Friday, April 13, 2007

Profile: 715 Panhandle and the NPNR label




I was talking to some friends from Austin the other day when I actually had to pause and reassess something I had just said out loud. "Denton has six D.I.Y. venues." Six. Count them. Secret Headquarters, 8th Continent, Fra House, X-Treme Dudes Manor, House Of Tinnitus, and 715 Panhandle. It seems that Denton is in the middle of a renaissance for this particular type of venue, and people far and wide have taken notice. I've never been a blind supporter of Little D (don't call it that), but I often hear people from around the state gushing about how good Denton has it, even compared to the super-hip Austin, a place I have always blindly supported. When talking with out-of-town bands, I hear pangs of envy when referring to the wealth of great places to see shows in Denton, which is starting to be come known as a place where you're likely to see almost any kind of act you can think of at any one of these venues on a given weekend. And out of the six thriving epicenters of Do-It-Yourself culture around town, 715 Panhandle in particular seems to be almost completely free of any type of sonic or social agenda.

715 Panhandle is kind of the positive little brother of the Denton Do-It-Yourself circuit, with a stronger link to the history of that culture than you might expect. It's shows cover a wide variety of music, from acoustic singer-songwriters to free jazz, and poppy indie rock to spazzed-out hardcore. The house is inhabited by four young lads with an assortment of tastes that dictate the mixtape-like nature of the eclectic line ups and add to the overall spirit of the venue. And speaking of tapes, the house is also the headquarters for a cassette-only label, NPNR, which stands for "No Parents, No Rules." The name actually provides a fairly good summation of the fun-oriented fliers, shows and overall feeling of the cassette label and the ethos it embodies, as well as the venue itself. I really enjoyed doing the research for this piece, including actually attending a Panhandle show, since the extremely upbeat attitudes of all involved with both the house and the label are a nice change from the typically jaded seen-it-all pose of music scene people, which I myself am quite guilty of. The enthusiasm for each show held there as well as the care put into the label is quite an admirable and refreshing break from the norm. The show I attended was witnessed by a cross-section of Denton's community of musicians, students, and grown-folks alike, comprising a group that differed slightly from the familiar faces you see at other places. It was such a mixed crowd, in fact, that I constantly saw little groups of people pointing at each other and simultaneously blurting, "What are you doing here"?! With such large numbers of people from diverse crowds and walks of life, its actually pretty remarkable that 715 has never had a problem with police intervention, even though it seemed like the crowd I encountered was a body short of spilling into the street, which is apparently a regular occurrence at the place.

Inside the house, people were shoulder to shoulder, moving, dancing, pushing, swinging and swaying. This is all too rare at shows now days and the energy from the bands and the crowd was easy to get swept up in as everyone seemed to move without the usual constrictions of self consciousness. 715 Panhandle is definitely a place to see a lively show, free of the extreme intellectualism or hardcore dogma you might find at similar places, but I don't mean to suggest that there isn't a lot of thought put into the music at the shows. It's just that the"No Parents, No Rules" motto does truly convey the feeling of the place: one of being at a house party someone threw when their parents were out of town, which often provide some of the best memories of growing up. Bands from out of state and as far away as Scotland have played 715 in addition to the usual Austin/Houston travelers and many DFW acts, including such diverse local groups as Unconscious Collective, Daniel Folmer, Trifle Tower, and Koji Kondo.

Again, I don't mean to make it sound as if the men of 715 Panhandle and NPNR are just here for the party. The NPNR label is a project founded by Clint Butler of Denton's Angry Businessmen, who started the label as a viable but cheap answer to the glut of "burned CD-R's with the Sharpied on title." NPNR releases include artwork and lyrics and are assembled with more care than you typically get from the aforementioned CD-R or myspace.com/mp3 formats. The first release was by singer-songwriter Sparlin, Jessels, the second will be from the Teenage Cool Kids, available at their release show this Saturday, and Angry Businessmen themselves will see their release on the 21st. The bands record onto an 8-track hooked up to a computer, where the music then finds its way to a master tape on a deck and is finally duplicated with a high speed duplicator. The releases all come in editions of 100, with represses possible if warranted. The idea of the cassette label seems more radical than ever in today's online dominated world of music, and hearing NPNR's story reminded me of labels like ROIR from the 80's and the now legendary status of those cassette-only releases, which have all eventually found their way on to other formats. Clint hasn't completely ruled out the possibility of another format for the self-released imprint, indicating that a 7-inch is possible at some point.

