Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Weekender 12/1/06-12/3/06

Looks like a fairly thin weekend on the live music front.... boohoo. Anyway, check back with us today, tomorrow and Sunday for updates to the list. If we hear about anything good, we'll be sure to post about it before 6pm the day of.


You might want to start your weekend by heading over to Central Booking and downloading some party tracks from their En La Calle series. Everything they post is great, and their tastes are always about six months ahead of the coolest person you know.

Mates of State/ Asobi Seksu (Sons of Hermann Hall): Clearly the best rock show going on tonight. To me, the real draw of this show is Brooklyn's Asobi Seksu, who play a poppy and cohesive brand of spaced out shoegaze that can transition from sweet indie pop to melodic, out of control walls of guitar noise at the drop of a hat. Citrus, their latest record, has really grown on me in recent weeks, and I'm very interested to see if the band can pull off the energy and precision of their record in a live setting. And with another pretty good band on the bill, it might be worth your time to find out.

Pawn Gallery Grand Opening (2540 Elm Street, Deep Ellum, 7pm): This new and somewhat promising gallery in Deep Ellum will open its doors with a show called Interior Landscapes, featuring the work of photographers Wafaa Bilal and Christine Taylor. Both look fairly interesting and just a little creepy. Add free wine, beer, and food and you've got a pretty good start to a Friday evening.

Art Conspiracy (Longhorn Ballroom, 216 Corinth, Dallas): Apparently, over a hundred and fifty artists gathered somewhere in Dallas today to create one of a kind original works of art on 18x18 plywood squares, and will be sharing these works with the public tonight beginning at 7pm. Admission is ten bucks, and the art will be available for people to take in exchange for a $20 donation to La Reunion, an Oak Cliff based artist residency program. It costs ten bucks to get in, and the price of admission will include performances by Happy Bullets, Spitfire Tumbleweeds, Fishboy, Salim Nourallah and Peter Schmidt and his Gentlemen Scholars. And I believe the Longhorn Ballroom is the place where the Sex Pistols played during their one and only trip to Dallas, so it might be cool to check it out for that alone. All the proceeds will go to La Reunion.


Klever/Dj Nature (ZuBar): Nature's Zubar shows are always a good time, and you should know that by now. Don't know much about Klever, but I like what I've heard of his (mostly hip hop) stuff.

Improvised Silence (Firehouse Art Studio, 4147 Meadowbrook Dr., Ft. Worth): Improvised silence is a monthly experimental music showcase out in Ft. Worth, and this month's edition will feature performances by P.D. Wilder and Oveo, who are a wonderful band to experience live. Starts at 8pm, and donations are requested.

And/Or Gallery (4221 Bryan St. Dallas): Treewave's art gallery will be hosting a show curated by Vance Wingate and featuring the work of local artists C.J. Davis, Garland Fielder, Brian R. Jones, Jessica McCambly, and Noah Simblist. The reception goes from 6-10pm, and if its anything like the last one we attended, it will be a lot of fun. The few glimpses we've had at some of the art that will be on display make me think that the show could be pretty solid as well (Check the And/or website if you want to look), but we're really not sure what to expect from a lot of the artists. I'm pretty sure that free beer is involved.

Cartright/Red Monroe/George Neal (Rubber Gloves): Cartright's CD release party. Cartright puts on an amazing live show, and I would really recommend seeing them even if the rough folk pop on their Myspace page doesn't really strike you right away. I've seen them live a handful of times and have really enjoyed it. Red Monroe's live shows have been getting better over the past few months, and I would expect them to be in top form these days.

Kettle Art (2714 Elm St.) will be hosting a benefit show and reception for formerly local artist/graffiti writer Tony Bones from 7-10pm. Tony has apparently had a little trouble with the law recently, and the gallery is trying to help him out. His childlike art reminds me of something in between Joan Miro and Keith Haring, and I dig it. I'd like to see what this is all about.

Stella Rose/Low Line Caller/Tame...Tame and Quiet/ Rotary Downs (The Cavern): This is a bill of varying quality to be sure, but you can rest assured that Tame Tame's set will be as solid as always, and you might also be interested in checking out the blurry, sugary space rock of Low Line Caller.


Cannibal Corpse/Dying Fetus/Necrophagist/Unmerciful (Gypsy Tea Room)

It List: Thursday 11/30/06

Life is making it pretty tough for us to post today, so here's the best we can do for now:

Peaches/Quintron and Miss Pussycat (Ridglea Theater Ft. Worth)

Circle Jerks/Lower Class Brats/ The Applicators/Max Cady (Gypsy Tea Room): Go see the Circle Jerks and some of the awful bullshit that west coast hardcore helped spawn.

Lost Generation @ Doublewide: Wanz will be playing a lot of soul, funk and garage.

DJG 80's Night @ Hailey's

Indian Jewelry @ Rubber Gloves

My idea of psychedelic rock doesn't necessarily have much to do with 60's counterculture, San Francisco, or any other particular time, place, or sound. Of course, I realize that much of what mainstream pop culture tends to classify as "psychedelic" shares roots in a particular era and a certain pallette of sounds and attitudes, but I've always felt that bands such as Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, My Bloody Valentine and Velvet Underground were essentially psychedelic too, albeit with a much darker outlook and a completely different approach than the earlier and more well known psyche rock icons. Utilizing techniques such as repetition, sensory overload, improvisation, confrontational performances and rejection of traditional song structures, the aforementioned bands seemed to tap into the same kind of base level mood altering vibrations that Pink Floyd and 13th Floor Elevators pursued, even though their musical output was strikingly different and often in direct opposition to the psychedelic sounds of the past. The textures might be harsher and darker than those found in traditional mainstream psychedelic rock, but the often transcendent listening experience is quite similar at a basic level that encompasses much of what was revolutionary about early psychedelic rock in the first place. Namely, the possibility of significantly altering the state of mind of the listener, for better or worse.

In that sense, Indian Jewelry is truly a psychedelic group, and a damn good one at that. Their performance at Rubber Gloves last night was in many ways the best kind of slap in the face: an aggressive, unsettling and raw display of caution thrown to the wind in front of an audience that didn't seem to know how to digest what they were seeing and hearing. And you can't really blame anyone for being confused either, because what was happening on stage is almost impossible to adequately describe.

The band started the show by turning off the house lights, flicking on some strobe lights, pointing them at the audience, and pounding on a set of drums that they had set up on the floor in front of the stage. It was an ominous beginning to be sure, and it set the precise tone of the evening in about ten seconds. As the simple, monotonous tribal rhythms of the live drums pounded and stomped their way through the air, electronic beats, waves of noisy guitar and various other harsh electronic sounds began to swirl out of the band's amplifiers, creating a powerful wall of chaotic sound that was exhilarating, frightening and at times quite hard to deal with.

But as the flicker of the strobe lights and the chaos of the noise became more familiar throughout the show, a compelling cohesiveness began to creep into the band's music that hadn't initially revealed itself. Certain sounds emerged in the forefront of many of the songs and locked in with the rhythms to nearly hold the rest of it together. As guitars were soaring and feeding back, muffled vocals could be heard dancing around the rhythms, reminding listeners that human beings were in fact producing the music they were listening to. Electronic blips stood out all over the place, and sometimes the music took on a loose, dance-like quality that seemed to be fighting for attention with the band's otherworldly noise assault. There were certainly some missteps throughout the set, and there were times where it seemed that the band was sort of just losing their grip on what they were trying to do. The live drums were often a bit sparse, and sometimes the noise seemed to be just that: noise without much of a purpose. But during the many moments in which everything locked in: the drums, the cold electronics, the samples, the massive guitar bursts and the distorted, broken vocals, the band was able to crawl under the skin, play with moods and challenge the mind to dig a bit deeper into the whole experience. And although they probably have more in common with Flipper than Jefferson Airplane, Indian Jewelry's performance was an undeniably mind expanding experience that could be called psychedelic in both the most basic and most important sense of the word.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It List: Wednesday 11/29/06

Of course, DJ Nature is doing his Party at Rubber Gloves.

