Monday, December 31, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Black Mayonnaise/Breathing Problem/Taint/Chief Death Rage/T.E.F./ SUBKommander/Voyant (House of Tinnitus): A somewhat metal focused show at H.O.T. that probably won't be much fun for anyone going through a "freak folk" stage. BM's myspace page doesn't feature any music, and I haven't heard them through any other source (other than some short clips), but they do claim to be inspired by bands like Butthole Surfers, Godflesh and Big Black, and they describe themselves as "experimental sludge metal," so I'm guessing they could be pretty good, or pretty rude, or both. Being compared to "Sleep with DJ Screw producing" doesn't hurt either. Austin's Breathing Problem fool with television recordings and waves of violent white noise and feedback to produce a rather bleak ambiance, while Denton's Voyant work from a more electronic oriented base that features the slightest hint of rhythm scattered throughout the static transmissions. SUBKommander's slightly quieter and more atmospheric pieces will provide a nice change of pace during the show, as will Chief Death Rage's punishing stoner rock.
Hot Flash with Killtronix/Schwa (Fallout Lounge): The Cool Out dudes bring the party to Fallout, and it's always a good, cover free spot to check out on a Saturday evening. I mean Cool Out events, not the Fallout. Not sure if Big J will be in attendance or not.
It List: Thursday
Friday, December 21, 2007
*Just kidding, we hate you
The Party (Zubar): So last month I was all "Man, I've been to every Zubar party for the past year, so I'm gonna take a break from it tonight." And then after a few hours when I couldn't find anything else to do, I cruised by Zubar only to find that there was a huge line, the place was packed, and it looked really fun. But it was raining and I didn't feel like waiting in line so I said screw it. Guess I should've just gone in the first place.
Mom/Balmorhea/The Theater Fire (3114 Swiss Ave): Another edition of the always fun Swiss Ave parties, this one features Mom, who might have produced the most widely praised and commerically successful local release of the year (this side of St. Vincent), and Theater Fire, who received their fair share of praise last year along the same lines. These parties are always $5 and BYOB, although they typically have some free kegs inside if you get there early. I've heard that the door guy tends to Dude Bro out on people from time to time, but the atmosphere is always very friendly and a lot of fun once you get inside. Balmorhea is an Austin acoustic group that is like a more mellow, less electronic Mom. Quite subdued, but the DJ playing Italo disco in between sets should add some energy. The fliers say the party starts at 9, but these things almost always run well past two.
Laptop Deathmatch Christmas Party (Minc): Various deathmatchers will be performing tonight (including the acclaimed Convextion) before Wanz, Alex Ander and Robert Taylor spin a variety of dance tracks on Minc's above average sound system.
Pleasant Grove/Baboon/King Bucks/Greater Good (Doublewide): I would call this show one of those WTF Doublewide mismatched line ups, but its a 1310 The Ticket show, so it gets a couple bonus points for a something less than P1 ticket listener. I would head over there just for the chance to watch Danny be rude to some of the dorky p1s that will surely be in attendance.
The Crash that Took Me (FREE- Good Records): So The Crash that Took Me has been getting a little "buzz" around town lately, meaning that a couple of their little buddies at the Observer have decided to start writing about how "totally amazing" and "rockin" they are so that they can all feel cool together. But I really shouldn't dismiss the press they've received as some sort of aging hipster quid pro quo for guest list spots to half empty shows, because in all honesty, this band is an Observer critic's wet dream: imagine if U2 borrowed the Verve's equipment for a few days and started performing songs written by that dude from the Goo Goo Dolls, and you'd unfortunately be pretty close to how these guys sound. It's as if the mid 90's never went away with these people, you know? And no, little Nigel Godrich lazer sounds do NOT make your band either shoegaze OR experimental, ok my man? But they will be having free beer for some kind of video release party this evening at 8pm at Good Records, so I might go there and scoop up a couple cups and buy some magazines or something.
Strawberry Fields will be showing a surprise movie at 9pm tonight. BYOB if you're down.
Hands Up with Blaqstarr/Rye Rye/Playboy/The Party (The Loft): Baltimore Mad Decent DJ, M.I.A. collaborator and mixtap superstar Blaqstarr comes through Dallas with his city sound in full force and his ultra hip connections on full display. The guy has been profiled in URB and the Fader as well, meaning that his club cred is well established at this point. However, I'm actually most excited about seeing Rye Rye's performance since she is one of the youngest, sassiest and most skilled female MCs I've heard in a long time-- great minimal production from Blaqstarr only helps to emphasize her strong flow as well, and I'm hoping she's learned how to rock a mic live. I'll probably be there early to see for myself. Props to Central Booking for putting a really exciting show together.
The Frenz (Space--6pm): Part of a large visual art show featuring free drinks, etc. Good way to start the evening. Space is at 2814 Main St. in Dallas.
King Harvest Winter Solstice Festival (Hailey's): A variety of local Denton bands will be swapping members and covering various songs by various musical heroes. Details here.
Stereo on Strike Holiday Party (Zubar): Solid line up of DJs including Sean Vargas, Robert Taylor, Wanz and others. No cover.