The next 715 Panhandle show will be at 8:00 pm on Saturday, which will be right about the time the headlining Fry St. Fair acts go on...three stages. I've got nothing against the Fry Street bands, and frankly it's quite mind boggling to think of the over-abundance of quality there must be in Denton right now when the biggest music related event in town can't fully represent what takes place there at so many different venues on a weekly basis. I'm as shocked as I am grateful that places like 715 Panhandle fly in the face of my typically jaded seen-it-all pose, even if my pose does happen to be pretty cool.

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62 Comments:

Blogger Lars said...

Great fucking post!

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written!

The gripe against Fry St. Fair is about 20 years old and boring, otherwise good job.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see how much shit you catch for this one, DL. Nice post.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

X-Treme Dudes Manor?

What/where? I hope it's better than what the name implies.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous electronic warfare said...

Denton is the nazz… it is a buzz with inspirational fire that is spreading because in my opinion the art community is interested in: nurturing each other, inspiring one another, pleasure, satisfaction, creation, connection- all of this generally with little concern for record contractz- it is about the moment and art-it is also about contributing all within a 3-5 mile radius.

I think that many of the people involved and that live here are growing jaded of the jaded.

Opportunities to partake in meaningful art rituals are not going to be provided by any institution local or otherwise.

UNT isn’t going to give it. The fast food joints on University aren’t going to give it. The Denton arts council isn’t going to give it (ok maybe sometimes they may play)- Rayzor Ranch isn’t going to give it. Geffen records isn’t going to give it. Fry Street development isn’t going to bring it. Anonymous posters that try to negate anything that their peers are trying to accomplish aren’t bringing it. Wire or Spin or New York City or San Fran or China isn’t going to give it. Loop 288 isn’t bringing it.

All of these DIY groups in Denton are saying we will bring it ourselves!

And they are and it is the fucking master blaster….they are taking it into their own hands and refuse to stop for the sake of preconceived notions of cool or the tired notion that nothing is new so what’s the point blah blah blah.

A long time ago last century Jello told the crowd at a Dead Kennedy’s show: “There’s no punk rock in Argentina, Afghanistan, Nebraska- and if you don’t keep your eyes open there won’t be anything like that here either!” They implied that it would be the peoples own undoing.

Well the people at places like the 8th and 715 and h.o.t. and shq etc etc are well aware of the fact that if underground art is going to stay alive it is all about doing it and not complaining about the lack of opportunities or worrying about how cool the coasts are.

The really beautiful thing though is I think it is even more simple than worrying about making this big thing that will revolutionize the universe (like so many posters on here like to assume) it is really just about people getting together and creating fun, sensation, friendship and memories. It’s all happening…

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and I would click on X-Treme Dudes Manor myspace... but its blocked here at work.

10:58 AM  
Blogger aaron said...

10:55
excellent point. makes me want to only play diy shit. making memories is a hell of a lot more fun than making $20 and the drive home from dallas.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous shq said...

SHQ will make out with you. All of you. Tonight.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous electronic warfare said...

aaron-

the "country" flavored clique in denton needs to start their own diy place and make it cool as fuzz...really true to the texas country vibe- have cash on the stereo and lone stars a plenty and just make it this really phucking killer place open to all- bring that flavor into the circle-

11:33 AM  
Anonymous electronic warfare said...

aaron-

the "country" flavored clique in denton needs to start their own diy place and make it cool as fuzz...really true to the texas country vibe- have cash on the stereo and lone stars a plenty and just make it this really phucking killer place open to all- bring that flavor into the circle-

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 11331133

11:45 AM  
Blogger aaron said...

man. that's a great fucking idea. need to find some dudebro's who'll open their house to such a thing.thx

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

god, you know, i'm usually a biter, but great article, DL.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Dan Mojica already did that!

