Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Alito to be Confirmed
Get ready everyone. Wave bye bye to a constitutional right to privacy, which has implications that go farther than just abortion. Wave hello to an executive branch shrouded in secrecy with unprecedented power, now that there are four conservative ideologues on the court, and a fifth, Anthony Kennedy, that usually goes along with them on most issues. Say goodbye to the federal government's right to make and enforce consumer protection regulations through the commerce clause as Alito and company take us back to a view of federalism that hasn't been popular since the 19th century. Say hello to a man that is willing to ignore stare decisis when it isn't convenient for him to give it the proper consideration. And with the retirement of Justice O'Connor, get ready to say hello to the most conservative court since the early 1930's.
Although its true that Anthony Kennedy supported the majority decisions in Roe and Casey, it is also true that he almost voted to overturn Roe in Casey, and was so close to doing so that Rehnquist had already drafted a majority opinion in which he expected Kennedy to join. The fact that there are technically still five people on the court that support Casey doesn't give me much comfort. And really, although abortion is an important issue, I think it will seem like small potatoes compared to the other things that this super conservative court will do with business issues, race issues, criminal procedure issues, and federalism. And what is really sad is that the democrats didn't do everything they could to stop it. Why not filibuster? They had the votes to do it. And politically, what were the risks of doing it? Alienating the majority of the country that favors legal abortion, does NOT support George W. Bush, thinks that Republicans are more tied to special interests than Democrats, and wants a change in congress this year? I don't think so. Instead the Dems rolled over and played dead, like they always seem to do. Whats it going to take to wake these jerks up? If a lifetime appointment of a man like Alito to the most powerful domestic court in the western world isn't serious enough to get them in gear, I don't know what will.
Bestest of 2005 #3 (tie): Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary
Yeah yeah yeah, pretty cliche. We know that this record has been near the top of just about every year end list you've read. And we also know that this band does sound like you know who to some extent. But we'll go ahead and take sides with the L Train clones rather than the haters, because we listened to Wolf Parade more than just about any other band this year, and unlike some of the other albums on our year end list, Apologies to the Queen Mary was easier to get into than Texas Tech. Its a record that you can put on at any time in just about any place, and all year long we did just that.
And really, does Wolf Parade actually sound like Modest Mouse THAT much? Maybe "Grounds for Divorce" does, but should that really hold you back from getting into a record that is clearly an almost masterpiece? See, if Wolf Parade sounds like Modest Mouse, it sounds like Modest Mouse did in 1996. Not how 1996 Modest Mouse sounds right now, but how it sounded then. New. Exciting. Different. A record you want to talk about, think about, and oh yeah- listen to. All the damn time. Wolf Parade is catchy and poppy without being dumb or cute, and they also have two of the most compelling vocalists that we've heard in a straight up indie pop band in a long time, not to mention some of the greatest organ/synth arrangements to be recorded since god knows when played over bouncy, tight rhythms that hold it all together while teasing you with the possibility that everything might just fall apart. You can go to Pitchfork or the New York Times to read much more eloquent descriptions of their sound if you need to, and chances are you've probably already heard this record anyway. So we won't bore you with the details.
If this band was a Modest Mouse rip off and still good, we would probably not hate them.... but we would know their limitations. Wolf Parade takes tiny pieces of whatever Modest Mouse does, along with Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, David Byrne, OMD and dozens of other critic favorites from past and present. Then it makes it something completely different, fusing those influences with a confidence and energy that you don't hear every day. Or even every year. And we can promise you, Apologies to the Queen Mary is just as, if not more exciting than anything Modest Mouse has done in quite a while... not to mention pretty much every other band on the planet.
(NOTE 1: Here is a cut that you might not have heard. Its called "Disco Sheets" and its from the Wolf Parade ep that came out earlier in 2005. We don't know why it wasn't on the album, because we think its one of their best.)
(NOTE 2: As you might have figured out, this #3 tie means that there will be 11 albums in the top ten. Sue me.)
Monday, January 30, 2006
IT List for Monday 1/30/06
SXSW: Strange Invitation
Maybe we didn't catch it the first time we checked, or maybe they were just added to the list. Either way the Strange Boys are playing SXSW this year. No word as to when or where of course, but we'll let you know as soon as we find out. Good to see that there is at least ONE good Dallas band playing.
We Like Red Monroe
Part of the reason this blog was started was to bitch about Dallas and be funny as shit and way cooler than you. Another reason was to learn more about local music, and to see if there were any good bands in Dallas that we didn't know about before. So you'll have to excuse us if you've already heard of Red Monroe. We hadn't until recently, and we actually listened to them for the first time today. The influences are nothing new I guess... Mercury Rev, Echo and the Bunnymen, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Joy Division. But shit, no one in Dallas is referencing these kind of post-punk/goth/ psyche bands and doing it any better than these guys. Before we heard them, we had seen their name around town here and there, so a lot of you might have already heard of them, listened to them, and made up your mind about them. Or maybe not. For those that haven't, take a little journey over to their Myspace page and listen. Fans of the aforementioned bands as well as those that fancy the shoegaze thing will probably dig it. They've got a show on Feb. 11th at the Curtain Club in Dallas and we're going. So should you.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Tonight at Rubber Gloves
"Jeremy Barnes, who is still perhaps best known as the drummer for Neutral Milk Hotel, has not allowed the grass to grow beneath his feet during that outfit's continuing period of inactivity. After working with his post-NMH group Bablicon, Barnes has seen spot duty with Bright Eyes, the Gerbils, and Broadcast, and for the past few years has apparently been living life as something of an itinerant minstrel.Over the course of his journeys-- in the past year alone he's lived in England, Prague, and New Mexico-- Barnes has accumulated fragments of ethnic folk dialects from seemingly every region on the atlas, and now as ringleader of A Hawk and a Hacksaw he ambitiously attempts to fuse these varied tongues into a unified, coherent vocabulary. Darkness at Noon, the second album from AHAAH, is a frenetic, dizzying pastiche of Eastern European folk, klezmer, mariachi, Appalachian fiddle music, and evocative jazz. And though Barnes and company fail to bring this bewildering array of streams into confluence, the album contains enough flashes of such melodic invention and daredevil instrumentation that armchair travelers can't help but be drawn to the group's exotic scrapbook"
Some short films will also be showing during the performance.
The It List Sunday 1/29/01
Back in BIz
Friday, January 27, 2006
I'm Sorry, So Sorry
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Are You Sick of Being a Hipster Dufus?
Do you want to make a new and better life for yourself? These guys can help. Lets go to the Gap.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The It List Wed. 1.25.06
1. The Party w/ DJ Nature (Rubber Gloves Denton): So getting people in Dallas to drive up to Denton is like pulling teeth, but you should really go up to Rubber Gloves some Wed. night and check out DJ nature so you can see what the buzz is about. The guy played with MIA for shit's sake. Nuff said.
2. Faux Fox (Hailey's Denton): They're opening for Some Girls, which we've never heard, so we recommend stopping by early to catch an interesting local band and then over to Rubber Gloves for drinks and such.
3. 80's Night DJ G (Cavern)
Akron Family @ Andy's Last Night
The truly awe inspiring moment came at the end when all four band members jumped off stage, went into the crowd, and closed the set with a chanting and dancing circle, repeating the mantra "Love and space" while they sang, played guitar and watched the crown around them completely loose themselves in the moment. It was a joyful, surreal, and transcendent experience, and one that left a huge smile on just about every face in the room including mine. If you hadn't seem them play on the stage, you wouldn't have been able to tell who was in the band and who was a fan, as everyone seemed to be contributing to the finale with singing, shouting, stomping or clapping along. Not to sound like some goddamn hippie but it was truly an experience, an event, a happening. It was more than you would ever expect from a hip, pitchfork approved Brooklyn band, having much more to do with 1967 than 1977 without going anywhere close to lame jam band or hippie revivalist territory. And if you can't dig that, man, well I really just feel sorry for you.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Dude, you goin' to that Shamus McNasty Show at Clearview?
