Tuesday, October 31, 2006
It List: Halloween 06
The Angelus/History at Our Disposal/ Small Sails (Dan's Denton): We're big fans of the Angelus as you probably already know, and as a bonus, the two bands they are playing with tonight sound pretty decent too. Particularly, Small Sails could be a great live band. Mixing parts folk, post-rock, indie pop and space, their songs are sugary and easy to listen to but structurally interesting and far from cookie cutter. Unfortunately, we haven't really heard or seen History at Our Disposal as of yet, but the little we were able to listen to on the Myspace page today sounded fairly solid, with bits of Radiohead, Bedhead and bands like Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire thrown in the mix.
Lost Generation with Wanz and Gabriel (Cavern): Here is what the guys have for tonight:
"Gabriel's Message: Joining Wanz for some Halloween fun tonight! Spooky track s by Son House, Nina Simone, Nick Cave, Misfits, Ennio Morricone and others. Throwing down tracks by White Drugs, Lithium X-Mas, Silk Stocking and others from The LoillipopShoppe Benefit Comp as well. Prizes for the best costume, and like always no cover.
Wanz's Message:Old Stuff: Assorted Halloween trax, Slayer, Pop Group, Teenage Jesus and The Jerks, Howlin Wolf, Theoretical Girls, Tom Ze, The Factory Press, Sonic Youth(Bad Moon Rising)New Stuff:Bellmer Dolls, Kode 9, Burial, Pressure featuring Warrior Queen, Wolf Eyes, Ellen Allien, Battles(Live)Spinning with Gabriel is always a blast. I believe we are gonna be downstairs tonight. I am not certain of that, but pretty sure. This is my fourth gig in 5 days and I am ready to go out with a bang. Happy Halloween!!!!!!!"
Minus the Bear/ P.O.S./The Velvet Teen/ Russian Circles (Hailey's): Get there early to see Chicago's Russian Circles, who just recorded an EP of solid, progressive leaning metal/post-hardcore at Electrical Audio. Velvet Teen and Minus the Bear I could really do without, to be honest (listen to VT's "steadman spray" on their myspace page. If I hear one more song that starts like that, I'm going to cry), but P.O.S. is a hip hop act featuring an MC that sounds quite a bit like Tribe's Phife Dawg, which is something I suppose. Maybe leans a bit too far towards emo hip hop for my taste, but some good beats should make it a good time.
Monday, October 30, 2006
It List: Monday 10/30/06
Well, I think I only have the stomache for like one more of these band tribute things, but the one going on at 1919 Hemphill in Ft. Worth tonight might be worth your time, as you can watch The Wankers as Operation Ivy, C.R.A.T.T. as Dead Kennedys, The Dead Ramones as Screeching Weasel, half of Druids on Parade as Black Flag, and part of Best Fwends as Atom and His Package. A bunch of these bands appear to have been put together just for this show, and one of them isn't even covering a good band (Screeching Weasel has permission to blow me), but I bet it will be a good time overall. We're looking forward to the Black Flag, DK and Opiv sets in particular. Operation Ivy: the closest thing to tolerable ska that has been produced in the past twenty years. As usual with Hemphill, stuff gets started early, around 7pm.
A rotating cast of mostly talented local jazz musicians will be doing their thing at the Amsterdam Bar tonight as well.
This weekend, we had the chance to catch a cool light/sound installation at Treewave's And/Or Gallery. It was the first time we had ever spent more than a second or two at the corner of Peak and Bryan St., and it seems as though that little neighborhood really has some potential to turn into something interesting. Its in the middle of a part of town that really needs something good to happen in it, to say the least, and the surroundings and available space in the vacinity appear to be a blank canvas, especially when you consider that rent in that part of town probably isn't too obscene just yet. There is a lot of pre-existing space for more gallerys, bars and plenty of other things that could be welcome additions to the neighborhood, and the central location should be appealing to just about anyone that lives in the downtown/uptown/east side area. Its one of the few spaces immediately east of downtown that is compact, attractive and open enough to have any character at all, and I hope more potential business owners take notice of it. There are already a couple of restaurants over there, and the corner just has an inviting atmosphere to it, which is something that we hadn't noticed until we stood on it drinking free beer.
Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart
2. The Blow - Paper Television
3. Suicide Girls - Italian Villa (DVD)
4. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
5. Bright Eyes - Noise Floor
6. Akron/Family - Meek Warrior
7. Yo La Tengo - I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass
8. Clark - Body Riddle
9. Califone - Roots and Crowns
10. Beach House - Beach House
11. Annuals - Be He Me
12. Xiu Xiu - The Air Force
13. Decemberists - The Crane Wife
14. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
15. Dears - Gang of Losers
16. Johann Johannsson - IBM 1401-a User's Manual
17. Ben Folds - Supersunnyspeedgraphic
18. OOIOO - Taiga
19. Colleen - Et Les Boites A Musique
20. Wovenhand - Mosaic
That Johann Johannsson record is fantastic... if you haven't heard it, its a symphony about an early IBM computer, and it contains some absolutely amazing stretches. Highly recommended.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Unless you're under the age of 12, this weekend is the real Halloween for all intents and purposes. Costume parties, Halloween concerts, special events, the list goes on. There is obviously a ton of stuff going on this weekend, so we've taken it upon ourselves to sift through the Observer listings and the really crappy crap that other places are recommending so that we can give you the goods for the weekend. Its like we do every day. Here they are:
Feel like driving to Grapevine and paying $47 to see The Cult? We don't, but you can if you want to. I guess the lady that sells sanctuary also sells some really expensive concert tickets too. P.S., the Cult really does kick ass... I don't care what anyone says.
Back in Dallas, you can catch electronic music performances (including from Laptop Deathmatch star Plutonium Jukebox) and contemporary non traditional media exhibits at Treewave's And/Or Gallery as part of the Texelectronica Fest. Stuff goes down from 6-10pm tonight, and the performances start at 8pm. Even though I don't know much about the exhibits, I think its a safe bet that this will be a really good way to start the night.
Oh, you want more shit in Dallas? Try Secret Machines at, um, Lizard Lounge? Yeah, Lizard Lounge. I know Secret Machines get a lot of shit around here from bitter locals, but I think they're a pretty good band all things considered... maybe a bit too stiff for their own good at times, but they put on a great live show most of the time. Doors open at 8 and its $15. I wonder if there will be any thong contests tonight?
Still in Dallas? Try Detroit Cobras/Taylor Hollingsworth at Gypsy Tea Room tonight. DC is another band that I recommend seeing live, even if Detroit garage rock bands are SOOO over.
In Denton, you can see Voxtrot/Yellow Fever/ The Dimes at Hailey's. Last time we saw Voxtrot it kinda sucked, but that was mostly Irving's fault from what I remember. In fact, Voxtrot's performance was very solid throughout, even though I found myself not giving much of a shit. Don't know why.
One of the hands down best bands in the Metroplex, Treewave, will be performing at the UNT art space in Ft. Worth at 3400 Camp Bowie as part of the Texelectronica fest. They go on at 8, and you should take advantage of this rare opportunity to see them live.
Disturbathon 06 is going down somewhere on Corinth St. downtown... thats all we're gonna say about that one, other than the fact that Wanz will be Djing and Chief Death Rage will be peforming.... I've heard that naked is the only way to go to this thing. Lucky for you, we won't be there.
Pink Nasty and Colourmusic will be playing a free instore at Good Records at 3pm...
Hailey's will be having their FREE Halloween Party with Red Monroe at 10pm, Pilotdrift at 11, and DJ G spinning records with members of Flashlight Party from 12 till 3 am.
Our Band Could Be Your Band, which we talked about last week, will be going down at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton starting at 8pm. Should be good fun, and it will help out SHQ, one of the few DIY venues in the Metroplex.
The Mountain Goats (who we actually really don't dig that much) will be playing at Rubber Gloves with Jennifer O'Connor.
