We put this excellent rap-rock band on the cover last summer with a kiss-of-death "next big thing" headline. We thought they were going straight to the top. Well, they played about five more gigs and then broke up. Like Billy Joel said, and the continuing career of Ezra Charles confirms, only the good die young. Happily, there are rumors that Simpleton may reunite long enough to make a third album, and when they do, we'll be there to jinx 'em again.

This is the perfect bar. It has good local and touring bands playing upstairs for those interested in checking out something new; and it has well-worn stools downstairs for the fat-bottomed dudes who show up for every happy hour. There's a full menu of greasy food to absorb the oceans of beer and liquor you will invariably accept from the friendly-but-not-too-friendly bar staff. And there are darts, video games and a kick-ass jukebox to entertain you when you're just tired of talking. But what makes Rudyard's the perfect neighborhood bar is the fact that it takes only about ten trips before you begin to recognize faces and feel like one of the gang. But don't worry, we don't mean that in a dorky Cheers way.
This is the perfect bar. It has good local and touring bands playing upstairs for those interested in checking out something new; and it has well-worn stools downstairs for the fat-bottomed dudes who show up for every happy hour. There's a full menu of greasy food to absorb the oceans of beer and liquor you will invariably accept from the friendly-but-not-too-friendly bar staff. And there are darts, video games and a kick-ass jukebox to entertain you when you're just tired of talking. But what makes Rudyard's the perfect neighborhood bar is the fact that it takes only about ten trips before you begin to recognize faces and feel like one of the gang. But don't worry, we don't mean that in a dorky Cheers way.
Who hasn't been dosed by a bearded guy in a black hat at some point in their lives? Amish Acid Dealer's got all a band name needs: a drug reference, a humorously unlikely concept, even a little assonance, not to mention a nice flowing rhythm. Their song titles are clunkier if no less warped, as attested to by their debut MP3, "Fragile Beauty of Young Anal Lesbians, The." What, did they steal that from a card catalog or something?
Who hasn't been dosed by a bearded guy in a black hat at some point in their lives? Amish Acid Dealer's got all a band name needs: a drug reference, a humorously unlikely concept, even a little assonance, not to mention a nice flowing rhythm. Their song titles are clunkier if no less warped, as attested to by their debut MP3, "Fragile Beauty of Young Anal Lesbians, The." What, did they steal that from a card catalog or something?
Sometimes you have to wonder if people fail to pay attention on purpose. How else could they not notice this great local singer? You don't have to look hard to find her. She's performed alongside the rock-funk outfit Snowshoe 'N Lewis at the Gatsby, DJ Sun at his Monday-night stint at Brasil, and DJ Joe B at Azteca's. Michelle Thibeaux is one of those soulful, New Age songbirds -- in the same vein as boho-soul goddesses Amel Larrieux, Julie Dexter and Goapele -- with a stirring voice and an unrelenting optimism. Here's hoping that in the coming year Thibeaux gets all the success she deserves -- or at least some airplay on a cool public-radio show.

Sometimes you have to wonder if people fail to pay attention on purpose. How else could they not notice this great local singer? You don't have to look hard to find her. She's performed alongside the rock-funk outfit Snowshoe 'N Lewis at the Gatsby, DJ Sun at his Monday-night stint at Brasil, and DJ Joe B at Azteca's. Michelle Thibeaux is one of those soulful, New Age songbirds -- in the same vein as boho-soul goddesses Amel Larrieux, Julie Dexter and Goapele -- with a stirring voice and an unrelenting optimism. Here's hoping that in the coming year Thibeaux gets all the success she deserves -- or at least some airplay on a cool public-radio show.

DJs in Houston generally don't get much respect on the national scene. Not including the late DJ Screw, you'd be hard-pressed to find a spinner from our fair city who has established a crowd outside its limits. Enter Fast4ward, a young, hip-hop-reared, experimental turntablist known for inciting near-riots of sound under his needles. Influenced equally by hip-hop forefathers like Afrika Bambaataa, today's turntable manipulators like DJ Craze, minimalist artists like John Cage and swooning, experimental rockers like Radiohead and Sonic Youth, Fast4ward takes music that, well, just shouldn't fit together and somehow makes it work. Oftentimes he'll come up with a whole new composition using nothing but found sounds from records. His "band," the Truth, is leading the new music revolution in Houston with a turntable orchestra of sorts, and when he's not cutting it up with them, you can see him performing with the Free Radicals, Studemont Project and Kwam from Freedom Sold. Quite often he's out of town, though, showing fools in other states how it's gonna be done in 2020, when the rest of the world catches up to him.

DJs in Houston generally don't get much respect on the national scene. Not including the late DJ Screw, you'd be hard-pressed to find a spinner from our fair city who has established a crowd outside its limits. Enter Fast4ward, a young, hip-hop-reared, experimental turntablist known for inciting near-riots of sound under his needles. Influenced equally by hip-hop forefathers like Afrika Bambaataa, today's turntable manipulators like DJ Craze, minimalist artists like John Cage and swooning, experimental rockers like Radiohead and Sonic Youth, Fast4ward takes music that, well, just shouldn't fit together and somehow makes it work. Oftentimes he'll come up with a whole new composition using nothing but found sounds from records. His "band," the Truth, is leading the new music revolution in Houston with a turntable orchestra of sorts, and when he's not cutting it up with them, you can see him performing with the Free Radicals, Studemont Project and Kwam from Freedom Sold. Quite often he's out of town, though, showing fools in other states how it's gonna be done in 2020, when the rest of the world catches up to him.

Picture this: You're hanging out at a bar, guzzling down some cheap beers, getting just wasted enough to enjoy yourself. And then, the DJ plays a song -- not just any song, but a song that wakes you up, a song that makes you question everything you've ever known, a song that makes you stand up and testify, like someone at Sunday mass after a night of fornicating. That's what it feels like when DJ Mod Scott plays, say, a long-lost version of "All I Do Is Think About You," performed by Tammi Terrell and written by Stevie Wonder. A new and much-needed addition to Houston's DJ community, Scott is an avid collector of rare mid-20th-century soul, pop and reggae, and spends some of his nocturnal time playing his treasures at clubs and gatherings. Scott plays at Helios (411 Westheimer, 713-526-4648) on Tuesday nights, so head over there listen while he makes you realize that happiness is just one Stevie Wonder-penned song away.

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