Friday, December 29, 2006

On the New Year's Tip (The Weekender)

New Year's Eve is obviously the most important night of this particular weekend, so we'll start the list with Sunday and work backwards. There appears to be a few cool things going on around town on Sunday night, and several of them are happening in Expo Park, which might be a good place to be for anyone that just wants to hop in a cab, go somewhere and drink without worrying about running around all over town and avoiding the goddamn po-lice (at least in your car). Obviously there are a lot of house parties and things of that nature happening too, but if you want to go OUT out for New Year's, you can try some of this stuff:

Select/ Big J (Clever Monkeys) New Year's Party (Monkey Bar- 408 Exposition): My favorite thing about the Monkey Bar is that it isn't the Expo Lounge. Don't get me wrong, I liked hanging out in that place as much as the next guy, but if I hear one more person talk about how its "not the same, man," I'm going to have to get Marty McFly to go back in time and destroy the place by running into his other self or losing a Sports Almanac or something. The truth is that Monkey Bar has been holding its own all year with a lot of different hip hop parties and DJs that actually play music you haven't heard before, and their New Year's eve party should be a good representation of what they've been doing over there lately. Once you get past the Tikis, all that will be left is the fact that Select and Big J will be playing better records than just about anyone in town in a place that leaves plenty of room to dance or just sit around and be drunk. These guys know how to throw a party, and the fact that its free pretty much makes it a no brainer. Expect the usual diverse set from Select, along with a lot of good hip hop that you know you'll want to hear more and more with every alcoholic beverage you consume.

Happening just down the street at 842 1st Ave. (loft apartments above the Meridian Room and Bar of Soap) will be the High Society New Year's Party featuring Dj performances from Lolita Massacre, Paris Riots and Justin V. of the High Society crew. They'll also have several kegs and a bunch of booze which you are free to drink with the purchase of a moderately priced cup. Everyone is welcome, but if you want to go, just RSVP at the High Society Myspace page and let them know that you're coming. These guys (and girls) spin a lot of trash pop, hip hop, electro, dancepunk and pretty much anything else you can think of. Always a good time, this could either be a fantastic after hours spot or a place where you decide to camp out all night. A smart dance party where you're allowed to act stupid because the High Society kids are always acting like weirdos and having a blast.

At the same time just below the High Society thing, The Smoke will be doing their New Year's Eve party at Avenue Arts. Six bucks gets you in to hear a whole shitload of motown, northern soul and 60's psychedelic, and the BYOB thing makes it even better. Jerky drunk dancing is a strong possibility.

If you've got 50-75 bucks that you want to waste or use to impress someone you're trying to take home at the end of the night (presuming said person doesn't really have any taste), then you might want to try fighting through the lines of Republicans, trust fun bros, My Chemical Romance look a likes, snobby gay guys, ex Dallas Cowboys and strippers at Ghost Bar to see a half naked member of Pussycat Dolls and some DJs and stuff. I dig that "buttons" song ok and everything, but even trying to park at the W on New Year's eve is probably too high maintenance for me. Coke consumption is assumed.

The Gorilla vs. Bear approved Ghostland Observatory will be playing at the Gypsy Tea Room with someone named Dj Booth. Its a bit expensive to get in ($15 a pop) and yes, Ghostland is a bit derivative of a lot of the disco/dance punk bands that everyone is sick of, but they do what they do very well, and I don't see any way that this show will be anything less than fun (and I must admit to sorta digging on that "Sad Sad City" song recently too). I'd expect a big crowd at this one.

Elsewhere, Unconscious Collective will be performing at Lee Harvey's... I'm quite sure I'm not a Shanghai 5 guy (who are also playing), but UC is usually more than enough of a reason to take a short trip in Dallas.

Over in Ft. Worth, Koji Kondo is playing with Boogdish and Galuc Dadu at 1919 Hemphill.

As far as Denton, I'm not seeing a whole lot up there that I would be interested in. Of course Current Leaves is playing at Dan's, which is a good thing, but they also happen to be playing with the Drams, which is not such a good thing. Not that I have a bone to pick with dudes, I just don't feel the need to listen to the Singles soundtrack EVER again. And that's the truth, Ruth.

There might be some other random things going on in Denton that we just haven't heard about yet, so check back with us this weekend or take a peep at the comment thread. Now for the rest of the weekend, which is actually happening before all of this stuff:


Teenage Symphony/Sydney Confirm/Joey Kendall (1919 Hemphill):

A good show for Pop fans. Especially with the adorably mopey harmonizing of Teenage Symphony and the complex pop of Joey Kendall.


Shapes Have Fangs /The Party (Art Prostitute
- $10 cover with free drinks):

Shapes Have Fangs make their Dallas debut with this show. They list both The Monks and Ana Da Silva as influences and I'd like to see them on that alone. Top it off with The Party and you have another AP event that will probably be unlike anything else in Dallas.

Stumptone/Pleasant Grove/Dovehunter (Doublewide)

The Paper Chase /The Crash That Took Me /Hardin Sweaty And The Ready To Go (Zac Crain fundraiser Club Dada)

In Case You Were Wondering...

The Mavs are still better than the Suns. In fact, they're the best team in the league right now. That is all.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It List: Thursday 12/28/06

Druids on Parade/The Sandrags/Rocket for Ethiopia/Baile de Destruction (1919 Hemphill)

This show is all hardcore with some leaning towards early eighties thrash and some of it being more modern and spastic powerviolence. Baile de Destruction is a one man laptop and guitar noise act.

Pilotdrift/The Push/Red Monroe/St. Vincent (The Granada)

Pilotdrift are the Good Records prodigies that made a local splash by being the first act signed to the store's associated record label with the same name. The Push have a website with an intro that sounds a lot like Come on, Eileen. Local favorites Red Monroe are are making this their last Dallas show of the year before embarking on what looks like a very well planned tour in January. According to St. Vincent's Myspace page, singer Annie Clark has played with Glenn Branca but she's also played with The Polyphonic Spree. That's kind of like saying you've played basketball with Michael Jordan but you've also played with the "special needs" kids from your local middle school. I thought the songs on her page were well written and fairly pleasant, actually.

DJ G (Hailey's)

No cover, as always.

The Pumpers/The Terminals (J & J's Pizza)

Two entertaining and energetic bands with different approaches to the same genre. The Terminals play garage rock that's rooted in a lot of organ-heavy 45's from yesteryear. The Pumpers are dirtier and more punk influenced.

ADD: Lost Generation will be happening at Fallout Lounge tonight. Here is what Wanz will have:

"From 10pm to 11pm I will be showing Miles Davis Live at The Isle of Wight 1970. This concert took place 6 months after the recording of Bitches Brew. It is pretty sick and every member of Miles's band looks like they are on Acid.This week Dj Sets will feature: 1. the Best of 2006 mix which will feature my favorite records, best bands and DJ's I saw this year 2. a James Brown Tribute mix3. A garage rock mix that will rock your socks off."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It List: Wednesday 12/27/06

The Day God Died/Violent Squid/Chief Death Rage/Lindby (Rubber Gloves): Featuring a diverse line up to say the least, the headliner might very well scare the crap out of any indie pop fans that show up to hear Lindby, a band that apparently features three different dudes named Nick. Honestly, considering how young the Nicks are, Lindby's ready for Ben Fold's opening slot theater pop is pretty well put together, but you'll probably have a hard time listening to it for more than five minutes unless you're "totally into cute stuff." Elsewhere, you guys know the deal on CDR, one of the best bands in Denton as of right now, and judging by what I've learned about Violent Squid in recent weeks, there is absolutely no telling what you're going to get with their set, but it will very likely be highly experimental and a lot of fun. Maybe Ty can tell us whats up in the comment thread. Denton's The Day God Died is a tight and rhythmically forceful metal band that you could probably label "speed" if you wanted to, although they probably aren't as fast as, say, Slayer. We'll just say that if you're looking for rock tonight, there is probably nowhere else you should be.

