Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It List: Wednesday 2/28/07

Have to run again. More in-depth work soon.

The Broken West/Future Clouds and Radar/The Blacklights (The Cavern): I've never been able to completely wrap my mind around the keyboard driven theatrics of The Blacklights, but they are definitely more interesting than the two power-pop groups they're sharing the stage with at The Cavern.

Dance Party with Sticky Buns & Friends (Rubber Gloves): Fun and unpretentious electrosleaze.

This is Radio Clash with Flashlight Party (Hailey's)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It List: Tuesday 2/27/07

Sarah Ruth/Hammell on Trial (Dan's Silver Leaf): Sarah Ruth is an extremely talented singer from Denton who has collaborated with everyone from The Night Game Cult to rock scholar Paul Slavens. Her adventurous approach and vocal acrobatics never get in the way of the mourningly beautiful quality of her singing. Hammell on Trial is fairly heavy-handed punk inluenced protest folk.

Grizzly Bear/The Papercuts/Peter And The Wolf (Club Dada): Highly anticipated Dallas debut for Grizzly Bear, a group that actually made me somewhat more interested in their music as an unexpected byproduct of conducting their interview. I'm interested to see if they incorporate some of their electronic elements live or just go for it, stripped down and raw. The Papercuts play slow sad pop music that's saturated with dramatic organs and the hushed slur of narcoleptic vocals. Peter and the Wolf's tortured genius act can be a bit much but luckily it tends to be overshadowed by his capable backing musicians.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It List: Monday 2/26/07

Nothing today.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Some Questions with Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear has received a ton of accolades from media outlets of the highest order to the lowliest suburban blog. Their 2006 record, Yellow House was on many top 10 lists back in December and they seem to have developed a strong fan-base seemingly overnight. I had a conversation with Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste in the dead time before having to play a show in Tucson, Arizona. I would like to thank Ed for being such a delightful interview subject and making this process as painless as possible, not to mention taking time out of what I'm sure is an impossibly busy schedule. At one point, I felt like I was the one being grilled but that was a nice change of pace. I would like to apologize to the City Of Dallas for my barbecue recommendation in the interview. I don't know what the hell I was thinking.

So, we'll start with a question about your label if that's okay?


Warp is a pioneer in electronic music and though you have some electronics featured in your music, most of the music seems to be based more around the song-writing. Did you grow up listening to artists on Warp? What else do you think has influenced the electronic elements of your music?

I grew up...I guess I wasn't really fully aware of Warp. Actually, the first Warp artist that I became a fan of was Broadcast, probably in '98 or '99. I mean I was well aware of Aphex Twin but it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, at that age at least. And it was after Broadcast that I started investigating other artists that they had, and I was really into a lot of their stuff. Definitely. We were really excited about being on the label just because we felt like, especially in the last few years they've been making changes. And they're doing exciting new stuff with bands like Battles. And we just thought that they were really cool. And also it really came down to, with them, when we were meeting with labels they were instantly the most personable people that we met with. We just got a really good feeling from them.

Would you make another remix record or do you see that as more of a one-off experiment?

I think it's pretty one-off. That would be a huge douchey move to do it again. It's like one of those things you can only do once. I feel like when most people do it, it's just a reason to to sell more records, and you know, get people to buy shit. And it was mostly, for me it was just sort of a fun side/vanity thing that started growing out of control. Because it started with one or two people involved, and then it evolved into something else and it just ended up being a fun thing. I didn't want anyone to have to pay for it because I feel like I was always annoyed when people would release those things. So we gave it away for free with the CD when we rereleased the CD with better distribution. Remixes come and go. We like the Girl Talk one but I don't think we'll ever do a full-on remix album again. I think that definitely had it's moment.

Does it bother you that people constantly write about the fidelity of the recordings and that they sometimes measure that standard along with the standard of music? I've even seen one review that suggested your recording quality still needed to improve and I think that's somewhat ridiculous. Do you agree?

Well, I just think that that's... Yeah, I guess I do agree [laughter]. You know, I don't even really think it's that lo-fi and I think that (Chris) Taylor did an awesome job recording it. I don't know which review you're referring to, but I guess I've seen some people mention that it could improved on. But I think the textures and the sounds and the atmosphere are really great and really sort of important because they represent the environments we were recording in and they're very true to the spirit of the recording at the time. I don't know. I mean we definitely are not interested in working in the studio. We just had to do an itunes session in one and it was kind of the opposite of the way we like to work: under a tight schedule and working with random producer man who sort of doesn't really get it. It just was pretty tedious in a weird way. I think we'll be recording the next album ourselves again but of course with each project that Chris does for other bands it gets better and better. So maybe the next album will be a step forward in production. He's shaking his head right now, so I don't know. Maybe not. Just joking. [laughter]

I hear people mention 70s British folk as far as your influences go. Do they actually tend to be of that era? Are they more current? Or do you just listen to 78s?

Well, I think the whole concept of just listening to one thing is sort of impossible to apply to any of us really. Just sort of that concept of, "Oh, I'm just strictly a Nineteen-Thirties waltz man myself!" None of our musical taste can be defined so strictly. That said, I do think that I do, personally speaking, tend to listen to more contemporary music and my band-mates may listen to a bit more older music, but we all listen to everything basically. The whole influences question is a very popular question and I think it's hard to answer because I can't really imagine being able to pick one album or artist that was the whole inspiration for any of us for writing the music or not. I think that, personally speaking, that every album you hear, good or bad, is going to influence you in some sort of minute way. You might be like, "Oh, I never want make a sound like this again or like this person's making and I have to actively avoid that.". I think nine times out of ten when things influence you it's not exactly conscious. It's not like you're like, "Let's bite this style...and then derive from here...." You know what I mean? It's like when you're writing music, you're writing what feels right at the moment and of course you're going to be influenced by your surroundings and what you've listened to and what you've grown up with. But I just think it's impossible to write down one thing and sort of inaccurate. In the beginning I would just name different albums when each person would ask it and just change it every time. It's impossible to say.


Sorry. That's sort of a cop-out answer.

No, no. It's almost standard that you ask that but it is a really difficult question to answer.

A cop-answer for a cop-out question [laughter].

Exactly. You have mentioned that other New York artists have inspired you. Do you care to mention any that are particularly inspiring?

I definitely think that being in New York is inspiring in that there are so many creative people and there's constant music production at every corner you turn. I think just being around that, it's like there's an energy and it's kind of hard to just sort of lay back and be sort of complacent when there's so much going on. Yet at the same time it can be kind of distracting because there's too much going on. But I find it inspiring. As for names, it's not even necessarily my favorite bands that I've enjoyed being out attending shows of. Like Akron Family, Animal Collective, and Gang Gang Dance. There's a ton of artists that are really cool as well as a lot of ones that no one's ever heard of before. I used to like going to see this band called Big A Little A that would do these really crazy thirty minute power-drone sets and they've barely released any recordings, but they were always fun to check out live. So those were kind of fun too. I like Diane Cluck a lot. I don't know if you've ever heard of Diane Cluck?

No I haven't.

You should check it out. There's a song by her called "Easy To Be Around" that's amazing. She's kind of folk and does things around New York. I'm not sure she's done too much touring or playing outside of New York, but she's really great.

What has your general impression of Texas been?


Uh huh.

I have a very limited impression of Texas. It's either of San Antonio as a child because my grandparents lived there, so I used to go to San Antonio all the time. We would go to the zoo. My other impression is just sort of recently. The last time we played in Texas was two years ago at South By Southwest. So we've never really played our own sort of show there, and now it's three Texas dates and we're quite excited about it. I know that Midlake is from Dallas and I'm quite a fan of that album, and I'm just really excited to see it do so well because it's really awesome. I guess the only city that I really feel like I know as of recently is Austin, because I have some friends that went to school there and I've visited a few times previously and because of South By Southwest two years ago. I'm excited to play and I feel like there's a really huge music scene in Texas. And that's really cool because if you'd asked me four years ago I'd have never guessed that. But the more that I've become involved with music and toured the more I've realized it was a definite, great destination to play music. Or so it seems. Maybe only twenty people will show up to Dallas and I might be completely wrong.

No, I think that will definitely be a well attended show.

I'm excited for some barbecue! Can you maybe like, give us a hint for some barbecue in Dallas?

In Dallas? Oh, let me think. Everybody seems to like uh, Spring Creek Barbecue.

