Thursday, August 31, 2006

It List: Thursday 8/31/06

1. Japanther/ This Bike is a Pipe Bomb/ Brickfight/ Denton County Revelators (Rubber Gloves): We've already talked Japanther up a bunch this week, so we'll just tell you to check out the MP3 at the bottom of our Japanther interview below, and/or go to their Myspace page to hear some good arguments as to why you should really be at this show tonight. This Bike is a Pipe Bomb sounds like a fairly solid straight punk band that leans more towards pop in that Dead Milkmen sort of way. Brickfight sound like one of those early 90's pop punk bands that you can't really recall because they are almost completely forgettable, and I can't find anything on Denton County Revelators, so deal with it. Probably not a solid opening bill, but Japanther will be worth it, cross my heart.

2. Zoo (Cavern upstairs): Anyone that hasn't had the pleasure of seeing a Zoo performance on a Thursday night should really change that as soon as possible. You'll see all kinds of videos, and I promise that you've never heard of half of the shit this guy plays (that includes YOU, Mr. Record Collection), and almost all of it is really good. We've seen rare Cure videos, random Bowie videos, !!! stuff that we didn't know existed, Mazzy Star, and tons of rare shit from the 80's, 90's and now that seem to be thrown together one after another with no single defining characteristic. The only things that tie the sets togther are visually interesting videos and great music pulled from just about any genre you can think of. Total quality and a shitload of fun. A rare combo for a Dallas weeknight.

3. Dj G 80's house/electro at Hailey's

4. Hip Hop Night (Slip Inn): Don't act like you don't dig it, cuz you do.

Pegasus Now- Careless Loveseeds

In some ways, nothing can be worse for a new local band than gaining instant recognition in the local press, especially when it seems that the press might have jumped the gun. Sure, it is probably quite a thrill to practically sell out the first show you ever play at a popular Dallas venue, and I would assume that it is a significant confidence booster to see your name in the Dallas Observer several times throughout your first month of existence. However, this kind of attention sets a fairly high bar for a band that is just starting out, making it difficult for them to avoid the dreaded "overhyped" tag that often ends up thrusting such bands back down to reality.

Pegasus Now has received this kind of early attention, and not surprisingly, they have yet to deliver on the promises of their buzz. The truth is that Pegasus Now, at least at this point, sounds like a fairly talented but solidly average local band that could easily become either a successful local act or a perennial opening band at the Barley House, depending on where they go from here. The level of attention they have received really shouldn't factor in to an honest assessment of their output, but such things are unavoidable. The buzz is the reason that most local music fans have even heard of them, and it is certainly a factor in our decision to review this record. And although it is easy to see why people around town might be optimistic about the band's future, their present output doesn't really warrant the current hype.

Careless Loveseeds, the band's debut EP, showcases a group of musicians that might have their shit together, but clearly haven't figured out what to do with it. Of course, this is a common problem with new bands, and it is something that we have written about on this blog many times before. Styles and influences are all over the place and often don't mix quite right, transitions aren't executed as well as they could be, and certain parts of certain songs are underplayed, overplayed, too long, too short, underdeveloped, overly ambitious, or just simply need a bit more or a bit less of whatever they have too much or too little of. But on the bright side, there are flashes of inspired songwriting, strong guitar work, catchy choruses, and tight playing that reveal enough potential to save Pegasus Now, even if their debut is little more than an average local release.

Pegasus Now is a guitar pop band at its core, and if thats your thing, there are several songs on this EP that will probably please you. Lead singer Neu LeBlanc has a capable and soothing voice, and also appears to have quite a knack for writing catchy choruses when he wants to. "Stranger to the Dayes" displays the kind of memorable songwriting that draws people into local music venues, and also features an airy, post-rock keyboard hook that hints at a band willing to go beyond the conventions of indie pop, despite many signs of restraint and trepidation concerning how far they might want to take it. Throughout the record, a diverse range of influences are revealed, with Steely Dan, Sea and Cake, Jamiroqui, the Who, Catherine Wheel, and various elements of shoegaze, r&b and late period britpop dominating the palette. This diverse blend works well on closer "Dance on Pure Glass," where the band eventually allows its rhythm section to take control and set a spacey, low key electrosoul groove behind LeBlanc's soft vocals, playing on all of the band's strengths. But on songs like "Mr. Greycoat" and "Babydoll," the band doesn't seem to know what it wants to do, as bits and pieces of bold, structured pop fade in and out of songs that are otherwise lose and hazy in construction and delivery, often changing the mood before they set it and leaving the listener a bit puzzled. Diversity isn't a bad thing of course, but when too many styles are thrown at you at once in an often awkward manner, it starts sounding less like diversity and more like indecision. Along with "Pure Glass," opener "Tea for Two" is probably the strongest song throughout, and it is also by far the most cohesive, with a simple guitar hook and chorus that avoids stalling and meandering, which many of the other songs on this EP tend to do.

Of course, it would be interesting to hear some of these songs taken in different and more challenging directions, but it seems that Pegasus Now is more comfortable within the framework of straightforward pop. In fact, they could probably become one of the more popular indie pop acts in the area if they can find themselves before the buzz well runs dry.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

7 Questions with Japanther

Ever since last week, when we noticed that Japanther was going to be playing a show at Rubber Gloves this Thursday, their album Dump the Body in the Rikki Lake has been getting some serious play around WSJR headquarters. Their brand of lo-fi bedroom electro noise is very rhythmic, joyous and accessible, but they take more than enough chances with their sounds and composition to make them extremely interesting and hard to define. I can't say that I've heard a band quite like Japanther before (although you could make an argument that there is something of a Swell Maps/This Heat influence present), and I'm really looking forward to catching their show this week, as I hear that their live performances are known to get a bit insane at times. We've posted an MP3 from the Rikki Lake album below, and even you pop kids out there that might not normally be inclined to listen to such things should check it out, because they have enough melody packed in their songs to please you too. We asked them some quick questions via email, and here are the answers:

Is it true that one of you met Calvin Johnson early in life and spent some time with him. Whats the story there? It seems like K Records might have been a big influence on the way you guys record and perform, if not on your music itself. What kind of influence do you think Calvin and K have had on your music?

My name is Ian Vanek and I grew up in Olympia, WA. I was extremely lucky to meet a billion great people who influenced me and gave me ideas to chew on. Without a doubt K influenced me as did Kill Rock Stars and all the other indie labels around OLY.

Your music seems extremely hard to pin down or classify. What are some of Japanther's primary musical influences?

Cartoons and laughing really influences us the most. We are not musicians and really don't want to be.

What is going on currently with your record label? Planning any releases from now until the end of the year?

Tapes Records just released the new JAPANTHER"Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty" CD as well as the Bent Outta Shape LP/CD.

I read that you guys participated in some kind of synchronized swimming performance by creating a soundtrack for the swimming. Could you describe this project to us in a little more detail, and tell us how the idea came about?

The idea was cosmic. We saw Esther Williams in a hotel on the tele and laughed about making our own water ballet. Later in LA we got an email asking us to write songs for just such a ballet. The resulting"Dangerous When Wet" was staged (pooled) in May 2006 at NYU. It featured an olympic swimmer soloing to our song and a punk troupe called "Aqua Doom." Our friends at SAFE clothing even made costumes for the event. It was truly surreal from my vantage point.

I also read that you guys consider Japanther to be more of an art project than a band. What do you think the difference is between the two labels, and why do you think drawing such a distinction is important?

Bands are a dime a dozen and often times have very similar goals. Japanther was started as a means to make art, travel, laugh and dance. Songs were and are secondary.

Being a band from Williamsburg seems as though it would have its advantages and disadvantages. How do you like living and working there? I've heard people say that Williamsburg is on a downward spiral right now artistically and socially, but I've also heard that its starting to get more exciting and creative there since the hipster "buzz" about Brooklyn has died down. What do you think?

I tend to think it's getting better as more and more folks move there. You know Strikes and Gutters, man. Ups and Downs. We are barely home so it doesn't effect us as much as it might effect other bands. We can't afford a practice space so we play at home and that shapes our sound. New York is a hell of town with cycles upon cycles. Give it a chance and judge for yourself. All this shit magazines and blogs are writing about Brooklyn is hot air.

Can we expect any new recorded material from you guys in the near future?

We just finished our "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30"CD and our "Dump the Body In Rikki Lake" DVD. They will hit the stores officially in the fall but we are touring with them now. We also have a split seven inch with Juiceboxxx coming out and split seven inch coming out with The Good Good in Europe.