So what in the name of fuck is up with the Dallas Music Fest (just look at all these awesome bands like Drowning Pool!)? Maybe there are some good bands playing that we don't know about, but other than Eat Avery's Bones we didn't recognize a single one that we like. As if Deep Ellum didn't have a bad enough rap as it is, these people had to go and schedule a frat boy Nu Metal daterape crapfest right in the heart of a neighborhood that doesn't need any more shit than it already has. So instead of putting in the work and listening to these bands to figure out if any are actually worth going to see, we've decided to go through the list of performers and decide what some of them probably sound like anyway, without the whole listening to them thing. Here are some thoughts:
1. Deus Ex Machina: The lead singer got kicked out of UNT, where he majored in literature and Chillin', after they found out he cheated on his SAT. He quoted some greek drama one time at a party and got a hand job, so he was like "fuck it dude, I'm startin a band. Dues Ex Machina forever motherfucker!"
2. Strangleweed: These guys will kick your ass if you short them on a sack
3. Shiver Tree: Have you ever thought about seasons, and how they affect your feelings? These guys have
4. Shallow Promise: The best way to deal with the memory of that really horrible time in your life where your dad made you transfer to Plano West from Plano Senior is to SCREAM ABOUT IT AND PLAY POWER CHORDS!
5. Chasing February: These guys... oh, fuck it. Emo bands are too easy.
Eat Averys Bones
Here it is: "Sweater Petter"
The It List 1/24/06
2. Lost Generation with DJ Mwanza (Cavern): If you're gonna stay in Dallas and want to hear good music that you really won't hear anywhere else, head to the Cavern tonight and make Tuesday the new Thursday.
Ester Drang Mp3
So we know that Gorilla vs Bear already posted one of these tracks, but Jade Tree sent this to us and we like it, so we're posting it too. The album is called Rocinate and the song is called "Valencia's Dying Dream," and its comes out today. The press release says that they sound like Brian Eno, Talk Talk, and The Notwist, but somehow fails to mention the Beta Band, which we think is the closest comparison. And also, at least one of the band members appears to be from Oklahoma, which is like North Texas minus the literacy. So theres your relevancy, jerk.
Bestest of 2005 #3: Animal Collective- Feels
So doing some background research for this review has inevitably led me to Prefix Mag, and I've noticed that whoever reviewed this record for them referred to it as a "Pop Masterpiece." A few minutes before this, I was over at Pitchfork where I read their reviewer's proclamation that some of the songs on Feels remind him of Buddy Holly. I might agree with these statements if I heard them at a dinner party and either didn't have time to think about them or wasn't really listening in the first place, but I'm not at a dinner party. Instead I'm sitting in my room listening to Feels on headphones as I read reviews (and now begin to type this one), and I have to say that listening to this album is in no way, shape or form like listening to a "Pop Masterpiece."
Sure, Feels is poppier than anything else Animal Collective has ever done. But thats mostly because of the first two songs. Yes, you can hear the Beach Boys influence in "Did You See the Words." But thats more or less the only song on the record that sounds in any way like traditional pop rock. Of course, "Turns Into Something" sort of sounds like a number from some musical that you would never see. But its comes off like it was written by Ken Kesey and performed by the Merry Pranksters. And ok, "Bees" sounds a little like Everything Must Pass era George Harrison, but it really sounds like a George Harrison song being covered by Jandek. And thats why its good. And thats why Animal Collective is good. At its core this music is floating, ethereal, and spacey experimental soundscape with a slight pinch of post punk self awareness added in so that you know these guys aren't a bunch of jackasses from the UNT jazz program or something. Theres also a slight pinch of 60's sunshine psyche pop. But its slight.
This is what keeps Animal Collective from being just another indie rock band while also keeping them out of the "difficult listen, over your head" category. Rarely does a record full of songs with such strange structures (or lack thereof), and an almost complete lack of choruses get itself so thoroughly stuck in your head. And rarely does a record that can be so catchy at times also challenge the listener as often as Feels does. Its a balance that few bands ever even think about, and one that is certainly hard to maintain. The little touches of pop in Feels keep you coming back for more, but the healthy helping of avant garde keeps you interested, and even dares you to finally go listen to that Jandek record that you're never been able to sit through.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Help Wanted: Akron Family
No, Akron Family doesn't want your help. We do. We're going to try to make it to their show tomorrow night at Andy's in Denton, but in case we can't we were wondering if anyone would be so kind as to take some pictures for us and email them to us so we can post them on here on Wednesday. Of course you will be compensated to the tune of nothing, but we WILL give you full credit for the pics and a check plus in our gradebook. If anyone is interested, especially someone who was already going to the show anyway, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. Nothing fancy... just some cool pics that the kids would wanna see.
The IT List Monday 1/23/06
7 1/2 Questions with: Undeniable Records
Our first installment is with Zak Alexander and Chris Harris, founders of Undeniable Records, which is probably one of if not the only local record label worth writing about. The two grew up together in Dallas, then took different paths playing in bands and doing various other things like getting edumacations in different parts of the country, and both eventually wound up back in Dallas a few years later. Chris had been thinking about starting a label for a long time, and a conversation with members of the Happy Bullets helped turn his idea into a reality, culminating in the release of the Happy Bullets' album The Vice and Virtue Ministry. Soon after, the label released Le Fun, the first record by the Tah Dahs. Recently, the label came to an agreement to put out the next release by local favorites the Theater Fire. Here are the questions that we asked them over email:
Congrats on the Theater Fire signing. How did this signing come about, what attracts your label to the band, and what kind of success do you anticipate for the band in the near future?
(Chris) When we started the label, we had always talked about how we wanted the Theater Fire on the roster. They were on a very short list of bands that we wanted to have as release .. 3 or 4. They knew we were interested in them, and we got in touch with each other when the release was going through final mixes. As is often the case, finalizing a record takes much more time than anyone thinks, so we were just keeping in touch over the last few months. We dropped them a line on Jan 1, met this week, and agreed to work together. As far as success, that is sort of subjective. If the band is happy with the release, and we work hard for the band, and we all like the record, I think that is a success. Would we love to sell 30,000, and pay the bands enough that they could quit their day jobs? Of course. But right now, we are not really measuring success in units and dollars. We want to release the records we love, do everything we can for the bands, create the community, and the rest will take care of itself. I don’t think we would be able to be passionate about what we do if we were only concerned with money.
(Zak) Thanks! Like Chris said, the Theater Fire was always a band we felt would be a fantastic 3rd or 4th release, as they have a unique sound coupled with great songwriting. We want Undeniable to be known for diversity in sounds, not just one particular sound. We feel very strongly about this record, ever since we heard the early rough demos we knew it was going to be a great record. As Chris said success is tough to talk about in numbers. We want the Theater Fire to be happy with the results and as long as they are, then that is success. I think this will be a great year for them and playing SxSW is a huge opportunity for them.
Austin is pretty much the official capitol of indie rock in Texas right now, even though Dallas has so many more people, and thus, one would think, so many more musicians. Denton also seems to have a pretty thriving scene. Do you think Dallas is falling behind because unlike those cities it doesn't have a real college scene? What are some of the other problems that Dallas faces as a musical community, and what can be done about them if anything? Is it a matter of music quality, venue quality, fan quality, or what?
(Zak) Dallas definitely suffers from the lack of a college scene, SMU does not count, and that will always be a hindrance. I think the scene here is a bit too fractured at times, but really too many people focus on the bad and not the good. Dallas and North Texas has just as many talented people playing great music that is interesting and different, as Austin does. We have plenty of good venues to see bands play, most of which are no longer in Deep Ellum. There is no doubt in my mind that we have just as many incredible bands as Austin does, and here at least, they develop without some of that annoying hype. If we keep beating up the scene or treat fans like crap, yeah we kill the scene. North Texas is capable of producing something to rival that of Austin. I think this area is going through its best years yet, better than the ‘good old days’ of the 90’s.