Spring Creek. We have a GPS so I'm just going to type in Spring Creek Barbecue when we get to Dallas and we'll stop in. I'm excited about it. We have a very busy day there you realize, we're doing the Good Records thing. And some sort of recording thing for Gorilla VS Bear.

Oh, wow.

So another, another... Is it your rival? Your rival blog?

Oh, no, no, no. Not at all.

Are you guys friends?

No, yeah. Uh, we're very friendly with Gorilla VS Bear.

Okay. I was looking at your site after you guys contacted us and not that I'm aware of how blog hits work or how big a website is, but I always think to myself, "Are there a lot of comments?". I looked at it recently and you guys got a shitload of comments! [laughter]

Yeah. For whatever reason, there is a lot of debate on the blog, which I think is good.

The same five people debating with each other over and over again?

It might be. If it is the same five people they must have a lot of time on their hands. Which they might. As long as the debate's constructive, we're happy about it. It isn't always but...

How many of you run the website?

It's a small group but it's basically just two of us for the most part.

Now I know one of the names. So half of the secrecy is un-shrouded. 

Yeah, I guess you could ruin us if you wanted.

You mean you won't introduce yourself at the show then?

If we can be discreet about it, we will. I introduced myself to Dr. Dog a while back. I was a fan and I couldn't resist. So a couple more questions. You had good reviews in the New York Times, and Pitchfork, and lots of blog praise. Which did you think had the biggest impact?

I don't think it was necessarily one specific thing. I think it's just sort of lots of little things happening at the same time. So when you say blogs, it's probably twenty blogs that really helped do it together in a way. Of course Pitchfork and The New York Times are hugely influential, and people take note of it that maybe aren't blog readers? I don't know. I don't which comes first. There's probably a lot of debate about that amongst the community: Which comes first? Pitchfork or the blog? That's for you guys to debate with each other. [laughter]


I think all of them play equally important roles in different ways. How's that for diplomatics?

That's good. Now that people have stopped saying "freak-folk," you definitely felt it was a media fabrication or a hindrance to bands and artists?

Yeah. I do. I think it was just sort of an image thing. When some of those artists first came about, you know Devendra, Cocorosie and all of those, you can't deny they definitely had a visual vibe, so to speak. So I feel like maybe that's where it came from. But I think that people have dropped it because ultimately it wasn't a very meaningful or everlasting term. It wasn't meant to be.

Grizzly Bear performs tomorrow night at Club Dada.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Weekender 2/23-2/25

(By SR and DL)


Angry Businessmen/Koji Kondo/Trifle Tower/Heart Rapers/Sparlin, Jessels/Bill Stewart's Dance Band/Teenage Cool Kids (715 Panhandle in Denton) This looks like a show and a half at a place I've heard good things about but have yet to visit. As soon as I saw this lineup, I knew that had to change. Angry Businessmen rose from the now defunct and very missed Tyrannosaurus X. This group is considerably less aggravated though by no means less powerful than that late group. There is some humor mixed in to their short blasts of bass and drum accompanied rants about everything from how stomach-churningly polluted Galveston is to why Barq's is not true root beer. A live experience like no other. Koji Kondo was discussed in a show review earlier this week and they can play comfortably on someone's floor as they prefer. Their avant rock disjointedness combined with the monsoon-like crush of their rhythm section might just take your head clean off. Trifle Tower plays more dramatic and complex hardcore with very busy drumming and scream to screech vocals. Heartrapers is somewhere along those lines but less serious and with more traditional Rock and Roll showmanship. Bill Stewart's Dance Band is an improv group with performances featuring everything from old Dixieland to free jazz. Sparlin, Jessels is understated acoustic singer/song-writer fare that is heavily influenced by Magnetic Fields and similarly upset gentlemen. Teenage Cool Kids, I know almost nothing about except that their music has been repeatedly described as "90's Alt Rock" which is a pretty brave description. That's obviously the new "80's Retro" so I guess we all better get with it.

Alex Atchley Experience/Plid/Girls Rise With Heat/Sydney Confirm/Lazer (Rubber Gloves): This show is subtitled Electroshock 1: Rise of The Robotniks and is a thematically combined group of artists that feature electronics and digital beats in their music. The lineup includes the notorious Lazer, Houston's new wave influenced Plid, and the bizzare Sydney Confirm. Alex Atchley and Girls Rise with Heat standout since they tend to take a spastic and unpredictable approach to performing live.

Burnt Sienna Trio/Cartright/South Austin Jug Band (Dan's Silverleaf): This show is the polar opposite of the first two shows we mentioned and includes three groups much more influenced by folk, blues and country. Cartright and Burnt Sienna tend to infuse their American Roots leanings with rock dynamics and both are known and widely respected as live acts. South Austin Jug Band was a little too 95.3 The Range for me but your mom might think it's cool.


ADD: How could we be dumb enough to forget the legendary Jonathan Richman at Gypsy? To be honest, I don't know much about what he's been up to lately, but even if the answer is nothing, the $12 cover is worth it just to see him on a stage.

Hot Flash w/ Stephen R and Schwa (Fallout Lounge): Don't know if you've had a chance to go to one of the Hot Flash parties yet, but this monthly event has gained a rather large following quite quickly, and there's good reason for it: the atmosphere and tunes at the past two parties have been fantastic, and this time will probably be even better. Stephen tells us that this weekend's set will include a healthy dose of classic acid house and new rave tracks as well as the usual dose of funk, disco, hip hop and whatever else they decide to spin. The place usually gets packed after midnight, so get there early if you need to be drunk in order to dance.

Midlake/ Tacks, The Boy Disaster/St. Vincent (Granada Theater): Don't let indie rock trendsters bring you down too much, ok? Yeah, I know its really annoying to hear people tell you that being influenced by Fleetwood Mac and 70's soft rock is "the new coolest thing," because lets face it: no amount of irony will ever make Bread or America cool. That being said, Midlake's latest record was one of the most cohesive local releases of 2006, and I found it to be quite enjoyable as a whole, despite the easily marketable trend that some people tried to create around it (of course, it is entirely possible that this all occurred exclusively in the Weshotjr spam email folder). The few times I've seen Midlake perform live haven't completely blown me away by any means, but one of those times was last year at SXSW when they played right after a larger than life surprise set from the Flaming Lips, so its probably unfair to judge them based on that. And besides, Denton bands are so hot right now, and you might be curious to check out Gorilla vs Bear favorite St. Vincent, who I've actually grown to like a bit myself.

Party Ends Midlake After-Party with The Laughing/Prayer for Animals/The Lemurs/Flashlight Party (The Cavern): Rockin' blog dudes over at Party Ends have put together this after party at the Cavern with a few of Austin's more buzzed about indie bands and DJ appearances from Flashlight and one of the dudes from Midlake (sorry, don't remember which one.) Anyway, this this is FREE with your Midlake ticket stub, and five bucks otherwise. You know we've been Prayer For Animals fans for a little bit, and although I'm not completely amazed with the tracks I've heard from The Laughing or The Lemurs, both sound like they could be a lot of fun live, meaning that taking your drunk ass to this show might be a pretty good idea.

Zanzibar Snails/Great Tyrant/Harry Has A Head Like A Ping Pong Ball (Secret Headquarters): Impressive lineup that even includes a band that I thought had broken up. Bands are like soap opera characters sometimes. Zanzibar Snails has members of Idi*Amin but their sound is somehow even freer and less defined than Idi's music. There is still Sinewave generator as well as the nervous interplay between sax bleats and scratchy guitar, but the lack of drums tends to let the music wander to previously unexplored places in sound. Great Tyrant's devastating goth-prog might just be too huge for this little room but I still hope to be in the rubble if that's the case. Harry Has A Head Like A Ping Pong Ball sounds like the backing band for a John Zorn project with many tempo and even genre changes in a given song. Note: Earlier in the day Zanzibar Snails will also perform at: Counter Culture Vintage Factory in Deep Ellum, 2701 Main Street, Dallas at 4PM.

And/Or Show #8: Opening Reception featuring work by Chad Hopper + John Michael Boling and Javier Morales (And/Or Gallery in Dallas): Chad Hopper has long been one of my favorite artists in the state. I've spent way too much time over the years on his website, which is a beautiful combination of art and music. His collage work and paintings make many subtle and intelligent comments on consumer culture and I've laughed out loud many times at the barely hidden brilliance of his visual messages as well as his lyrics. This show also features rising video and New Media collaborators John Michael Boling and Javier Morales.