Sarah Jaffe/Sean Kirkpatrick/Twig and Owl/Emil Rapstine (Rubber Gloves)
Wild in the Streets (Hailey's)
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Favorite Records 2007
9. Various Artists, After Dark Compilation: Upon first aural examination this seems like a dance music compilation, largely indebted to disco, paying direct tribute to Kraftwerk and early electro, nothing too complicated there. I've probably listened to this while working my straight job more than just about any other release this year, and there is something intriguingly somber and longing about most of these songs. This isn't just another coke abuse soundtrack but instead, the music that accompanies the void that encompasses you as you drive home from the club, city skyline in your rearview mirror. Perfect for Dallas. This is the celebratory release of a new Mike Simonetti venture, a man who has stayed a step or two ahead of the music industry for a long time now. If someone knows whether or not he ever released that Breadwinner bootleg he was threatening to subversively let loose on the market, please email me.
8. ESG, A South Bronx Story Vol. 2: The first South Bronx Story compilation by ESG was one of the most mind-blowing comps I had ever heard, all the way back in 2000. As entirely accessible as it was historically significant, it was great to find that this second volume was almost every bit as good as the first. Combining rarities and b-sides, this is incredibly immediate music, by a group that shares the very rare position of being pioneers of post-punk, hip-hop, and dance music, all without sounding like idiots. As the album progresses, the ability to still come up with beautifully simplistic basslines, obnoxiously danceable funk drumming and often hilarious upbeat vocals with the same enthusiasm for over two decades is astounding. Some of the cheap sounding guitar fuzz solos from the later years bothered me at first, but only added to the fun upon repeated listening.
7. Violent Squid, FYG Trio Split LP: One of the things I noticed about this album was the way it made people say things like, "It's too bad this isn't on a nationally distributed label. People should really hear it." Or similar sentiments expressed by people who usually don't care about such things. It is actually a shame considering this album was one of the most noteworthy releases this year period. It left me dumb-founded after each listen, scratching my head at how out of time and place it ultimately sounds. More specifically, the ghosts of 20th Century Avant America haunt the creaks, scratches and bleats of the record, ironically inoculating it from ever having to suffer the trend-scarred effects of age. Sans reissues, I don't even know if I could say that for the other entries on this list.
6. Shellac, Excellent Italian Greyhound: Thought at first I was sometimes confused and disappointed by Shellac's newest record, I realized that their last album "1000 Hurts" also had some unexpected turns that threw me when I first heard it, and it has since achieved a classic status with many of its fans. Comparing a band's newest record to live shows you've caught or bootleg performances you've heard is often a futile exercise, and it helps to try to separate a record from those expectations, if possible. There are definitely some weird moments here but there are also some strange moments in their live show, therefore making the record more of an accurate representation than previously thought. I've gotten used to the long-winded monologues but I still don't know if I can deal with a Strongbad cameo. When the speeches end and this record really kicks in, there's nothing else like it.
5. Neurosis, Given To The Rising: Over the course of several diverse projects including Tribes Of Neurot, a collaboration with Jarboe and their last full-length, "The Eye Of Every Storm," longtime Neurosis fans might have had the understandable concern that these Metal and Hardcore pioneers had softened for good. Though Neurosis had taken a respectable stab at so many different styles and concepts, you often found yourself wondering if they would return to their notoriously punishing selves. This record should lay to rest such fears, as it certainly did my own. This two disc set was a welcome beating, and its strength lies in its direct attack. There is very little time change gimmickry and other hallmarks of the prog metal they've inspired, instead there is the constant barrage of a basic Sabbath-sized seventies groove beat that keeps pummeling for over an hour. Expect to embarrassingly be unable to stop yourself from making demonic faces while air-drumming in slow motion.
LINK "Water Is Not Enough"
4. HEALTH, HEALTH: For a group that has so meticulously plotted each concept, visual representation, feedback loop, vocal effect and analog drum pad sound , it's a wonder that HEALTH still made a record that sounds so ready to fly off the hinges and singe your eyebrows as it blasts through each of the carefully crafted tracks. Ambient room sound compliments the huge drumming, in direct contrast to the chilling lilt of singer Jake Duzsik's voice, thusly creating a deftly honed hysteria that claws its way through the sizzle and spark shower of hot-wired electronics. One of the uniting forces between those who dance and those who slam dance.
LINK "Tabloid Sores"
3. Death Sentence: Panda, Festival Of Ghosts: One of the more overlooked bands from the extremely active West Coast music scene, Death Sentence Panda utilize horns in their No Wave inspired music, reminiscent of "Don Gavanti," which is hailed as being the lone operetta that the genre yielded. Almost completely forgotten (but not quite thanks to Ze and Atavistic reissues) is the way that No Wave progressed, surprisingly similar to more boring strains of 70's rock, and eventually incorporated elements of World Music into its sonic vocabulary. This is mirrored in "Festival Of Ghosts," which brings to mind gamelan orchestras, The Sun City Girls Eastern influenced experimentation, and the unraveling rhythms of Albert Ayler's spiritually inspired work. This risky and unexpected move from such a young group is actually excellent, and its ominous clang will stick with you. The second side of this vinyl release is very different live material from an earlier stage in DS:P's development and will quickly convince you what drew people to this band in the first place.