"Critical" MP3


It List: 8/30/06

1. The Party w/ DJ Nature (Rubber Gloves)

2. This is Radio Clash (Flashlight Party DJs at Hailey's): Looks like the Flashlight Party crew have started a regular Wednesday night thing @ Hailey's. The best part is that Hailey's is close enough to Rubber Gloves to allow you to check out Radio Clash and see Dj Nature at another point in the night. The Flashlight Party sets I've seen have tended to be a bit more poppy than Nature's sets, with a bit heavier dose of 80's synth, house, and more recent dance stuff like !!!, M.I.A. and LCD Soundsystem. Between the two, Nature and Flashlight Party should be covering many of the dance music genres you would ever care to hear (other than maybe some of the great house you'll hear DJ G spin at his Thursday night 80's parties), and both have enough variety in their sets to avoid being tagged with any one genre label. Good stuff in Denton tonight.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It List: Tuesday 8/29/06

1. X, Rollins Band, Riverboat Gamblers (Gypsy Tea Room)

$23 isn't exactly a very "punk" ticket price but that's okay. I would actually pay that much to see X alone. I've seen Rollins before and he does put on a really entertaining show even if I can't really get behind some of his Nineties albums. He's touring with his original lineup so that should probably help. I'm sure you've heard of the Riverboat Gamblers, who have the coveted job of opening tonight. They're a punk band from Denton and they're well known for their high energy live show.

2. The Lost Generation with DJ Mwanza (The Cavern)

From the DJ himself:

"Lots of new additions to this week: [A}pendics shuffle,Benga,7 Samurai, DJ Shadow, Dragonforce(yeah this shit is just too funny), Jeff Mills & The Montpellier Orchestra, DJ Spooky and Dave Lombardo and of course the mighty return of the IDM GOD know as SQUAREPUSHER. Of course I am still digging into my Soul Jazz collection also recently scored a new batch of rare funk 45's. I will be joined by Gabriel from Lollipop Shoppe and Grits n Gravy. It will be all over the map as usual. come out and have a drink. Shake your booty and say hi."

Last Week's Radio UTD Charts

Broadcast radio might suck here in good ol DFW, but at least we have Radio UTD, a great internet station. Can someone get these people on the airwaves, please?


1. GRIZZLY BEAR Yellow House
3. DUPLOMACYAll These Long Drives
4. PINBACKNautical Antiques


1. SUFJAN STEVENS The Avalanche: Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
2. THOM YORKEThe Eraser
3. COMPILATION Suicide Squeeze: Slaying Since 1996
6. BOATSongs That You Might Not Like
7. WIRE154
8. EASTERN STARS July 5th, 1961
9. PAJO 1968
10. RATATAT Classics
11. GOLDEN SMOG Another Fine Day
12. M. WARD Post-War
13. YO LA TENGO I'm Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
14. WIRE Chairs Missing/Pink Flag
15. I LOVE YOU BUT I'VE CHOSEN DARKNESS according to plan
16. LAMBCHOP Damaged
18. J. DILLA The Shining
19. ONEIDA Happy New Year
21. JIM NOIR Tower Of Love
22. KAKI KING Until We Felt Red
23. SLEEPY JACKSON Personality
24. SNOWDEN Anti-Anti
26. CORDALENE The Star Ledger
27. CAIRO GANG the cairo gang
28. BLACK FICTION Ghost Ride
29. JOAN OF ARC The Intelligent Design Of Joan Of Arc
30. JESU Silver [EP]

Sam Machkovech Out at the Observer

Cindy Chaffin posted this on Fine Line a few minutes ago. Apparently Sam was fired by the Dallas Observer today, and I'm assuming that many of you who read this blog will either laugh at or be saddened by this turn of events, judging from the strong comments for and against him that we've seen on here since day one. Cindy doesn't know any of the details and neither do we, but we'll try to get you some if they are available later.

UPDATE #1: here is a bit more from Sam on what happened:

The reason on my goodbye letter says "you are being terminated today as a result of the performance issues we have discussed with you on multiple occasions.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Which Burden Brother do you think is the cutest? I like the one in the middle.

Nothing to do today

There isn't really anything going on today, and I'm not about to tell you to go watch corn mo play with that other band. Cute is the new suck.

This week, we should have several local album reviews, an interview, MP3s, and other stuff.

Last Week's Good Records Chart

1. Red Monroe - Red Monroe EP
2. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
3. Chad Vangaalen - Skelliconnection
4. Ratatat - Classics
5. M. Ward - Post-War
6. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
7. The Thermals - The Body The Blood The Machine
8. Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
9. Sorta - Strange and Sad But True
10. Cursive - Happy Hollow
11. Outkast - Idlewild
12. Sleepy Jackson - Personality
13. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
14. Brightblack Morning Light - Brightblack Morning Light
15. Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
16. The Long Winters - Putting the Days to Bed
17. Kashmere Stage Band - Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974
18. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
19. Tortoise - A Lazarus Taxon
20. My Brightest Diamond - Bring Me The Workhorse

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Lame...Lame and Tame...Tame (by Defensive Listening)

The show at Double Wide on Wednesday featured the most lopsided set of performances that I've seen all summer. I've been to quite a few shows in Denton this busy season, and most of those have displayed some semblance of a shared style, or at the very least, a common musical philosophy amongst the bands sharing the stage. This show featured a couple of California bands that have inexplicably captured some recent blog headlines, along with a local band that hasn't, but actually deserves to. Birdmonster and Division Day did seem to have plenty in common, but it wasn't necessarily anything I would want two bands to share. Local act Tame...Tame and Quiet was nothing like either of these bands, which turned out to be a relief. If they had been in any way similar to the others, the night would have been a complete waste of two precious commodities: gas and time.

I hate it when the best band plays first, or in this case, the only good band.Tame...Tame and Quiet came out and played such a strong set that they probably would have made even a really good band look silly in comparison. They play a very intricate brand of guitar based rock with 70's progressive undertones, and just about any serious music fan would have respected them for all that they accomplish in their brief set. The technically obsessed among us would have marveled at their chops and proficiency. Those who expect intensity at live shows would not have been disappointed by their forcefulness. Even songwriting fans would have been forced to wonder how they went about constructing the tunefulness of their mini-epics.

The band is fronted by two guitarists: Metrognome Collective mastermind Aaron Bartz and Darren Miller, formerly of the late Fort Worth rock group Benway. The band is also more than ably backed by the jazz inspired rhythm hurricane of Boyd Dixon on drums. Boyd plays in Idi*Amin as well, but his drumming is much different and more direct in this setting, exposing his stunning versatility. At their best,Tame...Tame and Quiet reminded me of so manyparts of my favorite King Crimson songs, Polvo albums, and my absolute favorite: Polvo albums that ripped off King Crimson songs. I don't know if they actually count either of the aforementioned bands as influences, but they remind me of the better moments of the so called "math rock" era, when bands aspired to write impossibly complex songs that mixed melody, schizophrenic time signatures and guitar heroics, taking all of them to their logical
extremes. When I heard Tame...Tame and Quiet, I realized how much I miss that time in music, or more specifically, the music itself. The band rocks in such a convincing manner that they blow the intellectual bullshit off of the chin- scratching facade that was so common in that genre. I hope more of you get a chance to see them, and I now know that i should have gone home the moment they exited the stage.

When Division Day came on, I might as well have been at a different show on a different night. Holy shit,where do I begin? Was it the predictable road weary
attitude and stage banter that was played out like theJheri curl? Was it the rocking out on keyboards (an ill advised move for any band)? For the record, I don't care if a band utilizes keyboards, and I actually love it a lot of the time. But please don't jump up and down and try to rock on them like a backup lackey for Nine Inch Nails. With the exception of the keyboard guitar, nothing looks less rock.

Of course, when Division Day showed up, so did the typically late Dallas audience. Dallas crowds are notorious for showing up late, but on this night they really blew it, arriving just in time for two of the worst bands I've seen in recent memory. Division Day did an okay job of silencing a heckler at one point, but for once I was on the heckler's side. Nobody should get away with telling an audience, "It's good to be in Dallas?!" or asking the crowd "How are YOU Dallas?!". Why don't you tell us how Dallas is? Actually, he did say he was glad to be in Dallas because he didn't have a good time in Houston. If that's the case, Division Day was probably treated appropriately in Houston, a town that doesn't take shit from anybody. The band confused me when I saw them play, but I became even more confused when I did a little research on them. They list some semi-adventurous influences on their web page, yet their music is completely Clear Channel friendly, due largely in part to the Mall-Emo melodrama of their vocals. The band was dressed up like Urban Outfitters mannequins come to life, but there was a key difference: the last time I
actually made the mistake of setting foot in that store, I heard some crazy screaming noise rock, indicating that Urban Outfitters mannequins have better taste than these guys, not to mention more stage presence. As confusing as Division Day's hype to substance ratio became after seeing their performance, nothing could prepare me for Birdmonster.

