Friday, June 29, 2007

Weekender 6/29/07-7/01/07


Weedeater/Mitra/WoFat(Pastime Tavern): Original headliners 400 Blows cancelled due to illness, but Parade of Flesh has recruited WoFat to round out a bill that now features Southern Lord's stoner rock influenced Weedeater, who will take the stage at 1130. Once you listen to these bands and picture them playing at Pastime, you'll see why it is the perfect venue for a show like this. I'm really glad POF is putting shows on at that place. Dallas' Mitra isn't exactly my bag, but they seem to hold their own within the circles they travel. This is one of those shows I kind of want to see even though I'm not sure how much I'll like it. Sometimes those are the best kind.

Keith P/Schwa/Select- Chromeo Record Release Party(Fallout Lounge): Why have there been two of these Chromeo release parties in the past couple of weeks? Don't ask me. But this set of DJ slots will function as the latest edition of Hotflash, and it should be a good one. Keith P is one of the most tasteful and capable DJs in town these days, and it should be a treat to hear him spin everything from Burial to Simian Mobile Disco to Spank Rock to Sneaker Pimps.

MarnieStern/Fishboy/Eat Avery's Bones (Rubber Gloves): Hey. I'm just writing to the guy that hates me for making fun of Marnie Stern: I don't mean to make you mad, bro, but this time I acually went and downloaded her album. And you know what? I hate her even more now. Sorry. The full band will probably make this better than the performance I saw at Pitchfork, as will the fact that EAB is playing... but it won't be enough to make me consider watching her again. Check the Myspace if you don't believe me.


Faux Fox/Ghosthustler/The Party(Granada): I'm curious to see what kind of crowd this show attracts. For one thing, it's free for 21 and up and only $5 for 18 and up. Second, it has received at least a little coverage in both the Observer and the Dallas Morning News, so I'm guessing some curious parties might come to check out some of the more trendy names in Dallas music. And I don't mean "trendy" as an insult, but rather as a "so hot right now" kind of thing. And the people who constantly accuse Ghosthustler of sounding too much like Faux Fox can go to this show and find out that they're wrong. I'm willing to bet that this show will be a lot of fun, and might be the first of many large crowds Ghosthustler plays to this year.

Mincemeat or Tenspeed/Cars Will Burn/Dave Smolen/Brokenizer/Dromez(House of Tinnitus): A solid harsh noise show to add to the already impressive performance roster that HOT has accrued. I actually received an email not too long ago from a well known New York based magazine asking some questions about the place, which is pretty funny considering that some people still like to dismiss Denton DIY as "some dude's house." I've said several times on here that I'm not the Prince of Noise like some people like to think, but I honestly feel that every one of these groups is pretty interesting, and EVERYTHING I've seen at House of Tinnitus has ended up being better live than recorded.

Mom(And/Or Gallery): Mom will be performing for free at 8pm as part of And/Or Gallery's opening of it's latest exhibit, which features the work of Lily Hanson and Jason Singleton. Click on the And/Or link for more info on the art. And/Or shows are always an entertaining and stimulating way to start out the evening.

Attractive and Popular/Stag Film(Pastime Tavern): Another good Pastime show from Parade of Flesh. Attractive and Popular is an awesome live act, and I'm actually surprised that more people don't rave about them in the comment sections of this blog.
The Riverboat Gamblers/The Arrivals/Last of the Interceptors (Rubber Gloves)

Gutterth Festival (J&Js Pizza): Huge free festival that gets going around 2pm and keeps going until just about closing time. To be quite honest, I'm not a huge fan of a lot of the acts playing this thing, but I can telly you that Mom, Chris Garver, New Science Projects and Sean Kirkpatrick are worth seeing for sure, especially when it's free. Click this to see the full set times, etc.

The Smoke (Art Club): Fans of the Smoke will be happy to learn that the Smoke DJs will be handing out their mix CD on Saturday night. They'll also be happy when they see what a vast improvement Art Club is over the old Avenue Arts. Now book more shows dudes!

Check back wit us... doesn't look like anything is happening, but if it turns out we're wrong, we'll post something this weekend.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It List: Thursday 6/28/07

Lost Generation With Wanz and Ineka (Fallout Lounge): Tonight's guest DJ will be Robert Taylor. Wanz will be playing:

New stuff from Tortoise as Bumps, Goose, Von Sudenfed, Thomas Fehlman, The Eternals, Battles and Apparat.

New old stuff from Keith Levene,Can, Richie Hawtin, Pop Group and more.

I was unimpressed by Battles the other night. Those people with their arms crossed that everyone keeps bitching about? Yeah, that was us. Give me a reason to uncross them and I might. Might.

Also, if you are at all familiar with the kind of crowd that used to be into Don Caballero or Storm And Stress, you would know that those people practically wrote the book on crossing their arms at shows. Damn.

80's Night With DJ G (Hailey's): I hate when they play Joe Jackson because Stonedranger will sometimes cry, and I have to console him.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It List: Wednesday 6/27/07

Sticky Buns/Faux Fox/Pretty Vacant (Rubber Gloves): Should be another good sticky buns show tonight, and this time they've added Faux Fox and Pretty Vacant to the bill.

The B52s (House of Blues): The B52s used to be cool and all, but this shit costs 50 bucks, and I wasn't planning on taking it too seriously. And you know what sucks? I couldn't find one funny picture of Fred Schneider on a Google image search. Not one. It would have made this post at least three times better. So up yours, Fred Schneider.

Pete Best (Granada): I guess theres a bit of Pete Best in all of us, isn't there? You know, that part of you who is still suffering from that time that you had a chance to do something life changing and cool, and then for whatever reason it got all fucked up and you ended up playing shows at the Granada in Dallas instead of being a knighted billionaire? Well, the next time I want to be reminded of that part of me, I'll go to a Pete Best concert.

Brave New Sloppyworld

The story of Deep Ellum's downfall has become as played out as the neighborhood itself, but the tale of Expo Park's rise is just starting to get interesting. Over the past several years, the small community of bars, cafes and lofts located at the corner of Exposition and Perry has emerged as an on again off again alternative to the dreary Deep Ellum and dude-brah controlled Greenville, providing an intimate and relatively hastle free environment in which several interesting things might (or might not) be happening within mere feet of one another on a given night. Places like the Amsterdam, Art Club, Fallout and Minc have all hosted at least a few solid shows (along with some bad ones as well) over the past three years, and the popular neighborhood spot Meridian Room has continued to be a favorite of many East Dallas and Oak Cliff residents. Expo Park does face it's share of problems- crime, inconsistent venue booking, and that annoying homeless magician in the parking lot, but one newcomer to the neighborhood might help to raise the bar in area that already seems to be on the up and up.

As I walked through the relatively empty space at the corner of Perry and 2nd Ave that will soon be known as Sloppyworld, scene veteran and Sloppyworld proprietor John Freeman began to explain why he decided to risk a great deal of time and money to open a new music venue in a city that hasn't exactly been hospitable to such things lately. "Expo Park is the last cool neighborhood in Dallas," Freeman says, "and we can't let it die too. This might be our last chance." This kind of intensity and concern for the state of local music is a force that seems to guide Freeman in his vision for Sloppyworld, which will be Expo Park's first full time live music venue. He also seems to possess a keen sense of practicality.

"Dallas needs a cool mid sized venue run by people who are musicians themselves," he says, and any objective observer would have to admit that he has a point. With the closing of Gypsy Tea Room and Trees, as well as the emergence of the somewhat cold and corporate Palladium Loft and House of Blues, it is clear that Dallas could use a mid sized venue (200-500 capacity) run by someone who understands the city and the void that currently exists for more eclectic and experimental shows. Sure, places like Art Club and Doublewide will have a good show here and there, but due either to the size and/or booking preferences of Dallas' current venues, there doesn't appear to be a single place that is looking to consistently book the kinds of acts that many readers of this blog might enjoy. Like many in the area, Freeman realized that there was a sizable niche in the Dallas live music market that wasn't be satisfied, and he decided that it was prime time to seize a golden opportunity.

