Monday, January 08, 2007

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...)

66 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

since when has yellowcard been getting adventure club airplay? josh has a great show, it just depends on your music tastes, like everything else in the town.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Robo-Pirate said...

"Scene politics, a hipster version of a small town good ol' boy system..."

Maybe I'm an idiot, but it seems like this blog perpetuates this.

I can appreciate the power of compelling music in reviving a scene, but raving about No Wave music like Blonde Girls as if it were the most interesting music ever is not going to get people to go to shows.

You have promoted some good stuff, but in my opinion, your effete elitism is synonomous with hipster-good-old-boy bullshit.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

The Blonde Girls are almost standard sounding compared to most of the original No Wave acts. They bore some resemblance to the No Wave 90's bands (more structured and directly aggressive) resurrection as I've mentioned before. They actually were more like the Minutemen live, which you have listed as one of your favorite bands (along with...Sublime). This was through their consistent use of clean sounding jazz chords, nothing too crazy there. They even sounded like a surf cover band sometimes. Anyways, what makes something "compelling" is subjective and all we can do is tell you what we find compelling. I'm not about to pretend that what I like is going to blow everyone's mind but I'm also not going to shave off the edges of my taste or dumb anything down simply because you might think the Blonde Girls sound as difficult as formless free jazz. They had riffs, songs that had beginnings and ends, and lyrics. You're acting like we asked you to go see a performance artist shit on the floor and masturbate in it. So what do you think will get people to go to shows?

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 8:38 have you actually listened to the Adventure Club in the past month? He plays nothing but pop punk, then will throw in a three song set of Yo La Tengo or Sonic Youth and whine about doing it. He starts it off "this is one of the most over rated bands in history, they are totally unlistenable...but they have a few good songs." And thats his "indie" show.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Year in Music: Denton

Everything was pretty effin' sweet.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT no mention of the HOUSE OF TINNITUS: one of 2006s best new venues!! esp for the DIY and experimental scene local and national!!!

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, get over yourself... This is the first half of the article, you ducmb fucking cunt. WE STARTED A LIVING ROOM! GIVE US INTERNET CREDIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The House of The House of The House of The House of The has a great show tonight.

11:44 AM  
Blogger creatorlars said...

i'm glad you're doing a post like this -- great stuff so far.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just FYI i posted about HOUSE OF TINNITUS as a fan... so dont get mad at them i just thought they deserved some credit!!

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shutup, j-emo.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous anonmonon said...

same here. i saw some great shows at the house of tinnitus. sometimes it was a little overwhelming how "noise experimental" it was, but all in all the three shows i saw at HOT were both educational and enjoyable.

i'm hoping they get a little more diverse and have more than just the pure noise stuff so that they get more people going out there. then again, i think they may have already started doing that.

as for the adventure club, i gave up on that a LONG time ago. it just isn't possible to say that the adventure club helps local DWFd music. And how can they possibly do that when the problem is systemic (ie - owned by clear channel). it's the same problem that occured when the Dallas Observer fired Sam. I know there were a lot of haters on this board (myself included excluding the rare times he mentioned my band), but just look at how the DO is now? I'd rather use that magazine as toilet paper.

Anyway, looking forward to the second half.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blahhhhhhhh!!!

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking at a picture taken of Led Zeppelin circa mid-seventies. It was taken from behind the stage and it was the band in front of a 200,000+ stadium crowd. The caption read: "There was no internet, no cellphones and nothing good on television. Music was IT." That sort of summed it up for me. I think people just have so many other options besides rock shows now. Despite what y'all think about TV - there are 500 channels of it and the people you see there are alot better looking than the people you run into at a club/bar/house party. It's hard to compete with.
Back in the day (whatever that means to you) if people wanted to meet other people with the same political, social or fashion views a great way to do that would be to rally around a band that epitomized those views. Now? Start a MySpace group.
Also remember that new music or indie music or experimental music that we are talking about is still typically electric guitar/bass and drums. This format is roughly 50 years old. During those 50 years there were some styles that were very important, but typically a band now will just pick one of those eras and recycle it. It's just not forward thinking and is becoming alot like bebop or Robert Cray style blues or something - meaning that people still create it and some people go to see it but it is just not important in the ways that matter.
I think what we can loosely call "rock" music just isn't that relevant anymore.
What is? I don't know.
DJ's are solid because people will always want to hear a good beat and get loose and they can do so at a bar where a DJ is playing. Bands are more about "look at me!" while a DJ is more about "everybody get down!" and people can have a good time at whatever venue without without having to stand in front of a mega-watt amplifier that's louder than a jet engine during take off. Way back bands were just living jukeboxes for people to dance to. Background music. Youth culture made bands socially important (and I'd argue this peaked in the mid and late sixties) for a while, and while there still be your Conner Oberst types floating around it's pretty much played itself out.
Anyway, I'd be curious to see how other cities feel about their "scene." Although the Dallas area has always been a sort of nowheresville (you can count the amount of bands from around here that have "made it" on one hand) I betcha it's about the same everywhere. This sort of music can still be made and enjoyed but I don't believe it will ever be that important - in DFW/Denton or anywhere else - again.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous sctt said...

