Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It List: Halloween

Health/Crime Novels/Daniel Francis Doyle/Nouns Group/Eat Avery's Bones (Eighth Continent): So there are two big Halloween shows in Denton tonight-- and this is going to be the LOUD one. You can learn more about Health by reading DL's interview just below this post, and I'm guessing that many of you are looking forward to this. You really haven't been able to wander around MP3 blogs for the past few months without seeing something about Health or one of their noise/art/hardcore L.A. contemporaries, and just about every account I've ever read of their live shows indicates that yeah, you probably want to see this. Not sure what time things get kicked off tonight or when Health is due to go on (maybe someone from the 8th can fill us in in the comment section, and please don't tell us that thing is going until 2), but just about any time you get there will be a good time, with a solid line up all the way through to keep you company.

Mom/Florene/Mistress/Fizzy Dino Pop/Sticky Buns (Rubber Gloves): Maglium Records affiliated event servers as the (mostly) softer side of Denton Halloween this evening with an interesting and eclectic line up that will be free to see if you wear a costume. Sticky Buns, Mom AND Mistress on the same bill? If that doesn't demonstrate some of the diversity in Denton music, then I don't know what does.

Halloween Party with DJs Nature, Sober and Select (Granada): Not sure what else is going on in Dallas tonight, so I'm thinking this party will be the place to be tonight. Last time I heard Nature at Granada, the sound system seemed surprisingly sufficient for dance music, and if they fill this place up tonight, I'm guessing this show will be really fun.

And the Great Tyrant is playing at the Chat Room in Fort Worth, but I don't know the rest of the line up and don't have time to find out.

Dokodemo Doa (Cool Beans): Just wanted to add that the beloved and recently reformed Denton act, Dokodemo Doa is playing the roof of Cool Beans tonight at 10. This set will consist mostly of old songs but they are apparently going to start working on new material. Show is free.

It's What We Get/Liquid Bounce/Short Attention Span Theater (Hailey's): It's What We Get is the DJ Duo comprised of members of Ghosthustler and Gazelles. This is the second Halloween Party at Hailey's put on by We Made Out Once.

And if you really want a good scare on Halloween, think about the possibility of reading ANOTHER update on the state of Deep Ellum in the Observer. Can boring be scary?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Interview: HEALTH

I first saw HEALTH roughly a year ago, playing in front of a fairly small audience. After attending a couple of better attended shows, they always seemed to dwarf their surroundings and the crowd especially, with the expansive crush of their sound-a nightmarishly pounding throb that was laced with shrieking electronics and intricate poly-rhythms. The frantic immediacy of HEALTH's live show is offset by the ghostly and eerily beautiful singing. It is these contradictory sonic factors that have contributed to how much HEALTH's music has lent itself to what is arguably some of the most intriguing remix work of a band's music in recent memory. It has gotten to the point where they have put up a separate Myspace page to showcase the reworked music. After a remix of one of their tracks by the highly influential Crystal Castles, HEALTH found itself in a much different place than the tiny space where I first saw them a year ago: in the top 10 of the UK Indie Singles Chart. It now seems possible that HEALTH's audience will perhaps seem more evenly matched with the gargantuan sound they make. Founding member and multi-instrumentalist John Famglietti was kind enough to speak with WSJR by phone yesterday:

So are you guys in Houston today?

Yeah, we're gonna be in Houston probably a little bit late actually. We're going to be there in like, three hours.

Oh, really? Is that at Super Happy Fun Land? Or some other place?

No, it's at somewhere I've never heard of called The Proletariat. We've never played there before.

Tell me a little about the catalyst for Health and how you formed. Were you all drawn to LA from other places? Or are you all natives? How much do you feel the surroundings affect your music?

Two of us are from LA, that's Jupiter (Keyes) and BJ (Miller). BJ's from Riverside, which is the IE (Inland Empire), which is pretty close to LA. And Jupiter's from El Monte, so pretty much from LA. I'm from San Diego and Jake (Duzsik) is from Seattle. Jake moved there to go to school, and I moved to LA when I was 18. So that's basically it. We just wanted to, it's mostly out of we met and wanted to form a band. The surroundings, I don't know if there's anything like landscape or anything that inspired us. Definitely not. But the scene is definitely very inspiring. And the community. I don't know how that comes out musically, but that definitely makes it a lot easier and a lot more encouraging to make music, to have that support.

Yeah, I was actually wondering about how you perceive the creative culture in LA, geographically. Is LA as defined by location or as split up as New York tends to be? Are there specific neighborhoods that have a lot going on or does the sprawl tend to cut into the clusters of activity?

I guess the only real difference I see is that pretty much everyone you're going to hang out with or is part of the scene, almost all of them live on the East Side, or east. And of course the hip neighborhoods are definitely east of Hollywood now days, or closer to downtown, and the shows are around there. Because it's LA, it's very rare that stuff is really centered around a neighborhood. You know, kids who are part of the scene or a part of the shows and all the cultural shit are living, as usual, really fucking far. Or they live in the IE and they're fucking driving an hour to go to a show and they're always there. So people are driving really far and that's just LA. So nothing to really slow it down at all, but there's definitely a vibe and cool things going down on the East Side and around downtown, in Echo Park and areas around there, where it's cheaper. And then that's where we live. But it's not really localized into a little borough or whatever the hell. And the IE is the Inland Empire, the very edge of LA County, in the fucking desert. It takes an hour to get to the city. It's just over the mountain, where Riverside is. That's where's BJ's from. And a band like Abe Vigoda, are from the IE. They're an LA band and they're driving an hour to come in every time they go to a show, which is really awesome.

Since you mentioned Abe Vigoda, the first half of the decade seemed to have been dominated by East Coast acts, specifically out of New York, and now the West Coast seems to be producing a lot of quality music. Especially in the past few years and definitely more than the overhyped East Coast in the first part of the decade. What are some of your favorite bands from LA? Maybe you can name some that people might not be aware of.

Captain Ahab is probably one of our favorites. I think the LA bands that are getting the most attention are the ones that are more rock-oriented. Captain Ahab is really awesome, doesn't get very much mention, and is probably the best. Also there's a really awesome, really active noise scene in LA. But it's kind of hard to name their people because they just change their name and you can't well...fucking whatever. (Laughter) Also, Anavan is really awesome. Nosaj Thing, he's electronic, really awesome. I know it's getting to be a lot. There are a lot of good bands! The good thing is that bands from LA are getting a lot of attention so I don't even need to mention them, but they're getting a lot of attention. That's really cool. Really exciting. I still think that the East Coast is still on top, not New York anymore, but Baltimore is a really good scene with the highest quantity of really good bands.

I guess Baltimore, Providence, and Williamsburg have been the main places, East Coast-wise.

Yeah, but I think the impressive thing about the LA scene though, really, is no one is fucking moving there to make a band. So all the bands we have are people who are pretty much from the area for the most part, or around the area. Very few people are moving to LA now days to be part of something hip or cool like all these people moving to different cities, who have been the whole decade. It's pretty cool that we have this many good bands of people who are just already here.

Hopefully, it stays that way. That's usually what ruins it.


I believe there's some age diversity in the group. Do you feel that affects how your tastes differ from each other or the different influences you each might bring to the band?

Yeah, yeah. But I think we're close enough in age that we still have formative...I don't know. Well, Jake and I had formative experiences with punk rock like most do, and BJ and Jupiter didn't. I don't think that has anything to do with their age, just how they grew up and stuff like that. Definitely some differences in music, but we all really come together on what we like. I think we're all pretty much close enough in age that we still have the same touchstones of what was popular in the 90's growing up. We all relate just fine. I think Jake and I having a formative experience in punk rock is probably the biggest difference in terms of our diversity in musical taste. But we're all bound to the same stuff.