John Freeman's history in the Dallas and Denton music and art scenes is fairly well known, and his experience as both a musician, a venue employee and a promoter has been highly influential on his vision for Sloppyworld. He has seen and done a lot, working at the Argo, organizing as a member of the Good/Bad Art Collective, and most recently booking quality acts like Beach House for The Amsterdam. Learning from both the good and the bad, Freeman seems capable of taking the best aspects from some of those well known ventures and applying them to the concept and reality of Sloppyworld. "I can promise you that (Sloppyworld) will be like nothing you've ever seen," he says, adding that he envisions the place will be "kind of a mixture of the Argo, the old Good/Bad Art Collective, the Orbit Room, and a bizarre x factor that is all my own." He plans to have the venue open anywhere from 5-7 days a week, and hopes that the place will be seen not only as a venue, but as an epicenter for the musical and creative community in the area, hosting various activities and events in addition to the kinds of concerts that often have to venture north to Denton to find a home these days.

When I visited Sloppyworld a few weeks ago, the two things that became apparent from the get-go were it's size and highly desirable location. Located in 80 plus year old building that previously housed an antique store, the space's high ceilings, structural support beams and large, rectangular shape help create a spacious and warm atmosphere that is glaringly absent at places like House of Blues (duh). Furthermore, it's corner location assures that Sloppyworld will be one of the most highly visible venues on Perry street, situated a few dozed feet away from Meridian Room and Bar of Soap.

Of course, with so many upsides to a place that will be located in the economically depressed Fair Park area, it would seem that the city of Dallas would be more than accommodating to a business owner like Freeman. But unfortunately, things have not gone as smoothly in the planning and permit stage as one might hope. After several unsuccessful and unassisted attempts to figure out what kinds of permits were needed for the venue, Freeman's original opening date had to be pushed back several months in order to get all the paper work in place. "I had been to the permit building in Oak Cliff seven times over three months before they just told me that I needed a special use permit," Freeman said, "so then I had to go to City Hall, and it takes two months to process." City officials were largely indifferent throughout the process, but the problematic delays in construction were at least somewhat mitigated by some of Freeman's helpful neighbors and friends. "The girls at Doublewide have been amazingly supportive. Bar of Soap, Meridian Room, Fallout Lounge, and even Club Dada and Rubber Gloves have all sent their support. They're smart enough to realize that a new bar/venue in this area could only help everyone and bring more business to the area, which benefits everyone."

With the official opening date now set some time in mid to late September, Sloppyworld is just a few months away from opening it's doors. Of course, one new venue is not going to change the face of the neighborhood or the Dallas music scene at large, but talking with Freeman convinced me that he has the experience, integrity and musical knowledge to book good shows and run the venue in a way that should be beneficial to patrons and performers alike. Not every show will be something we're all into, but considering some of the highly respectable names he mentioned when discussing possible bands to book (I promised I wouldn't tell who), Sloppyworld's presence on the scene seems like one of the most promising developments in Dallas music in some time. "I plan to book bands that might not get shows here otherwise," Freeman says, "and I like strange and interesting bills where you have a mixture of bands on the same evening that may not seem to fit on paper, but when you put them together, some kind of rock n roll alchemy makes it the best show you've ever seen." How many Dallas venue owners have said something like that recently?

(Thanks to Dudes McRudes for taking the pictures above)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It List: Tuesday 6/26/07

The Police (American Airlines Center): What am I supposed to say about the Police? I was thinking of cutting and pasting from the "old band that used to be good and then broke up, went through tough times and then came back to overcharge for a reunion tour in which they bank on nostalgia and bore people to tears with embarrassing new stuff" file, but I'll spare you.

Klever/Sober (Suite-4515 Travis St.): I have no idea what Suite is, but I'm guessing the uptown location probably explains most of what you need to know. Should be some weeknight fun for those that venture on to that side of 75 however, and if you aren't one of those people, you might want to make an exception tonight as Klever returns to Dallas for another show with Central Booking. I don't believe there is a cover, and they get points for chicks on cars poster.

Great Northern/Dove Hunter/Current Leaves (Palladium): I'm not the only one who sometimes goes on a band's Myspace, listens to a very short portion of one song and then completely dismisses them, right? I'm sure I'm not. But that is exactly what I just did with Great Northern. I've listened to exactly 10 seconds of their music, so don't bother asking for details. They blow. aNd iT DiDN't HeLP thAT tHey SPeLL THeir sOng TItLes liKe tHIS either. Actually, after listening to ten seconds of that garbage, hearing Dove Hunter immediately afterwards was a treat, even though I'm not the biggest fan in the world. And we're still waiting for Current Leaves to put that second full length together, but they've got some big fans of their live show amongst our crew.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Chart


1. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army (ltd. ed.)
2. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army
3. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
4. The Polyphonic Spree - Together We're Heavy
5. St. Vincent - Paris is Burning


1. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army (ltd. ed.)
2. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army
3. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
4. Panda Bear - Person Pitch LP
5. Menomena - Friend and Foe
6. Amiina - Kurr
7. Jaylib - Champion Sound (re-issue)
8. Mice Parade - Mice Parade
9. Art Brut - It's a Bit Complicated
10. Battles - Mirrored
11. White Rabbits - Fort Nightly
12. Sea & Cake - Everybody
13. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum
14. Tomahawk - Anonymous
15. Efterklang - Under Giant Trees
16. Fennesz Sakamoto - Cendre
17. Bumps - Bumps
18. Dungen - Tio Bitar
19. Band of Bees - Octopus
20. Elliott Smith - New Moon

The new Black Moth Super Rainbow, Fennesz and Dungen are all really good. You should buy them. And do you think they pushed hard on the new Polyphonic Spree record over at Good last week?

Monday, June 25, 2007

It List: Monday 6/25/07

Battles/The Frenz /Ponytail (Hailey's): Battles released their long awaited full-length last month and they seem to have alienated some of the audience they amassed with their first handful of ep's, but they most likely have gained a new one. Since signing to Warp they have been featured in places as strange as NME, and various other rags you don't usually find music with such a strong experimental pedigree. I'm not sure what to make of the new album, due to the whole thing being practically ruined with ridiculous and sped-up chipmunk vocals, but if that doesn't bother you then there is some genuinely interesting music there. The show will be worth it just for the frantic drumming and to witness how they pull off all of their sonic tricks live. The Frenz is Wanz Dover's most straight-ahead project, but even that's due to be untrue on a given night. The critically acclaimed Ponytail hail from Baltimore and they kind of sound like Deerhoof and the The Fucking Champs.

Jana Hunter/Brooke Opie/Oveo (Rubber Gloves): Jana Hunter has done pretty well for a singer from the rough streets of Arlington. She might be the only musician from this area to release something through Troubleman Unlimited unless you count Farah, and you should. Her song-writing is enjoyably sleepy and understated, and her vocals are much less grating than some of her contemporaries or than you would expect from someone championed by Devendra Barnhart. I think it's great that the avant/improv duo Oveo are playing with these two singer-songwriters. They played a much more punishing set than usual the last time I caught them at The Eighth Continent. Add the lovely vocals of Brooke Opie and you have what seems like a very solid yet varied show.

NOTE: Jana Hunter will be performing an in-store at Good Records at 6:30 pm.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Monday Morning Rock

Dear Palladium Loft,

Thanks so much for having me at your place on Friday night. I enjoyed the VHS or Beta and Roxy Cottontail show quite a bit, and I appreciate the fact that it was free. And you know what? I didn't even hate your venue as much as I thought I would. True, the no smoking thing is really lame, but with easy access to the large balcony, it's really not that big of a problem. And yes, the place does feel a bit more like a Carnival Cruise ship than an "edgy" downtown loft, but all things considered, I suppose it's not bad. In fact, I'll happily attend a concert there again. The only bit of advice I'd like to offer is to either retrain your current security staff or go out and get a new one. I didn't experience a lot of hostility personally, but I did witness a couple of the security guards being unnecessarily aggressive assholes several times throughout the evening in various situations. Now, I realize that you're just starting out, and there are certainly going to be a few bumps in the road. But if you could just go ahead and let the security staff know that they don't have to take a violent tone when they're telling people that the bar is closed or that they can't walk down a certain hallway, it would go a long way towards making people want to come back again. In fact, if they could tone down their attitude a little bit all together, I think it would help convince people that Palladium is a decent place to see a show. Thanks very much.