Divided Like Saints/A Childlike Fear/Nathan Browningham (Rubber Gloves): Divided Like Saints is a Georgia duo that plays what some call "Regressive Rock" based on preserving the immediacy and excitement of live performance by practicing as little as possible. The resulting music is actually pretty good and doesn't sound like you might imagine. Either they practice more than they let on or it proves my theory that most bands practice too much. A Childlike Fear plays quiet almost introspective music with random background sounds and drum machines. Nathan Browningham sounds like a song playing in the background of an episode of Hunter or Miami Vice. I don't care how ironic you are, please...don't.


SR EDIT: Guess I forgot to mention the Laptop Deathmatch at Doublewide, which I believe gets under way at about 9pm... this is really a great chance to see the most eclectic line up of electronic performers that you'll find anywhere in the DFW area... some not as good as others, but the cream of the crop at LTDM make the whole thing more than worth it. They'll only be doing a couple of these this year apparently, so catch them while you can.

Weekend Video

Shut up... you know you like this song.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It List: Thursday 2/22/07

Have to be brief today...

Kaboom/Opposites Attract/Christian! Teenage Runaways (J & J's Pizza): Really hoping to catch Kaboom tonight. Their overdriven sound, frantic yelps and dynamic rhythm changes should make for a good live show. Speaking of good live shows, this is your second chance in as many nights to see Christian! Teenage Runaways, a band that never plays the same set twice and makes every show seem like an event as opposed to just phoning it in for another gig. Opposites Attract are another band I've been meaning to see, with some pretty crazy melodramatic vocals and trashy garage rock backing tracks.

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

Lost Generation with DJ Wanz Dover (Fallout Lounge)

Sober (Zubar): Playing funk & hip hop with no cover.

Living The It List Part II: Friday 2/16/07

Is it a triumph or a sad state of affairs when the best venue in North Texas is a modestly sized house in Southeast Denton? The answer to that question probably depends on your perspective and philosophy regarding DIY, underground non-traditional venues, experimental music, and noise, etc. For many casual indie rockers and music fans who already pride themselves on being too cool for the mainstream, these guerilla music movements represent a threatening fringe that might possibly unleash some sort of artistic statement that isn't immediately graspable, or worse, push them closer to the center of the mainstream that they supposedly despise. The threat is usually unfounded, however, because various sects of noise, experimental, and improv usually welcome outsiders with proverbial open arms and are glad to have anyone participate as either observers or contributors to their projects. The whole notion behind freeing up the rigid structures of Western 12-tone, four bar, G to C and so forth practically lends itself to a naturally friendly atmosphere where everyone is invited and nobody is expected to slave away under the tyranny of click tracks, tuners, tasteful tone and perfect pitch. However, these musical safety guards are by no means forbidden in The House of Tinnitus, and out of the handful of shows I've caught at the venue, I've witnessed more diversity in performer and performance than I would probably see if I spent an entire year hanging out in a traditional venue. This isn't to necessarily damn the rock club itself, but I wonder what the harm is in having an establishment that is sympathetic to the endless possibilities of what is considered music all over the world, or at least simply another cool place to catch a show.

Another unexpected occurrence in repeat visits to Tinnitus is that I have actually seen relatively few acts that would legitimately be considered "noise", especially by enthusiasts of the genre. I felt like the show on Friday probably came the closest to being an outright noise show, but even then, the whole story was much more nuanced and complicated than that. Truthfully, each act was so different from the next that you would find it difficult to find a blanket genre term for the night, period. SDS (aka Shortwave Death System) started the evening with a fascinating set comprised of manipulating the frequencies of short wave radios and looping them in real time along with prerecorded loops of radio buzz and chatter. Chance was a huge element in this set since you never know what kind of right-wing propoganda, religious fanaticism, and grotesque commercial advertising nuggets are going to tear themselves away from the static and reveal all of their shrieking paranoid glory. Different short wave models were used one at a time, determining what would take shape in the shifting signal blizzard. As chaotic as this sounds, it was a relatively calm, almost soothing set that climaxed with SDS dropping out the signals altogether while staring intensely into the crowd. It was the high point of the act, where SDS became a sort of snake charmer with frequencies in place of serpents, creating deep uncomfortable chasms using pure silence. It was a beautifully jarring ending to a mostly tranquil performance.

The least expected performance came from Denton's Brokenizer, who as I mentioned before, includes the man known as Sinevil of the folk and blues trio, Burnt Sienna. I didn't know what to expect from Brokenizer and I was wowed along with many others in the room at the originality of the music, concept, and even instruments. The music was performed on mostly homemade implements along with turntables, strategically damaged compact discs, vinyl and treated vocals. The group, whether or not it was intentional, reflected the aesthetics of homemade innovators such as American composer Harry Partch or freakish electronic minimalists Crash Course in Science, both known for actually making the instruments used in their recorded work. The consistent and slightly distorted beat also had similarities to that group's rhythm. The compact discs and vinyl were cut with scissors and had attached pieces of tape to cause the needles to skip and produce the beats, and the result was a practically danceable arrangement with strange little cog pieces clicking away as accents. I felt privileged to catch what I'm assuming was a rare set, but hopefully will happen again soon.

Church of The Apocalypse broke the quirky charm of the evening provided by the first two acts with a numbingly repetitive set of what seemed like the first two notes of a doom metal riff repeating infinitely over a hissing yet subtle feedback undercurrent. The riff originated from a twelve string bass that was then pushed through a factory's worth of pedals, preamps, and other sound molesting devices. The delay, distortion and other effects boxes rendered the music practically unrecognizable as having come from a bass guitar. I overheard a funny conversation that went something to the effect of:

"Dude, do you know what a blank model preamp is?"
"And do you know how expensive they are?"
"Well, he has two of them!"

It's geeky conversations like these that only add to the fun of a live experimental music performance. Church of The Apocalypse took repetition to the point where it almost hurt but the music only gained power and momentum that hung in the air like a black cloud when it was time to pack up the pedals.

There was a lot of excitement built up over Goat's performance. At this point, it's late in the evening and the mood and sobriety of the BYOB crowd is starting to unravel. Since Tinnitus is a house, you're often uncomfortably close with complete strangers, sometimes strangers cutting themselves and bleeding all over the carpet. The difference between this and any bloody fight I've witnessed at shows over the years was that this had a certain G.G. Allin self-desctructive charm missing from those violent spectacles I saw at Trees at 16. I honestly thought the blood was fake until I was clued in by a fellow show-goer. Goat produced the most obvious straight-ahead noise that night and their sets are so notorious for their brevity that I saw some people thinking they had missed out because they caught the tail end of the sound check. As soon as the noise assault began, Goat was cheered on by enthusiastic clapping and hollering, the way you'd see an audience encourage a soloist in old jazz clips. The direct support of audience to performer during the set was actually touching and a direct refutation of the theory that noise music is the willful blockade of communication with the audience that more "standard" music provides. And even if that blockade is an attack on said communication, who's to say that this isn't in fact where the art and beauty lies in a given piece or performance? To see a crowd throw fists and cheer this on is confirmation that people do actually enjoy that which is often deemed "unlistenable" or purposefully difficult. Goat's short blast of a set was a thrill to take in, but their speedy explosiveness would give way to an artist that instead chose the slowest possible path to punishment. Thankfully, everyone at Tinnitus was ready to take it.

The extreme to which Black Mayonnaise took the basic idea of heavy was ridiculous and I mean that as a compliment. Obviously this is a focused effort, seeking to make music that barely crawls on its own slimy belly. Before commencing, the man behind Black Mayonnaise turned on bright red strobe lights and a smoke machine that made the small living room feel like a nightmarish arena nestled deep within the pit of Hell. He then made the simple combination of distorted bass and drum machine sound like a row of tanks rolling through a wall of sheet metal. The time lapse between sequenced bass drum thud and snare hit stretched for an eternity. Head banging was almost out of the question, and the people attempting to do so could randomly be seen with head thrown back under the nanosecond flash of the strobes and not come down chin to chest until five minutes later. For the duration of the set everyone seemed to be drowning in a floor to ceiling flood of codeine cough syrup while the digital beats sounded more and more alien under the rising bass rumble. Vocals blended in to the cacophonous ooze and the place erupted into rapturous applause when the smoke cleared. Black Mayonnaise won't soon be forgotten by anyone lucky enough to be have been there and it was almost unthinkable that someone perform after them.