So did you have mixed feelings about SXSW? Were there any highlights of CMJ for you? Do you see these conferences as a necessary evil or are they enjoyable on some level?

We don't have any mixed feelings about SXSW. We love SXSW. Really love SXSW. I think these are really cool things to do. CMJ,I think we prefer SXSW a lot more. It makes a lot more sense in terms of how much easier it is and how everything is connected and right there. CMJ was a fucking...was a lot of work. Parking and driving in Manhattan, and getting from place to place, and shit like that. But we really enjoyed it. It's really fun stuff. We enjoyed it overall.

I heard you chose to record at The Smell for sound purposes, since that's where you've played a lot. Homecoming shows after tour etc. Is that the whole story, or were there other advantages aside from the field recording methodology of recording at the club where you usually perform?

It was mostly about the sound. We were we were really really scared about our album just not having... Most bands you hear today, you'll buy the cd and they'll always be recorded under the same circumstances and everything is strangely super fucking dry and sounds really really digital and not very good. So we were just trying to find a way, though we were self-recording it for a budget, to still make sure the recording would have character and would sound really good at The Smell. Ultimately we were allowed to record it for free. We had gone to studios that were within our price range and they had asbestos ceilings or something that just we were not going to accept to record our drums in. We had to have concrete or brick or whatever it took, the open walls. And The Smell's got that-it's all concrete and brick and it sounds really good.

Yeah, you can definitely hear the whole room and the drums. So that's part of what you were looking for, that ambient room sound?

Yeah definitely. The Smell was so cavernous that it was really hard to record in, and it definitely changes the tone quite a bit. So it's not the ideal situation, but it sounds really good. We were willing to have that and have way less control, than record in a studio and just be spending all this time just trying to make it sound better and be really unhappy with the results. But we're happy with the results.

I've heard at least one of you, maybe in a press kit, compare yourselves to Animal Collective, and I feel that almost might be selling yourselves short in a way. I was surprised by how much your full length sounded maybe like some of This Heat's first two records at times, along with other electronics-infused kinda scratchy-noisy-punk stuff from the late 70's/early 80's. Is there an interest in electronics from that era, or did you use more sophisticated modern equipment to accomplish those sounds? For instance, when you're beating on drum pads, some people are purists to the point where they want to have the exact drum pads that some early electronic pioneer band used. Do you have that kind of vintage equipment fetish?

We don't have any equipment fetish. We're going to use whatever sounds good to us. But the funny thing is my drum pads are actually from the 80's. They're analog and they do have that sound! (Laughter)


So it just kind of happened that way. We do really like bands from that era, but I mean that's the thing- you know, having more modern equipment, unless you're having something really modern or done with computers. Pretty much anything. We use all type of old pads and shit like that and all our gear is right there, it's all outboard shit. All that stuff was available in fucking Eighty-Whatever. So it's not really that new. I guess the approach is new, so that's the way people want to think about it and it's based on how you go about it. I guess that answers your question. For the This Heat thing, people say that a lot. When we listened to This Heat in The UK, we were like "Oh shit. A lot of similarities." (Laughter) It was really funny because we were reading their liner notes and their was a slang term we use for our microphones that we thought was just our own joke. We had heard This Heat, but it wasn't a driving force. But we've gone back and actually listened to their records, and there are sounds that overlap. Sounds that they have, that we have now, and I'm sure they probably got them in a similar fashion. Which freaked us out. It was definitely after we'd written those songs.

Yeah, i didn't notice that until i heard the full-length all the way through. When i had seen you live before or listened to the first tour EP, I didn't really pick up on that.

With the album, there's a lot more to getting those sounds, a prolonged period. I'd put the track on and I would kind of jam with it on our setup that we typically go through. I'd use parts of that for little areas and overdubs, stuff like that. That's something we didn't get into with our EP, so...

You have a much harsher approach than a lot of bands of late, who are known for incorporating electronics, or maybe what you'd expect from a group that gained notoriety from a remix. Do you feel you aspire to something different aesthetically than a lot of bands that create more dance-oriented material from the beginning? For instance, a group that just throws in disco beats over standard indie rock fare? Your full-length tends to have more interesting structures than bands like that.

Yeah, I guess I don't know how planned it is, but there's definitely...shit, it's really hard to say. We're trying to do our own thing and we're just trying our best to be what a modern, intense rock band could be now, for kids. Because you know all the old intense music, it's awesome, it's the best, but it's so old at this point that it doesn't have that reaction from you anymore. And now, as a teenager getting into that stuff, you don't own that experience. It's all older records, and there aren't that many new bands that are doing something for you here and now to have that experience that your parents don't understand. I feel that there are bands that are on our wavelength. We're trying to do that, and part of being harsher, that appeals to our own tastes. We're trying to make music that, if we imagine ourselves as teenagers now or in high school, to be in a band that would be relevant to our lives now and this year at that age. That sounds a little retarded. (Laughter)

No, that makes sense. It's gotten to the point where you've been remixed so often that you have a separate Health Disco Page for the tracks. Do you ever wonder if it'll get to the point where you might consider the remix before you're even finished writing? Would you consider that a logical progression, or would that be an unnecessary concern?

I don't think there's anything really to be concerned about. We like thinking about the remixes, but we wouldn't change the way we're writing the songs. Especially listening to the remixes now, it's definitely inspired us to look at our music differently. We definitely get a lot of really great ideas from the way that someone's approaching that material, to make a dance song, or how they're playing with a sound or snippets from the original recording and repeating it to make this really cool thing. So it's definitely really become a part of the creative process for us really thinking about it. We're really into the whole remix thing, especially because everyone we're working with is hand-selected by us and we're fans of their work. I would like the Health Disco to just be these sister artists, with recorded performances for DJ's, separate from our original work. Which would be really cool.

Tell us a little about playing a show and releasing a 7" with Crystal Castles. How did your first trip to Britain go? How was the audience reaction? Were some of them maybe a little thrown even, if they were expecting you to sound more like the remix than your live show?

Yeah, that happens a lot, even in America. That happens every once in a while, people hear the show and they'll be really confused. Because you know we're not just playing synth pop or something. It doesn't happen that often, but it definitely happens. In the UK there were some pretty big surprises. The UK reaction was very different depending on where we played. In London it was really amazing. One of the shows, we got to do with Crystal Castles, and I think everyone was on board and they knew that we didn't sound like the remix at all. That was totally fine. In Manchester we played to a mostly experimental, noise crowd and they were expecting that aspect.

Did you become aware of Crystal Castles because they remixed you, or did you already kind of know them before that?

We found out about them a long, long time ago. I forgot which blog, but it was from a blog. We found them and got really excited about them and started talking to them over the internet. They only had one or two remixes out at the time and they were both really impressive. We asked them if they would be interested in doing a remix and they agreed. We also talked about doing a split and they said they would do both. The remix happened pretty early, and they did it in time for our tour CD that we took on the road. The split didn't happen until two months ago.

How did you eventually get hooked up with Love Pump United ?

Lovepump started talking to us because they said they had heard things about us. They ordered our live cassette from DNT, and they really liked it. The thing that kind of put it over is that AIDS Wolf were on tour in Europe and the guy they were staying with was really talking about us a lot. We got in contact with each other and they said that they wanted to wait until SXSW and see us live, but then they just decided to enter into an agreement before they even saw us in Austin.

Anything else you want to add? What has your impression of Texas been?