MON: Battles/Ponytail/The Frenz (Hailey's)
MON: Jana Hunter/Oveo/Brooke Opie (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: 400 Blows/Weedeater/Mitra (Pastime Tavern)
FRI: Chromeo Record Release with Keith P/Schwa/Select (Fallout Lounge)
SAT: Faux Fox/Ghosthustler/The Party DJs (Granada) FREE
SAT: Mincemeat or Tenspeed/Cars Will Burn/Dave Smolen/Brokenizer/Dromez (House of Tinnitus)
SAT: Attractive and Popular/Stag Film (Pastime Tavern)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Wall of Sound So Far...

They've booked Spectrum, Om, The Books, The Sword, Ghosthustler and White Denim, among others. Shaping up to be pretty good.

Weekender 6/22/07- 6/24/07

Sort of a slow weekend... and we're sorry we were a bit short on content this week, but we'll have several features next week for you. And PS- checked out 80's night at Hailey's for the first time in a while, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were more people there than at 90% of Hailey's live shows. Anyway, here are things:


VHS or Beta DJ set/Roxy Cottontail/The Party (Palladium Loft): This is a FREE party at the new Palladium loft venue organized by the Central Booking crew. VHS or Beta comes through for their second area DJ set in a month, and Roxy Cottontail comes back for another round in Dallas as well. Like I said before, VHS or Beta kind of blows as a band, but they seem like they might have decent enough taste in dance music to make their DJ set worth checking out (according to their Myspace page, they're into Justice and Kitsune and stuff like that). This will probably be the most fun thing you can do in Dallas tonight, even if Palladium has given in to the hippie-communist-west coast-liberal assholes that can't stand a little smoke in their venues. This is Texas damn it. We can leave the union ANY TIME WE WANT, you know. Roxy Cottontail even got her nails done to show her support.

Spitfire Tumbleweeds/The Silver Arrows/Tame...Tame and Quiet/Night Game Cult (Rubber Gloves): Eclectic line up at Rubber Gloves, with the two opening acts serving as the major highlights. I can't decide exactly what to think of the Silver Arrows... pretty goofy lyrics and a stylistic range that's all over the place- bits of shoegaze, AOR inspired indie pop, and avant rock loosely inspired by early Pink Floyd and Beefheart (check "Parade" on their Myspace page.) The recordings aren't as interesting as all that, however, even if their live show might be worth seeing.

Nouns Group/Dust Congress/Seth Sherman (Secret Headquarters): Everyone knows that Nouns Group has developed a reputation for great live shows (I've seen a couple of them myself and agree), but I do want to say something about Dust Congress: if you live in Denton, you're probably overloaded with folk or country influenced beard bands and Josh Pearson disciples, many of which are good at little more than boring me to tears... but to me, Dust Congress stands out in the pack, effectively utilizing their Americana influences to create songs that are rough around the edges and intense enough to make hearing them anything but a boring experience.

Soft Environmental Collapse/Pretty Vacant (Liquid Lounge): The people behind the excellent first edition of our We Shot A Mix will be playing records tonight before a set from Dallas' Soft Environmental Collapse... some of their tracks kind of remind me of The Verve or Starsailor if they were fronting an early 90's Warp Records ELM/space disco influenced British synth pop band... pretty safe and standard I suppose, but certainly different from most of the Dallas local music douche sound- the well put together tracks are leagues above most in area, even if you could call it "chill out." As commercially friendly as they sound, I'm surprised they haven't found more success in the area. Could be a good show.

The Frenz/Kneepad (Secret Headquarters): I've seen two performances from Wanz Dover's Frenz, and had completely different reactions to each. The first show at Doublewide a few months back was fantastic, with hard driving Kraut inspired rhythms, space/ambient influenced drone electro and a supreme confidence in the material. The second show I saw, also at Doublewide, was much more of a mess. The songs seemed a bit meandering a little uninspired. But the recorded material I've heard from this project has been great, and you have to cut them a little slack due to a revolving line up and the newness of the project itself. I'm looking forward to seeing where Wanz takes this next. Check the song "For the Seducer" on their Myspace page. Good stuff.

Cindi Lauper/Erasure/Debbie Harry/Dresden Dolls (Smirnoff): I'm only listing this due to some stupid loyalty I have to to Debbie Harry. She could be doing ballads with Clay Aiken these days for all I know. And I'll keep pretending like I don't like a couple Erasure songs... shut up dude, I'll kick your ass!

Discover America/State Bird/The Winston Jazz Routine/Vandeventer's Grants (Hailey's): Fans of folk inspired indie cuddle pop will probably dig this show... some of it is ok, but Discover America needs to discover a way to shut the fuck up. Thanks.

Coolio/Tone Loc/Color Me Badd (Lakewood Theater): Movin' 107.5 put together this little ditty in the neighborhood for everyone thats into I love the 90's or whatever... two things- 1) "Fantastic Voyage" was a skateboarding in the summer jam for a lot of people, but Coolio can probably die already.... 2) I heard that "sex you up" shit the other day and I was like "hey, this is kind of cool." Seal got all the credit for this kind of music, but I don't remember making any mixtapes for girls with "kiss by the rose on the grave." I was more on the "I Adore Mi Amore" tip. Tone Loc can also die.



Life is so UnFarah

Some references to Farah appeared today in Pitchfork's review of the latest Italians Do it Better compilation (which is great, btw). Add that to the props she received from the respected 20 Jazz Funk Greats and other European electronica blogs, and you might start to think that her music is better known abroad than it is in her own town. Typical, I suppose.

Anyway, after hearing Johnny Jewel discuss their collaboration, we're happily wondering what else those two might be able to put together in the future.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday: 6/21/07

Shibboleth/Magic Cyclops/Dutch Treats (Double Wide): Magic Cyclops just played RGRS, and he'll be bringing his one-man/one-joke act to the Double Wide, which makes a lot of thematic sense. Shibboleth does what more bands should do, go instrumental. Hey, at least that's one less thing you have a chance of completely fucking up. The Dutch Treats is John from Sloppyworld's solo project and it looks like he'll be a good match for Magic Cyclops.

Menomena/Mom/All Smiles (Granada): I think Menomena might get a little undue credit for being "experimental", when they are far from it to my ears. I am, however, familiar enough with music biz propaganda to understand that might not necessarily be the band's fault. They do seem better than most indie-pop acts, high concept or otherwise. This will be a good show for Mom to open, with their celebrated violin-heavy atmospherics. All Smiles is a Grandaddy side project. I'll let you figure the rest of that one out.

Lost Generation with Wanz Dover and Ineka (Fallout Lounge): From Wanz:
New stuff from Burial, Blackstrobe, Diiplo, Prinzhorn Dance School, Simian Mobile Disco, Data, Surkin, kaman leung, LCD Soundsystem, Tayo meets Acid Rockers, Skream, Loefah, Ben Klock, Battles, Pole and much much more.........tonight is gonna be a step above normal. Our guest DJ tonight is Sean Vargas.

80's Night WIth DJ G (Hailey's): I heard this guy talking about Italo disco waaaay before they sold comps of the stuff at Costco.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It List: Wednesday 6/20/07

Sticky Buns are doing their dance party thing at Rubber Gloves tonight, and

Short Attention Span Theater will have the following at Hailey's:

Join us TONIGHT as we take a kaleidescope journey through Saturday Night Live drug references! We have over 50 skits ranging from the first season to now all with characters high on something more than life. And to make it more interesting we are going to let YOU choose which ones we are going to watch!How could this be possible you may ask? You will just have to come and find out. And as always in between viewings Chauncey and Chad will be spinning the grooviest tunes this side of the Betty Ford Clinic. As a service to you the viewer, we will be showing classic drug awareness/rehabilitation videos as well while the music is happening. We don't want you to think we approve of Bill Murray's lifestyle choices back then.