I didn't really get to experience Blast Beat as much as I wanted to. Visibility was limited and much of their performance is visual as well as physical. The screeching havoc they produced was so loud people were clutching their heads and in one case, covering their ears with duct tape. Fluorescent light bulbs were smashed and by this point the carpet was a salad of blood and glass. They were polite enough to clean up after themselves at least. The group is releasing a split 12" with China's Torturing Nurse on the local Dada Drumming label. I wish more artists would do splits with groups from China if only because it would certainly be more interesting than an Itunes only EP that I'm supposed to give a shit about according to the label spam in my inbox.

The dance party began as soon as all the live music was finished. "Fuck tha Police" was a great way to close the evening, and it made me think of the manner in which the uninformed among us view the people who would attend a show like this, namely as stuffy intellectuals who want nothing more than to destroy structure, song-writing and poppy indie rock forever. The benign group of dancers before me seemed more interested in simply having a good time without an ounce of pretense or revolutionary grandstanding. If more venues I went to were nearly as welcoming with crowds nearly as kind and intelligent and artists nearly as free of ego and popularity concerns as those I found in Denton in Friday, then maybe we'd see a day when DFW isn't so haunted by the ghosts of a dying music scene. I'm familiar enough with the empty culture that permeates local music to know the day where such things are the norm will most likely never come. For now, at least there is Tinnitus.

(photo by JD Dunn)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It List: Wednesday 2/21/07

Night Game Cult/Oveo/Christian! Teenage Runaways/The Chimeneas (Rubber Gloves): I've had quite a time trying to figure out the final lineup for this show. It's listed several different ways in several different places. The bottom line is that Night Game Cult, Oveo, and Christian! Teenage Runaways are definitely playing and any one of these acts would make this show worth your time. Since they're all playing together you can't afford not to go. Witness the stark gothic minimalism of The Night Game Cult, the boundless throbbing experimentation of Oveo, and the high concept brattiness of the incomparably entertaining C!TR. It's almost as if Stonedranger and I booked this show and you know that means it's good since you agree with every word out of our anonymous mouths. By the way, if the Chimeneas are in fact playing you might as well consider this some sort of festival. Better than Bonnaroo and shit.

Radio Clash with The Flash Light Party (Haileys)

Last Week's Radio UTD Chart

1 DO MAKE SAY THINK You, You're A History In Rust Constellation
2 OF MONTREAL Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? Polyvinyl
3 EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone Temporary Residence
4 PETER BJORN AND JOHN Writer's Block Almost Gold
5 SHINS Wincing The Night Away Sub Pop
6 DAVID VANDERVELDE The Moonstation House Band Secretly Canadian
7 DR. DOG We All Belong Park The Van
8 PETER AND THE WOLF Lightness Worker's Institute
9 APPLES IN STEREO New Magnetic Wonder Yep Roc
10 SHE, SIR Who Can't Say Yes Self-Released
11 ARCADE FIRE "Black Mirror" [Single] Merge
12 MEW Frengers Columbia
13 STEVE LIEBERMAN Melancholoa Falling Self-Released
14 POSTMARKS The Postmarks Unfiltered
15 RAFTER Music For Total Chickens Asthmatic Kitty
16 DEERHOOF Friend Opportunity Kill Rock Stars
17 ELVIS PERKINS Ash Wednesday XL
18 EARLY YEARS The Early Years Beggars Banquet
19 SIX PARTS SEVEN Casually Smashed To Pieces Suicide Squeeze
20 VARIOUS ARTISTS Imagine The Shapes What's Your Rupture?
21 TEDDYBEARS Soft Machine Atlantic / Big Beat
22 JULIE DOIRON Woke Myself Up Jagjaguwar
23 THIS MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY It Takes A Nation (Of Assholes To Hold Us Back) Cold Sweat
24 BLOC PARTY A Weekend In The City Vice
25 P.G. SIX Slightly Sorry Drag City
26 MENOMENA Friend And Foe Barsuk
27 GOOD, THE BAD AND THE QUEEN The Good, The Bad And The Queen Virgin
28 CLINIC Visitations Domino
29 SONDRE LERCHE Phantom Punch Astralwerks
30 CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH Some Loud Thunder Self-Released

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It LIst: Tuesday 2/20/07

Red Sparowes/My Education /Hogpig (Hailey's): It seems like Austin's My Education plays with every band at every show, every five minutes. Seriously. Though their sonically ornate instrumentals sound pretty mild on their page, they are apparently loud and intense live. They're playing on the Texas dates of Red Sparowes' tour which would be a good opportunity for most bands. Red Sparowes have recorded for the acclaimed Neurot label and have recently added members whose past projects include VSS and Angel Hair. So, no shortage of credibility in this project. Their dramatic music recalls their brand new labelmates Savage Republic in their quieter moments and even SR offshoot, Scenic. Hogpig's comedic hard rock will definitely stand out in this crowd.

Astro Jazz (Pearl)

Living The It List Part I: Thursday 2/15/07

Writing about what's going on everyday and sifting through countless Myspace pages, band websites and Youtube clips is often a mind numbing task. This isn't to say that it compares to hard labor or anything, but it can be an abstract exercise and a real guessing game when one considers the typical disparity between a trashy 4-track to streaming player sound and that of an actual performer sweating and breathing on stage, or on the floor in front of a stage, or in a living room in Denton. Usually the results are far from what you would expect, and depending on your first digital impression of an act, the surprises can range from pleasant to embarrassing. Last Thursday's show at Rubber Gloves, featuring MC Router, Koji Kondo, The Heartrapers, and Eat Avery's Bones presented various levels of surprise, from good to, um, not-so-good. But even that's better than no surprise at all.

As people were still trickling in to Rubber Gloves in true dragged feet fashion, MC Router was beginning what was obviously the evening's anomalous set, which is a status that is to be expected when one raps about being an "8-bit Bitch" with a superior emulator. Or so you'd think. There was a disturbing number of references to other "Nerdcore" rappers and how Router was one of the first in the genre, meaning that all those other "newbies" should back the fuck up. Young local rappers 1-800 Zombie were on the receiving end of having an entire song dedicated to them, and Router also made several remarks about being featured in Wired magazine and the tech-friendly hipster site, Boing Boing. I know that narcissistic self-serving boastfulness is key with hip hop and rap lyrics whether it's sold out of a trunk in Waco or performed with extreme irony in a predominantly milquetoast indie rock environment and that braggart element is a selling point for many people, myself included. But I felt that the level of self-consciousnness during Router's set threatened to usurp the humor of what was mostly a fairly fun, enjoyable performance. I'm not going to pretend that I'm a Nerdcore aficionado and I honestly wasn't expecting to like this act, but Router is undeniably good at what she does, somehow managing to keep a string of tongue-twisting tech terms spilling out of her raspy throat without losing the hints of melody found on her recorded tracks. That's no easy feat either, especially in a live rap performance.

The next set took the show in the complete opposite direction, away from the well lit stage to the dungeon-like darkness of the RGRS floor. There was very little "floor banter" from Koji Kondo, who could obviously care less whether you knew who they were or not. They ripped through a scalpel-sharp set of tight and efficient skronk punk with complex guitar parts complicatedly ping-ponging around early 80's hardcore beats. The band was a perfect marriage of later Beefheart or Fred Frith free-guitar, pummeling punk rhythm and shout/speak smart-ass vocals. They seemed almost frightening as a practically invisible force (line of sight: not so good) that was somehow spewing an incredibly focused cacophony to a stunned crowd that just sort of vibrated in place, floor level with the band. Occasionally you'd get a glimpse of a wiry shirtless drummer firing away between snare and tom rolls, a brawny singer pacing the floor, and a guitarist that somehow kept getting direct hits with his fretwork even though he seemed to catapult from one wall to another. Koji Kondo were definitely impressive and seemed refreshingly humble with a head-down attitude. Too bad their set only lasted about four minutes, but that's pretty much the standard for frantic art punk bands that play 1919 Hemphill on a regular basis.

