Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We Hate Your New Band Too

Over the past few months, we have noticed a surprising influx of quality new local bands emerging throughout the area, and we wanted to say a few words about some of them in a format other than an It List. There are so many artists we wanted to talk about, in fact, that this post, which we're calling "We Hate Your New Band Too," will be the first in a new series in which we bring your attention to some of the newer local acts we've been listening to. Although some of the bands we'll feature in this series aren't completely new, most have only been covered briefly on WSJR (if at all), and we thought you might be interested in learning something about them beyond what we usually have time to tell you in daily show listings. Anyway, round one is below, and you'll see round two next week:

Fizzy Dino Pop: I'm sure many of our "in the know" readers anticipated that there would one day be a local band that would successfully incorporate some combo of the Crystal Castles/Dan Deacon/Death Set/8 Bit Sound into something worth listening to, and Fizzy Dino Pop might just be that act. Consisting of just one member, FDP tackles the spastic, fast, and danceable yet noisy sounds of the aforementioned groups minus the use of vocals, which pushes the intriguing song structures and blasting beats into the foreground with a good deal of success. All of the Fizzy Dino Pop tracks we've heard have come off like the sound of fuck all reckless joy, recalling an 8 bit Nintendo game soundtrack sped up to the point where it is just about to fall apart, which is probably perfect for a kid at the peak of a sugar rush. But if youthful exuberance at hardcore inspired breakneck speeds is the foundation here, what really makes this music worthwhile is the dance element that almost forces you to imagine yourself at a particularly fun house show whenever you hear it. Although some of this music comes off a bit silly upon first listen, it is hard to deny the excited danceability of the instrumental Ghosthustler reworking "Someone Else's Ride," nor the fun yet emotionally provocative power of standout Motoric Mathematics remix "Everything on eBay." Fizzy Dino Pop sounds like a project that could be taken to all kinds of interesting places, but I hope dude stops off at a couple 08 summer house parties on the way. (SR)

Stick Up Kids: So a couple of the guys from Neva Dug Disco had our eyes rollin' the other day when they handed us a copy of Stick Up Kids' latest mixtape, The Worst Day of Your Life. I mean come on, we don't have time to listen to some BS Dallas wanna be MCs acting like they're from Houston, right? Well, if you're as cynical about Dallas hip hop as I've been for most of my tenure in town, then you too may be in for something of a shock when you pop in Stick Up Kids' latest mix tape. Avoiding the disparate but common local hip hop traps of being either too backpack or too cartoonish street, Stick Up Kids bring it with both production and flow on one of the most surprising local releases of any kind I've heard this year. These guys aren't reinventing the wheel here, but that's not the point. This is a straight up party tape that compares favorably with many of the recent hip hop mixes I've heard from more reputable artists in more respected hip hop locales, forcing me to wonder whether these guys might be a slightly bigger deal if they were from Houston or New Orleans. Never dumbing it down or getting too cute, Stick Up Kids' three members, Molek Ular, Wordlife and E-Wize, seem to possess the kind of swagger and skill that might get people talking both within and outside of our little local music bubble. The mix tape covers a lot of ground, from chilled, old school inspired grooves to harsh, urgent street tracks and party starters that blend together as well as you could possibly expect from such a diverse group of sounds. The combo of gritty street appeal and imaginative, quality production is far too rare in this city, and the fact that the MCs actually have more than a respectable presence on the mic makes it even better. (SR)

Roy G and the Biv: What the fuck am I supposed to do when I kind of like something that almost reminds me of Jamiroquai? I'm guessing a response akin to "get a life" would be your suggestion, but fortunately for all of us, things aren't quite so simple with Denton's Roy G and the Biv, and the Jamiroquai reference was kind of just a joke. Sorry, it was the first thing that popped in my head when I heard these tracks. The second thing that popped in my head is that Roy G's lyrics are pretty cheesy. In fact, they suck. And I'm also pretty sure that the dude has listened to more than his fair share of Chromeo, Chic, Wham! and The Gap Band, as his initially audible influences are quickly discernible. But dig a bit deeper and you'll hear a bit of the earnestness of Skylarking era XTC, a touch of old school soul, bold flashes of disco and some well crafted 80's synth funk/r&b, all of which adds up to pretty catchy tunes that can be admired on their own merits. In fact, if the above mentioned reference points are at all appealing to you (not that you would ever admit to liking a Jamiroquai song, of course), then I think you might be in for a treat when you cruise by the Myspace page and check out a couple tracks, particularly "Nicotine," a goofy, oversexed and mid tempo disco/ 80's soul number that sounds like a coke head come on just before last call. Translation: purposefully disposable but highly accomplished pop that you'll have a hard time denying. And the guy is apparently just getting started. (SR)

Sunnybrook: When I first stumbled across Sunnybrook's Myspace page as I was getting ready to complete a brief write up for a Weekender, I was immediately struck by how mature and thoughtful this seemingly young artist sounded at what I believed to be a very early stage of his project. It turns out that I was right about his age, but wrong about his experience-- Paul North, the lone member of Sunnybrook (and younger brother of Mom's Joel North), is only 20 years old, but he's actually been recording songs under the same moniker for five years. Initially inspired by the music of Elliot Smith, North began writing songs at age 15 while learning to play and sing on his own through the kind of open minded trial and error that is often as useful for revealing what an artist doesn't like as it is for setting any kind of true foundation for a particular musical direction.

As he grew older and slightly more adventurous musically, North began making regular trips up to Denton to visit his brother and fellow Mom member Bruce Blay, and it was those visits that changed the direction of his vision. Aside from introducing North to artists such as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Steve Reich and Spiritualized, the members of Mom also included him in the recording sessions for their debut EP Little Brite, allowing the younger North to assist in backing vocals and noise making as he soaked up the ideas and techniques that the band brought to their production.

