Since the voting deadline for this year's We Shot J.R. Awards is coming up this Friday, August 17th at 5pm
, we thought we'd ask some local musicians, writers, and promoters to share their votes with us... and you. Their selections are posted below, and you can go make your voice heard here
.MICHAEL CHAMY (Zanzibar Snails)
I suggested this forum to stonedranger not to try to convince anybody who the “best band in DFW” is (those things are always personal), but just to point out some options in different categories and maybe stir things up a little as we emerge from this post-MATAS hangover ….
….. so, I’m just going to list the Best Broken-Up Band:
Notes From Underground.
Best New Band (must have played their first show some time between March 2006 and now)
I’m only going to point out here that Nouns Group doesn’t qualify, I don’t believe.
Best Experimental/Avant Garde/Noise
With the Zanzibar Snails, I’ve played with a lot of groups that would fit into this category in the past year. Most have been roadshows. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, there simply aren’t that many truly experimental or noise acts that actually live in the area. My favorite is Mike Maxwell of Irving (shout-out to the mid-cities!), who in his incarnations as S.D.S. (which stands for Shortwave Dub System, Socialist Death Strike, or whatever you want it to) and SUBkommander, has proven a genius puppetmaster, synchronizing marionettes of backwards drowning men, squishy mental meatscapes, gurgling springs of eternal mildew, and good-old fashioned ethereal specters of the shortwave spectrum, into mesmerizing yet intense, and gentle yet confrontational displays of high artistry.
Perhaps I’m taking a purist route to this category, but I wouldn’t advocate using it just shoehorn some act that doesn’t fit anywhere else (a la the Observer and the pAperchAse for so many years), since there are some (not tons, but some) fine examples around here of outside-the-box, truly challenging artistic experiments.
That said, recognizing the offbeat prog-shock greatness of The Great Tyrant here wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, either.
Best DJ – I’m just deleting or ignoring the categories I’m not qualified to answer due to limited exposure (read: living in the mid-cities)
Best Electronic Band/Musician – other than the aforementioned S.D.S, the frontrunners appear to be Ghosthustler, Mom, possibly the Frenz, and perhaps the Undoing of David Wright, if you consider them thus. I’ve had either limited exposure to these acts or no real urge to vote for them.
Best Venue – when you combine all the different things a live venue can offer, it’s hard to beat the package offered by Rubber Gloves. But this was the year of the DIY. Nothing can beat the exhilaration of seeing vital and quality acts in cozy home-settings like House of Tinnitus, Secret HQ, Eight Continent, and the Fra House, often many in one night. My vote goes to DIYDenton, rolling blackouts be damned.
Best Live Act – Personal choice. Gonna go with Shiny Around the Edges and Nouns Group, in a three-way tie with the Modern History Duet.
Best Use of Visual Art – In general, projectionist extreme Paul Baker when paired with suitable artists such as S.D.S. … but if you want one instance, it would undoubtedly be the almost painfully grainy harsh visual abstraction of projectionist Jason Wade at the House of Tinnitus in May, in combination with the absolutely painful eardrum-piercing power electronics of Minneapolis’ Monsters of Pot.
Best Booking Agent/Promoter – Those terms often evoke concepts that have less to do with music than “The Industry.” Thankfully, this could not be less true in the case of Rob Buttrum, House of Tinnitus. DUDE runs circles around other area bookers in terms of bringing the peculiar, unique, unusual, and LOUD from all the murky corners of the American wasteland and beyond. He’s made a lot of musicheads and musicians very happy, as well as his electric company. Not so sure about the neighbors.
Best Vocalist – take your pick: Jenny Seman (Shiny Around the Edges); Nick Foreman (Dust Congress); Brent Best (I have a weak spot); George Neal; Andrew Huffstetler (Baboon). Lots of different styles there.
Best Guitarist – I can’t really come up with one, other than to say that my Zanzibar Snails bandmate Nevada Hill is certainly the most innovative guitarist in these parts. And sometime Snail Justin Lemons’ work in the Modern History Duet is mad jagged haymaker dazzling. Hey, if I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t play with them.
Best Bassist: With apologies to Aaron Gonzalez (Unconscious Collective, Yells at Eels) and Tommy Atkins (The Great Tyrant) this is gonna have to be j. britt robisheaux (Nouns Group) for his visceral take on the distinctive style one of my all-time my favorites, David Wm. Sims.
Best Drummer – The best drummers are nearly always the ones active in jazz or other freeform styles. Definitely the case here with Stefan Gonzalez (Unconscious Collective, Yells at Eels, Forbes/Gonzalez/Young Trio, as well as his hardcore punk concern, Akkolyte) leading the way, alongside a Dallas darkhorse, Gerard Bendix, whose jaw-dropping work appears in a variety of projects, from the trumpet-loop madhouse duo Swirve to the Astro-Jazz Trio & Quartet’s fresh & potent deconstruction of jazz standards, to the seldom-seen, absurdist experimental jazz trio the Tidbits.