Damn, that's pretty right on, anon.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

1:37

quote:"DJs are solid because..."

With some notable exceptions, I believe that the dance/DJ community has similar problems with dwindling crowds locally. Go to any dance music messageboard and read the same exact argument about why that is and who is to blame over and over. And while I agree with the electric guitar/bass/ and drums being a pretty beaten down format wouldn't (DJ) Edison spinning wax Cylinders in front of a captivated audience be even older? All I'm saying is that both formats have considerable mileage and that I think the plight of rock bands and DJ's is a shared one.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

Nice post. Looking forward to the 2nd half.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't know. I guess I made an assumption that DJ's were fairing a little better. Maybe that's because they're always talking about how they are "blowin' up."
While I'm sorry to hear that things are tough all over it helps to know that pain is shared. I play in one of those mega-watt bands, you see.
I'd like to make a quick addition to my previous post:
I understand the folk festival (Newport Folk Festival I think, forgive me if I'm wrong) that Bob Dylan became the "spokesperson for a generation" and brought the folk scene to national attention had an attendance of 10, 000. Compare that to Fry Street Fair from a few years back that I think was around 30,000.
There was that famous Sex Pistols show that maybe 30-40 attended but changed the face of British music.
I'd reckon that there were shows at the CBGB's during the "golden years" that NOBODY was at and the ones people did actually go to I bet attendance wasn't all that big. It probably looked alot like any club you might go into today.
The point is - while important, sheer numbers of people in the crowd is not the only issue. I'm not sure what the deciding factor is, but perhaps it's worth discussing.

3:09 PM  
Blogger creatorlars said...

anon 1:37... i agree with you one hundred percent.

the underground needs to embrace the New Media to survive and be strong.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of the reasons i think the scene has suffered is a simple bit of geography. unless its something big, people from fort worth dont want to go to dallas, people in denton are too stoned to drive to the metrognome, etc. its a long drive back to FW from deep ellum for me after a night of hard drinking. that being said, the best bands have usually come out of denton anyway, but for some reason feel an obligation to play dallas. whereas in austin, everythings pretty close together so its more cohesive.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there may be more cohesion in austin but it is also a lot more watered down. i think this town suffers more from the 'denton hates dallas, dallas hates FW, etc' syndrome than anything else. it's a big city, there are going to be good spots and bad spots, it's all a matter of making the good spots great, which apparently, is a lot easier said than done.

3:38 PM  
Blogger creatorlars said...

i think you're right about the geography. in denton, the scene was always really strong for me (especially when i was going to classes) because even the most mundane days of walking around going to class, work, buying groceries and gas, i'd see dozens of people i knew from bands, shows, etc. the scene was just a part of daily life.

i just moved to plano for a new job, and i feel like i live on a fucking island. getting anywhere cool feels like a prison break.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's all hold hands.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lars. I don't know ya but I respect your opinion.
The comment about the underground adopting "New Media" made me stop for a second.
What's funny is that the underground that is always first to embrace new media and technology is not artists or musicians but the sex industry. No joke. It's true. Pornographers are always the first adopters.
Oh, well. That's a little off topic, I guess.

3:50 PM  
Blogger DTC said...

i dont know the scene in austin is necessarily watered down, there are some fairly heavy hitters coming up there, but its even more elitist than it is in this area. if youre a new person, new band and you dont know anyone, good luck getting in.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Society has become increasingly fragmented in recent decades and dating is difficult. Bar scenes offer little hope and mere randomness in social meetings remain often ineffectual when one is seeking a special person. Entertainment has driven people away from meaning and towards distraction which imposes further scarcity upon those who still aspire in life. The Internet has the potential to offer increased communication, though in practice it often turns people inward and away from anything that is real in life.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Akron/Family show was at Andy's, not Dan's. Love and space, man, love and space.