12:02 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

Dan's has really expensive drinks, not BYOLone Star. I love the guy but between high cover and drink prices, i rarely frequent the place.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Zine-O-Phonic said...

Great article. I'm looking forward to spending some time in Denton this weekend.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous dan mojica said...

Aaron, what the fuck?

12:14 PM  
Anonymous shq said...

The line-up tonight from first to last:

Nightgame Cult, Pointy Shoe Factory, Undoing of David Wright, Minx Burlesque

Please, no Glass Containers tonight. It's going to be crowded, wet floors from storms, wild dancing and gothing, so do your friends a favor and bring a can. You'll survive, I promise. It's not a Rule, it's a Request.

12:32 PM  
Blogger cody said...

re:the country-esque clique opening a DIY spot:


The already kinda did. I'm totally outnumbered @ SHQ by the TXMFrs.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you count JnJ's that's seven DIY venues. i've always thought of JnJs as DIY since anyone can book a show and it's all your responsibility to do whatever the fuck you're going to do down there.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J&J's and RGRS are the best venues in Denton.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous M-. said...

Nice post!

1:23 PM  
Anonymous schmancy said...

I take that back when I said I don't usually read the blogs. Nicely done!

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J&J's = coolest place on earth.

1:36 PM  
Blogger patricia said...

npnr tapes:

http://npnrtapes.lookimdead.com

1:46 PM  
Anonymous shq said...

I agree with 1:21.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous oveo said...

fucking cool!
one of the best posts I've read on this blogs for real.

I need to go to 715 right now.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

X-Treme Dudes... Tell me about this!

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy to hear that things are going so well. I can't wait for the weekend festivities to begin. However, before we all start sucking our own dicks let's just remember that having a healthy scene means that you are willing to share it. Don't hate on Dallas. We scrape our change to play in Denton too. Some of us used to live there too. There are no jobs in Denton.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous oveo said...

when did we not share?
I've got no beefs with sharing.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can we all agree dallas is a shithole of a city?
i'll take karaoke with bubba on saturday nights in bullard texas over anything in dallas, any day of the week.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I get a little talk about what the fuck X-Treme Dude's Warehouse or whatever is?

Please?

Dallas is a shithole.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous oveo said...

I'm not exactly educated on the subject, but I believe that X-treme dudes manor is a place where they have alot of hardcore punk shows.

bands like back stabbath and resigned to fate and stuffs... don't know much else besides that they got matresses on the wallz for X-treme bouncage.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great article! loved it.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Andrew Savage deserves credit for the amazing flyer artwork, the man is a genius

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best WeShotJR post ever.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO PARENTS NO RULES!!!! hell yeah on the write up.. panhandle is where it's at.. i like it cause all the social butterflies just get bored and leave..

9:04 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

the show tomorrow night is going to fucking rule. I'm sooooo fucking excited. No work either! so i'm going to fucking sleep till 1pm...band practice.... go rock. party after.

11:50 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

I appreciate the compliments from those that liked the post. I didn't mean to gripe about Fry St. Fair necessarily, I was honestly stating that I feel there are too many good bands for the Fair to handle even if they tried to book all of my favorites. That's honestly the first time I've ever felt that way about local music and I've been following local music around here closely since 1995.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The stupid police broke up the show tonight at 715 and Trifle Tower didn't get to play. Lame.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show fucking ruled reguardless, best show there ever. All bands owned, TaCK finale fucking brought down that house.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

this show ruled.
RUUUUUUUUUUUUUULED

it is probably the best local show i've ever seen.

3:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know there are a lot of good people doing good things in Dallas. It is much more of an uphill battle than what you have to deal with in Denton. To completely dismiss an entire city is pretty elitist. People that diss Dallas have probably never really hung out here outside of Lower Greenville or Deep Ellum. The people in the know that live here rarely go to those places.

Of course who needs museums, good restaraunts, multiple arthouse movie theaters, lots of art galleries, film festivals, good live Jazz and more than 2 decent bars to choose from. We actually met David Lynch at Central Market during a public autograph session to promote his new coffee and his new film, but who needs to meet David Lynch when we can go to a house party.

