Friday, March 30, 2007

Weekender: 3/30/07-4/1/07

Lots of stuff going on this weekend. Forget the intro, lets just see if I can make it through typing all this without crying. I bet I can't:


Sneaker Pimps Release Party with DJ A One and Genie G (7-11pm Passport Exhibit Gallery): Passport Exhibit Gallery, if you didn't already know, is a boutique shoe and clothing store (located at 3112 Swiss Avenue) that seems to have already acquired a national reputation amongst shoe people. I don't know if I know any shoe people. Anyway, the colorful clothes, pleasant setting, attractive people and typically reliable flow of free beer always make these parties a lot of fun, but what really holds things together are the DJs that P.E.G. books for these things. I don't know anything about the two DJs they've got for tonight, but I've never seen a DJ at P.E.G. thats been even just o.k... they've all been great. Go watch a shoe store turn into a dance party.

Peeping Tom feat. Mike Patton/Dan the Automator (Granda Theater): Goddamn it, Mike Patton. What are we supposed to do with you, anyway? Peeping Tom is a hip hop influenced project that Patton put together with the likes of Dan the Automator, Norah Jones, Massive Attack and Kool Keith among others. Like everything Patton does, its strange, often stupid, and sometimes brilliant, but its certainly good enough for any old school Faith No More fan like myself to check out.

Melissas' Party with Farah and DJ Select (Avenue Arts): Well this is Farah's first show since the post heard round the world, and although she certainly didn't help herself in the comments section a few months ago, people were being at least a bit unfair to her throughout the whole thing too. Honestly, I've never seen a more substantial group of pointlessly nasty comments in the entire history of this blog, and thats really saying something. The repercussions of all that stuff will probably be nonexistent tonight, however, since I doubt anyone that really can't stand her music (or her) is actually going to go see her show, leaving only those who are either 1) indifferent or 2) interested in seeing what has to be one of the stranger performers in DFWd these days. I happen to like her Johnny Jewel produced material quite a bit, and I'm interested to see what she can pull off live. Add Select into the mix, and you you've got one of the best DJs in town to hold things down all night and into the after-hours realm, which is really when these Avenue Arts parties peak. This is why I enjoy not knowing very many people in the local "scene." We can largely ignore the personal politics and just listen. And watch.

The Lovely Sparrows/Eaton Lake Tonics/Warren Jackson Hearne/The Night Game Cult/Karrie Hopper (The Cavern): A pretty solid line up most of the way through, but to me Night Game Cult is always a true highlight. I saw one of the best local performances I've seen all year a few weeks ago when Kyle played a short set in a completely dark 8th Continent in front of about 30 people. It was pretty dead on, and the audience was literally telling Kyle how much they loved him in between every song. I've seen good and bad shows from this guy, and when they're good, theres a certain feel to them that you just can't deny.

Current Leaves/Red Monroe/The Watchers (Secret Headquarters)

Jerry Lee Lewis/Leon Russel (Nokia Theater): Do I really have to say anything about this show? This is one of those "we might not even be here talking about music if it wasn't for this guy" shows. It does cost like $50, however, so we can just appreciate its importance in theory or something.

Sean Lennon/Kamila Thompson/Women and Children (Gypsy Tea Room): So this is pretty much the last show at Gypsy for all intents and purposes. These club closings have been been absolutely covered to death in other local publications so I won't even bother crying about it, but I think the Tea Room will be remembered as a solid venue, and its going to seem like the Hacienda or CBGBs in 1977 after a few months of House of Blues.

Happy Bullets (Lee Harvey's)


Misshapes (Lizard Lounge): Did you guys hear about this show? Well you should totally go! Just be sure to smoke a shitload of Camels once you get there, cuz Papa needs a new pair of shoes. The girl is hot and all and I'm sure this is going to be fun, but jesus those guys are a couple of cunts, aren't they? Anyway, you have to RSVP at to go to this thing, but it is free.

The Great Tyrant/War Wizards/Bexarametric/Cygnus (Doublewide): What a line up. I've heard that Wanz Dover was unfortunately involved in some kind of car accident on his way up to Lawrence, Kansas to finish recording an album. I don't know if the accident was serious, but I seriously hope he's ok. Anyway, I'm not sure at this point whether War Wizards will actually be playing this show, but the rest of the line up is so good that it doesn't matter. Bexarametric's cold, jittery percussive electro freak outs remind me a bit of Aphex Twin and a more gentle Kid 606 among other things, although I always feel uneasy even mentioning Aphex Twin since he seems to spark so much passion. Check out "matsumoto" on the Myspace page, or "scent of a rise" if you want to hear something more sprawling and poppy. Really good stuff. And unless I'm a dumbass, Cygnus' name is spelled wrong on everything I've seen about this show, which is a shame because he's put together some very dizzy, spaced out orchestral tracks here. And anyone that likes Yellow Magic Orchestra deserves more respect than that.

The Nouns Group/Angry Businessmen/Christian! Teenage Runaway (Rubber Gloves): Angry Businessmen are officially nominated for funniest local Myspace URL. This will be a kick ass show, no question about it.

Hot Flash Party (Fallout Lounge): A smaller version of what you'll see at Misshapes, but it probably won't be any more low key when its at its peak. Stephen R and Schwa are still finding their bearings a bit, but they've been putting together some great sets of acid house, funk, disco, new rave and everything in between. This night is starting to come together.

The Smoke Mod Club (Avenue Arts): We've made a few shitty comments in the past about some of the cool dudes that go to The Smoke, but it was never about the DJs or the music, both of which are top notch. After all, this party has been going on for years now, and in Dallas (or anywhere else for that matter), thats a goddamn miracle.

Red Monroe/The Tah Dahs/Happy Bullets (Club Dada)


I believe you'll be able to catch Wild in the Streets at Hailey's this evening.

Weekend Clip

The quality is pretty bad, but who cares?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

It List: Thursday 3/29/07

Have to be brief. Sorry.

The Strange Boys/Greg Ashley's Medicine Fuck Dream/Tame...Tame And Quiet (Darkside Lounge): Greg Ashley's Medicine Fuck Dream (some vulgar names on the list today) is a Gris Gris side project that continues in the same dark, psychedelic style of song-writing that has won Ashley comparisons to every celebrated tortured psych genius from the past forty years. The Strange Boys live in Austin now and their music has continued to evolve into a much more understated take on their sixties garage and soul fixation. Tame...Tame and Quiet are pretty different from the rest of this lineup with no obvious decade that you could point to for their inspiration, however that's also one of their many strengths.

NoMo Party (Zubar): 80's themed going away party for Zubar employee "Mo" who was instrumental in getting the Central Booking DJ's into Zubar as well as some of the better, hi-profile shows like Roxy Cottontail.

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

Richard Buckner/Six Parts Seven(Dan's Silver Leaf): Richard Buckner is consistent.

Anal Cunt/My Son, My Executioner/The Crimson Veil/Hearts Grow Dim (Red Blood Club): I can't believe A.C. will be twenty next year. Today I was reminded of their 1997 track, "No, We Don't Want To Do A Split Seven Inch With Your Stupid Fucking Band." Classic.

Popup/Black Heart Society (Club Dada)

Review: Koji Kondo/Eat Avery's Bones Split 7-inch

The split 7 inch is that much celebrated format where two artists can either highlight their differences or smugly display their similarities, but in either case, it's ultimately a show of unity no matter how philosophically different the two bands might be. The line between similarity and difference is blurred with the new split 7 inch release by Eat Avery's Bones and Koji Kondo, two bands that sometimes share a taste for busy visual aesthetic and equally busy music, but also leave subtle clues along the way that provide occasional insight into the motives behind their two willfully obscure sounds.

First of all, it's remarkable that bands still release vinyl. It's seen as a novelty by some but considered timeless and sacred by many, and no amount of gimmicky special edition Insound-only releases will ever change that for the diehards. I wonder if the shitty split Myspace Standalone player format can ever truly replace the split 7 inch as a cultural icon. My guess is that it cannot. Listening to this 7 inch on a turntable blasting through two huge analog towers instantly made me realize what you're missing when you're rocking an unintentionally distorted little file pushing through monitor speakers. I've accepted the pendulum swing of New Media and technology as they slice through the ghost of the 20th century, but I don't think the vinyl experience will ever be properly recreated or replaced. I'm sorry, but I just don't like to get down to a cell phone. The depth and dimension of music on vinyl can fill an entire room rather than settling for what usually feels more like the sound of a meek and thin advertisement clip obnoxiously being spat at you from a computer screen.