Texas is really, really, really awesome. We have never had a bad show in Texas. Ever. Every time we've played Austin, it's awesome. We played Fort Worth once, it was awesome. We even played Midland AND Odessa, Texas and they weren't fucking unbelievable shows but they were still pretty good shows. We've never had a bad show in Texas. Attendance is always really good and the crowds are really awesome. I think the vibe of Texas crowds is just really awesome.

HEALTH performs at The Eighth Continent, Halloween Night.


It List: Tuesday 10/30/07

Bleach Boys/ Pretty Nasty/No Way (Kharma Cafe in Denton): Apparently, this is one of the last nights Kharma will ever be open, so they decided to have some bands play. Pretty Nasty is a fairly new band that I'm told sounds somewhere along the lines of Husker Du's approach, catchy songwriting coupled with volume and force. No Way is a new project from Lars Larsen and Shane English from The Undoing Of David Wright. The sound is largely driven by improvisation and homemade electronics. Lars documents his DIY equipment projects on his new blog, Lars Attacks. English also has a new blog, where he'll feature a weekly podcast. The Bleach Boys are a great live act that play short bursts of aggressively fucked up punk rock. Show starts at Eleven. Say goodbye to yet another Denton institution.

UPDATE: Apparently Kharma will be open until next August, at least. Still...

Phosphorescent/The FollyFandango /Vandeventer Grant's (Rubber Gloves)

Ticket Giveaways this week

We have two pairs of tickets to give away this week. If you want them, just email us at by THURSDAY at NOON with the show name in the subject line, and we'll pick a winner for each show at random:

1. Girl Talk/Busdriver/Daedelus (Friday at Palladium Loft)

2. Witchcraft/Saviours/Vorvadoss (Friday at Doublewide)

Good luck pals!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It List: Monday 10/29/07

Aside from Cool Out at the Cavern and Bad Ass Jazz, there isn't much going on tonight unless you're a glutton for punishment.

More to come later this evening.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monday Morning Rock


WED: Health/Crime Novels/Daniel Francis Doyle/Nouns Group/Eat Avery's Bones (Eighth Continent)
WED: Halloween Party with DJs Nature, Sober and Select (Granada)
WED: Mom/Florene/Mistress/Fizzy Dino Pop/Sticky Buns (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: Girl Talk/Busdriver/Daedelus (Palladium Loft)
FRI: Witchcraft/Saviours/Vorvadoss (Doublewide)
FRI: Spoon/New Pornographers/Emma Pollock (House of Blues- SOLD OUT)
FRI: Don Caballero/Jay Reatard/Maaster Gaiden/Magnets (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: Frightened Rabbit (The Cavern)
FRI: Final Fantasy/Cadence Weapon (Hailey's)
SAT: Celebration/Fog/Dragons of Zynth (Rubber Gloves)
SAT: Tim Sweeney of DFA/Stereo on Strike (Minc)
SAT: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists/Birds of Avalon/Headlights (Hailey's)
SUN: MIA/the Cool Kids (House of Blues)
SUN: Of Montreal/MGMT/Grand Buffet (Granada)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Weekender: 10/26-10/28/07

Too much going on. More quantity than quality description wise. We'll add and correct as needs be, just let us know.

Cancelled: Trail Of Dead at Rubber Gloves on Friday.


Hot Flash with Special Guest Faux Fox (Fallout Lounge): It will definitely be cool to see Faux Fox at The Fallout Lounge, a place that doesn't often host live bands. It would be even better if they made a habit out of it. Throw in Killtronix and Schwa from Hot Flash and this will definitely be a crowded night in Expo Park. Event is free before 10 PM. $3 after.

The Melissas Deluxe Disco Hell with Life Death Continuum/Magic Fly/DJ Jeremy Jackson (The Cavern): The Melissas have impressed us in the past by booking Eat Avery's Bones and Farah at past shows. They continue their exercise in good taste with Life Death Continuum tonight, one of the area's best new bands. Update: Looks like Nature got added, so even better.

Danny Garcia/The Grass Fight/The Felons (Hailey's)

Halloween House Show with The Uptown Bums/The Go-To Guys/The Currents (915 W. Collins St. in Denton)

The Flametrick Subs/Ten Benson (Double Wide)

Ellen Fullman/Susan Alcorn(Will Rogers Memorial Center): A very unique musician who's treating us with repeat performances in Fort Worth this weekend. Modern composer Ellen Fullman gained notoriety as the inventor of the intimidating yet innovative Long String Instrument. This massive instrument/installation requires the performer to rosin their hands and walk the length of the 300 foot long instrument to play it. She has also collaborated with Kronos Quartet. She'll be accompanied by experimental pedal steel player Susan Alcorn, who some of you might remember from the Jandek show this past summer. Show starts at 8. Second show on Saturday at 8 PM. Last show Sunday at 2 PM. Show is $20.

Terror Vision (Strawberry Fields at the corner of Oak and Bonnie Brae in Denton): This is the last weekend Strawberry Fields will be having their BYOB Horror movie event and tonight's featured films are Posession and Return Of The Living Dead. Starts at 8 PM.

Glen Farris (Eurotazza Coffee House at 6323 Camp Bowie Blvd 125, in Ft. Worth):
Show starts at 7 PM.

King Harvest Folk Festival (J & J's Pizza): This is a pretty self explanatory lineup and concept. Kind of like a hippied-out version of last year's Halloween show "Our Band Could Be Your Life." That show had Dave Virden as host and he put this event together as well as kicks it off. Money and/or donations go to Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.

8:00 Dave Virden (Admiral David V.)-Nick Drake
8:40 Will E. Lee-Nick Cave
9:20 Chris Garver-Bob Dylan
10:00 Emil Rapstine-Phil Ochs
10:40 Aaron White-Gram Parsons
11:20 Warren Jackson Hearne-Leonard Cohen


White Drugs/Tober Omi/The Happy Bullets/M (4100 Main @ Haskell): Show at 9pm. $3 to get in.

We Made Out Once Halloween Party with DJ Nature (Hailey's): Make sure not to look like a dumbass in your Halloween costume, because the chances of you having an unflattering picture taken at this event is about a hundred percent.

Blood Fest with Tolar/Kill The Client/Vorvadoss/Resigned To Fate...more (Red Blood Club): All day show featuring DFW's hardcore elite. Show Starts at 4 PM.

King Harvest Folk Festival (J & J's Pizza): Second night of the festival.

8:00 Mauve Oed-Loretta Lynn
8:40 Daniel Folmer-Townes Van Zandt
9:20 George Neal-Syd Barrett
10:00 Will Kapinos (Jetscreamer) - Willie Nelson
10:40 Cody Robinson (Medicine Window) - Violent Femmes
11:20 Brent Best (Drams) - Roky Erickson

TXMF Showcase featuring Ashley Cromeens/Pinebox Serenade/George Neal Band/Raised By Tigers/Spitfire Tumbleweeds (Dan's Silver Leaf): Good lineup from this increasingly diverse local label. Good chance to see how good Ashley Cromeens is, even solo.


Redemer/Mag/Animal Forces (House Of Tinnitus): This show was added at the last minute and features Chicago's Redemer, who I saw described as "glam" somewhere. Maybe that's in their live show, because their song samples were some of the most disturbing wailing din that I've heard on a Myspace page recently. Hope to make it to this. UPDATE: Denton's Animal Forces has been added to the bill. More TBA.

Photo by Cactus Bones.

It List: Thursday 10/25/07

Lost Generation With The Frenz (Fallout Lounge): Tonight's special guest is Sober from The Party, along with Wanz spinning records. It says The Frenz are playing and I'm not sure if that also means that there will be a live drum-set and everything, but I like the idea of live drums at Fallout Lounge. I believe Faux Fox is doing just that this weekend.