And Eat Avery's Bones will be playing the Melissas' Delux Party at Avenue Arts on Exposition near the Amsterdam and Fallout. Stuff gets started at 10.
I know its a Sunday and Sundays are a drag, but seeing Laptop Deathmatch at Doublewide is truly mandatory if you want to see what is really happening in Dallas music these days.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
It List: Thursday 10/26/06
Joan Baez is at the Lakewood Theater tonight. What the hell will that be like? I don't even like Joan Baez really, so I'm not sure if I even care to answer the question. Just thought it was noteworthy that she would be in the hood tonight.
In Denton, experimental black metal/ jazz stuff is going down at House of Tinnitus tonight as they welcome Ettrick/A Fail Association/ Boy Scout Manual. I don't have links for the other two bands, but from the sound of things, Ettrick is going to blow your fucking ears off anyway. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Stuff has apparently been getting started around 9pm there, but maybe one of the people involved can give you a more specific time in the comments section.
And if you're going to be up in Denton tonight, you can also check out Chin Up Chin Up/ Oxford Collapse/ The Demings at Rubber Gloves. I haven't been too wowed with anything Chin Up Chin Up has put out thus far, but they're certainly nothing to spit at. However, the real draw here is Oxford Collapse, who have just realeased a really great pop rock record that will kill live. I've seen them live, and they kill it. I have heard rumors that they have overtaken Chin Up as the headliner on this tour, but I can't confirm that. Guess you should probably show up early to be safe.
Dj G will also be spinning at Hailey's up in Denton.
And you can also check out the Zoo video DJs upstairs at The Cavern and late 80's/early 90's hip hop at the Slip Inn.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Red Monroe- s/t EP
If mainstream rock fans in Dallas had better taste, Red Monroe would already be one of the most popular bands in the metroplex. Of course, this isn't to say that they're the best band in the area, or even one of the ten best, but thats kind of missing the point. There are a handful of other things going on in Dallas and Denton right now that are more interesting, unique, and exciting than Red Monroe, and I probably don't have to tell most of you about them. But as everyone already knows, popularity often has little to do with artistic merit, and in Dallas, the presence of the first trait usually all but guarantees the absence of the second, meaning that good art often goes unnoticed, nice guys usually finish last, and shitty bands are given the royal treatment by the local music press time and time again. This is why Red Monroe's ratio of talent to commercial appeal is pleasantly surprising, and its why you should be glad that they are probably about to become bigger than a lot of the popular Dallas rock bands that have helped turn this town into a snore fest.
It was recently announced that the band's self titled debut EP has been placed on the Grammy Award nomination list for best "Alternative Album," and one quick listen to its eight songs provides a pretty clear explanation as to how this happened. Simply put, if there is a musical formula for "indie" success these days, Red Monroe probably comes as close as anyone in the metroplex to following it perfectly, producing a record that will satisfy a portion of the music geeks while simultaneously thrilling enough Greenville bar hoppers to earn the band some attention from people that usually don't give a shit.
if "indie" is indeed an actual musical genre as opposed to an abstract, indefinable marketing concept used purely to sell us fake "West Virginia is for Lovers" t-shirts, Red Monroe sums up the sound well enough. If you take most of the fashionable influence lists that have popped up this millennium (post-punk, space rock, psychedelic, Radiohead, Brit pop, bits of Americana and blues, 60's garage, glam, Talking Heads, The Strokes, The Walkmen etc.) and mix them up until they're all audibly present but jumbled to the point of being almost indistinguishable, you would probably get a sound that could fairly be described as contemporary "indie" rock, and you would also be pretty close to what Red Monroe sounds like. I know, I know, this description probably isn't thrilling to many of you, and admittedly, I'm usually not too excited to hear a band that sounds like bits and pieces of just about every "next big thing" that has come and gone over the past five years. But somehow, Red Monroe pulls it off more often than not, and sometimes, the results are quite impressive.
The Ep opens with the short, bouncing thump of "Shotgun Heart," and almost immediately transitions into the Wolf Paradesque organ-lead stomp of "Fingertips," a song that serves as the Ep's most accessible track while providing a proper showcase for Eric Steele's lead vocals, which are clearly the band's strongest selling point. Steele's influences probably won't be much of a mystery to many, as echoes of Ziggy era Bowie, David Byrne, and contemporaries such as Alec Ounsworth, Hamilton Leithauser and Spencer Krug make themselves apparent from the get go. However, the singer's excited, slightly shrieking delivery is urgent, powerful and quite effective throughout the album, constantly demanding the listener's attention and revealing an emotional depth that you'll be hard pressed to find in most local albums. The life of the band's music seems to be packed into his confidently damaged vocals, and his emotions on sleeve presentation almost always seem to bring the band to a slightly higher level, setting them apart almost immediately from other locals that might share similar influences.
Musically, the band seems to be willing to explore a bit, but never ventures far enough to truly break any new ground. Fortunately, this restraint isn't often a problem. "A Return to the Old Way of Thinking," the EP's best track, starts with a shimmering march reminiscent of PIL's "Rise" before following an efficiently funky bassline into a soul infected breakdown shift that emphasizes the band's strong command of rhythm and reveals their willingness to play around with structure a bit. The band also tries its hand with Nigel Godrich atmospherics on the slow building "Carolina Cigarette," where choppy post-punk pop guitar gives way to swirling synths and guitar noise in a convincing if slightly rushed build up. Elsewhere, acoustic psychedelics make a welcome appearance on "Blue Mountain Air," and the Radiohead infected shoegaze guitar of closer "Broken Wall Carnival" reveals bits and pieces of all the things Red Monroe does well, playing off a bouncing bass line and a well placed organ wall that lends the song an effective texture.
As you might expect, the band at times tends to get bogged down in predictable guitar playing and chord changes, and there are a few points where lyrics become a bit trite and tired, but nothing truly offensive or completely boring ever really emerges, even if there are a couple of slow patches to be found. For the most part, the playing is tight, well crafted and powerful enough to hold attention throughout, with sufficiently memorable stretches that ensure accessibility. Again, the slight been there done that feel that you'll find on Red Monroe probably holds this album back a bit, but its clear that the band has the good taste and requisite talent to take their music in different, more interesting directions if they choose. At its core, Red Monroe's EP is populist in nature, and I wouldn't be surprised to see these guys shift to headliner status in the next few months. But for once, an accessible Dallas rock record is actually quite enjoyable, and if a few more bands like Red Monroe began to take hold in the Dallas mainstream, checking the Observer's local concert listings could become significantly less embarrassing for everyone.
It List: Wednesday 10/25/06
Every one of you knows that you like at least ONE Elton John song. I like around 10 I think. And although I like men in feather boas about as much as the Lion King soundtrack (I guess Bowie and Jagger are the only ones allowed to wear them), we all might get a chance to see/hear both as Elton plays the Meyerson tonight for some kind of charity thing. It probably costs 8 thousand dollars and is likely sold out by now, and considering that the guy hasn't released a decent song since the late 70's, I doubt its worth anyones time to see this, duck suit or not. And I guess thats why they call it the blues.
In other news concerning over the top sweethearts that haven't released any good music in a while, The Decemberists will take the Gypsy Tea Room stage with Lavender Diamond tonight. I guess I really shouldn't be that hard on The Decemberists because they HAVE written some good songs in the past... its just that I can't take the whole English major self importance thing. I prefer blogger self importance, by the way, which is more 2006 and much more important overall. Print is totally dead dudes!