Flashlight Party/Gazelles/Wild In The Streets/Jeremy Yocum (Hailey's): Unfortunately, this will apparently be the last Flashlight Party featuring the full crew, as the guys are packing up for New York and Austin some time this week. I've had the pleasure of seeing Flashlight Party spin on a number of occasions, and I must say that even though they probably play some of the same records you'll hear at hipster dance parties around the country, they really seem to have a natural ability to move a crowd, keep them into it, and throw in enough surprises to keep things interesting throughout their sets. Great taste and a party throwing instinct are pretty much the fundamentals of being a good DJ, and these guys have both. I'd expect a big crowd to send them off (or big for Denton during Christmas break anyway), and even though I can't say a ton of good things about the predictable MTV2 playlist keyboard pop of Gazelles, I'd imagine this show is going to be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

2006 Good Records Top 30 Sales Chart

1. Midlake-The Trials Of Van Occupanther
2. The Polyphonic Spree-Wait
3. Grandaddy-Just Like The Fambly Cat
4. Wolfmother-Wolfmother
5. Band Of Horses-Everything All The Time
6. Nobody & Mystic Chords Of Memory-Tree Colored See
7. Theater Fire-Everybody Has A Dark Side
8. The Flaming Lips-At War With The Mystics
9. Thom Yorke-The Eraser
10. Black Angels-Passover
11. Danielson-Ships
12. Red Monroe-Red Monroe
13. Beirut-Gulag Orkestar
14. Built To Spill-You In Reverse
15. the pAper chAse-Now You Are One Of Us
16. Decemberists-Crane Wife
17. Sufjan Stevens-The Avalanche
18. Raconteurs-Broken Boy Soldiers
19. Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Show Your Bones
20. TV On The Radio-Return To Cookie Mountain
21. Fair To Midland-Drawn And Quartered EP
22. Sufjan Stevens-Songs For Christmas
23. Regina Spektor-Begin To Hope
24. Belle & Sebastian-The Life Pursuit
25. Joanna Newsom-Ys
26. Astronautalis-Mighty Ocean & Nine Dark Theaters
27. Vetiver-To Find Me Gone
28. Starlight Mints-Drowaton
29. Pilotdrift-Water Sphere
30. Sufjan Stevens-Illinois

New Years and the Rest of this Week

We're not like those other lazy shits that take the week off from blogging so they can be with their "families" or whatever. We're just lazy shits with nothing else to do but write, and we hate families, family values and freedom anyway.

So in that spirit, we'll be doing a couple good posts this week, including a year end look at local music.

We'll also have a post full of all the new year's eve stuff you could possibly want to know about, and we'll be posting it some time on Thursday to give you a head start. So if anyone has any new years events that you think we might want to write about, drop us a line at and give us all the details.

No It List Today

Couldn't find anything today. Feel free to post anything you know that's going on.

Tuesday Morning R&B

Here is a pretty good story of the power that James Brown had at one time in American history.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown R.I.P.

An early link to the story.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Weekender 12/22-12/23

Kind of a slow weekend, which isn't surprising considering Baby Jesus' birthday is right around the corner and we all probably have a lot more terrorist fighting (shopping) to do before the big day. However, there are a couple cool things going on that might be worth your time. Unfortunately, we don't have time to write much about them today, but you can hang:


Sober and Select of The Party @ Passport Exhibit Gallery (3112 Swiss Ave 8pm): Select and Sober will be spinning at this in-store holiday party for P.E.G. starting at 8pm. Free alcohol and food will be available, along with a wide selection of hot chicks. Its a great shoe store too, and if you haven't been you might want to see what they have if you happen to be the sneaker wearing kind.

The Church of Light and Sound/Heart Rapers/Koji-Kondo (Rubber Gloves): I don't really know much about the bands playing this show to be honest, but the little pieces of lo-fi rock I heard on The Church of Light and Sound's myspace sounded interesting, as does the progressive, angular punk of Koji Kondo.

The Strange Boys/The Shapes/Dj Panda Flower (The Cavern): This is the Lollipop showcase, which are usually pretty fun. And if you haven't seen the Strange Boys with their new keyboard player, you might want to go hear what they sound like these days. Dj Panda Flower focuses on 60's stuff and has a great record collection from what I can tell.


Happy Bullets/Ashburne Glen/Prayer for Animals/Cartright/The Naptime Shake/Tame...Tame and Quiet (Club Dada): This is Callithump's Christmas showcase, and I would highly recommend catching Tame Tame and Cartright live. Both worth the price of admission alone.

Top Ten 2006 (By Defensive Listening)

10. Mission of Burma: The Obliterati

It was already incredibly shocking when Mission of Burma released their first full length in 22 years with the strong effort of 2004's OnoffOn. Even more shocking was that their newest release was even better. Somehow Burma have grown more furious in their old age. Roger Miller's guitar playing is every bit as innovative and experimental as in the days when he freed the U.S. punk/indie scene from being stuck in power chord oblivion forever. Also noteworthy because Bob Weston hardly engineers records anymore.

9. Noxagt: Noxagt

How many bands could destroy the most outstanding element of their sound and still be worth a damn? With their '06 self-titled release, Norway's Noxagt did just that. Noxagt owed much of it's worldwide popularity to the powerful viola playing of former member, Nils Erga. With Erga as a focal point, the band's music was a bizarre mix of thudding hardcore rhythms and distorted yet gorgeous string accompaniment. The difficult task of making convincingly extreme music with a classical instrument was no easy feat, yet Noxagt kept it up on a string of compilations, albums and 7 inches. So when I heard that they had dropped the viola altogether I was doubtful that the band could remain relevant. One listen to this record and all doubts were crushed under the weight of the seven tsunami-like tracks that comprised the album. The precise stop-start song structures mixed with an almost nauseating repetitiveness made for one of the more intense listening experiences of the year. I thought this smoked just about anything on Southern Lord, not to mention that new Don Caballero record.

8. Dr. Dog: Takers and Leavers EP

This EP was excellent enough to hold it's own with most of these full-lengths. I was glad that Dr. Dog released anything to tide me over after 2005's triumphant Easybeat, an album so good it was like finding out the White Album had an unreleased third disc. Takers and Leavers finds Dr. Dog mining some dangerous territory. When a band starts veering off into spoken word you always get a little concerned that they're losing it. Luckily, they keep it together with their unforgettable harmony-choked melodies. And the talk-singing (and talk-talking) grows on you after a few listens. Two of these tracks will be on their newest full-lenghth which is tentatively scheduled for a February release. Judging by the quality of the EP that full length will most likely make it on the Best of list in December 2007.

7. Nina Nastasia: On Leaving

I was pleased to find Nina Nastasia had somewhat of a return to form after what I thought was a just okay third record. A curious change in labels from Touch and Go to super trendy Bristish imprint FatCat also didn't bode well for this being as good as it is. I should have had more trust in the woman that gave Boom Bip his finest moment. This album didn't seem as dense as the truth-in-advertising desolation of 2003's Run To Ruin. The songs are more obviously pretty without being cute and the chamber rock elements don't threaten to outweigh the strength of the material with cornucopian novelty. Nastasia seems genuinely comfortable in a sound she has worked on for quite some time. You can always tell it's her and that's pretty remarkable in a sea of singer-songwriter soundalikes.

6. Japanther: Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty

Japanther has the kind of career a lot of bands can only dream of, constantly being asked to perform in world renowned art galleries and being considered "important" enough to be written about in highbrow periodicals that aren't traditionally the intellectual stomping ground of rock groups. They outdid themselves by performing live as part of a multimedia puppet rock opera that was a collaboration between conceptual artist/theorist/critic Dan Graham and master puppeteer, Phillip Huber. The story is a satire of 60's youth culture and actually has some really funny references sprinkled throughout. The "Crimson and Clover" sample that pops up briefly before disappearing I found especially genius. The inclusion of this album on the list is kind of cheating really, since there are some of Japanther's best songs from other releases included or reworked here. But they are mixed in with the narrative from the art piece with Japanther providing beats and sound-scapes behind the storytelling. The result is an enjoyable concept album that not only leaves you wishing you could have experienced one of the performances, but also pulls off the rare accomplishment of being both accessible and intelligent.

5. Finally Punk: Finally Punk

This Austin, TX quartet released a debut that is every bit as joyous and fucked up as I hoped it would be. The sixteen songs on their self-titled CD capture a uniquely gifted band drawing on influences I wish were more commonplace, especially in Texas. The homemade Kleenex shirt that one of the band members wore said it all when I got to see them live after waiting most of the year to do so. There is definitely that German group's chirping and squeaking spirit of quirkiness that runs through most of the songs. There are also charming subtleties like the tossed in jazz chord or a little runoff lyric that you might miss at one of their frantic live shows. I really enjoy Finally Punk's unparalleled ability to piss people off. I always play the song "Missile" for people to gauge their reaction because it's sure to be extreme when dealing with a song this rebelliously inane. With the opening verse of "What the fuck, missile?!!...What the fuck?!" in between de-tuned chord bursts, this is either a real crowd pleaser or the stupidest, most infuriating thing you've ever heard. I say it's the best song I've heard all year. Don't hate them just because Karen O thinks they're beautiful.