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd get offended because someone decided to compare a band to Modest Mouse. That's right, MTV heroes and KidZ Bop Legends, Modest Mouse. But the rampant comparisons of Birdmonster to Modest Mouse on blog after blog have moved me to believe that Modest Mouse is some sort of sacred entity, and I've begun to wonder how anyone could dare compare this joke of a band to a true pillar of integrity and greatness. Compared to Birdmonster, Modest Mouse is the fucking Beatles. Or Can. Or insert your favorite band here. These guys blew my mind with how far they took the concept of being bland. They were the real life equivalent of Uncle Jessie's band on Full House, only not as cool. I absolutely could not believe my ears. When the lead singer did the Chuck Berry duckwalk, I absolutely could not believe my eyes. If this assault on the senses is what passes for Next Big Thing status these days, we are in serious trouble. I invite you to go to the band's Myspace page, listen to the song "Skeleton Suit", and then tell me how this song is not uncannily like Jimmy Eat World's hit, "The Middle". You can actually count down to the moment when the singer will stomp on his distortion pedal and go into the anthemic chorus. I am truly disturbed by the level of buzz a band can build when the only remarkable thing about them is that they aren't on your local Top 40 station. If that's what they're shooting for, then they're on the right track. The moment when Birdmonster played the opening chords of "Summer of 69" by Bryan Adams was very telling, because it was apparent that it fit right in with all of their own songs. Some bands just give away all their secrets right there on stage. Have some mystique, guys! Don't let the audience know what kind of garbage you worship, because figuring that out is the only thing that makes seeing these kinds of shows the least bit enjoyable.

Fortunately, not even the disastrous turns by these two overhyped bands
could ruin Tame...Tame and Quiet's great opening set. The usual who's who's of the local scene were all in full effect at the Doublewide, and I wonder if they were as let down as I was. Judging by the quality of Dallas rock, its pretty hard to tell.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Weekender 8/25/06-8/27/06

Despite a few good shows here and there, there isn't a whole shitload happening this weekend. Here you go:


Chris from Gorilla Vs Bear will be spinning records upstairs at the Cavern tonight.

Pinebox Serenade/ Record Hop/ Medicine Window (Rubber Gloves) Although bluegrass influenced stuff isn't normally my thing, Pinebox Serenade seems to be pretty good at what they do, and are probably worth checking out... Record Hop is Record Hop, and I dont' know what else I can say about them that someone hasn't already said, but if you want to check them out, most would agree that the live shows are where its at. I actually think that the first band, Medicine Window, is the highlight of this show. Their sloppy start/stop hardcore reminds me of Jesus Lizard and a little bit of Flipper with some PIL style post-punk bass lines thrown in the mix. I don't know much about this band, but their strong vocals and aggro approach could be exactly what you need on a Friday night.

Really, thats all we've been able to dig up for friday.


Terrorstorm w/ Alex Jones, Theater Fire, JFK screenwriter Jim Marrs, Shanghai 5 and more (Lakewood Theater): If you're at all interested in politics, or simply enjoy hearing points of view that most people don't even know exist, then you might want to check out Alex Jones' latest film, Terrorstorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terrorism. Jones will be at the Lakewood Theater at 7pm on Saturday to present his film and conduct a Q and A session afterward. His thesis is that the US government, and the Bush administration in particular, was behind the 9/11 terror attacks, and the film apparently presents evidence to this effect (I haven't seen it, so I'm not sure exactly what it will be like). The Alex Jones videos I have seen are typically low quality, and some of his, um, "logic" can be hard to follow. I think he sort of imagines himself as Winston from 1984, more or less alone with his knowledge of the truth. And while I'm not sure about most of what he says, I really think this could be an interesting opportunity to hear some perspectives that you usually don't, and to maybe challenge your own thinking on 9/11... even if only a bit. Because whether you believe Jones or not (Note to Homeland Security: I don't believe in him), it should still be fun to hear what he has to say. I mean, have you seen Info Wars on public access in Austin? If nothing else, it is highly entertaining and fun to watch. And if you dismiss Jones all together, you can look at it as performance art or something. Oh yeah, it costs 10.50, and the Theater Fire will be performing as well. Should be good times.

Casper and the Cookies will be at Metrognome on Saturday. And in case you are frightened by the name, this is a group of ex Of Montreal members, and they take many more cues from Syd Barrett, The Who, and Television Personalities than they do from Polyphonic Spree or whatever. Probably a bit silly, but I really like the cheapo electro/psychedelic tracks I've heard from them, and you might too.

Denton's excellent Current Leaves will be kicking off their September residency at Club Dada with a show there on Saturday night. They will be joined by the Backsliders. Of course, CL will be playing every Wednesday or Thursday or something for the next month, so if you're one of those weekend warriors, this will be the best chance you'll get to see one of Denton's best bands in Dallas.

Dj Nature will be spinning at Zubar again this weekend with DJ Mel, and if this show is anything like the one last week, well, you'll feel pretty stupid if you miss it.

Birth to Burial will be at SHQ with Oklahoma's Engine Orchestra... two great rock bands that are actually doing something interesting in addition to kicking ass. Its three bucks, BYOB, and starts at 8. No reason not to go if you're up in Denton.

Pleasant Grove/ Red Monroe/ Ennui/ Voot Cha Index (Wreck Room in Ft. Worth)

Silk Stocking/ Sean Kirkpatrick/Plexus Loom/ (Amsterdam Bar on Exposition) Hadn't heard Plexus Loom until today, but they are pretty fucking good... very strange, like the Cramps playing folk music or something. Oh yeah, they'll all be joined by Oak Cliff's The Sheena Militia.

And as usual, I am running out of steam, but I will say two more things:

Laptop Deathmatch is going on at DoubleWide on Sunday, and its not to be missed.

Also, the Feds are the most annoying group of pussies on the planet. I try to be friends with everyone that requests on Myspace, and The Feds are included in that. But these retarded suck asses have sent me one too many "we're coming home, check out this gig" and "vote for us on the cockfight" fucking bulletins and event invites that I am officially going to hack into their myspace account and do something mean to them. Thats all.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

IT List: Thursday 8/24/06

Have to be a bit quick today, so here goes:

1. Night Game Cult/ Emil Rapstine of The Angelus/ Jen of Shiny Around the Edges/ Wild in the Streets (Rubber Gloves): Not sure exactly what they will be doing tonight because I've never heard solo stuff from Jen, but based on their main musical projects, I'd say its a safe bet that this will be a pretty good show from Jen and Emil. You know we like Night Game and Wild in the Streets, so thats that.

2. Hip Hop Night (Slip Inn): We've forgotten about posting this for a while now, but I am convinced that it is still easily the most fun you can have in Dallas on Thursday nights typically... and since there aren't any big shows going down in big d tonight, this could be the place for you... if you like JJ Fad and Public Enemy and Pharcyde and De La and Tribe and Big Daddy Kane and stuff like that. Because that is what they play, and it rules.

3. Daniel Folmer/ The Fiction/ Rifle Recoil (JJs Pizza Denton) This show is FREE, which means you are dumb if you live in Denton and don't at least stop by. I hadn't heard them until today, but from the sound of things, The Fiction's shimmering, hazy electro atmospherics could be right up your alley if you're one of those people who, like me, only likes music that you think other people will think you are cool for being into... nah, just kiddin' dude, psyche! It really is good, you should listen... not a lot of people doing what these guys are doing around here, which might make it worth checking out alone. You could probably call them Casioprog and get away with it. Yes! Rifle Recoil are kind of Radioheady, but unlike most bands you could say that about, they aren't annoying. In fact, they sound pretty good. Should be a good show if you're not looking to go crazy tonight.

4. Dj G is at Hailey's as usual.

5. The excellent Zoo will be showing their unusual collection of music and other videos upstairs at the Cavern tonight.


One More Thing: Has anyone checked out some of the leaked tracks off the new Rapture album yet? Hmm, if the three tracks I've heard are any indication of what the rest of the album is like, the people that wanted to write them off are about to find out how wrong they were. I'll post some MP3s if anyone is interested.

It List: Wednesday 8/23/06

1. The Party w/ Dj Natutre (Rubber Gloves- Denton): I'm guessing that Nature and Select picked up even more of an audience with the full capacity, out of fucking hand set they played at ZuBar last Friday. Its great to see these guys succeeding in Dallas, and Nature apparently already runs shit in Denton... so you probably shouldn't be the absolute LAST person on earth to see one of his sets. Aren't you supposed to be hip or something?

2. Birdmonster/Division Day/ Tame... Tame and Quiet (Doublewide): I don't think I get what all the blogfuss over Birdmonster is all about. I've heard that they are a pretty solid live band, but I can't back that up. All I know is that the songs I've heard from them don't come close to justifying all the hype... they sound like a competent version of most of the poppy post punk revivial stuff that we've all been hearing for the past four years. Nothing bad really, but surely nothing amazing either. Division Day could probably be put in just about the same category, except they seem to lean a bit more towards Shinsy psychedelic pop, and are a bit more interesting. I do like Ft. Worth's Tame Tame and Quiet quite a bit, so I would recommend going early to check them out. The show is probably only like five bucks anyway, so what the hell?