Last Week's Charts


1. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
2. PPT - Tres Monos in Love
3. Voot Cha Index - The Talking House/Cradle 7"
4. St. Vincent - Paris Is Burning
5. Glen Reynolds - In Between Days


1. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
2. The National - Boxer
3. Fair To Midland - Fables from a Mayfly
4. Fennesz Sakamoto - Cendre
5. Soundtrack - Once
6. All Smiles - Ten Readings of a Warning
7. Voxtrot - Voxtrot
8. Shout Out Louds - Tonight I Have To Leave It
9. PPT - Tres Monos In Love
10. Shellac - Excellent Italian Greyhound
11. Dungen - Tio Bitar
12. Handsome Furs - Plague Park
13. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (Deluxe Edition)
14. White Rabbits - Fort Nightly
15. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
16. Blonde Redhead - 23
17. Battles - Mirrored
18. DJ Jazzy Jeff - Return of the Magnificent
19. Cornelius - Sensuous
20. Betty Davis - Betty Davis


1 NATIONAL Boxer Beggars Banquet
2 BOOM BIP Sacchrilege [EP] Lex
3 CAKE B-Sides And Rarities Upbeat
4 METRIC Grow Up And Blow Away Last Gang
5 BONDE DO ROLE Bonde Do Role With Lasers Domino
6 RAY'S VAST BASEMENT Starvation Under Orange Trees Howells Transmitter
7 QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE Era Vulgaris Interscope
8 ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI Heart It Races [EP] Polyvinyl
9 MINUS STORY My Ion Truss Jagjaguwar
10 SEA AND CAKE Everybody Thrill Jockey
11 SAGE FRANCIS Human The Death Dance Epitaph
13 WILCO Sky Blue Sky Nonesuch
14 BJORK Volta Atlantic
15 BATTLES Mirrored Warp
16 DOG DAY Night Group Tomlab
17 LAVENDER DIAMOND Imagine Our Love Matador
18 MATTHEW DEAR Asa Breed Ghostly
19 FROG EYES Tears Of The Valedictorian Absolutely Kosher
20 SHAPES AND SIZES Split Lips, Winning Hips, A Shiner Asthmatic Kitty
21 BLITZEN TRAPPER Wild Mountain Nation Self-Released
22 WOODEN WAND James And The Quiet Ecstatic Peace
23 MICE PARADE Mice Parade Fat Cat
24 ROCKY VOTOLATO The Brag And Cuss Barsuk
25 DAVID VANDERVELDE Nothin' No [EP] Secretly Canadian
26 BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW Dandelion Gum Graveface
27 RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Release The Stars Geffen
28 ELLIOTT SMITH New Moon Kill Rock Stars
29 DNTEL Dumb Luck Sub Pop
30 ARTHUR AND YU In Camera Hardly A

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

We Shot A Mix Vol. 2: Ghosthustler

It might sound strange, but Denton folks probably weren't surprised today when they made their way to Pitchfork and found the face of Ghosthustler lead singer Alan Palomo starting back at them from the website's lead page. As most of our readers probably already know, Ghosthustler has attracted an incredible amount of attention (both nationally and internationally) in recent months on the basis of a very short resume: three original songs, a couple local shows and a Myspace page. And truth be told, the band is quickly becoming one of the area's most well known and highly praised independent/underground acts, despite a surprising lack of coverage by most of the local media.

We were fortunate enough to be able to talk Ghosthustler into creating the second installment of our We Shot a Mix series, and we're really glad we did. The track selections, ranging from Alan Vega to Simple Minds to Justice, reflect the band's influences quite well, displaying both the timeliness and timelessness of their synth/disco/glitch house aesthetic. And the mixing? Stellar. Looks like these guys are still on their "Do No Wrong" streak.

Download the mix, which they've titled "Blog House is Dead, Long Live Blog House," right here (UPDATE: the link is fixed) and check out their first music video for "Parking Lot Nights" below the track list:

1. Mr Oizo - Patrick 122
2. Does it Offend You, Yeah - Battle Royale
3. Chromeo - Call Me Up
4. Alan Vega - Saturn Drive
5. Crystal Castles - Air War
6. Jackson & His Computer Band - Radio Caca
7. Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow (Van She Remix)
8. Bumblees Unlimited - I wanna be Your Ladybug
9. Daft Punk - Technologic (Vitalic Remix)
10. Simple Minds - I travel
11. Justice - New Jack
12. Chris and Cosey - October Love Song

It List: Tuesday 6/19/07

Dinosaur Jr./Black Keys (Ridglea Theater): Big-time lineup put on by that wild underground indie-rock/party people collective known only as Camel Cigarettes. Dinosaur Jr. were much better than I thought they'd be when I saw them, and I thought they would be pretty good. They absolutely killed, especially when they played anything off of the first album and it was amazing to hear those songs at unbelievable volumes, free of the claustrophobic SST sound so prevalent at the time. When they went in to "Just Like Heaven", everybody went as crazy as if The Cure themselves were at Gypsy Tea Room. I recommend going but I think it's lame that Dinosaur Jr. might open the show. Who do The Black Keys think they are? I think they're kind of a frat rock band, but that's just me.

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone/Gym Mat Nap /Magic Cyclops/Alex Atchley (Rubber Gloves): Woah, pretty intense venue change. One minute you're playing at the 3,000 capacity Palladium (upstairs, but still), and then you're playing at the 300 capacity Rubber Gloves. I don't know what the story is, but it's cool of Rubber Gloves to add two acts to the bill at the last minute. I feel like Casiotone For The Painfully Alone is an idea that's reached its logical extreme, but it's also had its fair share of acts ripping it off over the years, thus making them seem more overplayed than they probably deserve. Magic Cyclops is the aesthetic opposite of the earnest CTFPA, featuring a one-man act that features a lot of synth but also a lot of trailer trash jokes. Gym Mat Nap is the experimental pop side project of Matt from Tha Bracelets. Alex Atchley is in Black Wizardz and I'm assuming this is his electronic-based solo project. I'm sure he'll leave a snide comment confirming as much.

The Rosebuds/Land Of Talk (The Cavern): The Rosebuds are pretty safe and sweet pop music, with a lot of dance beats. Kind of an indie-rock take on New Order but minus the moodiness. Land of Talk is a little more rocking than their tour-mates, with straight-forward catchiness and achy-voiced melodies not unlike Scrawl or Bettie Serveert at times.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

is cancelled at Palladium for tomorrow... sorry to those of you who won tickets to the show. It appears that someone is trying to schedule another show for him at a different venue tomorrow night, and we'll keep you updated as to that. We'll be sure to hook the winners up with something equally as good to make up for it.

It List: Monday 6/18/07

Mike Tamburo/Zanzibar Snails/Handbrake/Dust Congress(Rubber Gloves): Regular readers probably aren't surprised that we dig on Mike Tamburo's Ghosts of Marumbey, released earlier this year. It's a haunting and pretty collection of collage music stuffed with so many different kinds of sounds we don't really have time to describe. Since we're a bit short on time today, I would suggest reading this rather informative review from Pitchfork. And with Zanzibar Snails opening, it'll be a pleasantly blurry start to the week.

Bad Azz Jazz (Amsterdam)

New Thrill Parade/Doppleganger/Wildlife(1919 Hemphill): Apparently 1919 has hit some very tough times: low on funds, almost without electricity, and in need of some support. Coming out to this early show might be one way to help them out. It might also be a way to see some interesting bands. Doppleganger is the noise side project of a couple members of Koji Kondo. This looks to be one of the coolest shows 1919 has had in a while, so don't wimp out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Monday Morning Rock


MON: Mike Tamburo/Zanzibar Snails/Handbrake/Dust Congress (Rubber Gloves)
TUES: Dinosaur Jr./Black Keys (Ridglea-special event, no tickets available)
TUES: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (Palladium Loft)
THURS: Menomena/All Smiles/Mom (Granada)
FRI: VHS or Beta/Roxy Cottontail/The Party (Palladium Loft)
FRI: Spitfire Tumbleweeds/The Silver Arrows/Tame...Tame and Quiet/Night Game Cult (Rubber Gloves)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Weekender 6/15-6/17

Looks like this will be one of the slowest weekends we've seen around here in a while, but there are still a couple good things to do:


Shearwater/Minus Story/Shiny Around the Edges (Rubber Gloves): Although I don't know much about Shearwater, for some reason I just assumed that they sucked before this week. I don't know why. Maybe they used to. Maybe it's the name. Who knows. But after a couple listens to some of the material on Palo Santo, their latest album, I realized that they do not in fact suck. Their music is soft and pretty and poppy and heavy on the atomospherics with a rustic folk presence, yet it is a far cry from the boring indie pop that I assumed it was. And pretty much the same goes for Minus Story as well. Two very solid bands that aren't breaking any rules, but are quite impressive all the same. The excellent Shiny Around the Edges opens, and I'm sure we'll hear some of the new material of their forthcoming full length, which should be released some time in the next couple of months.