LINK "Slumber Party"
2. Koji Kondo/Eat Avery's Bones, Split 7 Inch: Koji Kondo rose from the ashes of Blonde Girls, who made my top ten records list last year and I'm not surprised to see them here again, with another excellent seven inch. They were one of the most ferocious live bands this year, a status they absolutely catapulted to by destroying living rooms and spaces all around town. This record captures a band that isn't just chugging out crossed-arm dudecore, but a handful of some of the most inventive and dynamic charged bits of music that the area has ever produced. The tug, push, and pull of this sophisticated punk is only heightened by the thoughtful and often poetic bite of the lyrics, that take the long way around "Fuck You." The other side is almost the opposite in many ways, since Eat Avery's Bones is probably more interested in being as grotesque as possible with the Eff Word as opposed to telling anyone off. They're too busy having fun for that. Their keyboard infused gross-out music with the busy rhythm section has been a favorite of the blog since its early days, and it was a true joy to throw that vision on the turntable for the first time.
LINK "Magic Candied Davecat"
1. Pylon, Gyrate Plus: As I mentioned in a "Heavy Rotation" piece earlier this year, I don't know if the "Gyrate" reissue fully demonstrates the point that Pylon are early dance-punk pioneers as well as their second record does, but it hardly matters. The fact that this is in print is definitely something we should all think DFA for. The scratchy guitars chicken pecking at the melodic basslines over the shifting drum beats and of course, the occasional disco rhythm is a sound that has aged so well that eighteen year olds are still churning this kind of thing out, and that's remarkable. But this band should also be remembered for the uniquely vulnerable and angry vocal performances of lead singer, Vanessa Briscoe Hoy. Their work might have been even more marginalized if it weren't for her. This is truly a band that should be held in the same esteem as Gang Of Four or Mission Of Burma and it's nice to see someone as popular and busy as James Murphy took the time and energy to acknowledge that.
It List: Thursday
These fliers were so cool, I had to include both of them...
Kilt/Acre/Bully Pulpit/PSOAS (House Of Tinntus): This noise show looks to be heavy on formlessness and drone, and it sounds like it will be on the harsher side of things, as opposed to ambient. Acre might be the lone exception, as their serene name suggests. PSOAS is a collaboration between House Of Tinnitus/Aphonic Curtains' member Rob Buttrum and Jonah from The 8th Continent. Jonah will be using his DIY electronics which I've seen him use live before, and they create a pretty impressive racket. By the way Kilt, that's a hell of a URL you've got there.
Antelope/Attractive and Popular/El Paso Hot Button/Balthazar/Prince William (City Tavern): This looks like a pretty good show, especially since it's free. Antelope describe themselves as playing "meditative, stripped-down punk music" of the sort that you don't hear much anymore. Attractive And Popular make yet another appearance featuring their straight-ahead dance rock and uniformed live antics. El Paso Hot Button has a pretty interesting one-man band routine, but the music is fairly standard riff rock. Prince William will be spinning records in between bands.
Matthew And The Arrogant Sea/Florene/A Childlike Fear/Verulf/Backflap (Rubber Gloves)
Deathray Davies (Granada): How many current and former Observer writers can you fit in the Granada?
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It List: Wednesday
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
We Shot J.R. Presents....
No It List for Tuesday
My Favorite Records of 2007
- Spank Rock, Fabriclive 33
- Jesse Rose, Body Language Vol. 3
- Lindstrom and Prins Thomas, Essential Mix
- Ellen Allien, Fabric 34
- Booka Shade, DJ Kicks
- Keith P, Bass Music
- Skull Disco
- Prince William, XXXL (We Shot a Mix Vol. IV)
- James Murphy and Patrick Mahoney, Fabriclive 36
- Cass McCombs, Dropping the Writ
- Ariel Pink, Scared Famous
- A Place to Bury Strangers, s/t
- YACHT, I Believe in You, Your Magic is Real
- Psychedelic Horseshit, Magic Flowers Droned
- Bjorn Torske, Feli Knapp
- Modeselektor, Happy Birthday
- Ulrich Schnauss, Goodbye
- Dan Deacon, Spiderman of the Rings
- M.I.A., Kala
- Dirty Projectors, Rise Above
Soft Circle, Full Bloom
- Health, Health
- The Clientele, God Save the Clientele
- Pissed Jeans, Hope for Men
- Electrelane, No Shouts, No Calls
- Wolves in the Throne Room, Two Hunters
- Big Business, Here Comes the Waterworks
Strategy, Future Rock
- Gui Boratto, Chromophobia
13. Times New Viking, Present the Paisley Reich: It's rare to see the phrases "harsh noise" and "power pop" used to describe the same record, but you could probably apply both of those descriptors to this record and end up being sort of right. Times New Viking sort of remind me of the punk rock I listened to in high school and junior high, and the album kind of sounds like it was recorded by the same dude who recorded my friend's high school punk band in his parents' garage, but it all totally works far beyond nostalgia. The fierce, bassless lo-fi aesthetic is completely perfect here, as the ultra catchy sing song choruses found throughout shine through with an even greater sense of urgency and excitement thanks to the savvy, less-is-more production choices. Coming off as a long lost late 80's/early 90's Olympia band with a jones for the Descendents and X Ray Spex, Times New Viking have produced an energetic, instantly charming punk as fuck sing along album that I'm praying I'll get to hear live some time soon. LINK "Devo and Wine"
11. A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Scribble Mural Comic Journal: I'm actually a bit surprised by the lack of attention this album received in the blogosphere, because I though it was one of the most interesting and truly adventurous new records I heard all year. A Sunny Day in Glasgow on Mushrooms would probably be a more complete and appropriate name for this band, as their entire debut record seems to maintain a relaxed, breezy disposition with a clear level of paranoia and chaos resting beneath the surface. Bits of shoegaze, early IDM and avant noise/ambient sound collage are peppered throughout an album that always seems just about ready to ditch song structure and melody all together without ever actually doing it. A truly gorgeous and easy collection of songs that takes risks and rewards listeners who stick around for at least a couple spins.