Many of these more adventurous influences have made their way to the foreground of Sunnybrook's music, and it is all the more compelling for it. Sure, many will probably hear similarities between Sunnybrook and newer indie folk acts like Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear and Phosphorescent, and truthfully, those are probably the most relevant and accurate comparisons to make (along with references to groups like The Books and Boards of Canada). But beyond the obvious is where this music truly stands out in sea of comparable local acts-- whereas "ambient" is often used as a substitute for "boring," particularly when the word is used to describe acoustic acts who have just discovered that electronic music isn't evil, North truly utilizes the concept to his advantage, creating interesting textures and atmospheres that are initially compelling but also rewarding as a slow revelation. The song that caught the ears of WSJR and a handful of other blogs a couple weeks ago is "Waving Hands," a bittersweet and introspective acoustic piece with sugary, reverby layered vocal tracks that play off one another to create a compelling wall of distant harmonies that never stray too far from a traditional melodic core. All of Sunnybrook's tracks, whether it be the instrumental toy piano atmosphere of "Walking" or the more sing songy "Strangers," contain hints of the kind of artistic sophistication that you might not expect from such a young artist, especially one who has barely played a gig. (SR)

Darktown Strutters: One of the more unexpected acts I've stumbled across so far this year, Darktown Strutters consists of two roommates that met appropriately enough on Friday The 13th, a fitting date to match the delightful gloom cast over the duo's music. Their overall image and sound smartly teeters on a thin line between camp and an undeniable dark confidence over masterfully fucked grooves, and it must be taken seriously.

Organist and vocalist Kara Jean spends most of her time in the lower reaches of a voice that is both melodramatic and monotone, but can shriek her way into a nasty falsetto when necessary. A sparse yet catchy little organ riff with plenty of negative space will open a song, allowing for Wes Darrin (also of Faux Fox) to lay down very inventive and varied beats on an electronic drum kit that's doused with delay. The array of presets and sounds on Kera's Electone MR-500 mixed with disco beats and lyrics referencing Kenneth Anger make for a live experience that's hard to shake. The group cited very few influences, early Christian Death being one of them, though Malaria! is one of the first groups that come to mind when I hear them.

"Jovan White Musk" is the only posted track on their page, but its nine minute plus running time is a good, long intro to the unclassifiable creep of the Darktown Strutters music. You had to be lucky to have scored one of their limited edition cassettes on local label Asex Tapes, and I'm hoping there's more where that came from. (DL)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darktown Strutters = the new black

11:09 AM  
Anonymous D.E.E.T. said...

I remember seeing Fizzy Dino Pop at Rubbergloves about a year ago. It was fun, but I felt like the music was lacking some substance. I'll go check out new stuff. A lot of improvement can happen in a year!

3:05 PM  
Anonymous The Ex said...

Musical taste is subjective...I know this, but I think you're seriously undermining any musical credibility you may have by even mentioning at least one of these bands. (Oh, I can hardly keep myself from naming them!)

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so fucking sick of comments that don't make any fucking sense.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous the ex said...

What's so fucking hard to figure out? I think one of those bands is bad, and I won't name them for personal reasons. I also dislike them for personal reasons that may or may not have anything to do with the actual music or performance.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous keep it to yoself, crybaby said...

bad breakup?

4:27 PM  
Anonymous bad breakup! said...

no shit-what a pussy

4:37 PM  
Anonymous cliff notes said...

comments that don't make sense.. is my career

4:50 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

Cool feature. I really like Sunnybrook.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous the ex said...

I guess the subtle sense of humor doesn't translate so well to the 0's and 1's, but fuck off anyway.

6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ex:

just name the group brah

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know how lame " i won't name them for personal reasons" yet you still make this big deal about it

the person probably broke up with you because you seem like a tripod

6:27 PM  
Anonymous princemoney said...


8:50 PM  
Anonymous numnuts said...


9:14 PM  
Anonymous K ROQ said...

contact asex tapes for some new darktown strutters cassingles!

9:27 PM  
Anonymous the mama cass dating hotline said...

contact ASEX TAPES for new darktown strutters CASSINGLES!

free ham sandwiches.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE! no more...

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please more!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous the ex said...

Dear "Anonymous says.. 6:27 PM", I admit to being a tripod, but at least I'm a tripod that can write a sentence in my native tongue.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear the ex

ok gangs of new york

9:32 AM  
Anonymous the ex said...

I know not of what you speak as I avoid movies that look awful.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous SWAMPASS said...

this 'feature' rules. even though most of those bands sound like something i probably wouldn't be all that into, it's good to know whats out there.


9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh boy

11:40 AM  
Anonymous chriso))) said...



12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know who "the ex" is and I don't like him. I will not say who he is for personal reasons.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous dad said...

so can we call Sunnybrook "Daughter" ?

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know who the ex is too and for my own personal reasons i will not reveal the name

i dont like the ex either

12:39 AM  
Anonymous am said...

darktown strutters are gorgeous

12:40 AM  
Anonymous the ex said...

I LOVE me!! I'll win you over yet.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now now now

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I LOVE me!! I'll win you over yet."

only if you know how to listen to pretty Ricky while fucking a foot rest like those boys in "Peer pressure"

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I LOVE me!! I'll win you over yet."

only if you know how to listen to pretty Ricky while fucking a foot rest like those boys in "Peer pressure"

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:24 PM  
Anonymous chesterfield said...

I just read a sad story about a girl who humped the arms of chairs and thought god was punishing her by giving her pimples on her labia.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Reflect June said...

The Stickup Kids beats are so good because it's a "mixtape" - all those songs have already been released. The writing is original, music not.

5:06 PM  

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