The Undoing of David Wright will be hitting up Rubber Gloves tonight with straight up harcore/oi! punks Peelander-Z and The Daily Beat. Listening to Peelander Z really reminds me of how fashionable it is becoming to dig on hardcore once again, and I for one have been waiting for it to be ok to play Black Flag in front of girls for pretty much my whole life. Of course, any time anyone mentions this trend (much like any time a person mentions hipster metal), some dude gets all up in arms about how hipster pussies need to fuck off, etc., and real hardcore fans this and that and the other. I'd just like to remind that dude that "real hardcore" went on to produce stuff like Biohazard, which should be enough to shut him up if he knows his ass from a hole in the underground. Peelander Z should be loved by anyone that has ever dug on some Bad Brains or Husker Du. Which should be all of you. And I should know, cuz I'm a real hardcore fan... not like you pussies!
And of course, you can hit up The Metro tonight with DJs Laureen and Nicole at the Cavern. Is it just me or are there always nice looking people at this thing? Since I can't link it for some reason, just go to myspace.com/mile_end for more info.
Flashlight Party will also be doing This is Radio Clash at Hailey's tonight, and it might be a good night to check it out since Dj Nature won't be doing his thing at Rubber Gloves. Thats all.
Before Blogger so rudely locked us out of our blogspot, we were going to tell you that Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins will be playing with Will Sheff and The Blow at the Ridglea Theater in Ft. Worth tonight. Although Jenny is in fact one of the more talented indie pin-up girls you'll ever have the pleasure of seeing, the real reason to check this show out is K Records' The Blow, whose dancey electro cutie might be a bit too sweet for some, but will be entertaining for sure.
The Buzz Bin
120 Days "Come Out (Come Down, Fade Out, Be Gone)" MP3
Working for a Nuclear Free City " Troubled Son" MP3
Video for Klaxons' "Gravity's Rainbow"
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Last Week's Radio UTD Charts
2 DOSH The Lost Take Anticon
3 GOTHIC ARCHIES TRAGIC TREASURY
4 SPARKLEHORSE Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain Astralwerks
5 DECEMBERISTS The Crane Wife Capitol
6 PERNICE BROTHERS Live A Little Ashmont
7 CALIFONE Roots And Crowns Thrill Jockey
8 BEACH HOUSE Beach House Carpark
9 ROBERT POLLARD Normal Happiness Merge
10 CHANGES Today Is Tonight Drama Club
11 JUNIOR BOYS So This Is Goodbye Domino
12 BECK The Information Interscope
13 SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN Broom Polyvinyl
14 FOUR TET Remixes Domino
15 COMPILATION Chrome Children Stones Throw
16 EMILY HAINES Knives Don't Have Your Back Last Gang
17 TOKYO POLICE CLUB A Lesson In Crime Paper Bag
18 RAFTER 10 Songs Asthmatic Kitty
19 MOUNTAIN GOATS Get Lonely 4AD
20 MASTODON Blood Mountain Warner Bros.
21 JEFFREY AND JACK LEWIS City And Eastern Songs Rough Trade
22 HIDDEN CAMERAS Awoo
23 LOW LOWS Fire On The Bright Sky Warm
24 YO LA TENGO I'm Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass Matador
25 OXFORD COLLAPSE Remember The Night Parties Sub Pop
26 CURTAINS Calamity Asthmatic Kitty
27 PIT ER PAT Pyramids Thrill Jockey
28 COLD WAR KIDS Robbers And Cowards Downtown
29 END OF THE WORLD You're Making It Come Alive Flameshovel
30 SHOUT OUT OUT OUT OUT Not Saying Just Saying Normals Welcome
1 SOUNDTRACK Marie Antoinette Verve
2 NIOBE White Hats Tomlab
3 A HAWK AND A HACKSAW The Way The Wind Blows Leaf
4 WALKMEN Pussy Cats Record Collection
5 BOOGIE BOARDER What Riding Waves Is All About Famous Class
It List: Tuesday 10/24/06
Broken Social Scene/Do Make Say Think (Gypsy Tea Room): Of course this is the big show of the night, and if you've ever seen BSS live, you know that there is a good reason for it. Yeah, the whole 26,000 member Canadian band thing has lost a bit of the novelty it had a couple of years ago, and the break up rumors surrounding BSS are about as obvious as they come (who would have thought that 17 people wouldn't be able to all get along on tour?), but the band has managed to put out two great records (with the second somehow improving on the first), and they really give you everything they've got on stage as their noisy and hynotic walls of sound quickly win you over. Gypsy should be a great venue for this show too.
Lost Generation w/ Wanz (Cavern Upstairs): Here is what Wanz is planning for tonight:
"I got new stuff from Burial, Kode 9, Kano, Wolf Eyes, Skream, ...Trail of Dead, Audion and Ellen Allien. I got Old Stuff from Flying Saucer Attack, Laika, The Germs, The Bellmer Dolls, the Get Hustle, obscure funk 45's, Bill laswell and Radio Birdman. i have also scored a lot of great music from bands(local and otherwise) off of myspace. Some stuff actually worth playing. Next week is a Halloween Bash on halloween night with me and Guest DJ Gabriel. I think we may be downstairs. Not sure yet."
Xrayok/Girls Rise with Heat/Black Elk/Dirty Water Disease (Club Dada): Hmm... bands from L.A. They're so easy to hate, aren't they? Take X-Ray Ok for example. I guess their songs aren't entirely terrible, even though they are highly derivative of some of the more pedestrian influences that have been swimming around on Myspace music pages over the past few years... britpop, 80's electro, Radiohead, yada yada yada. And while I like all the aforementioned influences, when you read them together they sound like a list of favorite bands that a frat boy would feed an "indie chick" to show how open minded he is. In short, its quite boring, and the L.A. fashion attitude doesn't help either. I don't know about you, but I think I've heard enough emo pop/80's electro combos over the past several years to safely say that I can pass on these guys. The main reason I mention this show is Portland's Black Elk, who seem to completely kick ass. If you're looking for the rock tonight, you might want to check out their brand of screaming, metal damaged hardcore. And I'm also somewhat interested to see how the dark ambient music of Dirty Water Disease will translate live.
Fun Fun Fun on the Austinbahn
In case you hadn't heard about it yet, we wanted to hip you guys to the Fun Fun Fun Fest, an event that will be taking place at Waterloo Park in Austin on Friday, December 1st. Of course, we don't want to get all "Keep Austin Weird" on you, and not every band playing this thing is completely legit, but there are certainly some pleasing highlights: Spoon, Peaches, Black Angels, Dead Meadow, Octopus project, Oranges Band, Prefuse 73, Dj Mel and of course, the return of Circle Jerks. Tickets go on sale on Friday, and you can get more information by clicking on the link above. I can't imagine what the Circle Jerks will be like... I'm picturing either a massive success or a huge trainwreck. Either way, it'll be fun to watch. 25 bands, three stages, not sure about the price quite yet. The line up:
Black Angels 6:30-7:15
Dead Meadow 4:30-5:15
Octopus Project 3:30-4:15
The Oranges Band 2:45-3:15
Drag The River 2-2:30
Circle Jerks 8:55-10
Negative Approach 7:55-8:40
Riverboat Gamblers 6:55-7:40
Electric Frankenstein 5:55-6:40
Lower Class Brats 5-5:40
Iron Age 2:45-3:15
Dance Party stage/tent:
Prefuse 73 9-10
DJ Mel 7:50-8:50
Quintron and Miss Pussycat 6:50-7:35
Ghostland Observatory DJ set (Thomas Turner) 5:35-6:35
Learning Secrets 4:25-5:25
Dirty South Ravers 3:15-4:15
Monday, October 23, 2006
It List: Monday 10/23/06
More to come...
Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart
2. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
3. Califone - Roots & Crowns
4. Astronautalis - The Mighty Ocean & Nine Dark Theaters
5. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
6. Annuals - Be He Me
7. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
8. Beach House - Beach House
9. Gothic Archies - The Tragic Treasury
10. Squarepusher - Hello Everything
11. Viva Voce - Get Yr Blood Sucked Out
12. Girl Talk - Night Ripper
13. Sparklehorse - Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain
14. Badly Drawn Boy - Born in the U.K.
15. The Album Leaf - Into the Blue Again
16. Red Monroe - Red Monroe
17. Shiny Toy Guns - We Are Pilots
18. Colleen - Et Les Boites A Musique
19. Tortoise - A Lazarus Taxon
20. Robert Pollard - Normal Happiness
Monday Morning Rock
Friday, October 20, 2006
Doing this early today because we have to. We're also having problems with Blogger today, so we're going to make this short and hope that it works. Lots of stuff to do this weekend, so lets get right to it:
Ladytron/CSS (Gypsy Ball Room): This is probably the place to be tonight. We're excited to see both of these bands live.
Ft. Worth Modern Concert Series: Stumptone @830/Dove Hunter @ 930/ Octopus Project @1030/ Sober DJing all night: This should be a lot of fun. We're big OP fans here, and we dig on some Stumptone too. We've heard a few things here and there about how good Dove Hunter is too, but since we've only heard one of their songs, we don't know what to tell you about them. Its 10 bucks to get in (or free for Modern members) and goes from 6pm till midnight.
Lollipop Shoppe @ (DoubleWide) Will feature performances tonight from Blackheart Society and White Drugs. You want to see White Drugs live, trust me on this.
Record Hop/ Birth To Burial/ Medicine Window (Dallas Scaregrounds): Starts at 9pm, and I think its like three bucks to get in.
Thunderbirds Are Now/Rescue/The Daily Beat (Hailey's)
Lost Generation Concert Series: The Good Sons/The Great Tyrant/The Undoing of David Wright/Prayer For Animals
The Party (Southside Lamar) FREE: Djs Nature, Sober and Select will be spinning records for free at Southside Lamar from 7-11 pm. It has something to do with Redbull.
Faux Fox/ Prince William/ Zom Zoms/ Laura Palmer/ Dj Wild in the Streets (Rubber Gloves)
Teenage Symphony/ Eat Averys Bones/S-1 Committee (J&Js): FREE show.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad (Zubar)
DJ for Tribe Called Quest. One of the greatest, next to DJ Premier.-DL
Plutonium Jukebox/Telethon/Zom ZOms (Amsterdam Bar)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Heavy Rotation: The We Shot J.R. Playlist
Here are some records we've been listening to lately, along with some MP3s to sample. We encourage you to go buy these records, and if any labels, bands, or managers would like us to remove these tracks, please email email@example.com and we will take them down immediately:
Josef K The Only Fun in Town: As Edinburgh's answer to Glasgow's Orange Juice, Josef K was a relatively underappreciated but nearly as vital example of the "Scotland" sound that emerged on the Postcard record label in the early 1980's. Their songs are thoroughly post punk and clearly steeped in the gloom of Joy Division, but they also incorporate the poppy funk influences of Orange Juice and a sharp, rhythmic discopunk that is as infectious as many of Gang of Four's best singles. The group will likely see a small resurgence in popularity among record collectors with this year's release of Entomology, a compilation of their complete works.
Comus First Utterance: Ever wonder what ties bands like Skygreen Leopards, Animal Collective and Akron/Family together? Comus, an experimental acid/prog folk band from the early 70's is such a clear influence on these groups that you might think they were on tour together. Taking equal nods from ancient Celtic folk and King Crimson, Comus produces something that might also remind you of Pagan ritual chants and Yes. Good stuff.
Pearls Before Swine Balaklava: For all intents and purposes, Pearls Before Swine is pseudo-cult figure Tom Rapp and a revolving cast of backing musicians. Rapp, who once beat Bob Dylan in a high school talent show (not kidding), wrote strange, sad folk songs, gorgeous traditional ballads, and slightly paranoid psyche pop masterpieces. I had never heard of Pearls Before Swine until I stumbled upon them while researching for my review on Chris Garver, and I'm really glad I found them. Apparently, Pearls Before Swine's 1967 debut sold 250,000 copies in the U.S., so maybe I just missed the Tom Rapp boat. I've posted two tracks from Swine's 1968 masterpiece Balaklava, the first being a short recording made in the 1880's of a man named Landfrey, who happened to be the British Military Trumpet player that sounded the horns in one of the major battles of the Crimean war of 1854. Its really creepy. The next is an absolutely gorgeous strings ballad that you really have to hear to believe. Imagine a sadder, older version of "Eleanor Rigby" and you might be half way there.
"Trumpeter Lanfrey" MP3
"Guardian Angels" MP3
Lupe Fiasco "I Gotcha:" One of the best hip hop singles in a long time, hands down. You should really pick up the rest of the album. Think Pharcyde, De La and Tribe. MP3
Om Conference of the Birds: Here's a warning for you. If you don't like long stoner rock tracks (like 17 minutes long), then don't download this. However, if you want to hear what the rhythm section of legendary stoner rock band Sleep has been up to recently, then you really should. Its just bass and drums, but it sure doesn't sound like it. Its complex, epic, and exciting, and somehow manages to drill repetitious riffs into your head while changing things up so often that you really won't notice. Truly hypnotic if you let it be. Anyone that has ever liked anything by Black Sabbath will dig this. It will probably take a long time to download, but should be worth it.
"Flight of the Eagle" MP3
Les Georges Leningrad Sangue Puro: A great track from this Montreal band's latest no wave infected effort. This one is pretty catchy and almost danceable, but the album as a whole is much more bizarre than anything Les Georges has done to this point. I like it quite a bit. "Scissor Hands" MP3
Boris/Sunn 0))) Altar: It might not be the best idea to take a track from this album out of context, but I thought you guys might be interested in hearing something from this much talked about ambient/ black metal collaboration between two of the most hyped experimental bands of the past couple of years. It sounds a lot more like Sunn 0))) than Boris, in case you were wondering, but the track below doesn't really sound like either.
"The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)" MP3
Chapterhouse Whirlpool: I often wonder why late 80's English shoegaze/madchester group Chapterhouse isn't a little bit more well known these days. They weren't as exciting as the Stone Roses, as danceable as the Happy Mondays or anywhere near the same ballpark as My Bloody Valentine (who is?), but a lot of their better stuff is as good as Ride or Slowdive, and the track below is one of their better ones. See for yourself.
It List: Thursday 10/19/06
Built to Spill/ Helvetia/ The Solace Brothers (Gypsy Tea Room)
Celtic Frost/ Goatwhore/ The Great Tyrant (Ridglea Theater): I can't believe that The Great Tyrant gets to open for European first wave metal legends Celtic Frost. What a strange show this is going to be.
The Gunshy/Anthony Ferraro/ Andrew Bryant/ A Childlike Fear (Metrognome Collective)
And White Denim will be at Club Dada tonight with several other bands that I haven't had time to look up. I'm guessing White Denim's live show will be worth it.
And don't forget about the usual Thursday night stuff: Hip hop at Slip Inn, Zoo at the Cavern and DJG at Hailey's. Also, the Flashlight Party gang will be spinning at a house party tonight for a DJG pre party. The house is at 1228 Cresent St. in Denton. Starts around 9:30.
Also, Violent Squid will be playing an early show (8pm) at Secret Headquarters in Denton, and Chief Death Rage will be at Rubber Gloves for Promohomos's birthday party.