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

Parata/Silk Stocking/New Science Projects/Sean Kirkpatrick(Rubber Gloves): This is Parata's CD release show. I'm curious as to what our readers might think of this interview. And correct me if I'm wrong, but is Silk Stocking the only group here without a full length?

Bishop Allen/The Happy Bullets/Calhoun (Granada)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Album Review: Red Monroe: Policia Policia!

(3 out of 5)
From the piercing, ear-destroying feedback found on Jesus and Mary Chain's early material to the reckless improvised interplay between John Cale and Sterling Morrisson on Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray," it seems that some of the most exciting stretches of the greatest rock albums emerge from unplanned moments of chaos that provide a certain amount of grit and discomfort. This is a mostly intangible quality that often has less to do with the songs themselves and more to do with how those songs are presented to the listener-- in these instances, it's not how the song is written, but how it is being played and how it is captured on record that makes the moment, turning an otherwise good album into a great one. Don't get me wrong, the songs are obviously important too, and great rock albums are often great despite unbecoming recordings. But let me ask you this-- would Guided By Voices' Alien Lanes be as glorious as it is if it had been recorded in a slick studio rather than on a crappy four track? I don't think so. In fact, it would probably sound like GBV's vastly inferior later material. Would Dinosaur Jr.'s SST albums rock the way they do if the feedback from J Mascis' guitar didn't hurt your ears every once in a while? Doubt it. And would Black Flag be as much fun if they never fucked up on record? No way. I mention these examples not so that I can hold Red Monroe to the standard of the aforementioned bands, but only to point out that when it comes to rock n roll records, "consummate professionalism," to borrow a phrase from Patrick Bateman, isn't usually necessary, and sometimes, records suffer from studio perfection and flawless execution when it prevents such unhinged moments from occurring.

As we've noted before, Red Monroe possesses many of the qualities of a potentially great rock band, and everything about their debut full length, Policia Policia!, indicates that they've become significantly more confident and ambitious since the release of their self titled EP last year. From the tight musicianship and sophisticated songwriting to the bold, colorful marketing campaign and politically informed conceptual narrative concerning life in Dallas, the album stands out and separates Red Monroe from the run of the mill Dallas "indie" acts that often seem content to deliver the same mediocre garbage time and time again. This, of course, is a good thing-- Red Monroe is one of the few bands in Dallas proper that is often able to strike a healthy balance between artistic viability and commercial accessibility, and Policia Policia has the potential to convince many new listeners of this fact with catchy songs, memorable lyrics, and smart influences on full display throughout its running time. But despite everything the band does better than most of their Dallas based contemporaries, a few issues pop up throughout Policia Policia that hold Red Monroe back, resulting in a significantly softer punch than the group seems capable of packing.

A quick listen to the album's nine tracks reveals a document that rocks significantly harder than it's predecessor, as the band veers away from its previous infatuations with nu post-punk and Radiohead and moves toward bold blues riffs and sassy garage/glam energy that strongly recalls Television's Marqee Moon, the Make Up, early White Stripes, and Julian Cope's oft overlooked group The Teardrop Explodes. In fact, the Television influence is all over the place, and can be heard particularly clearly in the compelling vocals of lead singer Eric Steele, who incorporates Tom Verlaine's nervous, high pitched shout into virtually every track on the album. This promising set of influences serves as an appealing (if not wholly original) template for the band, and in many places throughout the album, they utilize it to produce some very solid results.

The album's first two tracks, which also happen to be two of its shortest, provide an exhilarating beginning. "City Boy Motel" gets right down to business with a choppy, rhythm heavy lead guitar riff that builds up into an explosive politically charged chorus ("All them soldiers/erase the fourth of the July from their mind"), slapping the listener in the face with boldness and clarity before the song instantaneously transitions into the loud and catchy "The Sundown Shade,"easily the best track on the album. These two tracks are examples of Red Monroe at their finest- provocative, thoughtful songwriting that seems to rush past you in a blur of big riffs, unexpected changes and a measurable level of raw tension assuring you that they mean it. Elsewhere, the album's title track works well as its epic centerpiece, a five and a half minute long set of hyper transitions from Zeppelinesque blues riffs to gypsy polka to a section of chanting influenced by traditional Indian music that ends with an explosive multi-part vocal that showcases Red Monroe's potential for experimentation better than any other track they've released thus far. These and most of the other tracks on the album are quite fun, and warrant praise for their structure, style and execution.

In fact, it's quite easy to point out all of Policia Policia's strengths because there are so many of them, but what is more difficult is explaining why the album doesn't work quite as well as it should, although I think I have a vague idea. As things progress, it becomes obvious that the album could use a dose of the grit found on other recent garage influenced rock albums such as King Khan and the Shirnes What is?, Black Lips' Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo (which I realize is a "live" record, although the point remains unchanged), and even White Drugs' Harlem. It's not that the songs on those records are necessarily THAT much better than anything found on Policia Policia, but that they seem to pack so much energy that they sound as though they could fall apart at any moment, which is something you cannot say about the disciplined, evenly mixed tracks on this album. Guitar distortion that overpowers roughly recorded vocals. Loud, slightly out of tune keyboard parts. Incoherent noisy freakouts. The occasional mistake. These are the kind of things that make the aforementioned records what the are, and considering what Red Monroe is trying to do on Policia Policia, it seems that the record would benefit from this kind of grit too. The listener can sit and imagine what "Trees and Poor Houses" might sound like with uncomfortably loud guitars and distortion on the vocals, or maybe wonder how "Fever Kids" might work if the horns weren't quite so tuneful and smooth, or if they were allowed to overpower the rest of the mix all together.

This isn't to say that lo-fi and sloppy is always the way to go, or that Red Monroe has to record in a shoe box in order to gain some kind of "cred" that most people really don't care about anyway. It's just that Policia Policia sounds like a caged animal, waiting to go crazy but held back by the limitations of a flawlessly smooth recording and mix that often fails to expose the power behind some of these songs while failing to document the band outside of a perfectly executed comfort zone. The potential is audible, and many songs on the record work despite these limitations, but the need for a few unhinged moments is clear, and it is apparent that a dash of feedback, a dose of slop and a touch of gritty noise might have turned this strong swing into a knockout punch.


It List: Wednesday 10/24/07

First, if you haven't done so already today, you should go outside. It's really nice out there. Play in a park or something. Next:

Taxi Fare with DJ Nature (Zubar): Dancehall has really seen a eemergence of interest in clubs around the world over the past two years, and you're lucky enough to have a local dancehall DJ who holds his own with all the rest. And he's right here in Dallas.

Dr. Dog/Apollo Sunshine/Delta Spirit (Hailey's): Dr. Dog comes through town yet again, and although I do enjoy their records quite a bit, I've been somewhat disappointed with the Dr. Dog live performances I've seen the past two times they've been here. Nothing terrible, but it just didn't seem to capture the charm of their soul influenced indie pop. Maybe it isn't their fault. It should be noted however that Apollo Sunshine sounds pretty promising, with stylistic influences ranging from Brian Jonestown Massacre to Daniel Johnston (heard particularly clearly on their cover of "Satisfaction," available on their Myspace page) to the Beatles. If you're opposed to cute pop, you probably don't want to bother, but its well done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It List: Tuesday 10/23/07

Here's the short list of shows that I don't have time to care about (with the exception of Life Death of course):

Jucifer/Boy-Girl/Life-Death Continuum/Boogdish (1919 Hemphill)

Peelander Z/The Last of the Interceptors/The Pumpers (Rubber Gloves)

Secret Headquarters: 6/03/06-10/13/07

Now that some of the dust, figurative and otherwise, has settled around the local institution that was Secret Headquarters, thus begins the venue's legacy and its potential influence on future spaces, musicians turned venue owners, show bookers, sound people, and those who could probably be considered several of those things at once. The musician in such dual roles is not specific to SHQ, of course, but everything regarding the venue is unique due to the group of people that ran the place and their unusually welcoming attitude to noise, melody, beauty, ugliness, sincerity, plasticity, the most grandiose, the meekest, the well-meaning, the mean-spirited, everybody, everywhere, anywhere, locally, globally and beyond if they could reach. And therein lies the simultaneous tragedy and triumph of a place that will be one of the most warmly regarded memories for anyone who set foot there, even years from now. A place that tries the impossible of pleasing all of the people all of the time will ultimately always fall short in someone's eyes-- in this instance, the cliched specter of an uncompromising landlord looking for a reason to pull the plug. No surprise there, but what is surprising is the aforementioned pleasing of the people all of the time bit: They came closer than anyone.