(Chris)You’re right, the biggest problem with Dallas is that there is no College scene. Most of the amazing music scenes happened around a college atmosphere. College tends to be a time when people have energy and interest in things, and think that belonging to a music scene is something worth their time. As people get older, have to get up early, have jobs and spouses and kids, priorities change, and I think this is why the college town scenes thrive. There is a constant influx of new people, new influences, and new ideas that surround a college scene. Another part of Dallas is that can be challenging is that there are only a handful of great places for indie / underground bands to play. In Austin and the surrounding areas, there are little clubs everywhere that are cheap, well run, and have great music and a great reputation. We don’t really have that here, and in the past few years, most of the touring underground acts have bypassed Dallas in favor of Denton. There are some great places to play in Dallas (Double Wide, The Cavern, the Tea Room) but sometimes getting people out to these places can be tough. They don’t really have that “built-in crowd” that you find at a lot of the places in Austin, so there are times where the bands are preaching to the few converted. One of the things the Minutemen did in their early shows was play early when they played on weeknights. Having come from working class families, they understood that there were people out there who needed to get up early, and wouldn’t come out to late shows. This gained them a new and untapped crowd. I’d like to see us continue some of the interesting shows that the bands have put together over the last year. There have been benefits, art installations, sound installations, some things that you don’t always associate with a Dallas scene. I’d like to see some more things like this from some other bands around town, to kind of break with the traditional club show. I love the club show, but sometimes things can get really interesting when bands get taken out of this element and experiment more with different surroundings.
Are there any new bands in Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth that you know of right now that not many people have heard but are really good? Any diamonds in the rough?
(Zak) Well, we always have our ears open for new stuff. I can’t think of off the top of my head any unknowns plugging away. I really enjoy the Strange Boys, Mazinga Phaser, the Shapes, Pleasant Grove… all of them are doing interesting things and are good live shows. I think Blackheart Society has good promise... Like I said before there are a lot of good bands playing, just go out and see them.
(Chris)Absolutely. Don’t know if they qualify as unknown, but The Strange Boys, The Shapes, Jetscreamer, Deathray Davies, Recordhop, Pleasant Grove. There are some from the surrounding areas that I also love, Knife in the Water, The Shells, Belaire, One Umbrella, Explosions in the Sky…the list could go on a while.
How do you feel about people that download records that your label has released off file sharing sites, and how much has this affected your business? Is there anything small labels can do to adjust?
(Chris)I agree with Zak’s answer below, and don’t support illegal downloads. I remember being a kid in the late 80’s / early 90’s and waiting by my AM/FM Cassette stereo waiting for whatever song I loved at the time to come on so I could record it on glorious Maxell Tape. I couldn’t always afford to run out and buy everything I wanted, so this is how I got the music I wanted. As my tastes grew, this became recording 45’s of little college bands, making tapes for friends, recording CD’s to tape, etc. I think that the way that things are now really aren’t that different, it is just easier given the communication medium. There are things that a small label can do to adjust to the new climate of digital music. Most of the giant labels have had a really hard time with this, and I think that we can use the new climate to our advantage. We saw just as much, if not more success and interest when the bands appeared on mp3 sites and blogs than we saw when we had traditional radio airplay, or traditional press. Giving away a song or two can be a great way to spark interest in folks who otherwise would never hear the track. Smaller labels can adjust marketing ideas and change their thinking much more quickly than larger labels, and this can be a significant advantage.
(Zak) I don’t support illegal downloads, but just like everyone else I used Napster in its heyday but I bought the records I sampled. It’s hard to tell if this has hurt us. We do know that MP3 blogs like Gorilla vs Bear and podcasts have helped us tremendously and we fully support what they do. The people who read those blogs are in it for the music and they will buy a cd if the like what they hear. I think most people don’t want to buy records anymore without hearing them first. That’s the future along with the online zines and the download services like iTunes, eMusic and Rhapsody, even My Space has become an almost indispensable tool in this digital era of music.
In the eyes of many, the success of the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah record this year is a perfect example of why signing to a formal "record label" really isn't necessary in order to have underground success anymore, considering that bands can run their own websites, sell albums over the net, and promote themselves through blogs. What does signing to a small record label like yours do to help new bands in the current climate?
(Zak)CYHSY was an awesome story and I love that record. But, many bands are not fortunate enough to garner all that hype and a 9.0 or whatever review from Pitchfork. Also, those guys put in a ton of work themselves to get that press. Many artists just do not want to take the time to do what those guys do all the while touring their asses off too. Not every band is going to be able to negotiate their own national distro deal like what they got, hell they were the first rock act to ever do that. What a label like us does, is partner up with an artist and help them do the things they cannot do or don’t have the time to do. I think labels are still totally viable, because they allow artists to focus on making art rather than focus on business.
(Chris)While I have a tremendous amount of respect, and am in awe of what they were able to do, there really is very little difference in what they did vs. what Merge, SST, Touch and Go and Dischord did in the 80’s and 90’s. All were started as a way to get their own bands out, and retain control of their product. CYHSY were obviously very smart in the way that they approached things, and basically ran a label for their own record. It does show that with work and passion, people can do anything they want. The idea behind the label, again, is always to support the music we love 1st. We want for all of our bands to be friends, and work together. Right now, this is probably the most appealing asset for potential bands. I knew many of the Happy Bullets as friends for years before the label, and played in another band with a few of the Tah-Dahs before the label. This friendship lends itself to working together for a common goal, and we hope will continue to build a community of bands that work in tandem to make the scene better.
What avenues do you use to get air play for your bands, if any, and do you find the current Clear Channel dominated system or radio playlists to be a major problem for new bands on small labels? What have your experiences been with college radio?
We have used a publicity company in the past, and this has gotten the bands onto some college stations. As for Clear Channel, as far as the label is concerned, we couldn’t care less. They don’t play music that we like, and operate in a vacuum that we are not and do not want to be a part of. As consumers of music, the fact that there is this monster radio dominating company really means that we have to go to other methods to get our music, and this is why targeting podcasts and mp3 blogs and sites can be so advantageous. There is much more to the music world than FM radio, and we believe that the best way to get our music heard is going to be outside of the traditional radio mediums.
When can we expect new releases from the Tah Dahs and Happy Bullets?
Neither record has a date associated with it yet. The Tah-Dahs new record is still in progress, and the mixes we have heard are fantastic. They have moved forward with the sound and feel of Le Fun, and added some additional elements that weren’t captured on the 1st record. The Bullets are kicking around with digital home recording, and have no definitive plans for a release date either. If they are kind enough to go through the release ride with UnRec again, we will be thrilled to let everyone know what the plans are!
While some feel the show was a success, many consider Chris Elliot's "Get a Life" to be one of the worst shows in the history of television. If you could tell us why the detractors of this genius show are eggheads, what argument would you make?
Anything that spawned “The Handsome Boy Modeling School” masterpiece from Prince Paul and Dan the Automater is tops in my book. Elliot is like a master painter who can only be understood after he is one. Much like Van Gogh and Monet, he paints his television canvas with nuggets of Genuis that are beyond our feeble human comprehension.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The It List: Sunday 1/22/06
2. Wild In The Streets (Hailey's Denton): Mod, soul, garage, and more.
Computers: The Future
We've heard that these new things called desktop computers can do all kinds of crazy things right in your own home. Recently, we figured out how to use these computers to post links to sites we like in the sidebar. Look over to the side and check it out!
Coming later today, some more record reviews from the Bestest list, an interview with Undeniable Records, and the It list.
Last show @ Sanctuary Studios
Aaron Gonzales, resident of Sanctuary and the guy credited for booking and organizing most of the shows, really has the right idea. If Dallas has nothing, then you've got nothing to lose. Find a place to play thats NOT a club, where you don't have to deal with club owners and local scene politics, and book bands that you like, or find interesting, or that you think other people will like. Its really pretty simple, but he is one of the few in Dallas doing it. Talking with him, you get the impression that he is not only really knowledgeable about rock and experimental music, but a genuinely nice person that has the patience required to deal with bands, fans, and the half dozen animals that seem to be running around at Sanctuary all the time. The shows at Sanctuary really are what Dallas could be all about if there were more Aarons out there, but alas there don't seem to be. At least right now. There could be, however, once people start to see that these kind of shows work, and that there is a sizeable contingency of people in Dallas quietly screaming for something interesting to do on the weekends. Really, there are. We know a lot of them.
