Listen: I'm not one to get into too many Internet flame wars. Especially not inter-city ones. (We've got plenty of petty bullshit to put up with here, thanks.)
But, OK, since these dudes think I should say something about the post written yesterday by our pals at the Houston Press music blog called "Vanilla Ice and 11 Other Artists Dallas Can Keep," then fine, I'll do it. Because, I'm a good sport, mostly.
First off, I apologize for not sharing that post with you readers yesterday. Unlike our colleagues to the south, I generally don't keep Houston in mind. At least not like they do with Dallas. We all know that Houston sucks. We don't have to write blog posts telling anyone. It's just... known. No one needs a reminder. It's not a cause that needs rallying behind.
I'll give Houston credit where it's due: The hip-hop scene down there, yes, is pretty great. We know that. Everyone knows that. But before Houston gets all high and mighty on that horse, let's remember this: Bun B, Houston's finest export, is a friend and frequent collaborator of Dallas' two-time Grammy-winning Play-N-Skillz. And before you pull out your Slim Thug card, let's hold on just a second. Dude's clearly a fan of Dallas hip-hop, too--the guy's appeared on pretty much every remix that the Boogie movement has ever produced. It's obnoxious.
But, hey, I know hip-hop is a losing battle in the Dallas-Houston argument. Point, Houston. Congrats.
Too bad you don't win a single other one.
Moving on: The 12 artists that appear on this list--Vanilla Ice, Steve Miller, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Boz Scaggs, Ashlee and Jessica Simpson, Don Henley, Neon Indian, Ryan Cabrera and Jason Castro--are, admittedly, mostly terrible. But it's not like we go out of our way to claim them. Sure, we write about Lovato and Gomez--but that's mostly because our corporate overlords love web hits, and tossing Lovato or Gomez's name in a headline is like gold in Internet currency. And doing so keeps us from having to spend all day writing stupid lists.
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As for Neon Indian: Color us a little confused. How can the guy responsible for this list, the estimable Craig Hlavaty, hate them--and yet at the same time, have them on his top albums of 2009 list?
Now, the rest of the called out acts? Well, Henley, say what you will about him, is headlining ACL with his bandmates in the Eagles. Has a Houston band ever done that? And Castro and Cabrera? It's not our fault that Hollywood loves casting reality show stars from Dallas. It really isn't.
The bigger issue here, Houston, is that I can't even think of 11 artists from your city that are worth giving a second thought.
As for overall quality? You kind of made our point for us when you listed eight Dallas artists that are OK in your book (Pantera, Reverend Horton Heat, Meat Loaf, Dixie Chicks, Erykah Badu, MC 900 Ft. Jesus, Jonathan Tyler and Edie Brickell) and only offer five (ZZ Top, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bill Hicks, Beyonce Knowles and the Wild Moccasins) in your city's defense.
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And, really, I didn't wanna have to bring this up, but you guys love Dallas music. You know you do. You named Dem Southernfolkz your artist of the week back in 2008. And you once publicly bitched about us not giving the late, great Macon Greyson enough shine--again, presumably because there was no Houston music worth sharing.
No worries. I'm here to help. Here are four Houstonians worth your time: Hayes Carll, Indian Jewelry, Solange Knowles and Buxton. Next time you get the urge to start an inter-city flame war, maybe write about one of them instead.
Or, at the very least, next time, before you decide to call us out, keep all these other North Texas-bred acts in mind: The Polyphonic Spree, the Toadies, the Old 97's, Norah Jones, St. Vincent, The Secret Machines, Centro-matic, Midlake, Ben Kweller, Sarah Jaffe... The list goes on-- way on. But consider that your primer. You're welcome, by the way.