Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hoping People Can Share Some Info

Michael Chamy sent me the email below, and I was wondering if people who know more about the 90's scene or know this guy personally might like to comment or provide us with more information. We noticed that Wanz had posted something about this in a comment thread the other day, but since I don't know anything about this person and very little about his band(s), I figured we'd give someone else the chance to share:

"apparently Chris Foley was found dead sometime in the past few days in an Austin motel room. I heard this secondhand. Foley, as far as I know, was most recently and perhaps still in Austin's very good melodic shoegaze dream/pop group the Swells (circa 2000 to either present or recently, though I think Foley was only in the group the past couple years, though I am not certain), but much more noted in DFW and Texas at large for being a core member of the great slowcore space-pop outfit of the late 90s, Transona Five (circa 1995 to 2000) ... not sure if they were technically from Ft. Worth, Denton or elsewhere in DFW .... but they made some serious waves around here at some point, especially at the end of the Denton space rock thing (they were kinda closer to Comet & Bedhead though) .... they were on the Austin label Sandwich Records, and I think they may have even moved to Boston or something, perhaps causing their demise."

Here is a a short Wikipedia entry about Transona Five, and here is an Allmusic entry about the Swells.

UPDATE 555pm: A blog on Transona 5's Myspace confirms this.

It List: Wednesday 1/31/07

This is Radio Clash w/ Flashlight Party (Hailey's)

Rob Viktum will be spinning old and new hip hop at Monkey Bar if you're into that sort of thing.

Jason Anderson/Fishboy/Tha Bracelets (Rubber Gloves): I was a bit intrigued when I read that Jason Anderson has recorded with people like The Blow, Calvin Johnson and the Microphones, but I became a little less optimistic when I saw that his live shows were described as "participatory, intimate exchanges of humanity and joy." Yuck. Anyway, I spent some time listening to his songs, and despite his impressive background and apparent ability to be high on life, I think I'll stay at home and have an intimate exchange with my t.v. and a Mavs game. Besides, if I want to go to a show where participation is actually fun, I can just wait until Akron/Family plays around here again.

And speaking of waiting for bands to play around here, rumors are flying that Gypsy Tea Room will be closing down at the end of March. Seriously, if this happens, where are moderately popular touring bands going to play when they come to Dallas? Will we all have to drive up to Denton every time a decent band comes through, or will we have to start giving our money to that Christian place for the privilege of not being able to drink at a rock show? Maybe us Dallas types should start pressuring Rubber Gloves to move down here like NOW.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Last Week's Radio UTD Charts

1 OF MONTREAL Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? Polyvinyl

2 DEERHOOF Friend Opportunity Kill Rock Stars

3 MENOMENA Friend And Foe Barsuk

4 SHINS Wincing The Night Away Sub Pop

5 JULIE DOIRON Woke Myself Up Jagjaguwar

6 SONIC YOUTH The Destroyed Room: B-Sides And Rarities Geffen

7 RAFTER Music For Total Chickens Asthmatic Kitty

8 ALELA DIANE Pirate's Gospel Holocene

9 ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Hollindagain Paw Tracks

10 POSTMARKS The Postmarks Unfiltered

11 DOSH The Lost Take Anticon

12 PETER AND THE WOLF Lightness Worker's Institute

13 HELLA There's No 666 In Outter Space Ipecac

14 ISIS AND AEREOGRAMME In The Fishtank 14 Konkurrent

15 F.S. BLUMM Summer Kling Morr Music

16 SIX PARTS SEVEN Casually Smashed To Pieces Suicide Squeeze

17 PERNICE BROTHERS Live A Little Ashmont

18 DAMIEN JURADO And Now That I'm In Your Shadow Secretly Canadian

19 MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. Fading Trails Secretly Canadian

20 THIS MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY It Takes A Nation (Of Assholes To Hold Us Back) Cold Sweat

21 PERE UBU Why I Hate Women Smog Veil

22 CLINIC Visitations Domino

23 SHE, SIR Who Can't Say Yes Self-Released

24 MICAH P. HINSON The Opera Circuit Jade Tree

25 BERG SANS NIPPLE Along The Quai Team Love

26 PETER BJORN AND JOHN Writer's Block Wichita

27 OCTOPUS PROJECT AND BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW The House Of Apples And Eyeballs Graveface

28 BROKEN WEST I Can't Go On, I'll Go On Merge

29 WINKS Birthday Party Ache

30 FIELDS 7 From The Village Black Lab

1 APPLES IN STEREO New Magnetic Wonder Yep Roc

2 CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH Some Loud Thunder Self-Released

3 SNEAKY THIEVES Accident(s) Other Electricities

4 SONDRE LERCHE Phantom Punch Astralwerks


It List: Tuesday 1/30/07

Teenage Symphony/Klickitat/Dream Tigers (Club Dada): This bill was organized by Meat Radio. Teenage Symphony has added a new member and as a result, strengthened the group's overall sound and vocal performance considerably. Klickitat borders on show tune territory with some interesting and spirited vocal aerobics. They should be warned that their band name instantly brings hardcore legends, Clickitat Ikatowi, to mind. However, nobody would get either group's music confused upon further investigation.

Unwed Sailor/Comrade/The New Frontiers (The Cavern): Unwed Sailor is a one-time instrumental group that has received a surprising amount of credit for suddenly adding...vocals. Wow. The vocals are of the hushed variety so you might even wonder why they bothered, considering their instrumental were decent enough. Then you hear the other two bands they're playing with and suddenly remember why a subtle approach is sometimes best.

Mad Scientists (J & J's Pizza): I have to love a band who actually describes themselves as "divisive" in their bio. And you think you're brave.

SHQ Pics

If anyone has Chris Garver or Tree Wave pics, please send them:

Monday, January 29, 2007

It List: Monday 1/29/07

Not a lot going on as you might guess, but if you Dallasites who didn't make it up to Denton this weekend would like to see what Chris Garver is all about, I would recommend stopping by Club Dada early (around 8pm) to check out what I'm assuming will be a solo set from him.

After that, theres Bad Ass Jazz @ The Amsterdam, like you didn't already know.

And we were wondering if anyone had any decent pictures from the show on Friday... we've got some, but they didn't turn out very good for some reason. If you have some and you'd like to share, email, would you?

Good stuff coming this week, so stay tuned.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
2. Menomena - Friend and Foe
3. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
4. Various Artists - Zac Crain for Dallas Mayor Compilation
5. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
6. The Earlies - The Enemy Chorus
7. The Good, The Bad & The Queen - The Good, The Bad & The Queen
8. St. Vincent - Paris is Burning
9. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
10. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
11. Radiant - We Hope You Win
12. Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - #3
13. Joanna Newsom - Ys
14. Pilotdrift - Water Sphere
15. Arbouretum - Rites of Uncovering
16. Beach House - Beach House
17. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
18. Clinic - Visitations
19. Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things
20. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait

Gotta say, the new of Montreal album is quite good. Easily their best in my opinionation.

Monday Morning Rock

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone that came out to Secret Headquarters on Friday. We were pleased to find a packed house and a very friendly atmosphere up in Denton (its always amazing to see how excited drunk people get when "What A Fool Believes" comes on), and we hope to do some other things up in Denton in the not too distant future. We'll have more on the show a little later. Now this:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Add to The List

Didn't have a chance to post this earlier today, but after the Baptist Generals Performance at Fra House this evening, Shane English and Gray Saint Germain Gideon, better known as Cosmic Cat Nip, will be spinning records in the guest house behind Fra House till quite late in the evening. They promise a visuals set up as well. A solid add to an already exciting show.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Weekender 1/26/07-1/27/07

Lots of things going on this weekend and not a lot of time to write about them (we're planning a concert you jerks!), so if you read the show listings and pretend that the most insightful and humorous paragraph you could possibly imagine appeared next to each of them, you'll be able to get a pretty good idea of what we would have written if we had the time (unless you're just too dumb to imagine how good our writing can be). Dig? And Denton is quite obviously going to be insane this weekend, so you Dallas kids might want to think about making a trip on either or both nights. I know we say that a lot, but this time we mean it:


Tree Wave/ War Wizards/Night Game Cult/Chris Garver/Flashlight Party (Secret Headquarters-Denton): Just in case you don't know, its doors and Flashlight Party at 7, Chris Garver at 8, Night Game at 9, War Wizards at 10 and Tree Wave at 11. There will be a FREE keg inside, but you should bring your own too since I hear those SHQ dudes will probably be able to finish the thing by themselves in under an hour. So get there early and drink quickly. And if you haven't seen Tree Wave live, you really should change that tonight. I promise that both the music and visual presentation is fantastic.