Wolfmother/Dead Meadow/Silversun Pickups (Gypsy Tea Room): I think its now clear that Wolfmother have become this year's "Band to Hate" in underground circles, but I just can't get on board with all that. At least not all the way. When bands rip off other bands and try to hide it, it really pisses me off. But when bands are such complete rip offs of other bands that there isn't any way they can possibly hide it, it doesn't bother me as much as long as the music is good. Wolfmother isn't great, and many of their songs just seem to lack any of those intangible qualities that make rock bands worth listening to. But they're not as terrible as people make them out to be. Its just that they are the biggest Black Sabbath/Blue Cheer ripoff of all time, and it makes people mad. Thats fine. I just don't give a shit either way. Dead Meadow have played here a few times this year, and I would recommend them to anyone that likes the electric guitar. I feel like I've seen them play live 8 million times (I believe the first time might have been as an opener for Pavement in 99), and its usually a great show. Silversun Pickups are actually the most mediocre band of all time. Its a scientific fact. Go listen to their songs if you don't believe me. I'm pretty sure this show is sold out.

Pernice Brothers/Elvis Perkins (Hailey's): Considering the influx of sweetheart indie pop bands that have been all the rage this year, I thought I'd be too tired to write a single sentence about the Pernice Brothers, even if they're too old to be a blog buzz band. However, I actually kind of like them, against my better judgment, and I apparently have the energy to write two sentences about them.

Friday, December 15th: Secular Gift Giving Holiday Celebration

Oh, glorious December. What more can you ask for in a month? On the 25th, we celebrate the birthday of everyone's favorite Republican (who actually looks like he could be in Akron/Family). On the 31st, we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Throughout the entire month, the media tries to convince us that the lines to see Santa at North Park Mall are more newsworthy than war. And this December, we're adding something else to the list.

We're very happy to announce that the nice people who run Art Prostitute have invited us to host a concert at their gallery to celebrate the secular giving of gifts during the holiday season. Its going to take place on the evening of Friday, December 15th, and its going to be fun. But instead of writing out a whole long thing about how great we are for doing this, I'll just give you the line up and some of the details, which will be just as effective in convincing you that we are in fact great. The line up:

The Great Tyrant
Faux Fox
Chief Death Rage
Krispee Ones
DJ sets by Nature, Sober and Select

These are just a few of the bands and DJs that we've really come to like over the past year, and we're very happy that they've agreed to peform. We still have some details to work out (such as the order of the sets and the exact time they will start), but we do know:

1. It will probably start earlier than the average show (say around 7 or 8)
2. It will cost $6
3. It will be all ages
4. Your $6 will get you in the door, and if you're over 21, it will also get you unlimited access to the free Shiner Keg that we'll have inside. Come in, grab a cup, and fill up as many times as you can. If you drink two, the cover charge pays for itself. All the alcoholics will be there early.

We'll give more details in the coming days, but be sure to look out for some totally cute Myspace event invites!

It List: Tuesday 11/28/06

1. Indian Jewelry/Faux Fox/Bob White And The F-Electrics (Rubber Gloves)

A surprisingly good show for a Tuesday night. Indian Jewelry is an experimental-psych band originally from Houston who have a rotating cast of participants and are just as likely to change band names as they would members. According to Stylus Magazine, the band is-"Pushing further than any of their Texas-derived contemporaries (the Black Angels, the Secret Machines), Indian Jewelry have assumed The Lone Star State’s psych crown." Those are fighting words in some circles. The group has recently recorded for Monitor Records, who I distinctly remember being heralded as the Touch and Go of the new century a few years ago. Well, not quite, but they have released some good to great records. The delightfully snotty Faux Fox and Bob White and The F-Electrics round out the bill.

2. Lost Generation with DJ Mwanza (The Cavern)

Wanz keeps it interesting with a diverse set of underground savvy classics, old and new.

3. Hardin Sweaty and The Ready To Go/Brooke Opie/Glovebox/A Therapeutic Smile (Club Dada)

In Hardin Sweaty's best moments they remind me of midwestern power pop group, Hockey Night. A Therapeutic Smile play keyboard based music that I'm curious to see translated to the stage. The other acts feature more traditional singer/songwriter acoustic material.

4. TuPac Tuesdays with DJ Strangeluv (Ronnie's in Deep Ellum)

Damn it. If this was Biggie Tuesdays with DJ Strangeluv I would totally be there.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas
2. Joanna Newson - Ys
3. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
4. Shins - Phantom Limb
5. Jeremy Enigk - World Waits
6. Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
7. Icy Demons - Tears of a Clone
8. Radiant - We Hope You Win
9. Brand New - The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me
10. Swan Lake - Beast Moans
11. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
12. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
13. Beach House - Beach House
14. Voxtrot - Your Biggest Fan
15. Damien Rice - 9
16. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
17. Micah P. Hinson - And the Opera Circuit
18. Johann Johannsson - IBM 1401-A User's Manual
19. Architecture in Helsinki - We Died, They Remixed
20. Beatles - Love

I actually kinda like that Swan Lake record... didn't think I would, but I do.

IT List: 11/27/06

Of course, live Jazz is happening at the Amsterdam Bar tonight, with the usual rotating cast focusing mostly on bop favorites. Many of the musicians that perform at the Amsterdam on Mondays are part of a small circle of noteworthy local jazz standouts, and it really is a pleasure to listen to these guys effortlessly come together on great tunes time and time again. One of the best low key music nights you can find anywhere in Dallas.

This seems to be all that is happening this evening.

Monday Morning Rock

This is the first thing that pops up when you search for "Gang Gang Dance" on Youtube. Sorry.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Wasn't able to get a post done today. We'll see you guys tomorrow.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It List: Saturday 11/25/06

Like I said yesterday, we'll be back to our extremely well written and intelligent discussions of local music on Monday... but for now, we're going to give you a list of shows happening tonight without our usually brilliant commentary. You even get to judge their quality for yourselves!

Strange Boys/The Lash Outs/Chief Death Rage (The Cavern)

Theater Fire at Lee Harvey's

Evangelicals/Psychic Paramount/Dust Congress (Hailey's): I'm liking Dust Congress more and more every time I hear them. you might want to check them out.

Retro-specto/ Best Fwends/ Angry Businessmen/ Koji Kondo (1919 Hemphill): Starts at 7, so get out there if you want to go. You should do yourself a favor and go see Best Fwends.

Also, The Smoke will be happening at Avenue Arts.

Friday, November 24, 2006

IT List: Friday 11/24/06

Hey there. We've been doing holiday stuff with family, etc. this weekend, and we're a little busy taking naps and figuring out ways to avoid going shopping or even talking about shopping. We were going to do a big weekend concert list on Wednesday, but we just haven't had the time to get it done. So instead, we'll have little It Lists each day for the rest of the weekend before getting back to normal on Monday. Deal with it. Tonight:

Pleaseeasaur/El Paso Hot Button/Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go (Rubber Gloves): Pleaseeasaur is a joke band that probably listens to a lot of Ween and a little Captain Beefheart. Whatever. I hate joke bands. The real highlight here is El Paso Hot Button, and they are certainly a strong live band that is worth seeing if you're up in Denton. They play around here quite a bit, but I wish they did even more. They sound like they could be hugely successful and really goddamn good at the same time (imagine that), so I would recommend keeping your eye out for them. Great punky hard rock. And dude from Hardin Sweaty recommended a Swell Maps video to us on Youtube the other day, so he is awarded two WSJR bonus points.