9. Burial, Untrue: So it seems that this has become the album that you have to include on your 2007 "Best of" list if you want to seem edgy and cool, but shit, denying its greatness because everyone else is jamming to it would be just as bad as singing its praises for the same reason. The truth is, Untrue is probably the most approachable dubstep album ever produced, but that doesn't mean it is any kind of dubstep-lite: dark, druggy liquid basslines rumble in the background as vocal samples and rushes of reverb fade in and out like the soundtrack to a dream as Burial deconstructs R&B and hip hop in a way that someone really needed to. It's still headphone music for record dorks in most parts of this country, but we're lucky enough here in Dallas to have an excellent dubstep night with a great soundsystem (Dub Assembly at Green Elephant) that allows us to hear this material in the right context: loud and with an audience.
8. Studio, Yearbook 1: One of the most surprising records of the year for me: two Swedish dudes were somehow able to take The Cure, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, and even a dash of New Order to make what was primarily a kraut influenced rock record that ended up sounding like a space disco party mix gone pop. Reads like convoluted bullshit, right? Well try listening to it, because that is really what it sounds like.
LINK "No Comply"
6. Various Artists, After Dark: I know this isn't an album in the sense that it isn't all original material performed by a single artist, but I had to give this one some serious props since it happened to be one of my most listened to records of 2007. These days, most people who read music blogs are more than familiar with the existence of "Italo Disco," so citing it as an influence is no longer the hipster trump card it once was. But where so many who dabble in the genre are simply rehashing long lost dancefloor classics in order to cash in on cool currency, the groups on Italians Do it Better have created a musical universe all their own, taking Euro disco, early German electro and traces of funk influenced American mainstream disco and turning into something that stands entirely on its own. Most of these tracks are icy, sexy, and a bit audacious, but their heavily stylistic nature never overshadows the great substance to be found in the production, which will likely render this group of artists something more than a passing hipster fad.
5. Caribou, Andorra: Dan Snaith always seems to make the kinds of records I would love to make if I made music. Andorra is pure psychedelic pop for the present era, and it is Snaith's greatest achievement as a musician thus far. Heavily steeped in the 60's without ever looking to the past for more than a moment, every song on this album is immediately memorable thanks to a set of influences that ranges from The Zombies to Silver Apples to Arthur Russell and somehow finds quite a happy medium among them, thus helping to push the evolution of psychedelic pop in all the right directions without a single nod to Elephant 6. LINK
1. Jens Lekman, Night Falls Over Kortedala: Vice Magazine's review of this record ended with the sentence "The only thing gayer would be to put a homo getting a haircut on the cover." When I first read it, I thought it was one of Vice's funniest reviews in a long time, but it didn't stop me from coming back to this album time and time again in just about any circumstance I encountered over the past few months. I listened to Lekman's larger than life post-modern pop both in moments of great happiness and at my lowest point of the year, and it resonated with me in those contexts more than anything else I listened to in 2007. Not that it's an emo cry fest by any stretch, but the unique combination of sarcasm, sadness and joyous sing-alongs made it pretty perfect for just about any mood. This choice for a #1 is probably more directly motivated by personal experience and circumstance than any other choice I made while making this list, but that is part of why this record was so much fun to listen to, and it's probably why it will be the album that brings me back to these times when I listen to it in the future. But I'm seriously not a homo, dude, I'll totally kick your ass.
Monday, December 17, 2007
And by the way, anyone who went to Zubar for Cool Out's Saturday evening set can probably tell you how excellent it was... lots of old school r&b and disco, and it all felt really good to hear with a crazy crowd and a good sound system. Gotta give those guys credit. Anyway, they're playing tonight, as usual, at the Cavern.