The Drams- Jubilee Dive

Should I really be reviewing albums like Jubilee Dive? Is a band like the Drams even relevant to what we are doing on this blog? What is the point in trashing a record that most WSJR readers would never consider buying in the first place? These are the questions I started to ask myself after about five minutes of listening to this album for the first time, knowing all too well that there was no way I was going to get through its 14 tracks without a struggle. I needed a way out, an excuse to not listen to these songs ever again, a chance to escape from the feeling that I had to write about them. There were two major problems that I just couldn't seem to get around, and I thought that avoiding the whole thing would probably be best. The first problem was the fact that merely listening to these emotional mid tempo country rock snore fests was a pretty painful experience in and of itself, and the second was that it seemed almost impossible to come up with anything to say about an album that isn't quite terrible enough to be funny, but boring enough to be completely forgettable. Basically, there are only a few ways in which one can say "this sucks," and I think I've tried just about all of them on this blog.

But nevertheless, The Drams are relevant to a lot of people in this tiny little world known as local music, and since this is primarily a local music blog, I decided that a fair review based on a careful listen was warranted. After all, the band seems to be fairly well known on the local circuit, and the fact that all but one of its members have previously played in formerly popular local rock bands Slobberbone and Budapest One means that their record is noteworthy enough to write about, even if doing so might not be very fun. Basically, whether I like it or not, this is something of a big release in local music, and someone probably has to say something about it.

Of course, the difficult part isn't simply telling you that this record isn't very good, because it clearly isn't. The real challenge lies in explaining exactly why it isn't good, since nothing on it is truly offensive. Ok, here goes: take the worst songs on the Clerks soundtrack (especially that Golden Smog song), mix them up with the worst Wilco songs you can think of, throw in a bit of popular Nashville country along with a dash of Train, and you're probably getting pretty close to what Jubilee Dive sounds like. Most of the album consists of overly slick, extraordinarily dry adult contemporary southern rock songs about drinks, girls, politics, angels (not kidding), and just about anything else that you probably don't want to hear these guys talk about. This is "regular guy" music to a fault, and I can't stand regular guys (or at least their music).

And yes, for all you people who are into "good ol fashioned songwritin" or whatever Everyman bullshit you like to say, the melodies are good enough, the singing is decent, and the playing is tight and competent for the most part. The main problem is simply that there seems to be nothing behind these songs, as one flows into the next before you notice it has ended, staying uniformly stiff and lifeless throughout. The first four songs sound like they should be on the soundtrack to an early 90's roadtrip movie where Drew Barrymore is wearing flannel, showing just enough of The Drams' country influences to confirm that yes, these guys are probably from Texas, but never going much deeper than the kind of post-Alternative Nation guitar pop that record executives still think "the kids" listen to. Length is also a big issue on a lot of these tracks. For example, "Holy Moses" clocks in at 6 1/2 minutes with a cheesy chorus about angles coming down from heaven and a torturous helping of unnecessary solos and predictable chord changes that render it a VERY long 6 1/2 minutes that could probably be cut in half. Elsewhere, the ballad "When You're Tired" drags on for another wandering six minutes without really going anywhere, and closing track "Make A Book" ends up being little more than a five minute reminder of the luke warm power pop that dominates the beginning of the record, failing to make a case for going back and checking out those tracks again. Ironically, "You Won't Forget," which is clearly the album's highlight, is also its second longest song. But unlike most of the other tracks, the band maintains interest here with a strong melody, relatively minimal yet effective guitar work, and a horns breakdown/changeup in the middle that sounds unbelievably refreshing within its context. Unfortunately, the Drams fail to bust out with any other surprises, leaving the listener with the feeling that the track was probably a fluke.

The bottom line is that anyone who agrees with this review probably would have never given this album a chance in the first place, and anyone that I've pissed off here has probably made it a rule to never listen to anything they read on this blog anyway. To put it another way, I'm still not exactly sure why I reviewed Jubilee Dive, and I'm also unclear as to why the Drams recorded it.

(rating is out of a possible five stars)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It List: Tuesday 8/22/06

Record reviews will be posted later today. Here are some things that I'm giving you permission to do tonight:

1. Lost Generation w/ Wanz (Cavern upstairs): Here is what Wanz has going tonight:

have special guest DJ select tonight sitting in with me. I am gonna have guest DJ's with me for the next few weeks. I am kicking this off with Select from the Party. Next week I have Gabriel from Grits n' Gravy and The Lollipop Shoppe. 2 weeks from now I am throwing another Lost Generation concert for solo and duo songwriters and composers downstairs and The Flashlight Party helping me upstairs. I am still compiling trax for the Texas nuggets night. I hope to be able to do this by the end of september. As far as stand out trax tonight go: New songs from Radiohead(live from last months Berkeley, CA show), Scratch Acid, New Digital Mysticz, New Burial(South London Burroughs ep), J Dilla, Pram, Seefeel, Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra, Luke Vibert, Mew, The Knife, Mark Stewart & The Mafia, Mingus, a couple of new remixes by me, and of course whatever else catches my fancy at the time. I am working on a mixtape. It may be ready for tonight. Definately by next week. It will feature a lot of remixes by yours truly.

2. Mix Tapes and Babyfights (Club Dada): I've never seen Frank Hejl's variety show, but I've heard good things, and thought you might be down. Tonight's performance will feature the comedy of Cooperation Corporation (watch their theme video on the myspace page), and the music of Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go (who I'm not really sure about, other than the fact that they have the worst name ever.)

Buh bye.

Monday, August 21, 2006

This It List is a shit list

Because it is hot as hell and there isn't really anything going on today that interests us, we're not going to write about anything. However, if you want to hear what happens when you take every "indie" cliche of the past seven years and wrap it up in a nice little cute as a button package for a 14 year old girl, you can check out the Myspace page for Simon Dawes, who will be playing at the Tea Room tonight. They sound like an American Apparel Gift Certificate.

Last Week's Good Records Chart

1. Red Monroe - Red Monroe EP
2. Pegasus Now - Careless Loveseeds
3. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
4. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
5. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
6. The Knife - Silent Shout
7. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy
8. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
9. Kashmere Stage Band - Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974
10. Sorta - Strange and Sad But True
11. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
12. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
13. Daedelus - Denies the Days Demise
14. Caribou - Up In Flames [2CD]
15. Mew - And the Glass Handed Kites
16. The Shys - Astoria
17. Cut Chemist - The Audience's Listening
18. Peaches - Impeach My Bush
19. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
20. Long Winters - Putting the Days To Bed

Looks like they've been pushing some local releases this week, as the top three spots are all taken by local acts. And will people stop listening to Muse please? What could be worse than emo influenced Diet Radiohead britpop?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Dont' have time to do a post today. We'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Weekender 8/18/06 -8/19/06


To begin with, you probably already know that motherfucking Devo will be playing tonight with the Psychedelic Furs and the criminally underrated (just kidding) When In Rome at some band shell thing at Fair Park. I didn't bother looking up much more than that since I figured that if you weren't already going to the show, you probably weren't willing to shell out 45 bucks to see Devo outside when it will still be like 87 degrees. I have also heard some rumors about people claiming that members of Devo will be showing up at the Fallout Lounge tonight after the concert... and without trying to necessarily dis the Fallout Lounge, I just have to ask... do you really think Devo is going to hang out there? Maybe I'm totally off base here and Devo will show up at Fallout and perform their entire first album with special guests Pere Ubu for free, but I am going to go ahead and say that this scenario seems about as likely as the Rangers making the playoffs.... not winning the world series mind you, just making the playoffs. Either way, I'm not going to be able to go because I'll be hanging out with Brian Eno at Ships tonight anyway...

Of course, the great show at House of Tinnitus will be going on as well, featuring Cry Blood Apache, Night Game Cult, Tinnitus and an improv set featuring Sparrow/Hawk- Andrew Michael for free. And I totally understand why the anons hate this shit. I mean, what could be worse than a group of students getting together and playing a free show at one of their houses just for fun? Oh I know, a group of students interested in art getting together and playing a free show at one of their houses and also inviting a very good regional touring act to play with them and possibly providing beer to all the people that are going to get in for free. What a bunch of assholes! And despite how shitty these guys are for doing this, I bet the show will be really good. Cry Blood Apache is one of the best live acts in the state of Texas right now, and Night Game Cult is one of the truly strange musical projects in Denton. Mix in some improv and atmospheric experimental pieces from some people that actually do know what they are talking about, and I think you've got a really good night. Click on the house link above for address and directions.