Decidedly less humble were Denton's Heartrapers, whose attitude towards the music and even the audience was much more attention starved and playfully confrontational. Depending on your opinion of this age-old Rock aesthetic, it was either great entertainment or gratingly annoying. There was an almost West Coast screamo feeling to their music, with The Blood Brothers more than likely an influence in addition to a handful of bands who peaked along with the rise and eventual decline of Buddyhead records earlier this decade. While watching their set, it occurred to me that DFW has had relatively few bands that would fit any of these descriptions, giving Heartrapers more of an advantage than they would have if they lived in, say, San Diego, the birthplace of much of this screaming style of hardcore. I expected a few more twists and turns in some of the playing, and though it was well executed, the rockisms in the band's demeanor were echoed by some of the standard riffing. None of what this obviously talented group did was bad and there were certainly some solid moments, but I left not being able to recall their music as much as I could probably imitate their various struts, stances and poses.

Finally, the group that goes beyond merely posing but instead transforms stages and clubs into their own personal carnival show finished things off beautifully. And I don't mean carnival show as in what the public sees, but rather the part that only the kids know about, complete with carnies doing meth behind the porta-johns after everyone goes home. Eat Avery's Bones has become a local icon, one of the few bands that brings a smile to your face whenever they take the stage. In this case the group was wearing its usual yet constantly revolving assortment of everything from a rastafarian cap (complete with fake dreads) to a brightly colored raincoat while continuing their lovely tradition of having an audience member don a wizard costume and hold the microphone in place for the group's drummer/singer. EAB's balanced mix of humor, energy, and chops is one of the best local live experiences and has yet to grow thin after witnessing their it several times over the past year. A couple of new songs (including one cover, I believe) were also nice surprises. Eat Avery's Bones will be releasing a split seven inch with Koji Kondo and I'm sure it will beat whatever over-hyped full length gets force fed to us all by publicist mafias, local and national alike. And to clarify, this was Eat Avery's Bones and not Midlake, which the band introduced themselves as early in the evening. I hope no one was confused.

I expected a pretty good show on Thursday (which isn't always the case), but this was surprisingly better than I expected. Even if some acts were more enjoyable than others, I respected the diversity in the well-rounded bill, providing further evidence that it's always best to take chances and book acts that don't necessarily fit together. It's something I wish more show organizers would do, especially in Dallas. At this point, nobody can afford not to take risks, artistically and commercially, lest we all drown in a sea of abandoned clubs, broken up bands, and apathetic audiences. People have to have a reason to care about local music, and let's face it: at this point, a lot of local venues and booking agents don't have a hell of a lot to lose.

Monday, February 19, 2007

It List: 2/19/07

Nothing going on Monday as usual. I suspect this will change as SXSW approaches.

(SR Edit: Of course, there is always The Roots and Lupe Fiasco at Gypsy... its a bit expensive, and the Roots have kind of sucked for a really long time, but some of the newer Roots I've heard has been pretty decent, and I know for a fact that they are an excellent live group. Lupe Fiasco put out one of my favorite hip hop releases of last year, featuring the surprising reference points of Tribe, Gang Starr and De La at the center of the album's production and beats. Lupe is as close to an organic word-of-mouth success that you'll find these days, and there is a good reason for it.)

Last Week's Good Records and Other Music Sales Charts


1. Of Montreal - Hissing fauna, are you the destroyer?
2. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
3. Menomena - Friend and Foe
4. Shins - Wincing the Night Away
5. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
6. Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
7. The Good, The Bad & The Queen - s/t
8. Radiant - We Hope You Win
9. Loney, Dear - Loney, Noir
10. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
11. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
12. St. Vincent - Paris Is Burning
13. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
14. Beach House - s/t
15. Beirut - Lon Gisland
16. Bloc Party - A Weekend In the City
17. Various Artists - A Date With John Waters
18. Various Artists - Zac Crain for Dallas Mayor Compilation
19. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
20. Cat Power - The Greatest


1.Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
2.Beirut - Lon Gisland
3.Deerhunter - Cryptograms
4.Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
5.Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
6.Various Artists - Can't Stop It Vol. 2
7.Chico Magnetic Band - s/t
8.Amnesty - Free Your Mind
9.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder
10.The Good, the Bad & the Queen - s/t
11.Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
12.Menomena - Friend and Foe
13.Vangelis - Earth
14.Field Music - Tones of Town
15.Terry Riley - Reed Streams
16.Valerie and Her Week of Wonders Soundtrack
17.Soft Circle - Full Bloom
18.Papercuts - Can't Go Back
19.Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
20.Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things

Monday Morning Rock

Maybe not the easiest way to start your Monday, but what the hell:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Weekender: 2/16-2/18

(Contributions from SR and DL)

Whats the deal with Sunday being the shit this weekend?


Black Mayonnaise/A Fail Association/TEF/SDS/Church Of The Apocalypse/Brokenizer/Goat/Blast Beat (House of Tinnitus): Almost overwhelming lineup of varying degrees of extreme at Tinnitus tonight. Black Mayonnaise released a record on the venerable Emperor Jones label and are at times even more accessible than I expected. The music is crawling atmospheric doom-sludge with drum machines, bass rumbling and distantly ominous vocals. I read a review comparing it to Sleep if their production had been done by DJ Screw. Imagine that. The rest of the show features some of Texas' brightest sound manipulators. A Fail Association has some real ear-gouging insanity on their page with some impressive stop/start work occasionally rising from the din. SDS employs short-wave radio for their creations. I've even heard that a member of Denton's Burnt Sienna Trio will be participating which is somewhat surprising considering BST is about as far from noise as you can get. Hopefully, that will get some of the uninitiated out to Tinnitus. When one of the group descriptions is simply "all out war", you can at least count on not being bored even if noise isn't usually your thing. Don't be afraid.

Record Hop/White Drugs/How Hard (Secret Headquarters): Record Hop's last show with their current drummer, which is a shame because he was excellent. White Drugs had the opening track on our Projection comp. last year and I hear they're a good dirty live experience.

Mugzu/Shaolin Death Squad/Knee Pad/The Timeline Post (Rubber Gloves): Mixed feelings about this one. Mugzu is definitely a solid metal band and they will be missed as they have been around forever, are locally respected, and this is their last show. So that alone is reason to witness this performance. However, if you can somehow avoid seeing the tragically awful Shaolin Death Squad, please do. I mean, it's great that they can play their instruments well. That does display a certain amount of intelligence. Ted Kaczynski was intelligent. Don't use your skill for pure evil. I don't mean pure evil in a cool headbanger way. I mean it in the worse-than-a-war crime cheese prog novelty metal kind of way. Yeah, please don't do that.

Tame...Tame and Quiet/Radiant/The Paper South (Hailey's): Yet another show where Tame...Tame considerably outclasses the rest of the bill. The Paper South features members of American Analog Set for fans of that band.


Wild in the Streets will be doing a set of classic French pop at the DMA (In the Atrium) from 10-1130.

Silk Stocking/Warren Jackson Hearne(J & J's Pizza, Denton): J & J's Pizza on the square in Denton celebrates its 10 year (!) anniversary with two of the darkest acts in North Texas. Makes perfect sense.

Stumptone/History At Our Disposal (Secret Headquarters): History At Our Disposal is a somewhat hushed and sometimes experimental rock group that has mostly been a recording project and has played out sporadically. Stumptone is a psych influenced big guitar band that has one of the most ubiquitous logos in all of local music.

The Theater Fire (The Chat Room in Fort Worth): A great place to catch The Theater Fire. I'm not a huge fan of hanging out in bars but I never mind spending an evening at The Chat Room. It's so comfortable and you can check your e-mail and read all the hateful letters and anonymous comments while sipping a Long Island Iced Tea. Paradise.


Of Montreal/Elekibass (Gypsy Tea Room): You know what? If Gypsy is actually going to close down at the end of March and transfer the balance of its events somewhere else, this show might be one of your last decent opportunities to head out there and say your good-byes (if you're the kind of person that likes to say goodbye to inanimate objects). And actually, it should be more than decent. Say what you want about a lot of Of Montreal's earlier work (much of it is less than great), but Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?, their latest, is pretty exceptional. Kevin Barnes has obviously grown into a complex and unique songwriter, and the new record does quite a good job of capturing the inherent contradictions that make Of Montreal shine when they are at their best. The exuberant indie pop elements of their music might be a turn off for some, but when you consider the interplay and push/pull between the compelling electro/synth and bad trip psychedelic paranoia that set them apart from many of today's fashionable popsters, you start to discover the uniqueness and worth of their sound. I'd give the new record a shot, even if you haven't dug their previous stuff, and if the past live perfomances I've caught from them are any indication, the show should be well worth your time.