Last Week's Local Charts
1. FM3 Buddha Machine
2. Sigur Ros - Heima (DVD)
3. Dawn McCarthy & Bonny Billy - Wai Notes
4. The Crash That Took Me - Orchestrated Kaleidoscope
5. Phosphorescent - Pride
6. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
7. Mom - Little Brite
8. Interpol - Live EP
9. Sigur Ros - Hvarf-Heim
10. Sufjan Stevens - Songs for Christmas
11. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - American X: Baby 81 Sessions
12. Ghostland Observatory - Live from Austin, TX (DVD)
13. Tunng - Good Arrows
14. The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
15. Sole & the Skyrider Band - Sole & the Skyrider Band
16. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army
17. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
18. Burial - Untrue
19. Ben Harper - Live at Twist & Shout
20. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Good Records Local Top 5
1. The Crash That Took Me - Orchestrated Kaleidoscope
2. Mom - Little Brite
3. The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army
4. St. Vincent - Paris is Burning
5. St. Vincent - Marry Me
Strawberry Fields Local Top 3
1. Denton Deluxe v. 3
2. Violent Squid - Banned from denton trilogy
3. Forbes, Young and Gonzales - untitled
Recycled Books Local Top 3
1) Brave Combo – It’s Christmas Man
2) Brave Combo – Polka’s Revenge
3) Bubba Hernandez with Alex Meixner – Polka Freak Out
Monday Morning Rock
SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK
THU: Parade of Flesh Christmas with Ant3lop3/Attractive and Popular/El Paso Hot Button/Balthazar/Sober (City Tavern)
THU: Kilt/Acre/Bully Pulpit/PSOAS (House of Tinnitus)
THU: Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Florene/Scarily Terrible/Verulf/Backflap (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: The Party (Zubar)
SAT: Hands up with Blaqstarr/Rye Rye/Playboy/The Party (The Loft)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tittsworth/Klever/The Party (the Loft): Most of the Klever stuff I've heard has been of the mash up variety, which usually pisses me off when I'm sitting at home listening to it by myself. When you listen to them that way, mash ups are so annoying that even making fun of them is annoying. But I have to admit, I recently caught a bit of a Klever set on vacation in another town, and it was pretty fun. There were enough people going crazy and enough things to drink to make me not care so much about my anti-mash up agenda. In short, it was a party, and it was good. Am I saying that you'd have to be drunk to like it? No. But I'm also saying that you probably shouldn't judge a party DJ by listening to a mix at home by yourself. Tittsworth basically takes the concept of irony (the hipster one not the real one) and turns it upside down with sets that are so hit heavy and populist that you can't even tell whether the guy is being sarcastic or not. I think he was rockin' to Kris Kross the last time I checked in with him.
Character Flaws (Tractorbeam): This art show, curated by DJ Sober, will feature work by Tony Bones, Matt Rodriguez, Michael Sieben, and Pars. Takes place at Tractorbeam, located at 325 S Central Expressway in Dallas, and goes from 6-9pm. I'm guessing free food and drinks are involved.
Nouns Group/Kaboom/The Numerators/La Panza (Strawberry Fields): Couldn't locate any information on La Panza (maybe someone can get us a Myspace link in the comments or something), but this Saturday night show, which has become a regular event at Strawberry Fields (everyones new favorite place to see a free show), features a couple local favorites as well as Lubbock's Numerators, who sound like a band well worth seeing. Fans of Nouns Group or Koji Kondo will likely dig their stuff, although they seem to go off into quiet little experimental pieces from time to time that border on goofy but are still pretty interesting.
Teenage Cool Kids/Koji Kondo/ Angry Businessmen/Hide and Secret (715 Panhandle): This is the last local show in the immediate future for both of these bands as they will be hitting the road for a tour in the coming days. Panhandle is a place where these groups seem to be most in their element, so expect a packed house. Seems like the current musical climate is just right for a band like Koji to start building an audience outside the area, and maybe this will be the tour where they start doing it.
Vorvadoss/Four Days To Burn/Life Death Continuum (918 Cameron in Dallas): This is a BBQ potluck thing that starts at 3pm in celebration of the birthday of someone. Not sure who, but everyone is invited, and if I know the crowd that will be inhabiting this party (and I think I do), this will be interesting to say the very least... and a lot of fun too.
Quick Holiday Party with Cool Out (Zubar): Cool Out dudes will be spinning classic funk and soul all night for those who wanna hit it and quit it.
Smif N Wessun/The Party (Ridglea Theater): Free party at the Ridglea should bring out a hell of a crowd for the mass appeal tracks of Smif N Wessun....and by mass appeal, I mean kinda stupid and pretty fun.
The Demigs/Deep Snapper/Guns of Detroit/Raised by Tigers (Andy's)
Ella Minnow/Mersomme/The International/Beauxregard (Hailey's)
Gil Mantera's Party Dream/Faux Fox/Prince William (Hailey's): Caught Gil Mantera's performance at the Cavern last year, and although I wasn't blown away by the jokey, throw back 90's synth funk/pop, the show was a pretty good time, and those who are into this sort of thing will probably like it quite a bit. Isn't it Christmas break for the Denton types anyway? Sunday is the new Friday for the next few weeks I guess.
Unwed Sailor/This Will Destroy You/Mom (The Cavern)
VHS or Beta/Adult/Black Tie Dynasty (House of Blues): This FREE, invite only Camel event sounds fairly lame to me (the combo of VHS or Beta and Black Tie doesn't do it for me dude), but the fact that they'll be allowing people to smoke inside at the House of Blues (the venue is different, but the joke is the same) for the first time almost makes me want to go so that I can blow smoke in the faces of all the people who think our smoking laws should "be more like Austin's, man." Ha Ha. Adult does some decent classic Detroit influenced dirty electro stuff that you might want to check out too. Apparently you don't even have to have an invitation either... just be old enough to go and walk in.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
It List: Thursday
Lost Generation (Fallout Lounge): Stereo On Strike has some new mixes on the SOS blog, including a Frenz reworking of a Red Monroe track.