Of course, if gas prices are keeping your ass in Dallas tonight, you don't have to worry either: Dj Nature and Select will be putting their Party on for free tonight at Zubar. This could be your rare chance to see a smart, discerning dance crowd in Dallas actually having fun. Nature and Select are playing great stuff that no one else in the metroplex touches, and their sets are so fucking easy to like that even your dumb friend that you aren't sure you want to hang out with could go and have a good time. Basically, we're expecting a good eclectic crowd, like most of their events attract, and a DJ set that will more than convince you that these guys are worthy of the praise they get around town. And It beats the hell out of pretending to have fun at like a Titanmoon show or something, doesn't it?

Chris of Gorilla vs Bear will also be spinning records down the street at the Cavern (Upstairs.)

Switching back to Denton, the criminally underrated Evangelicals (not joking) will be playing at Hailey's tonight with Get Him Eat Him and John Ralston. And even if the other two performers aren't your thing (I'm pretty they aren't mine), I can't think of one reason why you shouldn't check out the Evangelicals' debut full length SoGone ,which came out this year... and then see them live tonight. To me, this record is a pretty perfect piece of strange summer pyschedelic pop, and manages to stay totally catchy while staying quite adventerous and never getting boring. Basically, its one of 2006's strongest releases.

Okkervil River, another one of Austin's best, will be at Sons of Herman Hall tonight as well... I bet there will be some ironic cowboys there (those guys really suck), and I know there will be some real old school cowboys downstairs at the bar who will be thinking about how easily they could have kicked some ironic cowboy ass 15 years ago before their hip went bad... so basically, rad show.

Finally, Houston's Inoculist will be at Metrognome tonight as well. By the way, they are a very good band: minimal, sleepy, reverb packed shoegaze atmospherics with some great melodies lurking around. Very good stuff at an always good venue.

So basically, there is a shitload going on tonight all over the place.


To start with, Voot Cha Index and Red Monroe will be playing at Good Records for free at 2pm for Red Monroe's CD release party, and then

Kneepad/Daniel Folmer/Time Line Post/ Dirty Water Disease will be playing over at Rubber Gloves in Denton. Kneepad will rock your ass off, Dirty Water Disease will scare your grandmother with their Sunn0))) meets Black Dice and Wolf Eyes metal noise, and Daniel Folmer will, um, do something weird to you? I don't know. I'm running out of steam and my email account isn't working right now, so if you've sent me info about a Saturday show I haven't posted, sorry about that.

Check back with us tomorrow for some adds to the list, because we might hear about parties, house shows, or regular shows that we've forgotten.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It List: Thursday 8/17/06

1. Undoing of David Wright/ Silk Stocking/ The Prids (Darkside Lounge): Undoing of David Wright is heading off on a small tour here in a few days, and this will be their final show before they get out of town. They've also been working on their second record recently with John Congleton, and have got a pretty sweet demo version of a new song up on their Myspace page right now. I'm sure that they will put on a good show as they always do, and this should be a good chance for Dallasites to listen to some of their new material. I really haven't heard any, but with the kind of influences and knowledge that these guys have, I'm very excited to hear where they take their band next. I could see them heading off into a million different directions, most of which are quite good. The excellent Silk Stocking opens, and The Prids, if the Myspace link above is in fact the right Prids, sound like pretty straight forward nu wave... Urban Outfitter music I guess you could say, but a few steps above most.

2. And of course, DJ G will be at Hailey's.

We're getting shit together right now for out podcast, as well as several local album reviews and the singles review thing we discussed last week. They should be ready for posting soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It List: Wednesday 8/16/06

Don't have a lot of time to make this shit all fancy and stuff today, but there are two things going this evening that might be worth your time:

First, our readers in Denton are probably all going to the Party with DJ Nature at Rubber Gloves tonight anyway, so we'll pretend that I didn't feel the need to tell you about it. And Dallasites that can't make the drive to Denton tonight need not worry, because Nature and Select will be bringing the much hyped Party to Zubar on Friday. Friday night will be your rare chance to see some Djs on lower Greenville that don't exclusively focus on bullshit in their sets.

Also, Final Fantasy/Bob Wiseman/ The Curtains will be at Hailey's tonight. I do think I dig Bob Wiseman's ghostly cut and paste collage of vaudville electronoise quite a bit. Probably worth the price of admission alone. Never heard the Curtains before and I can't seem to find any of their music, much like I can't seem to locate a proper Final Fantasy website or myspace page amidst all the video game geek crap and anime dork music sites that you get when you type "final fantasy" into just about any search engine... but Owen Pallett is probably one of the more innovative musicians touring the "indie" circuit right now, so I would highly recommend getting your shit together and checking out this show.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Frenetic Tinnitus for a New Century

It has become a cliche in popular culture (if not necessarily amongst historians) that history is written by the victors. And although this assertion might be useful as an easy way to explain general bias and deficiencies in historical analysis, it is not entirely accurate on its face. Sure, the victors in war, empire building, and struggles for economic superiority always develop their own self serving versions of history, but the important point is not simply what they have written, or the fact that they have chosen to write at all. Instead, what really matters is that such persons and entities are able to communicate their version of events to the largest number of people, since it is the process of organization and communication that turns one subjective perspective into "objective" fact. It isn't as if the dominant actors in history are the only ones that have ever picked up pens, its just that they have largely been able to render their perspectives the only ones that really matter to most people. But if this line of reasoning can be applied (even loosely) to the recording and documenting of local music and the community surrounding it, it can be said that a group of experimental musicians in Denton, and many others like them, have decided to ignore it.

It probably seems kind of silly to talk about historical analysis and Denton noise rock in the same piece, because lets face it- experimental noise/improv groups from Denton aren't going to change the world, and there is a very strong possibility that they aren't even going to change the local music community. No matter how many new and exciting ideas these bands and their associates might develop in the arenas of music, visual art, performance or distribution, the "big" events in local music will probably always involve something along the lines of a fire marshall shutting down a really boring show by a really boring band somewhere in Dallas, while most of the local musicians that have any true potential to innovate and create something new will continue to be marginalized and largely ignored before they finally decide to move or give up all together. Many will argue that this state of affairs is warranted- after all, who the hell actually sits down and listens to noise rock, right? But rather than responding to such simplistic notions, the members of You are the Universe, iDi* Amin, Notes from Underground and some of their friends and collaborators have elected to start an entirely new discussion by playing their own shows at their own space, and using their own methods to document their ventures on their own terms.

This collective effort centers around a house, two blogs and a record label, all of which focus on a group of bands that probably won't ever win any popularity contests amongst the Greenville barhopping general public. The house, located at 628 Lakey St. in Denton, has been dubbed the House of Tinnitus, and it is there that Jason Moore, Andrew Michael Hilburn, and house residents Rob Buttrum and Amelia Jaycen have begun holding free, open admission shows twice a month, featuring a diverse range of acts that might not pull large crowds often enough to be invited back to clubs on a regular basis, but put on shows that should attract anyone with an interest in rock and avant garde music that goes beyond a passing fancy. Their first show last month featured Warmer Milks, and their upcoming show this Friday, August 18th will feature Cry Blood Apache, Night Game Cult, Sparrow/Hawk with Andrew Michael, and Tinnitus, an improv/noise project featuring Buttrum and Jaycen. So far, the group plans to keep the shows free (although they will seek donations), and are planning performances by their own bands, other interesting local bands, and up and coming touring bands. The purpose behind the house, as URTU member Jason Moore explains, is to create a "sort of home base for the growing Denton 'noise' scene," a phrase he uses for lack of a better term. The house is quite large, and its residents are said to be very welcoming to anyone that is interested in attending the shows, giving it the potential to be a true center of activity as Denton comes back to life in the coming weeks with the start of a new semester.

The house will serve as a forum for many of the collective's future endeavors, and the record label/ blog Frenetic Love, as well as the New Century Art blog, will be used to document these and other events that will be important to the growing number of experimental musicians and adventurous music fans in Denton. "The (frenetic love) blog is really just a venue for writing about music as a sensory experience" Moore says, juxtaposing it to most other music blogs, which he claims "are written as a way to simplify music." Frenetic Love and New Century Art already contain reviews, interviews, and short think pieces about noise, local experimental music, and how such music interacts with popular culture and media. Their writing is intelligent and thoughtful, and they appear to be interested in the physical experiences of listening to music, in addition to the theoretical elements of improv/noise that often make such music as fascinating to talk about as it is to listen to. The groups plan to continue using both blogs as a channel for "documenting what (their bands) are creating as a unit," and as a primary source for information on the community that they are developing.

The Frenetic Love record label will serve a similar purpose, albeit through a different medium, documenting live performances and proper, studio recorded releases by some of the better Denton bands. The label will be modeled loosely after some of the indie tape trading labels of the past, recording and distributing live performances and experiments by Denton bands in order to document the creative process as it is occurring. One such recording, an improv document featuring Sparrow/Hawk and Andrew Michael, will be distributed for free at the upcoming show on Friday, and Hilburn plans on creating numerous other live recordings and archiving them as a loose document of what is happening in Denton experimental music as of right now. The label also plans to release proper full length tapes by Chief Death Rage, You are the Universe, and others, with the intent to mass distribute them commercially.