SHQ began on the opposite side of the building facing Hickory Street, replacing the Dallas bound Art Prostitute. Opening day was a surefire lineup of local favorites and all the usual faces of Denton's storied music community showed up, as expected. Many were skeptical that anything significant could fill such a void as that of the justifiably loved Art Prostitute. Secret Headquarters did the unexpected to ultimately silence any skeptics or detractors. The venue actually improved by living up to its name and shrinking, flipping its front entrance to the back of the building, and shunning any sort of actual sign or marquee. The physical transformation of the venue acts as a metaphor to the gentle way it guided rather than forced everyone to try a little harder to seek things out and give uncharted territory a chance. All the while it took some very challenging booking demands head on, and managed what was easily the most bafflingly diverse schedule week after week for sixteen months.

Secret Headquarters didn't just book their friends, they didn't pander to local legends, nor did they shun them. This was an environment free of pretense, everyone on equal footing, where drunk frat types might be slam dancing with introverted library ladies, both of them enjoying it, and everyone being generally more accepting than they would out in their daily lives. Far fewer arms were crossed or dirty looks given under that roof in comparison to the average rock show, dance club or elsewhere in the area. It was what you wished a speakeasy was like if they still existed, with everyone putting aside all of their bullshit for a common desire. And though you could bring your own, the real draw was the privilege of seeing a performance in such a relaxed, noncompetitive, and friendly atmosphere. To put it simply, Secret Headquarters was a fun fucking place to hang out, even if you weren't into the bands on a given night. People would gravitate towards it from the square and surrounding venues, seemingly drawn by the attitude and the kindness as much as the music. There was often food around. Cupcakes, cookies, vegetable trays, alcohol and barbecue. People were always celebrating. The last time I was there, a just married couple was in the audience catching a show, hours after being wed. It was that kind of place.

Not to look too much into my own prophetic prowess, but I recently lamented the fact that my long soured attitude towards local music had improved exponentially over the past couple of years, and how this unnamed "golden period" might be showing signs of waning, at least as we know it. In Denton especially, since 2005 or so, there has been a wealth of quality venues, bands, and shows. Bands move on, break up, people go to college, graduate, get married and on and on. That's a necessary part of the cycle. Secret Headquarters' departure from local music will be a little harder of a blow to absorb. When We Shot JR put on its second ever show back in January, the experience with SHQ from all angles couldn't have gone more smoothly. Over the rest of the year, SHQ started putting in overtime and actually hosting shows that had been shutdown at other DIY places, sometimes well into the extreme late hours that other venues legally can't touch. When our most recent show at The Fra House was somewhat expectedly shut down, they were there to pick up where it left off, staying open until three in the morning and still finishing its obligation to an benefit. This altruistic type of phantom booking probably put an unfair strain on the staff at times, but has solidified the reputations of venue and staff alike indefinitely.

SHQ through sheer unconventionality was straight-ahead rock venue, punk rock hangout, late night jazz club, singer songwriter opry, drag show catwalk, art gallery, psyche happening, grindcore pit, and even once hosted a toy show. I saw just about every type of show I enjoy going to there, and if a band I liked was playing there, I knew it would be the ideal setting. Recently, Secret Headquarters had really started to hit a stride by becoming a necessary ally in local hardcore, punk and garage shows of the type that 715 Panhandle throws, and by hosting more and more national touring acts and international acts as well. I consider myself very lucky to have been at the first show, the last show, and so many unforgettable moments in between. I loved Secret Headquarters as much as is humanly possible or healthy for someone to love a beat up old building with an alley full of drunks behind it. There are many fans, bands, artists and musicians alike that walked out of that place spoiled by the joy of being there, and I would just like to counter the understandable pain and bitterness that accompanied its hastened demise last week and feel free to leave a comment doing the same: Thank you, SHQ.


Monday, October 22, 2007

It List: Monday 10/22/07

There's not going much going on tonight except for Bad Azz Jazz at The Amsterdam. Or if you're into live shows heavy on crowd interaction, "human bowling", and Japanese punk, there's Peelander-Z at The Double Wide, with opening act Cygnus of Laptop Deathmatch. Or if you into watered down Florida based Emo rock with an unhealthy Springsteen fetish, the remaining members of Hot Water Music have a new project called The Draft headlining at Rubber Gloves. Opening acts include Dead To Me, The Gaslight Anthem, and A Death In The Family. By those names alone, I would expect similar territory to be mined here. Matt Pond PA is also playing in The Cambridge Room at House Of Blues. So if you're into groups that would build an entire EP around a cover of "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis, it's your lucky night.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Monday Morning Rock


WED: Dr. Dog/Apollo Sunshine/Delta Spirit (Hailey's)
THU: The Cult/Action Action (Palladium Ballroom)

FRI: Life Death Continuum/Magic Fly/Jeremy Jackson (The Cavern)
FRI: ...And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead (Rubber Gloves)
SAT: Halloween Party with DJ Nature (Hailey's)

Paul Raven of Killing Joke and Ministry - dead today at 46

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekender: 10/19/07-10/21/07


Modern Till Midnight with St. Vincent/Peter and the Wolf/Sleeping States/Doug Burr/Tame...Tame and Quiet/Mom/Sober (Fort Worth Modern): Wow, what an impressive line up at the Modern this evening. I usually assume that people involved in "the arts" are a day late and a dollar short when it comes to music, but I think this looks to be quite an event, with a solid local line up that seems perfectly crafted to cater to the vast cross section of people who will probably be at the Modern this evening. I should point out that the English band Sleeping States, the only non locals on the bill, are a pretty nice little pop band that kind of reminds me of sleepy early 90's indie rock and brit pop, maybe something like Belle and Sebastian doing Silver Jews covers remixed by Sea and Cake. Anyway, this event is also a good opportunity to get one final look at the Ron Mueck exhibit, which closes down October 21st. It's fifteen bucks to get in, and you can get more info, including set times, right here.

Man Man/The Extraordinaires (Palladium Loft): Man Man put on one of the highest energy live shows I've ever seen a few months ago at the Cavern, and I'm hoping the excitement they were able to bring to that small venue can be found in the considerably larger surroundings of the Palladium Loft. I bet it can. If you have any interest in their music and you have yet to see them live, I promise you want to. From the Philadelphia art spazz scene that produced the love em or hate em Need New Body, Man Man comes off live like one of the easiest bands in the world to like-- all clapping, yelling, and banging on drums. Worth it. The Extraordinaires will be playing a Good Records in store today at 6pm.