80's Night With DJ G (Hailey's)
Boogdish/Heartstring Stranglers/Fake Blood (1919 Hemphill): Boogdish is a one man bass and synth act. Fake Blood is a newer duo from Fort Worth that combines keyboards, a standing drummer and a lot of spirited shouting. I can't wait to hear some recordings, as they are excellent.
Liars and No Age
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It List: Wednesday
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
It List: Tuesday
Yells At Eels (St. Paul United Methodist Church located at 1816 Routh St., Downtown in The Arts District): This show is free and starts at 7 PM sharp. Cavernous spaces are generally bad for shows, but churches and free jazz have always been an oddly successful pairing. This is one of the best groups in town, regardless of genre.
Monday, December 10, 2007
It List: Monday
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Questions with Clipd Beaks
This year's Hoarse Lords, released on the much buzzed about Lovepump United label, features many of the same qualities I enjoyed on their earlier EPs-- a mix of the familiar and the avant garde that produces some undeniably intoxicating results. We had meant to publish this interview before Clipd Beaks' Dallas show last week, but schedule and communication issues resulted in the interview taking place about 15 minutes before their show at Public Trust, and thus, a delayed post. The guys had some interesting things to say about moving as a band, writing songs, and dealing with "buzz," and here they are:
So you guys are all from Minnesota originally, right?
And I read that some of you guys have known one another for a really long time. How did all of you meet?
Our bass player Scott and our drummer Ray met in first grade. They both went to a fine arts school so they're classically trained in their instruments unlike the other two of us, and they were both doing jazz band and stuff like that from a really early age. When I met them, they were in like a grunge band when they were like 13 years old and they were playing in my friend's garage at his parents' house. And I was like 14 and really into punk rock like Bad Religion and Minor Threat and other punk, and I saw these guys and thought they were wankers because they actually knew how to play their instruments, so I thought I'd be real cool and fuck with them, like fuck with their drums and stuff like that because I thought it sucked. And they came over and gave me a dirty look and were like "fuck you." So anyway, that's how I met them. We ended up getting to know each other, and we went to high school together, and they were a year younger than me. Scott started getting more into punk and hardcore over the years, and we started playing a lot of hardcore shows together while they were still doing their band. Their band started playing a lot of shows when I was a senior in high school, and after many years of us knowing one another and playing in separate bands, at one point we realized that if we all played together, something special would happen. So we decided to try it.
So then you moved to Oakland?
Well actually we started Clipd Beaks in 2003 in Minneapolis and then in the fall of 2004 I started to take off and move away from Minneapolis because I was really sick of it at the time and it didn't seem like our band had much of a future in Minneapolis because people weren't really feeling what we were doing and the whole vibe was kind of crushing at the time. I moved to San Francisco, and I didn't really think much about whether Clipd Beaks was still going to be a band, but what happened was that the other guys started making new recordings when I was gone, and right when I heard the stuff, I realized, and they had already realized, and other people had already told them that when we play together, something special happened. As soon as I heard the new stuff, I figured that we had to keep it going somehow, so I flew out there and did some work on some new songs, and then I told them that if they wanted to move out there (to California), I thought it would go really well. And a week after that, they moved out there and crashed on my floor until they found a place to live.
You said two of the guys are trained in their instruments and two of you aren't. Does that ever present problems for you guys as far as how you write music as a band?
Actually it works out really well because all of our songs more or less start with the foundation of the rhythm section, drums and bass. Usually the way we start a practice is to get Ray to come up with a cool drum beat, and Ray will fuck around and we'll all listen and get into what he's playing. And Scott and Ray are the ones that have known one another forever, and they have this definite connection between the two of them in terms of getting locked in with the rhythm section, and they'll kind of come up with a groove. And really, we are split down the middle, with the rhythm section which is super tight, and me and Nick are the opposite-- because the rhythm is so tight, it gives us the freedom to make as much noise as we want and freak the fuck out over that. So we have the rhythm and a bunch of random noise over that, so that's kind of our formula or our little trick that has worked out over time.
Well I was listening to your new record the other day, and one thing I like about it is that even though there is a lot of noise and chaos in the songs, you can always here a foundation in more structured pop and rock music. I like the contrast that is created there. Does that result from a combination of tastes coming out at once, or maybe the way you go about writing the songs, or is it a conscious stylistic choice?
Well with the bands we were in before, and even in the beginning of Clipd Beaks, we all came from a background of writing stuff that would be considered more conventional, accessible pop music. For me personally, I don't really listen to a lot of noise and really wacked out shit. The stuff that I'm really into is pretty much by the book what you'd expect, like New Order and the Smiths and Kraftwerk, and even bands like Suede and Primal Scream. That was the stuff that got me at a tender age and shaped my whole perspective on music, much more so than later on when I started listening to bands like Wolf Eyes, Throbbing Gristle, or Cabaret Voltaire. That's all there, but I can't ever get away from the fact, and I don't think any of us can, that we all trace our musical moment of zen back to Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream. I think for all four of us, that album or maybe Nirvana was what made the switch for us and made us think that we could actually be in a band. We really do try to incorporate everything we hear and everything we like, and encompass everything from that stuff to things we're into now, we don't discriminate between things that are cool and things that aren't cool or whatever. We want to have complete freedom, because whatever our next record might sound like could be totally different and some people might hate it, but that's just how it goes. We do this just for fun and for our own ideas about what good music should sound like.