Eat Avery's Bones visually display their most telling difference with Koji Kondo by being the band in the 7 inch insert with smiles on their faces, a rather fitting pose for a group that has such a playful attitude towards everything they do. From their impossibly colorful flier art to their neon merchandise, ridiculous live antics and jittery song structures, the group has one of the most self assured senses of identity that I've ever encountered in a local group. The obvious insecurity and awkwardness that young bands often exhibit in their stage presence and general presentation is largely missing from Eat Avery's Bones, and the result is quite refreshing. Their half of the record is a perfect three song sliver of the E.A.B. sound. "Nice Ice" starts off with tentacled guitar parts crawling over a menacingly simple keyboard pattern that becomes as progressively complex as the main lick before they both begin to mock each other to climactic effect. The singing on the 7 inch is a showcase for lead singer Matt's high pitched vocal frequency, and the band somehow manages to sound even more piercing on a recording than they do live. This might be partly due to the fact that when playing live, they tend to use a telephone in lieu of a mic, or maybe its because they often have someone dressed in a wizard costume as opposed to, say, having a mic stand. This causes the vocals to be heard only part of the time in many cases, and hearing the band in such shrill clarity on this record was a good reminder that they have never had any desire to be subtle or easily digestible, though the catchiness of their memorable backing tracks will sometimes cause you to forget that. There is a purposely immature and irreverent humor that runs through their songs, and though I've heard that "Nice Ice" is possibly about meth, it's anyone's guess as to what "Vowel Sounds" or "Dike Hike" is about. Something tells me they don't care whether or not you ever figure it out.

Koji Kondo is not smiling on their half of the insert and that is no accident, a fact only reinforced by what you hear when you flip the record to their side: a brief earful of power chord distorto-sludge coupled with a screaming intro. This is intro is somewhat misleading, however, and "Bee Vomit" is a more proper example of the band's main strengths: unique semi-clean guitar splatter with a very direct singer who sounds like he's reading from an angry journal he keeps while slugging it out at some miserable day-job. I can't overstate how startlingly great Koji Kondo's guitar parts can be, by the way. I'm sometimes reminded of the extreme technical prowess of Upsilon Acrux, the avant-guitar originators in The Magic Band, or Deerhoof side project Natural Dreamers. This is high praise considering all three groups I just mentioned will make you rethink the possibilities of guitar based music. The experimental aspects of Koji Kondo's music are usually reeled in by a dedication to hardcore rhythms that break through with stampeding intensity, and the lyrics are literate without showing off, offering poignant little shards of pessimistic observation like "evading terminal diagnosis/if it doesn't kill you/it'll be with you 'til something does". Reassuring. It's little moments like these that will have you reaching for the lyric insert over and over, which is quite a rare thing in the North Texas music scene.

Koji Kondo features two thirds of The Blonde Girls, who's 7 inch we praised here last year. Koji is decidedly less experimental than The Blonde Girls, and that's a plus or a minus depending on your take on music. Whereas Blonde Girls had long instrumental parts and often performed without microphones, Koji Kondo wants every word and note to sink in as a whole, and it shows. As much as I enjoyed The Blonde Girls, I think Koji Kondo is an improvement on some of the concepts of that band, serving as a good example of how mixing a healthy amount of traditionalism with more outlandish approaches can make for a rewarding listening experience that might please gutter punk and turtle-necked indie nerd alike.

Speaking of that divide, I was told that Good Records doesn't usually carry local 7 inches, but that they did so with this one because they "liked the art". How big of them to designate what will probably amount to less than a square foot of store space, huh? I hate to criticize a brick and mortar record store in these tough times, but their dismissive attitude towards projects like this has bothered me for most of a decade. I want them to survive even if I don't agree with them, but they should hope that the last shouted lines of the Koji Kondo side of this record don't read like a prophecy: "We'll do it ourselves and put this asshole out of work".

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It List: Wednesday 3/28/06

I have about two minutes left before I have to leave my computer, so all I can do for you today is give you a couple links and send you on your way. Luckily, there doesn't appear to be a ton of stuff going on this evening. If you can think of any shows to add, throw em up in the comments, and check back with us later tonight for a local review.

First, you've got the return of This is Radio Clash with Flashlight Party at Hailey's tonight.

Second, you've got a show at Rubber Gloves featuring:

Beauxregard/Brokenizer/Fizzy Dino Pop

Brothers, Sisters, Can't You See? The Future's Owned by R.J. Reynolds

Throwing a fit when one doesn't get a front row seat at a fashion show is the kind of behavior that we commonly associate with royalty, celebrities, socialites, and Lenny Kravitz. But in a world where an English Prince is actually trying to fight in Iraq and Sean fucking Penn is apparently the most charismatic anti-war spokesperson that the left can drag in front of a television screen, it probably makes sense that Geordon Nicol, one of the founding members of New York's (in)famous DJ trio Misshapes, demanded the best seats in the house at a recent G Star fashion show and threatened to leave if he didn't get his way. After all, in the eyes of Madison Avenue, Nicol is one of the hippest people on the planet, and he seems to be well aware of it.

And really, why shouldn't he have a little attitude? Think about it: if you'd read a Village Voice article that compared your presence in the downtown New York scene to those of Larry Levan, Fab 5 Freddy and Andy Warhol among others, you would probably feel entitled to take full advantage of your 15 minutes too. Its undeniable that the Misshapes have had a noticeable impact on what we'll call "hipster culture" (for lack of a better term) over the past couple of years, and if comparing them to Larry Levan seems more than a bit ridiculous to you, you might want to consider the number of 18-24 year olds around the country that know who Misshapes are and compare that to the total number of people that knew who Larry Levan was during his first two years at Paradise Garage. This has everything to do with media technology and nothing to do with musical innovation to be sure, and the long term cultural significance of emo hair and Depeche Mode revivals is questionable at best, but the result is unchanged: Misshapes have built a gigantic and loyal following in one of the world's most exciting cities, and not just any hipster dumbasses can pull something like that off.

Just look at what they're up to these days if you don't believe me. After packing houses for several years with their regular DJ nights in New York, curating the music at just about every major party during New York's fashion week, and sharing decks with Madonna and a slew of other high powered celebrities over the past few months, Misshapes are cashing in on downtown cool as they embark on their first ever national tour, bringing the Lower East Side to us Red State folks just as Gawker's anti-Misshapes coup d'etat has started to drive the trio's stock price down with the Brooklyn/Houston- Ludlow hipsters that put them on the map in the first place. Of course, it would be far too easy to completely dismiss Misshapes and those that emulate them as clueless hipsters, and it would be incorrect to say that their sets aren't exciting and highly entertaining at times. But with all their lucrative corporate tie-ins and friends in high places, it also must be noted that the trio has been able to milk the current incarnation of 00's hipster cool more effectively and notoriously than almost anyone else on the face of the planet (other than Vice).

Take their upcoming set this Saturday at the Lizard Lounge in Dallas as an example. Normally, a well known DJ can pull in quite a nice cover at a large established dance venue like the Lizard Lounge, but Misshapes didn't come all the way to Dallas to take your money. No, they're just here to chill out and throw a huge free party with their ultra hip friends over at R.J. Reynolds, and if you want to go, all you have to do is get an account and RSVP (aka "track down your local rep") over at Camel's website. But wait a minute. Since when are the old southern white men that run R.J. Reynolds "ultra-hip," you ask? Well, it might surprise you to learn that they practically invented the term, at least in the parlance of our times (get it?).

Not to get all "" on your ass, but a 1994 internal document produced by Camel's marketing department has been cited by Naomi Klein and others as the first document of its kind to make use of the contemporary idea of a "hipster" to describe a marketing demographic that the brand was having trouble reaching. In this rather humorous report, the marketers describe scenes of urban young adults scoring smokes at cool bars as they talk all cool and do various other cool things. Here's an example of one of the scenarios the document lays out:

Saturday night. Smoke filled night club. 1am. Nirvana blares through the sound system. The cigarette machine is broken. Lisa's looking to bum a smoke. She saunters up to the bar in her ripped Levi's and vintage motorcycle jacket and looks at the bartender. "Manny, got an extra cigarette?" Manny reaches into the chest pocket of his black tee shirt and pulls out a Camel.