And it looks as though things will be wrapping up around 1130 or 12 at SHQ, meaning that you could stay until the very end and still catch:

Dosh headline a show with Sole and Skyryder at Rubber Gloves. For the past two weeks, I've been listening to The Lost Take, Dosh's latest record, and I've gotta tell you: its wonderful. Fans of jazz spiked post-rock like Sea and Cake, synth pop like The Cansecos and Russian Futurists, and the Canadian spacekraut of Caribou should really dig this stuff. Doing drugs before you go might make this even better unless you have a totally bummer freak out or something, bro (or is it brah?). Dosh's stuff seems far less hip hop oriented than most Anticon artists, but Anticon peeps will dig it as well, especially those that are into the strange sounds of Flagstaff's Sole, who is opening. And its Rubber Gloves, so I'm going to guess that Dosh will go on some time after midnight.

The Angelus/Noise Revival Orchestra/Grass Fight (Hailey's): Another show in Denton that you can catch after that first bad ass show up top... and whether you go or not, you should really swing by The Angelus' Myspace page and check out their new song "Turned to Stone," because its really damn good. The ghostly orchestra sounds of Austin's Noise Revival, um, Orchestra sound pretty interesting too. And you want to read all about Grass Fight? Well go to their highly accessible Myspace page and do so. I think they call that kind of thing "black on black crime," do they not?

Current Leaves/100 Damned Guns/Cartright (Doublewide): Does 100 Damned Guns remind anyone else of an F-150 commercial sometimes?

Tame...Tame and Quiet/Bridges and Blinking Lights/Handbrake (Ridglea Theater- Ft. Worth)


Here is where I run out of time:

Early in the evening (around 7), you can stop by Violent Squid's new pad (1729 Scripture St. in Denton) for some BBQ and a brief VS set.

In Dallas, the Hot Flash! Party with Stepehen R ar Fallout Lounge (Expo Park between Minc and Meridian Room) is clearly the best thing going. December's debut of the Hot Flash was packed and a lot of fun, with an eclectic DJ set including everything from trash hip hop to 80's synth to all other kinds of shit I don't have time to describe. This one looks to be equally as good, and probably the best place to go on Saturday if you're looking to score without having to go to a Meat Market.

Tre Orsi/Handbrake (Secret Headquarters)

A Night of Texas Noise/Experimental Music with: Set on Whore/A Fail Association/Aunt's Analog/Dromez/Concrete Violin/Kai Ros/Muzak/Habeeb (House of Tinnitus-Denton): What a line up. Not sure about the cost, but its usually just a small donation and always a good time.

Baptist Generals/Shiny Around the Edges/The Modern History Duet (House show at Fra House- 2127 W. Oak St. in Denton) Show is BYOB, starts around 1030 and completely free from what I can tell. Shit, this is going to be a lot of fun. I'd get there early if I were you, because I'm expecting the place to be packed and possibly impossible to get into after a certain point in the night. The Modern History Duet is a jazz duet featuring members of Notes from Underground.

Panty Drop Sock Hop with: Wild in the Streets/Sticky Buns/MC Router (Rubber Gloves): A girly DJ show that will apparently be attended by 8 million girls.

And finally, the guys from Hardin Sweaty and the Ready to Go will be co hosting a house party show at 1227 Fuller in far East Dallas with The Freek Out and a couple other bands that I can't recall at this time. Sorry. Anyway, its five bucks and free drinks inside (keg and mixed) and starts at 8pm.

ADD: And how could we forget the excellent Pleasant Grove playing at the Cavern with Student Film? We didn't forget, thats how.

Check back with us this weekend for updates and Sunday stuff.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It List: Thursday 1/25/07

Cosmic Catnip/DJ DR Nay Nay (Rubber Gloves)

It's a dance party at Rubber Gloves tonight that starts with the record-spinning debut of Nate from Warren Jackson Hearne's band. He'll be playing everything from Annie to The Tom Tom Club. Cosmic Catnip is the newest project from Shane English formerly of The Undoing of David Wright and currently of Chief Death Rage. If Chief Death Rage took the riffier aspects of The Undoing to a different level, then Cosmic Catnap takes the electronic aspects to an equal extreme. The two song samples on their page actually made me smile the duration of my listen. That's saying a lot considering I spend most of my time sampling songs on Myspace pages with a look that's an unhealthy mix between confusion and disgust. You can always trust Shane's taste, whether he's writing Iommi inspired sludge or making Pauly Shore references over dance beats. Did you catch those influences on Cosmic Catnap's profile? They're like all totally OOP!

Lost Generation with Wanz Dover (Fallout Lounge)

From Wanz himself:

"Tonight we are gonna show the videos from The Liars' "Drums Not Dead". Gabriel is joining me on the decks. Should be a lot of fun. Last wek we had to delay the Can Movie until after the Mavs game. This week we will play The Liars' stuff whenever it seems like a good time to throw it on. Cheers!!!"

DJ G (Hailey's)

Salim Nourallah/Johnny Lloyd Rollins/Gazelles (Ellum: Onstage)

All I really want to say about this show is that I had a hard time describing Johnny Lloyd Rollins' music until I read this rather modest description of what he's all about in The Observer:

"I don't sing badly enough, I'm not ugly enough, and I don't have a beard,"

Well...thanks for clearing that up.

Schutze Rules, Scene Rule and Gang Gang Dance Rules

Schutze Rules: First things first. We're pretty sure that a large number of our Dallas readers live somewhere over in Old East Dallas (which I believe can be defined as east of 75, south of Mockingbird, west of White Rock Lake and north of I-30), and if you happen to be one of those people (or simply someone interested in these things), you might want to read Jim Schutze's excellent piece on the changing character of East Dallas. One question: If the tear-down yuppies want to live in nice new cookier cutter houses, why don't they just move to the suburbs? Its gotta be a lot more practical for a young family than paying $250,000 for the right to tear down a house on a small lot so that you can live on one of the "M" Streets.

Scene Rule: I don't know who Ed Masley is, but can the Observer music section stop referencing the Nuggets Box please? I mean its o.k. to do it sometimes, and it probably isn't unfair to reference it when discussing the excellent new Clinic record, but how many times have you seen the Observer do this in the past couple of years? Just quit it dudes.

(and oh yeah, I DID mean it when I said that Clinic's new record, Visitations, is excellent. Surely their best in a while, even if the band clearly has a songwriting formula that hasn't changed a great deal throughout their existence. HERE is a link to download "Children of the Kellogg," one of my favorites off the new one.)

Gang Gang Dance Rules: I've grown to love Gang Gang Dance over the past couple of years, and their upcoming DVD project, entitled Retina Riddim, looks like it will help keep the flame alive until we get a new record from them. This video (which features new music from the band) appears to be pretty experimental and all over the place, but to quote Ashtray's father, "that shit is FUN."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It List: Wednesday 1/24/07

Heartrapers/Chief Death Rage (J&Js- FREE): Don't know much about Heartrapers since I don't recall having heard them before today (and they've only got one song on their Myspace page), but based on that little bit of information, I would say that they could possibly be enjoyable for anyone that likes Mr. Bungle, Jesus Lizard and Blood Brothers, but you probably have to like all three in order to dig it. Or maybe not. I don't know. And whether that sounds good or not, the always solid CDR is on the bill as well. Starts around 9 and FREE.

This is Radio Clash w/Flashlight Party (Hailey's)

Faust's Uwe Nettelbeck Dies

I didn't know anything about it until I saw this report on Pitchfork today, but apparently Uwe Nettelbeck, Faust's founder, died almost a week ago of presently unknown causes. I hadn't really discovered Faust for myself until about two years ago, but I've grown to enjoy and respect their music quite a bit since that time. And although I can't say I listen to them nearly as much as some of their peers (Can, Neu!, etc), they were certainly one of the rawest and most exciting bands of the Krautrock era, and its safe to say that Faust will continue to be remembered as one of most important bands of that time and place.

One of my favorite Faust songs:

"Its a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl" LINK

You Might Even Be Cool Enough To Get In (if you pay)

Secret Headquarters (Denton): This Friday, January 26th

Doors at 7
Free Keg Inside

Tree Wave-11pm
War Wizards-10pm
Night Game Cult-9pm
Chris Garver-8pm

Flashlight Party- before, between and possibly after the sets

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It List: Tuesday 1/23/07

Tiger/The Lovely Sparrows/Midwinter Fits/Clint Niosi (Club Dada)

This show features a handful of melodic song-oriented acts with embellished arrangements draped around their respective skeletal song structures. Tiger sounded like the most noteworthy of the bunch, utilizing pretty keyboard and piano parts against the low and gravelly contrast of David Berman-like vocals. Midwinter Fits' music sounded like their name suggests with the darkly overcast mood they present and gloomily slow songs. The Lovely Sparrows are the most upbeat group on this bill and as a result theirs might be the only set where you'll hear a sped-up tempo. The ubiquitous Clint Niosi is also performing, and if Aaron Bartz and Boyd Dixon of Tame...Tame and Quiet are backing him up then that alone might make this show worth catching.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Daron Beck on American Idol

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Various Artists - Zac Crain for Dallas Mayor Compilation (2XCD)
2. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
3. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
4. St. Vincent - Paris is Burning
5. Joanna Newsom - Ys
6. Baboon - Baboon
7. Heartless Bastards - Stairs and Elevators
8. Radiant - We Hope You Win
9. Cold War Kids - Robbers and Cowards
10. Heartless Bastards - All This Time
11. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
12. Cat Power - The Greatest
13. The Gentleman Losers - The Gentleman Losers
14. Dosh - The Lost Take
15. El Perro Del Mar - El Perro Del Mar
16. Om/Current 93 - Inerrant Rays of Infallible Sun
17. North Sea and Rameses III - Night of the Ankou
18. Black Tie Dynasty - Movements
19. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
20. Brightblack Morning Light - Brightblack Morning Light

Curious to hear that Zac Crain CD...

