Monday, July 31, 2006

It List: Monday 7/31/06

1. The Gris Gris/The Strange Boys/Cartright (Club Dada)

The Gris Gris is a modern Psychedelic band from Oakland with roots in Houston, both physically and sonically. I don't know if I'd go so far as to compare them to all the 60's Texas Psyche legends the way I've witnessed others testify in reviews, but the influence is definitely there. They are supposed to be really special live, with a much discussed rhythm section and band members switching off instruments. The Strange Boys will also be performing with the expected set of well rehearsed yet detached garage rock. Cartwright will open the show with a stomping acoustic based set of folk pop that places them solidly in the scratchy throated tradition of past Denton songsters.

2. Open Mic Night hosted by Rhett and Tim of Happy Bullets (Fallout Lounge)

Apparently, this idea has been tried here in the past to unfavorable results. Tonight is supposed to be a vast improvement based on the local talent that's been invited by Rhett and Tim of Happy Bullets. They are providing guest performers with an arsenal of equipment including keyboards, drums, and amplifiers. Hopefully it will sound better than that other Open Mic event that's hosted daily at your local Guitar Center. Tonight's event is from 9 PM to 12 AM.

3. Lese Majesty/ A Childlike Fear (Metrognome)

Lese Majesty is serenading the Metrognome tonight with light melodic music that's heavy on harmonies. A Childlike Fear is from Ft. Worth and the spooky songs on their page sound like someone singing with their lips pressed against a microphone while recording in the dark. Sounds like another interesting show at The Metrognome.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
2. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
3. Kashmere Stage Band - Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974
4. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
5. The Long Winters - Putting The Days To Bed
6. The Black Angels - Passover
7. The Drams - Jubilee Dive
8. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
9. Spoon - Telephono/Soft Effects EP
10. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
11. Tom Petty - Highway Companion
12. Silverspun Pickups - Carnavas
13. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
14. Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
15. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
16. Various Artists - Zealous Records presents: Soul Sides Vol. 1
17. The Knife - Silent Shout
18. The Theater Fire - Everybody Has a Dark Side
19. Caribou - Start Breaking My Heart
20. Caribou - Up In Flames

Good to see Caribou on the list this week. They are one of my favorite bands currently making music, and I would really suggest checking out the kraut influenced Milk of Human Kindness or the more psychetronic Up in Flames if you haven't already. And no big surprise at #1, although it will be interesting to see how long they stay on this list as compared to Theater Fire, who seem to have been on it every week for the past couple of months. A lot of the rest of the list is kinda strange, huh? Two of the bands I've never even heard of. Guess which ones...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

It List: Sunday 7/30/06

Not much going on today. Big surprise.

1. Laptop Deathmatch (Double Wide)

You know the setup of this electronic competition. The best aspect of it is that it's different everytime.

2. Wild in the Streets (Hailey's) (Free!)

Wild in the Streets is like the Pebbles box set blasting through the club's PA with a healthy dose of French Ye-Ye stuff to top it off. Which is much better than what usually blasts out of club speakers .

3. The Sword/Those Peabodys/Hogpig (Rubber Gloves)

I personally can only take metal or hard rock without a trace of indie kid irony. But if it doesn't bother you, then by all means attend this show.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It List: Saturday 7/29/06

1. Sarah Reddington/Chris Garver/New Science Projects (Hailey's)

This show almost seems to be a prepackaged event of local critical darlings. All three acts have received praise for their songwriting ability. New Science Projects is the most unique act out of these three for their weird tendency to interrupt the song proceedings with weird distorted beat experiments.

2. Birth To Burial/Fire Don't Care (Metrognome Collective)

Birth To Burial are a local rarity since they do attempt to write structured and catchy songs but they do so with the obtuse and cerebral rhythmic exercises of overlooked 1980's SST Records era bands. That's probably one of the highest compliments I can pay a band, especially a local one. Fire Don't Care are from Arkansas and it's a real damn shame I couldn't get their Myspace page to work because with influences like USA IS A MONSTER and Mission of Burma, they're probably interesting at the very least.

3. Happy Sucky/Angry Businessmen/Plastic Assassins (1919 Hemphill)

If Treewave's electronic songs are too much for you, then skip out on Happy Sucky. Their backing tracks sound completely over the top and ridiculous and I think we could use more of that around here. I've had my fill of people in nice jeans and blazers trying to prove to me that they're the missing link in the great time line of rock and song history while they all write similar sounding songs about similar sounding relationships they've had with similar sounding girls. Give me a break. I really like what I've heard from Angry Businessmen. They play surf riffs on bass and drums and then vocalize over them...angrily. I'm assuming about that last part but I have a pretty good guess. Plastic Assassins have been written about here before and I want to catch them live to understand what they're going for. I'd really like to catch this show period.

4. Voot Cha Index (All Good Cafe)

An unlikely venue for this young band of sixties worshippers. I hear their live show is much more lively than their recordings would have you believe.

Friday, July 28, 2006

It List: Friday 7/28/06

Even though it's Friday we're going to be brief today-

1. Diplo (Hailey's)

Diplo is a DJ/Producer who has worked with M.I.A. and has a penchant for mixing everything from Pop Rap to Retro Electro to Indie Rock. He is often compared to DJ Shadow. This is going to be #1 since it comes highly recommended by Stonedranger.

2. Pimp C (Blue) (!)

In keeping with this non-rock theme I'd like to suggest going to see Pimp C if you can't make it out to Denton. I'm pretty sure this is the first time WSJR has told you to go to Club Blue but it should be worth it. He started UGK in the 80's and was one of the first people to put Southern Rap on the map before the term "Dirty South" was even used. He is an undisputed rap legend.

3. Mugzu (Darkside Lounge)

Now we'll make a 180 by telling you to go see Mugzu. Mugzu hails from Denton, play improbably heavy music and are one of the area's longest running metal acts. Plus, they do it with zero cheese factor and that's a real rarity for this area's metal scene.

4. Documentary: Go Halliburton Go (1919 Hemphill, Ft.Worth)

This has been described as a "mockumentary" about Halliburton, Dick Cheney etc. 1919 has a history of showing good political/activist films so this should be worth checking out if you're in Ft. Worth. Show starts at six o'clock so hurry. 1919 suggests a five dollar donation at the door but they never turn anyone away. Can you say that about your favorite club?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

8 1/2 Questions with Tree Wave

The more I think about, the more I realize that despite only having seen them live twice, and only having heard a limited amount of their material, Tree Wave could easily be my favorite band from Dallas proper. Or to put it another way, there isn't any other band in Dallas that I'd be more excited about seeing live. Their recorded material sounds like absolutely nothing else being made around here, and their live shows are exciting and interesting in a way that most local bands really don't even touch. I wanted to ask Paul Slocum more about his band, and the process he goes through when writing songs. So I did. Some of the questions and answers run over from one to the next, but thats what happens when you do email interviews:

Could you give us a little background about the band, when it started, your goals, etc?

I guess we started about 3 years ago. The guy I was playing music with moved to Austin. We did a lot of sampling mixed with homemade 8bit stuff and traditional instruments, and after he moved I decided to try recording some of my own stuff using just 8bit instruments. I got my girlfriend to sing on it and it turned out great. A year after that we started playing shows. I don't know what's next. Right now I'm making videos and music using simple web design mechanisms (animated GIFs, audio loops, etc) and more conceptual stuff like a deep house song for symphonic band and choir.

I've found myself in discussions with people about the process that you guys engage in when writing and recording songs, only to realize that I don't in fact know very much about your process. I kind of have an idea of what the Commodore 64 is, but I know very little about it. Could you explain in as much detail as you're willing how you go about writing and recording songs with the equipment you use

The core of it is the OPL3 chip, which is a sound chip made by Yamaha and used on early DOS sound cards. It's similar to what was used in the Sega Genesis and produces that crunchy "Sega metal" sound. I run it through a BOSS Heavy Metal Pedal to fatten it up, and start off with some drums. I usually try playing some Commodore 64 on top of that (which basically sounds like a fat analog synth). And then add more OPL3 to get noisy guitar-like sounds.The Atari and printer come last because they're hardest to program. They're usually rhythmic accents. Sometimes I use long printer drones to fill out the "guitar" sound. Vocals go in somewhere midway through.When the song's done I program video for the live shows on the Atari 2600. All our video is Atari 2600.

What about the song you play live in which the notes are played in response to movements in a video game? How did you come up with that? Is it easy to screw up the piece live if you die or make a wrong move?