We've got a pretty great urban environment in Dallas, with tons of places like Sanctuary Studios: buildings in forgotten parts of town with low rent and some "fixer upper" work to be done. But its these kinds of places where legends always seem to begin, isn't it? The first place that Joy Division played. The first place that Nirvana played. The Sex Pistols. Big Black. The Minutemen. Husker Du. Can. Sonic Youth. Fuck, CBGBs. The list goes on and on. Its not places like fucking Trees or Gypsy Tea Room where the shit starts. Its old buildings, makeshift stages, good bands, bad neighborhoods, interesting crowds and people that are willing to organize it all. Not for money or to get their name in the goddamn Observer. Anyone that does it for those reasons probably doesn't have a clue about good music, art, or anything else. But instead because they like music, and are bored with what everyone else is offering them. Or not offering. And not to be overly dramatic about it (we know the limits of this sort of thing) but sometimes at Sanctuary it felt like something important could have happened there one day. The setting was ripe for something important to happen. It didn't, and now it won't have a chance. Heres to hoping that Aaron Gonzales or someone like him starts something else up like Sanctuary Studios. And that people notice. And that good music thrives there. And that we one day have something to be really excited about in Dallas. Something that will give those fuckers in Austin a run for their money.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
The It List Saturday 1/21/06
2. Mazinga Phaser/ Faux Fox (Rubber Gloves): Even though their show wasn't great last night, we still like Mazinga and think its worth checking out. Faux Fox also sounds interesting, so go early to see them if you are in Denton tonight.
UPDATE: We're also told that there is a show at Santuary Studios tonight... not sure about the bands though, but its BYOB and almost always interesting, so you should go check it out. Near the corner of Maple and King's Road, uptown.
Mazinga II @ The Cavern Last Night (Turn it up)
Despite that initial excitement, we were underwhelmed by Mazinga. Not that there weren't some very good moments throughout the set (there were), but there were a few things that held it back. For one, we couldn't hear anything the singer was saying or singing, and the sound on all the instruments was just too low to really get the full effect. This lead to a fairly awkward beginning since we're not sure that the audience actually knew when the set began, due mostly to the low volumes on the p.a., and partially to the fact that the song they opened with didn't seem to get going until a couple minutes in. We spent a lot of the time waiting for the songs to really kick in and start to rock (loudly we might add), but it seems that most never did. It was especially disappointing that the mix was so low because it sounds like Mazinga has a lot going on in their songs... and it would have been nice to hear more of the details. Even though some of the songs didn't really seem to go anywhere, we could tell that this is band that has a lot of talent, and could easily become a killer live act if their songwriting and live performance were given a little more time to develop. We didn't catch any of the names of the songs, but the third one they played (with the heavy electronic percussion, busy live drums and ambient psyche noise) was pretty killer, and we enjoyed their use of pre recorded material. It seems that they had some computer problems too, which lead them to fall out of time at a few points, but nothing really serious.
Mazinga is going for a sound that is very "now." Psyche rock with ambient undertones and spacey, shoegaze texture that certainly rocks but is also smart and experimental. It reminded us of Spiritualized, Oasis, Stone Roses, and Ride, but not quite as poppy and way more compressed than any of those bands, sort of like the Ariel Pink of spacerock. These guys will be fantastic if they allow their songs to go farther and expand into new places, or at least turn up the volume to let us hear everything thats already going on. The good news is that their set left us wanting more, meaning that we dig the basic ideas and the sound that they are going for. It just doesn't seem like they are there quite yet.
We got there too late to catch Linea Triste, so if anyone saw them and has any thoughts, let us know.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Undoing of David Wright on the Radio Tonight
Time: 12:00am - 4:00am Location: Rocket Radio @ KNON 89.3 FM we're playing a 40 minute set---- including 4 new songs from our upcoming album, The Eighth Continent. If you're not in town, or you don't have a radio, check out www.knon.org ----- click in the top right corner to tune in via the lazer web.though you might want to know,ENGLISH, & CO.
The "It" List for Friday 1/20/06
1. Mazinga Phaser II, Linea Triste (the Cavern downstairs): Come early to see two of the more interesting local bands playing right now. Both do dreamy electronic drone kinda stuff, with Linea Triste focusing more on ambient, while Mazinga seems to go for more melodic, shoegazer type stuff. Both say that they are influenced by Brian Eno, which is refreshing to hear in a town where Flicker Stick still packs em in. Mazinga's Myspace page is linked in a post below, and here is Linea Triste's.
2. Bosque Brown (Rubber Gloves, Denton): This much hyped about folkie is supposed to be ready to wow the world at SXSW in March. Although we're not sure whether that will happen or not, we know that she's got a nice Joanna Newson-Mazzy Star sad country thing going on with some pretty good tunes to boot. We're going to do a little write up about her later on as part of our SXSW local preview.
3. UP with DJ CJMacPhie (Cavern Upstairs): Guess the Cavern is the place to be for good music in Dallas tonight. Go listen to Mazina and Linea downstairs, then head up to hear a good selection of post punk, brit pop, psyche and lots of other stuff.
4. Centro-Matic (wreck room, Fort Worth): I know we posted about them last night, but what the fuck else are you going to do in Fort Worth? Tip a cow?
Hot Chip "Over and Over"
So we know this track has been floating around a while and everything, but we just had to post it on here for your listening pleasure (can you tell that we just figured out how to post mp3s). I'm starting to think that I like everything that James Murphy touches, and since rumor has it that this song is a preview of the direction that Hot Chip will be going on their next record, you can bet we're gonna try to go see them at SXSW this year.
"Over and Over" here
Stuff We've Been Listening to: Boris- Pink
So Boris, a japanese psych-metal whateva band has just put out an amazing record that has been on repeat here at JR headquarters for a couple days. It got a good review on Pitchfork, and if that doesn't convince you completely (which it shouldn't), we've got a track for you to download here. The real name is some strange Japanese shit that we can neither say nor type, but it has been translated into English as "Six to Three." After you hear it, you probably won't care what its called. Sounds like Dungen had kids with Jesus Lizard....
And theres more to come today, including the It List and more local shit.