...And You'll Know Us By the Trail of Dead/The Blood Brothers/Celebration/Brothers and Sisters (Granada): I haven't heard the new Trail of Dead album and I really don't give a shit. The last one was positively terrible (remember that song about the Twin Towers?), and I frankly don't even have the energy to make fun of this stupid crap. However, I've linked to what is apparently a fan Myspace page so that you can hear some of their better, earlier stuff if you feel like it. Yes, I did like Source Tags and Codes when it came out. Despite the suckness of the headliners, the rest of this line up looks pretty good. You probably either hate Blood Brothers or love them, so theres really nothing I can really say to influence you one way or another. You should know, however, that they can be unreal live. Celebration, who came through earlier this year with TV on the Radio, are surely the most interesting band in this line up with jagged guitars and infectious but understated rhythms that fight for attention with urgent and detached vocals that distinguish this band from the pack almost right away. They have a truly unique sound and a good one at that, and I would pay to see them alone. Brothers and Sisters: Son Volt with a slightly less entertaining singer and a Polyphonic Spree fetish. Enough said.

The Great Tyrant will be playing at Amsterdam tonight. Not sure who is opening for them (sorry), but they are expected to go on around 1100.

Dove Hunter/The Backsliders/Team Evil (Doublewide): I suppose this show is one to catch if you're interested in seeing a couple bands that many of the other local music news outlets have been buzzing about in recent weeks and months. Unfortunately, my limited exposure to each of these groups hasn't inspired a lot of excitement around WSJR headquarters. Dove Hunter is probably the most worthwhile of the three, with a slightly country/folk influenced take on the kind of jammy, dark indie pop that takes nods from Arcade Fire and the more relaxed moments of Wilco. The musicianship is pretty solid and the songs are well put together in many of the ways that you could hope, but there just isn't a whole lot going on that you haven't heard before, and even less that will get any of you very excited. They're much more tolerable than the average popular local rock band to be sure, but thats only saying so much. The Backsliders don't really do it for me either since I just don't like Reverend Horton Heat or the Muffs... sorry. And Team Evil reminds me of a more directly punk influenced version of a Frank Black solo record. Not bad, I suppose, but I'm not going to pay for it without hearing more. The whole show reminds me of OKCola.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It List: Wednesday 11/22/06

1. Lady Sovereign/Young Love (Gypsy Tea Room)

Jay-Z prodigy and crossover phenom Lady Sovereign will try to live up to the massive hype at the Gypsy Tea Room tonight. She is one of those rare and anomalous artists that is simultaneously on TRL and the only reason some withdrawn coolies I know will even attempt to dance. All I can say about Young Love is that they'll write some good car commercial music if Britt Daniel's hand gets tired.

2. The Party With DJ Nature (Rubber Gloves)

The greatest DJ at the greatest club who once remixed "The Greatest". I don't know what else to tell you.

3. Micah P. Hinson (Free instore 6 PM @ Good Records)


Micah P. Hinson/Chris Flemmons/Toppie Haynes (Hailey's)

If tomorrow's kickoff to the Holiday season isn't depressing enough for you, go to Hailey's and have a second helping of Micah P. Hinson after his free set at Good Records. Add a side of Chris Flemmons and you'll be staring blankly out the window while everyone else cheers on the Cowboys tomorrow. You are that guy in your family aren't you?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It List: Tuesday 11/21/06

Since this is a Holiday week, we plan on doing the rest of the week's concert listings tomorrow so that everyone who only has internet access at work can see them before they go off to do whatever it is they do for Thanksgiving. Check back with us throughout the rest of the week if you want because we'll do some updates here and there if we hear about anything cool going on around town.

Peter and the Wolf will be doing an in store performance at Good Records at 6pm. To be honest, I've only heard a handful of Peter and the Wolf's songs, but I've liked enough of what I've heard to think that the guy might be worth checking out, especially considering that the show is free. I would describe the songs I've heard as a kind of junkyard folk that seems to take inspiration from Tom Waits, Daniel Johnston, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, as well as some of the same uneasy and exotic strangeness that I've heard most recently in Beirut, who is one of the most surprisingly likeable artists to emerge this year in "indie" town. And as a side note: I find it funny that SNZ were commonly dismissed as part of the Cherry Poppin' Dipshits swing trend that went in and out of style in the mid 90's, yet their influence fingerprints have been pooping up on a lot of the "hip" blog buzz indie bands for the past few years. The Decemberists and Arcade Fire both come to mind, even if the SNZ influence has as much or more to do with performance style than music. Peter and the Wolf will also be playing at Club Dada tonight with some singer songwriter types that I don't really care for.

Elsewhere, Wanz will be doing the Lost Generation DJ Night at the Cavern, which has been reduced from a once a week event to a once or twice a month event. Wanz tells us that he has been struggling to maintain a crowd on Tuesdays, and I guess I'm not really surprised considering the obscurity of the music he plays and the day of the week he plays it. I just hope that more people go out and have some drinks with him this week because I think its really great that we have access to a rock DJ night where you're more likely to hear Suicide than Sufjan Stevens.

Finally, SHQ will be doing a screening of Who Killed the Electric Car? tonight at 8pm. The film documents the design, release, and subsequent disappearance of the GM EV1, a fully electric car that was put on the market in 1996. The car produced zero emissions, required no gas, and was apparently quite cheap to maintain. Almost without explanation or notice by anyone, however, the car was taken off the market and no fully electric car has been mass marketed by a major automobile manufacturer since (at least to my knowledge). GM maintained that its disappearance was due to a lack of interest, but the filmmakers seem to think that more sinister economic and political factors were at work in the car's demise. Sounds like a very interesting documentary. You can read more about it here.

11 Questions with Lansing-Dreiden

People who have read this blog regularly for the past several months probably know that I am a big fan of the New York art collective/band Lansing-Dreiden. Since first hearing their hazy psychedelic new pop a couple of years ago at a Waterloo Records listening station, I have continuously been amazed by their effortlessly mind blowing songs, their captivating visual art, and the overall organization, concept, and operational structure of the group itself. I imagine that a lot of people rolled their eyes a bit when they read that last sentence because people often become skeptical whenever they hear about art collectives that make music or musicians that make visual art. I can live with that I suppose. However, I'd like to assure you before we go any further: in each of the mediums that they utilize, these guys really pull it off.

Lansing-Dreiden is a band, to be sure, but they are also quite a bit more. Organized as an entity akin to both a corporation and an art collective, the group has produced two highly impressive full length albums, and absolute masterpiece of an EP called A Sectioned Beam, numerous visual art projects that have enjoyed quite a bit of success on the New York art circuit, and a literary journal containing original works of fiction written by various members of the group. All of their projects work perfectly as independent works of art operating in a single medium, but they also all have a common thread that ties them together in various thematic units.

For example, the group's latest full length, The Dividing Island, is an incredibly infectious yet subtle adventure through 60's psychedelic guitar pop, New Romantic synth pop, and bits and pieces of disco, 70's hard rock and glam. On its own, it is an amazing record (one of the best of the year) that requires no previous knowledge of the group or its work in order to enjoy it. However, when you learn a bit more about it and come to find out that it is a concept record based on a fictional story written by a member of Lansing-Dreident in the group's literary journal, the album takes on a whole new significance as a narrative work. The lyrics start to take on new meaning, and the tracks begins to seem more and more like a cohesive whole as opposed to individual pieces. And then when you see the group's self produced videos for the album, you begin to understand how the narrative elements are tied in with the music as the visuals transport the songs and story in a slightly different and unpredictable direction. The group creates these works and seemingly invites you to discover as many elements of their vision as you care to, but they also make sure that you don't have to do a lot of digging around to truly enjoy any small part of the whole.

I had originally wanted to do a telephone interview with the group, but they, like us, are anonymous in their work and prefer to do email interviews if at all possible. This worked for me just fine. I asked Lansing-Dreiden about their anonymity, their various projects, and the manner in which they conduct themselves as a unit. All of these aspects of the group's work are quite interesting, but if you aren't familiar with them, I would suggest listening to some of their music as soon as you can. I'm willing to bet that you'll develop an interest in the rest of their vision soon after.