I originally did that as a video installation, and later realized I could perform it live. I thought it was interesting how playing a video game is mechanically and mentally similar to playing an instrument. The original Dodge 'Em game (like Pac-Man with cars) just has a droning engine sound, but I modified it so that each lane you drive in plays a different chord. So if you figure out patterns to win the game and play those patterns consistently, it becomes a chord progression. I programmed 3 loops on the OPL3 which accompany these chord patterns. If I mess up, it really just shortens the song a bit so it's no big deal. I just fade out the background loops early.

Some of the comment posters on this site seem to look down on the way that you go about producing music, and many seem to have inferred that it is "cheating" in a sense, or that the equipment you use to create your sounds makes it "too easy to sound cool." How might you respond to something like that? And should the process of making music even matter when the finished product is discussed?

I'd tell those posters to "suck it". I wanted the record to stand on its own, and many reviewers have agreed that it does. The unusual process is important to me, because it gets me out of creative ruts. Nobody really needs to know that to enjoy the music though. But the process is more important to understanding some of our stuff beyond the music. The Dodge 'Em piece is really a performance and video piece, and has a lot more to it than just the music. And the performance, videos, and process address the nature of technology and obsolescence.

I noticed that visuals are a big part of your live shows, and in many ways are almost the centerpiece on stage, while you are often standing off to the side of a screen. How important are visuals to your band, and do you think that visuals and other considerations outside of the music itself should be considered when someone is trying to understand your band's art and presentation?

For our live show, I think the video is pretty important. Some videos more than others, but in general I think it adds a lot. For Dodge 'Em and the Combat hack, the video illustrates the process to some extent.

Speaking of visual art, will you tell us a bit about your gallery, where it is, what you want to do with it, what kind of work you show in it?

It's called And/Or Gallery, and you can read more about it at We show a lot of different stuff, but we have more video and new media than any other place here. It's somewhere mid way between an artist-run space and a commercial gallery.

It seems like your band has recieved more press attention outside of Dallas than it has locally. How does that feel? What does that say about Dallas in your mind?

We've received a fair amount of press in Dallas considering how many shows we've played and the one CD we've put out. The Dallas music scene has problems, but it's not that bad. The main problem with Dallas is scarcity of decent radio.

What are some other bands that you like/ identify with in the area?

I like Midlake, Mission Giant, and whatever John Freeman is up to.

If Dallas is like a fake L.A., then Austin and Denton must be... A loaf of bread.


It List: Thursday 7/27/06

I'm filling in for Stonedranger on some daily duties around here for maybe the next week or so. Please send me show info etc. to Thanks.

1. Mix Tapes and Baby Fights/Man Factory/Mathstorm and more (Rubber Gloves)
Man Factory and Mathstorm are the two bands playing tonight. Both bands are very poppy and their performances will sandwich the standup/sketch comedy that Frank Hejl (of the late "Frequency Down" radio show) will be hosting. Mr. Hejl has described this event as an "alternative variety show" in an attempt to meld music and comedy in a rock club setting. I hope this idea works out. At this point, I'd rather sit through a lousy comedian than a lousy band. I'd like to add that I once saw Mathstorm perform and they had a bunch of props and I couldn't believe that they were old enough to no longer have to attend middle school. Their fans were really young too, so the club was full of oversized props and teenagers and I forgot where I was and almost had a panic attack. They did have a lot of enthusiasm, though.

2. Zoo: The Visual Menagerie (Cavern)

Zoo is at the Cavern tonight and I would really like to catch this since I imagine it as a mix between random YouTube finds and a Chunklet Lost and Found DVD.

3. DJ G (Hailey's)
Whenever I've been to this there are always a bunch of hardcore punks and metal heads looking embarrassed to be there. That's just testament to the enduring popularity of this weekly event.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It List Wednesday: 7/26/06

Wanz Dover/Emil Rapstine/My Education at The Cavern

1. Wanz is listed as just himself tonight so I don't know if he'll be playing the kind of blippy electronic stuff he does with Wild Bull. Maybe he'll recite the anonymous 100 comment post from Monday in it's entirety over a laptop beat. That would be pretty interesting, actually. Also performing is a now beardless Emil Rapstine of The Angelus. He's doing a solo acoustic set featuring some brand new Angelus songs. And finally there's My Education who describe themselves as a "purely instrumental outfit" from Austin. They have some stringed instruments mixed in with the traditional rock setup and don't just buildup the entire time the way a lot of one trick pony instrumental groups do. They tour constantly so they should have their dynamic mood pieces down.

2. The Party with DJ Nature at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios

I can honestly say the only DJ who's ever made me dance in my life on a regular basis is DJ Nature. Sure, it was a long time ago during his first stint as the main Wednesday night DJ at RGRS, but that's saying a lot considering my fear of dancing. He's probably one of the most intelligent musicologists from DFW and I have utmost respect for him. I don't even know what he'll be playing tonight but I'll fully endorse the diversity, breadth and depth of his selections before the needle even drops.

3. Clock Hands Strangle/Carey Wolff/Glovebox at Metrognome Collective

Tonight at the Metrognome it's Clock Hands Strangle who play mild chiming guitar rock with an emphasis on song writing. Local acts Carey Wolff and Glove Box have the same emphasis but are more roots oriented. A good show if you're into songwriting at one of the only venues North Texans can be proud of.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Midlake- The Trials of Van Occupanther (by Taunto)

Whenever your parents sell the house you grew up in, or someone puts a freeway through your old neighborhood, a knee jerk reaction is to bolt and find somewhere to create your own home - a new and improved location and identity that breaks from the past and looks to the future. A fresh start both mentally and physically. But when that doesn't work, we often return to our old haunts and scrounge around for anything that will make us feel like it isn't all gone. Midlake's latest record kind of sounds like that. The songs are about home; finding it, keeping it and leaving it. The lyrics reference marriage, jobs and living in cabins, yet the album's protagonist often seems to want nothing more than to be alone. We all go back and forth at certain points between wanting to be on our own and wallowing in memories of the past, and I think everyone can relate to that on some level- at least those who complain about Dallas all the time and then never leave. We're all looking for something, or hanging on to what we've found.

"The Trials of Van Occupanther" is soft, warm, and immediately comforting. The chord progressions reference Fleetwood Mac in case you didn't know (pre-Tusk post-Rumors), and the nice wet piano sound that's present on most of the songs is, to me, like hearing oxygen. The arrangements are simple and pretty, adding flute and viola effectively and resurrecting bits and pieces of Janis Ian here or Joni Mitchell's "Court & Spark" there. And if you squint past the Thom Yorkyness of the vocals, you can indeed see Neil Young. And although one can become tied down with all these blatant comparisons and resemblances, I'm still glad that Midlake sounds the way they do. There's room for it right now. The big glammy garage 80s rehash was killin' me, and it's a comfort to know that somebody else out there also likes Bread, Wings, Steely Dan, and Steven Stills' solo stuff. I personally have been waiting forever for this to happen.

But with this ease and familiarity comes a pang of loneliness. I realized a few songs in that I was enjoying this record so much because it reminded me of all those other things; places, people and songs from the past that I already cherish. Like staring at someone else's family photo albums, I recognized the faded colors of the old photography, the fashion and the facial hair - even though I've never seen them before. And I like the photographs because by looking at them, I'm simply recalling my own history in some way. It's not that I don't like Midlake's album – I really do – but I think I like it as much as I do because I appreciate and understand what they are attempting: to cling to past sounds and experiences, in hopes of finding themselves somewhere in there. And I think they're doing it beautifully.

It List Confusion: Tuesday 7/25/06

Sorry this is coming so late, but Defensive Listening was going to give me a hand by publishing his own list today... and there was a mix up. Luckily for you, the metroplex isn't exactly jumpin with stuff to do tonight, so my lateness probably won't affect your coolness. Maybe DL will post his list in a bit, but for now, I'll make a quick one:

1. New Science Projects @ Dada. New Science Projects are a band that I don't know that much about, but am really curious to see live. Their (or maybe it is his) mixture of strange noise blips, electro beats and old American folk is certainly an interesting one, and the songs we've heard also manage to stay completely accessible and catchy without being obvious. Give it a listen.

2. Lost Generation (The Cavern Upstairs): Wanz didn't tell us what he has planned tonight, but I'm sure it will be something good. I can't say it enough: If you're looking to hear a good mixture of electro and experimental tunes, there is no better DJ night in the metroplex to do so.

