Steve Earle's Top Seven Songs About Texas

Categories: Commentary

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As he nears 60 years of age, Steve Earle is a bearded musical buddha. He's also most certainly one of the greatest living songwriters. His career hasn't been as lengthy as that of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Merle Haggard, but since he hit the scene in the mid-1980s with the massive country hit "Guitar Town," Earle began what can easily be argued as the best album-for-album body of work of any grizzled vet touring today.

The past decade has seen Earle go from hating on George W to loving the folkie life of a Greenwich Village-dweller to remembering his dear friend and hero Townes Van Zandt. His most recent works, however, haven't been exactly rich stories revolving around the people in the state he grew up in until his move to Music City in the mid 1970s. Sure, artists evolve, and his evolution has been a satisfying one, as his most recent album, The Low Highway, is a fantastic mix of roots, rock, storytelling and expert lyricism that's almost too predictable from him, though such predictability is welcome. With Earle bringing his band, the Dukes and Duchesses, to the Granada Theater for a show Saturday night, what better time than now to take a look back on Earle's best Tex-centric tunes.


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I Should Have Shut the Hell Up: A Lesson in Shouting Opinions on Musical Taste

Categories: Commentary

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We all have strong opinions about what songs constitute good music and what songs should only be played as part of a psychological warfare campaign to drive armed kidnappers out of barricaded compounds.

But that doesn't mean we need to bulldoze every conversation with our own taste. And it can be hard to stifle those opinions -- especially the negative ones. It's not respectful discussion I'm talking about. No, a good, healthy debate that involves a little nuance is healthy exercise. What I'm talking about is name calling disguised as taste. Such snooty worm-like parasites as those have a way of eating their way through your brain whenever someone says they like a certain group and flying out of your skull before you have a chance to stop them. I don't know what happens to these conversation-killing noises next. Probably they scurry off to the nearest computer to start a racist comment thread on a Reddit link to a cute kitten video.


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Six Reasons I Won't Dance At Your Wedding

Categories: Commentary

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Dave Watt

If you're anything like me, you've spent the last two months going to a lot of weddings, either alone or with your significant other. And although we typically don't enjoy sitting in a church and staring at comb-overs, there are two things provided at weddings we can all agree on: food and alcohol. I can live like the lord of the event center, alternating between sips of coffee and bites of three or four varieties of cupcakes I have chosen. Things are as perfect as they can be for a greedy sinner like myself, until I am dethroned by one simple request:

I'm asked to get up and dance.

There are a lot of people like me out there -- the joy-killers, the social alienators, the beings that will occupy chairs for eternity. We are those who do not dance. As a favor to all the nervous loners who sit at desolate tables in the corner, I'm going to tell you precisely why you won't find people like me tearing up the dance floor with the "Electric Slide."


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Where Do You Go From Being in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds? Find Out Tonight.

Categories: Commentary

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Kid Congo Powers comes through the Double Wide tonight, an unmissable chance to see a man with one of the most interesting résumés in rock in a tiny, intimate venue. A former member of The Gun Club, The Cramps, and The Bad Seeds doesn't just turn up in a small room next to a bar every day of the week, and his last fews albums with backing band The Pink Monkey Birds are a genre-less romp through guitar music loud and quiet, affecting and silly.

See also: The Ten Best Songs of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

The Bad Seeds, and their erstwhile leader Nick Cave, are a band that has had endless line-up turnover in the last thirty years. Kid Congo Powers is by no means the most important Bad Seed to fall by the wayside, despite being on guitar in the studio for such classics as "Deanna," "City of Refuge," and "The Weeping Song." Here are the career trajectories of two other fascinating Bad Seeds alumni, and some reasons for you to head out to the Double Wide tonight.

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The Ten Texas Bands That Most Deserve To Be Famous

Categories: Commentary

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Courtesy of Kristy Kruger

For Every ZZ Top and Steve Miller our state produces, there are thousands of bands that either wallow in obscurity or just get by with endless, backbreaking tours and the hope of having enough cash to finance some studio time.

Here are some acts that should have hit the big time in their day and a few that still have a chance to do so.


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Stop Calling Yourself Old

Categories: Commentary

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flickr/adam_jones
An actual old person
Detroit rapper Danny Brown has a new album, called Old.

Brown's occasional boasts about receiving in-show fellatio aside, just about everyone who likes good rap music likes him, and this new work does not disappoint.

But the title is really annoying.


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Josh Homme Is Dead To Me

Categories: Commentary

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Some people might hold up Josh Homme as a kind of savior of modern rock music, what with his riffs, and his arms (he has nice arms), and things like that. And I suppose that I did too, once. Around the time when Kyuss ended and QOTSA began, when they rode that wave from bad Kyuss album into the bludgeoning force of debut album opener "Regular John," I'm pretty sure I thought Josh Homme was the greatest, and that I could never get enough of whatever it was he chose to do.

I was wrong. Josh Homme is now dead to me, and I am a lesser man for his fictitious passing. Here's what really drove me over the edge.


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Rapt.fm: Like Chatroulette, But for Battle Rapping

Categories: Commentary

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Photo by Zeitfixierer
Face-to-face battles may soon be a thing of the past.
By Jonah Bromwich

You enter the room and they're already there. Some of the names you recognize: Randa the Rhyma (45 wins), Gig@ntic (48 wins), and Novice Raps (53 wins). You've checked the boards obsessively, but you've only ever been here before anonymously, as a guest. This is your first appearance in competition. You're nervous. You signal that you are open to a battle and, before you know it, Unlimited Barzz (49 wins), has challenged you to compete. You're about to make your debut, rapping against one of the best. You should probably put on some clothes.

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The Weeknd's 15 Most Absurd Lyrics

Categories: Commentary

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On the The Weeknd's single "Loft Music," Abel Tesfaye brags that he'll "put your mind in a dream world." It's true, the R&B music of The Weeknd certainly transports you somewhere. But where? To a fantasy world of Tesfaye's own making, a pleasure-centered nightmare tucked neatly between detestable and irresistible. Despite all its sexism, vanity, and gross decadence, The Weeknd's music is gorgeous. It's hard not to sit back and listen with awe, as Tesfaye's narcissism unravels into a self-deprecating hell. Because let's face it, there's an intoxicating indulgence in rooting for Abel Tesfaye -- R&B's quintessential anti-hero.

But, there is another side to The Weeknd's musings. Sometimes a lyric is so ridiculous, hits you so bluntly, you can't help but laugh. For the most part, there is no self-awareness in Abel Tesfaye's chemically fogged head. He repeatedly, seemingly unaware of the inevitable consequences, strides himself right into the mouth of emotional oblivion, over and over and over again. And luckily, for us, like some audio broadcast reality show - one far too X rated for mainstream consumption - he tells all about in seductively explicit detail. Now THAT'S entertainment.


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The Top 10 Male Rappers of All Time

Categories: Commentary

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Since the birth of hip-hop, male rappers have been bringing their unique viewpoint to the art of rhyme. Today, we're shining some long overdue light on their important contributions to rap. We're proud to present our list of the ten finest male rappers, from the smoking-hot hardbodies to the true lyrical innovators.

By David Thorpe

See Also: How Not To Write About Female Musicians, Part 7,081

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