No It List: Monday 1/22/07

But there is a big empty comments section if you know something we don't. Which isn't often.

Monday Morning Rock

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Rainy Day Video

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Weekender 1/19/07-1/21/07

(The following descriptions were written by DL, so complain accordingly)

(SR- Massive problems with blogger and other personal factors have caused us to be late and short with the weekender today. However, there doesn't seem to be a whole hell of a lot going on this weekend, so you're cool dog.)


Lil' Wayne/Paul Wall/Trey Alizay (Fair Park Coliseum): You see that picture above? Its a picture of Lil' Wayne. Why is there a picture of Lil Wayne on this post? Well, aside from the fact that this appears to be one of the thinnest weekends we've seen here in a while, Pitchfork was right about Dedication 2, Lil Wayne's mixtape with DJ Drama. Its pretty damn good. Tickets are $35, so you can't go as an ironic hipster unless you have a very unironic job.

Mix Tapes And Baby Fights with: Fishboy /Laura Gibson /Bryce Richardson/Frank Hejl /Cooperation Corporation (Rubber Gloves): Frank's farewell performance of his beloved variety show. He'll be moving to New York soon. Laura Gibson and Fishboy are the musical acts this evening. Laura Gibson is acoustic singer-songwriter fare while Fishboy will be making his electric debut tonight.


Jeff Tweedy/Scott McCaughey (Granada Theater SOLD OUT):
The overly worshipped Jeff Tweedy sells out the Granada on Saturday, which just adds to the list of his sellouts. I saw him backstage killing the free vegetarian food at the Touch and Go fest. Surely, his finest performance.

Passport Exhibit Gallery New Balance Party feat. The Party (3112 Swiss Ave.): One of a few "Party" related happenings this weekend. The RSVP event at this boutique is to celebrate the premiere of limited-edition New Balance sneakers. Which are excellent for avoiding a narrow path, or so I've been told. Email to RSVP.

Art Prostitute - Pale Analogies: Opening reception is from 7-10 PM and features the work of Brendan Monroe, Evah Fan, Zachary Rossman, Brooks Salzwedel, Marci Washington and Paul Urich. Monroe and Fan will be in attendance.

Roxy Does Dallas: Roxy Cottontail /Select/Sober (Zubar)

Solid trio with Select, Sober and DJ Roxy Cottontail from New York. Roxy is a former big NYC promoter who started making music and will be playing Bmore club, Hip Hop, and 80's stuff. If you're lucky she'll play this track that samples one of the greatest dance numbers ever, "Mind Your Own Business" by the Delta 5. You can't really go wrong with that as your foundation.

Heartless Bastards/Pleasant Grove (Sons of Hermann Hall)

Fat Possum recording artists Heartless Bastards will share the stage with the seasoned Dallas group Pleasant Grove at Deep Ellum's last charming venue.


We'll let you know...

Bad News

The following email from Metrognome Collective's James Watkins just appeared in my inbox, and the same message has been posted on Metrognome's website. This really sucks. 1518 was a great space, and I hope these guys can bring their intelligence, energy and enthusiasm to a better location in the near future.

After much discussion and debate, Mission Co-op/Metrognome Collective is going to discontinue operations and efforts at 1518 East Lancaster. Please, rest assured this is not the end of the Metrognome Collective. Unfortunately we just don't have the resources to make the current location work for us. We will be moving everything out of the building and into storage by Feb. 1.
Thank you all for attending our most recent fundraiser at the Wreck Room earlier this month. We raised almost a thousand dollars, the bulk of which has been sent as a cashiers check to the IRS as part of our application for federal tax exemption. The rest will go toward paying off our final bills. We expect to receive confirmation of our 501(c)3 status in the next few months. Once we have our legal ducks in a row, and have settled all of the details of moving out of our current building, we will be putting together a series of exciting fundraiser events at various sites around the Metroplex in the spring.

We will also be pursuing additional grants and other funding sources, to meet our goal of finding a new space somewhere in Fort Worth to continue operations some time in the summer. I continue to believe that we have shown ourselves to be a vital and viable force for promoting and assisting all types of artists over the last year, and I believe this is an opportunity for us to regroup and find a new location in a building and neighborhood better suited for our goal of providing a true community arts space.

Our special thanks go out to the men and women of the city of Fort Worth's Development Department who were so gracious in instructing us in the details and nuances of the International Building Code, ANSI standards, and Fort Worth's amended building codes. Key support has also come from our landlord Flora Brewer, whose assistance in launching the Metrognome was indispensible, and who has proven herself to be a devoted patron of the arts in her own right.

And finally, thanks to the Metrognome's vital and growing artists community, the residents who have assisted and poured their energy into making the collective what it is. Thank you all for your help and consideration, I know everyone did their very best to make this possible and we all deeply appreciate it. I look forward to working with each of you in the future.

It List: Thursday 1/18/07

The Chimeneas/Dirty Water Disease/Aunt's Analog/Mom/ Dromez (J & J's Pizza)

Very strong lineup tonight at J & J's Pizza including a couple of bands who have credentials to burn. The shockingly noisy Aunt's Analog are one of the few bands you'll ever hear who have actually accomplished conveying the live nastiness of their music on their profile player. They once opened for Wolf Eyes at the height of that band's hype, much to the dismay of Emo's, and good for them. Aunt's Analog mastermind Matt Lacomette also did time as a member of one of North Texas' all-time great (and greatly overlooked) pop-rock bands, Climate. Also playing is Fort Worth's The Chimeneas, which features members of one of North Texas' all-time great hardcore bands, ...Of Death. The Chimeneas are the polar opposite of that erratically spastic group, and feature a lot more texture and slower rhythms. They lace the spaced-out tempos with guitars drowning in reverb and subtle synth parts. Dirty Water Disease plays a very dark brand of experimental rock music. This would also be a good chance to see what Stonedrangers's been talking about by catching Mom's set.

Lost Generation with Wanz Dover (Fallout Lounge)

Wanz continues to nail it with this excellent idea:

"Really good night planned. A special Alice Coltrane tribute. The new album from The Fall and at 10pm The Can Free Concert movie from 1972. If you ever wanted to know why so many people bow down at the feet of CAN this movie hits it on the button. Guaranteed to blow you away. I also have a bunch of other new stuff to drop on ya. Come drink, Come dance, come geek out Lost Gen style."

I love geeking out. I remember when you could only get that Can performance either with the box set or as a $5 VHS bootleg at RPM Records. Those were different times.

Jucifer/Bowel/Hand Of Onan (Rubber Gloves)

Jucifer is a guy-girl duo known mostly for one thing: putting on one of the loudest shows you'll ever attend in your life. Hand of Onan features the gross-out humor of Denton's Wally Campbell. Wally runs local legend Hot Link Records and the lyrics to his songs would make David Allan Coe blush.

Cartright/Leatherbag/Future Clouds And Radar (The Cavern)

Austin-centric show with Cartright probably being the standout act. The other two groups play mild and inoffensive pop songs. Some of these band-bios are really starting to wear on me. Don't tell me what authors you're influenced by or how you're really into wind-chimes or your mom's pancakes. Just fucking admit you listen to Townes Van Zandt, "Street Legal", and Leonard Cohen way too much. It would make my life just a little easier.

80's Night with DJ G (Hailey's)

It's the man's birthday, so do him a favor and don't make any idiotic requests.

Honda of the Holy

Most of you knew someone like this in High School, didn't you? And why did those kids always have that same mustache?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Friday, January 26th: Projection 3

Secret Headquarters in Denton will be the place to be next Friday... come join us for:

Tree Wave

War Wizards (debut performance of a new band featuring Lars Larsen, Wanz Dover and Shawn Mauck of Silk Stocking. No one has heard their music yet, but we've seen phrases like "digital hardcore" and "no wave" used to describe it.)

Night Game Cult

Chris Garver

Flashlight Party (before, between and after the sets)

$5 bucks gets you the show and as much of the free keg as you can grab (doors at 7). We highly recommend that you BYOB as well, however, because the keg at Art Prostitute ran out pretty fast. Glad to see we have some drinking problems around here. More details to come...