Stephin Freakin' Merritt in Frisco tomorrow afternoon
Last Week's Radio UTD Charts
1 COMPILATION Chrome Children Stones Throw
2 DECEMBERISTS The Crane Wife Capitol
3 SPARKLEHORSE Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain Astralwerks
4 TV ON THE RADIO Return To Cookie Mountain Interscope
5 CHAD VANGAALEN Skelliconnection Sub Pop
6 BECK The Information Interscope
7 IN INK PLEASE Formica Table For Two Fall
8 FOUR TET Remixes Domino
9 JUNIOR BOYS So This Is Goodbye Domino
10 BONNIE PRINCE BILLY The Letting Go Drag City
11 DAMIEN JURADO And Now That I'm In Your Shadow Secretly Canadian
12 PORTASTATIC Be Still Please Merge
13 MASTODON Blood Mountain Warner Bros.
14 LOW LOWS Fire On The Bright Sky Warm
15 BEACH HOUSE Beach House Carpark
16 GRIZZLY BEAR Yellow House Warp
17 PERNICE BROTHERS Live A Little Ashmont
18 OXFORD COLLAPSE Remember The Night Parties Sub Pop
19 ROBERT POLLARD Normal Happiness Merge
20 PIT ER PAT Pyramids Thrill Jockey
21 EMILY HAINES Knives Don't Have Your Back Last Gang
22 JEFFREY AND JACK LEWIS City And Eastern Songs Rough Trade
23 LEMONHEADS The Lemonheads Vagrant
24 CALIFONE Roots And Crowns Thrill Jockey
25 DR. DOG Takers And Leavers [EP] Park The Van
26 PATTERN IS MOVEMENT Canonic Hometapes
27 CHIN UP CHIN UP This Harness Can't Ride Anything Suicide Squeeze
28 MOUNTAIN GOATS Get Lonely 4AD
29 CHANGES Today Is Tonight Drama Club
30 RAFTER 10 Songs Asthmatic Kitty
1 SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN Broom Polyvinyl
2 CURTAINS Calamity Asthmatic Kitty
3 THE BLOW Paper Television K
4 ALELA DIANE Pirate's Gospel Holocene
5 BADLY DRAWN BOY Born In The UK Astralwerks
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
It List: Wednesday 10/18/06
Elsewhere, if you're in Dallas tonight you might want to go by the Cavern upstairs to check out The Metro, DJ Laureen's new weekly residency. They play a pretty run of the mill hipster mix when you break it down by genre (britpop, 80's electro, post-punk,etc.), but Laureen always seems to bust out with those unexpected or unheard tracks that throw you off and make the whole night worth it.
Other than that, we're not seeing a lot for tonight. Check back for new content later this evening.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Sorta: Strange and Sad But True (by Defensive Listening)
There will always be certain things about Dallas that I just don't "get." For one, the city has an oft talked about inferiority complex stemming from unflattering comparisons to other, more revered municipalities, and as a result, Dallasites tend to overcompensate in strange, alarming and often humorous ways. Whether it be the big hair, fake tans, or muscled execs in an army of bright yellow Hummers going 80 down Preston, the city's culture goes beyond overcompensation and into the realm of the absurd. Dallas is known around the world for its embarrassingly cheesy attempts to place itself on a higher plane, yet the city never gives up it's pursuit of the gaudy and grandiose. Year after year, Dallas becomes more and more like a hick version of L.A., and that seems to be exactly what many of its residents want.
Unfortunately, this ill advised behavior bleeds into the city's music scene too. The tacky guitar solo is just as much a part of Dallas' history as any of the aforementioned status symbols, and its immortality in local music will never make make much sense to me. Equally puzzling is the overly ubiquitous placement of pedal steel in every single slow song that has ever been played by those Dallas bands that specialize in what Stonedranger recently described as "good old fashioned blah blah blah." Sorta's newest record, Strange And Sad But True, has Dallas sized portions of good old fashioned blah blah blah all over it.
I have to begin by saying that Sorta isn't grating in any way, so most of the time that I've spent listening to this record has at least been bearable, which is probably the best compliment I can give them. Local critics and fans often reference Sorta's musical adeptness as a reason to get behind them, and although I appreciate good musicianship as much as the next guy, musical muscle flexing means very little to me in and of itself. Not writing a lyric like "Damned if I do/Damned if I don't" is much more important than any sort of guitar heroics, and an extra cheesy guitar line, no matter how complex, is only going to make a line like that sound a lot worse than it already does. The relationship between dubious music choices and bad lyrics is highly problematic for Sorta, and it manifests itself throughout their latest full length.
For example, the band has taken it upon themselves to write a song about one of this decade's worst local tragedies: The murderof 21 year old Lorena Osorio Godoy, who was thrown eighty five feet off of George Bush Turnpike by her boyfriend in Richardson. In an exercise in subtlety, the track is titled "85 Feet," and there is something morbidly surreal about hearing this plain, radio friendly acoustic song that borders on the exploitative. Perhaps its because when I hear it, I can only picture drunk SMU sorority girls swaying back and forth to the sappy melody with Shiners in hand. If the band was trying to emphasize the glaring contrast of a deadly serious narrative performed over lightweight fluff, then mission accomplished. However, I wonder how I would feel if a song like that was written about someone I knew. It isn't the mere fact that they wrote it that's offensive, and I promise I can hadle a song dealing with heavy subject matter such as this. In fact, I felt deeply about this tragedy when it happened, and I think Lorena Godoy deserves an artistic tribute of some sort. I just think she deserves better than a song that "sorta" sounds like Fastball.
Throughout the album, the band attempts a wide variety of styles that can be placed all over the map, which is actually pretty daring considering that this is only their third full length. I do respect their reach for sonic diversity to a point, but no living band of white men should ever attempt reggae rhythms with the kind of straight faced seriousness that Sorta does on "Pink and Baby Blue," which seems to be stylistically trapped in the long gone days of 311. In fairness, I should say that I enjoyed the synthesizer sound they used on the track, which I'm assuming is the same one they used on opener "Buttercup". It sounds so ridiculous on "Buttercup" that I almost believed I was in for something different when I first put this album on, something a little less by the numbers and perhaps a bit more exciting. Its not that I'm a synth fetishist by any means, but I would have gladly taken a lot more of that synth for a lot less of the boring pedal steel that clogs every instrumental pore on Strange and Sad. I understand the desire to employ pedal steel because it always sounds timeless and classy, but band after band is driving this once sacred instrument into the ground as a tired roots rock cliche, and I don't know if it can
ever fully recover.
If Sorta could just pull back a little on the eagerness to bog their song writing down with constant solos, I think the band would be vastly improved. On the albums' most memorable melody, "Closer", the overpowering instrumentation is restrained and the song is given enough breathing room to get stuck in your head. I know they're huge Wilco fans, and Wilco certainly has employed a lot of guitar molestation in their live shows throughout the years. However, Wilco is also big enough to hire Nels Cline, a renowned improvisational player, and nothing Sorta does comes even close to his unique level of musicianship. The guitar playing on tracks like "Lazybones" actually reminds me of a house band I saw performing at a bikini contest that my friends dragged me to when I was 18, which is why I find it surprising that the local music press spends so much time wondering aloud why Sorta isn't bigger outside of Dallas. Bands that make it outside of Dallas don't sound like bands that play at bikini contests. Ever. And unfortunately, Sorta's overly ambitious guitar playing makes it clear why they have yet to make an impression outside the metroplex.
I think Sorta has put together a competent and ambitious collection of songs on Strange and Sad But True that will go over really well with that weird lower Greenville demographic where big hair, hipsters, and fake tans meet up and hang out. They've had well attended release shows for this record at The Granada and Art Prostitute, and I commend them for such savvy taste in venues. I understand why those places are so respected in this culture starved city, and I'm glad that they are willing to take chances on local acts. But unfortunately, Sorta seems like a hipsterfied musical equivalent of a yellow hummer, and much like the rest of Dallas', um, culture, they're always going to be one of those things I just don't get.
Violent Squid Video
It List: Tuesday 10/17/06
As usual, you can head over to the Cavern tonight for the Lost Generation upstairs. Tonight Wanz will be focusing on the rock:
" I am gonna emphasize more rock and soul tonight than I have in recent weeks. So if your in the mood for Slayer, Stooges, Bad Brains, Stax records, King Tubby and Curtis Mayfield tonight is for you. A good chunk of the night will be the WE SHOT JR Projection comp of local stuff. It's a good mix of good local stuff and there are still plenty of people out there that don't pay attention to blogs and playing their mixtape will let me cath up on my Marvel Comics Civil War reading."