4. Blonde Girls: Husky Deluxe (7-inch)

It's been a long time since a local band has made it into my year-end list on the strength of a 7-inch. This isn't just an a-side single with a throwaway b-side. This is a handful of some of the most exciting pieces of recorded music to come out of North Texas in some time. Whenever I've thrown it on I can't believe it didn't come from Baltimore, Providence, Chicago or some obviously "cooler" locale. Instead they hail from North Texas' best kept secret, the culturally superior Fort Worth. Hearing a song like "Duchess" makes it evident to me that Blonde Girls would have fit right in on Skin Graft Records circa 1996 or so. That's high praise indeed considering what was going on then with bands like Lake of Dracula leading a full on No Wave resurrection that has just now caught on in the past few years. Throw on this little white slab of vinyl and let it resurrect another almost forgotten musical concept: completely fucking shit up.

3. Uzeda: Stella

Can a group of docile middle-aged Italians be the most commanding band on the planet? Apparently so, judging by the acrobatic performances on Uzeda's "Stella", the group's first full-length in eight years. The songs unfold and constrict with long winding structures that are spiked with an array of hammer-ons, pull-offs, and all of the other aluminum scrapings of guitarist Agostino Tilotta. These high pitched theatrics are anchored by the bellowing rumble of a rhythm section that would almost never be caught dead playing the laymen's 4/4. Uzeda would be a terrific instrumental band but they have the added bonus of Giovanna Cacciola's breathtakingly beautiful vocals that stretch and ache like a widow wailing at a funeral. In fact the terrific first track is called "Wailing". I was lucky enough to catch their performance at Touch and Go's 25th Anniversary party back in September, and was ecstatic to find this recording lived up to the intimidatingly good live show.

2. Danielson: Ships

This was the year that Danielson really arrived. From their unlikely beginnings on Tooth and Nail, to their triumphant turn at All Tomorrow's Parties, to their feature-length documentary, it seemed like a band with so much to offer would always be overshadowed by a less talented collaborator. For better or worse, they probably owe a lot of the attention they've garnered this year to a single review on that notorious website which shall remain nameless. But this is no fly-by-night act that could be made or broken by any handful of "tastemaking" blogs or one critic's gushing praise. There is substance and a history to this group that makes their well deserved rise to fame much more akin to a band like Deerhoof, who make guest appearances on this crowded record. Both bands released great album after great album, progressing exponentially with each release, until the public had no choice but to notice. The luxury of a band conducting themselves that way is certainly endangered in today's instant gratification symbiosis between the New Media and the insatiable info addicts we've all turned into. On the contrary, this might be the first Danielson record since their second album that I don't feel is necessarily better than the last. But I do know that it's much more imaginative and engaging than just about any of this year's excessively hyped records. "Ships" wastes no time and dives straight into a song crackling with the energy of an unwavering intent and sense of purpose, the powerful "Ship The Majestic Suffix". By the time the fourth track and main single "Did I Step On Your Trumpet" kicks in with it's minor acoustic intro, it's obvious that what you're hearing will be considered classic. This is in spite of the singer having one of the most widely debated vocal styles in music today. I recommend the documentary to anyone who scratches their head anytime they hear this band. I want to add that I thoroughly enjoyed watching Daniel Smith scold a young crowd at Emo's last summer for not knowing who opening act Jad Fair was. Even Christians value being up on your underground music history.

1. Coughs: Secret Passage

So I'm at this party and it's that weird twilight hour where everyone has that glazed look in their eyes and are staring vacantly at each other from across the room. Things are winding down, the band is loading out, couples are leaving with arms crossed, ready to give each other the silent treatment all the way home. The lights go up in the kitchen and everyone is dispersing from the fridge, stuffing whatever beer they can in their pockets like a bunch of little rats who have somehow scammed cheese from a trap. It's the part of the night I hate, when the desperate and the lonely reveal themselves. And then a horrific sound shatters the silence, the band, the beer thieves, and the couples. Someone puts on a record that is completely the opposite of this pathetic scenario. It's sharp sax bleats, poly-rhythms, and the clicking stabs of percussive guitar noise. Then a tortured shriek and the party starts over at two in the morning, only much improved. It's sounds like Lydia Lunch collaborating with Einstürzende Neubauten, completely potent and toxic. A small group of kids start stomping around the room and yelling all the lyrics out in unison and they're frightening the stragglers. The music is so immediate and vicious, that I swallow my pride and ask someone who it is. "Coughs", I'm told. Don't you love when you ask who a band is and they have some ridiculous name like Coughs? The LP was recorded by rising recording stars, Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins, whose masterful engineering allows the music's sharp edges to bare themselves and cut through all of the bullshit I had to hear this year about how cool it is to be influenced by Bread. This record was a sobering reminder that not all indie rock is the yuppied-out Jetta commercial that publicists, advertisers, and even the bloggers want you to believe it is. "Secret Passage" is the proof that all those yellowing back issues of Forced Exposure, Chemical Imbalance, and Puncture really did predict the future. A lot of the challenging ideas in independent music from the past thirty years still leave much to be explored and this album completely embodied that for me. It helps that every song is pretty much perfect but for that alone, I say it's the best record of the year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

We Shot J.R. Showcase @ Art Prostitute

One of the great things about the internet is that it has sped up the international news cycle to the point where there is almost no delay between an event taking place and the appreance of "news" coverage of said event. For example, the results of the recent election in Venezuela that kept Hugo Chavez in power were available on Drudgereport (I refuse to link to that sack of shit) before the election was officially over. In another noteworthy example, George Allen's Macaca speech was posted on Youtube the same day he gave the speech, effectively starting the downward spiral that caused him to lose his Senate seat and abandon all hopes of a presidential run. And now, a mere week after our concert at Art Prostitute occurred in downtown Dallas (of all the crazy far-away places!), we are able to post some pictures of the event here on the worldwide web, providing you with an almost instantaneous look at the events that are currently shaping your world AS THEY HAPPEN! Thank god for us.

But seriously folks, the Art Prostitute show last Friday was a lot of fun, and we just wanted to thank Krispee Ones, Chief Death Rage, Faux Fox, Great Tyrant and The Party for playing (everyone honestly played great sets), James from Metrognome for running the sound and bringing a bunch of equipment (it was a huge help), and everyone else who came out to the show for watching the bands and giving us money. We were surprised and happy to see so many people at the event, and we are also pleased to report that the show was a (relative) financial success for everyone involved. To me, this is a very crucial point and one that needs to be openly discussed more often. Of course, we were thrilled to have been able to put on a show featuring some of our favorite local bands in a great venue, but the fact that the bands, DJs, sound guy and venue all made decent money off the event is what is really crucial to me. The fact that Dallas can support a concert such as this is very encouraging, and I hope other bands and promoters who might be interested in putting on similar shows take notice. If people realize that they don't have to cater to the lowest common denominator of bad local bands and lame bars in order to actually make a profit off of a show, then who knows what kinds of things might start happening around here? Of course, I'm not saying that this was the first good show to achieve financial success in Dallas this year, I'm just trying to express my pleasure in being involved in the process and finding out that you can, in fact, make it work for everyone.

Two more shout outs:

1. Girls that tried to steal stuff or whatever in the bathroom: What the hell were you thinking? Not that it wasn't kinda cool to almost have a girl fight break out during the show, but what were you trying to steal, exactly? And why were you trying to steal it? Last time I checked, Pawn shops didn't buy or sell a lot of art magazines or contemporary paintings. But maybe I'm going to the wrong pawn shops.

2. People that left before The Great Tyrant's set: You really, really, really missed out. Despite what the band described to me as some problems with their equipment, they put on one of the loudest, most overwhelming and intense shows I've seen in Dallas all year, and I am now officially going to try to see them play live every chance I get. Everything they did blew me away, and I'm really expecting big things from these guys in the very near future.

Again, thanks to everyone that came to the show or played in it. And I seriously have no idea who those masked WSJR people were.

It List: Thursday 12/21/06

Wanz is playing records at Fallout Lounge tonight. I wanted to share this message he had about it, because I agree completely:

Tonight goes out to Tower Records which closes it's doors today for the last time. That's it folks. Tower was the last national music retailer that a record store in the traditional sense. From now on if you wanna get weird imports, back catalogue classical, Jazz, or World music you are screwed. Good records and Cd World still carry a wide variety, but nowhere near the deep catalogue that Tower carried.