What was the initial motivation for your band/collective to remain anonymous? Some have suggested that it is a gimmick, while your guys have said that you were more interested in building a "brand" for your project as opposed to linking yourselves to the work as individuals. Did shyness or self consciousness play any role in your decision? How many total individuals are involved in Lansing-Dreiden as a whole?

We don't see it as a gimmick. We are very interested in building a 'brand.' Shyness and such plays a role, for sure. The number of Lansing-Dreiden shifts depending on the project. 7 people played and sang on the last record.

I have read quite a bit about your conception of Lansing-Dreiden as a corporation, and I know that LD is involved in visual art and writing in addition to music. Does your anonymity make it difficult for your collective to do business? How do you go about promoting your work?

It's just a different way of doing things. It's got just as many ups and downs as the tried and true model of the 'high profile' celebrity. We're trying our best to run our company like a regular business and making necessary adjustments along the way.

The idea of a band as a small part of a larger art collective/artistic think tank/corporation has been explored in different ways throughout rock history. On one end of the spectrum, you get the early form of Scritti Politti, which was as much a group of friends doing drugs and reading books as it was a band, and on the other end, you get The Residents, who set up a very organized and structured corporation to deal with the business side of their art. What kind of organizational structure does Lansing-Dreiden have?

It's open and closed at the same time. We are a bunch of friends collaborating and trying to stay on the same page in a "laid-back" manner but at the same time we have a lot of filing cabinets and photo copiers.

Do your goals and inspirations in visual art creep in to what you are doing musically? How much does you work in one medium influence your work in another?

Yes, yes and Yes! We're always thinking about the whole picture... allthewhile, making sure each thing works on its own.

Could you tell us a bit about your literary magazine Death Notice?

Sure, it's 16 pages and about the size of the New York Times. It's a place where we can share some stories we're kicking around or have read somewhere and images that all serve to offer further info/readings on the theme of that issue. This last one was about the whole "Dividing Island" story.

Judging by the complexity of many of your songs and melodies, it seems that at least some of you must have some formal music training. What are your musical backgrounds?

It varies from music school nerd to sunday driver. The majority of us went to art schools but have been playing since we were kids.

I have read that your latest album, The Dividing Island, is a semi-concept record about a fictional island. Could you explain the concept if there is one? Have your other releases had a narrative conception behind their creation?

All our work comes from some narrative thread we're working with at the time. It ends up manifesting itself as everything from a sculpture to a song. The last record was about a Pangea-type island that splits in two, its inhabitants' opposing viewpoints cause a physical rift in the ground. These two forces are 'myth' and 'method.'

It seems that your music has evolved quite a bit since the release of the Incomplete Triangle. Where that album sounded very raw and rock oriented, A Section Beam was quite dreamy and psychedelic and Dividing Island is more snyth pop oriented. What is behind this shift? Changing influences? Improved musicianship? Simply a general desire to move forward?

It's all of the above. But we don't see the direction as forward or backwards. It sounds very cliche but we just do what feels good. We all like different types of music but we try to make music we all like.

Your music certainly builds bridges between the coldness of 80's snyth pop/goth and warmth of 60's psychedelic. Do you find these links to be natural, or did your purposely set out to create music that drew from influences that you saw as incompatible or in opposition on some level?

That's interesting. There are definite ways we tried to explore oppositions in a purely sonic sense. But it may have been more compositional or about instrument palettes. Sometimes that ends up creating a familiar production feel that people like to pinpoint or pigeonhole into a decade. The thing to keep in mind is that, if you look around, the culture's current "sound" seems to be "every sound available." This is something that our generation of artists may not always consider when they make whatever they are making, but it is happening nonetheless. There are a lot of bad things about it, like not knowing if the "avant-garde" can ever exist without any irony again. Kinda sad. But the main benefit is that the "stylistic mask" one wears is no longer actually relevant. What is relevant is the same thing that has been for centuries: a good tune--and hopefully one that tells a good story!

Do you have plans to record new material or tour any time soon?

Right at this moment... no. But we are in a self-imposed moment of stasis musically only because we have a lot of other loose ends to tie up elsewhere. We are constantly thinking about music and we plan on doing all those things as soon as possible.

What is your ultimate goal for Lansing-Dreiden? Which medium do you feel you have accomplished the most in? Is it fair to say that Lansing-Dreiden, as a corporation, makes at least some decisions based purely off a desire to make a profit?

The ultimate goal is something we can't imagine. It's not ours to decide. We haven't accomplished as much as we hopefully will. Right now we aren't really turning much of a profit because the money we earn goes right back into the company. We don't really base any decisions purely on making money. But, as making music, video/film, and artworks all together has proven to be ridiculously expensive, we have to consider these things if we want L-D to survive. The goal is really to have the company support itself with what it makes.

(Here is a video for their song "Glass Corridor")


Monday, November 20, 2006

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Joanna Newsom - Ys
2. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
3. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
4. Damien Rice - 9
5. Demetri Martin - These are Jokes
6. Radiant - We Hope You Win
7. Annuals - Be He Me
8. Tenacious D - Pick of Destiny: Deluxe Version
9. Bright Eyes - Noise Floor
10. Decemberists - Crane Wife
11. Icy Demons - Tears of a Clone
12. Akron/Family - Meek Warrior
13. El Perro Del Mar - El Perro Del Mar
14. Jeff Tweedy - Sunken Treasure Live (DVD)
15. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
16. Califone - Roots & Crowns
17. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
18. Pavement - Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
19. Baboon - Baboon
20. Skeletons & the Kings of All Cities - Lucas LP

It List: Monday 11/20/06

Nothing really going on tonight except Dallas Bad Ass Jazz Night at The Amsterdam. One of our longest running weekly recommendations.

Monday Morning Rock

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Weekender 11/17-19


Gil Mantera's Party Dream/ Grand Buffet/ Faux Fox/ Dj Gorilla vs Bear (Cavern): Man, these Gil Mantera guys look like jerks. Big jerks. But the good kind, you know? The kind you might want to see live because they're just silly enough to possibly piss everyone off, completely rock the house, or some combination of the two. Their video below is pretty funny, and the cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" on their Myspace page is nothing less than the shit. Throw in Faux Fox and you've got yourself a show. I think I can do without the joke hip hop of Grand Buffet, but their set might be a good time to head upstairs and see what Chris from GVSB has going.

Wax Fang (430 pm)- Free Good Records In store: Like I said the other day, I don't know much about Wax Fang, but I got my hands on some of their stuff the other day and I like it a whole hell of a lot. Their singer sounds like something in between David Bowie and Billy Joel, and thankfully their music falls much closer to Ziggy era Bowie rather than the latter. But I'm just saying its closer to Bowie than Billy Joel, which isn't really saying that it sounds much like Bowie at all. But it does a little. And what the hell do you care? Its free, and theres free beer, and Wax Fang is good... whatever their influences.

My Morning Jacket/Wax Fang (Gypsy Tea Room)

Islands/Subtitle/Blueprint (Hailey's): As I'm sure most of you know, Islands are basically a reformed and more pop-minded Unicorns, and like the Unicorns, they can be a lot of fun to listen to or extremely annoying, depending on your mood. For a couple of months earlier this year, I was concvinced that Islands' debut would be one of my favorite records this year. I still really like it a lot, but for some reason it just didn't have the kind of shelf life that you would expect from an album that is so pleasing at first... I saw the Unicorns live once a couple years ago and wasn't very impressed, but I'm willing to bet that these guys have improved a little since then. Basically what I'm trying to say is that I like Islands and I bet this will be a good show. I'm just not that excited about it.