Speaking Of Projection, we've received a lot of requests for copies of the CD to be placed at different spots all around the metroplex. We're going to do a pressing of a couple hundred here in the next few days, and in addition to Good Records, you'll also be able to find them at places in Denton and Ft. Worth as well. Stay tuned for details.
you might want to head up to Rubber Gloves to see Kayo Dot/ The Great Tyrant/ Trifle Tower. Featuring former members of prog Metal group Maudlin of the Well, Kayo Dot makes music that is certainly progressive but hardly metal. Instead, they make extremely dreamy, almost liquidy sound collages featuring vocals that might remind one of Jeff Buckley if he was a little more metal and a little more crazy. And I like Jeff Buckley (for the most part), so I mean that as a compliment. The prog elements are all there too, but the music is laid back, quiet, and often jazz influenced. This is going to be a music dork show for sure, but most of you are dorks, so what do you care? You all know we are big fans of the Great Tyrant, who are making some of the most relevant heavy experimental music in the metroplex right now, so we don't have to tell you bout that. And we couldn't get Trifle Tower's Myspace page to work, but we did read this comment about the band:
"hailing from north texas, this in-your-face assault of fury is sure to inpregnate the brain to spawn forth minions capable of destroying even the most formidable of deadly devices, buuudddy." -pauly shore from mtv beach house, spring break 1996
That wins some points in my book.
And it looks like Carlin and the folks at Dada are taking some chances tonight with Flaming Fire/Liz MacGowan/The Pebble that Saved the World/Ouija Radio. The Flaming Fire's Myspace page contains press quotes which reference comparisons such as Psychic Tv, The Residents, and other avant heroes. Not sure if I exactly feel like they're dead on, or if I think Flaming Fire is quite on that level, but their music is interesting to say the least, and could quite possibly be a lot of fun to see live. Of course, Liz from Silk Stocking is always interesting to see, and I just realized that Pebble that Saved the World sounds like Bob Mould fronting The Replacements. The little I've heard has been pretty good too.
And One More Show...
The Good Songs (Birthday Party/Scratch Acid tribute)
The Great Tyrant
Undoing of David Wright
Prayer for Animals
Laptop Deathmatch performances in between sets featuring Frogboy and Plutonium Jukebox.
Shows of Note
Over the past week or so, we've received word about a couple of upcoming shows in Denton that you might want to take note of. The first is the Secret Headquarters sponsored Our Band Could be Your Life, which takes place at Dan's Silverleaf on October 28th. In case you don't know much about it, Michael Azzerad's book of the same name is a fascinating and detailed document of 13 highly influential American underground bands of the 1980's that helped bridge the gap between post punk and 90's alternative rock. Its a movement that I usually refer to as "college rock" for lack of a better term, but I'm sure most of you know that none of the bands featured in the book really sound enough alike one another to be fairly referred to with any kind of blanket label. The idea for the show is quite interesting, even if I'm not typically a fan of covers. Basically, 13 local bands have agreed to take on the persona of one of the bands featured in the book, and each will play a short set of covers from each band in the order that they appear in the book. I have no idea if they'll be able to pull it off, or how good it will sound. But I like the book and I like the idea, and it just might be a decent evening of music. Here is the list of performers, taken from the show's press release:
Chapter 1: Black Flag by Drink To Victory
Chapter 2: The Minutemen by Deep Snapper
Chapter 3: Mission of Burma by Birth To Burial
Chapter 4: Minor Threat by This Ain't No Panic
Chapter 5: Husker Du by Raised By Tigers
Chapter 6: The Replacements by the Drams
Chapter 7: Sonic Youth by Fra Pandolf
Chapter 8: Butthole Surfers by Baptist Generals
Chapter 9: Big Black by Inaction Park
Chapter 10: Dinosaur Jr. by History at Our Disposal
Chapter 11: Fugazi by Record Hop
Chapter 12: Mudhoney by White Drugs
Chapter 13: Beat Happening by Denton County Revelators
We've obviously not big fans of every band playing this thing, but I do think I'd like to see what Fra Pandolf can do with Sonic Youth, Baptist Generals can do with the Butthole Surfers, White Drugs can do with Mudhoney and what Record Hop can do with Fugazi. I'd also like to see what ANYONE can do with Dinosaur Jr. Music will start at 8.
Elsewhere, a Halloween show at House of Tinnitus promises to be interesting and possibly downright scary. The DEAD ECHOES experiment will take place on Tuesday October 31st at 7pm, and will feature:
Ethereal Planes Indian
The Zanzibar Snails (three members of iDi Amin)
P.D. Wilder (member of Austin's Hotel Hotel)
OVEO (members of Denton's You Are the Universe)
S.D.S. (featuring an undisclosed "veteran" of the experimental music scene)
The show is FREE (donations encouraged) and BYOB with a possible keg ready for your consumption. Sounds like a great way to spend at least part of your Halloween.
Monday, October 16, 2006
It List: 10/16/06
As for this blog, we have good stuff coming this week. Stay tuned.
Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart
2. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
3. Califone - Roots & Crowns
4. Robert Pollard - Normal Happiness
5. Beach House - Beach House
6. Baboon - Baboon
7. Chavez - Better Days Will Haunt You (reissue)
8. Micah P. Hinson - Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit
9. Subtle - For Hero For Fool
10. Squarepusher - Hello Everything
11. Akron/Family - Meek Warrior
12. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
13. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
14. Girl Talk - Night Ripper
15. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
16. Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
17. Mew - And the Glass Handed Kites
18. Oxford Collapse - Remember the Night Parties
19. Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams
20. Ratatat - Classics
Some pretty interesting stuff on the chart this week. Squarepusher, Akron/Family, Girl Talk and Grizzly Bear. All good stuff. I've listened to that Beach House record a couple times and I think I'm starting to like it, even though I'm not quite sure what I think about it overall just yet. And that Califone record is pretty good too.
Friday, October 13, 2006
You Should Stop By:
1. The Party at Zubar with Dj Nature/ Sober/ Select/Prince Klassen (from Austin) (Zubar)
A trio of DJ's from the Party are bringing some class to Zubar tonight. Prince Klassen is from Austin and his page featured no music so maybe you can figure out what he sounds like by the cool places he plays in Austin. Or you could just go tonight and find out.
2. Baptist Generals/ Teenage Symphony/ Soyuz Union (Radio UTD Showcase, UTD Student Union)
An atypical venue for local favorites The Baptist Generals and Teenage Symphony. Soyuz Union plays charming dream pop. I would like to see this show simply based on the fact that it's in Richardson. I haven't seen a good band in Richardson since the mid Nineties at Bill's Records.
3. Night Game Cult/Minx Burlesque /The Beatdown/DJ Wild in The Streets (Secret Headquarters)
This looks like a fun and diverse lineup at a great venue. Night Game Cult brings their synthesized weirdness, Minx Burlesque is sexually charged vaudeville, and The Beat Down play some Motown influenced Soul Garage. I was pleasantly surprised at how strong the songs on The Beatdown's page sounded. DJ Wild in The Streets will be playing her usual mix of vinyl Sixties awesomeness.
4. Thorn vs. Side/Birth to Burial/Record Hop (Rubber Gloves)
I'm kind of perplexed at the headliner here. We have Record Hop and Birth To Burial who are respectively two of the best straight up rock bands in the area opening for a band that I'm going to have to assume is just a decent draw. Well, these things happen...
1. Church of The Snake/Assacre/Chief Death Rage/Eat Avery's Bones (House Of Tinnitus)
The show of the weekend features Church of the Snake, which includes members of the forever touring Attractive and Popular. Attractive and Popular is a powerful live band and I would expect the same from Church of the Snake. The lone song on their Myspace page sounds really apocalyptic and cool. Chief Death Rage plays riff heavy rock without the pretense of other cartoonish "stoner rock" bands. Eat Avery's Bones is almost too good to be true and I hope they throw something at me if I go to the show. I wish House Of Tinnitus a long successful run as an unconventional local venue. As for the naysayers, did anyone else notice this isn't even a noise show?