You get the idea. And if you think it sounds like they were way off on what was hip in 1994, all you have to do is go rent a copy of Clerks in order to see that RJR was pretty much right on the money with this one. As the document goes on to state, Camel started an aggressive campaign 13 years ago to get to these cool kids and link the Camel brand image to whatever happens to be hip at any given time. One look at their Website (or a quick flashback of the Camel sponsored Ladytron show at Hailey's a couple months ago) reveals that they've been pretty successful at doing just that. They currently sponsor all kinds of events all over the country that deliver consumable hipster culture to people in all kinds of famously unhip locations with little or no direct sales pitch involved, other than a friendly reminder that Joe Camel is the motherfucker that told you about all this cool stuff in the first place, dipshit.

What does this all mean? Who knows. The ideas behind branding and its effects on target markets are certainly debatable and mostly immeasurable, and we're certainly not going to sit here and lecture you about corporations and society and why its so wrong to dance. After all, the Misshapes party will probably be pretty fun, and we might even show up to it ourselves (I've already contacted MY Camel rep, have you?) It just seems funny that Misshapes, who have become a perfect example of savvy hipster self-marketers, are teaming up with Camel, the people that just might have invented the modern hipster marketing demographic in the first place. If nothing else, this connection might pop into your mind five years from now, during the middle of the inevitable grunge revival, when you're sitting at a bar in your ripped Levi's and motorcycle jacket, laughing about the bad clothes in that old issue of Fader and desperately searching your pockets for that one last delicious cigarette. That damn Manny might have moved on to another job at that point, but rest assured, your local Camel rep might just be sitting at the other end of the bar doing something cool. And you know he'll probably hook you up.

Misshapes play this Saturday at Lizard Lounge with our friend Justin V (formerly of High Society) opening.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It List: Tuesday 3/27/07

You know how we always say "coming up this week blah blah" and then whatever we say is going to happen doesn't actually happen until way after we say its supposed to? Well this week, you can actually expect good stuff, so stay tuned. We've all been a little busy lately, but you'll see things getting back in gear within the next day or two. We've got a couple new writers that will hopefully add to our ability to cover more ground each week, so we're looking forward to it. And so are you.

Church of the Snake/Clipd Beaks/Chief Death Rage (Rubber Gloves): I don't know anything about all the personal shit that people have been throwing back and forth around here concerning Rubber Gloves and it's owner, but the phrase "pick your battles" certainly comes to mind every time I read an overly negative comment directed towards one of the best all around commercial venues in either Denton or Dallas. In any event, tonight's show promises to be a can't miss in this music expert's mind, and I'll tell you why. First, Chief Death Rage. You already know why they're good. Second, Tigerbeat 6's Clipd Beaks, whose spaced out noisy industrial psychedelic rock has the potential to destroy Rubber Gloves much the same way that Indian Jewelry did a few months ago. A near perfect blend of so much that I like (and not your normal Tigerbeat 6 thing either), I'd be willing to bet the price of admission that they'll be more than worth seeing, and anyone thats into Deerhunter, Liars or the Black Angels will probably agree with me. Third, Church of the Snake. I admittedly don't know a whole lot about this band, but shit: the few things I have heard from them are quite exciting. Listen to the little snip on their Myspace page if you'd like further proof. I usually try not to be so reckless with making a recommendation about a band I don't know, but their brutal songs make them seem worth the risk to me.
And if you're down Dallas way and feeling a bit adveturous, you can head over to Club Dada (strange sequence of words, no?) to see the supremely strange Danielle & Thomas play what I believe is their first show. Head over to their Myspace page and imagine the number of directions that this show might take. Could be great, could be terrible. Who know? I'd listen to "Thomas Meeting Danielle," which is actually a pretty great little track. They appear to be opening, so I'd get there early if you feel like giving it a shot.

Monday, March 26, 2007

No List: Monday 3/26/07

There is nothing going on in your town tonight. And it's your fault.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Voot Cha Index - The Talking House/Cradle 7"
2. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Ever Sank
3. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
4. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
5. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
6. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
7. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Ever Sank (Deluxe)
8. Low - Drums and Guns
9. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Living with the Living
10. El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
11. !!! - Myth Takes (2CD)
12. Beirut - Lon Gisland
13. J Dilla - Ruff Draft
14. Air - Pocket Symphony
15. Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
16. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
17. Menomena - Friend and For
18. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
19. Shins - Wincing the Night Away
20. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (Deluxe)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Monday Morning Rock

The video isn't that great, but the song continues to blow me away. Also, scroll down a bit for a Wildcat post.

Judging a Band by It's Covers (by Wildcat)

Beach House are really working overtime in Texas these days. After playing two Dallas shows in the past couple of months and making the trek down to Austin for SXSW last week, they’ll return to the Lone Star state lickety split with The Clientele, who will be touring in support of their upcoming release, “God Save the Clientele.” Hopefully Alasdair MacLean will forget to pack his attitude and it won’t be “God Save the Sound Guy” at Hailey’s—May 18th.

I was out of town for the first Dallas Beach House show and I regrettably missed their performance last week in favor of what turned out to be a stomach churning Mavericks loss to the much hated Suns. Last Friday presented two opportunities to finally see them perform at SXSW. I first caught Beach House at the afternoon event at Emo’s amongst a long list of what I felt were otherwise forgettable performers, and later that night they headlined the Carpark showcase at the Tap Room on 4th St. The Tap Room show was a dream—no trouble getting in, small stage, nice beers on tap, lemon oil scented restroom facilities, the works. I got there just in time to see Ecstatic Sunshine unleash their startling guitar theatrics. I’d never seen or heard them before, and my first reaction was that they sounded like what would happen if Polvo tried to play dueling banjos or something (you can download one of their songs here). They sounded at times beautiful, at other times sarcastic or childish, and at others unsettling. Not bad, but I didn’t complain when their set ended after45 minutes. Beach House took the stage and played more or less the same songs they had played a few hours earlier. They closed with “Master of None” before returning to play a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Some Things Last a Long Time” as an encore—coincidentally a very nice tip of the cap to Austin.

SXSW FALLOUT: TWO BROS AND TWO BABES- So with the Beach House/Clientele tour news and on the strength of their SXSW gigs, I figured that I might as well cowboy up and buy “Beach House,” as well as the latest from Dean and Britta, entitled Back Numbers. I’m out there looking for my Luna fix just as much as the next guy, but I’d been in no rush to get Back Numbers since D&B conveniently left Texas off their current tour schedule (not to mention the album's mostly lukewarm reviews). Both albums feature a guy/girl duo, and since I bought them together I felt that making a comparison between the two was justified. Unfortunately for longtime Galaxy 500 and Luna devotees, Dean and Britta come off as just too cute—stylized at best, and tiresome at worst. “Words You Used to Say” is a strong track, and you can checkout the video on their Myspace page. “The Sun is Still Sunny” is lovely and easy to connect with, but I can’t help feeling jaded when learning that another of the album’s best, “Crystal Blue,” is an eulogy for a departed pet bunny rabbit. Add in lyrics about oatmeal cookies and a Donovan cover (“Teen Angel”), and it’s just not as easy to invest in this stuff as it was with Galaxy and Luna. It’s like, "Oh of course there’s a Donovan cover. Great." I almost feel cheated that D&B didn’t learn Japanese just to include a bonus Pizzicato 5 cover or something to that effect. And knowing that Victoria and Alex of Beach House are the ones that grew up together in France, wouldn’t you expect that they’d be the ones that evoke played out French Pop aesthetics? Rather, D&B recall Serge and Bridget Bardot (“Me & My Babies” or “Say Goodnight”?), while Victoria and Alex sound more like Mogwai set to a slow waltz, and in the end their rudimentary musicianship and conspicuous mistakes lend them a sincerity that D&B seem to have misplaced. Whereas Britta’s voice sounds preconceived, Victoria blends Karen Carpenter with Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and doesn’t compromise soul for beauty while achieving both.