Matt Pence (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel) is still one of the greatest (and never overbearing) rock drummers I’ve seen, when he’s not holed up at the Echo Lab studios in Argyle.
Best Misc. Instrument (this really needs to be a category) – Mike Forbes, saxophone. A one-of-a kind person and player, this guy is capable of anything, from the most intense and abrasive free skronk you could ever hear (particularly in his Modern History Duet) to innovative and melodic turns with groups like Shiny Around the Edges and Violent Squid. Also notable for his prolific output in the Forbes/Young/Gonzalez Trio, Zanzibar Snails, Notes From Underground, iDi*amin, and many more one-offs and off-the-cuff performances. He recently moved to Chicago, where he plans to play on the street among other things, while continuing his evolution from Utah luddite to free jazz titan. Denton will miss him immensely.
Best video on videos.weshotjr.com – RICK THE VOTE! 100% Rick Roll on this one. However, among the few local clips that have appeared here, Violent Squid’s ridiculous “Sassy Mink” is great.
Worst Band – Faux Fox. No, it’s not personal, never met them. Apparently other people see something I don’t. I see (and hear) half-hearted parody, and a bad joke.WANZ DOVER (the Frenz, Stereo on Strike)
Best Band: The Great Tyrant- Innovative, menacing, beautiful and chaotic. One of the Tightest bands in the area that does not dumb it down to a bunch of solos. There songs are more like epic compositions thana simple verse-chorus- bridge formula.
Best New Band: Ghosthustler- Good songs. Good Hooks. Good Electronics. I am really excited to see where they are gonna take this.
Best Experimental/Avant Garde/Noise: Loop 12-As far as great noise music goes these guys pretty much smoke everyone in DFW. They have not played many shows due to the fact that there are not too many venues that would have them. They have all been doing experimental music around here for almost 20 years in various projects . If you dig Coil, Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, SPK or anything else of that ilk then you absolutely have to see these guys. I’m sure they will frequent sloppyworld once it opens.
Best DJ: (tie)Sean Vargas- He simply plays some of the best tech house and minimal sets I have heard around here. He is criminally overlooked.
CTRL ALT DEL- Great track selections and innovative use of the kaoss mixer to really tweak the music coming from his turntables. He also has a near encyclopedic knowledge of a wide variety of electronic music styles that he uses to his advantage. He has not played out much, but hopefully that will change in the next year.
Best Electronic Band/Musician: Laptop Deathmatch- I am a little biased on this one, but the best electronic music I have heard this year has been at deathmatches. The bar rises higher and higher every deathmatch. Guys who could barely turn on their laptop when we started this 2 years ago are now making some of the sickest IDM in the south.
Best Live Act: The Great Tyrant
Best Use of Visual Art: Undoing of David Wright-By far the best use of conceptual art of any band around here. Take one look at their myspace page and try and argue with that. From the handmade individualized cd packages to the eleborate costumes.
Best Booking Agent/Promoter: John Freeman-His shows at New Amsterdamn were always top notch. He did not stick to one group of bands or genres. I saw great indie bills, electronic bills, punk bills, funny bills and more. A promoter with a wide variety of tastes and music knowledge. Sloppyworld will save Dallas.
Best Vocalist: (tie)Liz Mcgowan (Silk Stocking)- I get chills when she sings. A singer that truly projects from the gut. If Mahalia Jackson and Diamanda Galas had a bastard child it might be Liz. There are few singers around nowadays that sing with this much soul.
Daron Beck (The Great Tyrant)- He can sing ballads, he can scream, he can even hack up blood if he wants too. Somewhere between Scott Walker, Glenn Danzig and Leonard Cohen and a Vampire David Bowie.
Best Bassist: Aaron Gonzalez (Life Death Continuum,Yells at Eels, Akkolyte )- He can play Jazz, Metal, Punk, Noise and pretty much anything else he sets his mind too. I guess it helps that he comes from a family of super human musicians.
Best Guitarist: Will kapinos (Jetscreamer)- The only guitarist I know that play a wide variety of styles ranging from Delta Blues to Scratch Acid style Texas Punk to Dead C inspired noise skronk. A true Virtuoso.
Best Drummer: Guyton Sanders (The Frenz)- I am a very lucky man. I will leave it at that.
Best video on videos.weshotjr.com: (tie) By far the hardest category.
Luke Vibert – "I Love Acid"- Um yeah. You know . like…….uh ………my reasons for liking this video should be obvious.
Liars – "Plaster Casts of Everything"- The new album is no Drum’s not Dead, but this particular song stands up too anything on that record. The video is fucking awesome to boot.
Worst Band: Too many too name. I'll pass on this one.