2. Al Green (Winstar Casino)
Hopefully Reverend Al Green can save some of the lost souls at Winstar Casino on Saturday night. Judging by the vibe in that place it's probably too late. Skip the haunted houses this weekend and hang out here for awhile if you really want to see something scary. Why a legend like Mr. Green is playing this place is baffling but I would recommend taking a first date there if you really want to make an impression.
3. Faux Fox (Good Records instore at 3 PM)
Faux Fox are playing an afternoon show at Good Records to celebrate the release of their newest record, "Endless Pursuit". At one time this band was a local anomaly for mixing such a heavy dose of New Wave influences in their music. Times have changed. They have evolved from being much more tongue-in-cheek to the more detached sound they have now.
4. Sk1 Project/ Dreamtigers/ (Amsterdam bar)
Sk-1 Project's music stands out in this digital age with the use of analogue equipment that percolates with the awkwardness of an outdated nature documentary that might be forced upon you in a middle school science class. I miss those documentaries and I consider the description a compliment. I've had a hard time trying to pin down Dreamtigers. Ghetto-geek?
1. Chief Death Rage/Church of The Snake (Amsterdam Bar)
Two nights in a row that the Amsterdam's had cool shows. I'm glad because I've been a little wary of this place as a venue. This show would be a good second chance to these two acts for everyone that didn't want to drive all the way to Denton from Dallas.
Chris Garver: E/4 E/5
This review has taken me quite a while to put together, and part of the reason is that I still don't feel like I understand as much about folk music and Americana as I should. Particularly, I've had a difficult time tracing the origins of "freak folk," a label that Chris Garver is likely to be branded with by many who hear E4/E5, his debut full length, in the coming weeks and months. The phrase itself implies a sense of experimentation and strangeness mixed with some blurry link to Western folk's storied past, but its application in the context of music history is a bit vague. From what I can gather, some of the major influences of contemporary "freak folk" allstars such as Animal Collective, Feathers, Six Organs of Admittance and Vetiver can be traced back to a period in the early 70's when a small group of artists were making progressive, largely introspective rock music that built on traditional English and American folk. During this time, solo artists like Vashti Bunyan and Karen Dalton and bands such as Comus, Fuchsia, Pearls Before Swine and a handful of others from South America and Europe were all taking early forms of prog rock and (by that time) familiar incarnations of psychedelic pop and casually applying them to the traditional "folk" music of their homelands (bluegrass, etc. in America; Celtic in England), resulting in an experimental but decidedly organic sound that is still hard to classify to this day. The significance of this particular movement, which at the time was referred to as "acid folk," is difficult to qualify or gauge, but its safe to say that this music has seen an unparalleled resurgence in interest over the past couple of years, thanks in no small part to a new group of mostly American musicians that have found a source of inspiration in some of these relatively unknown artists.
Although the importance of this development certainly doesn't seem to be lost on Chris Garver, his brand of sleepy, rustic folk has more to do with Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and traditional country than any of these other more obscure influences, and as a result, E4/E5 works as an example of the fashionable acid folk lineage turned inside out. Essentially, many of the more progressive folk musicians of the 70's sounded as if they were trying to take traditional forms of music and push them to different, more modern places, while Chris Garver sounds like a thoroughly post modern musician that has found solace in looking to the past, albeit through a dark and distorted contemporary lens.
To get it out of the way, Chris Garver's voice will likely remind some listeners of the oh so fun to hate indie/emo figure Conor Oberst, but the similarities are only skin deep. Yes, his voice quivers and cracks in a slightly similar fashion, but his lyrics, music, and presentation are far less obvious, more emotionally complex and consistently more rewarding than anything Bright Eyes has done.
E4/E5 starts off rather ominously, with a haunting drone/feedback track kicking things off and transitioning into the bold, detached darkness of "No Ideas but In Things," a song that is structurally drenched in trad folk but stylistically informed by post-punk dread and the modern outsider lo-fi weirdness of Jandek, with creeping pianos and a ghostly vocal echo that takes some getting used to but eventually makes perfect sense. These two songs successfully reach out beyond the confines of their tracks and set a mood that permeates throughout the remainder of the record, casting somber shadows over some of the sunnier and more humorous songs that also happen to be some of Garver's most successful compositions. A new and improved version of barn stomper "Wasp in the House" follows and stands as a clear highlight, demonstrating Garver's knack for writing infectious folk pop and playing the shit out of some harmonica, which is something he does several times on the record with a high rate of success. "You Bring the Banker Honey" is yet another strong standout, with a simple acoustic guitar base and a hum along chorus that will burn its tune in your head almost instantly, while "Put the Papers Away" starts off as a quiet, low down blues number and evolves into a noisy symphony of balls to the wall layers of explosive electric guitar that will remind listeners of mid 90's Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and reinforce Garver's connection with rock n' roll.
These upbeat standouts are sandwiched between slower, darker and more introspective tracks, and the contrast between them adds a good deal of depth to the record as a whole. Songs like "When Your Momma Leaves" and "Southfork Luncheon Blues" are quiet and tender, and Garver's vocal delivery is detached, sleepy and pensive, exposing a thoughtful sadness and an often strange, haunting spirit that adds enough mystique to separate the record from most of the more traditional folk and country acts in DFWd.
Its clear that Chris Garver understands folk, country and blues, to be sure. But its also clear that he knows that this kind of music, in its most ancient form, was sad, unsettling and a bit strange, and merely playing it straight in this day and age simply won't do justice to this important aspect of the American folk tradition. This kind of music can be called many things I'm sure, and successfully sad modern Americana folk records aren't exactly unheard of (see pretty much anything Bonnie Prince Billy has done). The important point, however, is that Chris Garver has managed to inject a contemporary brand of sadness, wonder and thought into traditional folk and country in a manner that is unique and pleasurable, making his debut one of the more memorable and promising local releases of the year. I'm not sure if thats "freak" folk or what, but its good enough to make me not really care.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
It List: Thursday 10/12/06
Of course, you can also hit up Zoo at the Cavern tonight, as well as hip hop at Slip Inn and 80's Dance night with Dj G.
And locals Sarah Reddington will be playing with Spitfire Tumbleweeds and Peter and the Wolf at Rubber Gloves.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
It List: Wednesday 10/11/06
The Black Angels/Strange Boys/ Blackheart Society (Tea Room): Despite what some of the more clueless anon comment makers might think of the Black Angels and their Stonesesque $200 performance fee, I think they ARE one of the better bands in Texas right now, and I could give two shits if you heard about the Silver Apples before they did. The fact of the matter is that for all the talk about them being a 60's revival act, a lot of what they do doesn't sound like the 60's at all. I think psychedelic music, in the most broad sense of the term, can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, and for the Black Angels, I think it means a post-punk informed dark collage of layered noise and invasive textures. Their music is minimal yet swirling and atmospheric, and I think when they're on, they're one of the best in the Lone Star state. If you don't like what they do, thats fine. But if you don't get what they're about, you should probably think a bit harder. You might also want to check this show out just to see what the Strange Boys have been up to recently. They've played some new material the past couple of times I've seen them, but I'm guessing they'll be focused on new stuff quite a bit more tonight. I'm curious to see whether they are ready to take their music to the next level.
And of course, if you do hit up the Man Man show tonight, DJ Nature's Party at Rubber Gloves might be the perfect night cap after what should be a fun, loud and out of control show.