Britta Phillips is so good looking that it might just have been inevitable that I’d be skeptical of Back Numbers. How could you ever be sure that you were head over heels for a Dean and Britta album rather than just for Britta (or Dean for that matter)? Maybe I’m jealous of Britta because it feels like she took away my Dean—the old Dean. In 1988, Thurston Moore called Galaxy 500’s Today the guitar album of the year, and at that time, Dean was covering songs like George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity,” Joy Division’s“Ceremony,” and VU’s “Here She Comes Now.” Those sentiments gradually shifted over the years as fans of the Dean Wareham canon were presented with such Luna tokens as “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” GnR covers can be fun, but they’re not Joy Division covers (see also Bedhead, “Disorder”). I'm probably in the minority here, but I think Luna’s 2004 album, Rendezvous (also their last) largely stands up to anything else they released, but perhaps it’s telling that two of the strongest pieces on that album were Sean Eden contributions: “Broken Chair” and “Still at Home.” Maybe Old Dean is just gone, and I shouldn't hold a grudge against Britta, but I can't help myself. Back Numbers isn’t a bad album, but I really hope he comes back for the next one.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Weekender: 3/23/07-3/24/07

In addition to all the film festival stuff going down this weekend, there will be some music stuff too. You know, like the stuff we list below. And yes, we will have SXSW recaps for you some time soon, although its mostly just bitching about crap. What did you expect anyway? We will also have at least two local reviews next week and a local feature. You probably don't believe me, I know, but have a little faith. As the amazing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy says, lets go daddy-o:


Abiku/Mose Giganticus/Yatagarasu/Christian! Teenage Runaways (House of Tinnitus): If you're a keytar fetishist then this is your night, with two touring bands featuring the much maligned instrument. Abiku mixes hardcore punk ferociousness with speedy rhythms mostly associated with extreme varieties of Dutch-style electronic music. Mose Giganticus is somewhat along the same lines but with a more a focused aggravated vocal approach and Singularity Theory philosophy. Yatagarasu is from Huntsville and features distorted fuzz-grind basslines coupled with drum machine and hummingbird wing-flutter noise frequencies. Christian! Teenage Runaway continues their reign as one of the area's most surprising and genuine live groups with a show that I've seen convert even the most hardened and cynical coolie. Newer performances have seen the band writhing, screaming and rolling around with an enthusiasm and abandon not often witnessed in these vacant parts where most bands are more concerned with avoiding stains on their two hundred dollar jeans. Or maybe they want those stains? I can't ever tell for sure.

The Sword/Priestbird/Year Long Disaster (Doublewide): Solid night of stoned Sabbathesque metal at Doublewide tonight... The Sword, although probably the poster boys for "hipster metal," are a pretty underrated band, and their live show is certainly worth what is sure to be a small cover at Doublewide. Kemado's Priestbird might be interesting too.

Slider Pines/Mexico/Current Leaves (Barley House): You know, I was pretty indifferent to the old Barley House. Decent atmosphere, pretty good beer, crappy music, ok location. It was basically a decent place, no less or no more. But Christ, is there anything to like about the new SMU Frat Boy Barley House? I'm not so sure, but pretty much the first good thing that I've seen in reference to the place since it moved up north is the fact that Current Leaves are playing there tonight. If the altcountry people in Dallas had any taste, Current Leaves would be the toast of the town. That probably isn't the case, but I hope Current Leaves has at least built themselves a decent audience down here in Dallas. And I might not even mind going to Barley House tonight in order to find out.

Robert Gomez/Bosque Brown (The Cavern): The CD release show for Robert Gomez' debut on Bella Union, which could end up getting as much or more attention from the national "indie" press than any other release this year. Its not anything that will wow the mostly knowledgeable readers of this blog, but its certainly a worthy and pleasant release.

Hogpig/Cartright/Tre Orsi (Rubber Gloves): A CD release show for Hogpig. Although I have yet to hear their new record, I have serious doubts as to its status as a collection of "near symphonies," but you know, anything is possible I guess. Cartright stands as the clear highlight of this show, although the mostly straight forward material I've heard from Tre Orsi has sounded decent.


Abiku/Mose Giganticus/The Great Tyrant/Akkolyte (1919 Hemphill): Similar lineup To Tinnitus from Friday but with two of the area's most intimidatingly great live acts added to the bill. The Great Tyrant bring it slow and heavy with gloomy goth prog that makes attending a show feel like bathing in lava. Akkolyte are a veteran grindcore two piece with admirers worldwide and an intensity that you won't likely ever forget. These two groups are enough for one show all by themselves.

Antelope/Knee Pad/Far Star (Rubber Gloves): Antelope has been releasing records on Dischord for sometime now and that actually gives you a good general idea of what they sound like. Of course you can't say that for all Dischord bands, but they are definitely of the melodic and serious variety of indie rock that the label made famous. The vocals are reminiscent of Clint Conley's in Burma (or more accurately, his recent work in Consonant) over some thoughtful yet energetic bursts of guitar. Kneepad are yet another slightly tongue-in-cheek group of raunch rockers from Denton, but they seem to have their moments more than some of their competition. The Far Star is local and lists Jellyfish, The Killers and Chipotle as their influences. I definitely hear all three influences, especially the last one. But when I say that, I mean like the early stuff, when they were still owned by McDonald's. Is that reverse selling out?

Check back for Sunday listings.

Labels: ,

PO Box Back Up

To those of you trying to send us CDs and stuff like that: we cleared up the situation at the post office today and our PO box is up and running again. Same address and everything. Sorry to all of those people that had stuff returned to them. If you could be a dear and go ahead and send that stuff to us again, that would be great mkay. The same old address:

We Shot J.R.
P.O. Box 721261
Dallas,TX 75372-1261

Weekend Video

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It List: Thursday 3/22/07

(SR Edit: Almost forgot about Lost Generation at Fallout tonight. I've had the pleasure of catching a few of Wanz' sets over the past couple of weeks, and it seems to me that he's been putting together some of the best dance sets in Dallas... a pretty well kept secret apparently, judging by the fact that the crowd on both nights I attended could best be described as a music dork sausage fest. Anyway, we heard lots of old school house, german experimental, new indie/electro whatever you want to call it, and basically just a lot of really good party shit. Could help make Dallas fun again on Thursday nights if the party people start paying attention. Heres what he has for tonight:

"Wattstax was a festival at the Los Angeles Coliseum on August 20, 1972 organized by Memphis's Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Wattstax was seen by some as "the Afro-American answer to Woodstock". In order to encourage as many members of the black community in LA to attend the event at Memorial Coliseum, tickets were sold for only $1.00 each. There have been several CDs with the recordings from this festival and also a documentary film. The Reverend Jesse Jackson gave the invocation, which included his "I Am - Somebody" poem, which was recited in a call and response with the assembled stadium crowd. There was a film directed by Mel Stuart which was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Documentary Film in 1974.

The Staple Singers
Richard Pryor
Rufus Thomas
Kim Weston
Johnnie Taylor
The Bar-Kays
Isaac Hayes
Albert King

I am also droping trax from Battles, Kate Wax, Ellen Allien and Apparat, Mochipet, Joker, Dinosaur JR., Loilta Storm, yet another new Venetian Snares, The Field, new Alan Vega(this shit is reeeelallly good), The Whip, The Presets, Black Devil Disco Club, Datarock, Gui Boratto, Dan Deacon, The White Mice, Holy Fuck, El-P, new M.I.A., unreleased Slowdive, Chris Clark, new Adult, tracks from the Monks tribute album and much much much more.

Peelander-Z/Swedish Teens/Potential Johns (Rubber Gloves): Peelander-Z are one of those groups where everyone goes on about their live show but they seem somewhat more interested in marketing as many pieces of silly merchandise as possible as opposed to spending very much time on their music. If that doesn't bother you I'm sure they put on a really good show with some fun trashy punk songs. After Monotonix and Punk Bunny earlier this week, I'm somewhat traumatized by crazy live shows. Peelander-Z is definitely more enjoyable than local openers Swedish Teens and Potential Johns. Swedish Teens in particular never even give you a chance to get past their schtick.