3. Southerly/Sarah Reddington/ Silas Worley (Metrognome Collective): For the pop kids and the folk kids, and the Sarah Reddington kids... Metrognome hosts this Kill Rock Stars showcase. I'm not sure if Southerly is my thing, but it could be depending on my mood. I like what Silas Worley is doing quite a bit (sort of a Paul Simon thing, in a good way), and we've become more and more impressed with Sarah Reddington, so this could be a good show to check out.

Monday, July 24, 2006

No It List Today

Theres nothing to do, and its too damn hot to go anywhere anyway.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
2. Feist - Open Season
3. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
4. TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain (import)
5. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
6. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
7. Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
8. Grandaddy - Just Like the Fambly Cat
9. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
10. Hot Chip - The Warning
11. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
12. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
13. Golden Smog - Another Fine Day
14. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
15. Danielson - Ships
16. Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
17. James Figurine - Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake
18. Astronautalis - The Mighty Ocean & Nine Dark Theaters
19. The Theater Fire - Everybody Has a Dark Side
20. The Black Angels - Passover

That new TV on the Radio is really good, isn't it? I loved their first EP, but I thought the first full length was pretty weak for the most part. This one is worlds better, and I would suggest giving it a chance, even if you didn't like their first record.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day of Rest

Taking the day off today, although I will remind you that Castanets are playing an excellent bill at Rubber Gloves tonight with locals Sarah Reddington and Shiny Around the Edges. See you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It List: Saturday 7/22/06

1. Lost Generation Concert 2 (Doublewide $5): The line up:

830-9 Ashburne Glen
915-945 Record Hop
10-1030 Jack With One Eye
1045-1130 The Falkon
1145-1230 The Stange Boys
1245-130 Pleasant Grove

Another excellent installment in this weekend's Lost Generation concert series... not sure who is DJing at the bar tonight, but knowing Wanz, I bet it will be someone good. We like pretty much every band on this list, again, and you should go, again, unless you've decided to go see:

Midlake @ Hailey's. This place will probably be crowded as shit tonight, so I hope they've got the a.c. going. This is CD release weekend for what could (and most likely will be) the most commercially successful rock release from north Texas this year (unless Flickerstick or Drowning Pool puts out another record), so all of you detached observers will enjoy it. And I know that you could reasonably argue that Midlake isn't really doing anything new on Van Occupanther or however you spell it, because they aren't. But if you're into American pop rock, you will hear how well these guys are doing what they do by the time the first chorus on the first song hits, and you won't really care too much about rock history after that.

We're especially looking forward to the Falkon and Pleasant Grove tonight.

Friday, July 21, 2006

It List: Friday 7/21/06

So there are quite a few things going on this weekend that are worthy of a little attention. Therefore, we're going to break the Weekender up, and do one post for tonight (this one) and one for the rest of the weekend early tomorrow morning, mkay?

1. Lost Generation Concert Series (Double Wide $5): Although he's not playing this show (except as a DJ), Wanz Dover has put together one of the largest and most impressive local line ups that we've seen in a quite a while for this two evening event. I guess its sort of like a mini festival, except it doesn't have any of the features that can make festivals suck: it doesn't start too early, doesn't last too long, and is in a decent bar with a good stage and mostly great sound. Its also spread out over two days, which is good. Tonight will SURELY be the rare Friday night at Doublewide: it will actually be a lot of fun. And even if you don't like every band playing, you can check out Djs Cee Pee, G, and Wild Bull (Wawnz) spinning at the bar all night. We're into just about every artist that is performing tonight, so we don't think we'll need very many breaks. Tonight's line up:

830-9 The Friendz (special secret band, so we haven't heard them. We're going to roll the dice and see what we get, based on the word around town.)

915-945 Dutch Treats

10-1030 Silk Stocking (you know we're down with Silk Stocking)

1045-1130 Kidko (one of the best of the Laptop Death Match crew, if not THE best. His music is fractured and somewhat upbeat, but a bit dark and often quite pretty. Some might call it IDM, but I would just call it really good.)

1145- 1230 Unconscious Collective (These guys don't have a Myspace page or website to my knowledge, so you're just going to have to believe that they put on a ridiculously great live show. We've had the pleasure of seeing their noisy free jazz performed live a couple of time, and were blown away on all accounts. And if the words "free" and "jazz" scare you, don't let them: even people not normally into that sort of thing should really dig what these guys do, because they sure don't sound random or improvised, and we haven't seen a single toaster anywhere near them so far.)

1245-130 Jetscreamer (should be a great end to a great show. We're liking this band more and more every time we hear them.)

2. 3/5 of the iDi* Amin gang will be playing as Zanzibar Snails @ Counter Culture Vintage at Mockingbird Station tonight. I'm going to go ahead and guess that they are the first noise band to ever set foot in Mockingbird Station. And just think, if you go and don't like them, you can stop by the Gap or pick up a Killers CD or whatever at Virgin after! iDi member Nevada Hill will have art on display as well, and you'll be able to pick up their excellent new CD too. Its from 7-10, and the band starts at 830.

3. Starlight Mints/ Colourmusic (Hailey's $8) Probably don't need to tell you about Starlight Mints, and Colourmusic sounds really good. Have also heard great things about their live show via some trusted sources, so this should really be a show worth seeing.

4. Voot Cha Index/ Teenage Symphony/ Hardinsweaty and the Ready to Go/ Chris Garver (Rubber Gloves $5): Another good Denton show. We've never been sure about Hardin Sweaty because of their Myspace songs (and lets be honest, their name), but we always hear good things about their live shows, etc, so they might be worth checking out... we'll give it a shot. The other performers are all certainly worth it.

Oh and Flashlight Party will be spinning a house party in Ft. Worth tonight at 2115 6th Ave. Its BYOB, and you can rsvp or get more info here.

Gotta post this by 5, so see ya.

8 Questions with Castanets

A touring show that I'm looking forward to quite a bit (and one that hasn't really received much local coverage) is Castanets at Rubber Gloves on Sunday. I caught a captivating and rather intense Castanets performance at SXSW a couple of years ago, and I've been looking forward to seeing Ray Raposa play again ever since. In between travels by plane and two busses yesterday, Ray was kind enough to answer some quick questions for us. He has also commented on his enjoyment of the We Shot J.R. Comment Section Beard Wars. I wonder which side he's on?

So are you currently touring in support of your last record, or is there new material being released soon?

It's a kind of tour for First Light's Freeze. Follow up tour. Extra innings. We've got a super limited split 7" with Wooden Wand on our table this time. Split 10" with Dirty Projectors is set for fall release. Tracking the new record in Sep/Dec. Playing some of those song on this trip, as well as some from Matthew Phosphorescent Houck and I's new band.

I've read that you like to do a lot of improv when you play live. What is the motivation behind that? Boredom? Challenging yourself? Do you feel that the recorded material should stand on its own, and that you should attempt change things up in a live setting in order to create something of a new piece of music?

Trying to keep it fresh enough that we all don't quit tours halfway through. Trying not to cover ourselves. I think that records are very much their own final piece. Shows are where the songs get to breathe. Driven out to the country with the top down.

A lot of your music is obviously quite dark and minimal in sound. It seems that you feel quiet atmospherics and space can be a very effective element in a song, and you seem to utilize both quite well in your songwriting. Why do you suppose that space and low level noise can have such an impact on listeners? Or does it?

The sounds and instruments used for a song or album are the ones that I feel suit the song or album best. I have no concept of their impact on others.

I read somewhere that you were working on a piece of fiction writing. Could you tell us a bit about the work, and if its been or will be released?

Lost in the great unpaid storage space seizure of '06.

Do you find any similarities between writing songs and writing stories?

On occasion. They stem I think from similar impeti. Very different in execution.

I've also read that you are involved in an experimental avant jazz project. Could you tell us a bit about that, and other kinds of music that you make, or are interested in making?

Little things here and there. The jazz thing might've been a record that came out on Eclipse a few years back called Womb. A lot of the Cathedral players are on that. I've doing a lot less improvisation lately. Thinking about hip-hop a lot. Dub. Red from Peter and the Wolf and I are both looking deep into those Ethiopiques records as wells. Matthew Houck (Phosphorescent) and I have a band in mind with the song titles all in place. First track's called "Blow Me Down Easy". Four part harmony.

Your songs seem to have a very intense emotional element in them. Do you think that listeners can truly discover much about you as a person through listening to your songs? Do you even want them to?

They won't and they won't by design.

Finally, ever been to Texas or the Dallas/Denton area? Any good stories to share?