ADD: Dj Nature will be spinning records at Minc tonight with Daz-I-Kue

The Good Sons (Wanz and Aaron Gonzalez Birthday Party/Scratch Acid Tribute)/ White Drugs/ Liz MacGowan/ Stag Film (Amsterdam Bar): Based on what I saw of the Good Sons performance a few weeks ago, I kind of wish that they would just be a Scratch Acid tribute band because they play those songs much better than the Birthday Party selections. Still a good time for the most part, though. White Drugs' live show should be well received by almost everyone who reads this blog, so I'd give it a shot if I were you.

The Angelus/Amanda Leggett/ The Dust Congress (Doublewide): Dust Congress is a Denton band that I don't really know too well, but I like what I hear. Maybe someone call fill us in on who the are, but in the meantime you should listen to "inuvikyellowknife" on their myspace page... they play very strong, creeping front porch folk, and they sound well worth showing up early to see.

The Who (American Airlines Center): 52 bucks gets you in the door. $202 gets you one of the good seats. Pete Townshend should start doing Viagra commercials and spare us whatever bullshit has driven these prices so high. Is there a puppet show or something?


ADD: Denton's excellent Zanzibar Snails will be playing what they term a "multimedia warehouse art happening" from 7-10pm at 1837 Corinth St. near downtown... just south of 30 and west of 45. I heard there are a lot of neighborhood toughs around there. Anyway, the art show, which will be going on all day starting at 10am, will feature the work of the Snails' Nevada Hill along with several other Dallas area "outsider" visual artists. The Snails will be playing the reception from 7-10pm, and will feature a five person line up with more live electronics and homemade microphones than they usually play with. The whole thing is going on at some place called Park in the Cedars... not sure what that is, but I think this will be a good time. I'm assuming its free.

Beach House/Over the Atlantic/The Spores (Amsterdam Bar): I think we've said enough about Beach House this week, so go check out their songs for yourself if you haven't already. And attention Indie Bros: girl show alert. Its a good thing.

The Melvins/Big Business (Gypsy Tea Room): I've been rocking out to the Melvins' 1993 classic Houdini for the past 30 minutes or so as I've been writing this... in fact, I've been listening to it on and off for the past four or five months as part of my great Melvins revivial, and I can't really explain why. Its funny, because describing the album can really be a matter of simply saying "grunge as fuck," but somehow it doesn't sound dated in the least bit. I'm actually pretty torn between this and the Beach House show, but I have a feeling that the Melvins will be playing shows for the next twenty years, and not having to park in Deep Ellum on Saturday night is a bonus. Big Business sounds pretty fucking good too, however, so who knows. I guess its hard to be in the mood for BOTH shows, isn't it?

The Elected/ Margot and the Nuclear So and So's/Whispertown 2000 (Hailey's)


Les Georges Leningrad/Dutchess Says/Eat Avery's Bones (The Cavern): Yeah, if you've seen LGL live like I have, then you know that this is going to be a great show. They kill it live, and their upbeat, no wave influenced noise/dance punk will translate very well in a small room like the Cavern as long as its loud. And I'm pretty sure it will be. Eat Avery's Bones are the natural local choice to open this show, and you really might want to get there early enough to see their 20 minute opening set.

Pilotdrift/Pattern is Movement (Hailey's)

It List: Thursday 11/16/06

Lots of stuff going on tonight so we'll get right to it:

Assdroids/Chief Death Rage/Christian! Teenage Runaway (House of Tinnitus-Denton): This would be a good and very cheap chance (donations requested) to see what you think of this week's feature band, C!TR. Its hard to tell what to think from the poorly recorded songs on their Myspace page, but from what I have been able to gather about them, I'm willing to bet that they are far from boring at the very least. And hey, if you don't like noise rock, you should really check out the Assdroids too! I don't exactly know what to make of their loopy free form electro noise, but it sounds like its either going to kick my ass or drive me crazy in a live setting. And thats the kind of bet I'm usually willing to take. There are a lot of goofy moments throughout the songs I've heard, but there are also many moments that seem to hit you across the face in just the right way. We'll see.

Strange Boys/Teenage Symphony/ Lindby/ Wild In the Streets (Rubber Gloves): Although they sound nothing alike, the Strange Boys and Teenage Symphony seem to be a great pairing for a live show. I guess the fact that both of them are so heavily influenced by the 60's is what does it, but the huge differences in their respective sounds just seem like nice compliments to one another. Add Wild In the Streets into the mix and you've got a great night. Lindby is a teenage indie pop band from Flower Mound that I don't think I've ever heard before... and despite how terrible that sentence makes them sound, they actually sound pretty good to me for what they are. They're obviously pretty decent songwriters, and I doubt from the sound of things that they'll really piss you off, even if you hate indie pop.

My Morning Jacket/Wax Fang (Gypsy Tea Room): The first of what I'm sure will be two really good shows. I've seen My Morning Jacket live before and they're very very good. Wax Fang is a band I don't know much about, but I like the little bit I've heard from them.

The usual stuff: Zoo upstairs at the Cavern, old school hip hop at Slip Inn, and Metro will be starting a new night at Monkey Bar.

And finally, Chelsea's birthday party at Doublewide will feature a couple good bands, and all the proceeds will go to Amnesty International, which is obviously a good thing. We'll let you guess who the good bands are: Record Hop/Lions/Saboteur/100 Damned Guns

Some Questions with Beach House

One of the most pleasant experiences I've had listening to rock music this year was discovering how much I liked Beach House'sself titled debut the first time I heard it. What I heard that first time was clearly something special: quiet, dreamy music that doesn't seem to come from any particular time or place but somehow sounds very familiar almost right away. Victoria Legrand's dark organs serve as a simple and powerful atmospheric backdrop to Alex Scally's gorgeous slide guitar parts that always seem to start off hidden beneath a fog of ghostly reverb but somehow manage to slowly find their way into the light, creating many of the album's most striking and memorable moments with restrained, surf influenced shimmers. Victoria's vocals, although not exactly precise or traditional, are extraordinarily effective in lending soul and sorrow to songs that often sound so detached that one might imagine them fading away into the distance at any moment. Basically, the contributions of both members stand out in different spots but come together seamlessly to create a series of very distinct moods that are pretty much perfect for this time of year.

I called Alex and Victoria tonight, on the eve of a show they were playing in Los Angeles with Ariel Pink, to ask them some questions about their band. I first spoke with Victoria when they were on their way to a hotel, but after a few interruptions caused by bad reception and the chaos of arriving in a new town, I picked the conversation back up with Alex once they settled down. Beach House is playing a Gorilla vs. Bear show at the Amsterdam this Saturday night, and although you might not have heard about it in the local "alternative" paper (at least I didn't see anything about it) , I'm sure you'll want to consider going once you've heard their music... if you haven't already. Here is our conversation:

What are you guys doing out in LA... playing shows I'm assuming?

We're playing a show tomorrow at Echo with Ariel Pink.

Oh cool. I've seen him live twice. Once he played a lot of album cuts and put on an amazing performance, and the other time he did improv for 45 minutes.

Yeah, it can kind of go any way with him. He's unpredictable.

So I guess I'll start with the usual stuff... how did you guys meet and how did the band come together?

Alex and I met about three years ago through a mutual friend. I had just moved to Baltimore from Paris where I was studying music and acting, and I picked Baltimore to live in because the rent was cheap and I already had some music connections there. We were in another project together before Beach House, which never really added up to anything, and one day we just started writing and Beach House was born shortly after that. We've been doing it for about a year and a half now.

And had you guys just been playing locally in Baltimore for most of that time?

Yeah, we were playing locally in Baltimore for most of that time. We played in New York and a few other places once and a while, but primarily stayed in Baltimore. We started getting some attention because of our local shows, and we actually recorded our album very quickly, several months into the existence of the band. The album was recorded in February and was mastered and done in March. We were signed a couple of months later.

So everything happened pretty fast?

Beach House moved gradually, but the process of actually getting a record out happened very quickly. We were very lucky.

Would you attribute that (the speed of the records release) to anything in particular? Did someone catch notice of you early?