Mazinga II Needs a Drummer
This is one of the bands that we have been noticing around town lately: Interesting electronic/shoegze kinda stuff. Anyway they need a drummer for a small tour, and here is a repost of their Myspace request:
Body: From: Mazinga IIDate: Jan 19, 2006 6:57 PM
If you can play a floor tom, Snare and crash cymbal ala Moe Tucker style we need you. We are leaving next week. We will be gone from jan 25th to feb14th. You do not have to be a badass. Just be able to keep a simple beat on a floor tom, snare and a crash cymbal. Our regular drummer is playing with us this weekend in Dallas and Denton. If you are even the slightest bit interested please contact me asap. 214 886 9776. Most of the shows are in the northeast including 4 in New York.Cheers!!!!-Wanz
Bestest of 2005 #4: The Clientele- Strange Geometry
So, does a drunken review work as well as a sober review? We're both about to find out. And another question: has the Clientele ever made a bad song? I think the answer is no. Going to see the Clientele live in Denton a couple months ago when the band had terrible sound problems and had to turn the reverb completely off on the p.a. would have convinced me that all those people that used to say the Clientele hid behind their effects were dead wrong. But it didn't need to, because Strange Geometry had already done it. Here, the Clientele go for a bigger, more clear sound. And it works. Very well. "Since K Got Over Me," one of the strongest singles put out by anyone all year, sets the tone. The vocals and guitar are crisp and clear, but somehow the Clientele manages to maintain that dreamy, surreal vibe they've always had going for them. I was a little put back upon first hearing that this album had been produced in a real studio with "professional production values," but all it really does is help point out what great songwriters these guys are, and the fact that they can properly utilize acoustic guitars and strings to expand their sound without compromising it. Like most Clientele albums, delicate Byrdsesque pop dominates the day while sad impressionist lyrics and a sense of calm, pyschedelic sadness set the tone. More than any other band I can think of, the Clienetele paints pictures with their songs. Despite whatever is going on around me, when I hear a Clientele song I envision exactly what I think they want me to while forgetting everything else that I see. They set the mood not only audibly but visually as well... colors, shapes and light come to mind just as easily as sounds, which seems to be the point. While other bands have "energy" and make you want to dance or draw your attention to their clothes or the city they are from, the Clientele paints pictures for you, and gives you a glimpse of what it is like to exist in a permanent dream state that happens to have a great chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. Try seeing if Bloc Party can do that for you.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Part of DJ Nature's Set List from last night's Party
Um, we just got part of the set list that this guy played last night, and you should probably take your ass up to Denton to see him next week because no one else in Dallas is playing a set like this:
Track/Artist 1. Lucky You - Nanko 2. Notorious (Ghetto Arc/Xl records remix by The Socios) - Turbulence 3. Galang 05 - MIA 4. Ganja Farmer - Marlon Asher 5. Hater vars007 - Various Artists 6. There is a Light That Never Goes Out - Schneider TM 7. Random - Lady Sovereign 8. Newsflash - Diplo 9. They Don't Know - Paul Wall 10. Combustive - Arto Lindsay 11. Rise to the Occasion - Sizzla 12. Tulips (dancemix) - Bloc Party 13. Closer - The Cure 14. 10 Crack Commandments - Biggie 15. Blinded By the Lights - The Streets 16. 5 to 1 - The Doors 17. The Takeover - JayZ 18. One Evening (remix) - Fiest 19. Pull Up the People (Nature Remix) - MIA 20. Shorty Swing My Way - KP and Envyi 21. Nomad for love - Gang Gang Dance
Paul Wall, Gang Gang Dance, The Cure AND MIA all appear on this list. I don't think we have to explain how cool that is.
Undeniable Records to Release Theater Fire Album
Bestest of 2005 #5: Spoon- Gimme Fiction
To me, Kill the Moonlight is one of the bench mark albums of the early 00's underground. Literally, from the first SECOND I heard the guitar intro to "Small Stakes," I was sold on Spoon. Every song was so goddamn catchy and strange at the same time. Minimal to their core but poppy and immediate, with Britt Daniel's smoky voice and strange, surreal lyrics setting a mood that can only be described with contradictory adjectives and metaphors. Basically, the perfect album for its time and place: 2002.
Gimme Fiction was supposed to be the band's coming out party, the one that would turn them into minor indie rock celebrities. And even if it didn't do that, it did prove to be a worthy, if slightly inferior follow up that was still good enough to be one of the best albums in a year that saw some incredible releases. This album is Spoon finding its unique sound, mixing much of the sparse minimalism of Kill with the more complex layering and pure pop of Girls Can Tell. The first comparison that comes to mind is John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, with its somber, ominous story telling and dark mood. However, like Plastic this is also one that sounds full of hope. Britt Daniel's vocals are the real star here, showing off his suddenly expanded range on songs like "Turn my Camera On" and "The Beast and Dragon Adored" where he launches into falsetto at several points. And what about "Turn my Camera On?" Was that one of the greatest songs of 2005 or fucking what? Spoon's M.O. seems to include having at least one unbelievably catchy song per album at least, and with Camera this album was no different.
the combination of better singing (although Daniel was already an amazing vocalist) and a band that seems more confident and comfortable in its own skin than ever before made Gimme Fiction feel like a record by a band in its prime. The album that I bet 10 years from now the band will call its favorite. Although not as immediately gripping as Moonlight, no one has a sound quite like Spoon, and they're doing exactly what the fuck they want without for one second giving in to the industry snakes that know as well as the band does that Spoon could probably write top ten singles in its sleep. Instead, they continue to challenge listeners and make it a pleasure to accept their dare.
The "It" List Thursday 1/19/06
1. Centro-Matic (Dan's Silverleaf Denton): We haven't listened to these guys in a long time, but remember liking them quite a bit back in the diz. Solid alt-country, none of that pretty boy Ryan Adams bullshit.
2. Mile End w/ Dj Laureen (Fallout Lounge): For the love of Christ if you're gonna go to Expo park on Thursday nights, go listen to some good music instead of some jack ass singing "Paradise City." Won't you?
3. Wild In the Streets: The growing buzz about this night continues in Denton, and tonight it travels down to Dallas. Go see what its all about.
(If anyone knows of anything else going on tonight, drop us a line and let us know: email@example.com
The Undoing Continues: Undoing of David Wright Mp3
So we're giving this whole file storage thing a try by posting a couple Mp3s by one of our new favorite local bands, the Undoing of David Wright. If these links don't work for some reason, let us know and we'll try to fix them.
These songs are just a little taste however, my friends. You really need to go see them live, like now. And if the crowds are as big as the one at Double Wide last weekend, the shows will be even more fun... and you can also go to their website for more info about shows and all that goings on.
Heres the other
( I guess these links take you to another page where you can download the file... Well, its a start isn't it? By the way, we just checked and the downloads work fine.)
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
So to all those people who think that environmental issues and global warming in particular are partisan issues where liberals think this and conservatives think that and blah blah blah "theres not enough science" and "some scientists think global warming doesn't actually exist," take a look at this. Anyone, politician or otherwise, that claims there to be a serious debate over whether global warming is actually occurring and/or whether or not humans are at least partially to blame and can do something about it is either
1) a completely ignorant jackass OR
2) a liar.
Its good to see that responsible Republicans (No its not an oxymoron, but close) are starting to question the way this administration addresses environmental issues (it doesn't), in addition to the way that it (mis)communicates with the American people on the issue. And tell me again, how exactly does the Kyoto protocol affect U.S. competitiveness in the global economy when we are behind the vast majority of industrialized nations in environmental regulations, with the exception of China? Something to think about. More to come tonight...
A Blog We Like
ALSO: This blog has some really cool pictures from a really cool idea on it. What kind of secrets do you have? We've got a few.
The "It" List: Wednesday 1/18/06
1. The Party w/ DJ Nature (Rubber Gloves): This is apparently the first week for this DJ night. We checked out the Myspace page and it sounds like this guy has his shit together... some minimal electronica with a party vibe, and a cool MIA remix. Perhaps the start of something good on the weekdays in Denton...
2. 80's night with DJ G (Cavern)
Google Image Search of the Week: "Dumb Cat"
Bestest of 2005 # 6- Deerhoof: The Runners Four
Man, sometimes I really hate bands like Deerhoof. And until fairly recently, I actually hated Deerhoof. You see, they were one of those bands that I never "got" but always felt like I was supposed to. You know the bands I mean. The ones that friends rave about. The ones that get mostly great reviews in publications that you respect. But no matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to understand why. I mean, I saw them as a couple of avant tard art students and some strange Japanese girl singing off key. Big deal. They reminded me of every annoying K records band from the early 90s that I was also supposed to like but didn't.
Hearing The Runners Four didn't really change my attitude. Ok, more of the same weird for the sake of being weird stuff. Maybe I'm not very "artsy" I thought, maybe I'm "losing my edge." For some reason however, I kept listening to this record. I don't know why: boredom(s) perhaps. Maybe just to give them a fair chance before I wrote them off for good. Whatever it was, something happened after the third listen or so. I started to hear the pop melodies. The abrupt changes started to make sense. The rhythm section started to really impress me. The little hooks started getting stuck in my head. And before I knew it I was telling people about Deerhoof, and even started raving about their singer, which is something that I would have made fun of just a few months before. This is certainly the most poppy record they've ever made, and probably the best introduction for someone that hasn't heard them. But to be sure, they aren't for everyone: the changes are still strange, the vocals are still taxing, and its still an all around difficult record to listen to. However, like me, you might start to hear things differently after a couple of listens. You might start to hear delicate, quite textures and foot tapping rhythms. As you listen to songs like "Wrong Time Capsule," you might start to hear classic rock as fuck guitar parts, and you might start to wonder how you could have classified this band as anything but rock n roll despite their inescapable art school vibe. And listening to "Spirit Ditties Of No Tone" for the 3rd or 4th time, you might start to wonder why you hadn't noticed how catchy Deerhoof could be despite their unconventional approach to song structure. And then you might start to wonder why you didn't like them before even though you've always liked Stereolab and the Slits.