It List: Wednesday 1/17/07

The Day God Died/The Witty Bastards/Final Fight/Mom (Rubber Gloves): This show will also feature DJ sets from Chief Death Rage bassist Shane between bands. Mom is the clear highlight here, but we read somewhere that Final Fight, a new Denton band, is supposedly influenced by groups like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky... haven't actually heard them, but you can take that for what its worth. The Day God Died are a decent metal band from Denton... haven't heard them live, but could be good.

ADD: Flashlight Party is @ Hailey's as well.

Myspace Stuff for Hip Young Consumers of New Media

First, you should go to Mom's Myspace page and watch a part of their excellent performance at Good Records. The video moves kind of slow (at least it did for me), but the song sounds great. I guess the fact that three of their CDs appear on this week's Good Records Chart indicates that some of the people at the show enjoyed it as much as we did.

And after you finish that, you might want to stop by the Myspace page of Plano's Farah and check out the song "Dancing Girls," which Gorilla vs Bear blogged about just last week. Chris didn't exactly give it a ringing endorsement in his post, but when we learned she was from Plano (and relatively unknown to us), we decided to give it a listen. The music we found on her page was a bit strange to be sure (especially for a local artist), but I was instantly intrigued by the dark, minimal synth production (it kind of sounds like The Knife tricking Alan Braxe and Fred Falke into taking downers and listening to Electroclash) and Farah's lyrical stew of random thoughts, detached teen angst, bizarre journal entries and Farsi. After a few brief Myspace conversations with the singer, we learned that she is currently working with producer Johnny Jewel of Portland's Glass Candy (although its unclear whether he worked on any of the tracks that appear on her Myspace page) and is also collaborating on a project with Wanz Dover. Some of Farah's lyrics struck us as more than a bit silly, but the overall mood created by the contrast between the production, lyrical content and vocal delivery is quite interesting, and at times a lot of fun. Certainly worth listening to.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It List: 1/16/07

RTB2 /Matt Whipkey/Brass Bed (Club Dada)

Didn't get a chance to give these acts a good enough listen but I'm somewhat familiar with RTB2 and this was the only remotely interesting show I could find. Be warned that RTB2 is one of those classic cases where the band's Myspace profile has elaborately fleshed out tracks while the live show is just two guys, a guitar, and a drum set. Brass Bed is described as "The Flaming Lips crossing paths with The White Stripes". If I'm not mistaken, didn't that already happen?

Monday, January 15, 2007

No It List Today

I don't know a whole hell of a lot about Alice Coltrane to be honest (other than the obvious), but here is a link to an NPR story about her death, and here is a link to her allmusic page.

And there doesn't appear to be anything happening around town this evening.

Last Week's Good Records Chart

1. Joanna Newsom - Ys
2. St. Vincent - Paris is Burning
3. The Octopus Project - One Ten Hundred Thousand Million
4. Pilotdrift - Water Sphere
5. Mom - Today We Find Ourselves
6. A Hawk and a Hacksaw - The Way the Wind Blows
7. Tree Wave - Cabana EP+
8. Rickard Javerling - Two Times Five Lullabye
9. Helios - Eingya
10. El Perro Del Mar - El Perro Del Mar
11. Red Monroe - Red Monroe
12. Mom - Mom
13. Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - #3
14. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
15. Mom - Light Bright
16. Noah Georgeson - Find Shelter
17. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
18. Menomena - Wet and Rusting
19. The Octopus Project/Black Moth Super Rainbow - House of Apples and Eyeballs
20. Brightblack Morning Light - Brightblack Morning Light

Monday Morning um, Something?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Weekender 1/12/07-1/14/07

I know that most of you bros and babes will probably be throwin' down your 56 bucks to see Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gnarls Barkley on Saturday, but for those who can't afford to be so fuckin' sweet, heres some other stuff to do (updates this weekend if warranted):


You might not need to go anywhere other than Greenville Ave for quality entertainment this evening. Never thought I'd say that.

The Octopus Project/Pilotdrift/Treewave/Mom (CJ Davis' Birthday Party-Good Records): First and foremost, this show is free. Second, there will be free beer. Third, there will be free food. And oh yeah, the line up is great too. I'm not sure if CJ picked it or what, but its probably the strongest we've seen for a Good Records in store and one of the most solid shows to happen anywhere in a while. You probably know enough about all these bands to avoid having to read descriptions, so I won't write any. What I will say, however, is that Mom (clearly the least well known of the bunch) is well worth showing up early to see. They're one of the most interesting bands in Denton these days, and if you're a fan of any of the other bands on this bill (particularly the excellent Octopus Project), I promise you'll dig their fragile, atmospheric instrumental compositions. And by the way, Treewave's Paul Slocum will be playing this show solo. Mom is supposed to go on at 8.

The Party w/ Select, Sober and Prince Klassen (Zubar): It seems that Austin's Prince Klassen will be filling in for Nature at the Party this week, and based on what we've heard about his sets at the Beauty Bar, he'll be a nice addition to the Central Booking crew.

Ghostcar/Stumptone (The Cavern): In between the early show at Good and the dance Party at Zubar, you can catch two underappreciated local bands that should be fantastic to see in a small place like The Cavern. We're hoping Paul Baker's visuals will be a part of this show as well, but we're not sure whether thats happening or not.


Lollipop Shoppe Spy Party w/ DJs Tigerbee, Pandaflower and Stephen R (Avenue Arts): These Avenue Arts dance parties are pretty hit or miss for the most part, but when theres a good crowd in the house, the typically choice selections of the Lollipop Shoppe DJs can really create an electric atmosphere. Wonder what this one will be like....

Warren Jackson Hearne and the Merrie Murdre of Gloomadeers/Mauve Ed Experience (Secret Headquarters):

Hearne brings his iconic retroisms to SHQ on Saturday. The Gloomadeers are his large backing band that is as well versed as he in spinning various archaic musical threads into a unique and often sinister-sounding take on folk and roots music.

A Hawk and A Hacksaw/History at Our Disposal/ShitCannon Love, Martin (Films of Martin Iles' Choosing) (Rubber Gloves):

Interesting show. A Hawk And A Hacksaw is Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes in a one-man-band project that I hear has to be witnessed live to fully understand his accomplishment of this notoriously difficult feat. And about those films, here's former Good/Bad Art Collective director, Martin Iles:

The thing is in two sections. The first features PAPER RAD, Evangelist A.A. Allen, Naisu No Mori, blind women touching cactuses (Werner Herzog), and an animated Jack T. Chick tract.The second section is a pile of silent video shit that the group History at Our Disposal will accompany.In total it's about an hour of stuff, and very little of it you can rent, or find on the internets.

This sounds like a really great mix of footage. Herzog and Paper Rad in the same night!

The City is the Tower/Koji Kondo/Trifle Tower/The Mad Conductor (1919 Hemphill): Mad Conductor wins the award for "Most embarrasing ska band we've heard in years." Koji Kondo are the remains of Blonde Girls, part of Druids On Parade, and most significantly, a guy who actually tries to sing into the microphone. Trifle Tower is brutal epic hardcore with high pitched screaming and features the fascinatingly complex drumming of Jared Lawson, from Man Is Mostly Water.


Can't find anything as of yet. Check back with us this weekend.

Thursday: It List 1/11/07

Lost Generation/DJ Stephen R (Fallout Lounge)

Tonight Wanz will be playing Kill Your Idols at 10:00. SR did a great review when it was released on DVD last year. The Swans footage alone makes this worth seeing, but man A.R.E. Weapons sure make asses of themselves. I wish there were as many old clips on this as I saw at Weasel Walster's No Wave film fest in Austin a couple of years ago, but it's still a worthy effort. I'm really into this whole idea of showing an educational film before playing any music. If there were more nights like this then maybe I wouldn't have to get into fruitless arguments as much as I do. Knowledge is power, Dallas. Get powerful!

Jordan from The Flashlight Party (The Moon Bar on Berry in Ft. Worth)

Jordan will be going it alone in FW tonight. This is free and starts at 10 PM.

DJ G (Hailey's)

State of the City: Local Music in 2006 (part 2)

(Part One is here if you'd like to read it.)

Although staying at home and checking out Myspace profiles and blogs is clearly the easiest way to experience new music these days, it most certainly isn't the best way. Yes, even in the middle of the "online revolution" that is currently tearing the music industry up by its roots, live shows were still the key element to our local music experience over the past twelve months, and whether they were exhilarating, painful, predictable or surprising, live shows often provided us with the only sufficient material we could use to assess the local bands we were inclined to seek out. More often than not, Myspace band pages just didn't capture the true essence of their namesakes, and many times, particularly with local music, bands we found online ending up sounding quite different in person. This was a bad surprise as often (and maybe more often) as a good one.