Yeah, I was looking at some of the other bands on your label (Lovepump), and I think you guys sound pretty different than a lot of them. One similarity I do see, however, is that with a lot of the groups, the music is noisy like Indian Jewelry or AIDS Wolf and certainly abrasive at times, but with that kind of music, there is often an association with anger and aggression and darkness, while a lot of the bands on Lovepump seem to have that kind of musical aggression without the dark, heavy mood that a lot of noisier music has been associated with. Do you think that's true?
Well I definitely don't think that's the case for our album. It might be the case with some of the other stuff but I don't know. The reaction I get from a lot of people about our album is that its hard to listen to. When I listen to it, I think of how much fun we have making it, and the reason we're having fun is because through playing music, we're finding the freedom to let out a lot of the bad feelings we have. I think we are very different from a band like Health, but I don't know how to explain it though. In terms of the sound, maybe in some ways we're actually more accessible than some of the bands on Lovepump, but to us, we really don't think of ourselves as being some really artsy band, really super serious about "this is our aesthetic, this is our style, this is our sound." Kind of going back to what I was saying before, we've been doing this for a long time and we've all known one another for a long time, so to us it's kind of a relationship, it's just what we do when we're together, it's very real and personal to us, it's not based on trying to conform to some type of aesthetic of whats cool on Pitchfork in 2007. If that works out, and we connect with someone and they do think that, that's great, but it took us five years of being this band to get to this point, and at this point, regardless of however we fit in and how people might want us to be, we're still Clipd Beaks and we're still going to be doing it if it's not cool next year.
Well, the kind of music you're doing, as well as a lot of the other west coast bands you've been associated with recently, ARE cool on Pitchfork this year, you know?
Right, right. It's funny now that that is starting to happen, because we never played shows with Health or even knew them until a few months ago, and we don't know No Age or a lot of these other bands. We want people to know that we're from Minnesota because there are actually really cool bands from Minnesota that no one will ever hear. I realized at some point that no one would ever hear us if we stayed in Minnesota because its a very isolated place, but it's interesting to see how people try to make sense out of things and group things together that are easily marketable and easy to digest. I'm sure everyone thinks this about their band, but I really think our band isn't going to fit into that, maybe it's because we deliberately try to make ourselves non marketable, but where we come from is totally our own place. Minneapolis, the scene we came out of. We're not from L.A. or San Francisco, we're from fucking Minneapolis, you know, and we're doing this because we like hanging out together, not because we thought we were going to blow up or something.
And you do see that people are eager to lump all of those bands together in an artcore/hardcore scene in the west coast, even though you guys are from San Francisco and most of those bands are from L.A.
Yeah, and San Francisco has some great bands too. Right now, everyone is saying that this is a great year for noisy music, and so somehow we'll ride that wave to the top of the blog charts.
And at one time in the past, Minneapolis was a national hot spot itself. You seemed to be saying that it was pretty dead when you were there, but I wonder if there is any trace of that old Replacements/Husker Du thing that happened so long ago?
When I started going to shows it was a really amazing time, not just in Minneapolis but across the entire country. The only band that is still around from Minneapolis that I saw back then that people would still identify with is Dillinger 4. That was the first punk show I ever went to, and there were a lot of super crusty gutter punks hanging around. Back then, Minneapolis was really known for for Profane Existence Magazine, I don't know if you know about that, but it was like super crust. Anyway, I start going to shows at 14, I weighed like 100 pounds and I was straight edge, and I was moshing and pushing around totally shit faced, red faced belligerent crusty punk dudes with liberty spikes, and that was when it all kind of started for me. In Minneapolis, there are no record labels at all, so even if you're in a really good band, no one is going to take you to the next level and put out your record based on potential. So one of the things we started doing was to put out our own records. It seems obvious in a way, but we didn't just put together a CD and give it to friends, we started burning CDs and put together a list of 100 different labels we were going to send them out to, from the west coast to Sweden to Japan, we just started sending it out to people. The problem with Minneapolis is that geographically, it's a very isolated place, and it makes it hard to tour and make it to the West Coast and East Coast where more shit is happening. We did a thing for this website called Paperthinwalls.com recently where we selected three different MP3s from great bands from Minneapolis that are around right now just to shed some light on something that is very unknown and unappreciated, and that was a really cool opportunity for us.
Photo by Waltzcore
Monday Morning Rock
SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK
MON: Iron & Wine/Arthur and Yu (Palladium)
WED: Duran Duran (Nokia Theater)
FRI: Klever/Tittsworth (The Loft)
SAT: Teenage Cool Kids/Koji Kondo (715 Panhandle)
SUN: Gil Mantera's Party Dream/Faux Fox/Prince William (Hailey's)
Friday, December 07, 2007
Dub Assembly with Deville/Mundo and Lifted MC/Keith P/Royal Highnuss (Green Elephant): Another solid Dub Assembly dubstep night featuring Leeds UK DJ Deville, who according to his Myspace page spins a lot of stuff other than dubstep, with much more of an inviting, accessible party vibe that is probably much more appealing to an American audience. Dallas' own Mundo is building quite a rep for himself in dubstep circles nationally and internationally, and Keith P has basically become one of the most skilled DJs in town over the past year. Should be great.
