nomination for 2004's Tambourine. But a couple of songs from that record, ... More >>
Images of battles won and lost paint us all with the brush of brutality at a searing, resonating MFAH exhibit.
Radio is generally in a constant state of upheaval. Witness the line-up changes throughout sports radio and the rise of News92 FM from the ashes of formerly all news KTRH. There are two FM music stations playing the exact same stuff every day because one was sold and not reformatted. The plug was pu ... More >>
First off, the entire Rocks Off team agrees unanimously that we are all excited to see Run-D.M.C. at this year's edition of Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, even though writer /photographer Marco Torres has already seen them this year at Jay-Z's Made In America Music Festival. REWIND: Fun Fun Fun Fest ... More >>
Recently my Twitter buddy John Seaborn Gray wrote a blog for Rocks Off in which he gave the world five simple suggestions for how to use Internet jukeboxes more effectively. He makes a lot of good points and if you're good people you'll read it, digest it and put his rules in to practice. I am not ... More >>
Irish-tinged Bah-sten punks Street Dogs, who are tight with Scottish-tinged Ew-sten punks, mosh down to Walters Friday night with Detroit psychobilly freakouts the Koffin Kats. Street Dogs' fellow New Englanders Roll the Tanks, whose song "Toeing the Line" was recently featured on Alternative Press' ... More >>
If you're a sane person then you are dreading the next four months leading up to the presidential election. Every single election cycle has gotten more and more crazy, but I have a feeling this is going to be the one where we end up developing airborne thorazine to try and chill folks the holy hell ... More >>
Bruce Springsteen's Thursday started with a keynote speech in one of the big ballrooms at the Austin Convention Center, and ended with a mythic three-hour set at ACL Live across town, in front of a few thousand people cooing "Bruce". The keynote and the show went hand in hand. If you weren't there ... More >>
Rocks Off can name at least ten local rock stars off the top of our heads who owe their good taste and love of music almost exclusively to the radio work done by David Sadof. Now he is finally returning to the medium in order to bring some light to the darkness of Houston radio as part of NASA's Thi ... More >>
Wrapping up Houston's holiday shows.
Since our post yesterday on Whole Foods's reluctance to promote Ramadan this year after a few customer and blogger complaints, the story unexpectedly went viral. Saffron Roads CEO Adnan Durrani called the post "a tempest in a teapot" when interviewed by CNN. And NPR reported: "Looking to set ... More >>
John Nova Lomax: Unlike the NPR segment being taped in this photo, his This American Life piece will air.It was one of those things in life you just can't quite believe. A few weeks back, I received an e-mail from Robyn Semien telling me that This American Life was interested in a story I had ... More >>
OG PRThat's Dallas Blocker. He is an R&B singer. He's more talented than you. He's more handsome than you. He's cooler than you. And he works harder than you. He became regionally famous last year when he told women that he wanted to touch their bodies, touch their bodies all night long, an ... More >>
Photos by GroovehouseGogol Bordello House of Blues April 12, 2011 Check out our pics of the Gypsy punks. Maybe a Jolly Roger would have helped. Tuesday night at House of Blues, Gogol Bordello had the captain's wheel, center stage. They had the ocean, in the form of the seething pit of huma ... More >>
At SXSW 2011, almost everything that could go wrong did — except the music.
Photos by Marco TorresTim McGraw Reliant Stadium March 7, 2011 Tim McGraw is the essence of modern country. Last night, he appeared onstage, donning boots, a big-ol', Texas-sized belt buckle, a red, white and blue plaid shirt and a dark black cowboy hat. He had the crowd in the palm of his h ... More >>
Celebrating The IntimidatorTen years ago today the NASCAR world was rocked to its core by the death of Dale Earnhardt. He drove cars, we're told, and did it very fast. If you see a vanity license plate from a Southern state with a "3" on it, the driver is an Earnhardt fan and probably does n ... More >>
Todd SpothWelcome back to yet another installment of our semi-famous Magnolia City Mixtape. Rocks Off works hard to scrape every barnacle of local music news from our ship that sails the high seas of the Internet - or something like that. Slim Thug welcomed everyone back to Texas for the Sup ... More >>
Marc Israel Sellum/ Isreality.comThe opposites of life attract us, we've always believed. Time and time again, that philosophy proves itself right. It's why in high school, the Catholic school girls were the biggest freaks. No, that's not a myth. They were suffocated with religion or "right" ... More >>
Local folk hero is well-rounded, to say the least.
Doc revitalizes Kashmere Stage Band.
San Jac student disciplined for bomb threat.
[How bassist Nicholas Cody of Houston's Wild Moccasins spent his SXSW Thursday.]After playing three shows in one day, including our official showcase, we all looked forward to being able to relax and having time to watch some free day shows. Thursday began with a little cable television, but then we ... More >>
This Spam musubi cost me $1.68 at a grocery store on the North Kona coast. It wasn't the best Spam musubi I've ever had--the Spam was cut too thin, I think there was a little teriyaki sauce between the meat and the rice.The guy behind the counter told me I would have to get there a lot earlier in th ... More >>
This and every Christmas season the most important person is the baby Jesus, with a bearded, white-haired toy factory owner coming in a close second. Every year we flock to the malls to sit in our kids down on Santa's lap. Sometimes they run off screaming, while others take to the old guy just like ... More >>
So I get the fact that this new movie Doubt starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman is really supposed to be about faith and trust and, well, doubt (duh), but am I the only one who is totally and completely freaked out by the trailer / commercials and the image of Meryl as a mean, nasty nun ... More >>
For the first time since a lawsuit was filed in 2005 against KBR and its parent company Halliburton, plaintiff lawyers will be allowed to take depositions from employees of the two corporations, according to Scott Allen, a Houston-based attorney representing a number of the plaintiffs. Allen says ... More >>
Lucinda Williams Happy Woman Blues Smithsonian-Folkways Way back in 1980, long before she was on all those magazine covers, long before the Grammys and all the other accolades and her status among the NPR set, the woman who would be the Queen of Americana made this gentle, rootsy and unassuming li ... More >>