Or maybe you won't. You might just keep making fun of me and people like me for being slaves to the indie hype machine, for liking a band just because Pitchfork does. Thats fine... I used to do the same thing. But just remember, now that I actually like Deerhoof: I'm definitely more hip than you.
SXSW Local Preview: Best Fwends
Um, we don't know whether to hug or punch their name, but this Denton band on the UK's Moshi Moshi records will be performing songs at sxsw that they describe as sounding like a "hyper Hall and Oats or something." The band also refers to themselves as "two retards that don't know what we're doing." We doubt both claims.
We can't say that this is the greatest thing we've ever heard, but shit, it doesn't sound like anything else in Denton or Dallas right now, and the limited number of songs available to us on the internet were: loud, short, and mostly fun. "1000000" sounds like M.I.A. if she was fifteen and listened to Daniel Johnston, with a hard to make out dance beat and playful percussion. There is also a pretty strong Go Team sound throughout all five songs we listened to, as well as clear nods to bedroom synth pop such as The Cansecos, Russian Futurists, and mid period Magnetic Fields (for the best example of this, check "Sk8 or Live" on their Myspace page). These guys obviously don't take themselves very seriously, which is good, and the amateur quality of their songs is part of this appeal. Most of their sound likely comes from Casios, Atari 2600s and other pretty basic noise making machines (drum machines and crappy keyboards), and they seem fine with that. So are we. Although this band can be a little immature sounding at times, its mostly endearing and quite forgivable considering that all their songs seem to be a minute and a half long at most. They could improve with time and experience, but we think they're pretty interesting right now and would surely be worth seeing at SXSW if you can fit em in... especially if you can't get into that Morningwood show, you hip fuck. - JR
More on Dallas Police and Roller Girl Beating
1. The officer in question claims that she tried to harm him physically, and that she at one point attempted to "gouge his eyes."
2. Both witnesses interviewed in the reports claim that the officer used excessive force, and that the girl was not at fault.
3. The girl was arrested for assault on a peace officer, and as far as we know, those charges have not been dropped.
4. The Dallas Police Department has commenced an internal investigation into the incident.
5. The officer in question has a "lengthy" internal affairs investigation profile, including six allegations of use of excessive force since 1994, and has been disciplined twice during his career for escalating an incident, as well as for something along the lines of conduct unbecoming of a police officer.
6. The officer has also been given awards for good service.
7. The officer was also treated for minor bruises.
Some people have been asking that stories about this incident be kept quite for a while, but we decided that since this is all public information, we would go ahead and publish it. However, we will wait to pass judgment until the full story is out there, which it doesn't appear to be just yet. The pictures of the incident, which we linked to below, are pretty grotesque, but we really don't want to formulate any kind of opinion about fault until more facts come out. We recognize that the Dallas police have a tough job, but if the incident went down the way the witnesses claim, then the city might have a very valid lawsuit on its hands, especially considering the pattern of unacceptable behavior that this officer seems to have. We'll see what happens.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
MySpace, your space, lets time waste on Myspace
The "It" List Tuesday 1/17/06
The Problem with Local Bands
It also made us think of one of the comments someone made in our "Ravens" post about how the Ravens do NOT in fact sound like a band playing at a Wal Mart shareholders meeting or opening for Cherry Poppin Daddies. They called us an "example" of why Dallas is failing as a local music scene. If you think WE are the problem, as opposed to boring ass "rock" bands that play the same old crap that has been getting shoved down our throats ever since Happy Days went on the air, then you might want to really sit down and listen to the Ravens like we did. We don't really mean to pick on them, and we certainly don't want to look like we are taking sides in some scene battle... thats why we keep our names secret: so we can tell anyone to fuck off at any time. But as stated in the link above, no one should get a free pass for being a local band. THAT is why local music sucks. Because expectations are diminished for local bands, because they are our friends, because they are a relatively "new" band, because we want Dallas to have a fun scene, because we want local bands to succeed, or because people we know want to make money. All of these factors diminish our honesty about local music, don't they? And they also cause bands that aren't really that great to become full of themselves, and local music fans to settle for crap that is in fact subpar at best.
There are a LOT of people in DFW, and that means that there MUST be a decent amount of talent here in town, much of which we don't yet know anything about. The sooner we stop accepting boring bands just because they are local, the sooner we can start looking for better, more interesting local music to see. Dallas local music fails BECAUSE of the music, not because fans are jerks or because a local blog read by a couple hundred people trashes a band that deserves it.
Black Angels: Its a Hit, Baby
More to Come
We also want to say hello to our new blogging friend Weedemon. We've been reading her for a few days, and we enjoy it. She kicked a shoutout to us as well, and we're trying to figure out how to put a permanent link to her on our sidebar like she did for us. However, we're stupid and don't know how to do it yet... we'll keep trying.
SXSW: The Local List
- Best Fwends (Denton)
- Bosque Brown (Fort Worth)
- Burden Brothers (gross)
- Centro-Matic (Denton)
- Collin Herring (Fort Worth)
- Donal Hinley (Denton)
- Salim Nourallah (Dallas)
- Pilotdrift (Texarkana)
- South San Gabriel (Denton)
- Theater Fire (Fort Worth)
Way to go Dallas, a whole TWO bands... neither of which are very cool! I wonder if Happy Bullets, Tah Dahs, Strange Boys, etc. got bids.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Ravin' bout the Ravens
"THEE RAVENS HAVE DECIDED THAT DALLAS IS THE LAST PLACE WE WANT TO PLAY >>>>>>LACK OF ATTENDANCE AT OUR SHOWS HAS LED US TO BELIEVE THAT WE ARE PLAYED OUT IN DALLAS>>>>>>>>SOOOOOOOOOO AFTER THE DOUBLEWIDE SHOW WE WILL BE PLAYING OUT OF TOWN EXCLUSIVELY >>>>>>>>SO ALL YOU FUCKERS THAT WANT US TO PLAY YOUR BENIFITS>>>>>YOUR PRIVATE PARTY'S>>>>>>YOUR LOLLIPOP SHOPS>>>>>>>>DONT CALL US >>>>>>WE DO YOU GUYS THAT FAVORS OF PLAYING YOUR EVENTS SO WE CAN GET YOU OUT TO OUR SHOWS WHEN IT IS A REGULAR NITE NOT JUST WHEN IT BENIFITS YOU LAME FUCKERS>>>>>>>IM SURE YOU GUYS KNOW WHO WE ARE TALKING ABOUT>>>>>>>>TO ALL FRIENDS WHO DO COME TO OUR SHOWS>>>>>>>YOU GUYS ROCK >>>>WE WILL BE COMING OUT WITH A NEW RECORD HOPEFULLY BY SUMMER TIME >>>>>>>>>AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT US WILL BE THANKED IN THE LINER NOTES>>>>>>>SO DULL-ASS DALLAS KISS OUR ASS >>>>>WE WONT MISS YA>>>>>JOHNNY RAVEN"
So Dallas is pretty lame a lot of the time, we can agree with that. But the problem for this band in particular might be the fact that they sound like a bunch of Elvis impersonators playing at a Wal-Mart shareholders meeting in the "Ballroom" at the Little Rock Hilton. I think we can safely say that we don't need another "Nuggets" band running around Dallas with their sunglasses on after dark pretending that they didn't get beat up in high school. Maybe when they hit the road they can get a gig opening up for Cherry Poppin Daddies or something. Not that we're trying to "support the local scene, dude," we're just trying to NOT support annoying music.