Goodnight Fish/Blank Tapes/A Childlike Fear/Domenic Ferraro/Retired Astronauts (1919 Hemphill): Pretty mellow show for Hemphill this evening, with Austin's Goodnight Fish and San Francisco's Blank Tapes as the highlights. Blank Tapes sound like San Francisco is pretty much the only place they could be from, with some nice little Dead influenced pop songs and minimal, low key production.
Agent Orange/The Lash Outs/Kansas City Faggots/The Bleach Boys/The Blanket Restraint (Redblood Club): Redblood Club scores another big 80's/90's skate punk show, this time bringing in SoCal "legends" Agent Orange. I was going to talk about their history and all that but then I was like, oh, I don't really give a shit. People that do give a shit know enough about this band anyway. And I'd probably go mainly to see Bleach Boys (and yes I realize that they are probably influenced by Agent Orange just a lil.)
Lazer/MC Router/The Triggermen (Darkside Lounge): I'm not big into Lazer my man, but it should be noted that MC Router got a nice mention in a recent XLR8R article on nerdcore along with several other prominent MCs of the genre. Makes Jonanna Widner's clueless criticism of one of her recent shows seem even more Observeresque. I guess she doesn't have the approval of Russ Martin just yet.
Dinosaur Jr./Awesome Color/Colour Revolt (House of Blues): Obviously, reunion tours are pretty dumb for the most part, but Dinosaur's performance at Gypsy Tea Room last year was honestly one of the best rock shows I've ever been to. I'm a tad young to have caught the band in their prime, or even just after their prime, but I can't imagine how they could sound too much better than they did in 2006. Oh. That time they opened on My Bloody Valentine's Loveless tour. That was probably better. But anyway, their new album Beyond, released earlier this year, was pretty damn solid, and if you don't dig that, here is some really old Dinosauresque stuff to check out. Pretty funny. You might also be interested in stopping by early to check out some of Awesome Color's new material. I'm not a Sonic Youth nut like a lot of people on here, but Thurston Moore does happen to be right about certain things.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth: Another brainstorm by Fort Worth’s Other Arts, presented by Herb Levy, the same fellow who hatched the crazy scheme of flying Ellen Fullman & Susan Alcorn to Fort Worth for a three-day session of amplified-wire drones in a long barn in the middle of a horse-dung splattered livestock exhibit area. Last weekend Levy also presented Cage and Feldman solo pieces by pianist Louis Goldstein at the Van Cliburn Recital Hall. Saturday’s show is more geared toward the budget-conscious (cover-phobic?), as it’s free. Technically, this interpretation of Feldman’s 1978 work is happening in conjunction with “Declaring Space: Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein,” (featuring the art of Feldman’s contemporaries and acquaintances), so it’s somewhat possible you might have to bear a $4 (student price) burden for a double whammy of subtle, textural, & deceptively provocative art and music. “Why Patterns?” will be performed on piano, flute, and percussion, differing from the most widely available recording of the piece (Rothko Chapel, 1991, New Albion, on cello, piano, and chimes). The 30-minute piece starts with spare, sharp piano clunks, diffusing into light, airy, and moody tonal clusters. It should be interesting to see how the inherently more playful flute changes the tone. As is, the original picks up major steam near the end, chugging along with a powerful ill logic to a faded non-ending that leaves you wanting. Free and starts at 2pm.
Shiny Around the Edges/Drink to Victory/Seth Sherman/Fight Bite (Strawberry Fields): Another good show at Strawberry Fields, a store that seems to be carrying on the Denton DIY crusade now that some of the more well known venues have been put out of commission. And I haven't had a chance to hear Fight Bite yet, but their name is fucking gross. BYOB as always.
The Crash that Took Me/Mom/The Future Unlived (Doublewide): Will Mom steal the show? They've been known to do that.
Sydney Confirm/The Freek Out/Beauxregard/Florene (Rubber Gloves)
Smif n Wessun/The Party (Ridglea Theater): Free show, which is important to some people. I was just talking to my really cheap friend (we all have one) who wouldn't pay a cover charge to see My Bloody Valentine open for the 1969 Rolling Stones at a private party. So I'm going to tell him to go to this show, because its free and stuff. JUST KIDDING. THIS IS NEXT WEEKEND
Bleach Boys/Koji Kondo/Rocket for Ethiopia/Rival Gang/Fake Blood (1919 Hemphill): These performances are part of a larger art show where, if I'm not mistaken, the bands display their own visual art. But whether that is completely true or not doesn't really matter with a great line up like this. I'm kind of interested to hear more from Denton's Rival Gang, seeing as how the one song on their Myspace page is pretty good.
Shiny Around the Edges/Tre Orsi/Douche (Good Records 3pm)
Art Conspiracy with Red Monroe/Kristy Kruger/Sarah Jaffe (the Door): Well Mike Huckabee apparently supports the arts and all that, so I guess the Door can do it too.