Kevin Barnes will also be playing a solo set at Good Records.

Danny And The Nightmares (Daniel Johnston)/FishboyHappy Bullets/Two Star Symphony (Granada): One of the few artists to make the It List that would be considered a "legend". It's been a personal goal of mine to see Daniel Johnston and I'm glad to get another chance for the first time in years. Two Star Symphony is a string quartet and they had some enjoyable staccato-tinged instrumentals on their page. The bands getting to open this show should consider it an honor.

Quest Love/Yameen Allworld/Sober/Select/Neva Dug Disco (Minc): This will probably be one of the most packed shows all weekend so go early. Sober, Select and Questlove. That might be the best lineup I've ever heard of at Minc.

Akkolyte/Tolar/Man The Conveyors/Expresion Clandestina (1127 N. Clinton Ave. Dallas, TX): I saw some intense footage of Akkolyte playing Snake Eyes Vinyl in Austin from last week that made me even more excited to catch this house show than I already was. Grindcore/hardcore isn't for everybody but Akkolyte has earned many admirers that usually wouldn't attend a show like this through their almost unbelievable ability and diversity. A band that Dallas should be proud of. They did the bass and drums duo thing long before it was cool. Note: Show starts promptly at 6PM and ends sharply at 10PM.

Computers Suck

Due to a computer freeze, we've had to do a bunch of work on the weekend list twice. We'll get it posted ASAP. In the meantime, you can go read the Observer's preview of the Trout Fishing in America concert or whatever the hell they previewed this week.

Weekend Song

Thursday, February 15, 2007

At Last:

The typically wimpy congressional Dems are, for the first time, trying to do something to actually stop Bush's misguided, stubborn and ineffective Iraq policies as opposed to simply expressing their non-binding disapproval of them. We need more where this is coming from.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It List: Thursday 2/15/07

No time to write for you today, but here are some shows you might be interested in:

Eat Avery's Bones/Koji Kondo/Heart Rapers/MC Router (Rubber Gloves)

Oh No! Oh My!/RTB2/Eaton Lake Tonics (The Cavern) w/ Zoo going on upstairs

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

Lost Generation w/ Wanz Dover (Fallout)

It List: Wednesday 2/14/07

Monsters Of Pot/The Mojo Spleens/1-800-ZOMBIE/Judascow (1919 Hemphill): Monsters of Pot is a Midwestern noise group that sounds like they'll most likely put on a deafeningly intense show. Their track samples consist of ear-ringing ambient frequencies and static-scapes complete with harsh yells reminiscent of Whitehouse. And as if their name wasn't warning enough, watch your weed ladies and gentlemen. The group has threatened to "smoke all of the weed in Texas" after the show. Tourmates The Mojo Spleens are a surf-rock band. Judascow is a local noisemaker who sometimes shows projections to accompany the chaos. 1-800-Zombie is an 8-bit electronic duo with cutesy "Wordy Rappinghood" sounding vocals. They're from Keller and I'm sure you're all aware of the ultra competitive Keller 8-bit scene. You're not? I guess you're not as hip as you thought.

Sober/Select (Clear Lounge)

Violent Squid/Phalanx/Adam Duc Trio /Final Fight/Heartrapers (Dan's Silver Leaf): Violent Squid will be performing a set at this Habitat For Humanity Benefit at Dan's tonight with pizza provided by J & J's. Their music is constantly changing so it's interesting that they're playing in a "battle of the bands" setup. I'm usually opposed to such shows but it's okay since it's for a good cause. Don't know much about the other groups except that I wish Final Fight had a website since I've heard good things about them.

Sticky Buns And Friends Dance Party (Rubber Gloves): It's Valentines Day and if you've given up all hope and have been contemplating death because you're completely alone, miserable, unloved, and unlovable then this might be a good place to get cheered up. Sticky Buns is sticky funz.

Flashlight Party (Hailey's)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It List: Tuesday 2/13/07

Benefit show for The Family Gateway Center featuring The Black Angels/White Ghost Shivers/ Shanghai 5/The Tah-Dahs (Granada): The Family Gateway Center is an organization that provides various services to the homeless and families in crisis. This show features some of the state's most beloved acts including the ever popular Black Angels. They will be playing their set while Hal Samples provides some background visuals. Film shorts by Samples will also be shown in between acts. White Ghost Shivers are another Austin group that have rather anachronistic influences and they've been impressively entertaining when I've seen them. Tickets for this show are $10 and $15 and doors open at 7:00. So if you go, don't show up at 1:20 in the morning like everyone else in Dallas.

(And I really should add: if you saw the Black Angels live like a year or two ago and didn't dig it, you might want to give them another chance. Their live show has improved greatly over the past 6-12 months, and the last time we saw them at Gypsy, they sounded incredible.)

Astro Jazz Quartet (Pearl)

Music is from 8-11. Show is free.

Bridges and Blinking Lights/Swim Swim/New Science Projects/Nouns Group (Club Dada): So it's New Music Tuesday at Club Dada and here we have four bands and I'm not sure if any of them are all that new. Well, they might be new to somebody I suppose. Bridges and Blinking Lights is a pretty straight ahead rock group from Denton that has been around for what seems like forever. New Science Projects is another one of those acts that you can never tell if it's one person or a whole group and their page has at least one pretty memorable song with a dark almost cabaret type melody. Swim Swim plays poppy songs and will have an excellent opportunity to increase their local profile by opening up for The Polyphonic Spree in March. Nouns Group has a violin and a lot of yelling.

Heavy Rotation: The We Shot J.R. Playlist

Here are some records and songs (new and old) that we've been listening to lately. If bands, labels or management would like any of these songs removed for any reason, please email and we will take them down.


Dungen: Tio Bitar

Just got my hands on this one less than 12 hours ago, and I really don't want to pass any kind of judgment on it just yet. I will say, however, that Ta Det Lungt is probably one of my 10 favorite records of the past five years, and I've been looking forward to this follow-up for quite a while. This record seems to be a bit less straight forward than the last one, and this track, "Familj," is my early favorite.

Wooden Shjips: various EPs and singles

A fairly new San Francisco psyche noise outfit that seems to be quite good at using "Sister Ray" as a starting point and building repetitive psychedelic grooves off of the kind of guitar shredding chaos that made the aforementioned track (arguably) one of the most important songs in rock n' roll history. The rough yet mesmerizing sound of late 80s London space rockers Loop is probably a fair comparison, and fans of the Black Angels and Psychic Ills will certainly dig this stuff as well. As an added bonus, your alt-country friends are sure to hate it! Their Myspace page is here.

Simian Mobile Disco: various EPs, remixes

Comprised of former members of the English dance rock band Simian, this Dj duo has recently been producing and remixing for the likes of Ladytron, Arctic Monkeys, and Klaxons. In addition, they've released a handful of successful dance singles on the fashionable French electro label Kitsune, and seem to be highly involved in the recent English/Euro rave/house revival. The following track, "Tits and Acid," (off their forthcoming debut) is full of infectious classic acid house beats and sure to please anyone thats into that sort of thing.

Electric Wizard: Dopethrone

Allmusic notes that this band is often referred to as the "heaviest band in the world," and although I'm not sure how official all these rankings actually are, I would say that they just might be one of the most powerful doom/stoner metal bands like, ever or something. The following track, "Vinum Sabbathi," is the first one off 2000's Dopethrone, which is regarded by many as the band's finest record. Their Allmusic entry notes a long hiatus the band took during their career that was probably the result of "crippling weed consumption." Good one guys.

Black Devil Disco Club: 28 Later

Another great set of pulsing and dark synth/Italo disco from this band (believed to have recorded in the late 70s) that no one really seems to know anything about. "The Devil in Us"


Y Pants: S/T Discography

Old 99 Records band that might have been overlooked for being so strange, even by the standards of the NYC downtown scene at the time. Y Pants was a minimal trio that featured toy piano, drums and distorted ukelele. The way that the toy piano is utilized on this track is a glaring contrast to its poppy presence in the kitchen sink ambitions of today's indie rock groups. Here the instrument almost sounds menacing. Y Pants featured Barbara Ess who also played with The Static and is an accomplished artist working with video, installations, and photography. I recently saw a copy of her famous Just Another Asshole magazine anthology, under glass at the Austin Museum of Art's "Radical New York!" exhibit. This early track is called "Luego Fuego":

Colin Newman: A-Z

I had always heard that Colin Newman's first solo record after Wire was essential and I have to admit that I had been somewhat skeptical since I wasn't always impressed by his later post-Wire output. I was actually blown away by it upon hearing it recently and was surprised to find how much of it resembles Pink Flag and Chairs Missing as opposed to 154. This track, "& Jury", is accessible enough that it would have made a decent New Wave-era radio single.