I would attribute it to a lot of work and a lot of dedication to our stuff, as well as our energy and desire to put our record out as quickly as possible because we were already writing new material and we thought fall would be the best time to release it. I attribute a lot of it to our own ambitions to get our material out. If we hadn't been signed we probably would have released it ourselves, but as it turned out, Carpark records was looking at artists in our area and they just got a hold of us, which is how it all happened.

I've noticed that a lot or reviews of your album make reference to your name and use visual descriptions of beaches and the fall and things like that to describe the sound. Does any of that have anything to do with what you were writing about or thinking about while you were writing these songs?

Well, obviously its all related, but its not like the name Beach House guided what we would sing about. Its just that the name was a way we were trying to describe what we felt like when we were playing the music, like we were in another part of the world, on the beach or something, and the word Beach House just sort of popped out one day. Its all very naturally fallen into place, which I guess is what happens when you're trying something that makes sense to you. You find a sort of language that you can cultivate in a musical sense. I don't really think much about what I'm singing or how its going to end up, it sort of all comes out naturally. All our processes are very organic and we always just let every idea go.

I think you record is one of the few that has gained a lot "indie" buzz this year that really doesn't sound a whole hell of a lot like anything else from the past. Were there any strong, direct musical influences that you guys had in mind when you were writing this record?

I would say no, we don't have any particular or deliberate specific influences that we were trying to imitate when we were writing our songs. Alex and I loved the sounds that we created and found, and we sort of followed our instincts. We do share musical tastes, we both love music from the 60's and Motown and all that stuff obviously, so if there are any kind of influences brought to mind by our music, its just mostly referential without really being super conscious of anything. Its sort of just a big collage of all of our tastes. We weren't trying to sound like any specific artist at any point, and neither of us believe that that is how music should be. It shouldn't begin as an imitation. If it ends up sounding like something else, then thats the way it is, but in order to write songs, you can't think about what it sounds like or who it sounds like while you're writing. It has to remain somewhat innocent and protected. You can keep the things you like, but keep them in the background.

So are you saying that even if you had wanted to approach writing and recording songs with direct influences in mind, maybe you couldn't have even done it to begin with, or at least not as effectively?

No, when we write our material, we don't want to sound like any specific artist, and when we record, we don't look for a sound that sounds like any certain album. We say, when we write and record our music, "this is Alex and Victoria writing songs, we are just doing this and these are the sounds we like." We're not trying to imitate anyone. Inevitably, we're going to be put in some genre, like we're already being put in with shoegaze, and thats totally fine, but we're just trying to not let that affect how we approach our music. We' re trying to guard it a little bit. Labeling and all this stuff is fine if people need to do it, but for the artist, its very destructive and it actually creates too many thoughts in your mind where you become too preoccupied with what you sounds like and who you will appeal to. We try to very much remain in a more innocent place.

(This is the point where Victoria had to hang up because one of the other bands they were touring with needed directions to their hotel. I called back a few minutes later and talked to Alex, who answered the rest of my questions.)

What was the recording process like, and where did you record your album?

We recorded the album in my basement but with two very well trained and experienced recording people setting it up with appropriate microphones and stuff like that. We just kind of set up a studio in my basement and did it at home.

How did you guys get that faint drum sound? I'm curious because it really stands out to me throughout the record.

All different ways really. Some of them were recorded on to tape first and played like that, to get a sound that was very filtered. All of the drum sounds are filtered in one way or another, either by effects or recording process. We played all the songs live, or at least did the recording live. The drums were recorded before, by themselves, and were their own recorded part. Some of them are hand played, some are made using machines, and some were played on organs.

How important was it to you to record the album in the way you did? Was recording technique a big part of your vision for the record itself, or did it fall into place later as you were going about it?

I think production is 90% of making a record. I think tons of bands, in fact, most bands don't get a good recording. So it was really really important to us to get a recording that sounds like us or expresses our character or how we feel as we're writing our songs.

You guys have been getting a lot of press lately, and I wanted to ask you about the big Pitchfork review since people love to debate about how Pitchfork reviews affect a band's career in the short term. I was wondering if that review changed things for you, or sparked a lot of new interest in your band.

I don't know. I have a hard time answering that question. I don't know what attention was there, and I don't really monitor it. I'm on tour, and not around a computer a lot, so I don't keep track of that kind of stuff. Pitchfork seems to help. When bands get good reviews from them they end up getting a lot of attention, so I'm sure it helped us, I just don't know exactly what role it played. It also seems like Pitchfork fans are very fickle, like they like whatever Pitchfork says and then move on to the next band. Its like they like Pitchfork more than the bands almost. Hopefully that won't happen to us because we don't want to be a five minute band. We want people to just like the music and not think of it as some "new" thing.

People seem to put a lot of importance in Pitchfork reviews.

I'm sure we've had a lot better attendance at shows because of Pitchfork and everything, but everyone has been really nice so its hard to tell. I don't like to think about it too much because it kind of freaks me out. I just want to play and make music and let the press do what it does. I just want us to be ourselves.

So obviously we're doing this interview because you're playing Dallas on Friday. Have you been to Texas before? Do you have any impressions of it?

Yeah, I was in Austin recently. I liked it a lot.

Have you been to Dallas?

Just the bus station.

Any funny stories?

No, Texas looks wonderful. Everything looks big. Big cars. Big cities. Big freeways. Big people. I don't know.

Anything else you'd like to talk about?

No, we're trying not to think about things too much. We just want to make music and not plan too extensively, because it seems with all the things that have popped up recently, there are a lot of opportunities to lose your way and get very caught up in the meaningless bullcrap of the music world.

Is that something you feel a lot of pressure or anxiety over?

No, thats my point exactly. We're feeling no pressure, we want to keep doing exactly what we've been doing which is just making music and not trying to make the "right moves" or cater to anyone's opinions to get attention.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

May the Hate Mail Flow Like Water

So one of the most popular questions I've received via email over the past six months is "when are you idiots going to get a P.O. box?" Well my friends, that day is today. So now you can feel free to snail mail us CDs, press kits, and whatever else you want. Just don't send us any Anthrax. or Anthrax.

We Shot J.R.
PO Box 721261
Dallas, TX 75372-1261

We'll add this to the blogger profile as well.

It List: Wednesday 11/15/06

Looks like everything that you might want to do tonight is going on up in Denton....

first, as usual, Dj Nature's the Party will be happening at Rubber Gloves. I don't know what the crowd has been like for Nature up in Denton lately, but last Friday's Party at Zubar was seriously off the fucking hook. Another huge, random crowd with lines forming around midnight, tons of people dancing like you don't normally see outside of one of the big downtown clubs, and Nature, Select and Sober all playing fresh sets that kept everyone guessing until closing. If you like to dance and didn't show up, I feel bad for you. Central Booking basically owns the Dallas party scene right now.

Elsewhere in Denton, Mom will be making a rare live appearance at Andy's on the Square in Denton tonight with In Dot Dat. Mom's complex electro soundscapes are at times gorgeous, meditative and swirling, but at any moment can be overtaken by rougher, noisier parts that will throw listeners off almost completely... in a good way. Their songs build up slowly before they blast off, making you wonder how they got from point A to point B. Toe tapping music its not, but anyone who digs thought out, well put together experimental electronic music needs to hear these guys. They're a gem right in our own backyard.

And finally, for those looking for some metal/math rock stuff, Hailey's has a pretty decent show: These Arms are Snakes/Mouth of the Architect/The North Atlantic/Handbrake . We're not big fans of any of these bands, really, but These Arms are Snakes and Handbrake sound decent enough to at least do a little Myspace listening if this is your kind of thing.

(Not Really) A Guilty Pleasure

So I've heard various talk in recent weeks about the rising profile of Dallas' Hourly Radio, and until this point I've pretty much ignored it. I had heard them before here and there, and I thought their music was decent if somewhat forgettable. "Another post-punk revival band," I thought, "I can probably do without it." For me, the jury is still out on the band because I haven't had a chance to listen to all of their new material, but I have to say: their latest single, "Crime Does Pay," is pretty fucking right on.