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It List: Wednesday 3/21/07

Tex Winters/New Science Projects/Dust Congress (Secret Headquarters): Various members of the highly esteemed WSJR crew have been less than floored by New Science Projects' live shows, but the recorded material we've heard is far above average folk influenced indie pop that incorporates many of the more fashionable influences of the past few years without being obvious or annoying about it. In fact, songs like "Bedtime" pack a sometimes explosive emotional punch that remains more than tolerable thanks to NSP's willingness to experiment. Anyway, their CD release show is tonight at SHQ, a place that shouldn't have any problem paying its rent this month. And by the way, for those on the local rock news beat: NSP and Tex Winters are gearing up for a small midwest/west coast tour that begins this week in El Paso.

Calla/The Angelus (Hailey's): Geez, I'm not sure what the hell I really think of Calla. Every time I hear them, I think "hey, this isn't bad," and then, once I turn it off, I don't think about them again until I accidentally hear them somewhere else. You know what, fuck that. They aren't that good. I do like The Angelus though, and I'm sure Calla is at least a solid live band.

Cosmic Catnip/DJ DR. Cuddles (Rubber Gloves) : I think it might be just one member of Cosmic Catnip playing this free dance party tonight. Those guys have taste to burn so I'm sure it'll still be good.

Lebanon/ Tame...Tame and Quiet/Jetscreamer/Handbrake
(Club Dada):
A strong lineup heavy on locals and including a touring band that I've heard many good things about in the past year. I've never heard a single negative review of Lebanon, spoken or otherwise. It's a rare chance to see two bands from Tel Aviv in the same week if you caught the Monotonix on Sunday at The Eighth Continent. If you didn't, then you completely missed out. All of the bands tonight communicate their ideas mostly through guitar effect trickery, whether by pedals, complex fret work or both. Lebanon has some serious sounding instrumental passages that are probably impressive live. Tame...Tame and Quiet have their new full length ready and the word on the street is that it's excellent. We'll let you know if that's the case as soon as we score a copy. Old Denton favorites Jetscreamer have shattered the silence of their long hiatus by playing out much more frequently as of late which is good since they have always been much more likable than a lot of their veteran peers. I don't know much about Handbrake except that the songs on their page sound promising with some stop/start rhythms, interesting guitar playing and agitated vocals.

Lost Film Fest (1919 Hemphill): This is a collection of short films with far left/activist overtones, "culture jamming" themes, banned clips, and riot footage. This mini fest prides itself on being "the only film fest with an FBI file". I'm sure this will be anything but boring. Remember: shows at 1919 start early so get there at 6.

Matt Bauer/The Naptime Shake/Garret Pierce (SHQ Denton): There will be two nights of predominantly singer/songwriter stuff at SHQ. I'm glad to see more weeknight activity here. The incredibly well attended shows I've seen at all of the DIY venues lately are just another indicator of the increasingly negative state of the traditional venue in the area. Unfortunately, many times you're the only one fluffing the pillow in your casket.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It List: Monday 3/19/07

Its 24 hours later, and the SXSW hangover is still kicking me in the ass just a little bit. And its honestly not an alcohol hangover either, its just the feeling of being extremely tired of day parties, after parties, driving around looking for parties, and basically being a waste of space for several days. However, we were able to catch some great music down in Austin without spending a whole hell of a lot of money (more on that later), so things are pretty good at WSJR headquarters despite not being able to cover some of this past weekend's North Texas events like we wanted to. Here is some stuff for tonight, much of it involving metal:

PUNK BUNNY/Christian Teenage Runaway/Heartrapers (Hailey's-Denton): Hmm. Punk Bunny's cartoonish, queer, Calvin Johnson meets electroclash meets new rave music is gimmicky to say the least and entirely thrown together and cheap at its worst, but I'm guessing there won't be too many people in the audience at Haileys tonight that aren't laughing and having at least a little fun watching them. There are some solid spots of cheese synth dance in their songs as well, and homeboy pictured above gets bonus points for being named Luigi and looking like a jerk. And with two solid local acts opening the show, you could do a lot worse this evening.

Giant Squid/Grayceon/The Hard Lessons (Doublewide): Working with producers like Bill Anderson (who has produced records for Mr. Bungle, High On Fire and the Melvins) is certainly a smart move for a theatrical/proggy metal band like Giant Squid, but it doesn't really change the fact that at the end of the day, they kind of just sound like System of a Down with better influences. Ok, maybe thats not entirely true, but the thin line between quality and doucheness is a pretty thin one in metal, and these guys are just on the good side of that line. I'm sure its a better live experience anyway, and their keyboard parts kind of make the whole thing worth trying, at least for a night. Grayceon is a truly strange rock band to say the least, and one that has surely spent a few nights getting stoned and laughing their asses off at silly Mr. Bungle songs, which is something you have to do at least once if you want to be my friend. I'm going to go ahead and say yes to them. I'd show up a bit late and miss the Encino Man soundtrack music of The Hard Lessons, but thats just me. And you.

Death to False Metal: Stoner Rock Edition (Rubber Gloves): Get stoned, get to Rubber Gloves, get a drink, get into some stoner rock. Get it?

Last Week's Good Records and Other Music Sales Charts


1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
2. Menomena - Friend or Foe
3. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
4. Air - Pocket Symphony
5. Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
6. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
7. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible Limited
8. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
9. Deerhunter - Cryptograms
10. !!! - Myth Takes
11. Bright Eyes - Four Winds EP
12. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder
13. Eluvium - Copia
14. Neil Young - Live at Massey Hall
15. Noah Georgeson - Find Shelter
16. Papercuts - Can't Go Back
17. Besnard Lakes - Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse
18. Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
19. Son Volt - The Search
20. Apostle of Hustle - National Anthem of Nowhere


1.Arcade- Fire Neon Bible
2.Air-Pocket Symphony
3.Peter Bjorn & John- Writer's Block
4.Neil Young- Live at Massey Hall
5.Of Montreal- Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer
6.!!!- Myth Takes
7.Deerhoof- Friend Opportunity
8.Amy Winehouse- Back to Black
9.Various Artists Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation
10.Andrew Bird- Armchair Apocrypha
11.The Good, the Bad & the Queen- s/t
12.Michael Cashmore- Snow Abides
13.Various Artists- Si, Para Usted
14.Bloc Party- A Weekend in the City
15.Nico- Frozen Borderline
16.Panda Bear- Bros
17.Dean & Britta- Back Numbers
18.RJD2- Third Hand
19.Paper Cuts- Can't Go Back
20. Explosions in the Sky- All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Two albums that I honestly believe have the rare distinction of living up to the hype: Of Montreal's new one and any of the material off of Panda Bear's second full length (which is really a collection of singles released over the past year or so). Anyone that was at SXSW this year (or pretty much any year for that matter) knows that hype is cheap, but both of these albums have been pleasant surprises for me so far this year.

Monday Morning Rock

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Very Late Weekender 3/17/07-3/18/07

Hey everyone. We're down in Austin right now, and although we've had a good time for the most part, we had some real problems yesterday that prevented us from getting to a computer and throwing a weekend list together. We're sorry about that, especially considering the good shows we missed. However, since this is maybe like the third time we've missed a list in the past 15 months, we're not going to feel too bad about it. Anyway, we've listed some DFWd shows below, and we'll be back on Monday with some local show and album reviews, as well as some SXSW coverage. Oh, and its a real shame that Girl Talk won't be coming to Dallas any time soon, because that guy puts on one of the best DJ shows I've ever seen.


WZT Hearts/Blues Control/Lexie Mountain Boys/Ecstatic Sunshine (House of Tinnitus)

Pelican is playing at the Ridglea Theater Fest thing, but the rest of the line up is more or less absolute shit. So attend with caution.

Sondre Lerche/Willy Mason/Thomas Dybdahl (Gypsy Tea Room)

Public Enemy/X Clan/The Banned/Heet Mob (Gypsy Tea Room)


The folks from House of Tinnitus told us that they will be working with the 8th Continent guys to make it possible to see both of the big Sunday night Denton shows. The show at 8th Continent will start at 8pm and features:

Apes/Monotonix/Chief Death Rage/Eat Avery's Bones

They're going to try to wrap things about around 10 or 1030 over there and send everyone to House of Tinnitus to see:

Noxagt/Chief Death Rage/Brokenizer/Nouns Group/Kaboom

Both shows will be great, and its fantastic that they've planned accordingly.

Also, if you're staying in Dallas, you can check out Menomena and Treewave at the Cavern. Should be incredible. We saw Menomena at the Pitchfork SXSW thing yesterday, and they rocked a packed Emo's like I never imagined they could. You should really see them live.