Scissor Girls: We People Space With Phantoms

Scissor Girls hailed from Chicago and and influenced everyone from the Providence noise rock scene to Japan's Melt Banana. Though their records were a far cry from the elegant Post-Rock coming out of Chicago at the time, this group was not without its own sonic nuances. Listen to the squiggling funk of the bassline on this track and the way it spars with the busy drumming and lead squeals. The song is entitled "Dedecation to Cronies and Goats".

The Jazz Butcher: The Gift of Music

Way back in the early 90's Comedy Central was formed as a merger between two rather unpopular comedy networks, The Comedy Channel and Ha!. I found Ha! to be especially bland but The Comedy Channel was full of really interesting nonsensical comedy programs. Mystery Science Theater 3000 was the station's breakout star, but there were other long forgotten gems like Higgins Boys and Gruber, The Sweet Life with Rachel Sweet, and Onion World hosted by comedian Rich Hall of Saturday Night Live and Not Necessarily The News fame, as well as author of the Sniglets book series. Onion World was decidedly abstract and wasn't much more than pointless clips and sketches thrown together. The show's theme song was composed by a British pop group called The Jazz Butcher who are somewhat obscure despite being better than a lot of other heavy handed British pop music from the same era. As much I love the Onion World theme I'm posting a link to another Jazz Butcher song I recently got ahold of that has brought with it a flood of memories. The song, "Partytime", has ridiculous lyrics bordering on novelty and was featured on the show as the background music to a clip that was just a shot of a goldfish opening and closing its mouth while peering out from the glass of its fishbowl. When accompanied by the song, it appeared that the fish was singing. Fucking hilarious.

Butterglove: The John Morand Session

Innovative late 80's band that predicted a lot of the math metal in the following decade and a half. This particular track, which starts off sounding like a Black Flag instrumental before cascading through several tempo and time signature changes, features Pen Rollings of Honor Role and Loincloth, who have recorded for Southern Lord Records. Rollings is probably one of the most underrated guitarists of the past 25 years with an instantly recognizable sound and approach. Few groups can match his crunching chug, though Neurosis sometimes comes close. This track is called "Waiting to Wipe".

Monday, February 12, 2007

Announcement: Strategies of Beauty Vol. 1.5: Denton VS Austin

It's no secret that the day shows and other unorthodox events lurking in the shadows of SXSW are one of the best things about the festival. In many cases it provides a chance for artists and attendees alike a chance to experience something especially memorable without the rigid structure and setup of such a large event. The show taking place on Saturday, March 17th at the very cool Chain Drive in Austin will be a chance to see more great acts under a single roof than you're likely to catch at several official showcases. The Strategies Of Beauty masterminds had the excellent idea to incorporate Austin artists into this event and there might even be a national act or two. If that's the case we'll let you know. The lineup as of right now:

Notes From Underground (Denton)
Shiny Around The Edges (Denton)
My Education (Austin)
The Zanzibar Snails (Denton)
Benko (Austin)
hotel, hotel (Austin)
Ghostcar (Denton)
Fires Were Shot (Austin)

Saturday March, 17th
Chain Drive
504 Willow Street
Austin, TX 78701
(near the Convention Center on Cesar Chavez)
1pm - 9pm (tentatively)

No List: Monday 2/12/07

But check back with us for other content.

Last Week's Good Records Chart

1. Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
2. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
3. Shins - Wincing the Night Away
4. Menomena - Friend and Foe
5. Loney, Dear - Loney, Noir
6. Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
7. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
8. Deerhunter - Cryptograms
9. Earlies - The Enemy Chorus
10. Of Montreal - Hissing fauna, are you the destroyer?
11. Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch
12. Yoko Ono - Yes, I'm a witch.
13. Various Artists - Zac Crain for Dallas Mayor Compilation
14. The Good, The Bad and the Queen - s/t
15. Clinic - Visitations
16. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
17. Brightblack Morning Light - s/t
18. Beirut - Lon Gisland
19. Lymbyc Systym - Love Your Abuser
20. Lily Allen - Alright, Still...

Monday Morning Rock

Sunday, February 11, 2007

One More Thing

Haven't had time to make any adds until now, but an Open Mic Laptop Deathmatch will be going on tonight at the Amsterdam starting at 9pm... the show will be open, meaning that anyone who wants to perform can bring their computer to the Amsterdam and sign up for a spot on the bill, which will also feature free form video projection and performances by Deathmatch regulars Cygnus, Matthewmatix, Plutonium Jukebox and others.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Weekender: 2/9/07-2/11/07

(with contributions from SR and DL)


The Party w/ Sober, Select, Prince William (Zubar): Three genre-hopping DJs whose sets tend to emphasize, hip-hop, hyphy, bmore, touches of dubstep, house, late 80s old school and just about everything else under the moon. Come see why these guys are so in demand that I can't even creep around the food court at North Park without hearing one of their sets blasting from a store.

Octopus Project/Kingfish /Tha Bracelets
Octopus Project is somewhat of an Austin institution and I'm sure the show will be packed. This gem from the Kingfish bio confused me: "Kingfish challenged the standards of Rock music...". Interesting. I wasn't aware rock music had any standards. Judging by most of these Myspace pages, you'd be hard pressed to make such a case. If there is in fact a standard, I'm not sure if this is the group to "challenge" it. I can only guess. See for yourself at Hailey's tonight. The impossibly happy Bracelets also play and are sure to play a typically energetic live set.

Sarah Reddington/Teenage Symphony (Secret Headquarters): Teenage Symphony will be an excellent fit for the very intimate Secret Headquarters. Last time the group performed it was a semi-acoustic show on the floor of Club Dada. So tonight they won't even have a stage to shun. At their best, the band's sad almost creepy psyche-pop is the sonic equivalent of a manila paper watercolor soaked with a child's tears. Trust me. Sarah Reddington's melodic country rock will be a good pairing.

The Baptist Generals/Theater Fire/Bosque Brown/Doug Burr (Granada): Some heavy hitters at the Granada tonight with a headliner that has kept everyone waiting on a followup full-length for I believe, about seventeen years now. Bosque Brown is like a Fort Worth Sam Phillips, and that's okay since I'm big fan of both. Theater Fire might be the only local group to play both the Granada and 1919 Hemphill. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Bob White and his F-Electrics/Ghost of Ria.../Deep Snapper (Rubber Gloves): Deep Snapper has members of Birth to Burial and is definitely one of the better local no-bullshit rock groups. They utilize a lot of up-tempo chug rhythms, cutting guitars and group shouting all delivered in a very sophisticated style completely devoid of any anthemic cheesiness.


Lemonheads/Vietnam/ The Hero Factor (Palladium Ballroom): Does anyone remember what a cultural phenom Dando was in the 90's? Hard to imagine now. I remember a Rolling Stone magazine article where he gave advice on how to smuggle drugs on airplanes. What an arrogant jerk. Anyways, he could definitely write a memorable melody but it's strange to find myself typing about the Lemonheads in 2007. I remember Vietnam playing with The Rapture about 5 years ago, and I'm surprised it's taken so long for them to get this popular. If anyone knows anything about the Palladium as a venue, let us know.

Current Leaves/Stanton Meadowdale
Interesting setting for the polished Current Leaves to perform. I always prefer to see bands out of their element.

Raised By Tigers/The Grass Fight (Secret Headquarters): Raised by Tigers is a veteran Denton group with pleasantly soft vocals over some complex, almost-virtuoso backing tracks. The Grass Fight are yet another group of dark brooding rock influenced by mopey 80's keyboard bands. I'm sure Ian Curtis relives his hanging for eternity because of how much he's mimicked. Thanks, bands.