I don't remember exactly where I downloaded it from, but I've listened to it several times this week and I'm really digging it. The song draws from a wide range of influences, but it has a predominant disco vibe a la Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," and also seems to take from New Romantics like Gary Numan and Thomas Dolby, as well as some of the less hazy moments of contemporary actually-worthy-of-the-buzz band 120 Days. Sure, its poppy as hell, and there is apparently some video floating around of a five year old girl singing it at a talent show or something, but the stomping disco drum beat and spaced out funk guitar should catch most of you weary local music observers by surprise if you haven't already heard it. Its much more of a dance song than a rock song, and its one of the most immediately catchy local tracks I've heard all year. And I've heard a lot of local tracks this year. I don't even know if Defensive Listening and Howard Bob Johnson are going to agree with me, but you should give it a try:

Hourly Radio "Crime Does Pay" MP3

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It List: Tuesday 11/14/06

VietNam/Current Leaves/Emil Rapstine (Rubber Gloves-Denton): This will be an excellent chance to catch two of the area's most accessible and intriguing acts, as both the psyche rock country pop of Current Leaves and the dark, spaced out americana of Emil Rapstine's The Angelus seem to appeal to broader categories of people in the area than many of the other local bands we discuss on this site. The best part is that both of them are actually quite good. Vice Records' Vietnam is a bit difficult to put your finger on, but they seem to be mainly influenced by bluesy 60's hard rock and Velvet Undergound. I remember reading a Pitchfork review claiming that they sound like Spacemen 3, but I absolutely dont hear any of that on their self titled debut full length, which is due out next year. The tunes I've heard are solid if a bit too straight forward at times, but I like most of the tracks. And no, they're not a typical Vice Records band, although they are from New York.

Profile: Christian! Teenage Runaways (by Defensive Listening)

Originating in The Church Of Latter Day Saints, the philosophy known as "Choose the Right" utilizes the Mormon concept of free will to explain the importance of earthly actions and the ways in which one's choices on Earth will affect their ultimate destiny. I'm not going to pass judgment on the concept in its religious context, but I do have something to say about how it might be applied to the often tedious exercise of forming a band. New bands almost always seem to "Choose the Right" when they start off, hoping that their safe choices in substance and aesthetic will affect their ultimate destiny in a positive way. You know the setup: Find some like-minded and similarly dressed dudes. List the "right" influences on your Myspace page. Use the "right" equipment. Assign each player to a position as if everyone was trying out for a sports team. Take few risks. Stay up to date with "trends." Play by the rules. This recognizable approach is taken by a wide variety of start up bands regardless of genre or place of origin, and the near religious rigidity of the process might be part of what makes many of the local shows I attend so completely predictable.

Fortunately, there is a new group from Denton that has momentarily saved me from the been there/ done that structures of local rock bands. They are doing all the "wrong" things so to speak, and I'm really thankful for it. They are Christian! Teenage Runaways.

The all female band's three members, Sashenka Lopez, Julie Mckendrick and Leanne Macomber have known each other for some time. Mckendrick and Macomber have played together since the late Nineties, and Lopez and Mckendrick started a Riot Grrl cover band last year with MacComber joining later. The band started writing and playing original songs and the concept for Christian! Teenage Runaways was born shortly after. I would name off the respective instrumental duties in the group, but the first time I saw them live they were trading off instruments back and forth in a flurry of onstage rotation that prevented me from figuring out who was supposed to be playing what role in the group. Turns out, no one plays a single defined role.

The times I've seen Christian! Teenage Runaways perform since that first night have been some of the most rewarding live experiences I've had in what has personally been a record breaking year for local show attendance. The band seems to be consistently and organically reinventing itself mid-performance, and when you see them, you almost get the feeling you're watching three really different bands that all happen to be great.

There are traces of the group's Riot Grrl Cover band beginnings in their sound, but that doesn't begin to cover the sonic territory that they've started to map out since. Spiky little guitar lines crawl in and around the nuanced and melodic bass playing which, especially in the higher register, is reminiscent of Galaxie 500's Naomi Yang or even the originator of the style, Peter Hook. There are louder more chaotic moments too, where barre chords come crashing through with all the subtlety of a nail bomb, and a brief instrument switch might immediately lead into a song that finds the band playing a keyboard beat laced with the gooey sweetness of a 60's girl group's collective coo.

Girl groups are counted as a definite influence on the band's music, and names like the Shangri-Las, Ronettes, and Supremes come to mind as particularly prominent. One big advantage of a revolving group of lead singers, drummers, bass players and guitarists is a constantly evolving spontaneity, and CTR is able to effectively utilize their ever rotating line up to produce unexpected surprises. I've seen the group dismantle the drum set for a song while Lopez stands on stage, plaintively singing her guts out while steadily keeping a snare beat. Sashenka has an exceptionally strong voice with a recognizable syllabic curl that carries with it the history of everyone from Lora Logic to the androgynous shrieking of the men and women of No-Wave, late 80's group UT, early Nineties Olympia and contemporaries such as Finally Punk, Mika Miko, and Animental. Basically, the influences come from all over the place.

To understand the band's bravery is to see Sashenka proudly proclaim that a turn on drums is the only the second time she has ever played drums, and then to suddenly hear the melodic finesse of Julie's bass notes locking in with a deceptively simple beat that wins over an entire uninitiated audience. Julie seems to be the anchor of the group, tackling the bulk of drumming duties and exuding the most confidence on the various instruments. Macomber usually sings the softer numbers with a detached yet haunting vulnerability, making it all the more entertaining when you hear her having a screaming contest with Lopez like she does at the end of the song "Isle 9". And when I say "scream," I mean actual banshee-like wailing where the ends of your mouth curl as opposed to the much more rehearsed kind that you'd expect from more "ambitious" local rockers.

Being an entertaining live band is a stated goal of CTR, and they are just as adventurous with their visual presentation as they are with their setup. There is definitely some humor involved in the decision to wear a bee hive wig in front of an audience, and when it's actually donned at the beginning of a song as if it were as important to the performance as a capo or a special tuning, it becomes even funnier. There has been some debate on this site concerning bands dressing up and their motives for doing so, and in this case I'm told that CTR is motivated by a mix of Glam-Rock influences, a desire to play with visual identity and the possibility of liberating themselves from shyness. When I think of other local bands that have unique approaches to onstage attire, I think of The Undoing Of David Wright and Eat Avery's Bones, and with company like that, the debate is all but settled for me. Some of our readers seem to assume that if a band spends time on having some sort of costume onstage, they must be skimping on their musical output. But I would counter that if a band is meticulous enough to worry about their live image in such detail, then they've probably put as much or more into their music. CTR is a band that pays attention to details, all the way down to the humorous little exclamation mark after the word "Christian!" This, in my book, is a good thing.

