A Musical Guide to Navigating the Economic Crisis

These are tough economic times, what with the housing-crisis-driven recession and skyrocketing unemployment. In such a climate, it's damn near impossible to enjoy or even splurge on our hobbies and passions. Who can afford those New Kids on the Block tickets or iPods packed with Killers tracks when they can't even make their rent? Well, because Chatter cares about your need to rock, we've come up with a few ways to survive the current crisis without sacrificing your love of music.

1. Become a busker: Don't knock street performing. A lot of the folks who now enjoy membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame started out their careers singing or playing for change on some intersection corner. You might not think you can make rent doing it, but we know of a few who have wound up buying homes with their earnings.

2. Download music illegally: A lot of people spend their hard-earned money on iTunes, buying up the latest hits or rediscovering a bad '80s pop song that once made you happy like Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" (pure awesomeness). We say: idiots.

3. Become a roadie: a) It's a job. b) You get fed. c) The music's good (hopefully). d) It's a job, dude. Seriously. Give up Rock Band, leave your parents' basement and do something with your life.

4. Sell your used CDs on eBay or Amazon: Why not make a few extra bucks by unloading your unwanted CDs onto other music fans. Just don't go to the local used-CD emporium, where hipsters in thrift-store ware will undoubtedly offer you a pittance for your goods. Try either eBay or Amazon.

Which site is better? When trying to unload large numbers of low-cost CDs, go with eBay (where you can pad sales by increasing your shipping charges by a buck or two). Have a hot new CD everyone wants, or the latest from that trendy new indie band? Go with Amazon — you can dictate your own selling price and can often get it.

5. Sell out: Call us cynical, but everyone does it eventually, even your favorite musicians. Just ask Liz Phair (Liz Phair), Gwen Stefani (everything post-No Doubt), Metallica (everything since Black Album, and they sued their fans) or Paul McCartney (for recording that piece of shit "Wonderful Christmastime," which we suffered through every time we stepped into a mall, turned on the radio or, well, did anything this holiday season).


Information is starting to trickle out about the upcoming Houston International Festival, scheduled for April 18-19 and 25-26 on the streets and in the parks surrounding City Hall. This year's spotlight country is Ireland, so expect a certain local Celtic-rock band whose name rhymes with "Haggards" to figure prominently. And according to pollstar.com, Marcia Ball, Scottish chanteuse Julie Fowlis (April 18), BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Mavis Staples (April 19), Lil Malcolm & the House Rockers (April 25), Lil Brian & the Zydeco Travelers and Los Lobos (April 26) will be spread over iFest's several stages, including Houston, Texas, Louisiana, Ireland and the headliner-heavy World stage. As always, iFest is awash in other cultural offerings, from dance recitals and art bazaars to cooking demonstrations and stuff to keep the youngsters occupied. See www.ifest.org for more.


Top Sellers
Sound Exchange
1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555

1. Indian Jewelry/Future Blondes, 12" split

2. The Dead C, Secret Earth LP/CD

3. Pandit Prannath, Earth Groove LP

4. Fennesz, Black Sea LP/CD

5. The Rats, The Rats LP

6. Agathocles, Grind Is Protest CD

7. Brainbombs, Fucking Mess LP

8. Bonnie Prince Billy, Wilding in the West CD

9. Anne Briggs, Anne Briggs LP

10. Primal Scream/Suicide, "Diamonds, Furcoats..." 10"


The Morning Show
KUHF (88.7 FM), weekdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Selections from Elaine Kennedy's January 2 playlist

1. Claude Debussy, "Children's Corner"

2. Johannes Brahms, "Waltzes, op. 39"

3. Modest Mussorgsky (arr. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov), "Introduction & Polonaise from Boris Godunov"

4. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Clarinet Quintet, k. 581"

5. Douglas Lilburn, "Variations for String Orchestra"

6. Georg Friedrich Handel, "Trio Sonata in C Minor"

7. Jacques Offenbach, "Vert-Vert Overture"

8. Ludwig von Beethoven, "Piano Sonata in E, op. 109"

9. Regent Lavasseur, "Farewell to the Warriors"

10. Tomaso Albinoni, "Sinfonia in G/I Solisti Aquilani"

(lists compiled by Chris Gray)

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Cole Haddon