Come by have beer and toast to Tower Records and the future generations who will never know the experience of walking into a big record store is like.


Zoo: A Visual Menagerie (The Cavern)

DJ G (Hailey's)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It List: Wednesday 12/20/06

This Is Radio Clash w/ Flashlight Party (Hailey's-Denton)

Looks like this might be it tonight people.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best of 2006: Local Artists Lists

So we thought it might be interesting to ask some of our favorite local musicians and artists (as well as a local music writer and a member of Voxtrot) to list their favorite records and/or songs from 2006. We told them the lists could be as long or as short as they wanted, and we asked that they limit their selections to music or music related items that were released or occurred in 2006. The responses we received are below (yeah, I know its a massive post. Deal with it. If we ever figure out how to do that page break thing, we'll do it.):

Michael Chamy (Observer writer and member of iDi* amin and Zanzibar Snails):

Wolf Eyes Human Animal (Sub Pop) and Black Vomit w/ Anthony Braxton (Victo)

Wolf Eyes just blew the field away this year. It’s hard to fathom how anyone could have better control over broken machines, creepshow thuds, and squelching electric currents, weaving it all together with powerful restraint and reckless fury. Human Animal alternates between harrowing and mind-melting, and the live set with avant-jazz legend Braxton is just pure magical intensity, a redefinition of what music might be.


Insomniac Doze (Temporary Residence)

A Japanese combo that sounds like Explosions in the Sky playing black metal. Totally gripping.

Alan Sparhawk
Solo Guitar (Silber)

Low’s Alan Sparhawk takes a surprising left turn into meditational Krautrock. Beautifully patient instrumentals with an ancient, almost menacing edge, well-tempered with minimalist layers of soothing drones and loops.

Ghostcar Too Strong/The Art of Transition

There has been a sighting of the first-ever studio Ghostcar album after all these years, and it smells vaguely like Miles’ carcass mixed with the ashes of the Rhodes piano these guys blew up in the middle of redefining electric jazz for the devil-may-care improv-rock set.


They’ve toned down the guitars, but Andrew Huffstettler’s freakishly bombastic intensity rings clearer than ever, as does the band’s proclivity for hiding dissonant bits nestled inside Newbery Award-winning songs. Well, if they gave Newbery Awards to songs.


hotel, hotel allheroesareforeverbold (lo bango sound)

My Education played my wedding, but I want these Austin/Denton/Arizona dudes to play my funeral. Ornate violin/guitar/drums wafting in an early Kranky Records abyss.

March of the Carpenter Ants
Us>Jesus EP

This is my random MySpace discovery of the year. A Columbus, Ohio duo who breathe more life into mangled electronics and circuit-bent textures than Sonic Boom could ever do alone.

Black Happy Day
In the Garden of Ghostflowers (Silber)

Featuring members of Stone Breath and Lycia, an eerie shotgun wedding of folksy medieval dirges and magickal ambiance from the dark side of Stonehenge.

Fort Recovery (Misra)

Indie-rock perfection can be off-putting to some, but not when Will Johnson’s honest, gritty and idiosyncratic songs are at the heart of it all.

Boris & Sunn 0)))
Altar (Southern Lord)

Not always all it promises to be, nevertheless, locking in and listening to this frappe of low-end doom and hushed gossamer dream states is like peeling away the layers of a fascinating eternal fruit from the great beyond.

supersilent 7 (Rune Grammonfon Norway)

Haven’t yet shelled out for this import DVD, but if it’s anything like the last DVD-only live release from this 100% improvised jazz-trained sound-sculptor combo, it’s musically and visually cinematic in a way that both music teachers and connoisseurs of extreme music can agree on.

Notes From Underground, Strategies of Beauty Festival, July 1@Rubber Gloves

This often chaotic Denton fivepiece was in command like never before that night, offering a series of captivating teases and buildups, helped along by sax player Mike Forbes, before loosing an ear-splitting, whiplash-inducing maelstrom that damn near blew the lid off the place.

Savage Republic’s tribal-punk clinic at Room 710 in Austin during SXSW

Austin indie rockers Fivehead’s homecoming circus of a show at Porchlight Popfest during SXSW


It’s hard to beat the intimate and unique events that happen at the House of Tinnitus and (sometimes) J&J’s Pizza in Denton, but in terms of overall venue, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal studios is hard to beat. The bar-separation layout couldn’t be better.

- Local label lo-bango sound’s upcoming drone/drift series of 3-inch discs, in editions of 333 each.
- The return of FW’s Chimeneas (guitarish Josh was in Africa for much of 2006)
- A Great Tyrant record
- A new Shiny Around the Edges record (special guests galore)
- Second editions of Strategies of Beauty and Dead Echoes
- Continued improvements at the Metrognome and Secret Headquarters
- Notes From Underground as a seven(!)-piece
- More interesting new bands

DJ Sober of The Party

Ratatat Classics
J Dilla Donuts
Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory Tree Colored See
The Rapture Pieces of The People We Love
Milosh Meme

Jared Van Fleet of Voxtrot and Sparrow House

-----grizzly bear, yellow house
we played with these guys twice this spring, before their album came out, and i knew very little about them beforehand. those shows indicated that they were extremely talented musicians and songwriters (not to mention really nice guys), but the music didn't affect me fully until i finally heard yellow house. this record seems to balance itself perfectly in places where it could easily fail: the music is complex, but never pedantic, and it pulls from a diverse range of genres, influences, moods, and motives, without ever seeming disingenuine or contrived. somehow, through all of that, i still found the record immediately appealing, in a way that almost obscures its overwhelming accomplishments in songwriting, production, arrangement, and (true) experimentation. paradoxically, it's exactly that lack of pretension that underscores yellow house's greatest qualities.

-----joanna newsom, ys
the milk-eyed mender introduced joanna newsom as a precocious talent, if somewhat polarizing. while cynics dismissed her voice and lyrical vernacular as cloying and postured, that album's concise and poignant melodies were strong enough to demand attention... and attention reveals a perspective and approach as mature and honest as it is unique, with songs that transcend the barriers of arrangement, style, and aesthetic. ys is anything but concise, and requires perhaps even more patience, but it delivers an equally compelling experience. this is really a record to sit down and enjoy with the lyrics and the liner notes. with an a-list of iconic collaborators, this album could have been a mess of competing visions, and it's really a testament to the restraint and empathy of van dyke parks (and all of the involved parties) that ys maintains cohesion as well as it does. it's a beautiful accomplishment.

----tv on the radio, return to cookie mountain
my first exposure to many of these songs was in prospect park in brooklyn, where tv on the radio played my favorite show of the year. their performance that night (which featured guests including the antibalas afrobeat orchestra) prompted me to buy their album as soon as i returned home, for which i was immediately grateful. while their recorded energy does not equal the all-out explosion of their live performances, it does showcase their equally daft senses of production and arrangement, revealing a whirlwind set of fully-realized songs that work as well in a living room or a bar as they do on a stage.

-----vetiver, to find me gone
i'm not sure what's in the bay area water, aside from the body of frank lee morris, but they should start exporting it, whatever it is. here andy cabic turned in a beautifully subtle record that pushes vetiver into their own place, finally... out of the pidgeonhole-reach of lazy journalists who would like to reduce the collective output from that whole community of diverse talents to a singular movement or statement. this record really grew on me after many listens. i did say it was subtle. also, noah georgeson is a name more people should be familiar with.

-----dr. dog, takers and leavers EP
dr dog just might be the best band making music in the united states. actually, fuck it, they are. to be completely honest, i still haven't been able to hear this EP in its entirety. some things you just know, and i just know that dr. dog inspires a hyperbolic reaction from me. on that note, their show at big orange during SXSW was the best show that week.

-----sound team, movie monster
we in austin have been anticipating this record for a long time, and for good reason. for years, sound team impressed local audiences with their artistic ambition and excellent live musicianship. this 'debut' only hints at sound team's diverse capabilities, as evinced by their live performances, outtakes, singles, and self-released recordings. even in spite of its limited scope, it easily ranks among the year's most accomplished releases, filled with well-balanced sound textures and melodies that are impossible to predict (or forget). misunderstood by a few shallow-sighted critics, and perhaps not immediate enough for radio, movie monster was a largely overlooked but undeniably promising debut from a band that is working to define what it means to be DIY artists.