Druggist/Sean Kirkpatrick /Tame...Tame and Quiet (The Cavern): Cue hail from Austin and play atmospheric "chamber rock" and a lot of weepy violin. Sean Kirkpatrick is from The Paperchase but you wouldn't know that from his somewhat subdued sets. Tame...Tame and Quiet rock at such weird angles you'll have to cock your head to understand it. But it's a really enjoyable confusion. NOTE: Cue is not on the bill, so that part about them is just like a joke and shit.

Happy Bullets/Red Monroe/Hendrick/J Price (Wreck Room-Ft. Worth): Two darlings of the Dallas scene drive all the way to Fort Worth for this one. Red Monroe always seems to pick up glowing reviews. Catch this show at a venue that's supposedly shutting down, meaning Fort Worth is not immune from the closing venue disease.


Check back with us all weekend for updates and such.

Free Tickets from Radio UTD

From now (2:15) until about 4, Radio UTD will be giving tickets away to the following shows:

Blonde Redhead
Dr. Dog
Ted Leo + The Pharmacists
Ben Kweller
TV on the Radio
Animal Collective
Sondre Lerche

Tune in to Radio UTD to find out how to win. Don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited about that Animal Collective show.

Weekend Song

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It List: Thursday 7/8/07

The Beatdown/Minx Burlesque/Christian! Teenage Runaway (Dan's Silver Leaf)

Not the kind of show you see at Dan's everyday and I don't mind one bit. There will be two bands and a burlesque troupe so it's actually an uncommon show for most venues. The Beatdown plays throwback soul-rock and I've enjoyed the songs on the page, so this is a good chance to see if the magic translates live. They feature members of S-1 Committee, Pointy Shoe Factory, Denton County Revelators and a handful of other bands that escape me right now. Christian! Teenage Runaway have only improved upon something that I didn't think could get any better. This is probably the coolest Dan's show since Our Band Could Be Your Life back in October.

Chief Death Rage/I Kill Cars/The Daily Beat (J & J's Pizza)

Chief Death Rage have really honed their sludgy aesthetic to an impressively devastating extreme. If you close your eyes and just suck in all the reverb and riffage, it's like a Budgie bootleg blasted from an overdriven PA. All the more fucked up when it's bouncing off of the concrete floors and wooden ceilings of J & J's tonight. I Kill Cars sound like pretty good slop-punk. The Daily Beat on the other hand take a much more melodic and sing-song approach to the stigmatized genre.

Lost Generation with DJ Wanz Dover (Fallout Lounge)

Wanz will be showing highlights from the Fela Kuti documentary: Music Is The Weapon from 1982. Sounds rad.

DJ G (Hailey's)

Here You Go

The first track on the new one is here. Sorry you have to click through a few pages of crap to get to the download, but its there. Anyway, I've only listened to half of the album so far, but its made a great first impression. Pretty classic sound, and at least one Lou song for good measure.

For sample only... if anyone with an ownership interest in this material would like the above link removed, email and we will take it down immediately.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thinking Of Empire (by Defensive Listening)

I found the D.I.Y. ethic to be alive and well in the unlikeliest of places last week as The Paramount Theater in Austin, TX, known primarily for its Vaudevillian history, welcomed filmmaker David Lynch for a rare screening and Q&A session. Lynch has always manged to maintain his status as Hollywood outsider/adventurous experimental filmmaker (despite having been employed by Disney), but his latest project might just raise his own personal bar in both regards. His appearance in Austin was just one of many he's recently made in cities around the country as part of a promotional tour for INLAND EMPIRE (his caps), his latest and possibly most daring work in recent memory. The film itself is noteworthy to be sure (as explained below), but its release also represents several changes in Lynch's production and distribution M.O. that are highly indicative of the widespread cultural and technological transitions that we all are experiencing as film-makers, musicians, artists, writers, bloggers and fans. For starters, the movie was shot entirely on digital video, which he contends is terrible from a quality standpoint but highly advantageous in other ways. Additionally, he is funding and distributing the movie's release almost entirely on his own, a bold move considering his relative lack of deep pockets (for Hollywood anyway).

Lynch introduced INLAND EMPIRE by welcoming Austin native Chrysta Bell (who is featured on the soundtrack) to set the tone with a brief improvisation consisting of her lone, haunting voice echoing through the historic theater. It was one of those time-stopping moments similar to the Lady in the Radiator scene in Eraserhead or the Rebekah Del Rio performance of Roy Orbison's "Crying" in Mulholland Drive, only this time, Lynch was was touring the movie himself, without the aid of a traditional distributor, and the audience was treated to a rare opportunity to see and hear an element of his picture live and in person. This kind of intimacy would not be possible if the film had been distributed by Miramax or Sony Pictures Classics, the kings of fake independent cinema, and the break from the norm was quite welcome. As the film began, Lynch advised the audience not to get up during the nearly three hour run time, marking the first of many ways in which Lynch would challenge the audience over the next several hours.

Without spoiling too much, Inland Empire is a sprawling fever dream, macabre and disturbing but not without moments of outright humor, or at the very least, scenes so uncomfortably awkward that everyone in the audience laughs nervously in unison. As confusing as Mulholland Drive was to some audiences, this made that film look like Kate and Leopold. It is particularly important to note from the outset that the picture was shot without the aid and anchor of a proper script, meaning that many of the scenes were scribbled out the day before or of shooting. The project evolved out of an online series called Rabbits that Lynch has worked on for some time on his own rather innovative website, David Rabbits features a vocal appearance by Naomi Watts, who starred in his last major release, and scenes from the series (which features a family of rabbits, or actors in rabbit costumes, interacting in 1950's sitcom fashion) are weaved throughout the film, making for some of the most disconnectedly abstract stretches of the movie. Laura Dern should be commended for such a strong acting performance considering that neither her nor the director admit to knowing what INLAND EMPIRE is about. Throughout the movie, Dern transforms from guileless and sweet to jaded and vengeful to horrified and devastated as the audience is subjected to a pummeling of flip-flopping themes. Her character is an actress, but the line between her character in the film and a woman in reality is blurred to the point of causing the audience to feel uneasy as the very theater they sit in becomes part of the twist. The setting also bounces between movie sets in California and prostitutes on the streets of Poland without warning, adding to the dizzy nature of the film's content, pacing and tone. There were no shooting permits obtained for the scenes actually shot in the "Inland Empire" section of California, adding to the guerilla appeal of an outright challenging movie made largely devoid of big studio influence. On many levels, Inland Empire plays out more like an improvised composition than a traditional film, with various textures and themes slowly unraveling over the course of it's substantial running time.

In a surprisingly smooth Q and A session following the presentation, Lynch also compared the methods he employed in creating and releasing INLAND EMPIRE to making music and the decline of the music industry in general, which is also obviously in a state of flux. Lynch made some of the music on the soundtrack, as he has in the past, so he wasn't merely tossing around vague metaphors. Even without his usual coconspirator, Angelo Badalamenti , the soundtrack was excellently performed by Lynch and the aforementioned Bell, along with the occasional girl group or Nina Simone song thrown in to counter or even heighten the on-screen bizarreness.

He spent much of the question and answer session explaining how meditation figures heavily into his daily life and creative process, as well as how excited he is about the prospect of self releasing future projects with his beloved Sony digital video camera. To hear an icon like Lynch, (whose work has always had a timeless quality due to the lushness that comes with traditional film) talk about the virtues of self released DV was a dramatic example of how drastically technology has changed art in general, especially in the past decade. The transitional crossroads between art and technology comes with some necessary compromises and tradeoffs to be sure, but as painful as it can be to see so many new releases peppered with pixellated breakup, the ease of transferring digital work from camera to theater does help to wrestle away much of the big studio power, since the studio is one of the only institutions that could or would want to spend money on extremely expensive analog film and related expenses. So even an auteur like Lynch, someone with almost impossibly high standards for the final visual and sound quality of a project, has recognized that ultimately the increased liberation from big studio oppression might be worth the compromise. Such sacrifices might be the only way future artists as unique as Lynch will even have a chance at making a statement in a creative world increasingly choked by over-analyzation of audience demographics and target markets. The highlight of the conversation was hearing Lynch explain to the sold-out theater, which was probably comprised of many aspiring filmmakers, that his idea of success could never be measured in terms of money, but rather through the realization of a creative vision. You often hear people say things like that when they clearly don't mean them, but considering that Lynch has just self-released what a friend complained to me as being the "world's first three hour short film", he somehow seems more believable than most.