4:43 PM  
Blogger creatorlars said...

it just does not seem like many people are approaching the New Media in an experimental way outside of soulless commercial art and design grad portfolio sites.

they used to in the 90's.

i think most scene kids see the net as a "necessary evil" or too everyday now to be cool. or at least that seems to be the general attitude of most kids i know.

5:23 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

Wow, some really interesting comments today. I guess the drummer from Blackheart Society has moved on.


House of Tinnitus comment: theres still another half of this article, so stay tuned.

1:37-very well put. I agree with just about everything you say, and I also agree with just about everything that Lars has said here. Standard rock (which I'll admit is really the majority of the music we cover) has become more and more irrelevant (or less important) over the past few decades, and although I'm not sure if anything can be done about that (or should be done), I don't think that embracing new forms of media and communications like Lars talks about might be one of the last chances that rock music has to make some sort of impact.

6:33 PM  
Blogger sebastienlupus said...

more fun, more ideas, all ages, fuck the bar , if you dont like something make it better or atleast express your views and opinions by creating something yourself, discover other kinds of music and people it exists, dont be afraid to get your hands dirty........PUNX!!!!!!!!

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cliff-notes

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for writing about the, uh, same bands you always "wright" about...

let this blog continue long enough and eventually you're just like the observer.....

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:17 - its a retrospective. what the fuck did you expect? find something else to complain about, like the fact that no one writes about your band.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmmmmmmmmmm.Kids.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous adub (douchbag in a pearlsnap) said...

A good song will always move me, no matter if it's played by dudes dressed in tight trash bags and duct tape or pearl-snap douch-bag shirts. The waystyle you present it in ultimately becomes irrevelent as the question of whether the central idea means anything to you.
Any "new media" is just that - a media. It's not the art, the idea, and has no bearing on the quality of the product; IF ANYTHING it makes the piece more disposable as we're finding out that digital files have certain longevity issues. If musicians can send files using the internet to people to spread their music, cool, but the listener (providing it is warranted) is gonna need a more permanent document in the long run. In short, I'm not meaning to disrespect anyone branching out into the digital realm, I just don't think the "media" has anything lasting to do with the creation.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous adub said...

ahem-
The way or style you present it in ultimately becomes irrevelent as the question of whether the central idea means anything to you... becomes clearer.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we have a wake for Sam M please?

seriously.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:36 PM do you name drop cspan

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys are just really taking for granted some of the amazing things being done with computers these days.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandkids will love rock and roll. Or I'll kill them.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is this com-pew-turd you speak of, robot?

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sr is right about the observer it gets more out of step each week, but i don't think you can blame the new editor because a lot of the horrible writers were ones sam m hired (i think).

9:33 AM  
Blogger creatorlars said...

The Undoing always made a point that our "songs" were not the product. The trash bags, the scary faces, the stupid makeup were just as much a piece of the whole as the music... as an attempt to create a space or ambience for our songs to exist/make narrative sense within.

By "New Media" I'm not talking about MP3s, I'm talking about something that's still evolving and hasn't taken shape yet. "Multimedia" is kind of a dated term for it, but I'm talking about the recombination and evolution of traditional elements such as recorded music, design, animation, etc. within a non-confining, interactive, digital/networked context.

But as far as media formats go... nothing's more permanent than a master backed up on a server somewhere. CDs are just digital files burned onto a very fragile media. And as far as vinyl and tape goes, it only exists as a novelty. Give it a few years and recorded music will all be files floating around in the net and accessed via various media butler type devices. Movies too. The idea that digital files are somehow less tangible than something you can hold and feel is dated. Consumer society is conditioned to think that way (weight = value).

I'm not saying there's not something magic about opening a package and leafing through album art with your headphones on, or that you can't make an interesting statement by releasing cassette with original crayon artwork or whateverthefuck -- but as far as generally attitudes go, a similar romanticism MUST be attached to digital deployment as well, and that's not something anyone really dabbles in yet.

That said, there will always be archivers and collectors. Nothing wrong with that. As for me, I'd rather not let big brother dictate how I deploy my digital-format art.