Worst Venue: Curtain ClubGreat sound. Great Stage. Great sound guys. The worst booking policy on the planet. They have the facilities to be the best club in Dallas. Their stubborness and absolutely wretched taste in music will be there demise. I will be surprised if they last another year.
Worst Use of Total Douche Promo Pictures: Once again too many to name.SAM MACHKOVECH (BigdLittled)
best band: Pleasant Grove
You know how Sorta gets those cop-out reviews where people talk about how they're talented and cull from lots of influences? And those critics beat around the real issue, that Sorta's music is ultimately boring, been-there-done-that Americana? I think of Pleasant Grove as the great mix of familiar sounds and compelling twists that Sorta fans think they're describing. PG's always had the killer songwriting that lifts them above the Wilco wannabe fray, not to mention the oddly alluring vocal duo of semi-nasal Bret Egner and semi-baritone Marcus Striplin. And with Jeff Ryan back on drums, the band seems to finally have regained momentum and fire for what they do. They're supposedly on track for an album release on Badman within a year...I'll believe it when I see it, but I'm not feeling so dumb for hoping this time. Theater Fire is an extreeeemely close second place here, by the way.
best new band: The Demigs
I can't keep track of when bands start up, but I'm pretty sure The Demigs meet your March '06 criteria. That Yardling record of theirs is already in my top local three of the year. Very impressive stuff.
best experimental/avant/noise: Shiny Around The Edges
best DJ: I have no definitive answer to this, but the two times I attended DJ events with The Party, I've had a damn good time.
best electronic band/musician: Tree Wave
I've been championing Tree Wave for years, so it might seem like a cop-out answer, but I've seen quite a few dancey/gimmicky acts since moving to Seattle. One of them in particular used an Atari joystick to modulate its pre-recorded beats on the fly, and the crowd went nuts--"Wow, that's so cool!" Try coding game machines by hand and THEN figuring out how to attach effects pedals to the digital output to create warm, analog waves of gorgeous noise. Or shove the stupid joystick up your ass, poseurs. Tree Wave FTW.
best venue: Rubber Gloves
Other venues may win in certain categories, like better sound (Sons), quainter ambiance (Dan's) or better sight lines (...again, Sons). But RGRS ranks highly in all of those categories with little in the way of serious pitfalls. The best way to put it: If a dude from Europe ever came to DdFW and asked where he should go if he's bored to see a great show, I'd tell him that his best bet would be any given night at the Gloves. Beer's cheap, booking is consistent (and locally conscious), sight lines are solid, sound is fine, and the upstairs hangout room has Joust. Works for me.
best live act: Bosque Brown
Until they get a proper record out, which they're actually currently recording with Chris Flemmons of Baptist Generals, you'll have to go to a show to hear this band at its finest. This many years later, their concerts still silence crowds.
best use of visual art: ZOO
I almost picked this guy as best DJ just because of the video selection and video/audio mashups this guy does. Good to see that his Cavern residency is still alive and strong.
best MC: Headkrack
PPT understands what it means to be a pure "hip-hop" group by its original definition--they're about the party rather than lyrical bravado. But when you want an MC with skill, delivery, flow and charisma, you want Headkrack. He's like LL in his prime--hungry, angry and without all that shirtless crap.
best booking agent: none of 'em. Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth booking can be such a competitive wreck, putting on way too many good shows on one night and leaving the next one bone dry. It's a constant reason for aggravation.
best vocalist: Mara Lee Miller, Bosque Brown
best bassist/guitarist/drummer: dunno.
worst venue: Tom Cats, duh
worst band: answering this correctly would require hanging out at Tom Cats. no thanks. I'm pretty sure that BTD is gonna win the popular vote on this one, but in the scheme of things, they're at least truly into their genre and consistent, unlike meathead bands that change genres as soon as they find a new genre that attracts chicks to concerts.
worst use of total douche promo pictures: obviously this one: http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j158/ganglo/shitjr-1.jpgPRESTON JONES (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
I should preface all of this with the disclaimer that I started the FWST music critic gig at the end of January, so I’m not nearly as well versed in the local goings-on as I’d like to be. All of these choices are based on lots of MySpace surfing, a few recommendations and the handful of local acts I’ve seen live or heard on wax in the last seven months.
Best New Band: Nouns Group (I could be wrong – but I think they’ve only started playing live in the last few months)
Best DJ: Stephen Ruiz (I knew Stephen from my OKC days; dude knows how to throw a party)
Best Venue: Granada Theater (of all the non-corporate joints I’ve been to, it’s the most inviting)
Best Live Act: Burning Hotels
Best Booking Agent/Promoter: Lance Yocum (Spune and Daughter Entertainment seem to bring in a lot of acts that other bookers wouldn’t think to)
Best Vocalist: Mara Lee Miller (Bosque Brown’s set at SXSW took my breath away)
Best Drummer: Will Johnson
Best Video: Woody Allen Interviews Billy Graham??!!! (Like a peanut butter and gelfilte fish sandwich)SCOTT PORTER (Record Hop/Spitfire Tumbleweeds/SHQ)
- DEEP SNAPPER.