Last Week's Radio UTD Charts
1 DAMIEN JURADO And Now That I'm In Your Shadow Secretly Canadian
2 PATTERN IS MOVEMENT Canonic Hometapes
3 DOSH The Lost Take Anticon
4 PIT ER PAT Pyramids Thrill Jockey
5 DAN SARTAIN Join Dan Sartain Swami
1 BEACH HOUSE Beach House Carpark
2 GRIZZLY BEAR Yellow House Warp
3 COMPILATION Chrome Children Stones Throw
4 PERNICE BROTHERS Live A Little Ashmont
5 TV ON THE RADIO Return To Cookie Mountain Interscope
6 CHANGES Today Is Tonight AAM
7 JUNIOR BOYS So This Is Goodbye Domino
8 AKRON/FAMILY Meek Warrior Young God
9 SPARKLEHORSE Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain Astralwerks
10 BONNIE PRINCE BILLY The Letting Go Drag City
11 PORTASTATIC Be Still Please Merge
12 CHAD VANGAALEN Skelliconnection Sub Pop
13 LOW LOWS Fire On The Bright Sky Warm
14 MY MORNING JACKET Okonokos: Double Live Album ATO
15 OVER THE ATLANTIC Junica Carpark
16 MASTODON Blood Mountain Warner Bros.
17 YO LA TENGO I'm Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass Matador
18 ALBUM LEAF Into The Blue Again Sub Pop
19 IN CIVILIAN CLOTHING We Made A Killing, We Made A Mess Right Place
20 MOUNTAIN GOATS Get Lonely 4AD
21 RICHARD BUCKNER Meadow Merge
22 CHIN UP CHIN UP This Harness Can't Ride Anything Suicide Squeeze
23 FOUR TET Remixes Domino
24 R.E.M. And I Feel Fine... The Best Of The I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 Capitol
25 TORTOISE A Lazarus Taxon Thrill Jockey
26 SANDRO PERRI Plays Polmo Polpo
27 DR. DOG Takers And Leavers [EP] Park The Van
28 PERE UBU Why I Hate Women Smog Veil
29 LEMONHEADS The Lemonheads Vagrant
30 VIVA VOCE Get Yr Blood Sucked Out Barsuk
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
It List: Tuesday 10/10/06
And I might catch some shit for this, but fuck it. Thats the main reason why writing this blog is fun. Anyway, think I've become something of a fan of Athens' The Whigs, who are playing tonight in the Tea Room. What do they do thats so special? Well, nothing really, except write very good pop rock songs that are recorded just the right way and don't sound like wimpy bullshit. They sould like a lot of 80's and early 90's "college" rock favorites, and seem to have nothing to do with neu-wave, post-post punk or any other buzz terms you've heard in the past few years. I think fans of Guided By Voices, The Replacements, Superchunk and even Dinosaur Jr. might dig these guys. See for yourselves. They're good old fashioned blah blah blah thats actually good, if not old fashioned.
Monday, October 09, 2006
8 Questions with The Black Angels
It seems that a lot of people in the media refer to you as a "revival" band, claiming that you look backward to 60's psychedelic rock not only for musical inspiration but for looks, attitude and quite a bit more. Do these kinds of statements bother you? Do you think there is anything wrong, per se, with a band that looks to the past openly and often?
We draw our inspiration from the Creative Revolution that occured in the 1960's. In our opinion, theres been no other time in history where music was so central and involved in social and political change. We hope to continue the tradition of Psychedelic music that was born here in 1966 with the the 13th Floor Elevators. I think its our duty to keep the spirit alive by paying homage to our forefathers, but by also pushing it into new territory. Our second album will put the revivalist talk to rest, but overall, we're proud to represent the 60's sound in a modern context.
Another thing the music press loves discussing in relation to your band is drug use. Do drugs play a role in either the band's social life or in the actual creative process? If not, do you think they could or should?
I think that drugs have been made a scapegoat. Anything that is used in excess will cause harm. Eat too much brocolli, and you might get cancer. When drugs are used properly they can open new doorways. When they are used unintelligently they will cause harm.. I think society has made taking drugs seem evil. As a kid we were made to take our DARE classes. Its good to learn about what drug abuse can lead to, but what about learning how drugs might facilitate the creative process? By no means do we condone taking any drugs (unless theres enough for everyone).
What is it with Texas and psychedelic rock? I read an interview with Secret Machines recently in which they claimed that the hot, muggy Texas weather is the perfect breeding ground for spaced out stoner rock. I'm not sure if I think its entirely true, but Texas sure seems to have its fair share of psychedelic rock bands, and I think its been pretty constant since the mid 60s. Any thoughts on why that is? Does it have something to do with escapism perhaps?
Well, like i said earlier. The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators were born in 1966 in Austin, TX. Psychedelic music was started in Austin, so its only right that the tradition be kept alive. (Another late 60's band from Houston to check out is The Red Crayola. Get the first album, "Parable of Arabel Land'. ) I think all our songs are about some form of Escapism. Thats a central theme to our music. The conservative environemnt that hovers over our State can create a feeling of distrust, and a desire to leave altogether. We make music to cope with this.
Do you enjoy living in Austin? Do you find it conducive to creativity, or do you find that it merely has that reputation? It seems that Austin is just as much about Starbucks and yuppies as it is about anything else these days, and I wonder how the artistic community has responded to Austin's growth over the past decade. Could you tell us about some of the good and bad things happening in Austin music and art these days?
The reason Austin has a reputation as being a creative environment is because its true. Austin isnt like the rest of Texas. However, we purposely stay away from the yuppie/starbucks side of Austin. Thats fake living. We live in the 'Real' section of town, on the east side, with the real people. Many artisits are migrating to East Austin because its cheaper to live here. Soon the city will see this, and taxes will go up over here (as they already are). The goal of the city planners is to make Austin a center for the Capitalist Republicans. Poor folks aren't desired. As for the music scene here, no Austin band has really blown us away. The only other Texas band we really like is The Strange Boys. They draw from all the right influences.
I've noticed that you guys seem to have some sort of relationship with Anton Newcomb. Could you tell us how you met, what you think of him as a person, and what you think of BJM as a band?
Antion Newcombe is a genius. He's the modern day BobDylan/John Lennon/ Syd Barrett wrapped into one. We met Anton during the 2004 SXSW. BJM is the perfect example of a band that draws inspiration from the Creative Revolution in the 1960's, but has brought it into a modern day context. Our favorite story about him is when we got to play with him this past SXSW. The rest of his band was stranded in Phoenix and they were suppsed to play the festival. Instead, we took the BJM slot and learned a Jonestown song right before we went on. Anton played with us as his backing band for about 15 minutes. Hes an awesome person, Dont let the movie DIG! fool you.
Could you tell us a bit about your songwriting process? How does the band go about writing songs, and what are some of the things that inspire you musically and lyrically?
A lot of the time i'll come in with a new riff and we'll build around it. Alex writes most of the lyrics, but he and I collaborate just as often. Sometimes we just start to jam in practice and then all of a sudden a song is born. I think the thing that inspires us most is seeking the Truth and telling people about it.
It seems that you guys are quite good at building and manipulating moods through repetition and simple, minimal song structures much like electronic dance music often does. Do you see any relationship between the music you make and some forms of dance music?
Yeah for sure. We're all about the minimalist, repetitve drone. We make music to groove to. Our music is Hypno-drone. Check out the Silver Apples & Psychic Ills; masters of drone n roll.
You guys have a pretty good relationship with one of Dallas' better bands, the Strange Boys. Could you tell us how you met, what you think of their music, and what your impressions are of Dallas' musical community?
The Strange Boys are our favorite band in Texas. Theres no one else that gets it like they do. We met them at a show at the Avenue Arts Venue in Dallas. Ryan was in the front row with an old tape recorder capturing the show. I thought that was cool, because i would have been doing the same thing. They all draw from the right inspirations (plus anyone who knows 'The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll' by heart is a friend of mine) and I think/hope they are the future of the Dallas music scene. I dont really know many other Dallas bands. They stand out above the rest.