Late Night at the DMA- Erykah Badu: Free show starts at 8pm unless it rains or something. Check the DMA website for weather updates... and assuming it does happen, coolers filled with alcohol will be allowed. So there's that.

Apparently, The Stills will be playing a free show at the 7-11 4201 Travis (corner of Travis and Fitzhugh) at 9pm as part of some Camel sponsored invite only event. Not kidding. According to the Camel website, the event is sold out, so I guess you'll have to go in there and pretend you just want to buy some delicious Camel smokes or something. Yum.

Sean Vargas (Esoterica Lounge- Ft. Worth)


Hailey's Summer Showcase feat. Tree Wave, Ghosthustler, Sarah Reddington and others (Hailey's): This thing is free if you're over 21 and $5 if you're not. Honestly it's a mixed bag of acts, and some of the better ones probably couldn't have a worse set time (Ghosthustler while it's still light outside?), but we're not going to bitch too much about a free show with free stuff, and unlike most weekends of late, there isn't a whole lot happening in Denton this weekend. Check the Hailey's website for the full line up.

Radioclit/Nature/Sober/Select(Fallout Lounge): Central Booking brings London's emerging DJ group Radioclit to Fallout for one of a very small number of U.S. dates. Radioclit seems to spin the usual range of styles for a Central Booking gig, from Lilly Allen to Sinden to David Banner to Justin Timberlake. Something to please everyone with good taste in dance.. and if you don't believe me, you can check the mix on their myspace page or the Central Booking blog. I thought I should mention the $3 cover as well since it's a rarity at Fallout.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club/The Horrors (House of Blues): The last time I saw BRMC they played annoying improv shit and acted like they were on heroin. Maybe they were. I still really enjoy the first two BRMC albums (especially Take Them On, On Your Own), but I don't know what they hell they've been trying to do for the past couple of years. The Horrors are one of those NME English teenager bands that look like little pieces of shit but aren't actually as bad as you want them to be. Not great mind you, but not bad. Think Christian Death mixed with Art Brut and you're kinda right.

Daniel Folmer/The Western Civilization/Chris Garver/New Science Projects (The Cavern)


Great Lake Swimmers/Eleni Mandell (Bend Studios): In one of the comments sections the other day, someone couldn't seem to believe that a halfway decent act was playing at Bend Studios. Neither could I. But they are. Eleni Mandell is tolerable as well.

Thunderbirds are Now! (Palladium Loft)

Skinny Puppy (House of Blues): This was a blast from the past that I didn't even realize was alive, much less playing shows. But they are. You decide which side of the acceptable industrial influences/bad metal industrial side of the divide they fall on. I'd say the former for sure, but an argument can be made for the latter.... early stuff rules though.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tickets and Stuff

Our friends at Radio UTD have hooked us up with two pairs of tickets to see Casiotone for the Painfully Alone next Tuesday, June 19th, at Palladium's Loft venue. How do you win these things? Easy. Just email and tell us your name any time between now and Monday at noon. Then, on Monday, log on to Radio UTD's website at 3pm and listen for Natalia to announce the names of the winners. It's easy- all you have to do is send an email and listen to some music.

It List: Thursday 6/14/07

Lost Generation with Wanz and Ineka (Fallout Lounge): From Wanz:
New stuff from The Liars, Sharon Jones, Mundo, Justice, Mr.Oizo, Bad Brains, Apparat, The Monks(new unreleased material), Chemical Brothers, Calvin Harris, Do May Say Think, cato salsa experience and the thing with joe mcphee, Dan Deacon, Digitalism, Bebel Gilberto, Kaman Leung, Audion, Alan Vega, 120 Days and much much more.

I'm really interested in this "new unreleased material" from The Monks.

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

Harry And The Potters/Fishboy/Ed In The Refridgerators (Rubber Gloves): Holy Fuck. Have you heard these bands? I give you full permission to kick my ass if you spot me at this show. Note: Show starts at 6:00 pm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It List: Wednesday 6/13/07

(by DL and SR)

Dan Deacon/Video Hippos/Mom (The Cavern): We've talked enough about Dan Deacon today, but a couple things about this show that you might like to know: 1) by all accounts, this show will probably sell out, and it might do so quickly. 2) both of the opening bands are well worth seeing. The message? You'll probably want to show up early for this one.

Drenches/Villa Valley/Weak Sisters/Ferveur Noire/Aunt'sAnalog (House of Tinnitus): This looks like it' s going to be one of the more extreme and challenging shows in the area in sometime. This is an all noise show, harsh and sonorous to a degree that makes the average metal show seem tame in comparison. Drenches use tape manipulation mixed with electronics to create a splattering drill-like cacophony. Their tour-mates Villa Valley sound slightly more dynamic and haunting with longer rumbling expanses to offset the violent peaks in the music. Weak Sisters mix together older noise techniques with modern "power electronics" and add a little tortured screaming for good measure. Aunt's Analog and the lesser known Ferveur Noir are both from Austin, have similar approaches, and are equally impressive in their performance ethic, as evidenced in this Ferveur Noir video from the "No Future Fest." And remember kids, it's BYOB. That Foster's you've been jacking cost somebody real dollar bills. Speaking of dollar bills, these are touring bands, so donate accordingly. video

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Questions with Dan Deacon

For me, Dan Deacon's Spiderman of the Rings has been one of this year's most unexpected musical pleasures. When I first heard the Woody Woodpecker sample on the album's opening track, I initially though "jesus, this is really annoying." But as I continued to listen to that and all the other songs on the record, I began to realize how impressive and unique the record really is. It's noise, it's pop, it's loud, it's funny, it's emotional. Basically, it's a wild ride. And if the rumors about Deacon's intense live shows are even half true, his performance this evening (Wednesday) at The Cavern will probably end up being one of those "man, I was THERE" kind of shows. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Dan Deacon while he was hanging out in Austin, and he had some intereseting things to say about his music, his audience, and his city:

So you're down in Austin right now, right?


How do you like it?

It's cool. We had the day off yesterday, and I spent the day walking around enjoying the heat.

Yeah, you came at the beginning of our long miserable summer. It was nice until about a week or two ago.

Perfect. We really know how to book a summer tour.

Yeah. So I read that you have a masters degree in electronic music composition, is that right?

Well the degree was technically in composition, but the focus was on electro-acoustics.

Could you explain a bit about that field of study?

Sure. It's just the study of electronically manipulated acoustic sound. You know, beeps and whistles and shit.

What was your musical background before you started formal study?

I played in some bands in high school and wrote a lot of MIDI compositions on my PC with a program called Midisoft, which was just like straight graph paper where you would click in the notes, and that was my main theory background prior to school. When I went to college I didn't originally study music, I was just studying whatever, and I was in a lot of improv bands and weird sort of noise bands, and then I found a signal generator in the garbage and started getting into processed sine waves, and I guess this was about 8 years ago, I started doing drone sine wave pieces, and then I got bored with that and started experimenting with rhythm and experimental pop and stuff like that.

Did your formal training have a profound impact on the manner in which you were inspired by music, or the way you conceived music?

Well the best part was just being able to focus on music. I went to conservatory so the only classes I took were music classes, and it was nice to do nothing but music and be constantly exposed to other composers and performers. It was a pretty small program, so most of the classes were like me and two or three other people, or just me and the teacher. I think if I hadn't gone there, I wouldn't have as much knowledge of counterpoint or nontraditional harmony and stuff like that.