More on Roller Girl
"Date: Jan 16, 2006 3:16 PM Subject: Update on ACD Derby Girl (Muff-Michelle) & Police Brutality Body: FWD: For all those concerned, Michelle is doing as well as expected and has contacted her lawyers. When she gets more info from her lawyers, she will then contact witnesses. Due to the number of people that witnessed the incident, there are many, many different accounts of the story, and some of these accounts have been misconstrued. It's in Michelle's best interest for the different stories to stop, but for the pictures to keep circulating. Once again, when she's heard from her lawyers, we can then proceed to see if it will be beneficial to post an accurate description of the incident. Michelle can not express her gratitude enough for everyone who has stepped up for her defense and brought awareness to her issue. Please repost THIS bulletin so everyone knows the current status of Michelle's situation.
Thank you all for your help,Christina and Samantha"
HERE IS ONE OF THE FEW LINKS THAT ACTUALLY STILL HAS THE PICTURES UP:
The "It" List: Monday 1/16/06
(Also, later today we will have another edition of our Bestest list, as well as more local news and updates on some new things we will be doing with the site in the coming days.)
Bestest of 2005 #7: Serena Maneesh
This record was big for all of us here at JR this year because it was a perfect example of the right thing at the right time. Heres what I mean: since about 2001 when the White Stripes and Strokes broke out and everyone you knew started wearing ironic AC/DC shirts and tight pants, it has been sharp, angular post-punk and garage rock ruling the day. Of course, this sound has given way somewhat to indiedance-whatever you call it, some Gang of Four bands, and whatever they are calling Devendra Banhart and Six Organs of Admittance these days (is it still freak folk?), but until this year there hadn't been many high profile indie records released that could be classified as psychedelic (aside form Dungen, which technically was released in 2004). Now hold on there you say, Serena Maneesh doesn't sound like Love or 13th Floor Elevators or early Pink Floyd. True, they really don't sound like these bands, although they are indirectly influenced by them in several ways. These influences certainly can be heard throughout the record in songs like "candelighted," but are indirect in the sense that SM is actually influenced by a slightly more recent set of bands that borrowed liberally from the spacey walls of sound flowing out of San Francisco in the mid 60's: shoegaze.
Yes, this is a band whose closest point of reference is NOT The Sonics, Velvet Underground, Suicide, or Krautrock like so many others that we read about these days, but rather Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse, and dare I say My Bloody Valentine (no one thats heard it can tell me that "Un Deux" doesn't remind you of Loveless at least a little bit). However, SM avoids the two pitfalls that many of the late 80's/early 90's shoegazers succumbed to: 1) sloppy use of noise, and 2) constant recycling of the same song structure. This is certainly a dreampop record in some spots and a loud jam freak out in others, but SM uses their walls of noise effectively and avoid monotony by knowing when to turn it up, turn it down, speed it up and slow it down. This record is not a plane of dreampop but rather hills and valleys of blues riffing, quiet reflection, reverb, distortion and anticipation, all constantly running together, building up, breaking down, and building back up again to create what is essentially at the end of the day a pop record that seems to have nothing to do with pop when broken down into small parts. Try an experiment: listen to "Sapphire Eyes High" first and then opener "Drain Cosmetics," followed by the most obvious shoegaze song on the record, "Un Deux." You'll probably like all three songs, but they will sound like they have nothing to do with one another, and might not even be performed by the same band. Then listen to all the songs on the record in order, and you'll start to realize that they all have consistent themes, and after a while you might not be able to tell some of them apart... but in a good way.
Basically, this is an "album" in the classic sense of the word, meant to be listened to as a whole. Of course, all the songs are quite listenable on their own, but that misses the point. Take 45 minutes, you busybody, and sit down and listen to an album. You'll thank us, we'll thank Serena Maneesh, and then we'll all get back to that A Frames cd or whatever. Not that we have a problem with post-punk (in fact we love a lot of it), its just nice to know that once we do get sick of it, there will be smart, talented bands out there ready to fill our ears with the complete opposite of Q and Not U.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
The "It" List: Sunday 1/15/06
Not much doin' tonight unless you live in Denton or feel like driving to Denton. We hear this Wild in the Streets thing is pretty good, and that they play old mod, soul, and garage stuff. If anyone goes, send us an email and tell us how it is... it is tonight at Hailey's, by the way, in case you can't read cream colored letters...
A little more to come today.
David Wright Undone Last Night
So last night we became converted believers in the Undoing of David Wright. We had seen them once quite a while back in Denton, and thought hmm.... decent, but kind of gimmicky. Actually we weren't sure what to think. Last night however, we saw a band that was musically tight as fuck, playing complex guitar riffs and thumping bass lines in odd times all while flailing around the stage like corpses that had just been given an electric shock. Their lead singer has obviously studied his David Bowie stage presence guide, but musically they reminded us more of some of the no-wave New York post punk groups from the early 70's, particularly James Chance and the Contortions( here). People have been rediscovering the Contortions for the past couple of years, as well as Suicide, DNA, Lydia Lunch and the rest of the late 70's experimental noise bands that came out of the lower East Side. These guys have obviously done their homework , which is not to say that they really sound like any of those bands (they don't), but rather just have a similar feel, particularly the vocals, which is something unique in the Dallas area seeing as how most peoples idea of post punk around here seems to be Interpol and the Smiths.
You also can't avoid the prog rock influence that seems to be creeping throughout. Spoken word interludes about Sea Captains and other tall tales were heard throughout the set, and come on, you can't tell me you didn't hear some Yes riffs in there from time to time. Why am I talking to you? Well, I'm guessing that some of you were there last night, considering the fairly large crowd that came out. Actually, there were more people inside the Double Wide stage area last night than we have ever seen, and many in the front were dancing nonfucking stop throughout the set (which as the band pointed out is a rarity in Dallas, even if it was mostly Denton kids.) Whatever their influences, Undoing of David Wright are a great band, and they make people dance. Every goddamn song they played last night was catchy, and aside from some equipment problems, the guys didn't seem to miss a note, while also putting on a hell of a stage show with their charismatic and androgynous lead singer that seems to understand the concept of lyrical phrasing more than just about any singer in the Denton/Dallas area as a centerpiece.
Strange Boys also played a strong set to a large crowd, culminating with a finale in which Undoing, Eat Avery's Bones, and Attractive and Popular joined them onstage. A pretty nice Saturday night in Dallas.
(Oh, by the way, people have been emailing us and asking where our goddamn Bestest of 2005 list is. We're going to do two more entries today, as well as the "It" list later on.)
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Belafonte: Why you wanna break our hearts?
We don't wanna get personal in this little battle (that was never the intent since we don't know any of them personally, and don't want to assume anything and make an ass out of u and me), so we'll just say that we certainly don't agree on music, but we do wish those guys the best on their road to whatever. Bon voyage, dudes!
Fuck the Police Comin' Straight from the Underground
"There was a show at the LIQUID LOUNGE, even though the flyer said Lizard lounge, and it WASN'T free, for some of our Dallas derby girls. I met up with Amanda outside of Elm St. Tattoo, and there was a derby girl skating from the bar across the street to the tattoo parlor. No big deal. But a cop stopped her to give her a ticket. Well, she gave some attitude, but went with it. Kept her hands on the car while he wrote her a ticket. I crossed the street to the bar, and another skater went past me, nothing happened to her, even though her friend was getting a ticket for skating in the street.... very wierd. I turned back around to look at the girl and the cop, and I see him wrestling her to the ground. She's screaming, this tiny girl, is struggling, while about 50 people gather and start yelling. Turns out someone on the sidewalk yelled something to her, she turned to see the person, took her hands off of the car, and the cop got pissed. She gave attitude, I think he shoved her back on the car, so she stuggled back up, and he shoved her around. He was at least 200 pounds. She was about 100. Her face was bloody. I have a few pictures. I was questions, they got my info to call me. I hope they do. Honestly, this whole mess makes me fucking sick and sad. I want to be a cop, so it's not like I'm against them. About 6 more cop cars showed up. 18 cops. One ambulance. They're treating us, including us ones trying to be helpful and nice, like shit. And when we're explaining it to other people, they yelling at us, and threating us "we'll give you tickets for standing on the street, we don't care!" What.... what the hell? How ignorant. The girl got checked up, seemed fine, and then they took her off to jail. I only have a picture pictures. Some of them are insanely huge to show detail.Here she is waiting for her ticket. I think most passerbyers think she's getting it for prostitution or something, but you can see she's wearing skates.