Been there plenty. It's always awesome. I lived in Mckinney for a few months when I was seventeen. Making almost daily drives with the girl to pick up wine in a county that wasn't dry. Shows at Hailey's and in Dallas proper have always been great. I can't count the number of good people in these parts. Truly.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

It List: Thursday 7/20/06

Sorry, work issues, etc. have forced me to post a short but sweet list today. Weekender will be better tomorrow. And I've been having more problems with Myspace today that I don't feel like dealing with, so sorry if you haven't been getting bulletins or messages from me today (if you were expecting one.)

Warmermilks/ You Are the Universe/ Violent Squid: This is a FREE byob house show in Denton, and there is talk of a keg being in the area as well. Will be a fun show I'm sure. The house is located at 628 Lakey St. in Denton. HERE is the map. Starts at 9pm. Warmermilks are a great fucking band, and you know we're into URTU and VS, so you won't want to miss this. And its free, crybaby.

And DJ G will be throwing down at Hailey's tonight as usual with 80's house/electronica.

And moody post-rockers From Monument to Masses will be @ Rubber Gloves tonight.

iDi* Amin- B.C.E. (By Defensive Listening)

Idi*Amin's debut cd, "B.C.E." is not just a cdr in a brown paper bag being passed around amongst local noise fans, but instead comes in a package that is beautifully illustrated and folds out like a wedding invitation. To package your average burnable cdr with such lavish visual presentation is a striking statement in itself. It's an insight into the philosophy of a group that may have recorded part of their record on the roof of Cool Bean's, but present it with all the attention and respect that they feel such an experiment (and the people that purchase it) deserve(s). I can respect that.

For a local band that is notoriously challenging, the album starts off with a misleadingly accessible tease. The first track, "GNU" churns along with some fairly melodic sax playing and comes off more like the score to a foreign film shot on DV. This is probably one of the weaker moments on the album, simply because I don't think the sax should be able to get away with playing what the band would probably find inappropriate on guitar if the roles were reversed, meaning that the sax part seems a little too light and safe in the context. Semblance to convention is quickly discarded, however, as the album moves on to"Carbide," its second piece, which sounds like an amplified rubber band being stretched across an empty warehouse by generator noise and random sax stabs. And once the third piece hits, all hell officially breaks loose, just like you thought it would. Here, Idi*Amin launch into a full on panic attack of abandon, with a dose of muscular drumming to help the sax and machine noise along to the middle of the record, which shifts into more lethargic territory. The guitars become so deconstructed and anti-riff at certain points that they would hardly be recognizable as the "chick magnets" young men once saw them as. Well, the dream is still alive for iDi* Amin if today's gals are into bleak, apocalyptic, and atonal nightmares.

The fifth track, "Coelacant" [sic], clocks in at nearly ten minutes and combines the aforementioned pieces ofIdi*Amin's sound with a great deal of feedback. By this point, the sine waves start to sound like lowflying warplanes as the ominous haze of the record builds ever outward and hits a true climax as the first track reprises, if you could call it that, with "G.N.U. II". Once Mike Forbes' sax starts it's repetitive Albert Ayler cadence, Idi*Amin's music really seems to come together almost gracefully. The guitars, drumming, and noise play off of these stunted phrases, and it's some of the most intriguing playing you'll hear from any local band. The next to last song, "Ziggurat" starts off with the same pattern, and if I had any power to change DFW's shitty rock history, this would replace"Possum Kingdom" as our most widely known local hit. The record ends with a lone scream, stray gunfire percussion, and the trickle of a slide running up and down the strings of a guitar and promptly dying, shortly after playing the album's only recognizable guitar melody. Along with the rest of the record, this piece is so menacing that I should probably correct my previous statement: "B.C.E." unfolds like a funeral invitation.

(Note: Star rating out of a possible five)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It List: 7/19/06

Sorry, gotta be brief today. Its not a big loss, however, because the only things going on tonight involve three of the best DJs in town, doing what they normally do. Therefore, everyone should already know about them, and should already be planning on going.

DJ Nature will be doing The Party at Rubber Gloves tonight, and it will be his last time do so for a few weeks, as he will be on tour. The always great $elect will be joining him.

Also, the Axis guys will have DJ G spinning records over @ Hailey's. He'll be playing all kinds of different stuff, but apparently will skip out on his usual 80's house and electro.

More to come later this evening.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It List: Tuesday 7/18/06

Danava/ Snow Foxxes/ Eat Avery's Bones (Cavern downstairs): For those that don't know... Danava sounds like Wolfmother. But they're way better. They rock harder, they're less slick, and they're somewhat more adventurous in sound, with synths and spacey song structures adding some meat to the by now familiar neoSabbath hispter sound. I've also heard great things around the world wide internets about their live shows, so I expect this to be a good one. Snow Foxxes have a similar Sabbathesque guitar sound (with vocalist-drummer Celia Wall, pictured to the left, adding a nice touch of Jefferson Airplane vibe with her vocals), but are a bit sloppier and more aggressive than Danava, and also sound quite good. Fans of Silk Stocking and the aforementioned bands will probably dig. And you know EAB.

And remember, Upstairs at the Cavern, Wanz will be doing his Lost Generation thing. Looks like the Cavern could be the place to be tonight.

Helen Stellar/ Sarah Reddington/ The Psychedelic Journey Band/ Chirp! Chirp! (Dada): You ever heard a good band, as in played good music, that was recorded all wrong and had terrible lyrics, and thus became a band that you weren't sure you could take? Sounds like Helen Stellar could be one of those bands. Of course, I'm a shoegaze kind of person, so if thats not you're thing, don't even bother. But even if it is, Helen Stellar might be too cute and serious and clean sounding and trite to really be very entertaining. In fact, the more that I listen to their Mix 102 love song lyrics, the more I know I wouldn't like them live for the same reason that Jerry Seinfeld doesn't like watching a man sing a song. But anywho, Sarah Reddington is becoming more excellent every time I hear them, Chirp Chirp's lonely guitars and spastic noise sound quite interesting, and the Psychedelic Journey band, um, I don't get.

And finally theres the SLOMO video festival at Denton's SHQ (210 E. Hickory). The SLOMO is a series of 100 one minute slow motion videos produced by 85 different directors and video artists from around the world, all featured back to back. Should be fun. By the way, its FREE, its BYOB, and its at a great Denton space. Starts at 8.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Aloha, Figurines

I got into a discussion on a Gorilla Vs Bear comment section the other day about the year in music thus far. My position was (and still is) that its been a pretty dull year for new releases. I think theres been a lot of talk about a fairly high number of very overbuzzed and very overrated albums this year simply because there hasn't been much else to talk about. Yes, several very strong records have come out this year (similar to just about every year), and there has been at least one classic (Liars), but as far as the number of truly exciting and high quality releases in 2006, I would say that this year hasn't come close to stacking up against any of the previous three or four years. Of course, judging music in units of "years" is just as arbitrary as anything else, but its kind of fun.

Anyway, I wanted to share two MP3s from two largely overlooked records that I've enjoyed quite a bit this year. The first is a track off Some Echoes, the fifth full length from Ohio's Aloha. Although the band started as a sort of jazz influenced post-rock outfit, they have morphed quite a bit over the years, developing a rather unique prog/post rock indie pop sound influenced a bit by jazz, 70's AM, and the subdued world beat vibe of some of David Byrne's best solo work (including a noticeable similarity in vocals and phrasing in places). The song I've posted, "Your Eyes," is probably the most straight forward off the record, but its a fantastic introduction to one of my favorite records of the year.

The second MP3 comes from Denmark's Figurines, who sound like a band that I would usually not ever consider listening to. Their debut full length, Skeleton, has a classic pop punk vibe (read: Buzzcocks and The Jam, not Green Day) with a bit of a 60's pop influence that could easily annoy some, but has captivated me for some reason. Lead singer Christian Hjelm's vocals could even be compared to those heard on some of the snotty, modern day mall punk records that are easier to hate than Hitler, but still: the songs are well written, catchy as shit, and seem to be influenced by all the right sounds in all the right ways. Really, it sounds like bullshit, but download "The Wonder" and tell me that you don't listen to it at least five times this week. Its one of those songs that is instantly catchy AND a grower, much like the rest of the record.

Aloha "Your Eyes" MP3 (link)
Figurines "The Wonder" MP3 (link)

No It List Today

Thats two days in a row that we couldn't find jack shit to do... not sure if thats happened before.