Did it change the kind of music that you were interested in making?

I don't know, it's difficult to say since I don't know what the outcome would have been if I hadn't gone there. I'm sure it did change it, and I don't know if it dramatically changed the style of music that I like, but I'm sure it had some impact if that's what you're asking.

Have you read the Wikipedia entry on you?

Not recently.

Well it says that your music can be classified as part of the "future shock" genre, which I had never heard of before. What is that?

It's not really a real genre. A bunch of Baltimore bands just tried to come up with a name to describe the Baltimore sound, and I guess it was mostly just Wham City bands. Future Shock was just sort of an idea. A lot of the bands are not necessarily evolving, but they're constantly changing their own styles and sort of lapping themselves and what they do. Are you familiar with the book Future Shock?

Yes, I am. So I guess the genre's name does have something to do with the ideas of the book Future Shock and singularity theory in general?

Very vaguely, I think we just thought it sounded sort of stupid and somewhat sneaky.

Well I could just be reaching here, but it seems like the idea of Future Shock, losing control of technology, is something that I can almost hear in some of your music. It seems like a lot of your songs are sort of bursting with noise and energy and sound like they're about to spiral out of control, even though they never really do.

Yeah, I would say it's more coincidental than anything, but I would agree.

I wanted to ask you about Wham City and Baltimore because I've come across a lot of really great music coming out of Baltimore lately, and I was wondering what you thought about that. Is there something about the city that makes it so fruitful these days, or is it just a fortuitous coincidence?

I don't know. The city is pretty awesome, just the way it's laid out and how vacant it is. It's so underpopulated that people who are doing stuff there are constantly interacting with one another, and i think that also has to do with the people who are currently there. I think it's a mixture of environment and population, and the timing was just perfect for it.

For the East Coast, it's a pretty cheap place to live.

Yeah, it's definitely one of the cheapest places on the east cost, especially the north east coast. Something like 90 square blocks are uninhabited or abandoned and boarded up, so I think it will be pretty cheap for a while.

And I guess a lot of it does have to do with getting lucky with the people who happen to be there, because a place like Dallas, for example, has a music scene that seems to just now be waking up, even though Dallas has a lot of advantages as a city, low cost of living being one of them.

I think a lot of smaller cities and, for lack of a better term, non-notable cities like Dallas and Baltimore are starting to see a new revival as larger cities just become too expensive and flooded with bullshit.

That's true. Could you tell me a bit about Wham City?

The best way to find out is this article in Baltimore City Paper that describes it in massive detail, but the short story is that me and several other people that graduated from Purchase moved down to Baltimore three or four years ago and moved into a warehouse and started booking shows there, and more of our friends moved down, we met more people in Baltimore, and the shows seemed to be ridiculous and big and crazy, and we developed a reputation for being a wild dirty show space, and it sort of took off until we got evicted.

Our first lease wasn't renewed so we just moved upstairs, and after the landlord found out we were there, he terminated that lease and evicted some of us, and eventually evicted all of us.

Did he accuse you guys of doing damage to the place, or did he just not want shows there?

Damage to the place, he didn't want shows happening, the fire marshals knew that every other weekend there were like 400 people in the apartment, so basically it was a combination of all those things you don't want the landlord and fire marshal to say. But we've got a new space opening in September.

Really? Will it be a similar space?

It'll be the same size, but it's going to be a legal space. We'll have a maximum occupancy and have a full liquor license. It will still be all ages, but it will be more a, I don't know, non-illegal type place.

I thought the Pitchfork review of your new album was cool because it talked about the experience of seeing you live in the Wham City space. Do you find that the live experience of your music is more important than the album, or are they too hard to compare?

Most of the tracks on the album are written for live performance, but I don't know if it's more important. I would say that they're both important, but the live performance is definitely more intense.

Yeah, and the review was talking about how cool it was that there were so many different people at your shows, like punk rock kids and techno people, and to me that's the most exciting kind of atmosphere.

Yeah, I totally agree.

I read that most of the lyrics you write are based on phonetics rather than any kind of concrete meaning. Is that correct?

Yeah most of the lyrics are written like that except for the song "Wham City," which is sort of an absurdist fantasy tale about Wham City.

I'm interested in how you go about developing lyrics phonetically, which is such a different approach than that taken by most rock bands, for example. Could you describe how you go about creating the lyrics?

For the most part, I write the beats and structure of the song first, and then I'll rehearse it with the gear and sing over it, and whatever comes intuitively while I'm playing that song, normally the hook and the verse, I'll just listen to that and see how the vocal sounds connect with the music. Sorry this is such a dry interview, I don't think I've ever done a more dry interview, and I'm sorry if this is endlessly boring for you.

(laughs) Not at all. You're just answering my questions, so it's probably my fault. Anyway, another thing I was interested in was your transition to pop music from more free form experimental stuff. What is it that interests you about pop?

I grew up listening to the Beatles and Kinks and Led Zeppelin and stuff like that. I think pop is the music of our century and I think it would be foolish to shy away from it. It's just the most fun, and my last couple albums were a much more diverse mix of arrhythmic noise pieces mixed with strange pop pieces, and after I started touring I began enjoying the more rhythmic stuff and I sort of went into it head first and that's what I've been focusing on for a while. I mean, a band like Arab on the Radar is like a pop band but they're extremely musically violent and dissonant, even though the root of their stuff is pop, same thing as Lightning Bolt. I think that is the most innovative music can be, taking something that isn't very accessible and making it accessible, I think that's really important.

It's interesting that you say that because if you compare a Lightning Bolt show to a Shins show, for example, people move and react at a Lightning Bolt show in a way that is both more utilitarian and primal, and it's as if people have a much stronger and more important reaction and connection to stuff like Lightning Bolt, even though it's much more strange and unpredictable than a Shins show, where people don't seem to care as much.

Yeah, I also think there are obviously many different backgrounds in the audience of the independent music scene these days, and mostly it comes out of punk, ska and indie. And I think the hardcore punk and ska crowd got used to going to shows when they were kids in high school and freaking out, and I think that generation is now in this realm of discovering a new type of pop. That's the scene I came up in. I grew up on Long Island and all that was there were shows in Churches and VFW halls and kids would go just to go as crazy as they could, and then those kids went to college and saw kids just standing around at shows and it was boring as fuck. Why would anyone want to go to shows like this? Then you started seeing more weird rock bands that came through and had that dance element incorporated into them, like early Rapture back when they were much more weird and a lot less slick. Then you see a band like the Locust and Lightning Bolt, and for the live atmosphere, audience is such an important part of the show. If the audience sucks, then the show sucks.

Have you encountered audiences that were much too calm or overly tame on this tour, and were you able to change them?

Yeah, especially in the cities I've never played before there's been some weird kind of tension at first, but it's easy to cast some spells on people to get them to dance.

And I wonder if it's a generational thing, because the first waves of punk and post punk and hardcore emerged as a very underground thing that was sort of a reaction against mainstream pop music, and when people our age (mid 20's) started listening to punk, it was a much bigger and more acceptable cultural phenomenon. I wonder if because it was a more acceptable mainstream experience for our generation, people who listened to that kind of music when we were growing up now find it acceptable to draw from both pop and underground music, whereas the older generations wouldn't have dreamed of it.

I totally agree, I think you're absolutely right. And underground music has become so large that now it rivals the mainstream. Even the large indie labels have been bought out by major labels, and the definition of "underground" doesn't really exist anymore. I don't even know what it means at this point.

And you can see that manifest itself on the business side too, because while the major labels continue to struggle with stagnant mainstream pop, other kinds of music continue to thrive.

Yeah, the Internet has made the scene so big and so small at the same time. All these networks have become a hit because of bands working together, and it's so easy to discover new bands. It just completely cuts out the middle man that you used to need in order to "make it" in the music business, and now bands book their own shows, burn their own CDRs, start their own venues, and advertise it all for free on the Internet.

Yeah, five years ago, there's no way you and I would be talking right now.