Of course, we can't have a discussion about live shows without first mentioning many of the great touring bands that came through town this year. From the "you can't ever tell what DFW music fans will be interested in" department, The Books' arresting performance at Hailey's in April was surely one of the most exciting shows we've seen in a long time. Using video along with fragmented samples and meditative instrumental passages to tell some kind of loosely structured story while they presented their songs, The Books put on a show that was an emotional high for us and the rest of the shockingly sold out Hailey's crowd. We probably would have laughed if someone had suggested at any point before the show that the Books would draw the largest crowd we had ever seen at Hailey's, but that was exactly what happened, and it still seems quite remarkable. At Gypsy Tea Room, we had the privilege of witnessing unforgettable performances from The Fall (complete with crowd taunting and a Mark E. Smith walk-off), Sonic Youth (of the three times we've seen them over the past decade, this was easily their best performance), The Black Angels (who despite all their detractors have become a ridiculously good live band) and Liars. Just about everyone we've talked to who was at the Liars show seems to have a different opinion on the performance, as some (like us) believe it was brilliant and often breathtaking while others dismiss it as either a poor imitation of the songs on their records or simply a bunch of harsh, noisy garbage all together. Whatever one thinks of the music played that night, however, the Liars show was one of the most noteworthy and important performances of the year, and considering the relatively formless nature of much of their new material, the show's strong attendance was a pleasant surprise. Later in the year, we watched Ratatat put on a rock show that was actually more like a drugged-up dance party (albeit one that involved prog rock guitar parts), Shellac and The New Year terrify and mesmerize (respectively) a packed Sons of Hermann Hall, The Clientele romance a small but spellbound crowd at Hailey's with their quiet, hazy and introverted psychedelic pop, Man Man blow the roof off the often audibly inadequate Cavern, Indian Jewelry frighten and hypnotize roughly 25 people at Rubber Gloves, and Beach House allow their stoned, sleepy love songs to swim through and haunt a stoic Amsterdam crowd on a crisp autumn evening. The only downside to looking back at all of these shows comes when you realize that they occurred at a total of five venues, and that only three of the five bring in decent touring acts on a regular basis. DFWd probably couldn't have asked for a whole lot more as far as touring bands are concerned, but it would be nice if they had more than a small handful of places to play.

Unfortunately, we probably can't list nearly as many local shows that got us quite as excited as the bills mentioned above, but we witnessed several performances from local bands in 2006 that we enjoyed a great deal, and a couple that we consider to be (at least) somewhat important. Tied for the top of the "controversial posting" list on the blog this year is pretty much any post we made concerning the Strategies of Beauty Festival at Rubber Gloves. The anons certainly had a lot of opinions about the show before it even took place, but we felt it was important to reserve our take on things until the show actually, like, happened and stuff.

Strategies was not set up to appeal to a mass audience (Notes from Underground headlining is probably the most obvious example of this), and in many ways, it seemed as though it might have been set up to hijack any UNT frat boy that might have wandered in to Rubber Gloves that day trying to "fuck an art chick." Despite the relative strangeness and obscurity of the music to be performed, however, a very respectable crowd turned up to witness the madness of bands like idi Amin, Eat Avery's Bones, Fra Pandolf, Stumptone, and Hotel Hotel, as curator Michael Seman (of Shiny Around the Edges) took a gamble on the drawing power of bands that a lot of people around town had probably never heard before the festival. His gamble appeared to pay off on most levels, with the decision to close with Notes from Underground's overwhelmingly powerful compositions emerging as the best choice of the night. Notes' set that evening (in front of about 20 tired people no less) was certainly one of, if not the most exciting moment we experienced in local music this year. Anyone that tends to dismiss "noise" or "improv" as snobby, impersonal and pointless would have probably been forced to eat their words if they had experienced Notes taking layers of seemingly formless, abrasive noise and molding them into soaring build ups and bitter sweet come downs while somehow maintaining an emotional and structural core that was immediately engaging and quite generous with bits of warmth and beauty. Although not every act at Strategies was quite as powerful as Notes, it seems that the festival was a moderate success by any reasonable measure, and even if only a few of the bands struck you as interesting or enjoyable, it can at least be said that Strategies helped establish the fact that there really is a healthy market for experimental rock and avant garde music in the area, which can only help to expand on the local talent pool and provide confidence to the bands that are already here so that they might grow and develop in the near future.

Another institution that has done a lot to push the envelope in local music recently has been Denton's House of Tinnitus, a small, simple venue that consists of a house with a living room and a kitchen in a neighborhood that could indisputably and literally be labeled Denton's "wrong side of the tracks." Although we're not completely sure about these things, it is likely that a house very similar to Tinnitus probably opens up in Denton every year and begins hosting shows, meaning that this concept really isn't anything new. The Tinnitus people are aware of this, however, and what you'll find if you decide to venture up to one of their shows is a generally warm, welcoming and intelligent group of people that are truly interested in music as an art form rather than a meal ticket or a commodity. The Dead Echoes festival we took in there on Halloween, featuring excellent performances from Zanzibar Snails, PD Wilder and Oveo among others, was a perfect example of this kind of attitude on display, and Tinnitus' willingness and ability to host touring acts and more traditional rock groups like the ferocious Chief Death Rage indicates that the house's inhabitants are open to expanding their horizons and booking a wide variety of quality acts that might help to raise the profile of the house over the next year. Although some might not want to hear it, the "new weird" Denton noise scene is strong, tasteful, self sufficient, and productive, and at the center of it are a seemingly thoughtful and talented group of (mostly) young musicians that are happy to experiment and explore. As we've said before, the kind of music that many of the Denton experimental bands play is probably never going to have mass appeal, but a lot of the work coming from this sector of town seems to us to be on par with a lot of contemporary free form and avant garde music we hear coming from any locale these days, which is surely an exciting development.

If you took the second to last sentence of the previous paragraph and inserted "Dallas" and "rock" in the place of "Denton" and "noise," people would unfortunately be likely to laugh in your face. Or at least I would. But the good news is that there appears to be a few local figures within the city limits who are gaining momentum in the face of widespread mediocrity, and some of them are almost as new to the scene as we are. Treewave is certainly not a "new" band (as in just started playing this year), but they have emerged as one of our favorites in Dallas, Denton or anywhere else in the area. While many have deemed the group noteworthy because of the way Paul Slocum makes music, their methodology is only a part of their appeal. We caught Treewave for the first time at Red Blood Club with Kid 606 (a show organized and promoted by Stephen Ruiz, who is coming into his own as a DJ and promoter with his Hot Flash Party at Fallout Lounge), and while we were initially impressed with their onstage set up, it was their set opening cover of Brian Eno's "Needle in the Camel's Eye" that really caught our attention. As the band continued to play, our previously held notion that Treewave might be some kind of gimmick band was demolished rather quickly, and their noisy, blipy shoegaze influenced electro shot them right up to the top of our "holy shit, this band is from Dallas" chart (Faux Fox and the Strange Boys are on that chart somewhere too).

Finally, a description of the state of the city in 2006 would be vastly incomplete without mentioning the year that DJ Nature, Sober and Select had with their Central Booking events. As far as overall impact on the area's music scene, no other musicians or DJs came close to what their crew was able to do this year. We first found DJ Nature by chance while we were screwing around on Myspace one day in January, and after looking through some of his set lists and learning about his connections to the San Juan reggaeton scene, Fader Magazine and Arto Lindsay, we were fairly certain that seeing one of his weekly sets at Rubber Gloves was a necessity. What we heard when we arrived at Rubber Gloves on some random Wednesday night was the most tasteful and relevant DJ set we had encountered in Dallas or Denton. Ever. As opposed to many of the local acts we had seen up to that point, which often seemed like dated and poor approximations of sounds that weren't all that great to begin with, Nature's set screamed NOW. Right this second. Effortlessly mixing indie dance stuff like LCD Soundsystem, !!! and Yeah Yeah Yeahs with reggaeton, dub, new wave, Bmore, grime and American hip hop, Nature's set list contained at least one track that would appeal to pretty much anyone reading this right now, and many of his other selections were so new and different that most people probably didn't know what they were hearing, other than something good.

As the year progressed and Nature hooked up with like minded DJs Select and Sober, it started becoming apparent that Central Booking was bringing a built in following, a traveling party of sorts, everywhere they went. Whether they were playing an art gallery, a shoe store, or their monthly Party at Zubar, they seemed to attract a large and fashionable crowd drawing from all spectrums of Dallas night life that was ready to dance open to hearing stuff that they weren't expecting. The quality and diversity of their sets was certainly the most important factor in their quick rise to the top of the pack amongst area DJs, but their knack for clever marketing (including great cross promotion with people like P.E.G., Cultura Fina and Krispee Ones), stylish presentation, fashion and venue selection all played significant roles as well. More than anything else, Central Booking's events, particularly at Zubar, were always simply the most fun things we could imagine attending on any given night. Instead of going to a show to talk with friends, find out about the after party or simply to be seen, people went to The Party this year to go to The Party, and every indication is that more and more people will continue to do so this year. A lot of great things happened in local music this year, but nothing else clicked like Central Booking. At times during their events, it really felt like everything was coming together at just the right time, and the excitement they generated was impossible to ignore.