Last Week's Good Records Chart

1. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
2. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
3. The Theater Fire - Everybody Has a Dark Side
4. Danielson - Ships
5. Astronautalis - The Mighty Ocean & Nine Dark Theaters
6. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
7. Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
8. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
9. The Paper Chase - Now You Are One Of Us
10. Hard-Fi - Stars of of CCTV
11. Peaches - Impeach My Bush
12. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
13. Hot Chip - The Warning
14. Cut Chemist - The Audience's Listening
15. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
16. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
17. James Figurine - Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake
18. Starlight Mints - Drowaton
19. Oneida - Happy New Year
20. Sound Team - Movie Monster

Looks like Sound Team hasn't been too hurt by the pitchfork review that everyone was crying about the other week. Also, its nice to see a band like Oneida on a Good Records chart, considering that they seem to be quite a bit different than most of the stuff that is usually on this list. And I don't care what anyone says, that new Thom Yorke is good.

Commune-icable: Brightblack Morning Light (By Defensive Listening)

Are hippies cool in indie rock now? Is commune living the latest fad? Have things gone so full circle that we can't even tell an ironic hippie from a sincere one, much like the mysterious popularity of mustaches and mullets and whether someone is a hipster or a pool cleaner? Does the difference even matter? Judging by the number of "indie" rock's usual suspects that played the jam band purgatory known as Coachella this year, the line is becoming increasingly blurred. Truthfully, gutterpunks are probably the real modern hippies, even though they'd be loathe to admit it. I can understand adopting some of the sounds of the Canterbury scene, the Holy Modal Rounders, or truly freaked out ideas from maybe the Red Krayola when they were still a Houston band, but what made a lot of those acts great is that they strayed from the obvious aspects of sixties and seventies culture or mutated them into something original. Walking around barefoot with the "feelin'groovy" attitude that modern flower children like Devendra Barnhart give off is not really for me. It just isn't practical to walk around your average venue in sandals, much less with your bare feet. Rock clubs usually have a really unique flooring material composed of concrete and broken glass with an alcohol, vomit and urine varnish. Not exactly the equivalent of running your naked toes and heels over the lush, salad-like environment of Northern California... but whatever makes you happy. I saw a lot of happy people at the Brightblack Morning Light show on Thursday night at Dan's Silver Leaf.

Mariee Sioux opened the show with a set of melodic folk-influenced songs. The songs meandered into so many different parts that I sometimes didn't know if she'd moved on to the next song. I can respect that kind of complexity for primarily acoustic songwriter fare, but I thought that some of her more successful moments were when she'd repeat the same vocal phrase ten times in a row or more. The crowd was extremely respectful while she played and there was almost complete silence while she performed. It was the kind of quiet that Chris Garver had probably hoped for at Strategies Against Beauty a couple of weeks ago, but it happens to everybody, especially the acoustic troubadour types. Mariee Sioux made a lot of obvious mistakes as far as forgetting lyrics or the next chord she was about to play. It was like that scene in Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance where Kurt Cobain forgets that line in "Pennyroyal Tea","I-I-I-I'm o-o-on wwwarm milk and lllaxitives...". I thought it was charming and she seemed to deal with it pretty well, unlike a lot of prima donnas from the past ten years who seem to thrive on making the crowd suffer when they can't get through songs. Mariee Sioux's lyrics dealt with the everyday problems you'd encounter if it was oh, I guess about 1893. I heard a lot of mention of grizzlies and arrows, hides and bramble. These seem like fairly anachronistic issues to deal with when you also have to worry about checking your Myspace page. I thought Mariee Sioux played a decent set for the genre, but I sometimes wonder if these singer songwriters get more credit than they should for the more superficial aspects of their career, like wearing a weird dress or looking like a Charles Manson impersonator. Sometimes that's the only difference between one of them and Jack Johnson or Melissa Etheridge.

Earlier I mentioned how gutter punks might be the new hippies, which brings me to Daniel Higgs. I wouldn't call Daniel Higgs a gutter punk, but he certainly has had a long life in punk rock. His resume includes various projects spanning all the way back to the early eighties, most notably in Reagan era Baltimore punk band Reptile House and later in the widely acclaimed Lungfish, who were one of Dischord Records most beloved groups. I hadn't heard anything about his recent solo work and his set came as quite a surprise, and a particularly jarring one after the sedate performance by Sioux. Overall, Daniel Higgs played with an Eastern feel and often played his guitar as if it was a sitar, whether he meant to or not. When Higgs started, I don't think the sound guy was even aware that the performance had begun, since his set was bleeding over the house PA music. Higgs had an assortment of little amplifiers that looked like toys set up around a Fender Squire practice amp, which was the largest piece of amplification he used. He played with the knobs on the toy amps, creating a shrill array of feedback and pulsating drilling noise. The catalyst that supplied the sound was an electric-acoustic guitar, which are notorious for feedback even without being fed through an array of distorted practice amps. Quite a while passed before Higgs began to sing, and when he did his lyrics were ominous doomsday rants. These lyrics, combined with his long grey beard and endless tattoos, gave Higgs the appearance of a crazed vagrant holding an "End is near" picket sign. And I mean that in the best possible way. He cut a really striking figure onstage.

When Brightblack Morning Light started playing, I had no idea that I would be at Dan's Silverleaf until 1:30in the morning. They played for what seemed like an eternity, which caused me to realize that I'm spoiled by most bands I see, who play for about twenty minutes. I mention this because it was evident that drawing things out is a big part of Brightblack Morning Light's philosophy concerning performance and song structure. They would repeat a three note part on the Rhodes piano and repeat it almost endlessly. And just when you'd think that the entire song was over, the repetitiveness would be shattered by an actual change in note and rhythm, and it was usually a welcome respite. The vocals were so lazy and whispered that they almost resembled two people trying to harmonize to a Jandek song. The band had two percussionists who were the most variable aspect of the band, and both avoided standard rhythms and even snare drums. The band looked like the promo glossy of almost any rock band circa 1970, and that look included but was not limited to aviator sunglasses onstage. I guess it's not that important to see what you're playing when you'll just be repeating the first part of a blues progression for fifteen minutes. It's hard to not like the sound of a Fender Rhodes, though, isn't it? I know that part of being into Brightblack's sound is to enjoy the repetition, but I've got to be wary of a band that plays so monotonously that a dog is able to fall sleep onstage. I'm not making that up. It actually happened.

I probably would have enjoyed Brightblack Morning Light more in a smaller dose, but you know what they say about "Too much of a mediocre thing." The next day, I found myself wishing that I had been as excited about seeing Brightblack Morning Light as my parents had been about seeing Steely Dan with Michael McDonald at Nokia the night before. That's a review I wish I could post.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Weekender 7/14-15

Lots of action on this blog today, and lots of shows tonight. And remember how we told you about good local and national interviews and CD review and new MP3s and stuff coming soon? Well, they are. You'll just have to wait. But if you've read this blog long enough, you know that almost nothing is done as soon as we think its gonna be, so I'm sure you're not shocked. I know its seemed a bit like a concert event calendar around here lately, but we've been busy with life.



1. Undoing of David Wright/ Zom Zoms/ Mystechs/ The Build (8th Continent- 731 Texas St. Denton $5): I don't know how many more ways there are to tell you to go see an Undoing show at the 8th if you want to see the absolute BEST local show in town, so I'll just say it. Undoing hasn't played a show in a while, and this would really be a good one to check out if you haven't seen them yet because its at a great venue, with great bands, and comes before they begin recording their next album, meaning that they might not be playing out much in the next month or two. But thats just speculation on my part. Austin's Zom Zoms are fantastic too, tehy remind me of Gary Numan, Devo and like a super hyper electro Pere Ubu... so deal with that. They are nothing short of completely kick ass live too. And they look like real jerks on their myspace page, which is a bonus. Mystechs sound like they are influenced equally by late 80's pop rap, Mahjongg, and Ween (which they note on their Myspace page). However I could only listen to one song, so I don't know for sure about their other stuff. I can't say that the Build's insturmental shoegaze excites me all that much, but its pretty solid and will sound good really loud.