Yeah, I totally agree. My album leaked two or three months ago, and if it hadn't, I don't think it would have been nearly as big as it is. Before the Pitchfork review, it got downloaded on Oink and Indietorrent tens of thousands of times, and it's just crazy how this shit works.

Is there anything else you wanted to mention before we finish?

Well I'm working on the next album, it should be done pretty soon. It won't come out until next year because the entire album will come with handwritten notations for each song so that people can learn all the parts, and on the next tour, we'll meet up with a new musician in each city and play it exactly how it is on the notation. And we're going to do another Wham City tour and open up the new Wham City soon. We're also working on a Wham City tv show as well. And on this tour, we're handing out lyric sheets for people to participate in the show, so if you know anyone who wants to do it tomorrow, tell them to come on down.


It List: Tuesday 6/12/07

Fair To Midland/The Timeline Post/New Science Projects /Record Hop (Curtain Club): I'm not going to pick on a major label act that even Zac Crain thinks is lame. Easy targets are not my thing. This certainly is a hit or miss lineup, one that reeks of the lack of rhyme or reason that is the hallmark of many Gutterth-related events. My suggestion is to come early and at least catch the two acts worth checking out. It's probably the last chance you'll have to see Record Hop before Albini ruins their sound with his trademark gloss and digital tricksterism.

Teenage Cool Kids/Rocket For Ethiopia/How Hard/Tugnut (Eighth Continent): Various takes on punk history at the Eighth Continent tonight. Tugnut is comically disjointed thrash and they're not as bad as their band name. Rocket for Ethiopia is sloppy 80's influenced-punk with an impressive ugliness, particularly with the vocals. Teenage Cool Kids are the most melodic act and they play catchy emo-pop songs. How Hard is serious and tense rock with DC punk riffage.


Gashcat will be at Hailey's and The Great Tyrant will be at the Wreck Room in Ft. Worth. Don't have time to add links or full listings... just wanted to give a heads up.

Shellac: Excellent Italian Greyhound

Photo by Greg Schaal

The anticipation that surrounded the last two weeks leading up to the release of Shellac's newest album, Excellent Italian Greyhound, seemed to be of a bygone era. It was a lovely experience to see and talk to so many guys and gals, young and old alike, who were actually excited about the physical release of a new record. Not just the usual, "Yeah, I'm an asshole. I got this leaked download a month early." That's a cool little party for you, but where's the communal joy in that? Shellac has not forgotten the art of the record as a complete package, utilizing everything from a free CDR with vinyl releases to the real maple syrup slathered on the logo of one of their seven inches. To an almost annoyingly geeky degree, people look forward to their album art and packaging as much as the music, and as annoying as that can be, it is a rarity to see that kind of care in music today, from bands as well as their fans.

Jay Ryan, of The Bird Machine fame, did the cover art of the outer sleeve, adding to a legacy that includes an incredible oversized print for the Touch and Go anniversary last year and countless show posters for many noteworthy bands. Some of you may remember his Art Prostitute exhibition that was the triumphant swan song of the Denton gallery and the Good Records book signing that he did in correlation with said event. Ryan is also a talented musician, who played in Dianogah and the pathetically underrated Hubcap. The inside artwork features more literal interpretations of the album title featuring drummer Todd Trainer's miniature greyhound, Uffizi.

Once you get past the novel and beautiful cover art, there is the music. No amount of jaw-dropping cover art would matter in the slightest if Shellac hadn't remained a force in underground music simply by continuing to play sporadically these past seven years and adding to an oft-stated declaration as being one of if not the greatest live bands on earth. The only downside to having such a dangerous live reputation lies in having to somehow represent all those unique moments on record. Those who have seen Shellac live this decade (or heard bootlegs and live radio sessions, etc.) have become familiar with their yet-to-be-recorded live staples, and at some point the group seemed to have amassed enough material for a new record. In fact, they've often stated as much, repeatedly announcing the album title when asked by audiences at one of the traditional Q and A sessions at their shows. I was convinced it was a joke, and I suppose it is.

The idea of what the record would sound like and the record itself creates a disparate gap that is either a pleasant or unpleasant surprise depending on what you're expecting. I had grown to really enjoy the live versions of the unrecorded material so it is admittedly tough to live up to those recordings and live experiences. As much of an impressive band as Shellac is in the studio, I believe the standard they have set live is now unsurpassable. The rawness and immediacy of live versions of "Genuine Lullabelle" and "Spoke" in particular render them undeniably definitive, and I'm not just saying that because Strongbad is featured on Lullabelle. In fact, I've never been a Homestarrunner fan, and I'm as perplexed as anyone about the cameo. Albini is such an outspoken critic of such accepted cultural changes of the past thirty years (from Protools to Graffiti Art) that his inclusion of an internet cartoon character seemed beyond unlikely. It's not just that I don't find Strongbad funny, but it ruins the quiet intensity of the song. I'm sure that's somehow the point but it doesn't make it anymore enjoyable. Lullabelle sounds like it formed in the long improvisational stretches Shellac includes in their sets, especially in the classic "Billiard Player Song."

Another surprising aspect of the album is how much the inclusion of bass player Bob Weston as lead vocalist stands out on 2 of the album's 7 vocal tracks. Weston is a much different vocalist than Albini, and that's not exactly a plus- he alternates between a soft monotone and a shout that makes him a dead ringer for D. Boon, and although his shouting has always been a great part of Shellac's sound, his singing has more of a "modern rock" tinge to it, which falls flat in comparison to his more spirited vocal attempts. His voice was heard on two tracks on the last album, but they blended in more seamlessly compared to his work on EIG. The record has more crooning than any other Shellac record, and it seems that a lot of chances were taken in that regard- there's even an actual harmony on "Elephant."

The playing itself is on par with some of Shellac's best work, a case in point being the gorgeous instrumentals, "Kittypants" and "Paco." "Paco" also contains a sound not included on most Shellac songs: fingerpicking, as opposed to the usual stabs and scrapes of Albini's metal plectrum. The result is a beautifully subtle texture not often heard in his guitar playing, a style usualy noted for it's harshness of tone and choppy, terse technique. The repetitive bassline of the album opener "The End Of Radio" recalls their most extreme exercise in unchangingness, "Didn't We Deserve A Look At You The Way You Really Are" from 1998's Terraform.

There is nothing too far out of the ordinary as far as Shellac's overall approach here, as the more straightforward aggression of At Action Park and the drawn-out experimental sides of The Futurist are still recognizable throughout the record. I would have to strongly disagree with the contention in the Pitchfork review that Shellac sounds "indebted" to other acts on EIG , as if referencing of this sort was something new. I would say that Albini has consciously taken from groups like AC/DC, Golden Earring and ZZ Top going back almost twenty years or more in his career. The classic rock chugging and throbbing is nothing new. A big difference in Shellac circa 2007 is that it seems more apparent than ever that the band is a an on-again/off-again recording project, something that wasn't always so detectable. Terraform especially seemed like a cohesive statement, even though the songs were recorded over a number of years. The new record seems much more like a scraping together of aged and unreleased material ("Spoke" has been around since the mid-90's and "Be Prepared" at least since 2002), and has the feel of something that might just have been overworked live. Perhaps the worst thing about this record is that it doesn't include what I felt was the best song the band had written this decade, "Hang On." Albini stated at some point that the lyrics seemed to coincidentally reference the Iraq war, something he definitely didn't feel comfortable with. In order to avoid any sort of accusations of Bono-like aspirations, the song was dropped. If you can track down a live recording of this, I highly recommend it. I'm not one to whole-heartedly endorse downloading or bootlegging, but that damn song is perhaps my favorite piece of music that I've heard in the '00's, and I'm hoping it's released on a seven-inch that I can overpay for at some point.

For die-hard Shellac fans, which I have no qualms admitting to being, this will be another record that's welcome with open arms, ending a seven year wait. It may not really be "best album" material, but it still shreds most of the sewage that surrounds it on the Good Records or Insound sales charts. Even if Shellac is in danger of showing their age or releasing their possibly worst recording, this could still easily be the best release of 2007. I don't know if I will ever pay another band that high of a compliment: They could beat you on their worst day.