-----hot chip, the warning
it would be worth it just for the melody introduced in "colours" at 2:21. fortunately the rest of the songs hold up just as well. this year i've been particularly concerned with bands who i feel are actively pushing pop music in new directions, and hot chip certainly fit that description. obviously throughout the course of the year this record was over and overplayed, but i still can't find it annoying, which is a rarity for me.

-----peter and the wolf, lightness
lightness is for many people an introduction to red hunter, revealing an extremely talented melodicist and songwriter with a wide (bipolar?) range of influences and aims. the stripped-down production (with help from josh duke) highlights a group of songs that are strongest at their core, which is kind of the point, isn't it? with an equal balance of self-aware humor and unselfconscious honesty, the album is at once playful and emotionally moving, as complex as the nostalgia which seems to have provided much of its inspiration.

-----cat power, the greatest
a beautiful record from one of my favorite current songwriters. one of the things i appreciate about chan marshall is her intuition for how to take advantage of the talents of her collaborators in recording and producing her own songs, and i for one fell in love with the classic arrangements and mostly straight-ahead presentation of the songs on the greatest, played by some of the best-known session musicians in american music. the album feels to me like a triumphant, if bittersweet, celebration over internal conflict. in short, it was good for me.

Wanz Dover

1. Liars "Drums Not Dead"- album of the year. Album of the decade. I can't really emphasize enough how mindblowing this record is. After all of these years of Sonic Youth Knock offs these guys really broke through to next barrier and then some. It’s dissonant, melodic, disturbing, peaceful, abstract, with a hook around every twisted corner. I read a review of this record earlier this year in a local paper that pretty much dismissed it as a “Bunch of Noise” which let me know that journalists don’t always listen to the records they review. This is the missing link between Brian Wilson, MBV, Sonic Youth and Boredoms. The most original statement I have heard in way too long of a time. And they do it with a sly sense of humour and their tongue placed firmly in their cheek.

2.Scott Walker “The Drift” – I hope I am making music this incredible when I get his age. Hell I hope even get close anytime in my lifetime.

3. Jesu “Silver” – If you ever wondered what Kevin Shields would sound like backed up by the Melvins here it is. This record has been criminally overlooked. Shoegaze for Metalheads on codine.

4. Ellen Allien and Apparrat “Orchestra of Bubbles”- Germans rule and so does this beautifully constructed record by 2 of my favorite producers. They both step outside of their comfort zones to bring something new to the table.

5.Hot Chip “The Warning” - great songs to sing along to. Great songs to dance to. This record is pretty infectious.

6. Clark “Body Riddle” – I came to this record late in the year. Warp needs to get more stuff like this out.

7. Boris “Pink”- Fuck Yeah…..hook and horns sign on one hand…..a joint in the other.

8. Burial “Burial”- I got into a lot of Dubstep this year, but this record stands out above all others. Even Nurse with Wound has this mysterious guy in his myspace top 16.

9.The Knife – “Silent Shout”

10.Mission of Burma “The Obilterati”- They are back and rock way more than all of the kids still ignoring them.

Honorable Mentions:
Brazilian Girls “Talk To La Bomb”
Mission of Burma “The Obliterati”
Slayer “Christ Illusion”
Spank Rock “yoyoyoyoyo”
Marked Men “Fix My Brain”
Squarepusher”Hello everything”

1.The Futureheads – Worry about it Later(Switch remix)
2.The Liars – The Other Side of Mt.Heart Attack
3.Uffie – Pop the Glock
4. [A]pendics.Shuffle – Award Winning Actor
5.Benga – Star Wars(The Hatch VIP)
6.Arthur Russell – Springfield (DFA Remix)
7.Hot Chip – Just like We Breakdown(DFA Remix)
8.Ellen Allien – Just a Woman
9.Klaxons – The Bouncer
10.Throbbing Gristle – Hot on the Heels of Love(Carl Craig remix)

Faux Fox

1. Krispee Ones/S.O.C.
2. Chromatics
3. Chief Death Rage
4. Cadillac Don
5. San Serac/The Internet
6. Golden Boys
7. AIDS Wolf
8. Mahjongg
9. Great Tyrant
10. Crystal Castles
11. Glass Candy
12. Telepathe
13. Laura Palmer
14. Sean Kirkpatrick
15. Strange Boys
16. Danava
17. Snow Foxxes
18. Chamillionaire
19. Indian Jewelry

1. Prince William
2. Steven Void
3. Mikey Apples
4. Wild in the Streets
5. Lisa Light
6. Nature
7. Sober
8. Select
9. G
10. Tommy Boy
11. Wanz

Sean Kirkpatrick

1. Scott Walker – "Jolson and Jones"; I'm a huge fan of Walker's early work, but nothing could have prepared me for this bizarre masterpiece.
2. Shoplifting – "Male Gynecology"; This track contains some of the most innovative guitar playing and boldest lyrical statements I heard all year.
3. Andre' Ethier – "Didn't I Love You Better than Him"; There wouldn't be so much shame in the love song if more people knew how to write and sing them as perfectly as this.
4. Liars – "It Fit When I was a Kid"; That part that goes,"Crystals flying everywhere" kills me. Too bad the live show was such a disappointment.
5. Pink Mountaintops – "Lord, Let Us Shine"; Pseudo-gospel hymn, druggy lo-fi bedroom gem, wartime noise march. I have a party in my head every time I listen to it.
6. Mudhoney – "It is Us"; Yeah, they've still got it.
7. Chris Garver – "Put the Papers Away"; Someday I'll write lyrics as cool as this. Well, actually I probably won't.
8. Califone – "Pink & Sour"; It's like 'Bone Machine' and 'Remainin Light' had a baby, and Rutili spins his signature yarn over the top.
9. Mastodon – "The Wolf is Loose"; It would take most bands 12 minutes to accomplish what these guys do here in 3:30.
10. Ghostface Killah – "Shakey Dog"; Unstoppable. Yeah, just try to stop it. You can't.
11. Destroyer – "European Oils"; I only recently discovered Destroyer. What the hell is going on in Canada that's causing people to write songs like this? Obviously I'm a sucker for the elegant piano playing too.
12. M. Ward – "Poison Cup"; The song and voice have a timeless quality. This dude is (almost) the Roy Orbison of indie rock.
13. Neko Case – "Dirty Knife"; With such a strong vocal, you almost don't notice what a creepy song this is.
14. The Arm – "I'd like to Make a Complaint"; I thought for sure 2006 would be a big year for this Austin band upon hearing tracks like this, but alas we saw their demise.
15. Matmos – "Public Sex for Boyd McDonald"; I saw them play in Philadelphia. The encore featured real, live ass-spanking.


Beach House's Beach House is a really great record. They're really pretty live too.

William Basinski's Garden of Brokenness was very interesting, although not quite as amazing as his disintegration loop anthology.

Colleen never falls short with anything every released and her album Colleen Et Les Biotes A Musique, a record made using only music boxes, is really fantastic.

A Hawk and a Hacksaw- The way the wind blows. Its the drummer from Neutral Milk Hotel. In this band Jeremy Barnes plays all sorts of instruments including a hat with bells on it. He also does some stuff on Beruit's album, which is good, but not as amazing as this record. If you are into Balkin gypsy tunes, then give this a listen. Kocani Orkestar is a huge influence on both of these band and is also worth a listen.

On the note of world music, we just found out about this group from africa called Konono No. 1, who are phenomenal. they build amps out of old car stereo's and broken megaphones. they also build electrified thumb pianos. I'm pretty sure they're working with Bjork for something on her new album. who cares if they put anything out this year, they fucking rule.

Eluvium put out an ep called When I Live By the Garden and By the Sea, which is really good. Talk Amongst the Trees remains his masterpiece.

Animal Collective's People EP is really swell. We're looking forward to anything these guys produce. Girl Talk's Night Ripper was a pretty interesting album.

Man Man's Six Demon Bag kept us laughing and stomping for a good portion of this year. Grizzly Bear's Yellow House is very well done and pretty.

Benoit Pioulard- Precis its pretty much along the lines of Beach House and Grizzly Bear. Very good bedroom pop.

Juana Molina- Son is the last record we bought, and it is beautiful. I love love love this record. cant wait to see her live one day.