And speaking of their memorable band name, it was explained to me that it is a substitutional parody on the "Choose the Right" abbreviation or "CTR", which has been plastered on everything from Latter Day Saints neck ties to toe rings and socks. CTR take the joke further by pretending to be "Christian Teenage Runaway Whores...transients and what not.". This is a send up of the whole concept of choosing the right, and I want to express my gratitude to CTR for bucking local convention and making so many "wrong" choices in just the right ways.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart and an In Store Announcement

For those that are too lazy to look themselves, It List is below. We also wanted to let you know that Good Records will be hosting an excellent in store performance this Friday with Islands at 2pm and Wax Fang at 430. Keg. Heres the list:

1. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
2. Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch (CD+DVD)
3. Pavement - Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition
4. Joanna Newsom - Ys
5. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
6. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope: Special Edition
7. Regina Spektor - Live at Bull Moose EP
8. Annuals - Be He Me
9. Beach House - Beach House
10. Icy Demons - Tears of a Clone
11. Peter & the Wolf - Lightness
12. Skygreen Leopards - Disciples of California
13. Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson in Crime
14. Red Monroe - Red Monroe
15. Dosh - The Lost Take
16. Jeff Tweedy - Sunken Treasure Live DVD
17. Willie Nelson - Songbird
18. Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch:Baby Pack
19. Voxtrot - Your Biggest Fan
20. Fair to Midland - Drawn & Quartered EP

It List: Monday 11/13/06

So I bet you're sitting around saying to yourself, "hey, I have 28 bucks to flush down the fucking toilet tonight, but what the hell am I going to do with it?" I guess one answer would be to go to Gypsy Tea Room and see Joan Jett and the Blackhearts with Eagles of Death Metal and Riverboat Gamblers. Can you think of a more annoying thing to do on Monday night? Whenever Eagles of Death Metal are BY FAR the best band in any given line up, I would suggest literally flushing your money down the toilet rather than figuratively doing so by going to the show in question. If you actually feel like experiencing a Joan Jett performance for whatever reason, I bet you can turn on VHI Classics right now and see one within the next 30 minutes... either way, I'd suggest not putting another 28 dollars in Joan Jett's jukebox, baby.

Tonight, the truly prudent music consumer would go to the always great and always FREE jazz night at the Amsterdam Bar and save their cover charge allowance for some of the good shows coming up the rest of this week.

AND I almost forgot, you can head up to Denton's SHQ tonight to check out a screening of the film Before the Music Dies, a documentary on the ways in which major record labels and corporate media have been destroying the music business over the past few years. The film was purposely held back from release at major theaters, and is instead being show through a network of independent and DIY hosts such as the good people at SHQ. Mike Seman and the SHQ crew will be hosting the screening, which takes place at 8pm. Its free, but they ask kindly for donations.

Monday Morning Rock

We've gotta give a shout to our friend Justin of Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go for suggesting the following Monday Morning Rock video:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Weekender 11/10/06-11/12/06


The Party w/ DJ Nature/Sober/Select (Zubar): The monthly Dallas version of Nature's Rubber Gloves Party is always packed and loud and a whole lot of fun. If you want to hear the latest in just about every relevant genre of dance music, this is the place you need to be tonight. Bmore, dubstep, one drop, electro pop, hip hop, grime, and just about anything else you can think of. You will be hard pressed to find a more forward thinking DJ night in town. And its free, bitches.

The Pink Spiders/Strange Boys/Chief Death Rage (Doublewide): This of course is the good rock show in big D tonight... not only will Dallasites get a chance to see Chief Death Rage, one of Denton's best bands as of right now, but you can also check out the Strange Boys's new material for yourself. The Pink Spiders sound like pretty generic pop punk to me, but whatever.

Unknown Pleasures w/ DJG (Cavern): Dj G spinning underground 80's electro, goth and everything else.


The Willowz/Jack With One Eye/ Prayer for Animals (Club Dada): We've never had the chance to see the Willowz live, but I've dug em ever since their appearance on the soundtrack for Eternal Sunshine. I really think they'll put on a good live show since you just can't go wrong with loud, bratty psyche influenced garage rock. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Jack With One Eye has been up to.

Sean Kirkpatrick/ Will E. Lee (SHQ Denton)

Dub Assembly (Wax-2653 Commerce): A solid all dub event featuring several different DJs that we just don't have time to link right now.

Tilly and the Wall/Pony Up/ Ashburne Glen (Hailey's): I mention this show mainly because I'm pretty sure a lot of people reading this blog are into Tilly and the Wall... I'm not, but I'm doing this all for you! Pony Up is another one of those bands that can only be described as "Tampax Commercial from the early 90's" music.

Jolie Holland/Bosque Brown/Sonny Smith (Sons of Hermann Hall)


Ghostcar (Windale Tavern): Show starts around 930 at Windale, an infamous Greenville dive bar just south of Whole Foods, and is free as far as we know. Ghostcar is one of the few long running gems of DFWd music, and you absolutely have to see them live in order to know what I mean.

Be Your Own Pet/Awesome Color/ Red Monroe (Gypsy Tea Room): I guess this is the Thurston Moore understudy tour or something, but I have to admit that I probably like Be Your Own Pet more than I should... yes, they kind of sound like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and yes, most of their songs take from the most obvious dancepunk/post-punk references that you can think of. And yes, I still like them enough to give this show a shot. They do what a lot of other people are doing with an intensity and precision that your little brother's favorite MTV2 band couldn't imagine. Pretty much the same logic applies to Awesome Color, except you can just plug in "Thurston Moore's vocals" and "70's hard rock" into the appropriate places in the first sentence. I have also heard that they are very engaging live. Guess we'll see. Props to Red Monroe for getting on the bill of such a high profile show.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It List: Thursday 11/9/06

1. A big house party show in Denton tonight at 816 Congress will feature Anavan/Faux Fox/Chief Death Rage/ DJ Steven Void. You all know the sounds of Faux Fox and CDR by now I'm sure, and Anavan is an aggressive, synth heavy post-punk/electro dance group from Los Angeles that will be playing tonight as part of a small tour. They're nothing you haven't heard before to be sure, but they sound like they might just explode in the kind of small crowded room that the house party is sure to provide. This is probably going to be a shitload of fun. Faux Fox will be previewing tracks off their new EP ( sounds pretty good to me), which will be for sale at the show. As far as I know, the show is free. Steven Void (who has been a part of High Society events) spins a lot of very poppy electro, some harder dance/pop stuff (one of his Myspace remixes features Out Hud, for example), as well as touches of space disco and old school house. Very Solid.

2. While in Denton, you might want to stop by Hailey's for 80's house/electro with DJ G.

3. In Dallas, Zoo will be going on at the Cavern, where they will be playing a Willowz DVD in its entirety starting at 9pm. Afterwards, I think they'll be doing their usual collage of random cool video shit. Thats the only way to really explain their setlists without typing a whole paragraph of examples. The Willowz, who we're big fans of, will be playing Club Dada on Saturday. Haven't seen the DVD, but I'm curious...

4. Hip Hop at the Slip Inn will be happening as usual.

5. And do Red Light Knights, who are playing at the Cavern tonight, share members with Kings of Leon? Seriously, I'm asking, not making a joke. They sound exactly the same except worse. They're not bad to be honest, but come on...

We should have some feature posts tonight, so check back wit us.

New Strange Boys Songs

Hey, the Strange Boys finally figured out how to put songs on their myspace page... congrats guys! And it couldn't have come at a better time, because they've posted four brand new tracks that are all very good. Each one clearly signals a shift in focus for the band, but one in particular, "Author, Author," really stands out as quite a change. The song has some of the sad, medicated feel of Lou Reed's quieter solo stuff, and Ryan Sambol's detached vocal delivery works perfectly with Greg Enlow's clean piano. Good stuff.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It List: Wednesday 11/8/06

Two things going on in Denton tonight that should be well worth everyone's time. I know for a fact that they will be worth you money because both of them are FREE.

The first is the show we talked about the other day at House of Tinnitus, which will feature the following bands in (we believe) the following order:

The New Flesh
Daniel Inhumn
A Fail Association (a harsh noise band from what we can gather)
Chief Death Rage

Maybe someone from the house crew can jump on the comments and fill us in on the exact times and set order, but we're pretty sure that things get started at 8 o'clock. Last time the show was free and they had free beer, and we're hoping this time will be the same. However, they do ask for small donations for the touring bands. And just as an FYI to people that might not be inclined to go to a noise show: this one is much more of a hard rock show than a noise show, so you might want to give it a try.

Also, DJ Nature will doing The Party as always at Rubber Gloves. If you know you can't make it to the Zubar party this Friday, you might want to head up.

Oh, and don't forget about Flashlight Party's Radio Clash, where they will be spinning post-punk, Italo disco, new wave and the like at Haileys. Guess thats THREE free things happening in Denton.