Sorry we couldn't do more for the list this weekend. But you know how it is, don't ya?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It List: Thursday 3/15/07

Sorry dudes, don't have time for links or anything today... we're having some issues around here to say the least. We're going to try to post what we can as far as shows and things like that today and tomorrow, and we should have some kind of weekender for you late tomorrow afternoon or early evening, so check back for that. This is really the best we can do right now:

Green Milk from Planet Orange/Akimbo/The Capitol Years (Rubber Gloves)

Chris Garver/Praise the Twilight Sparrow (SHQ Denton)

Lost Generation with Wanz and some of the Laptop Deathmatchers (Fallout Lounge): Will feature some live laptop performances.

Scissor Sisters/Dj Sammy Jo (Palladium Ballroom)

The Trashies/Druids on Parade/Girls Rise with Heat (1919 Hemphill)

If anyone has anything else noteworthy, please mention it in the comments section

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It List: Wednesday 3/14/07

Thanks a lot all you shithead bands and SXSW people. For the rest of this week, doing these lists is going to be a fucking marathon, so excuse us if our writing on each show isn't the most detailed (and sometimes not there at all). Plus, we've got what is probably the biggest Mavs game of the season tonight, so needless to say, we're going to be busy. Here's the early list:

Hella/Dirty Projectors/Who's Your Favorite Son God? (Rubber Gloves): Absolutely stellar line up at Rubber Gloves tonight, as in a can't miss. I first heard the strange and distrurbing experiments of Dirty Projectors a couple of years ago, and although they didn't completely move me that first time, the band has become more and more of a force since then, creating some very unsettling moments on a pretty regular basis by combining quiet acoustic passages with highly effective vocals and all kinds of fuzzy sound experiments. You should really check out the song "Two Young Sheeps" if you can find it. Its like if the Minutemen were a drugged out lounge band that somehow involved James Chance. I know that probably doesn't make sense, and it certainly doesn't describe much of the rest of their music, but thats all I got. And what can I say about Hella? I expect a packed house and an ass kicking performance tonight.

Aqueduct/Beach House/Dios (The Cavern): Should be a great place to catch the excellent Beach House, since a small venue is probably where the band's music is most at home. I'm not sure if this show will be able to match the stunning atmosphere of their performance at New Amsterdam earlier this year, but I bet the performance will be just as good.

The Mary Timony Band/Georgie James/Nouns Group (Ridglea Theater-Ft. Worth): I know next to nothing about Mary Timony's recent solo career, but I was a big fan of Helium, like I'm sure many of you were, and I would want to go see this show purely out of respect for that somewhat forgotten 90's Matador band. And I still haven't accomplished my goal of seeing Nouns Group live, but the few tracks I've heard from them are very good, and I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Chris Garver/Praise the Twilight Sparrow (SHQ Denton): SHQ continues their excellent week of shows with the psychedelic folk influenced Praise the Twilight Sparrow, a great match for the soft, hazy work of Chris Garver. Should be a subdued but powerful show.

Fun/The Cheat/Koji Kondo/The Extraordinaries (1919 Hemphill): I've heard a lot of good things about Fun, and the Cheat sounds quite good as well. If you're anywhere near Ft. Worth early this evening, I would suggest making an effort to go see this, especially with Koji Kondo rounding out the bill.

Andrew Bird/Cold War Kids/Elvis Perkins in Dearland/Tokyo Police Club/Delta Spirits (Gypsy Tea Room): I honestly can't stand Cold War Kids, and I can really take or leave Tokyo Police Club, but I do like a lot of what Andrew Bird does.

This Kid

Thinks you're a major fag. See for yourself.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It List: Tuesday 3/13/07

Driving around in all this crappy weather today has really made it a pain in the ass to get to a computer, so the guy that just wants us to list shows and not write about them is going to get his wish today (kind of). Good for him! We've got some good stuff coming at you this week, so stay tuned ya jerks.

Psychedelic Horseshit/Pink Reason (SHQ-Denton): Promise this is going to be a good one. If Daniel Johnston ever got laid, he would probably write songs like "Quasar" on PH's Myspace page. Both of these bands sound fantastic, but Psychedelic Horseshit sounds fucking brutal.

Catfish Haven/American Werewolf Academy/Minmae/Brimstone Howl (Club Dada): Brimstone Howl is the clear highlight here (although Catfish Haven is pretty good too), so I'd get there early.

Sean will be spinning house, 80's and hip hop at Bent Lounge in Ft. Worth tonight... never been there before, but you know, whatever. Could be good.

Lions in the Street/Be/Non/Imperial Battlesnake (Doublewide)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Some Questions with Dead Meadow

Usually we like to post these interviews, like, before the band actually plays their show, but this time we just couldn't get it done. Dead Meadow has been a bit hard to reach for the past couple of days as they have traveled through the wastelands of Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas, but we were fortunate enough to get a hold of them as they arrived in Denton before their Hailey's show with Chief Death Rage and Spindrift. We talked with drummer Stephen McCarty about the band's music and their place in the ongoing saga known as "psychedelic rock." Here are the results:

Do you guys have a new record coming out some time soon?

Yeah, in early September. Its all in the can and sounding good.

Did you approach the new record with any kind of substantially different philosophy or intent than you had on the previous albums?

Yeah. We did the basic tracks ourselves in a house, and everything was done by us other than some vocals, and we also recorded some stuff at Sunset Sound which was amazing. I think it sounds a lot clearer than some of our other stuff.

You guys all started off in different D.C. hardcore bands, right?

Yeah, but Steve and Jason have been playing together in bands for a long time. The band they had before Dead Meadow was called the Impossible Five, and they weren't really hardcore. I don't know how to describe it, but I know it wasn't hardcore.

And your first record was on (Fugazi bassist Joe Lally's label) Tolotta, right?

Yeah, the first two Dead Meadow records were put out on that label.

I guess D.C. is obviously most well known for its hardcore scene. Were there any other psyche rock bands in D.C. when you started?

No, but thats kind of what made us start in the first place. Joe didn't want to hear hardcore music either, which is what got him interested in us because we didn't sound like them at all.

Obviously your music doesn't sound anything like hardcore, but do you think that punk or hardcore has influenced your take on psychedelic music even though it has nothing to do with your sound? Like I know that I started off listening to hardcore and began to embrace psychedelic music later on in life, and I feel like I constantly see things through that lens of punk.

I think what it influences more is the process of actually being in a band. Like instead of waiting for a major label or manager to take interest in you, you just do it yourself, which is a very punk rock thing. And we still play tons of shows that are put on in a more punk rock spirit, like independent promoters booking shows in unusual places. It all kind of grew out of that spirit of independence.

Yeah, and you can almost detect a harder edge in Dead Meadow, or an awareness of punk in the way you guys sound and record and present yourselves. Do you think thats true?

Well, probably the darker side of our sound is influenced by other heavy bands like Sleep, and also shoegaze and things like that, but not really DC stuff at all.

D.C. isn't really known for its psychedelic rock, and a lot of people would probably guess that you guys are from the west coast. How do you think D.C. influened your sound, or did it not have an influence at all?

Well, only in like a negative way. Like we're working against something as opposed to working with something. But thats good, and its especially good when you're first starting out. Its good to feel like you're rebelling against something. But now we're at the point where these isn't any reason to be in D.C. any more, so we've all moved out.

Where do you live now?

Los Angeles. We've been there for the past two months. We finished our record there, and we're just temporarily living there. We're kind of tired of being identified with D.C. and talking about it all the time. We just didn't really want to deal with it anymore. It kind of had a lot to do with the inception of the band, but for the last five years we've been touring, so we kind of don't really identify ourselves with any one place. You kind of become a citizen of the universe.

Yeah, it seems like you guys are constantly on tour. Do you do it simply because you like it, or its a good way to make money, or what?

I like to do it. And its also a good way to make money, and a good way to get better. As far as I'm concerned, its the only way, if you're not recording or writing songs, being on tour is the best thing to do, especially when you're in the writing process, trying things out for people. Its a kind of cool tradition to participate in. The band on the road. And it beats working, for sure.

So there has certainly been a new interest in what people call "stoner rock" over the past couple of years, especially concerning bands like Sleep. Have you noticed that?