CJ Davis of Good Records

1. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
2. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
3. Beach House - s/t
4. Skeletons & The Kings Of All Cities - Lucas LP
5. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
6. Icy Demons - Tears of a Clone
7. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
8. Bibio - Hand Cranked
9. The Gentleman Losers - s/t
10. Danielson - Ships

McKenzie Smith of Midlake

1. the dears- gang of losers
2. joan as police woman- real life
3. the devics- push the heart
4. fionn regan- the end of history
5. band of horses- everything all the time

Tommy Atkins of The Great Tyrant

Om- Conference of the Birds: cycling mantra-like bass and drums with chanted vocals. beautiful, heavy, and hypnotic.

Orthodox- Gran Poder: Black Madonna worshipping doom from Spain. riffs that manage to be classic and refreshing at the same time, notes drawn out to the perfect length, sudden waves of free jazz drums, droning tremolo and reverb drenched vocals. probably the only new doom band to bother with

Current 93- Black Ships Ate the Sky: beautiful and sad album based on David Tibet's dreams of flying black ships ushering in the apocalypse. dark folk featuring great strings, guitar work, and piano. loads of great guest musicians and some of Tibet's best lyrics to date

Scott Walker- the Drift: surprise of the year. thick blocks of sound, sometimes reminiscent of late era Swans, with Walker's pained and broken voice crooning bleak and bizarre stories. leaves you with the feeling you've just heard a truly fractured psyche

Corrupted- El Mundo Frio: hour + song from Japan's heaviest band. quiet passages of layered guitar, nearly sub bass, and harp lead into massive walls of noise and guitar. spoken as well as impossibly guttural vocals. at one point near the middle, theres even a harp solo. amazing.

Khlyst- Chaos is My Name: James Plotkin (OLD, Phantomsmasher, Khanate) and Runhild Gammelsaeter (Thorr's Hammer). sick blasts of destroyed guitar, drums, drones, and some of the most horrific vocals to ever come out of a human being. at times quiet and unsettling, others almost unlistenable. one of the more challenging and rewarding releases this year.

Slomo- the Creep: slow motion, low-end improv. not like the hundreds of instant-drone releases, as it actually moves, changes form, and keeps you engaged despite the incredibly slow pace

Coffins- the Other Side of Blasphemy: perfectly done doom in the vein of Winter or a slower Celtic Frost. nothing particularly groundbreaking, just slow thick and loud. compulsive listening

Urfaust & Circle of Ouroborus (split) - Auerauege Raa Verduistering: particularly the Urfaust side. mid paced, gloomy black metal with strange, high pitched, dramatic vocals. the faux modern classical passages are a bit of a bore, but the rest is a confounding and highly addictive listen

Shiny Around the Edges

For whatever reason, 2006 was the year of our favorite music being made by friends or friends of friends (well, except for one notable member of royalty on this list). And, as all lists go, this is just a sampling, really.

Stumptone – Gravity Suddenly Released Dense guitars and beautiful, sprawling songs, like country music filtered through Failure’s “Fantastic Planet.” Not officially released yet, but has been in constant rotation in our home.

Alan Sparhawk – Solo Guitar
Al from Low exploring guitar soundscapes that at times are reminiscent of a barge slowly crossing a grey lake before a snowstorm envelopes all.

Blair Harris – Songs on her MySpace page
All year, we’ve been riveted by her intimate songs like poems transmitted in code by ghosts that show up on old cassette tapes recording static.

Josh T. Pearson – “The Clash” video
God Bless Texas... that’s the way to play guitar.

Lite Brite – Self-titled CDR
One half of Mom, this is an ambient mix of samples, classical guitar, and cello, that, like Stumptone’s CD, has been in our player quite a bit.

Bosque Brown – Cerro Verde EP
Mara and her guitar on vinyl. If you listen to the words you will be thinking about them for a long time after the needle has left the record.

Notes from Underground – Their live shows Pick a show, any show from 2006, and it was the best show of the year.

The pAperchAse – Now You Are One of Us
The most disturbing and straightforward work of art we’ve encountered in 2006. Layered brilliance with Sean Kirkpatrick’s piano a perfect foil for John Congleton’s angular, near-metal riffs and bitingly direct poetry.

History at Our Disposal – Symbols in the Architecture
Shifting time signatures, soaring vocals, subtle electronica, driving folk, the frenetic percussion of Record Hop’s Josh Prisk, all combine to provide a collection of songs that further entrench HAOD’s Jason Reimer as one of our favorite songwriters and performers.

Prince – 3121
We do not doubt for one minute that, in fact, he and his friends drink champagne from glasses with chocolate handles. This record IS the party, just add friends and libations.

Wilson Omora of Oveo

IdI*Amin- B.C.E.
this album, despite its "no-fi" (aka. totally mono, thanks dconstruction *sarcasm tag*) aesthetic and its pegging as a dark sort of free-jazz outing, stands on its own as one of the best local releases this year, unfortunately the pressing was way to small and not nearly enough people heard it.

Violent Squid- several free releases and a video
Ty and his cohorts did so much amazing shit this year. Along with the two releases that I picked up at rubber gloves (which were both incredible by the way), they also managed to do a perfectly sleazy video at the UNT union FOR FREE... and they managed to get people excited about it! seriously, if you can't find any other reason to love these guys, at least you can appreciate their omnipresence

Chris Garver- everything: E4 E5, the December EP, his Strategies of Beauty set, etc. EVERYTHING Chris Garver does is golden, and 2006 has been his year.

Robedoor- Unsummoning (not local)
These guys are a group to watch out for, for real. I know that the market for "doom metal" and this kind of dark drone stuff is way over-saturated at the moment, but these guys do it right, when they do it at all. This band is coming at something familiar from so many new angles that I think it would be a crime for someone not to notice. Maybe they should change their name though.

El Aviador Dro y Sus Obreros Especializados- Electrico
This slightly sub-par compilation of tracks from the best spanish electro group ever wouldn't even have made it on to my list if it wasn't for the fact that it is THE FIRST AVIADOR DRO US RELEASE EVER. That being said, I am glad that this band has finally been formally imported.

Warmer Milks- Radish On Light
This album just kicks ass, in every way. It is the best rock album of the year, best noise album of the year, best noise-rock album of the year, best bluesy psych-rock album of the year and overall best album of the year.

Growing- Color Wheel
This album is an argument for why people shouldn't give up on guitars. and finally Leslie Hall- Doorman's Daughter My fiancee has been listening to this album non-stop, and I have to say that it is the best fabulously over-the-top bedazzling gem-fest this side of the milky-way.

Jason and Matt of Eat Avery's Bones

Jason Burgess:

bands I once loved but now hate of 2006: Islands; Eagles of Death Metal.

catchiest songs of 2006: Bogota-Bipolar Bear; It Fit When I Was a Kid-Liars.

best show of 2006- Liars/Apes/Deerhunter @ gypsy tea room

most lop-sided show of 2006: Final Fantasy (really good) and The Curtains (really bad). (8/16/06) (hailey's)
top guilty pleasure of 2006: Tenacious D- The Pick of Destiny.

Matt Burgess:

favorite albums:
bipolar bear man mountain
sonic youth rather ripped
whirlwind heat types of wood
dmonstrations night terrors, shock!

favorite music video: the horrors "sheena is a parasite"

favorite shows attended: whirlwind heat (emo's) (6/22/06) sonic youth (gypsy tea room) (6/24/06) deerhunter/apes/liars (gypsy tea room) (5/27/06) attractive and popular/the strange boys/the undoing of david wright (rubber gloves) (4/21/06) swan island/mika miko/the gossip (hailey's) (9/23/06)

Aresene Houssaye of Oveo

The unreleased record by The Undoing of David Wright. Sparrow/Hawk. Christian Teenage Runaways. Heater Okular Nerves. Rob and Amelia. Yetzer Hara. Fringe. Opera (a group from France). Dan Paul. Hotel Hotel and P.D. Wilder. iDi * amin and Zanzibar Snails. Saturday Night Wrist by Deftones. Chromatics. Art Naif by Sally Paradise. Night Game Cult. Jasmyne Rose. A Scanner Darkly the film. Cry Blood Apache. Zom Zoms. Ettrick. DJ Nature. Back Stabbath. Akie Takada. I like You by Black Tie Dynasty. Shiny Around the Edges. V for Vendetta the film. Gym Mat Nap. Violent Squid. Black Dahlia the film. Warmer Milks. Paul Baker. Ghost Tape. Dreamland Recordings. Venison Whirled. Unk. One Umbrella. Aviador Dro at Rubber Gloves. The Angelus. Apocalypto the film (Thanks Jason in North Hollywood!) Notes from the Underground. Fra Pandolf. EAB. Dream Tigers. Marie Antoinette the film. Nimbus. Faux Fox. Roger O’Donnell. Masmod. Kace. Nevada Hill. Julie’s neighbor that played the flute for us that one night (sorry I can’t remember your name).