As we said in the beginning of this piece, DFWd music seems to have a long way to go in many respects, but a lot of the things that have annoyed us about this place (shitty bands, shitty clubs, etc.) seem to have become easier to ignore as we have watched all the movement below the surface and the changes that are slowly starting to occur as a result. On a more personal level, two of the projects we were involved with this year really hammered this point home for us. After assembling the Projection local music compilation, we realized as we sat and listened that it was something we would enjoy even if we weren't writing a local music blog and didn't have any interest in Dallas music. And as we finished off our night at Art Prostitute last month watching an absolutely mind blowing set from The Great Tyrant (a band a lot of people will be talking about this year), we realized that things had either improved over the last 12 months or we just hadn't been looking hard enough before we started the blog. As people continue to debate the merits of Christian venues in Deep Ellum and ask whether Radiant will ever get to play network television again, there are musicians, DJs and other assorted figures all around town who are ignoring all that crap and creating their own art, communities and movements that seem to be gaining some momentum. There is some talent here to be sure, and the small beginnings of an infrastructure to support it is slowly coming together. Its difficult to say whether any of the good things we've found this year will be able to attain the kind of visibility that would be necessary to give this town the face lift it needs, but compared to our attitude a year ago, we're fairly optimistic about the future and the changes that could take place in an area that has left a lot to be desired.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It List: Wednesday 1/10/07

Just to let you know, part 2 of the year end thing will in fact be posted at some point today (or this evening). The editing, etc. is taking a bit longer than we had anticipated, so cut us a little slack, jack. Tonight's a slow night from the looks of things, but heres something good:

Sticky Buns (Rubber Gloves): You might want to check out Sticky Buns, who seem to play everything from Jackson 5 To Camera Obscura to The Knife to Salt N Peppa. Sounds like the kind of DJ set you would play if you had any balls. Or if you didn't.

The strange and compelling Chris Garver, whom we noted long ago as being the shining diamond in the rough better known as the singer/songwriter circuit, is playing the, um, singer/songwriter circuit tonight at The Bone with Ben Fleming, Clint Niosi and Ryan Thomas Becker. If nothing else, this is a good opportunity to see why Chris stands out above the rest, although Clint Niosi seems to be quite decent as well.

Eulogies: Best broken up bands 2006 (By Defensive Listening)

2006 was a year of surprises for me as far as local music was concerned. I've been following the local scene longer and more closely than some of the other writers on here, probably since 1995 or so, and with that kind of previous local experience comes a certain amount of baggage, both good and bad. I was probably as pessimistic as Stonedranger when I started to read this blog, maybe even more so.

I found 90's DFW to be mostly dreadful and I've witnessed a lot of inexplicable nostalgic enthusiasm for a time that's largely embarrassing when reflected upon. I definitely had more positive experiences in random little pockets of the Metroplex the first five years of this decade than at any time during the 90's, from underground venues like Rito's in Northeast Dallas, The Sanctuary downtown, Moon Tunes in South Dallas, Hidden Noise Collective in Deep Ellum, and occasionally even the Sandbar in Deep Ellum, which hosted both House (as in dance) music shows and hardcore shows and catered to the most devout followers of both.

Through my experiences in those places I realized there was a whole world mirroring Dallas that wasn't really concerned with head counts, bar sales, "Which band are you hear to see?", New Music nights, or any of the other tired trappings of the DFW club circuit. Your average show at any of these spots was much more about the performance, the idea, spontaneity, execution, improvisation, and the actual creation of something that wasn't necessarily bound by the confines of the careerist mentality that so often dictates a band or artist's behavior. As more of these venues disappeared I became less hopeful that I could find something that I could believe in as far as local music goes.

I was at an all-time low in my interest or faith in DFW music when Stonedranger asked me to write for this blog. By forcing myself to reassess the situation, I actually discovered that even though there is a lot that could be improved around here, there are flashes of hope and brilliance illuminating the bleakest spots in this flat and desperate city. Having said that, I actually want to focus on death, which is necessary in all life cycles, even local music. I want to talk about the important yet completely unheralded passings of Idi*Amin, The Undoing of David Wright, Birth To Burial, and The Blonde Girls. These bands displayed the fearless underground spirit of the venues I named and in some cases even played them. All four groups were not only great, but also represent my transition from wondering where I could find anything challenging or exciting in this city to being forced to realize that I might not have been looking hard enough. I'm glad I was forced. Here goes:


So a music scribe (formerly of the Austin Chronicle and currently the Dallas Observer's Michael Chamy) and an artist (former Art Prostitute associate and local favorite Nevada Hill) meet and they find out they share the same interest in analog oscillators. One of them even owned a sine-wave generator. So they did what any two guys in this situation would do, they start a band. Surprisingly, they didn't find their find their musical dialogue through Beatles covers. Instead, they set out to start a "power drone" group which was nothing like most local music. The group started playing in 2005 and eventually incorporated the fleshed out lineup of guitarist Paul Overby, drummer Jared Stone, and the manic and unwieldy sax playing of the oft-employed Mike Forbes. Forbes is credited as the binding force in the band that brought all the other scattered elements together. They were eventually joined by the frighteningly talented Boyd Dixon, also of Tame, Tame and Quiet. Hill made the excellent decision to switch to guitar and his scratchy and abstractly aggressive playing shattered some of the drone-y aspects of the group. They then made a decision I'm not so sure about, turning down a show with Wolf Eyes in October of '05. Their live debut at Rubber Gloves in November '05 was just a hint at the band's most fruitful period from January to April of 2006. The playing sessions in this period were often recorded and those recordings would eventually make up the band's first and only full length B.C.E., which we glowingly reviewed last July. Idi*Amin gave a triumphant performance at the controversial Strategies Of Beauty Festival (a show bafflingly previewed in Spin Magazine). This stands as one of the group's proudest moments and you can view a video here. The demanding organic nature of building up momentum as an improvisational live group eventually clashed with the equally natural concerns of geography, marriage and family. Idi*Amin would hold itself to a standard that probably would have been to hard to meet at this point. The group came to it's logical conclusion and disbanded. It would splinter into two different groups, Musica Mandana, featuring Overby and Dixon, and Zanzibar Snails, which is Hill and Chamy. Experimental improv music will always rely on a revolving door theory when it comes to performers but this particular cast will be missed.

The Undoing Of David Wright:

If I remember correctly, I discovered this blog by searching for coverage of this band. It was a perfect marriage when Undoing was going strong and Stonedranger was coming up. What else can be said about them? They silenced their critics through sheer talent and hard work. That's quite an accomplishment when you bait a close minded North Texas audience that's more than ready to heckle you for wearing make-up and using a drum machine. Of all the bands that have had shots taken at them, there is no band of comparable stature that received so little negative anonymous commenting. It was almost a shock when you'd see one. The band oozed personality with Lars Larsen's on and offstage crowd taunting, A-Train's spidery guitar technique and the various costumes and narratives, but I've always found their secret weapon to be Shane English's bass playing. He was already gaining attention in his unadorned performances as the bassist for both Blank Blank and White Telephone. I only knew of these two bands when The Undoing Of David Wright was a last minute addition to the lineup of a show I was attending. Someone dismissed them as the guy from White Telephone's goth band and I wasn't expecting much. What I received was an assault on complacency, boredom, and all that is mundane. This band shoved itself down your throat but it wasn't in the bull-headed hardcore tradition, though they could hold their own with any hardcore band. They did it with style. They didn't just stomp all over an audience, they danced on their ashes. Nobody knows why The Undoing disbanded but it's more important to point out that they set a local example that many bands would be wise to take note of. They didn't bellyache about who was doing what for them or their scene. They made two albums (one yet to be released), two eps, went on three tours totaling close to 45 cross-country dates, and even opened a fucking venue. Maybe the next time you decide to open your mouth about why things aren't better around here, you go out and try to accomplish something instead. And if you can't do that well at least shake Aaron, Lars, or Shane's hand when you see them at a show. They played one of the most significant roles in what has made this place tolerable, and even great in recent months. Thank you.