Well I don't really know how to comment on that, because I've always thought that stuff was cool.

Has that new interest created a rise in interest in your band?

I don't know if its because of that, but I know a much bigger scene has emerged with a lot of different kinds of music that kind of relate to things we've been doing on our records over the past few years, like the psychedelic rock and neo-folk things, and both are kind of picking up steam. I find a lot less pure stoner rock people at our shows these days, and its kind of getting into a lot more regular rock fan territory, so maybe thats partially an explanation. You also kind of hope that thats happening because you've been on tour for a while and people are starting to come around.

Well you guys got a lot of good press for your last album, Feathers, and it seems that Feathers incorporated more shoegaze elements than previous efforts, with more of a focus on melody. When you were making that record, did you find that you were incorporating elements in your music that hadn't been there before?

Yeah, it just kind of feels like a natural progression, when you start off doing heavy riffs and a lot of volume and just that alone is enough to keep you interested, but the longer you have to work on the songs, you want to do something that can translate outside of being a loud band playing loud. Like a song that could live on after your band, you kind of have to work at it from a different angle.

I'm sure you guys get asked a lot of questions like this, but what does the term "psychedelic" really mean to you? Because to me, dance music can have a lot of the same properties as what people think of as traditional psychedelic rock, and I wonder what you think is incorporated into the term "psychedelic?"

Thats interesting because it doesn't have much to do with an actual sound, but it has more to do with a spirit that you feel more than you hear. When you hear something you identify as psychedelic, it can be something that sounds like 13th Floor Elevators, or a dude playing a guitar alone in a room, or a lot of the old blues stuff seems really psychedelic to me. I don't know, anything that makes you feel like you're tripping out. And that dance music connection is an important one, with trance and all that stuff.

And early rave culture was probably the closest thing to the 60's psychedelic culture that we've seen in our lifetimes.

I think the other side of it was that with rave culture, the music and the lights and the whole eperience had to be put on by a very large scale crew, not necessarily a large number of people, but it took a lot of gear and money, whereas with the 60's it could be three or four or five dudes playing instruments, and I think that going in that direction is a more meaningful political statement for our times because it seems that with the whole rave thing, its an all encompassing experience but its also kind of dehumanizing, because all you see is a DJ spinning records, but when you're playing in a band, you've got the whole production right there in front of you, and if anyone screws up, thats part of the whole human element. Its a lot harder to feel that connection when you're just listening to a giant PA.

So you feel like you can create a more profound connection with people when you're playing live instruments on a smaller scale?

I think so, and we've played a lot of shows where the live bands will have the early part of the night, and then they'll be like "get the heck out of here, its time for the DJ and all the girls to come!" Its discouraging, and I'd rather not participate in anything like that.

Its interesting that you say that because "indie" culture has really embraced dance music a lot more in recent years, so you'll find a lot more shows where rock bands are playing with electronica DJs. Do you not like that development necessarily?

I definitely don't. I like dancing and hearing music, but I don't think it should be put above people making music. If theres going to be a hierarchy, I think it should be musicians above DJs. Its cool, everyone likes to have a good time, but its kind of just like listening to the radio or something like that. Its not providing a service thats unique to that moment and place.

Would you feel the same about someone getting up on stage and playing their own original electronic dance music live?

Yeah, that stuff is cool, but when they get up and play electronic music on a computer, it seems like its not really live most of the time. Usually its a lot of prerecorded preprogrammed stuff. Its really hard to play electronic music live because you're looking at someone touching a laptop or you have a set of gear bigger than the first IBM computer.

So to you, the actual experience of watching someone perform live is a pretty big key to the whole thing?

Yeah, knowing that a sound is being produced live by a human. If you can't screw it up live, then there really isn't any triumph in doing it right.

Well the renewed interest in stoner rock is coming at the same time as the rising popularity of classic acid house, both of which might be called "escapist."

Sure. The escapist connection is a meaningful one right now because people don't necessarily want to celebrate whats happening now in this country with the government.

And I read somewhere that the lyrics on Feathers are more directly political than anything else you guys had done previously.

Yeah, and there are lyrics on the next one that are even more so. Not that we've ever wanted to be a political band, but the times seem to just call for some kind of reaction. Its just too crazy and horrible not to say anything about it. We sort of feel responsible for it.

So, you did this purposefully, like it wasn't just a part of your lives, but you felt compelled to address politics in the current environment.

Yeah, and especially living in DC, you just can't get away from it.

And its interesting because we were talking about that escapist element in your sound, and people can certainly use that phrase to describe your music, but the lyrics have become more of a direct reflection of living in DC and being around politics and things like that all the time.

Yeah, we started out as more of a total fantasy, escapist kind of thing. But the more you live through it and get used to it, the more (politics) becomes a part of your life, so whatever you're thinking and feeling has to get channeled through the music.

And you said you just got tired of living in D.C. Did that have to do with the negative political climate or more with the music scene there?

Well, the negative vibrations have had an influence on the music scene. I moved to D.C. in 97, and every year its gotten worse and worse and less and less. Every summer, more people would either move away or quit the scene because they were either getting older or just didn't want to do it anymore, and at the same time, D.C. was becoming less and less inspiring of a place to be, and we were traveling farther and farther out in the country and the world, and it gets to the point where you ask yourself why you're living there because it keeps getting worse and everywhere else starts looking better.

What attracted you to L.A.?

People respond well to us there, they always buy our records and go to our shows. Its the same as New York City, but New York is a very expensive place to live. LA has a lot of available housing since its so spread out and huge, and theres a lot more happening there in terms of random connections. You can encounter a lot of different music or different types of people in LA as opposed to D.C., where you only ran into political people, which didn't do too much for us.

Have you had time to settle in there and see whats going on locally in music and art?

Yeah. All the people we've been staying with are friends of ours, and we kind of just jumped right in to what they've got going on. Its exciting because there are new friends to be made and old heroes to connect with. Its been really cool. There are some cool bands in LA too, like we're on tour with a band called Spindrift, and another group called Winter Flowers that are more of an acoustic prog kind of band, and they're really cool. And theres a guy named Jonathan Wilson who one of my roommates plays with, and he also plays with Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes.

And you guys did a live record with Anton Newcomb a couple years ago. Are you pretty good friends with the BJM guys?

Yeah, Anton actually lives in New York, but most of the BJM stuff that was done in LA was done at a place that is owned by a guy named Rob Campanella, and we do stuff there too. Everything and everyone out in L.A. is really linked.

Did you have a problem with the way the band was portrayed in Dig?

Well that took place way before I ever knew those guys or toured with them, so I can't comment on whether it was accurate or not, but it definitely did get a lot more people out to Jonestown shows, which is good for them. And theres always been a bunch of people that have come out to their shows that aren't interested in the music and just want to see something crazy happen, but as long as they pay their covers, you know, its ok. I don't know whether the movie has been good or bad, but as far as I can tell its been good for them.

So you have the album coming out in September, anything else going on?

We're going to be doing some touring in England in August, but as far as any of our individual stuff, its all in such early stages that I can't really talk about it right now.

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It List: Monday 3/12/07

Shearwater/Pattern Is Movement/So Many Dynamos/Johnny Blackmouth (UTD located @800 W. Campbell Rd. in Richardson) : It's the start of an impossibly busy week for music in the state and this Radio UTD showcase is a good indication of just how busy it's going to be. Austin's beloved Shearwater have just signed to Matador, who are kind (and powerful) enough to rerelease their critically adored Palo Santo album. I'm sure Matador owner Gerard Cosloy living in Austin helps, which might lead to other Austin groups getting the privilege of releasing albums bearing that famous flag logo. I wouldn't hold my breath. So Many Dynamos are a midwestern indie pop band with the kind of ridiculously pleading Get Up Kids-style of singing that I thought had fallen out of fashion in the past three to five years. Maybe not in St. Louis. Pattern is Movement is pretty interesting since they weave their standard melodies over willfully complex backing tracks which makes for a sometimes jarring listen, but I wouldn't say that's necessarily bad. Johnny Blackmouth is a local group with a nice unvarnished demo quality to their music that kind of reminded me of the dry recording aesthetic of "Sugar On My Tongue" by The Talking Heads. The best show you're likely to see in the suburbs on a Monday night.