Lars of Undoing of David Wright

My favorite release was the new pAper chAse record. Didn't keep up with much new shit other than that... I keep on digging up weird international 80's post-punk bands.

It List: Tuesday 12/19/06

The Strange Boys/Attractive And Popular/Sticky Buns/Velma Loves Daphne (Rubber Gloves)

A strong lineup tonight divided evenly between straight-ahead garage rockers and a couple of dance-oriented acts. Strange Boys and Velma Loves Daphne definitely share a lot of early 60's influences, though the former have mellowed considerably in their approach to song writing. Velma Loves Daphne are trashier in a Pebbles box set kind of way, with the vocals sometimes reminding me of a young Neil Haggerty. Unfortunately, their name reminds me of one of my least favorite local bands of all time. Their music, thankfully, does not. Sticky Buns is a DJ duo that plays a lot of beat-heavy indie rock, profane electroclash, and even some Hall & Oates. I saw them back in the fall and thought their selection was well thought out while also really fun. I don't know why they haven't gotten more attention locally. I preferred them to many other DJ's I've heard this year. Finally, Attractive and Popular are from Louisiana but play here so often they're sometimes confused for locals. They have deservingly struck a deal with the highly influential GSL Records to release their full-lenght debut. They're an intense live experience mostly due to the wonderful contrast between a confrontational lead singer and the hypnotically robotic drumming.

Monday, December 18, 2006

2006: Albums of the Year Mix

2006 was a pretty strange year for me, and many of my interactions with music over the past 12 months have been quite different than those I've had in years previous. Writing this blog has certainly had a huge impact on the way I think about, talk about, and even listen to music, but its hard to say exactly what kind of changes in taste and attitude the experience has brought about. On the one hand, it has forced me to think a little more deeply about the music I listen to, and its even given me the opportunity to talk directly with a few of the artists that have released great records this year (we've been fortunate enough to interview both #1 and #2 on this year's list). But on the other hand, I feel that writing this blog has often put me in the position of having to judge certain artists and pieces of music too quickly in order to keep content moving, and I know I've grown a little more cynical about the music business due to greater exposure to the hype machine that seems to dictate so much in the industry these days.

Blogging and personal issues aside, however, I must say that I've been generally let down by much of this year's crop of "important," "breakthrough," and "buzzworthy" bands, even though I can't tell whether this is due to changes in my own taste or some general drop off in other people's. I'm not sure if my preferences have simply shifted away from relatively accessible contemporary "indie" rock like Wolf Parade, Spoon and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (all of which appear on my 2005 list), or if there just weren't as many releases in 2006 that combined artistic merit and commercial appeal the way those records did. Do I just not get The Hold Steady, Sound Team, Danielson and Band Of Horses, or are those bands simply less compelling than their blogger approved counterparts from last year or the year before? Of course, its not as if my 2006 list is completely void of items that will appear on many other year end lists (you'll see many such records listed below), its just that compared to last year, or any recent year for that matter, a larger percentage of the allegedly "significant" new releases of 2006 have failed to strike me as particularly exciting or even pleasurable to listen to. Has Pitchfork lost its nerve, or am I less cool? Is the Gnarls Barkley record as annoying as I think it is, or am I being unreasonably grumpy in my dismissal? Like many things in life, the answers to these questions probably lie somewhere in between the extremes I have offered here, yet I still can't help but feel less in step with guitar-centered "indie rock" than I've been in previous years. I've spent a lot more time digging through the vaults and discovering older music this year, and I've generally been less excited about new music all year long. So sue me.

That being said, there has been a handful of great records released this year, including a few that I would consider classic. Below is a list of my favorite records from 2006, along with some MP3s for you to sample.

Honorable Mentions:
Ricardo Villalobos Fizheuer Zieheuer
Tim Hecker Harmony in Ultraviolet
Wilderness Vessel States
Six Organs of Admittance The Sun Awakens
Skygreen Leopards The Disciples of California
Vetiver To Find Me Gone
Lupe Fiasco Food and Liquor
Ghostface Killah Fishscale
Om Conference of the Birds
Excepter Alternation
Kompakt Total 7
Califone Roots and Crowns
Beirut Gulag Orkestar
Beach House s/t
120 Days s/t
Lindstrom Its a Feedility Affair
Growing Color Wheel
Johan Johannsson IBM 1401: A User's Manual
Scott Walker The Drift

The Top Ten:

#10- Holy Shit Stranded at Two Harbors: I continue to be fascinated with just about everything Ariel Pink is involved with, and this record features some of the best material he has ever produced. Working with songwriter Matt Fishbeck seems to bring out a clearer pop sensibility in Pink, as many of these songs sound like his solo tracks minus some of the wandering and goofy surrender that sometimes holds his material back just a bit. The fractured, distant production and disco influenced 70's pop found on this record have the unmistakable fingerprints of Ariel Pink for sure, but sometimes its nice to listen to him follow through with an idea and wind it down at just the right time. "I Don't Need Enemies" LINK

#9-Clipse Hell Hath No Fury: One thing I really hate is when music critics/bloggers put an obligatory hip hop record on their year end lists and proceed to intellectualize the shit out of said record in order to find the perfect balance between indie smarts and street cred. I hate it so much, in fact, that I almost left this record off the list all together just to avoid being accused of such things. But unfortunately I can't ignore Clipse this year, because leaving this record off my list would be nothing more than a lie, and a pointless one at that. Both MCs' lyrical phrasings are impeccable and their delivery reeks of an understated and compelling cockiness, but to me the real story here is the Neptunes' return to form. The production on this record is chilling, distant and creepy, complete with sparse, minimal drum programming and some of the strangest sampled and synth sounds I've ever heard on a Neptunes track. Clipse does a good job of convincing the listener that they are genuinely pissed off and vicious, but the Neptunes experimental production makes it all the more thrilling. Anyone thats equally sick of same old same old mainstream rap and backpack hip hop should take notice of this record. "Mr. Me Too" LINK

#8- Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band Second Attention: There really isn't anything particularly new or revolutionary about the songs on this record, and in fact, its probably the most stylistically and structurally conventional album Wooden Wand has produced to date. Fortunately, the relatively straightforward nature of the album is actually one of its strengths, as it finds Wooden Wand writing bold, accessible and smart songs that combine traditional country and folk influences with the iconic lyrical tendencies of folk-rock-country fusion songwriters like Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons. The words are precise, intelligent and clearly delivered, and I dare you to grab this record and tell me that there aren't at least three songs stuck in your head after the first listen. This is one of those rare records that is stylistically retro in form but completely fresh in delivery, driving home the point that this kind of music can still be exciting when its done so goddamn right. "Portrait in the Clouds" LINK

#7- Junior Boys So This is Goodbye: Sometimes its a little hard to figure out when I should be listening to this record. Is it a sit at home and read kind of thing, or is it a Friday night staple? The funny thing is that I've tried it in both situations, and it seems to work equally well across the board. Sure, most of the songs are dark, cold and dry, and some of them are even really sad. But the more uptempo tracks, fused with the sounds of early house and the spirit of New Romantics, Kraftwerk, Human League and Suicide all seem perfect during those moments when you're about to go on some kind of adventure and are excited by the fact that you have no idea whats going to happen. It sounds like a break up record that somehow spends as much time being excited about the future as it does mouring the past, and its complexity is quite refreshing. Anyone who has become cynical about neu wave should give this record a chance, because the Junior Boys come off as time machine rather than a capsule, and the best part is that you can't tell whether they're dragging you to the past or ushering you into the future.
"Double Shadow" LINK

#6- Indian Jewelry Invasive Exotics: Invoking the ghost of Spacemen 3 with a Butthole Surfers Ouiji Board, Indian Jewelery's first full length was a late arrival to my best of list, but with very good reason. Each time I listen to this record, I discover that I'm more and more impressed with the fact that less and less seems to be happening on each track. Indian Jewelry lock on harsh, metallic and otherwordly tribal grooves that are both frightening and mesmerizing, reminding the listener of PIL, Red Crayola and a really pissed off My Bloody Valentine while they blow concepts like form and choruses completely out of the water. That might sound like bullshit, but its somehow the truth. I think people often forget that Throbbing Gristle was formed out of what was essentially a pseudo-hippie art commune (albeit a very dark one), and I'm really glad that Indian Jewelry seem to revel in that fact. "Dirty Hands" LINK