Birth To Burial:

This band embodied a humble and unpretentious everyman aesthetic that was worlds apart from The Undoing of David Wright, though they were by no means boring and probably even shared some influences. Lead by Pat Ferguson since 2003, along with bassist and former Secret Headquarters founder Rob Black and drummer Donny Pavlasek, Birth to Burial made a solid mark locally through constantly playing out with good bands and at least one smartly booked Midwest jaunt with Record Hop. Their name could almost be a hindrance, since it was so dark sounding it almost implied they would be a splattercore band or something comparably heavy. None of these things would really matter though if it wasn't for the fact that their music was so good. Birth To Burial could never be accused of being a "style over substance" act and they obsessively honed their craft working up a repertoire of over 40 something songs in a year. And their songs had a vast range of stylistic variances, from slow crushing shoegaze territory to the tight speedy hardcore rhythms of SST's golden era. This was due to the fact that Pat and Donny were into complex rhythmic structures while Black was always more of a West Coast punk rocker, complete with a Circle Jerks tattoo. Birth To Burial was known as one of the most supportive bands around town, from Black's work with SHQ to Pat joining every band that asked him to, sometimes four projects deep. The band recorded a full length that was eventually scrapped due to some overzealous gearhead purchases that prevented them from having the money to put it out themselves, a common pitfall for bands. I thought their Color of Paint EP was the band's best achievement, a perfect little document that summed up their various musical philosophies. Even though it was the lamentably awful TJ's, their Fry Street Fair performance last year was definitely the best part of that day. Black would come and go from the band until he eventually just disappeared altogether, with little to no explanation. That kind of push and pull takes a toll on groups and eventually it became too much for Birth To Burial. Pat and Donny will still continue to play, but it will most likely be with a new member and a new name. Pat seemed worried about the pressure to continue to make quality music when he e-mailed me for this piece. If the new band is half as good as Birth To Burial was, he'll have nothing to worry about.

The Blonde Girls:

Genre defying. Time defying. Defiant period. The Blonde Girls perhaps best represent how you can avoid the bar rock/drink sale setup and still have a very meaningful existence as a band. They are the only band I've listed here that took a conscious stand to almost never bother with most of the things a band thinks it must regard as necessary evils. They weren't snobs though and they agreed to play any type of show, any genre, to any crowd, but on their terms. When they started just barely over a year ago, they set out to tour and record a 7-inch. They did both. I first discovered them through We Shot JR and was pleasantly surprised by their charmingly rough-edged recordings. The first time I saw them live they were a chaotic mess of switched around instruments, guitar noise wreckage, and shouted vocals. They would eventually grow into a more nuanced act with stretched-out instrumental passages that approached prog territory. Their jazz chord manipulation was an obvious nod to the Minutemen, as was the shouting. Most of the time the band wouldn't even sing into microphones but just shout over the din of their playing. I thought this perfectly summed up the group. You can go about things another way and still be heard. A long and ambitious East Coast tour last summer solidified the bands belief in the house show/art space booking strategy. They used other bands as examples of what not to do, such as "require guarantees and play mainly didn't work out that well for them.". The tour also divided the band along artistic lines and it would eventually be the end of them because they were ultimately more dedicated to remaining friends. Two of the members now play in Koji Kondo, and one of them is starting a hip hop project. I can't remember a time when I witnessed a local band accomplish so much in less than a year. Truly, a testament to their ethos.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It List: Tuesday 1/9/07

Christian! Teenage Runaways /The Opposites Attract/The Cocker Spaniels/Foot Foot (Club Dada)

Wonderfully mixed bag of a show with one of my favorite new bands from last year, Christian! Teenage Runaways as the crown jewel. I'm interested to see how their act plays out in your standard Deep Ellum club versus their usual stomping (under)ground. I'm excited no matter how it turns out because they're the kind of band that still kills it even when chaos ensues. The Cocker Spaniels is the project of the extremely prolific Sean Padilla. His music sounds like a more humorous GBV or even early They Might Be Giants, and I hope the group doesn't take that as an insult. You know how a lot of bands have these smug imaginary bios that are often extremely unfunny and uninteresting, but they seem to think otherwise? Well, I just want to say that The Cocker Spaniels have one of the best true bios I've ever had the pleasure of reading on a Myspace page. Their song, "Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show", is the musical summary of the band bio and it's equally charming and funny. I had a hard time understanding what Foot Foot was going for, but it sounded like pretty inoffensive and quiet acoustic stuff. The Opposites Attract is a local rock band with pretty cool sounding and enthusiastic vocals.

Kaboom/Bitchin' Kitchen/Final Fight (J & J's Pizza)

I hadn't heard of Kaboom until today and I was surprised at the nastiness of their recordings. I don't think it's just the lo-fidelity that's causing it all to sound so distorted and insane. There's some palpable heaviness to the music, I think I even heard a blastbeat in there. Should be cool live. Bitchin' Kitchen is Ed from Fra Pandolf's solo project and the music is not too far from that band's music. Couldn't find anything on Final Fight but I'm told they are similar to Godspeed, You Black Emperor. That could go either way, I guess.

Night Game Cult /girlsrisewithheat/Sydney Confirm/A Vague Sound (Rubber Gloves)

There are many shared rhythmic sensibilities in this lineup. All of these acts employ a lot of dark melodrama and dance rhythms, though Sydney Confirm seems to be a little more light hearted. Night Game Cult is always a truly unique live experience that everyone should try at least once. The kind of courage displayed at a Night Game show isn't exactly common around here. I wish this wasn't the same night as the aforementioned Dada show.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Save the Date of Friday, January 26th

because we got somethin' cookin. We might also have something exciting for you the week of SXSW in either Dallas or Denton. Stay tuned for details on both, and help us get this little girl to stop eating weed brownies.

It List: Monday 1/8/07

Having trouble digging anything up for tonight other than Bad Ass Jazz Night @ The Amsterdam Bar...

State of the City: Local Music in 2006 (part 1)

(Because of some issues with blogger and length, we're going to split up our 2006 year in review into two parts. This is part one, and part two will be posted Wednesday along with a year end piece from DL.)

If January 2006 wasn't a low point for local music, then Dallas has to be one of the most boring cities in the United States. At this time last year, a very tangible sense of disinterest and disillusionment seemed to be present in every corner of the local scene, from the deserted streets of Deep Ellum to the suburban cities we forgot to name, and as people began asking themselves why Dallas-Ft. Worth/Denton, the 4th largest media market in the nation, didn't have an underground music community that could generate enough excitement to sustain a decent number of respectable live music venues or more than a handful of interesting bands, fingers began pointing in every possible direction in search of something or someone to blame. Club owners, police, promoters, local radio, bands, local journalists, club thugs, personal conflicts, scene politics and small business economics were all suggested as possible culprits in the case of local music's "mysterious" downward spiral, but it was clear that these factors, individually, were merely small parts of a complicated issue. The writers of this blog started the year by arguing that one the city's main problems was a simple lack of compelling local music, and now, a year since our first blog post, we are inclined to proffer a similar if slightly more positive thesis concerning what we've seen over the past twelve months. But this time, we're putting a big fucking asterisk next to it.

You see, its quite difficult to craft a year end analysis piece like this when you have no real frame of reference with which to compare the recently passed year, and we're well aware that any 2006 summary we offer will lack some of the wisdom that a working knowledge of local music history would provide. We came into this whole project with a sufficient awareness of underground, experimental, and independent rock music (as well as hip hop and jazz) in general, but our experiences with the local scene were almost nonexistent aside from the occasional uneventful local show that friends would drag us to. This has obviously changed over the past year, but it is still difficult for us to look back at 2006 and determine whether things are on an upward or downward trajectory from where they were more than a year ago. At a certain point, it becomes impossible to really assess 2006 without knowing much about what happened in years previous, so we're a bit reluctant to make any strong conclusions about how this year compared to any other.

Furthermore, we know that the sentiments described in the opening paragraph probably don't apply to some of the people reading this blog, not to mention the tens of thousands (or more) of locals who are interested in the kind of music we talk about on here but have never read a local music blog (and barely even read the Observer). To be sure, the problems discussed above probably didn't even occur to most people currently living in Dallas, and many of the complaints we have outlined here mattered quite a bit more to people who were intimately involved in the local music scene than to those outside of it. To put it another way, the doom and gloom picture we've painted here probably isn't as dramatic as we or many local scenesters make it out to be, even if it did seem to be the dominant narrative around the time we started publishing this blog.

Truth be told, the only way to even begin to discern the average Joe's thoughts concerning local music at the beginning of last year is to look at concert attendance and the general mood prevalent around town at the time (an admittedly unscientific approach). By either measure, things didn't appear to be going very well. Local shows seemed to be empty, venues seemed to be closing, and music fans seemed to be either going through the motions or ignoring largely lackluster local output all together, and the worst part was that we couldn't blame them. In fact, our limited experiences with local music at that time were enough to make us so incredibly frustrated with this town that we decided to start a blog in order bitch about it. It wasn't because we wanted to "help out" or "save the scene," nor because we thought "Dallas can do better" or "deserves better." Instead, we just wanted to have fun in our home town, and at the beginning of last year Dallas wasn't delivering for us. Its difficult to get a good read on the attitudes of people around town in general, but by any way you could possibly measure, DFW and Dallas in particular seemed stale and in danger of getting worse.