Dead Meadow/Chief Death Rage/Spindrift (Hailey's): Matador owns the Metroplex tonight with one of their star acts playing Denton besides the aforementioned UTD show. Dead Meadow are pretty tranquil compared to a lot of groups in the "Stoner Rock" genre, with some rather serene pieces of music that sound influenced by repeated listens of The Madcap Laughs or Oar. Of course, there were always quieter moments on Sabbath, Budgie, and even Blue Cheer records. Dead Meadow is also unique in that their heavier moments don't sound cartoonish and forced the way some of their bong-choked peers do. Spindrift sounds like a 60's desert cult addicted to Morricone soundtracks. Chief Death Rage are the perfect local band for this bill and they can hold their own with any national act.

Psychedelic Horseshit/Pink Reason/Stag Film/Brimstone Howl (Club Dada): Psychedelic Horseshit make this whole band description thing really easy. I love when genres are included in names. They sound better than I remembered and I really like the distorted organ sound in some of their songs. Pink Reason also sound pretty cool and are along similar lines with both bands being charmingly sloppy and psych influenced. Stag Film is a bass and drums duo with some decent riffs when the garage rock vocals don't get in the way.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart

1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
2. Raleigh - The House on Seedling Lane
3. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible Limited Ed
4. Air - Pocket Symphony
5. Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
6. !!! - Myth Takes
7. Bright Eyes - Four Winds EP
8. Menomena - Friend and Foe
9. Dr. Dog - We All Belong
10. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
11. Eluvium - Copia
12. Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
13. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
14. Elvis Perkins - Ash Wednesday
15. Postmarks - Postmarks
16. RJD2 - The Third Hand
17. Son Volt - The Search
18. Apostle of Hustle - National Anthem of Nowhere
19. Big Business - Here Come the Waterworks
20. M. Ward - To Go Home

Wooden Shjips Added to Strategies of Beauty 1.5

Over the weekend, the Strategies of Beauty folks announced that they have added the excellent Wooden Shjips to their already excellent SXSW day/night show, which is surely one of the most daring and interesting events going on in Austin this week. Local fans will also be happy to know that they have added Denton's Mom, a band that seems to be getting a lot of support from all corners of the DFWd music landscape recently. This is really going to be a great event for anyone attending SXSW that might be a little weary about having to sit through another Pepsi sponsored Birdmonster acoustic show at Urban Outfitters.... or whatever the kids are into these days.


Monday Morning Rock

Friday, March 09, 2007

Weekender: 3/9/07-3/10/07

(Contributions from SR and Wildcat, someone you'll hear more from soon)

Seems like a lot is going on this weekend as we enter into one of the best times of the year for music in the area. We'll have some SXSW stuff for you next week, but we really plan to focus on the day parties and free stuff more than any of the actual showcases since: 1) you can read about showcase stuff all over the place and 2) the free day shows and non-SXSW events taking place in Austin next week are usually ten times more fun than the actual showcases themselves. I've gone to SXSW for a number of years now, and each year I've been more and more inclined to forget the wrist band all together. This year, I'm doing it: no wristbands, just free stuff. And I bet I'm going to have as much or more fun that I've had in years previous. Anyway, here we go:


Chief Death Rage/Nouns Group/Kaboom (Secret Headquarters): A solid early show over at SHQ this evening featuring the sludgy CDR, one of our local favorites (who will also have the honor of opening for Dead Meadow next week), along with two other much talked about local groups whose performances will probably be more than worth the massive three dollar cover. I've never seen Nouns Group or Kaboom live, but I hear very good things. Certainly a must see up in Denton, especially considering that it starts early enough (first band at 830) to give you plenty of time to do something else after the show is over.

Baptist Generals/Shiny Around the Edges/Mom (Denton Arts Center): Tonight, the Greater Denton Arts Council—GDAC—hosts a fundraising event that it has dubbed the Ultra Extra Arts Mix, which will include appearances by ShinyAround the Edges, Baptist Generals, and Mom. The GDAC uses its fundraising arm, The Arts Guild (link), to underwrite public arts programs and support area groups.It would appear that one product of such support is the GDAC operated Center for the Visual Arts at 207 S Bell Ave,which is where things will go down tonight from 7-11pm. Admission is $20 if you’re going solo, or $35 if you bring your date and/or mom. Between sets, you might enjoy perusing the hard and soft materials on display in the Materials: Hard and Soft exhibit in the Meadows gallery. Another reason to support GDAC? On tap for next week is an impressive partnership with University of NorthTexas College of Music to provide for the residency of Mario Davidovsky from 3/11 to 3/13. If you were a member of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (, you’d know that Mario Davidovsky is a true golden oldie pioneer composer of electronic music. I think these days Davidovsky typically combines the sounds of live musicians with tapes of recorded music/sounds. Maybe the tape components can be thought of as embedded pre-recordings, since they’re played with live musicians as pre-recordings, and themselves are sometimes composed from various pieces of pre-recordedmaterial. For example, Davidovsky has composed by cutting and variably splicing magnetic tape containing previous recordings to create new recordings for which I have offered “embedded pre-recordings” as an example. At any rate, if that sounds like your cup of tea, then maybe you’d like to compare an Electronic Study piece with a recent Synchronism composition on this guy's page. There will be a performance of Davidovsky’s works at 8pm on Monday at the UNT College of Music, and if you’re still not convinced that the Ultra Extra Arts Mix is the culturally responsible way to spend your hard earned monies tonight, then maybe you should consider that according to GDAC, this is the first event “specifically targeted at the 25-45 year old arts lover,” featuring an atmosphere that’s “like a cool, hip, modern nightclub.” Incidentally, if you’re thinking of starting up one such cool, hip, modern nightclub yourself, maybe since the Gypsy is soon to bedefunct and all, you’d do well to check out some tips this guy. (by Wildcat)
Purple Crush (Zubar): This band, coming through with the support of The Party's Sober and Select, has had a couple of impressive dance singles that have received a decent amount of play in clubs in the US, UK and France, and they really remind me a hell of a lot of the excellent I Am The World Trade Center, particularly with their cover of "Two of Hearts." You need to go ahead and listen to the song "Fire Wire" on the group's Myspace page to see what I mean. If you had any doubts about this show, I'm willing to bet that this song will change your mind with an instantly catchy verse that is quite unique for upbeat tongue in cheek art school dance pop from Brooklyn. This is a sure bet if you're looking to let lose this evening, and I'm sure the always fashionable, attractive and seemingly built in audience The Party has acquired over the past few months will be out in full force for this.

Raised by Tigers/Current Leaves/Medicine Window (Rubber Gloves): Should be quite a good show tonight at Rubber Gloves, if not the most rockinest thing you've ever seen. Raised by Tiger's pleasant songs remind me a bit of early Sea and Cake (just a bit, mind you) and the softer side of post-britpop English indie and straightforward shoegaze. You guys know Current Leaves already, and the majority of loud rock that you'll hear at this thing will be provided by Medicine Window, whose tense, jagged, rhythmic post-hardcore songs will be a perfect way to start the evening.
Fishboy/Mermaid Police/Beauxregard (J&Js): Give a listen to Belgium on Beauxregard's Myspace page. Pretty strange song, kinda good. I don't know if I really dig all the songs I've heard from them (one of them remind me of Elefant or however you spell it, who happen to be one of the worst bands ever), but this might be a good night to see what kind of band Beauxregard is since this is free and all.
The Happy Bullets are playing a free show at Good Records tonight at 7pm. I assume free beer is also on the bill.

White Drugs/Warren Jackson Hearne/Liz McGowen (Secret Headquarters): Shit, White Drugs really pack a fucking punch on record. Why they have yet to become wildly popular around town I don't quite understand, but I think its gonna happen sooner rather than later.
Baboon/Tame...Tame and Quiet/LaLaLand/Zoo video DJ (The Cavern): Although I've never been the biggest Baboon fan of all time, people keep telling me that I need to check them out live, and this might be the time I try it, considering that the small Cavern setting might be the perfect place to see a loud rock show like this, especially since TTAQ will be opening. And if it gets too hectic downstairs, the always enjoyable Zoo will be happening upstairs.
And of course, that big ass North by Southwest thing will be going on over at the Bible Banger joint in Deep Ellum. Not really seeing anything on Saturday that does it for me, but you can catch the excellent Okkervil River on Sunday.