#5 Comets on Fire Avatar: Throughout 2006, I've been slowly admitting to myself that I, on many levels, am a total classic rock dork. You got a problem with that? I don't, and its partially because of the enlightening experience that is listening to Comets on Fire. Not quite as noisy, loose and furious as their previous work, Avatar is much more structured and deliberate that anything Comets on Fire have released, but that doesn't mean its any less compelling. In fact, when one of their relatively subdued songs begins to take off into the kind of psyche rock guitar explosion they are known for, its clear that Avatar might actually showcase the perfect version of Comets on Fire, the one that the Cream fan inside me has been waiting for ever since I first heard them. "Lucifer's Memory" LINK

#4- Boris Pink: I've heard a lot of long time Boris fans complain that Pink is some kind of step backwards or compromise for the band, but I have to say that I just don't understand that sentiment. Of course, this record has gained a lot more attention in the media than any of Boris' previous work, but sometimes things like that happen because an album is actually really good. This is one such time. After easing you in with a sprawling shoegaze influenced opening track, Boris takes you on the psyche rock ride of the year, serving as a good reminder of how dumb the average metal band is and how wimpy the average indie rock band is. This album really opened me up to a lot of the heavier music I've started to enjoy this year, and its relentless energy is the exact kind of overwhelming fun I need these days. "Pink" LINK

#3- Oneida Happy New Year: I've spent a long time trying to figure out what the hell to say about this record, but I just can't seem to find any good reference points to introduce Oneida to anyone that isn't already familiar with them. What I can say is that Oneida seems to somehow combine the ambitious structures and precision of jazz and prog rock with the organic warmth of psychedelic pop in way that pretty much no one else even attempts. Whether they're playing pounding drums and electric guitars or spacing out with quiet acoustic guitars and soft vocals, I always have to ask myself where the hell these guys and their songs come from. And its nice to have no idea. "The Adversary" LINK

#2- Lansing-Dreiden The Dividing Island: I'm having the opposite problem with this record: I've probably said too much about it over the course of the year. So instead of describing how it sounds once again, I'll just add that I've been wondering why this album didn't have more of a cross over appeal than I thought it would when it first came out. Is it because these guys publish a literary journal? I don't know, but I have serious doubts that anyone with a pulse can listen to this record a few times and not enjoy it. One of the best things about L-D is the way their songs grow on you, and this record is no exception. And when I say "grow on you," I don't mean "gets a little better every time you hear it." What I mean is "the songs fundamentally change and take new forms as you discover more and more about them and begin to realize how catchy they are." But I'm sure you already knew what I meant by that. "A Line You Can Cross" LINK

#1- Liars Drum's Not Dead: To me, this record is just about as perfect as I possibly could have hoped it would be, and I've listened to it and thought about it more than any other record released this year. All year long, I've returned to it and enjoyed it in different settings and moods and I still can't seem to wrap my head around the way these songs flow, startle, and take form before they break down and build up again a track and a half later. This is one of those rare concept record that seems to center around recording techniques as opposed to narrative, and to me its truly an artistic achievement of the highest order. Perhaps the best part about having this record around all year was realizing that Liars will surely be remembered as one of the most important bands of this era, and the fact that they have a sense of humor about the whole thing makes it all the more pleasing. "A Visit From Drum" LINK

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas
2. Swan Lake - Beast Moans
3. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
4. Midlake - Milkmaid Grand Army EP
5. Radiant - We Hope You Win
6. Joanna Newsom - Ys
7. Shins - Phantom Limb
8. Damien Rice - 9
9. Icy Demons - Tears of a Clone
10. The Blow - Paper Television
11. Dr. Dog - Easy Beat
12. Malajube - Trompe-L'oeil
13. Pavement - Wowee Zowee: Sodid Sentinels Edition
14. Silversun Pickups - Carvanas
15. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
16. Demetri Martin - These are Jokes
17. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
18. Polyphonic Spree - Wait
19. Mark Kozelek - Little Drummer Boy: Live
20. Knife - Silent Shout

Do people really like Silversun Pickups? I just found that record to be so completely boring that I can't even really describe it. In other news, stop buying Damien Rice please.

It List: Monday 12/18/06

Nothing going on today that we can find other than Bad Ass Jazz Night @ The Amsterdam Bar. More to come tonight.

List will be late.

There will be an It List later today. We apologize for the delay.

Monday Morning Rock

Good stuff coming later today, including my year end "best of" list (which is nearly complete but taking forever), and a post about all the fun that was had at Art Prostitute on Friday night (with pictures). In the meantime, enjoy this:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Weekender 12/15-12/17

Well, the writing thing has been a little slow this week. Sorry about that. With jobs, concerts and real life to take care of, we just haven't had time to write like we've wanted to (the Anons understand, I'm sure). But have no fear local hipsters, because next week we'll have a bunch of year end stuff, including our best albums lists and a piece on this year's best moments in local music. Check back this weekend for weekender updates and shit, sucka.


The Great Tyrant/Faux Fox/Chief Death Rage/Krispee Ones/DJ Nature/Sober/Select (Art Prostitute 2919 Commerce): Have I told you about this show already? Well in case I haven't, Ill just let you know that doors open at 7 and the show starts at 8. There will be a free Shiner Keg inside as well, and its also BYOB if you want to bring some back-ups. James from the Metrognome Collective will be running the sound for us, and the Central Booking guys will be spinning before, between and after the sets. Honestly, this is a line up I would love to see even if the blog wasn't involved, and I'm thinking it will be a good time. No, thats not right. I'm knowing it will be a good time. There will also be a nice stack of free Projection CDs for you to scoop up while you're there (yes, they are finally finished... and they've even got individual tracks and art work and stuff!)

There really isn't anything else going on in Dallas tonight that I'd be interested in (no joke)... but if you're in Denton and just can't leave, there are two shows you might want to check out:

Notes From Underground/Mom/In Dot Dat (Indie Writer Benefit @ Fra House): I don't have a lot of information on this show, including the address of Fra House. I just can't seem to remember it, but maybe someone can hook us up in the comments section or something. Anyway, what I do know is that this will be a really good show. Notes from Underground is just fantastic live (seeing them at Strategies was one of the best local music experiences I've had all year), and Mom is one of the most underrated bands in Denton or Dallas. If the Fra House address does not appear in the comments, I'm sure you can contact Fra Pandolf at their Myspace page and see whats up.

Fishboy/Eat Avery's Bones/Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go/Cavedweller/Brooke Opie (Rubber Gloves Christmas Concert hosted by Frank Hejl)


Lost Generation's Berlin Elektro Party with Sean Vargas of High Society, Wanz Dover, Chaka Harta, Keith P, Flashlight Party and Convextion (Avenue Arts-Dallas)

AND- Hot Flash with Dj Stephen R (Fallout Lounge): Wanz' makeout party, which is always a lot of fun, should be a nice little one two punch with Stephen R's Hot Flash. You see, Avenue Arts is right next door to the Fallout Lounge (835 Exposition Ave in Expo Park) in case you didn't know, and I would expect both events to be worth checking out over the course of the night. Luckily, it will be easy for you to do both. Stephen R will be playing dance records and showing random videos on two projection screens, and Wanz and company will be throwing what should be a ridiculous dance party. I'm guessing the musical selections will be pretty much anything goes throughout the night, but I know Keith P will be providing grime, dubstep, and UK Garage. You can also expect dance punk, disco, and just about anything else from the other djs. I just hope Avenue Arts doesn't charge an $8 cover again.

White Ghost Shivers/White Denim/White Drugs (Club Dada- Callithump White Christmas): Remember the other day when I was talking about Squirrel Nut Zippers being a major influence on a bunch of allegedly "cool" indie bands this year? Well, White Ghost Shivers are a band that sounds pretty much exactly like them. Not that this makes them cool or anything... in fact, it kind of makes them uncool. But if goofy cartoon swing is your thing, you'll probably dig them.... which I hope isn't the case. However, this show will be more than worth showing up for with Gorilla vs. Bear favorites White Denim and White Drugs rounding out the bill. ADD: Bob White and The F Electrics are on this bill as well.

And nothing is turning up for Sunday so far, but you can check back with us.