Great Tyrant /Life Death Continuum /Trifle Tower /Aphonic Curtainz (Red Blood Club): This is an impressive lineup featuring some of the top talent in local music, regardless of categorization. Great Tyrant and Life Death Continuum both exhibit the rhythmic complexity and grandiose bombast of every great moment in prog from Magma to King Crimson, but with more anger than 70's cheese. Life Death Continuum has a more direct style of attack than the ominous gloom of Great Tyrant's music. Trifle Tower is frantically tumbling and screaming hardcore. Aphonic Curtains is the new project of Aaron Gonzalez, Rob Buttrum of House Of Tinnitus, and Mike M. of SDS. I caught their first brief impromptu performance at Tinnitus, and was impressed by the trio's ability to manipulate the intensity by their keen sense of dynamics. Buttrum has classic drum chops, which is apparent even as he beats away on scrap metal. Mike M. adds electronic buzz and static over everything and it comes as no surprise that Aaron Gonzalez is a great bass player, even if he uses a butterknife in lieu of a plectrum. We're not sure about the line up for this one, so maybe someone in the know can give it to us in the comments. (This is a rerun of the write up we did last week. We thought the show was last week and added it to the previous weekender because we're dumb. But this time, we're quite sure that the aforementioned show is actually happening THIS weekend. Promise. Sorry for the confusion.)

Thomas Function /Chronic Seizure / Party Garbage /Teenage Cool Kids /Wax Museums (715 Panhandle): Looks like another rad show at Panhandle. Alabama's Thomas Function has been compared to Television, and though I can hear it more in the vocals than anything else, fans of solid poppy jangle rock shouldn't shy away from the punk atmosphere of 715 tonight. Teenage Cool Kids is also very pop-oriented but they tend to be more 90's indie rock and pop punk than late 70's New York. Party Garbage features members of The Snobs and Ben Snakepit of Snakepit fame. Wax Museums will probably be the highlight of this show for me.
Violent Squid/Mad Scientists/Silk Stocking (Dallas Scaregrounds): The Dallas Scaregrounds is an obviously bizarre place to see a show, but this lineup is better suited to the setting and should alleviate the usual overhanging cloud of awkwardness. Mad Scientists return with a new drummer from more of a punk rock background, so expect more force and drive from this quirky, charming guitar solo factory. It's pretty much impossible to predict what Violent Squid will try to do on a given night, but that's more than I can say for most local bands and the results usually hit rather than miss. Silk Stocking playing a haunted house pretty much explains itself.

Strawberry Fields presents Terrorvision (Corner of Oak and Bonnie Brae in Denton): Tonight Strawberry Fields will be showing two "80's schlock" horror films, From Beyond and Brain Damage. Last night was the first time I've caught a show at Strawberry Fields and it was fucking terrific. A packed store, enthusiastic audience, and friendly staff made for the perfect night. And where else can you browse an "Encyclopedia Of Cop Killers" between bands? Woah. I don't know how often Strawberry Fields plans on doing this, but I wouldn't miss their next show.

Caribou/Born Ruffians (Palladium Loft): Have you ever seen Caribou live? I saw them over a year and a half ago with Junior Boys and Russian Futurists at a sparsely populated Hailey's (imagine the kind of crowd that show would draw these days) and it was a pretty incredible experience-- Dan Snaith's live drumming is worth the price of admission alone, and the fact that he has released an incredible new album this year just adds to the excitement of this show. With a seemingly perfect blend of Kraut rock, psychedelic pop and minimal ELM/IDM style electronica, Caribou has become one of my favorite bands to emerge this decade. And even though their albums have all been fantastic, the two live performances I've caught from the band have put their studio material to shame.
House of Dang One Year Anniversary Party and And/Or Gallery Show with Treewave performance: A big party for these two neighbors, featuring food and drinks and art and music and fun. Does that description sound dumb to you? Well it's my fault, because I don't have time to write much at this point. Anyway, this starts at 6 (at House of Dang), Tree Wave goes on at 830pm, and here is some info from And/Or on the art show, which will also feature the music of Travis Hallenbeck.

The Party (Zubar)

Figurines/Dappled Cities/Lifters (The Cavern): I haven't heard the most recent Figurines record, but I really enjoyed the Danish band's full length debut last year-- an exhilirating and well done dose of pop punk that pulls off the amazing feat of actually sounding original. Imagine that?

House On Swiss Halloween Show with Tah Dahs/ Sydney Confirm/Laura Palmer/New Science Projects/The Freekout/Sticky Buns (3114 Swiss Avenue in Dallas): The latest edition in a series of house shows to take place in what essentially appears to be a storefront (although it does seem to double as someone's home). This indie pop/folk focused line up will be easy to swallow with two kegs and what is usually a large and pleasant crowd. $5 cover.

Burning Hotels /The Cut*Off/PPT/Black Tie Dynasty (Ridglea Theater): Before you get all confused about why we might be listing this show, I want to let you know that we're willing to mention things when they're for a good cause. The quality of sex education in America is laughably oxymoronic and nearly non-existent, especially in the South. This show benefits The SPEAK Project, which raises STD awareness with the 15-24 crowd. More info here.

Qui/Record Hop/Red Monroe/(Hailey's): Despite releasing a fairly disappointing full-length debut, I hear that seeing Qui live is the best evidence that David Yow is still the one of the great all-time frontmen. And for the record, Iggy Pop hasn't released a good album in decades. Record Hop continues to impress with the live previews of their anticipated second release and they will pair up beautifully with Qui. Red Monroe is somewhat of a departure from the rest of this lineup, and we'll have their review up soon.
Gogol Bordello/Dub Trio/DJ Dubta (The Granada)

Zanzibar Snails /Daniel Folmer (Dallas Scaregrounds)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It List: Thursday 10/18/07

The Melvins/Big Business (Granada): Big Business has a member of Karp, and I've wanted to catch them live ever since I heard about this duo's formation. They even exhibit some of the gorgeous simplicity of Karp's concise and minimal heaviness, but with a dash of Hair Metal vocalizing. The Melvins need no introduction or explanation other than along with Nirvana, they are pretty much the only two groups to gain notoriety when they did whose music has suffered the least from the effects of time.

Christian! Teenage Runaways/Lars Larsen/Douche (Strawberry Fields): C!TR disbanded over the summer when one of its founding members moved out of state. Sashenka Lopez is visiting her hometown this week and the group is having an impromptu reunion show to celebrate. Douche was great as usual at the last SHQ show the other night. It's nice to see that Strawberry Fields will step up and host a show like this in the wake of that beloved space. Not sure what Larsen has in store for his act.

Hentai Lacerator/Yatagarasu/Voyant/XathaX/Church Of The Apocalypse/Animal Forces/Lichen Sie (House of Tinnitus): I hate to mention it, but The Observer attempted to toss this Hentai Lacerator show in with their event previews and just ran a reprint of what their Houston New Times Counterpart, Houston Press said. The problem with that is that they incorrectly list the groups playing that night's show in Houston. Way to go. Do they not trust that their current staff could tackle the preview for this show? That's okay, neither do I. They also did a show preview for next week's Dr. Dog show and mention how their new album, "We All Belong" came out last month when it was actually released in February. The reason for this mishap is that they just reran a piece from Seattle weekly, The Stranger that is seven months old. I understand a corporate paper is going to reprint from their national talent pool, but can someone at least edit a reprint or throw it out if it isn't regionally accurate? I should lay off, they did finally notice that 1919 Hemphill it has for the last five years, but I guess someone can only mention it when a national act like Kimya Dawson plays there.