Although those involved with the projects would certainly like to experience some commercial success, Moore does not see it as a realistic possibility, and seems to be equally, if not more interested in simply documenting what the Denton experimental community is doing, and helping to strengthen a small music community that probably can't rely on much attention from the established mainstream local media.

The aspect of the Frenetic Love/House of Tinnitus/ New Century Art project that is perhaps most exciting is not the novelty of the idea, but rather the relative simplicity in executing it. Sure, zines and D.I.Y. record labels, venues and house shows have been around as long as rock n roll has, but today, all of this can be done much quicker and with relatively fewer hassles than ever before. The multimedia approach that musicians can use to document their work and their lives, mixing visual art, writing, music, and happenings, is obviously far more complex and comprehensive than anything that technology has permitted musicians to do before, opening up a wide range of expressive possibilities to people that would have never had access to such media even seven years ago.

Due to a myriad of factors that are far more complex than "Sam sucks" or "corporations," Denton noise rock will probably never be covered in much detail by the Dallas Morning News, the Observer, or any other mainstream local publication. There just isn't the market for it. But today, this fact is becoming less and less relevant to the level of impact that this kind of music can have, since blogs are just as easy to read (if not easier) than newspapers, and burning a bunch of CDs of a live performance that just took place (which I have seen URTU do in the past) is easier and cheaper than shopping for a record label. Put simply, anyone can create media that will shape, market, and document their own perceptions and experiences, which could in turn help shape our collective memories of such events in the future. Did you see George W. Bush dancing with Ricky Martin at his 2000 election victory party? Yeah, thats why shit like this is important. Theres no telling what might come of it, but the fact that this group of bands is able to shape the present and possibly the future through multimedia has to be a good thing, because those who will likely be considered "victors" by future historians seem to have really shitty taste in music.

It List: Tuesday 8/15/06

Check back with us later today for some new writing, etc. As for goings on this evening, look into:

1. The Lost Generation w/ Wanz (Upstairs @ The Cavern): Here is what Wanz has for tonight:

"I am gonna be heavy on the funk and soul tonight. There will still be plenty of other stuff too. With 4 hours to kill it's pretty easy to cover a lot of ground. I will be hitting my massive Soul Jazz Collection pretty hard tonight. I have a few new remixes that I made over the weekend including a very nice drill n bass version of 7 steps to heaven that would make squarepusher quite happy. If there is a crowd for it of course I will detour into some of the new dubstep, grime and techno stuff I have been hording lately. If not then I will just go with the flow. Hope to see you out. Cheers!!!!"

There are a few other shows going on here and there tonight, but none that really interested us all that much. Just remember, Dallas is usually pretty lame, dudes.... don't shoot the messenger.

Monday, August 14, 2006

It List: Monday 8/14/06

Of course, you can give open mic night @ the Fallout Lounge a shot... although I don't know if I can recommend it considering I've never been before. But it is hosted by Tim and Rhett from The Happy Bullets, and various members of various local bands reportedly collaborate with one another regularly at this thing, so if that sounds good to you, it probably will be.

And San Diego's Red Pony Clock will be playing a free show at J&Js tonight in Denton, starting at 8pm. If you ask me, most of this lovey cute boy indie pop crap has gotta go (although I'm afraid that like Rock n Roll, it might be here to stay), but Red Pony Clock probably comes as close as you possibly can to getting it right in that K Records, old school Sebadoh sort of way. Their lo-fi production and neutral, milky hotel horn section set them apart from most of the other bands that populate this genre, and they seem a bit more intelligent and musically competent than their peers. The band put out a couple of pretty decent internet only singles towards the end of 2005, and they seem like they might be able to build something from the promise that those songs provided. They'll be joined by Fishboy, Tha Bracelets, and Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go, some of whom might be too cute for their own good. We'll let you figure out which ones!

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
2. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
3. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy
4. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
5. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
6. Silverspun Pickups - Carnavas
7. The Drams - Jubilee Dive
8. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
9. The Long Winters - Putting the Days To Bed
10. The Theater Fire - Everybody Has a Dark Side
11. Sebadoh - III [reissue]
12. Midlake - Bamnan and Slivercork
13. Sleepy Jackson - Personality
14. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
15. Wolfmother - Wolfmother
16. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
17. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain [import]
18. Danielson - Ships
19. Centro-Matic - Fort Recovery
20. Kashmere Stage Band - Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974

Looks like Midlake and Theater Fire are still doing quite well. And that Drams record. Ouch.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It List: Sunday 8/13/06

I searched high and low and this was all I could find today. Sorry.

1. DJ Wild in the Streets (Hailey's)

DJ Wild in the Streets continues her residency at Hailey's with her usual well informed smorgasbord of all things cool from much more innocent times. Her selections usually include international pop hits and lots of garage and psychedelia mixed in to rough up the edges. There are apparently some bands playing funk and soul to round out the night but I don't know much about it. Anyways, I believe this is always free if you're unlucky enough to be of drinking age.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Weekender 8/11/06-8/13/06


1. Laptop Deathmatch @ the Dallas Video Festival (Kalita Humphreys Theater, Dallas Theater Center- corner of Lemmon and Turtle Creek, Starts at 9pm): Click here to get more general info about the Dallas Video festival. It looks like there will be a ton of interesting shit going on, so you might want to check out some of the other things that will be happening there this weekend. Tonight at 9pm, 8 performers from the Laptop Deathmatch will be performing their music backed by some free form experimental videos. I'm not sure exactly what to expect from this performance, but I know its going to be the best thing going in Dallas tonight, so you might want to give it a shot. The event will be hosted by John Freeman, and will feature video work from Mazinga Phaser, Paul Baker and Video Jockey for Sub Oslo. Check this shit out from Paul Baker. Looks pretty cool to me. And after the Deatmatch:

you can get into the afterparty at Club One free with your ticket stub. The after party will feature performances from Laptop Deathmatch artists, as well as DJ Stephen R playing classic industrial (do people actually attempt to dance to Throbbing Gristle?), goth, new wave, and more. Club One is located at 3025 Main St. in Deep Ellum (bring a gun).

2. Mathstorm/Voot Cha Index/ Sarah Reddington (Rubber Gloves-Denton): This will apparently be Mathstorm's last show, and fans of indie pop should be sad, because they sound as if they could have developed into one of the better local bands in that genre, which says something when you consider that there are 8 million indie pop bands in these parts. We're not particularly crazy about them, but they're good at what they do. Voot Cha and the excellent Sarah Reddington are both worth checking out, and we hear SR is a forcefull live band as well. We believe that Voot Cha goes on before Sarah Reddington.


1. The Clientele/ Great Lakes/ Theater Fire (Hailey's): If there is a "must see" this weekend, I'm going to have to say that this is the one. The Clientele is a band that continues to blow me away almost every time I hear them. The trick is, they don't do anything particularly new or original as far as style or influences, but they write these incredibly infectious (and extremely English) pop songs that seem to tap into certain internal visions and feelings that you can't really describe, but know that everyone shares. Its truly great music that sounds like nothing else, and will hit you with its beauty almost right away. Theater Fire opens, which provides even more of a reason to make the Denton trip. Brooklyn's Great Lakes play somewhat slick and complex indie pop... which is a lot better than that description makes it sound. I bet they'll be pretty good too.

2. Flashlight Party will be spinning at Rubber Gloves with The Pebble that Saved the World and Prom Nite.

3. Pleasant Grove will be playing at Lee Harvey's at 830. Go see one of the few Dallas bands that has both 1) been around for a long time and 2) is still really good.

4. Dub Assembly 2 will be going down at Wax, 2653 Commerce starting at 10 pm. Select has been spreading the word about this show all week, which means that there will probably be a good crowd out there, dancing to newest Dubstep. This is something you normally wouldn't hear in DFW, and most of what Select is involved with ends up being a good time, so give it a try.

Sorry we were a bit short today... check back this weekend for updates on other shows, parties, and events that we might have missed.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

7 Questions with The Clientele

I can't decide if The Clientele's Alasdair Maclean thinks I ask jackass questions, or if he supplied us with short answers because he is busy on a tour and sick of answering questions, or if I'm just being overly sensitive about the whole thing because The Clientele is one of my favorite current bands. Either way, I was very happy to get the chance to ask him some questions via email, and his answers are below. The Clientele plays Saturday night at Hailey's with Theater Fire, and it should be fantastic. If you haven't heard The Clientele before, you should pull your head out of your ass and do so as soon as possible.

To start with, for all the people that were at your last Denton show at Hailey's: What was up with the sound? It sounded like the reverb wasn't working at all, and there seemed to be several other problems as well. Do you remember what caused this?

The sound on stage was a little strange but it didn't stop it being a great show. We heard a recording of that night and it sounds pretty funny.