2. Theater Fire/ Warren Jackson Hearne/ Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang/ W- Burn (the Cavern downstairs): This show downstairs, Chris from GVSB spinning stuff upstairs. Should be a good Friday night at the Cavern. I really dig the Theater Fire, but you all already know that, so I don't feel I need to say any more, except that I can't stop listening to that "These Tears Could Rust a Train" song. Shit its good. Warren Jackson Hearne is pretty bad ass... reminds me a bit of Tom Waits and Beefheart and Man Man and all that, but they've also got a bit of that cool, creepy Squirrel Nut Zippers feel to them (SNZ before they turned into Zoot Suit Riots were the shit, and I'll kill anyone that says otherwise). Basically, its old timey rustic stomping bluegrass influenced Americana, and its good. Features Paul Slavens and like ten other people. Electric Mountain whatever... whats the difference between counter culture folk and jam band doucheness? I'm not sure, but EMRAG will make you ask yourself this question, and then ask yourself why you care what the answer is. If you like bluegrass however, they are good I guess. Couldn't find anything about Burn or whatever.

3. Camera Obscura/ Georgie Jones (Tea Room): ATTN: If you like twee influenced indie pop, or K Records cute, or the Vaselines, Pastels, Raincoats, etc., or bands from Scotland not named after dukes, then you should love Camera Obscura. Its very pretty orchestral pop, and I doubt they come through Texas too often. Their new album is wonderful, and I think the show will be good. And I couldn't find anything about Georgie either... I guess its not my lucky day. Or maybe it is...

4. Metrognome has Paleo and These United States for $5 bucks at one of my two favorite venues in town. I guess Popfest convinced a lot of other people that this was a cool place to see a show. And I've heard great things about the performance last night, so go to the worth and see whats up. Links are on Thursday's it list below.

5. Jetscreamer/ Record Hop/ Hogpig/ The Nizzardz (Rubber Gloves): A benefit for the Denton Humane Society... loud noisy rock for the benefit of puppies and kittens. What could be better? And every time I hear the Record Hop "treefrog," I am more and more convinced that I need to see another one of their shows. And is Hogpig supposed to rock out or make me laugh? Because they do both.

Blue Cheer (here) / Black Angels/ Dj Wild in the Streets (Hailey's): THIS SHOW IS TONIGHT, NOT SATURDAY. SORRY BOUT THAT.

Wanz is going to be spinning some experimental, electronic and industrial stuff at Club One tonight... stuff from Bpitch, Areal, etc., which should be a good time.

and check out this guy's page... he does most of the art for You Are the Universe, and he's got some really good shit on his website.


I'm running out of time today.... sorry. More to come this weekend if we find out about anything new.

1. Prayer for Animals/ Teenage Symphony/ Haunting Oboe Music/ Eat Avery's Bones (Dark Side Lounge): This show wins best flyer award (above)... who make Miro concert posters? Solid show.

Thats it... bye.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It List: 7/13/06

1. Brightblack Morning Light/ Mariee Sioux (Dan's Silverleaf-Denton): Although we screwed up yet another chance to interview this band (we suck, but sometimes we gotta work on stuff that pays the bills instead), I would say that this would have to be THE can't miss show of the week (not that it has a whole hell of a lot of competition). Imagine what it would sound like if Spacemen 3 (yeah I know, how many times can I make that reference?) started a War cover band, and you might have some kind of idea of what BML sounds like. Their melodies, rhythms and arrangements are all fairly complex, but the presentation is straight up psychedelic minimalism with hints of Americana folk, jazz, blues and even a touch of funk thrown in the mix (sometimes recalling Neu!). The resulting songs are quiet and dark but certainly not sad. Instead, the feeling that the band gives off is one that is subdued and hypnotic, as new aspects of their songs reveal themselves each time you hear them, defying a comfortable label resembling any of the aforementioned genres (although some comparison to the quieter moments of Primal Scream could be made.) Their record is fantastic, and if you're the kind of person that doesn't need a beginning, middle and end in a song (like a kid's bedtime story) in order to enjoy it, you might want to click the link above and see whats up. Mariee Sioux is opening with some very solid pretty dream folk.

2. 80's House/ Electro Night with DJ G (Hailey's- Denton)

3. Paleo/ These United States (Club Dada): Much to my surprise, there is actually a pretty good show at Club Dada tonight. Paleo really plays some excellent rustic folk that remains soft but contains an interesting level of weary uneasiness that allows the songs to pack quite a bit more of an emotional and intellectual punch than your average neofolkie. You'll certainly hear quite a bit of Devendra Banhart, M. Ward, Nick Drake and Donovan in there, but don't let that description bore you, you jaded hipster, because the songs stand up pretty well on their own, and most that I've listened to are excellent. These United States kind of sounds like Devendra Banhart too (although quite a bit poppier), but also like a shy Violent Femmes that listens to Beck on a regular basis. You shouldn't let that description scare you either, because they're better than it makes them sound. Simultaneously fuller and less structured than Paleo, they will likely be a solid opening act.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It List: Wednesday 7/12/06

Sheesh. Nothins really happening tonight, unless you're into Michael McDonald and Steely Dan. I bet you're all going to pretend that you don't like "Peg" and "Takin' it to the Street," but I know you do. Its O.k., I won't tell anyone.

You can also catch Flashlight Party spinning early with The Billy Nayer Show (which I'm not sure I get) at Rubber Gloves tonight, but there appears to be no DJ Nature and @ RG and no DJ G at the Cavern this evening. Don't shoot the messenger. If anyone knows about anything good goin' down, feel free to post.

I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives (by Defensive Listening)

So, Syd Barrett is dead. Yes, it's true, the only member of Pink Floyd with any integrity is gone. Syd Barrett was an incredible talent as a founding member of Pink Floyd (originally as "The Pink Floyd Sound") and somehow seemed even more uniquely gifted throughout his solo career.

If you were to read any kind of band bio on the Floyd and use that as your only reference, you would probably end up completely disregarding any of Barrett's solo work... but this would be a mistake. Each and every song on the Syd Barrett "Crazy Diamond" box set is significantly more remarkable than pretty much all of the material on the Pink Floyd "Shine On" box set because Syd's stuff hasn't aged at all, and you certainly can't say that for the heavy handed seventies synths and embarrassing blues rock soloing found all over those Floyd blockbusters, no matter how much you like them. In other words, Barrett wasn't taken very seriously as a songwriter or guitarist in the late 60's/early 70's, but this was probably because he made records that could have been made today. Or maybe they couldn't. So-called "freakfolk" sounds pretty silly when you compare it to the genuine weirdness on an out-take of the song "DarkGlobe," and the cheesy hippie era wasn't quite ready for the stripped down and starkly haunting beauty found in any of the songs on "The Madcap Laughs" or"Barrett." Thats a shame, because it means that Syd Barrett didn't quite fit in anywhere, and will probably be remembered mostly for two things: giving Pink Floyd it's name and going insane.

I think he deserved more than VH-1 sensationalism and played out rock lore as predictable as a frat boy drunkenly slurring "Dude, do you know what Ozzy did one time?" For someone who started a band so wildly popular, he'll probably always be a footnote to the mainstream version of rock history, even though he was a man who influenced David Bowie and Marc Bolan when they were still lame little folk singers. I think his direct musical influence is most evident in the realm of underground rock, revealing itself in everything from the Melvins cover of "Interstellar Overdrive" to the quirky acoustic song-writing of Entrance.

And although I'm anonymous, I'd like to share a little personal story. The second ever rock show I went to (after Sid King at Hard Rock Cafe) was a weak and bloated Pink Floyd concert at Texas Stadium in1994. I didn't care that they were an aging and inferior version of the band, because I was in the eighth grade. When David Gilmour and the other chubby millionaires took the stage, they opened up with"Astronomy Domine", the first song on Pink Floyd's first album, which was written by Syd Barrett. I had never heard the song before that night, and it was the greatest thing my young ears had ever heard. It was pounding, throbbing, and eerie in a way that no other song they played that night would be. I automatically went out the next day and found the record it was on, along with anything else Barrett had to do with. Years later, long after my inevitable conversion into a punk/experimental enthusiast, my experience as a music fan came full circle. It was a few years ago, at a show performed by a reunited Mission of Burma during SXSW. This was one of my favorite punk/indie rock bands, and they played a very faithful cover of "Astronomy Domine." Its funny, because Mission of Burma themselves were credited with having a lot to do with expanding rock's possibilities, and here they were covering a Syd Barrett song that was more than thirty five years old... and it made total sense, fitting right in with all their futuristic avant noise and deconstructed song structures. And that's how I want to remember Syd Barrett. Not as some sixties sideshow, but forever relevant.