Anyways, this violently explosive Cincinnati headliner mixes various strains of extreme styles and they reminded me of the noise-infused work of Japanese group The Gerogerigegege or even a sloppier and more manic Charles Bronson. This show's openers will only add to the panicked fun of Hentai Lacerator, and I can personally vouch for that since I've seen most of them in one capacity or another. Huntsville's Yatagarasu is a frighteningly convincing one man setup with intricate bass playing, 8-bit electronics and screaming that impressed everyone at his show here last March. Voyant is the harsh/power electronics project that includes Electronik Warfare's Andrew Michael and ultimate multi-tasker Shane English. Church of The Apocalypse are a gear-heavy act with a twelve string bass and a method that revolves around repetition and doom riffs. Lichen Sie combines the talents of two known noise makers from Aunt's Analog and Dromez, and this will be an interesting duo since they are both so punishing just by themselves. XathaX uses a theremin, which you think would pop up more at noise shows, but I don't see them very often and I'm looking forward to it.

Black Mountain/The Cave Singers (Dan's Silver Leaf)

Lost Generation with Wanz And Ineka featuring
Farah (Fallout Lounge):
Tonight's set will feature a performance by Farah, who is celebrating the 12-inch vinyl release of her track, "Law Of Life."

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It List: Wednesday 10/17/07

Vegan Soul Food Pot Luck with Kimya Dawson/Angelo Spencer/Jesse Gage/Sparlin, Jessels/Daniel Bass (715 Panhandle): K Records singer/songwriter and founding member of Moldy Peaches Kimya Dawson comes to Denton tonight with her husband Angelo Spencer as part of a small Texas tour. This thing gets started at 6pm with a vegan soul food pot luck and an early start time for the first set. If WSJR was runnin this folk shit, we'd serve ONLY meat at OUR pot luck. But thats probably one of the many reasons why we aren't runnin this folk shit.

Taxi Fare (Zubar): Nature keeps runnin this dancehall shit, and I'm hoping he'll play the Switch remix you can find on this Myspace page. Fucking addictive.

Film School/Red Monroe/Eulogies (The Cavern): Film School's sound seems to fall somewhere between Snow Patrol and Coldplay on one side and Catherine Wheel and Ride on the other. Lots of layers of reverb and nice melodies, etc., and all of it is pretty pleasant and well done, if more than a bit predictable at times. Openers Eulogies play that kind of music thats like, you know, that "indie rock" stuff? Yeah, I don't really know what to say about it either. It's not bad I suppose, but it's not very good either. Get it? And we WILL have that Red Monroe review very soon. Leave us alone, we're busy.

Peter and the Wolf/Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Violent Squid (Rubber Gloves): Peter and the Wolf makes its 15th appearance in Denton in the past month. Violent Squid plays for what seems like the 15th time this month too, but guess what? Their shows are different every time, so it's always worth checking out. Dig?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It List: Tuesday 10/16/07


Dillinger Escape Plan/ Genghis Tron/Behold The Arctopus (Curtain Club): Genghis Tron mixes electronics with hardcore and I remember them being pretty decent, but I definitely wouldn't want to have to go to this venue with this lineup to catch them. Dillinger Escape Plan has a solid live rep, but the vocals kind of ruin it for me. I thought they'd be playing Nokia by now. Just want to mention that those Relapse bands sure love their hoodies.

Matthew And The Arrogant Sea/Brooke Waggoner/ The Winter Sounds (Double Wide): I might catch MATAS tonight to get a brief respite from all of this local controversy.

Three Ticket Giveaways This Week

We have a pair of tickets to give away to the following three shows, so if you want them, simply email us at by the deadlines given below (we will choose a random winner for each pair). Please include the name of the artist you want to see in the subject line. Good luck, and thanks to the Granada and the Loft for the hook ups:

1. The Melvins/Big Business (this Thursday at the Granada- email by TOMORROW at noon)

2. Man Man (this Friday at Palladium- email by Thursday at noon)

3. Caribou (this Saturday at Palladium- email us by Thursday at noon)

Monday, October 15, 2007

It List: Monday 10/15/07

Aside from the norm (Cool Out at the Cavern, Jazz at Amsterdam), I don't see a lot happening that I'm interested in tonight. More to come later this evening.

SHQ Closed Due to Vandalism

According to a post from Scott Porter on Denton Rock City, Secret Headquarters is being forced to shut their doors permanently, effective immediately, due to an act of vandalism that occurred late Saturday night. We have no details on who might have done it, but there was speculation that some of the materials used by the vandals came from SHQ itself. We'll give you more details when we get them, or maybe someone in the know can explain further in the comments. I'm not sure I understand exactly why the SHQ, as a tenant, is being blamed by their landlords for vandalism on the property, but I bet we'll find out soon enough.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Monday Morning Rock


WED: Kimya Dawson (715 Panhandle)
WED: Peter and the Wolf/Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Violent Squid (Rubber Gloves)
THU: The Melvins/Big Business (Granada)
THU: Hentai Lacerator/Yatagarasu/PDAF/Voyant/Xathax/Church of the Apocalypse (House of Tinnitus)
FRI: Man Man (Palladium Loft)
FRI: Modern Till Midnight with St. Vincent/Peter and the Wolf/Mom/Sober (Ft. Worth Modern)
FRI: Thomas Function/Chronic Seizure/Party Garbage (715 Panhandle)
SAT: Caribou/Born Ruffians (Palladium Loft)
SUN: Qui/Record Hop/Red Monroe (Hailey's)
SUN: Gogol Bordello/Dub Trio/DJ Dubta (Granada)

Friday, October 12, 2007


Very slow weekend as far as the number of quality shows, but there are some really good ones happening:


Carl Craig (Minc): I'm actually embarrassed that I forgot to add this to our "Shows of Note" list for the week, because Carl Craig's apparent Dallas debut (according to one flier I saw) is a pretty big deal in my book. After starting his career as a protege to the legendary Derrick May (and indirectly of Juan Atkins, both of Cybotron fame), Craig has become well known for the diversity of his musical endeavors and his many names, which he has used to create such a variety of electronic dance music that listing it all here would be pointless. The guy is a critical legend of the Detroit techno scene, and he is still creating cutting edge dance music today. This isn't just a "hey, check out this old legend to up your indie cred" show, this is a "hey, its friday, lets have fun" show.


Timbaland (Palladium): If you listen to Movin' 107.5 as much as I do, then you're probably well aware of the influence that Timbaland continues to have over urban top 40 radio. The funny part is that ten years ago, his profile was just about as high as it is today, making him the rare hip hop producer with the longevity to sustain a career for a decade and the talent to keep expanding his musical horizons. Of course, Timbaland has released some crap in his day, and will probably continue to do so, but I think you do have to admire his ability to take fairly strange songs and shoot them to the top of the charts. Lets put it this way: pretty much ANY Timbaland song is just as or more interesting sound-wise than pretty much ANY hit "indie" rock song (looking at you Feist). This show is free, and you can get your name on the "guest list" by rsvping at

BIrth To Burial /Medicine Window /Douche (Secret Headquarters): Birth To Burial never played a proper "last show", so the sorely missed act gets their chance Saturday night at SHQ. The group's hiatus left a gap in quality local bands that wrote catchy, fast-paced rock songs that were devoid of cliched riffs and stupid lyrics. Another Denton-rooted rock act, Medicine Window, also seemed to disappear off the face off the earth around the same time. Medicine Window isn't as speedy in their delivery as Birth To Burial, but they share some of the same pummeling influences. No official word on whether these reunions continue past Saturday, as they often do. Douche is a newer band mining Chicago/DC hardcore territory a little more harshly than the reunion acts, and they're brilliant live.