One of the positive things that came from the problematic sound at the last Hailey's show was, in my opinion, the revelation that your voice sounds just as strong without any effects at all. It seems that Strange Geometry also hammered this point home, since there is a noticeable lack of the strong, hazy reverb that was present on Suburban Light. Why did the band chose to move towards a cleaner sound on Strange Geometry?

We left a lot of the decision making in terms of recording to Brian O'Shaughnessy, the producer. Whenever we asked for more reverb he'd give a lingering hard stare over the top of his glasses, then ignore us.

It seems that the way in which your early material (the stuff that appears on Suburban Light) was recorded had such a huge impact on the way those songs felt, producing a quite dreamy experience for the listener, mixed with the warmth and familiarity that lo fi recordings bring. How important was this aspect of the recording process to the band?

The early recordings were done on the only equipment we had which was pretty basic so the sound we got all came through guitar amps - we stuck the vocals through the reverb on our guitar amps which gave us the hazy sound you describe. It wasn't important, it was the only way we could make records that didn't sound totally amateurish.

To me, as an American living in Texas, your music sounds foreign and distant in some ways. More than just about any band, your music inspires visual scenes in my mind... visions of things and places that I've never experienced, mostly revolving around England and rain and a sort of modern mysticism. Do you intend to inspire visualization in the audience with your songwriting? Or is this just me?

We just write songs about what we see - canals, buses, semi-detatched houses, football fields. If this seems exotic or mystical to a Texan then that's great.

I read that you have a fondness for Arthur Lee, and he seems to be something of an inspiration to the band. How has his death affected you? What do you think Love's significance is in rock today?

Love is my favorite band. We played Signed DC in Chapel Hill the night he died.

Who are some of your favorite musicians of all time? Are any current records getting a lot of play right now amongst you guys on tour? If so, which ones?

My favorite musician is Arthur Lee. Others include Boards of Canada, Neil Diamond. We've all brought our ipods with us so we're all listening a loads of different stuff at the moment.

Are you guys currently planning on going back to the studio any time soon? Can we expect any new Clientele material or other projects from you guys in the near future?

Yes, we're heading straight to Nashville after the end of this tour and making the next record there with Marky Nevers. It should be a lot of fun!


It List: Thursday 8/10/06

We'll start off with a bit of news:

In case you haven't heard, Denton's Current Leaves are going to have a Wednesday night residency at Club Dada in the month of September, and will be playing an additional show at Dada on August 26th to kick everything off. I think regular performances like this are generally a good thing, and this could very well be the set of shows that earns Current Leaves a sizeable following in Dallas. They're that rare combo of a genuinely good band that also has potential to be successful on a fairly large scale in the usually disappointing local Dallas market, and I think people will get excited about it. I'm interested to see what kind of audience they will attact at these shows, because I think just about anyone can probably dig them, including most of the contrarian anons on here.

In other news, Denton will soon see the opening of Strawberry Fields, a forward thinking everything media store that will be located at the corner of Oak and Bonnie Brae. The store will sell music, books and videos focusing on counterculture themes and typically hard to find material, meaning that they'll have a lot of the stuff that you wouldn't even bother asking the dipshit at B&N about. Here is a bit more from them:

"Why oh why has Denton been without a store that caters to the counter/youth/free thinking/Starbucks hating/Wal-mart despising culture for so long? Great question! We don't have an answer to that, but we do have a solution! Strawberry Fields Books, Music and Video!Specalizing in media that your parents warned you about and what your uncle secretly stashes underneath his bed, Strawberry Fields is here to provide you with media dealing with counter culture, activisim, arts, alternative lifestyles, trash, left of center, shlock, radical, queer, erotic, artsy, fartsy, artsy-fartsy, forgotten, hidden, recently recovered, activism and what ever else you can think of that they dont sell at Barnes and Nobles.


We speacilize in... Independent Documentaries, Music Videos, Exploitation, Erotic, Foreign, Arsty Fartsy and what ever weird shit YOU are into. Is there a Swedish zombie musical that you have been looking for forever? Put us on the case and we will do our best to find it!

Want to know how to over throw the goverment and society in general? Our books can help! We are providing Denton with a breath of fresh air when it comes to books.

We specialize in...Independent Rock, Pop, Hip - Hop, Rap, Regeaton, Electronic, World and all left of center music. But most importantly we carry what YOU want! Is there a genre/style of music you want us to carry drop us a line via the website and visit our music section and drop us a line. This store is for the community and we need to know what you want!

Sounds like a place the WSJR crew might frequent when we're up in Denton... not that we're into porn or anything like that.

Stuff to do tonight:

We're not the biggest Eels fans in the world, but they will be at Gypsy Tea Room tonight in case you are.

Whats that you say, you're a Spoon fan? Well they're playing at the Ridglea Theater in Ft. Worth tonight, but if you didn't get invited by Camel or whatever the fuck corporation is sponsoring the show, then you can't go you dumbass! Its invite only, and I guess ours was lost in the mail or something. Flashlight Party will also be spinning, and WSJR favorite Black Tie Dynasty will be opening. And even though this might sound fun in theory, I've seen Spoon play so many fucking times that driving to Ft. Worth and having to sit through Blackheart Society to see them again doesn't sound very VIP to me...

Dj G will be doing his normal 80's night thing at Hailey's tonight... its one of the two best regular nights in the metroplex, in case you were wondering.

Vancouver's Ladyhawk (featuring members of Black Mountain) will bring some hard nosed pop slop to Rubber Gloves tonight along with the quite boring Coke Dares and Denton's own Fugazi influenced grunge outfit Knee Pad. The limited amount of material that we've heard from Ladyhawk is solid ( like just about everything related to Black Mountain), fairly straight forward guitar rock. And while bands like that might often bore you to pieces, Ladyhawk does what they do quite well, adding enough noise, energy, and a sloppy yet forcefull execution to make it a good listen. Probably a great live show too.

The Tah Dahs will be playing with Austin's excellent shoegaze influenced Pavementesque noise pop band Peel at the Doublewide, right in the heart of our very own Dallas! See Dallas, we get some shows here and there too. We like the Tah Dahs and all, but you should get there early, because Peel seems to be the real draw tonight. I'm not sure how popular they are in Austin, but I can really see this band taking the fuck off in the very near future. Check out "Bells" on their myspace page to hear what I mean: multi layer noise inspired guitars and dreamy vocals that come together in just the right way to remind you of what you wish the mid 90's sounded like.

Finally, The Angelus' Emil Rapstine is playing at J&Js with Brazos Del Amor (who I can't seem to find anything about), and a typically bad emocore band called Waking up April. I don't suggest going early.

Questions with Zac Crain

I wanted to interview Zac Crain not because I had necessarily planned to support his candidacy, but just the opposite: I wanted to interview him because I initially thought that there was no way in hell I could support his run for mayor. To be honest, I've seen a lot of bandwagon jumping all over town by musicians and scenesters and others that seem to support Zac Crain for the simple reason that he is a friend, or something of a figure in the local music scene. Being the grumpy person I am, this made me pretty much reject the idea of supporting Crain right off the bat, and it still bothers me that some people seem to be supporting his run as more of a fashion statement than a rational and thoughtful political decision.

However, I should say that this brief interview has shown me that while I'm not sure who I might vote for in 2007, Zac Crain seems like an intelligent and thoughtful person that may have some good ideas that could genuinely address some of the huge issues that this city is facing right now. Just for personal reasons, I wanted to get a better idea of who Zac Crain is, why he's running for mayor, and what he might do in the off chance that he wins. And although I have very serious doubts that his campaign will be able to compete with whatever bozo the Preston Hollow elites decide to throw their support behind, I certainly like the idea of an intelligent outsider shaking things up a bit, especially one that actually cares about the city and has some interesting things to say about its future. And hell, I can even see myself casting a vote for the man, because I have no doubt in my mind that most of the rest of the candidates will be completely unappealing in just about every way, while Zac Crain at least seems to have the interests of average citizens in mind.

It will be interesting to see how far Crain can get on ideas rather than money, because in American politics these days, its hard to tell whether ideas really even matter at all.

(Full disclosure: Lindsay from dconstruction, who we will be working with on the upcoming We Shot J.R. podcast, is Zac Crain's campaign manager.)

Hey Zac. I guess we'll have to talk about music at some point, but lets get some general info out of the way first. To begin, would you mind telling us when the mayoral election is, and who else is confirmed as running right now? Could you tell us specifically why you think each of your known opponents is NOT the right person to be the next mayor of Dallas?