Last Week's Good Records Chart

1. Danielson - Ships
2. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
3. Astronautalis - The Mighty Ocean & Nine Dark Theaters
4. Wolfmother - Wolfmother
5. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
6. Luna - Best of...
7. Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
8. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
9. David Bazan - Fewer Moving Parts EP
10. The Paper Chase - Now You Are One Of Us
11. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
12. Great Lake Swimmers - Bodies and Minds
13. Tunng - Mother's Daughter & Other Songs
14. The Theater Fire - Everybody Has a Dark Side
15. Alexi Murdoch - Time Without Consequences
16. Prototypes - Prototypes
17. Juana Molina - Son
18. Kool Keith - The Return of Dr. Octagon
19. The Walkmen - A Hundred Miles Off

Did I leave off #20 or did they? Oh well, fuck it. 19 is pretty good.

UPDATE: alright, fine. Here it is:

20. Grandaddy - Just Like the Fambly Cat

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It List: 7/11/06 Bones!

Lost Generation w/ Wanz (The Cavern Upstairs): Wanz will be playing some Syd Barrett and some of his contemporaries (Silver Apples, Hendrix, etc.) Soft Machine, Diplo, a lot of cuts from the new An Albatross record, and a bunch of other stuff too.

So Many Dynamos/ Everything Looks Better Upside Down/ Plastic Assassins (Metrognome Collective Ft. Worth): So Many Dynamos describes their own sound as Dismemberment Plan meets Les Savy Fav, and I'd say thats just about right. And despite the fact that they might not have the most original sound in the world (they sound A LOT like LSF, perhaps a bit rougher) they write good songs and will be good live. They'll be playing with the excellent and eclectic ELBUD. Plastic Assassins are one of those bands that have a horrible song on their Myspace page ("Certaphone"), and a couple ok ones. So I don't know what to tell you about them, but I wouldn't get TOO excited.

And Chris Garver is playing at Club Dada with Domenic Ferraro (who provided the very disturbing photo above and plays with Eaton Lake Tonics). Ferraro plays slightly above average indie folk I guess you could say. Kristin Allen Zito also plays.... I guess her songs are like cutefunny, which I guess makes her like the Jill Sobule of Dallas or something? I don't have the energy.

Roger Keith Barrett 1946-2006

Sad day. We were all really big fans. But unlike almost every article we've read about it today, we're not going to say "shine on you crazy diamond" at the end. We'll just say that we loved the strange innocence and genius of his songs and persona.

GuardianUK (Interview with their first promoter, credited with "discovering" Pink Floyd)

MSNBC quick rap up


And the sound quality isn't good, but it is kind of haunting:

Monday, July 10, 2006

It List: Monday 7/10/06

Been a bit slow around WSJR HQ for the past few days, but we've got some good stuff for you this week, including some MP3s, interviews with local bands you might care about, interviews with touring acts you may care about, and um, probably some other shit too. Wait and see.


Fra Pandolf/ North/ Notes(J&Js- Denton): We were going to tell you to go see the off the fucking hook live spectacle of Notes from Underground, but they aren't actually playing this show. What we thought was a new cool slang name for Notes from Underground was actually meant as an indication that Tucson's Notes is playing this show. Notes does a pretty low key southwest neofolk influenced ambient electronica, and seem to be pretty effective in their attempt at putting across a creepy, isolated front to serve as a thin veil for underlying layers of fairly warm textures and melodies. It might be kind of "head scratcher," to borrow a phrase from one of the other WSJR crew members, but very good atmospheric stuff. They will also be joined by North, which leans more to the metal atmospherics, although they stay far away from the drone of bands like Sunn0))). Its kind of boring, but might be a different deal in a live setting... and there are certainly some very strong peaks and valleys on the recorded stuff. And I bet you thought all Tucson bands sounded like Calexico, didn't you?

And I'm just not sure what all the mini buzz (consisting of two Observer staff writers) is surrounding Comrade, who plays tonight at the Cavern with Seattle's Unwed Sailor (perhaps a bit similar in sound but MUCH more interesting). Now don't get me wrong, I would certainly say that they are quite a bit better than the average ready for KDGE Dallas "Indie" group, but I'm just not sure why we are supposed to be excited about a Travisesque post-Radiohead band that isn't actually from the U.K. They've got a diverse and technically strong singer, and they sound like they know how to play their instruments, but it doesn't make up for the same old same old song structures, trite lyrics, and rehashing of everything that Nic Harcourt thought was cool in 2001. And although comparisons to Pleasant Grove are understandable, I just don't think they have the emotional unsteadiness, intensity or inventiveness of most of Pleasant Grove's strongest material. Again its not terrible, but nowhere near great. If you're planning on going, be prepared to sort of enjoy it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

It List: Sunday 7/9/06

VCR/ Ballroom Dancing/ Oh No Circuitry! (The Eighth Continent- 731 Texas St. Denton): VCR is a band that will be perfect for the 8th continent: loud, catchy, energetic danceable punk slop that sounds like it was made for a video game... in a good way. Its a new wave take on no wave. Ballroom Dancing, who recently played at the metrognome Popfest, is probably the poppiest band to play 8th Continent. And although we heard some mixed reviews of their live show (as in some good and some bad with few in betweens), we think this will be a great venue to see them in if you like the songs you hear on their Myspace. Circuitry seems to be a punk influenced take on proggy postrock/shoegaze and sounds like they could pack a punch live, which gives you a good reason to get there early, even if the 8th might force you to take a few heat wave breaks during the show. Should be good times, and I think its five bucks.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Weekend Update

An excellent show going on tonight that we missed on the weekender post: Chief Death Rage and The Night Game Cult will be playing @ the Amsterdam in the patio area. The Amsterdam is on Exposition near Avenue Arts and Minc... this will be a kick ass show. Thats all.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Weekender 7/7-7/8

Not the most SUPER exciting weekend that a Dallas or Dentonite could ask for, but there is some good stuff going on:


Chris from Gorilla vs Bear will be playing some records upstairs at the Cavern tonight. And while there seems to be two contingents of people on this site (one that digs GVSB and another that doesn't) I think Chris probably has the best American MP3 blog going right now, and I especially dig some of the stuff he's been getting into lately (Os Mutantes, Liars, The Knife, Tropicalia). He'll be playing all that plus some hip hop, electronica, psyche, old school, and some new music that you probably haven't heard unless you check his blog regularly. Should be a cool time for cool kids.

And I'm guess I'm not sure what all the fuss surrounding Crushed Stars (who will be playing downstairs at the Cavern tonight) is all about, but I suppose they are a pretty decent quiet indiefolk group with a couple of standout tracks. Could be worth checking out if you're in that sort of mood. They'll also be playing with the Paper Chase's strange and intriguing Sean Kirkpatrick and New Science Projects, who seem like they should be the most entertaining live show out of the three. They switch between lo fi junkyard folk and grinding noise/beats... and sometimes combine the two to produce god knows what... fans of Bumblebeez 81 and people that like M Ward and Eat Avery's Bones equally will like this a lot. I'm surprised we hadn't heard these guys until today.

Gorch Fock and Snake Trap will be @ DoubleWide tonight as well if you didn't get a chance to check them out last night.


First of all, Danielson will be playing a free in store at Good Records at 4pm Saturday. When I first heard the new Danielson record a couple months back, I found it really annoying, but somehow (probably based on the recommendation of Defensive Listening) I've gone back and managed to find out that I dig some of the songs, and have even started to really like a few. So if you're like me and you're not sure what you think of this band, I would check out the in store, and if you like it, maybe make your way to Rubber Gloves in Denton to see them play with Pilotdrift and Houston's rockin' Bring Back the Guns later Saturday evening. Will be a good one.

Stephen Ruiz, a DJ and party promoter who has been putting together many of the most cutting edge electronica and experimental music events in the area recently will be having a house party at his place, featuring performances by the excellent ambient/experimental/ sound collage group One Umbrella from Austin and Wanz Dover doing some of his solo electronica stuff. He doesn't want to give out his home address, but he says that absolutely everyone thats willing to act like a decent human being is welcome and encouraged to come out and see a great show in an intimate setting that will also happen to be a house party. He asks that you simply RSVP with a Myspace message to his page (click the link above) and he will respond with directions and info. Shit goes down starting at 10pm, and goes till whenever.

Saturday will also be the Summer Soulcial @ Avenue Arts (825 Exposition) featuring a performance by the Strange Boys and Dj sets from Lollipop Shop, the Smoke, Wanz Dover, Wild in the Streets , Marcos Prado and DJ G. I'm guessing this will be the other good party on Saturday, and theres no reason not to hit this after one of the other shows.