Heres the link to the pictures:
PICS: Warning, these are sort of graphic. (sorry, you have to be a myspace member to access them.)
The "It" List: Saturday 1/14/06
Lots to do, lots to do. We're going to be all over the place tonight: Doublewide, maybe the Cavern, and then some house parties. Thats the plans:
1. Strange Boys/Undoing of David Wright/Attractive and Popular (Double Wide): Um, so the strange boys are great, and they play everywhere all the time. If you haven't seen them you probably should, as they put on a loud as fuck live show and their drummer will amaze you. Undoing of David Wright is a goddamn spectacle, and they've got some catchy, danceable songs worth seeing live even if your favorite band is Third Eye Blind. Attractive and Popular also sound good based on their myspace page, but we've never seen them live, unlike the other two. Show up early and see what they're all about. (PS- once we get our file hosting thing going, we'll post some strange boys mp3s, since their myspace page doesn't have any. Which is um, strange.)
2. Bosque Brown (The Cavern): So theres some buzz about this show, according to the Observer, and maybe for good reason. This is probably the only artist in DFW we can think of that could be categorized as part of the neo folk movement that got so much attention in 04 and 05, and the singer sounds like Joanna Newsom with more of a country twang. Probably worth checking out. We also just wanted to post a picture of the unbelievably cute Joanna Newsom, so we did.
3. Dj Nitwit Psychic Drive In (Fallout): Good selection of mindfuck videos mixed in with really funny ones, and some good music as well. A place to go for a chilled out Saturday eve.
More to come...
Google Image Search of the Week: "Jerk Face"
This is what we do when we're bored. We would also like to take this opportunity to tell you that in the EIGHT DAYS or so that we've been doing this blog, we've gone from no hits at all to about 100 unique hits a day (meaning 100 different IP addresses, or "people" come to our site every day) and about 160 hits a day overall (meaning that about 60 people come back more than once). This means we rule, of course.
We're also planning on expanding what it is we do here: we're in the process of getting a file hosting account so that we can post mp3s for your downloading pleasure, and we are also talking with people about taking pictures at shows for us, and trying to conduct some email interviews with local bands, etc. So you love us already, you whore, and you are going to start loving us even more in the coming weeks. And we promise we'll never hit you again.. we've changed baby you gotta believe us!
Last Night: Eat Avery's Bones
We weren't able to make it out personally but heard that EAB put on a good show to a small crowd using practice amps. Heard that Cry Blood Apache was decent but hard to hear since their amps didn't really do the trick. Too bad. Both of these bands are interesting (at least according to the small amount of material we have heard), and will probably be pretty damn good in the near future. Keep on the lookout for them. And, um, how can you argue with this picture to the left of Eat Avery's Bones? The answer is that you cannot. More to come today, including another album on the Bestest list, and of course tonight's "It" list....
A Belafonte Worth Writing About
We heard that some people got bent out of shape about our review of the new Belafonte CD... hey we weren't as mean as that Observer guy, were we? Anyway, we decided to get all political on your ass and write about a better Belafonte. Maybe we'll stick to writing about THIS Belafonte in the future. Day light come and me wan go home:
Friday, January 13, 2006
Mishapes, mistakes mistakes
The "It" List Friday 1.13.06
1. Cry Blood Apache/ Eat Avery's Bones (Avenue Arts, 825 Exposition Ave): EDIT: We've been told that EAB is from DENTON not Austin, sorry about that. We've also been told that they are a relatively new band, and that they don't use drum machines. Is my face red? Anyway, they still seem loud and fun, and so does Cry Blood Apache's strangeness. The show starts at midnight, its BYOB, all ages, and the last we heard, its free. No reason not to at least stop by before hitting the after hours circuit. (There is a rumor that strange boys are playing this show too, but no one knows for sure.... we'll give you the details if we hear anything.)
2. Jack with One Eye (8pm Darkside Lounge): Someone sent us some info about this band and we kinda like em. They remind us of Elastica and have a pretty good lead singer, and thats a good thing last time we checked. The other bands on the bill we've never really heard with the exception of Golden Falcon, so we can't really recommend them. But Jack with One Eye opens at 8... a good place to start the night perhaps. If you know anything about unconscious Collective, Mazinga Phaser II, Dreamtigers, etc, send us an email and let us know... maybe we can recommend them too.
(ANOTHER UPDATE: Someone sent us a link to Mazinga's Myspace page, and they sound pretty good. Probably worth checking out. If anyone goes to these shows and has pictures or something to say about them, send us an email and let us know.)
Bestest of 2005 #8: Broadcast- Tender Buttons
The songs on this record all sound like they could just slip through your fingers at any moment, with a loose and fleeting feel that will make you question their permanence. Keyboards are distorted until they almost become impossible to manage, and sparse Detroit electro beats serve as a backdrop to a female vocalist with enough charisma and character in her voice and blurry imagery in her lyrics to make you wonder why people think Karen O is cool. Of course Stereolab immediately comes to mind, but the differences between that group and Broadcast abound not only in style (darker and more dreary) but in attitude as well (simultaneously more avant garde and twee). A better point of reference would probably be Magnetic Fields' Holiday, which has probably become THE genre defining album for bedroom electropop, which after a few listens you will recognize this record to be a part of at least in part.
While the music is fantastically minimalist, frontwoman Trish Keenan really steals the show, and it is her voice and pacing that you will remember after you hear this record. These are the kinds of songs that will get stuck in your head without actually retaining their form: you will say, hm, I keep singing Broadcast to myself, but I don't know which song it is. Truthfully it probably isn't any one song, but a haunting sound that this band has made its signature. You won't appreciate the full effect until you see this band live, which is incredible by any measure, but you should let this album remind you of why you listen to new music at all.
Bestest of 2005: #9 Mahjongg- Raydoncong
A written description of this record is extremely annoying. Some art kids from Chicago make an afrobeat influenced post-hardcore electro dance kinda thing and reference Bishop Desmond Tutu whenever possible. And have you seen pictures of these guys? What a bunch of assholes (in sort of a good way). But this was another one of those records that we listened to all year long, and one that many of the bloggers and Pitchforkers chose to ignore on their year end lists. This is in fact an afrobeat record that sounds like it was produced by the Velvet Underground in 1983 with an 808 and a Casio.
At first, the songs sound purposefully difficult and hard to swallow. Songs like "Vaxination" seem to come at you sideways, with a discernible dance beat and singing of some kind, but something is always a little off time... or so it seems. As you continue to listen, you start to realize how truly catchy, and dare we say poppy, many of these tracks are. "The Stubborn Horse" is easily one of the best tracks to be released by anyone anywhere this year, with jangly guitars and a "do do do" chorus that will remind you of VU's " Some Kind of Love" and Beck's Odelay at the same time... in a good way. Elsewhere, "The Rabbit" starts off sounding like a joke but ends up forcing you to shake your ass, or at least to think about it, with fake bongos and Romancing the Stone style Latin synth rhythms in your face. Other tracks on the record take on a sound collage structure, and often end up sounding like a much less harsh version of some of the stuff that Liars did on their last album. You will also here some Swell Maps and by extension, early Pavement coasting in the background throughout, although the singing on this record is much cleaner than anything those bands put out.
A great dance pop record with enough experimentation to keep it interesting, and a band that obviously knows their place in the post-punk timeline. We hear these guys have some major label offers in the works, so lets hope we hear more of what they can do this year.