If the election happened tomorrow, my competitors would be Gary Griffith, Darrell Jordan, Phil Ritter, and Roger Herrera. When the actual election happens May 12, 2007, I imagine that number will have grown substantially. But I can only work with what I've got. So to answer your question: Gary Griffith is not the right person to be the next mayor of Dallas because he, like Darrell Jordan, like Phil Ritter, is more concerned with simply steering the ship rather than checking to see if the ship is actually seaworthy. Griffith, Jordan, and Ritter all seem to believe that the only real problem with this city is its current mayor, which probably jibes with the folks at the Dallas Citizens Council, but doesn't really track with, you know, actual citizens. As far as I can tell, they are out of touch with 90 percent of the people they'd be serving. I don't know much about Roger Herrera. From what I've seen, he's a lot like me, apart from the fact that he's gay, Latino, and a lawyer. He's similar to me at least in terms of being a political outsider. But from the little I do know about him, I don't see any real, pragmatic ideas, other than a vague goal of uniting the city. That's not enough.

Could you describe to us why you think that you are the right person for the job? It seems that aside from money, the main problem for your campaign will be convincing people that you have the experience, qualifications and knowledge to do the job of mayor and do it well. Could you describe some of those qualifications for us?

I think political experience is overrated. There are plenty of longtime politicians out there, and I'm not referring to Dallas specifically, that I wouldn't trust with the responsibility of making me a sandwich. I consider the fact that I don't have any political experience a plus; I haven't had the idealism beaten out of me. So what qualifies me for this job? I wasn't spending the better part of the last decade deciding public policy. I had a job that allowed me to observe (no pun intended) how public policy affected people, and write about it all. I've spent most of that time thinking about the kind of issues that I will be dealing with as mayor, and I think that's just about as long as any of my competitors have been doing it. At the very least, I'm not at as much of a disadvantage as some would think. But beyond being thoughtful and coming up with considered solutions to problems, the other part of the deal is having enough guts to make decisions when the time comes. I don't necessarily have anything on my resume that speaks to that, but I think the fact I'm doing this in the first place more or less proves I have that in me.

Money is obviously going to be a huge issue for your campaign, since you don't seem to have some of the big business and dallas establishment support that some of the other candidates do. How do you plan to compete with the big boys financially?

Quite simply: I don't plan to compete with them. I might be naive, but I fail to see how a candidate can justify spending close to $1 million to win this election. That just really strikes me as egregious. If my competitors can't run a campaign on a budget, I don't see how voters can expect them to run this city on a budget either. I think some of the people I am (and will be) running against have been tossing around thousands and millions of dollars for so long, they have forgotten how much a dollar is actually worth. Money has almost become theoretical to them.

Do you find the monetary advantage that people get from having insider access to the local business and money establishment to be inherently undemocratic in some way? Has domination by elites in Dallas politics hindered the success of the city in certain ways? If so, how?

Great questions. Those are definitely ideas I've been thinking about since the campaign finance reports were released. In those reports, you'll see that someone has donated to several different candidates. Why? It means that no matter who is eventually elected for the job, he has a favor coming to him. That is partly what is destroying this city: our city leaders are wasting time and energy fulfilling the favors racked up on the campaign trail while the really important and necessary work is pushed further and further down the agenda. This has been happening for so long that almost nothing of consequence gets done; it's a snake that eats itself. The only people that benefit are the candidates and the tiny fraction of concerned citizens who receive the favors. What does everyone else get? Frustrated.

Moving on to more substantive issues, it seems that crime probably has to be the top issue in this election, since the current overall and violent crime rates in Dallas are some of the highest in the country, which seems completely inexcusable for a town this size. People are pretty fed up with the incompetence of the police force, and I think Dallas residents are really going to start demanding serious action. What is the real source of the crime problems that our city faces? Is simply adding more officers on the streets enough to solve some of these problems? What specifically do you intend to do about crime?

I think Chief David Kunkle is doing a great job. Well, I should say that Chief Kunkle is doing the best job possible given the situation. He has inventive strategies to combat and prevent crime, and he has proven to be a man of integrity who expects and demands the same from the members of his force. But he can't fight crime by himself, and he still doesn't have the resources needed to do the job to the best of his ability. Chief Kunkle needs more men and better equipment. Which means he needs more money. Which means the mayor and the council need to make this a top priority. I mean, why keep fighting to build more bridges and skyscrapers and on and on if we can't protect whats already here? I've been looking at the situation, and the first step, yes, is adding more officers. The easiest way to do this is squeezing as much money out of the current budget as possible. For one thing, I propose doing away with court time overtime, that is, eliminating overtime pay for officers making court appearances. (This, obviously, wouldn't apply to officers on overnight patrol; their appearances are overtime in the truest definition of the term.) Cutting out court time overtime would open up the budget. Those funds could then be used to 1) give all officers a bump in pay and 2) recruit and hire more officers. So there's a start.

One of the issues that you highlight on your website is local education. I'm not sure how much power you are given by the city charter or the Texas Constitution over education in DISD, but could you tell us what you will be able to do to improve schools in Dallas, or how the administration of the distict is conducted? Is this really more of a state than a local issue?

Directly? The mayor has no real power over DISD. Indirectly? The mayor has more power than any previous mayor has cared to explore. The key is never letting it leave the conversation; the mayor has the biggest voice in the city and he/she needs to use it. And I mean this in a public and private sense. The mayor and Superintendent Hinojosa need to be meeting on a regular basis, once every couple of weeks at a minimum. Everyone benefits from an extra set of eyes and ears every so often, and it's clearly been far too long since that was the case at DISD. I think the problem with the school district over the last 10 years or so has been too much micromanaging on the education side and not enough in the administration. That's why you have credit card scandals on one end, and declining graduation rates on the other. It feels like, to me, that DISD has been almost a rogue state during that time. It would help if someone was watching the watchers. I think parents would feel more trusting if they knew someone was looking out for them. And since I'll have a kid in the system before long, I'll be doing that anyway.

What long term potential do you see for public transportation in Dallas? As more and more people begin to live and spend more time downtown on a regular basis, it seems that the DART system will have to improve drastically in order to grow with the city. At the same time, the lack of urban planning and the sprawling and spacious development throughout Dallas might hinder DART's ability to expand its services. What can be done about this?

I hate to drive, and am a big fan of the services DART already provides. So I'm definitely excited to see light rail travel throughout the city become a reality. I absolutely agree with you that poor urban planning has limited DART's ability to grow; it's almost as if no one trusted DART to be able to do what it's doing. We've been sorely lacking some sort of a master plan for some time, something that accounts for future developments and growth. That's why I'm cautiously optimistic about the Forward Dallas plan. It's not perfect, by any means, but it at least addresses the problems that DART is having now, and wouldn't have had if there were a plan in place. Where the developers of Forward Dallas were mistaken, however, and what DART has to avoid, is they didn't take into account the public's wants. DART needs to take people where they want to go. It's sounds silly and stupid, but I don't think enough people keep that in mind.

One of the things that we talk about all the time on WSJR is a lack of a strong music and visual art scene in the city. And whether you agree with this or not, it seems that there isn't any reason why our local government can't assist in improving the arts community here. We know that many state, local, and national government agencies in other countries provide financial assistance to artists and musicians, or at least provide low cost places for those people to practice their crafts and perform or display their work. Is there anything that the city of Dallas can do to improve the artistic community here? Any possibility of publicly funded art spaces in this city? Does the city have money for such things, and are they even a priority in your mind?

You're right: There isn't any reason why local government can't assist in improving the arts community here. There are plenty of reasons why they won't, but no real reason why they can't. There are models to work off of, if the city leaders would pay attention. Jack Matthews was successful with the artist residency program at South Side on Lamar, and he didn't do it because he was such a patron of the arts. He knew that was an easy way to create life and scene where there wasn't any, and it was relatively cheap. Why couldn't the city make something like that a condition of the tax breaks they so regularly cough up to developers? It wouldn't be hard. Make those businesses earn it. But it's not just tax breaks and things like that. Look at Austin. It stakes its reputation on its music scene, past and present. We have at least as much history. Or we did before bulldozers got involved. Why not build something around that? Create a Dallas Music Museum, which could double as something of a community center for artists and musicians. It would help tourism, if you're interested in that sort of thing, and I would bet the money could be raised in the private sector. That's just an example. There are a million ways the city could and should get involved. I mean, why isn't the city more behind what Erykah Badu is doing here?

Ok- music question. I didn't have a lot of experience reading the Observer when you were the editor, so could you tell us, just for fun, what some of your favorite all time rock records are? What are you listening to currently?

Ouch. This may be the toughest question, since this is the one the folks in the comments section will have the most fun skewering me with. Some of my favorite all time rock records? Well, keep in mind this changes all the time. For now, I'll say: Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Blood and Chocolate; The Clash, London Calling; Pixies, Trompe Le Monde; Television, Marquee Moon; Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison; Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea; Guided by Voices, Isolation Drills; Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run; Super Furry Animals, Radiator; Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; and the first Stone Roses record. Oh, and Spoon, Girls Can Tell. As for what I've been listening to lately: Band of Horses, Rogue Wave, Midlake, My Morning Jacket, Thom Yorke, Bonnie Prince Billy. OK bring it on.