And the excellent iDi* Amin will be playing the Denton Cohesion fest with a bunch of other bands at Texas Jive for five bucks, starting at 2pm. I think iDi is worth the five bucks alone. Click the Cohesion link for more info.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

It List: Thursday 7/6/06

1. The Great Tyrant/ Gorch Fock/ Snake Trap (J&Js- Free): Austin's Snake Trap plays a sort of Slint/Fugazi/ Les Savy Fav influenced instrumental progpunk that sounds a bit boring on the old Myspace page, but also sounds like it could be damn good live, especially in a dank little basement like J&Js. They're surely tight with their playing too: check out "28 and 78th demo" on the myspace. Gorch Fock reminds me of a heavy metal Fishbone on acid, which is a good thing, and also of GWAR, which is an I don't know thing. They too sound like they could be a great live band.... check out "scott jernigan" on their myspace page. Finally, our own Great Tyrant is probably not for everyone, but their live show is "Off the hook" for all you kids out there, and frightening and well executed in a Bauhaus meets Cannibal Corpse southern lord type a way. So yes, this is about the closest thing to an all metal show that you'll see on this blog.

2. Ghostcar/ The Ebb and Flow/ Chao/ Linea Triste (The Cavern): Shit we love Ghostcar, and if there is a relatively difficult band in DFWd that is actually really easy to get into, its these guys. They're jazz, they're funk, they're hip hop, they're avant garde, they're noise rock, and they are even a little Kraut. And oh yeah, they are completely bad ass. Check out "earthman's overture." Ebb and Flow lean towards the indie side of prog... and I can't seem to find exactly which Chao will be playing tonight... if its the one from Denton, they are pretty good. If anyone knows, post a comment or email me. Linea Triste might be a good reason to show up early and find out for yourself, however. This should be another excellent show on a Thursday night.

3. Dj G's 80's house/electro (Haileys- free)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Strategies of Beauty

I'm not sure what I thought Strategies of Beauty would be other than an above average local rock show, but I suppose that I expected it to serve as a microcosmic snapshot of local music, a chance to take the pulse of musicians, scenesters, and anyone else that gives two shits in order to see where this area is musically, and where it might be headed in the near future. Some might respond that this is an overly dramatic, unrealistic and misguided calculation considering that many of the bands that played Strategies have gone more or less unnoticed by 90% of Dallas' local music scene participants, and an even smaller percentage of DFW residents that might consider going to a local show every now and again. But aside from the (only half joking) response that if the majority of Dallas music fans don't dig it then it must be good, I would suggest that the Strategies line up was comprised of a larger percentage of interesting DFW bands than any other show I can think of in recent memory, and despite the relative lack of attention that most of these bands have received thus far from local fans and media, several of them are part of a short list of local groups that actually have a chance to make an impact outside of the area at some point in time.

I think people often forget that while some of the more popular bands in Dallas right now (The Valentines, Deathray Davies, Belafonte, Chemistry Set, etc.) might have sounds that are more commercially viable than the Strategies gang, their chances of going very far outside of being cool on lower Greenville probably aren't very good. Why? Well, its not so much that they're just completely terrible (which several of them are), but more because there are similar bands with very similar sounds in pretty much every large to mid sized city in the United States, and they're all fighting for that one Volkswagen commercial, or that one opening slot on the next Death Cab tour. And while the Dallas version of a watered down Strokes might not be much worse (and could be much better) than the Kansas City or Sacramento versions, it just seems that the competition to reach the markets they are aiming for is much tighter than that for the market that say, Notes from Undergound, Shiny Around the Edges or Eat Avery's Bones might be able to interest. In short, many of the Strategies groups ( and a handful of other local acts) seem to offer something relatively unique, something that might actually catch a Matador rep off guard at SXSW next year. I guess that is why I thought Strategies was sort of a big deal.

And while it might not have been one of the 101 WILDEST parties of the summer in the United States (unless this is an off year for "wild"), the festival was very well attended for a ten hour all local show in a really hot bar (Rubber Gloves: turn on the damn air conditioning!), and most of the acts that the WSJR gang saw were quite solid if not earth shattering, while a couple were extremely captivating.

The show marked the first time I had ever seen Shiny Around the Edges live, and it was really quite impressive. Although it seemed that they were unable to capture some of the doom and gloom ambience of their recorded material (which I'm not even sure is possible in a rock club), they were quite effective in creating tension on stage, building a thin wall of separation between performer and audience that was intense but vaguely welcoming in that it exposed their fragile yet confident personas as they played sparse, minimal songs that built up slowly and broke down quickly. As much as I liked their music (along with the backing pedal steel by Adub), which seems to exist somewhere one the warmer side of Portishead, Broadcast, Palace Brothers and Leonard Cohen, I enjoyed their vocal delivery and subtle stage presence just as much, as it seemed a bit more artistic and thoughtful than most of the Carlos Ds and Karen Os that have come and gone over the past five years, rendering neo post-punk swagger about as boring and predictable as a garage rock yelp. Overall, they are one of the more exciting bands in the area, and their live performance just added to that notion.

Stumptone followed with a capable and at times exhilarating set of shoegaze influenced neopsyche and a slide show background that set a similar mood. How the names Catherine Wheel and Janes Addiction have not been mentioned in a Stumptone review (to my knowledge at least) is a bit of a mystery since they seem to be heavily influenced by both bands, but they don't sound too much like either one to start calling bullshit on anyone. Instead, they really seem to have a good grasp on the shoegaze wall of noise thing, and although the Rubber Gloves mix made it a little difficult to distinguish what they were doing at times, it was clear that they have the capacity to mold and control tuneful noise in a pop context, which to me indicates that they could very well end up being quite successful on a large scale if they can continue to refine and improve on their approach.

The set that seemed the most problematic of the ones we saw came from Fra Pandolf, but it wasn't because the band doesn't have its shit together. The first thing I noticed about them was that their lead singer (Is it Ed? I can't remember) had an exceptionally strong and interesting voice, particularly for a smaller local act. The second thing I noticed was that they didn't emphasize this distinguishing characteristic nearly enough. Maybe it was the fact that the vocals were a bit too low in the mix, but it just seems like their songs would benefit in terms of immediacy and effectiveness if the focus was shifted more towards a structure that centered more around the vocals. Another problem that we noticed right away were the drums: they were simply too busy to accompany what the band seemed to be trying to do otherwise. The drumming was quite good from a technical standpoint, but that was part of the problem: it was much too slick, tight and roll happy for a band that seems to be searching for a little more space in their aggressive guitar layering and impressive starts and stops, which sort of reminded us of Refused with a dose of Chapterhouse and Sunny Day Real Estate. The good news is that these kinds of problems are fixable because the band is obviously more than capable of changing it up and doing less or more where necessary, although the set we saw certainly left something to be desired.

For us, the clear highlight of the night was the closing free jazz/noise explosion set of Notes From Underground, which in about 25 minutes became one of my favorite local live bands, even though I'm not the kind of person that gets easily excited by either noise or free jazz in a live setting. Of course, telling some people that they should totally go check out this noise band with a sax is like telling people that they should go check out getting some dental work done, but I would venture to say that just about anyone with a brain and even the slightest sense of adventure would have been moved by Notes' performance at Rubber Gloves on Saturday. Their free form compositions combined many of the best elements of the other bands that we saw and often took them to new heights. No, it wasn't pop, and you really couldn't tap your feet to it, but I somehow found myself swaying back and forth a bit to songs that didn't really have any kind of constant rhythm, and I was continually impressed with the way they were able to reach ear bleeding levels of noise while still maintaining some kind of melodic element, proving that yes, it can be done. It was one of those rare instances where noise sounded emotional, purposeful, and downright easy to like. And although you can't tell from the picture of them below, they played in an almost completely dark room with a lone white light set against a white sheet in the background, allowing only a slight glimpse at the outlines of the band members as they played. Not only did this add to the effectiveness of their set, but it reminded the audience of the purely abstract nature of their expression, basically leaving well enough alone. I'm sure they're great looking dudes and everything, but I'm glad that all I could do was listen.

I don't know if I was able to pick up on much context surrounding the festival (considering that outside forces caused us to miss half of it), but if local music fans are indeed waiting around for something to happen, I think its safe to say that Strategies at least provided us with something to listen to in the meantime, and who knows: with a little luck, some of these bands could have bright futures in DFW and possibly beyond.

Some Strategies of Beauty Pics

Look... its bands on a stage! (review coming this afternoon)

This one is actually useful if you were at the show and wondering what the hell Notes from Underground actually looks like

The exploding plastic Stumptone

Shiny Around the Edges... I wonder if this is what their living room looks like.