Excellent Italian Greyhound was released on June 5th, 2007. The vinyl version is packaged with a free CDR of the entire album.


Monday, June 11, 2007

It List: Monday 6/11/07

All I know of is bad ass jazz happening at Amsterdam, and fans of M. Ward can check out his performance opening for DFW's own Norah Jones at Nokia Theater. I think I'll pass.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Charts


1. Glen Reynolds - In Between Days
2. Room Sound - Fire and Frontier
3. Robert Gomez - Brand New Towns
4. The Polyphonic Spree - Wait
5. St. Vincent - Paris Is Burning


1. Battles - Mirrored
2. Glen Reynolds - In Between Days
3. Room Sound - Fire and Frontier
4. Dungen - Tio Bitar
5. Voxtrot - Voxtrot
6. Elliott Smith - New Moon
7. Shellac - Excellent Italian Greyhound
8. A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Hun Hangar Ensemble
9. Afghan Whigs - Unbreakable
10. Handsome Furs - Plague Park
11. Clientele - God Save the Clientele
12. Soundtrack - Once
13. Pelican - City of Echoes
14. Menomena - Friend and Foe
15. Daniel A.I.U. Higgs - Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot
16. Montag - Going Places
17. Mont De Sundua - Mont De Sundua
18. Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
19. Ladybug Transistor - Can't Wait Another Day
20. Great Lake Swimmers - Ongiara

Album Review: Daniel Folmer: Gloria

Once upon a time I was at a Clientele show at Hailey’s, and one of the opening bands (Great Lakes?) sounded as bad as you might expect a band claiming Brooklyn as a surrogate home would sound. It made no sense for them to open for Clientele. In addition to the fact that they were just awful, their sound was not at all congruent with an atmosphere that would have been appropriate for a Clientele show. In contrast, Beachhouse was a much better choice this time around.

Anyway, as we were suffering through this opening set, my friend made a comment that has stuck with me ever since. He noted that just about every other word out of the singer’s mouth was a pronoun: you, me, we, he, she, I, etc. It was an odd observation to make, but nevertheless, it was like a serendipitous discovery of what it was, even more than the music, that was really irritating about that band.

guTTerTh deserves a pat on the back for sticking their neck out and supporting a slew of acts in the metroplex. To this point, they have 3 releases to their credit (Fair To Midland's Fables of a Mayfly is a fourth on its way June 12th) and incidentally two of the three fall in to the "dangerously high pronoun quotient" category in the way of Daniel Folmer recordings.

Mr. Folmer has received high praise from the Dallas Observer, which recently claimed that he was “on the precipice of something brilliant.” I can understand the anticipatory excitement: DFWd continues to demonstrate surprisingly little propensity to yield quality singer-songwriters, which is especially disappointing given the ostensible regional influence of southern folk/country ala Townes Van Zandt. Even so, I don’t know that such optimism is justified given the aforementioned deluge of pronouns on Folmer’s latest, Gloria.

The most salient feature of Gloria is Folmer’s undeniable inclination to wear his heart on his lyrical sleeve. This, as much as the subdued nature of the music that accompanies him (and I believe Folmer can be credited with nearly every single sound on this album save for a few beats from Cody Seals) is where his appeal would be strongest for the non-dancing-lower-decibel-listening audience. In a case of tragic irony, however, Folmer’s admirable willingness to share the most intimate aspects of his young life is the same quality that may eventually sour on his listeners.

By my count, every single song on Gloria concerns an element of a boy/girl relationship. One after another, the tracks leave a cumulative impression that Gloria is a rather relentless litany of relationship hits and mostly near-misses. I don’t know if all these songs are about the same girl, different girls, or what, but my intuitive reaction is that Folmer should be so lucky to have soooo many relationship issues on his hands. It’s kind of like a catch-22: You must be pretty slick with the chicks if you have enough material to write an entire album about girl-problems.

Track 1, Serotonin, is no doubt one of the album’s strongest, and it deals with the difficulty of sifting through “serotonin side-effects” to find sincerity of sentiment in a relationship. Fair enough, right? I think there’s also a reference to “cutting.” Certainly heart-felt and a weighty topic that many of us of the Prozac generation can empathize with.

Skip to track 3, I’m Not Apt at Speaking French, and there's Folmer sharing his insecurities about a girl being in Europe, without him, topless on a Mediterranean beach, with European men “eye-raping” her.

Track 4, Obsession Blues, reveals more insecurity. There’s a girl, but she was sadly lost to some other guy. The bastard is a “talky one,” a “social butterfly, not the awkward, silent type.”

Track 5, Fancy Free, is also about competing for a chick. This time, the girl enjoys dancing with her new guy, who may or may not be the same guy in Obsession Blues: “Ooh baby dance all night with your brand new boy just like I never would.” Then there's Folmer more viciously: “Sweetheart all your big plans will stumble when you long for pregnancy, so good luck finding a man to raise your children who won’t fuck other women.”

Interestingly, pregnancy is a topic that is present on the album's cover and surfaces several times over the course of the album. The most striking instance is in the next song, the title track. Gloria recounts a night of steamy lust that concludes in a most unsettling way: “We woke in the morning. Sheets were bleeding, our future draining out of your insides.”

Track 7, Final Scene, once again references relationship hell. Perhaps using death as a metaphor for the end of a relationship, Folmer sings “And in our final scene…you’ll bury me inside a scarlet coffin.”

Track 8, Romantic Monstrosity, is somewhat self-explanatory: “A recipe for ecstasy replaced melancholy, this romantic monstrosity, this passionate catastrophe.” By now, some of you might agree that this would have been an equally good selection as the album’s title-track.

Track 9, Sorry for Being so Sorry, is about a relationship that’s hanging on by a thread. Folmer sings about waiting for a girl to call on the phone. He sings: “My flame still burns bright tonight, your words ignite this dimly lit fire.” Not sure if this is the same girl that's on the European vacation in I'm Not Apt at Speaking French.

The final song, Sculptor’s Touch, is about how a girl left a lasting impression on Folmer: she “molded” him with…a “sculptor’s touch.” Here’s Folmer in all his romantic monstrosity: “When you sleep, with all the lights up high, will you think of me?” “When you dream, with all our nights on fire, sweet tranquility…”

Phew! I guess Gloria at least scores points for consistency. But then again, Folmer’s demeanor is alternately vengeful (Obsession Blues, Fancy Free) and conciliatory/ hopeful (Sorry for Being so Sorry). I suppose I can appreciate that he identifies and expresses emotions that can be conflicting in the context of relationship problems, but I think therein lies more tragic irony: the uncompromising passion that dominates Gloria may be at the root of a vicious cycle, which in turn might be cited as the source of the album's monotonous character. “Don’t think twice, it’s all right” would be a pertinent alternative psychology that could open up opportunities to contemplate and sing about things other than girls. It seemed to work for Bob Dylan...

Obviously, Folmer can write about whatever he wants or feels compelled to write about. He’s certainly, like any other artist, under no obligation to entertain me or anyone else inclined to listen to his songs. Moreover, one perspective is that it's a healthy thing when art is the outward product of introspection, and along with that goes a sort of relativism that can preclude judgment. On the other hand, here we have guTTerTh scattering bulletins and comments all over myspace that nag us to go check out Folmer and spend money (a modest sum of $7) on his album. For what it's worth, I actually tend to discount lyrics and the subject matter of songs when considering whether or not I “like” music that I listen to, and I really do enjoy some of the strictly musical content of Gloria.

Maybe I’m jealous that he boasts such an extensive catalogue of relationship experiences. It'd be a shame if my own life is so vapid and utterly devoid of romantic drama (I think I'd welcome serotonin side-effects any day) that I’m inherently skeptical of someone capable of chronicling such melodrama in song upon song. But then again, maybe my outlook is symptomatic of the DFWd experience in general, which itself might play a role in suppressing quality singer-songwriting. It might also explain why someone like Daniel Folmer could reasonably have some of us here on the edge of our seats, anticipating something unique and brilliant.

Gloria was released on May 18, 2007.