All I'm saying is that computers and the web are just as much a part of rock and roll as guitars and amps now (or will be soon), and if you don't embrace it and learn to do a little more with it than throw a couple tracks up on your NewsCorp-owned MySpace profile, you're living in the past.

The world's getting split up, we have to create community for local art/music somewhere. (And look at where we are, it's happening.)

I realize I'm being a pretentious dick, but I think somebody needs to say this shit. I'm done with my over-exaggerated, zealous, partially inapplicable, highly theoretical rant directed towards no one in particular now.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

o.k. thomas dolby, art of noise, whatever...
gettin' back to samuel, geoff johnston really blows...
but seriously folks, what about the brunette girls??
unfortunately, 'music was it' seems to be the way now, don't it?
gosh, people's poet, is it really you?!? yes, it is, and you pigs are in for a pretty big shock!!!

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe me, I'm all about the brunette girls.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous AM said...

lars- the inevitable is here.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Meat Radio said...

Thanks for the kind words about Meat Radio. The Meat Radio crew salutes you. Maybe we'll get back up and running soon.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous meg said...

remember to mention nouns group in pt 2!

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

editors can direct writers in certain directions you know

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this blog never writes up the nouns group. what's up with that?

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this blog never writes about tons of bands, but what can you do?

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tons of bands never write about this blog either

12:34 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

yeah, what a bunch of dickheads.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Tons of Bands said...

Hi, we mostly suck!

8:08 AM  
Anonymous just one local musician said...

If your argument is correct and "a lack of compelling local music" is the primary reason for the decline of the scene, why aren't the "compelling" bands you talked about attracting throngs of people?

It's not an uncommon site to see a long line outside of the Curtain Club for a local metal show. By your logic, metal is then one of most compelling genres of music around.

You should know by now that quality of music and show attendance have very little to do with each other. A lack of compelling music doesn't stop Nokia or AAC from having a packed house.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you play to idiots, you'll have a large crowd.

or something like that

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like how the majority of comments on this MUSIC blog,
are never actually talking about
the music. maybe that's what's wrong?

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Nouns Group never gets written about due to their personal association with the WSJR staff.

1:27 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

1145: i agree with you, which is why I never made the connection you claim I did. To me, packed bars for shit bands are just as bad as empty bars for good bands. I think you're assuming that I equate a shitty scene with bad attendance at shows. Sure, bad attendance is part of it, but not the whole picture. If tons of people started coming out to clubs on a regular basis to see crappy bands, I would still think the local scene sucked.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why doesn't this blog ever talk about a childlike fear? or johnwayneisn't dead he's frozen? explain that sherlock.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous just one local musician said...

stonedranger:

Ah, I guess phrases like "from the deserted streets of Deep Ellum" and "to sustain a decent number of respectable live music venues" were an indication of using attendance = busy streets or attendance = clubs make money = clubs stay open types of arguments. Much of the finger pointing you mention that I've been witness to has revolved around events like Trees (and recently Clearview) closing and the dire financial straits Gypsy has found itself in. This led me to conclude that you were referring to the decline of the local music scene in the economics of people, not of interesting music regardless of feasibility or practicality.

And in the end, unless you have some concern for those sorts of things, all of the underground bands and venues you love will eventually become dust at the hand of the almighty dollar. I don't think many landlords take payment in the form of compelling music ... and I know (from personal experience) that utilities companies don't. :)

2:19 PM  
Anonymous meggie said...

p.s. even if nouns group isn't mentioned for one reason or another, we all know they're one of the best local bands!

gotta represent for my boys and girl

8:51 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

219: I certainly recognize how important the business side is. I was trying to say that although improved business prospects in local music would be a good thing, it wouldn't mean shit to me if the music wasn't good too.

I know that there are a lot of crappy bands that have large followings around town, and that a lot of them make money. My main argument was simply that a lot of people have lost interest in local music, and the quality of the music must be one of the causes of this state of affairs.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous just one local musician said...

stonedranger:

I think we're getting to the heart of the misunderstanding now. Do you believe the quality of the music is just one of a number of causes or do you believe that all other factors are "small parts" and that the quality of music is a "main problem"? I'll go along with the former, but I wouldn't go so far as to blame the bulk of it on the music itself.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe all you shitty bands should just get good. so somebody will wanna write about you.

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

indiana university

2:15 AM  

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