Tech Support with Wanz Dover, Ineka and Robert Taylor (Zubar): They'll be focusing on a Berlin style mish mash of tech genres at this one, with what I'm guessing will be a focus on things like space disco, IDM and minimal. It will probably be the most contemporary elctro weekly in Dallas, so those who crave something new should be sure to swing by.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It List: Thursday 10/11/07

Jamie Thinnes/White Lotus Society (Zubar): Jamie Thinnes of Seasons Recordings fame is at Zubar tonight. White Lotus Society is a local group that performs house music with live instrumentation.

Dust Congress/Zanzibar Snails/Nouns Group (The Public Trust): A rare Dallas appearance for these three acts. This is the official CD release show for Denton band, Dust Congress. The EP is self released by the group with old school silkscreen packaging and a handful of concise yet layered somber folk-pop songs. Zanzibar Snails has strayed somewhat from its ambient beginnings and gotten noisier lately by adding viola and extra guitar to its improv noise drone sets. Not much is known about Nouns Group except that they have fans who often post about the band in the comments section even when they're not playing, and some have even made some really cool "fan art", inspired by the band. The Austin Chronicle says they're the only band in the Universe without a Myspace page. Sounds like somebody needs to grow up and get with the times!

Mark Farina (Ghostbar): San Francisco legend Mark Farina has been releasing House music records for almost twenty years and has been featured on countless compilations, so it might be tough getting into Ghostbar to catch his free show tonight. Sounds like it might be a Suite type of situation. He's playing another free all-ages show tomorrow in front of American Airlines Center at 5 if you aren't connected enough to get in. Hopefully, one doesn't have to be connected to get into the American Airlines Center parking lot.

RTB2/A Childlike Fear/J Gray/Bishop Conrad Power (Rubber Gloves)

The Itch (1919 Hemphill): I won't go so far as to say the Itch are as original as the description on their page would have you believe, but I thought some of the music was nicely choppy, performed with unabashed zeal, and will probably be good live.

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

Blackheart Society/The Foxes (Double Wide): Apparently Blackheart Society has had some lineup changes but it's yet to be seen (or heard) if this will drastically change them as a band. The Foxes are from England and their inoffensive and standard rock music sounds kind of like Canadian act, Sloan. This early show starts at 9:00.

Lost Generation With Wanz And Ineka (Fallout Lounge)

I'm A Hustler, Baby

I'm glad Ghosthustler finally got some press from Dallas' "alternative" weekly (a mere four months after Spin wrote about them, way to go guys!), but I'm not sure I understand what this article is supposed to be about. I've been able to gather: "blogs," "retro," "future," "80's," and something talking about how Radiohead isn't rock n roll. Someone want to explain this to me?


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It List: Wednesday 10/11/07

Lazy Magnet/Work-Death/Superior Human Vomit/Yellow Crystal Star/Doug Ferguson (House of Tinnitus): Those who might tend to be get a little scared whenever they think about going to a House of Tinnitus show might want to give Yellow Crystal Star's quietly mesmerizing instrumental pieces a chance. Their stuff is relatively formless, but the way everything seems to come together is far from random and quite stimulating. I haven't had much luck locating a lot of information on the other performers for the evening, but House of Tinnitus is one of the few places in DFW that is just like Motown once was-- whatever they've got, it's probably pretty cool.

Gito Gito Hustler (Secret Headquarters): This Japanese girl garage rock band would probably only seem "cutting edge" and "totally crazy" to a Dallas Observer music editor, but to their credit, they've been doing this stuff for more than ten years, and the small bit of material I've encountered from them certainly makes Gito Gito sound like a band that should be experienced in a live setting rather than on record. And that isn't an insult necessarily, just a fact.

Taxi Fare with DJ Nature (Zubar): Nature's dancehall reggae night is a great change of pace for Dallas electro fans and a hell of a lot of fun for anyone willing to give it a shot. As a bonus, watching hipsters try to move to dance hall is quite humorous, especially when they're doing it amongst people who actually DO know how to dance.

Adam Franklin/Pleasant Grove/Stumptone (the Cavern): Adam Franklin, former lead singer of Creation Records band Swervedriver brings a pleasant if rather subdued set of pop songs to the Cavern that really aren't half bad for the most part, as long as you don't mind the word "alternative" popping into your head during a set. I don't mind that every once in a while.

Astronautilus/PPT/A-B Theory (Doublewide): No, I'm not amazed that Astronautilus can take lyrical suggestions from the crowd and turn them into songs. It's called freestyle, and any MC worth talking about can do it and do it well. Thats not a criticism of Astronautilus either, but just a reality check for everyone that feels the need to tell me about it every time his name gets brought up. The guy seems to have a lot of fans around here though.

Last Week's Good Records Sales Charts


1. Mom - Little Brite
2. The Polyphonic Spree - Live from Austin, TX (DVD)
3. Red Monroe - ¡Policia! ¡Policia!
4. The Polyphonic Spree - Live from Austin, TX
5. Adam Pacione - From Stills to Motion


1. Mom - Little Brite
2. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
3. Soundtrack - The Darjeeling Limited
4. Akron/Family - Love is Simple
5. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
6. Tunng - Good Arrows
7. Kevin Drew - Spirit If...
8. Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
9. The Polyphonic Spree - Live from Austin, TX
10. Flaming Lips - U.F.O.s at the Zoo
11. Calvin Harris - I Created Disco
12. Cloudland Canyon - Silver Tongued Sisyphus
13. Dirty Projectors - Rise Above
14. Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
15. Feist - Reminder
16. Ween - Friends EP
17. Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold
18. Red Monroe - ¡Policia! ¡Policia!
19. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
20. Shout Out Louds - Our Ill Wills

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It List: Tuesday 10/09/07

Matthew Dear/Mobius Band/ Tree Wave (The Granada) Just about everything you need to know about Matthew Dear is covered by Stonedranger in his excellent interview with the man himself if you'll look below this post. Matthew Dear has been somewhat of a crossover act this decade, due to his charmingly minimal "Microhouse" records and his increasing tendency towards pop experimentalism. Treewave has continued to be great as a one-man act this year and I loved watching him baffle the crowd at a Voot Cha Index/Black Tie Dynasty show at Hailey's this past summer. He made an onstage announcement that his next set would feature (paraphrasing here) "reworked Christian music, and I'm not joking." We'll see if that's the case tonight. Mobius Band is affiliated with Matthew Dear's Ghostly International as well as highly regarded Austin, TX imprint, Misra. There are electronic touches blended in to their work, but it's a little more straight-forward rock music.

Naxat/MC Router/Cheap Dinosaurs/Red Rocket (1919 Hemphill): This is the debut show for Alex Atchley's Naxat project, which is melodramatic 8-bit metal. Continuing in that vein is touring act Cheap Dinosaurs, who's 8-bit sound is more pop oriented. MC Router plays with similar sounds but instead, raps over it. Red Rocket takes things a little more seriously, with electronics that don't sound as throwback and anguished vocals.

Jesu/Wolves In The Throne Room/USSA (Hailey's): With a pedigree that includes Napalm Death and Swans, Jesu doesn't exactly bring the ominous and heavy attack you would imagine. The music is dense, thick and dark, but it's much more atmospheric and melodic with whispery vocals to top it off. Wolves In The Throne Room might steal this show, with music that's not exactly all that heavy but with uncontrolled shrieking and screaming that will probably be awesome live. USSA is a real disappointment for Jesus Lizard fans, as if Tomahawk wasn't bad enough. Seems like Duane Denison can do no right since the band that made him famous disbanded. Let's just hope that Qui is as good as I heard they were live, later this month. I can tell you myself not to bother with their debut record, unfortunately. I blame the Mike Patton connection.

Great Lake Swimmers/Doug Burr (The Cavern): Local favorite Doug Burr is celebrating an album release as he opens for this acclaimed breezy pop act.