STOP BEING SNOBS.

otherwise. Good Post.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^NOT PUNK

1:08 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

9:54

I don't think that DL's post had anything to do with dallas.

It shows just how pathetically jealous you are when you can't stand to see denton recieve any praise at all. Suddenly when it does, you see it as an attack on dallas.

if you hate the anons that say that dallas is a shitty place, get pissed at them, but don't call the bloggers snobs for praising someone else.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous zs said...

The Zanzibar Snails Denton DIY tour that started Saturday at the Eighth Continent continues on Sat 28 at the Fra House (w/ Nouns Group and Daniel Francis Doyle) and then May 22 at the House of Tinnitus w/ Minneapolis noise Monsters of Pot and others ...

In our months of existence the Snails have played: art openings (2); clothing stores (2); SHQ, HOT, Eighth C, and one gay bar in Austin.

As a band that would probably not come across very well in a standard bar, we're thankful to have so many great places to play that provide honest and true musical experiences.

Thanks to Kyle and Jonah for having us (and so many others) on Saturday. It was a blast.

8:03 PM  
Anonymous schmancy said...

omg. I totally thought that was the most brilliant joke, but it's for real. I just checked pollstar after my last joke. muse and placebo really played at PIZZA HUT PARK in FRISCO?!

i yi yi.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that the ballpark?

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put, 10:55 AM.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

i would like to know what clothing stores the Snails played at.

4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You met David Lynch at Central Market huh? Was that after soccer practice for the kids?

10:51 AM  
Anonymous total doug said...

9:54 AM
Dallas is really easy to get turned off to when the bulk of your exposure is deep ellum. For example, I've only had the opportunity to play RBC(multiple times), go to the tea room etc, and I really don't like Dallas becasue it's suspended in my mind as "Hell of drunk punks/crack head homeless dudes."
Maybe if I and my cohorts went somewhere that wasn't downtown we would be exposed to a friendly less metallic-imposing dallas.

I GUESS MAKING GENERIC NEGATIVE STATEMENTS IS REALLY EASY AND TRYING TO OBJECTIVELY WEIGH PROS AND CONS OF A REALLY BIG CITY IS DIFFICULT.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kyle said...

Dallas isn't "uncool". There are tons of cool kids doing cool things there. I'm really excited about John Freeman's new club: Sloppyworld! I think it's going to be in Expo Park. Dallas needs some more nice clubs now that The Gypsy Tea Room is gone.

I think Laura Palmer is another great songwriter from Dallas. I saw her at J&J's a little while back with Faux Fox and Bobby Conn and must say that her performance was one of the best i've seen all year. She writes catchy tunes that are also funny as shit! She's great...and......SHE'S FROM DALLAS!!!! Suprise!

Yes, I think a lot od cool shit is getting RECOGNIZED in Denton right now, but I also think that a lot of great things have been going on here for a while, but just haven't been getting the kind of attention that they are getting right now.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I spelled surprise wrong! Naughty, naughty!!!! :(

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dammit. I spelled of wrong too. Someone should hurt me. Hurt me rill, rill bad. bipoevgberhj][q

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are cool selected individuals in Dallas, but there isn't really any sense of community. Sloppyworld does look promising.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there isn't a very strong sense of community BETWEEN Dallas and Denton. But I aim to end that.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Angry Businessmen fucking BRING IT!

3:57 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

I hope that my last comment didn't come off too agressive... I hate this dallas vs denton geographic nutflex contest anyway. I love both places, raised in dallas, moved to denton. I think its safe to say that most places have something to offer, whether it be the worlds biggest rubber band ball or the worlds greatest art museum or the worlds most fucked up cool diy venue. the world is a cool place. stop it with this isolationist city pride bullshit.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll second that.

5:15 PM

5:15 PM  
Anonymous zs said...

The dude who asked:

we played at counter culture vintage at Mockingbird Station, and the one in Deep Ellum. Both turned out to be pretty good shows, but the people were just ... well ... shopping!

We liked the mockingbird recording so well we released it.

8:00 PM  

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