A quick, surface level glance at what is currently going on in DFWd reveals a place that isn't a whole lot different than it was twelve months ago. There are still a good number of lame local bands getting more attention than they deserve from people who claim to have good taste but actually don't seem to know their asses from a whole in the ground. Local radio still sucks (for the most part). People still find it necessary to go to annoying karaoke nights and bad cover band shows on a weekly basis. Deep Ellum is still a joke. Denton is still a long fucking drive. Shows are still largely underattended across the board. Clubs are still closing. The Observer's music section is worse than its ever been, and seems to be falling more and more out of step each week (other than Michael Chamy's stuff). Scene politics, a hipster version of a small town good ol' boy system, remains an omnipresent force around town. Basically, a lot of the things that annoyed us about local music last year are still annoying us today, even though we realize that most cities in the U.S. probably face similar problems, and that many of these things will never change.

However, the big fucking asterisk we mentioned earlier is an important one: although a lot of things seem to be the same, we have found over the past year that there are a number of musicians, DJs, venues, promoters and artists throughout the area who are doing some exciting things. And although many of them probably aren't receiving the kind of recognition they would in other locales, there does seem to be a refreshing level of enthusiasm thriving just below the surface of the local music establishment, and it is this enthusiasm that gives us pleasant pause: essentially, it feels like the city is waking up.

Very early in the year, after spending some time pointing out the silliness of Belafonte and discovering the brilliance of DJ Nature (more on him later), we had the pleasure of hearing the furiously dizzy electo-industrial disco theatrics of The Undoing of David Wright, along with the screaming cartoonish hardcore punishment of Eat Avery's Bones, both of whom played well attended and exciting shows with the Strange Boys at Doublewide and Avenue Arts, respectively. Only a couple of weeks into writing the blog, we discovered two bands that we'd never heard before but really enjoyed, with one effectively mixing prog influences with post-punk, metal, early industrial and synth pop, and the other sounding as though they were playing hardcore cover versions of Swell Maps songs with a nastier keyboard and a generous supply of speed. What made the experience even better was the fact that both bands were incredible live acts, albeit for very different reasons. While Undoing was about as tight as a band could be, jumping around the Doublewide stage and playing rather complex rock music without missing a note, Eat Avery's Bones was the sound of getting run over by a train, showcasing a reckless mix of violence and smarts that seems to be so rare amongst bands as young as they. These two early shows left us with a surprisingly hopeful outlook on the new year and what DFW/Denton might have in store for us.

A few weeks later, we attended the opening of the Metrognome Collective's performance space in Ft. Worth and were amazed not only by the dimensions and feel of the place itself, but by the ambitious and truly thoughtful plans that James Watkins and the rest of the organizers had for it (also caught a pretty good performance from Bosque Brown). Providing facilities for live music, film screenings, gallery expos, artist studios and band practice spaces, the Metrognome seemed to be exactly the kind of place that a town like Ft. Worth (or Dallas for that matter) needed, a forward thinking centralized venue being operated by people that seemed to actually understand and care about art, music and the cultures surrounding them. Over the past month or so, the place has been struggling with fire codes and financial issues, but their recent year end anniversary is an indication that all is not lost. Despite facing a variety of problems (including criminally small Ft. Worth crowds), Metrognome has consistently booked great shows featuring the kind of music that we didn't even think existed around here at this time last year, and have done it in a fashion that is admirable on just about any level. I can't imagine that there are very many diy venues anywhere in the country with a more exciting and comprehensive vision than Metrognome has, and the possibilities seem endless for them as long as they can get through the growing pains they are currently experiencing. Unfortunately, it is during these periods of financial and logistical turmoil that many DIY venues seem to shut down, but the motivated Metrognome crowd seems willing and able to move past their issues and on to bigger things.

Throughout February and March, it seemed as if more good news was finding its way to our doorstep on a pretty regular basis (other than the disappointing closing of Sanctuary Studios, which was really the only non-bar rock music venue in Dallas). Aside from catching absolutely unforgettable shows from Akron/Family (Dan's), Dinosaur Jr. (Gypsy), Stereolab (Nokia) and Ariel Pink(Hailey's), we encountered several local DJs, musicians and others who seemed to be doing noteworthy things around town. After reluctantly heading up to Denton for an "80's night" at Hailey's, we discovered that Dallas' DJ G wasn't really playing 80's records in that "video killed the radio star" sort of way, but rather was focusing on the more interesting side of the 80's: acid house, new pop, European disco, and tons of underground electro tracks that we had either never heard before or were only vaguely familiar with. And although some of DJ G's appearances have been shockingly underattended over the past year, his Hailey's residency continues to be one of the best dance parties in town, and his sets remain highly entertaining, unpredictable and even a bit educational for those who are interested in dance music's history. As DJs go, G is one of the sure things in the area, and the records he spins are right in step with many of the noteworthy movements in well known electronic music centers around the world.

Elsewhere, we came across two great non-trad Denton venues, Lars Larson's 8th Continent and the UNT staple Yellow House, which is sadly out of commission at the present time. Although the bands weren't always top notch, shows at Yellow House consistently felt like a big event, with the tossed off thrown together vibe of the place adding to the excitement when solid local acts like Strange Boys, Chief Death Rage, The Pebble that Saved the World and Cartright set up shop in the living room and played to a packed house full of enthusiastic fans that seemed to know each band's every move by heart. On the other side of town, 8th Continent acted as Yellow House's dark, art school educated brother, showcasing the more experimental side of Denton and Texas music. Maintaining an independent-minded, anything can happen vibe and putting musically adventurous acts like You Are the Universe, Undoing of David Wright, Best Fwends and Cry Blood Apache on its small stage in front of an equally enthusiastic audience, we found the 8th to be a humble but often exhilarating venue that seemed worlds away from any bar that we know of. A new group has taken over the 8th since the last time we visited ( some of the Strawberry Fields people and Kyle of the provocative Night Game Cult), but the fact that they recently hosted the Unconscious Collective and Wanz Dover for a Terry Riley inspired improv show indicates that there is more to come on Texas St. in 2007.

Throughout the year, we were also pleased to encounter a few people that made Dallas radio tolerable. Sure, one of them wasn't actually on the radio, another was only on for a couple hours a week and another was on illegally, but Radio UTD, Frank Hejl, Meat Radio and Movin' 107.5 all provided great ways to forget that Yellowcard gets more play on The Adventure Club these days than any band you actually care about. Radio UTD was perhaps the most consistent of the bunch, bringing true college radio eclecticism to a town that desperately needs it while providing a playlist that would be considered more than solid on any college campus in the United States. Frank Hejl's Frequency Down on KNTU focused a good deal on popular contemporary indie rock, but Frank's typically strong selections (both new and old) were a breath of fresh air, keeping listeners in tune with the latest (including local stuff) while avoiding the beat down of too much indie cute overkill.

Meat Radio, an East Dallas based pirate radio station, was truly a compelling story that thrived off of being kept generally on the down low for most of its existence. It was always a pleasure to get into a car in East Dallas and be able to listen to soul, funk, 60's garage, classic indie underground and anything and everything in between at any given time on the weekend, and Meat Radio's clear progressive leanings (as evidenced by its broadcasts of progressive political talk shows) made it a true "alternative" to the Clear Channel empire of Dallas radio that did nothing this year other than provide funds for numerous right wing political candidates. Meat Radio obviously had to stop its regular broadcasts once it got a little too hot to handle, but their brief presence on the air was quite a highlight for our depraved radio dial.

Towards the end of the year and after the downfall of Meat Radio and Frequency Down, Movin' 107.5 became the station that seemed alright to listen to at pretty much any time during the day and absolutely any time at night. Playing a notable portion of the music that you might have listened to while riding in your mom's car as a kid, Movin' quickly earned a spot on our pre-programmed dial in order to help us live our dream of being able to hear Outkast, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam and P.M. Dawn during one of The Ticket's 10 minute long commercial breaks. Void of annoying contemporary commercial R&B and tongue in cheek hipster irony, 107.5 was simply a fun, albeit brainless place to turn when we just weren't in the mood to listen to the Liars record or NPR, both of which were a bit dark for some of our better moments.

Of course, the easiest and most efficient way for us to discover new local music this year was Myspace, which lead us to many of our local favorites like Mom, The Angelus, the sadly disbanded Washing Machine, Teenage Symphony and Shiny Around the Edges. But despite the greatness of these groups and the live shows that we eventually experienced, we were also pleased to find that local bands were making solid old fashioned full length records this year as well. Albums from Chris Garver, The Theater Fire and Midlake were all in heavy rotation around the headquarters throughout 2006, but the two that probably received the most attention amongst our crew were idi Amin's B.C.E. and Current Leaves' Pastense, which sounded like they were made on different planets. Realizing that we could listen to one great local album of Bakersfield informed psychedelic rock immediately before another album of sax driven ethereal noise explorations was probably one of the most telling signs of the exciting diversity to be found in the DFWd underground, and one of the best indicators of the talent to be found in the area.

(Part two coming soon...)