Old dudes make the best music.
Best New Band
Young dudes make the best music.
Best Experimental/Avant Garde/Noise
- NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND
- WILD IN THE STREETS
We're from the same burbs,
so it's weird to me how much cooler she turned out.
Best Electronic Band/Musician
I believe in the hype.
- RUBBER GLOVES
Best Live Act
- WHITE DRUGS
Sleazy bastards are probably sweating on your lady.
Best Use of Visual Art
- UNDOING OF DAVID WRIGHT
They ARE visual art.
Best Hip Hop MC.
- Not even gonna try with this one. Sorry.
Best Booking Agent/Promoter
- DAN MOJICA, over at Dan's Silverleaf. The only guy I've ever met that will pull out his calender as soon as you bring it up, write your name down on whatever date you want, and then buy you a beer.
- ASHLEY CROMEENS/RECORD HOP
Best Bassist/Best Guitarist
I can tell you who it ain't.
Best video on videos.weshotjr.com
Pam and Tommy
Worst Use of Total Douche Promo Pictures
B to the T to the DJOHN (Parade of Flesh)
Best Band: N/A
Every band I wanted to nominate seems to have move to Austin. It’s understandable and I forgive you all.
Best New Band: Glen Farris (solo)
Despite personally hating solo acoustic acts for many years, I am completely mesmerized and entertained when I catch Glen’s solo act; always recommending it to friends when I know he is playing out solo. Plus it provides me with an ample amount of material to harass him with later on.
Best Experimental/Avant Garde/Noise: Trifle Tower and Akkolyte
I cannot decide since both these bands are rad with cool dudes. (I just got back from California, sorry)
Best DJ: Prince William
He is insanely underrated, but lack of promotion can do that to a man. Hopefully, there’s more to come from the tallest motherfuckin’ DJ in town.
Best Electronic Band/Musician: Ghosthustler
The only thing going against these guys: jealous haters on the internet. Otherwise, I wish these kids the best success whether it is local or national.
Best Venue: The Loft
Honestly, I put down The Loft solely for the view of Downtown Dallas and for no other reason than that. Otherwise I dislike most of the venues in town; please scroll down to Worst Venue.
Best Live Act: Eat Avery’s Bones
Never boring, very loud, pretty obnoxious and they wear nifty costumes.
Best Use of Visual Art: Treewave
I really could not think of any other act that fell into this category.
Best Hip Hop MC: Farah of Farah
Sometimes I can’t tell what genre she is aiming for, and I really like catching her performances, so she deserves a nomination in at least one category.
Best Booking Agent/Promoter: Paradeofflesh.com
Whatever, maybe in 2008? For reals: Centralbooking rule (at least for promo).
Best Vocalist: The many anonymous comments of WSJR.
Lately the discussions and individual comments are more entertaining than the shows, people and bands they all gripe about.
Best Drummer: John T. of Great Tyrant.
Jesus H. Fuckin’ Christ. Thank You Sir, may I have another.
Best Video on videos.weshotjr.com: Lightning Bolt/Wolf Eyes – Pick A Winner
If you have 63 minutes to kill, then let this video occupy that time or check out my youtube account which has a bunch of live stuff I shot from 2003- current. Youtube.com/user/paradeofflesh
Worst Band: Black Heart Society
Besides looking like they all work at Northpark Mall and hit on teenage girls, Cameron is in this band.
Worst Venue: Pastime Tavern
I completely love to hate on it. Besides being a shithole in the ghetto, the owner is an avid redneck that wears a gold “69” pendant around his neck and there’s only shows there because of us. It’s a hidden treasure and every band has walked away really pleased so far this year. I really hate most of the venues in town for one reason or another: The Cavern is cramped, Nokia and House of Blues are expensive before walking through the doors, Club Dada is Club Dada, and The Door is for Christian child molesters or for Christians and child molesters, I forget. I could go on and on. And I will. One day.
Worst Use of Total Douche Promo Pictures: N/A
No one can ever top anything that David “Diamond” Lee Roth has done.DJ SOBER (The Party/Central Booking)
Best Band: Faux Fox
best new band: ghosthustler
best experamental/ avant garde: mission giant
best dj: keith p
best electronic band: mom
Best Venue: The Loft
Best Use Of Visual Art: Undoing Of David Wright
Best Hip Hop MC: Massive
Best Bassist: Shane (Ghosthustler & many other bands)
Best Guitarist: Aaron (Undoing)
Best Drummer: Quincy Holloway
Best Video on WSJR: New Order live 1984 "Temptation"
Worst Venue: Petrus Lounge