The Rocks Off 200

Bonus Rocks Off 100: Nortnii Rose, Houston Ska's Greatest Hope

Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too.

Who? Nortnii Rose is the pixie-like guitar player and singer in the experimental ska band Small Dog Syndrome. You might remember her from the time she assured me that there is a doggy hell.

What I didn't realize, in that first cursory glance at her music, is that Rose is an absolutely fearless composer who can take basic ska tropes and make them do things completely outside the realm of the genre in the most amazing of ways. Though the stuff they have over on their Facebook page is decidedly lo-fi, there's a true genius in her writing that is just waiting for some big-money producer to pull out into full focus.

Rose says that when she was 11 years old, she got really into Green Day and decided to begin emulating her new heroes by taking one of her dad's guitars and teaching herself to play and write songs. Since then she's divided her time between Small Dog Syndrome and Vanilla Sugar, with designs on a folk punk act using a washboard as the rhythm section. She's definitely a talent to watch in the coming years.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner