Thursday, January 31, 2008

It List: Thursday


Laromlab / Robot Cowboy / Alex Atchley / Boogdish (1919 Hemphill): The show at 1919 is heavy on the electronics tonight, which further proves that they don't just have "gutter punk" shows here as someone said to me recently, and I won't mention any names. Anyways, Laromlab has a take on the 8-bit Commodore based micro genre that updates the beat somewhat, or at least uses the kind of throwback Eighties rhythms that have been so prevalent in dance music of the last half decade or so. Not only is that not a knock, there is a really focused melodrama and emotion to the instrumentals that is at first amusing but ultimately refreshing. The tracks on their page are really enjoyable. Robot Cowboy is another act that uses old school electronics, including a midi guitar and video monitor headset to top off the performance. I'm sure you've heard us describe both Boogdish and Alex Atchley more than a few times.

Marcus Striplin/Emil Rapstine/Glen Farris (Double Wide)

Lost Generation (Fallout Lounge)


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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It List: Wednesday

Usual good stuff happening tonight, including Taxi Fare at Zubar and It's What We Get at Hailey's. Also:

Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/ A Childlike Fear/Tavo Carbone/S Rich and the K.N.O. (Club Dada): MATAS play a somewhat rare Dallas show, joined by locals A Childlike Fear and Brooklyn's Tavo Carbone, a singer/songwriter and backing band combo who should probably be commended for not being hipsters, if nothing else. Carbone writes these cutesy, Library of Congress sounding folkpop songs that could easily be much much worse than they are. Not my thing, but certainly not bad. S. Rich could probably be described in pretty much the same way. If you enjoy quiet, sing songy folk, you could do a lot worse, and KNO singer Sam Rich has the best voice of all the vocalists at this show. Local music boosters can rest assured that MATAS is the best of the bunch here though, an A Childlike Fear is probably right behind them. I usually don't enjoy seeing this kind of music performed live, but that doesn't mean there isn't some quality in there.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No List: Tuesday

I checked every corner of Preston Hollow People, Paper City, Envy, and Al Dia and I couldn't find anything. Sorry. There's no way you've read that entire local review roundup, so scroll down and finish it. Thanks.

THE MNGMNT

Our Stage at the Melodica Festival

So Wanz Dover and company just made the official announcement concerning this year's Melodica Festival, which will take place on Friday, February 22nd and Saturday February 23rd at several venues in Expo Park. First, take a look at the full line up (click here), which includes highlights Silver Apples, Spectrum and Mike Simonetti, among others. Next, check the line up we organized for the We Shot J.R. Stage at the Amsterdam on Saturday the 23rd:

Finally Punk (feat. Kate Hall of Mika Miko)
Tree Wave
Medio Mutante
Yellow Fever
Cry Blood Apache
Zanzibar Snails

Special thanks to both Wanz and John Freeman for getting all the money together to make this happen.

We'll have more on the festival very soon.

The 2007 Local Album Round Up

At many points throughout 2007, it seemed that life just kept happening to everyone at WSJR HQ despite our best attempts to blog about local music 24-7 (just kidding, we hate local music). As a result of this little inconvenient truth, there were several local records released throughout the year that we just weren't able to review for one reason or another, even though we really wanted to.

And therein lies the point of this post: we decided to gather a group of local albums that we hadn't talked much about over the past 12 months (as well as a couple new ones) and write brief reviews of all of them, sort of as a way to draw last year to a close and begin the new one fresh. Of course, we've left out many releases that people have sent to us over the past year because we just don't have time to cover everything, but here are some interesting and/or noteworthy releases we thought we'd share our opinions on (all star ratings are based on a five star scale):


Drink To Victory, s/t: It’s hard to grasp the musical connection between the late Notes From Underground, one of the most elusive, challenging, and devastating groups out of Denton this decade, and the no-bones-about-it hooky punk of Drink to Victory, featuring three of Notes’ core member. First of all there’s the guitar sound. Renowned as one of the loudest bands North Texas has ever seen, some of the same meticulously tweaked guitar tones and fearsome, beastly customized amps that laid the foundation of Notes’ sound are in evidence. Yet DTV is in no way an art-punk concern like Koji Kondo or Eat Avery’s Bones. Essentially, they're faux-sloppy punks with fantastic equipment. This is actually an excellent combination, and anybody who’s ever been flattened by Minor Threat or Black Flag at aneurysm-inducing volume levels can attest to that.

Drink to Victory’s eponymous 22-minute debut, recorded at the Echo Lab back in 2004, has that same kind of sound. Thick, saturated, and visceral. And believe it or not, the songs deliver too, never trying to be more than they are and often taking captivating left turns thanks to the colorful eccentricities of vocalist/guitarist David Saylor, better known to some as Notes’ crowbar-heavy drummer. In fact, the entire Notes arrangement goes topsy turvy, with Notes bassist Cory Hager on drums here, and primary Notes guitar mastermind Justin Lemons on bass. Of course, these guys have been in DTV since high school, so the arrangement probably doesn’t seem weird to them.

But back to the songs. Yes, songs, as in hooks, choruses, and melodies, rendered by David Saylor with charming over-exuberance to the point of overstretched, mangled-hoarse growls that are a hair off-key just for fun. “Alcohol” is the “hit,” a cathartic piece about self-destruction featuring appropriate wild mood swings and sudden growls, raging crescendos and lulls, all in the context of a classic pop formula with an unexpectedly grimy “descent into hell” outro as an added bonus. At three-minutes plus, it’s a long one for DTV, who refreshingly pump out succinct anthems like the minute-long “Little Girl” and the Nirvana-on-super overdrive of the album's eighth track, clocking in at 2-plus. Crammed full of cleverly rendered verse, chorus, bridge and thick walls of volume to burn, this album just jumps out of the speakers with life, possibly a result of the band being (deceptively) tight and comfortable enough to have recorded the entire album live in the studio with no overdubs. It’s primitive, angry, cock-eyed, and chorusy like the old school, but utterly saturated with dirty, overdriven filth not unlike Houston’s revered/reviled noise-punk anarchists Rusted Shut.

Perhaps predictably, DTV unleashes moments of choice weirdness to break up the battering-ram assault. The odd “I Get Laid” features David yelling his head off until halfway through when his screams of “why?” turn tired and wistful while Lemons works a little Mike Watt upper-register magic on the bass, hinting at the band’s newer, more unpredictable material. Maybe Drink to Victory will eventually morph into the messed-up art-punk outfit some folks around here apparently would rather them be, but until then, enjoy the unhinged beauty of classic punk falling apart before your assaulted eardrums. And remember, three bucks will get you a Pabst 40 and this ridiculously priced $2 treasure in a white sleeve, courtesy of the generous folks at Paperstain Records. (4 stars) (Rarebit)

Bryce Isbell, The Journey of Dian Cecht, Lake Shore Drive and the Violent White Nightingale: Although Bryce Isbell is commonly associated with the bearded Denton folkies who can't seem to figure out exactly what's so funny about peace, love and understanding, much of the material found on this album, one of several that Isbell has released over the past few months, would probably sound more at home at a House of Tinnitus or And/Or Gallery show than at Dan's Silverleaf. Journey is a hazy, druggy and highly experimental electronic record that operates in a dreamlike state dominated by fleeting notions of paranoia, reclusiveness and wonder. Ditching traditional song structures and rock/folk instrumentation almost entirely throughout it's rather lengthy run time, things get started with a crisp, shiny ambient synth track that might remind listeners of Harmonia, early Kraftwerk and some of the early ambient work of Brian Eno before the song merges into the second track, a 20 minute noise piece that might remind listeners of a nightmare. As the album progresses, "Starkage Arson" emerges as a standout with tribal chants and a pounding electro rhythm that serves as a highly complimentary backdrop to sliced, backward vocal clips, while "Ophelia Eats a Porcupine" incorporates synth orchestration and found sound collage on a slow moving and moody piece that hints at The Books if they were conducting a seance. Journey's latter section dives back into slightly more traditional folk territory at times but remains just as strange, with highlight "Safari Thirteen" fading in and out of conscious with quiet acoustic folk, eastern influened jazz snippets and haunting vocals that end up being far more interesting than anything Devendra Banhart has done in quite a while. The record as a whole requires a good deal of patience and is certainly not without a few meandering moments and minor missteps, but listeners with an open mind who aren't expecting anything similar to Matthew and the Arrogant Sea will likely find Journey to be an oft stunning step forward for an artist who's well on his way to cementing his status as a songwriter who shouldn't be ignored. (4 Stars) (SR)

Denton Deluxe Vols. 1 and 2: In a year in which many of the area’s best acts didn’t get their acts together in time to release an album (We’re looking at you, Shiny Around the Edges and Great Tyrant, among others), it’s fitting that this refreshingly ear-to-the-ground comp series finds its way at the top of the list of local releases for 2007. This series has it all, from stylish electro (Ghosthustler) to metaphysical hip-hop (Vortexas) to stoned-happy slack-country (Sarah Reddington) to stoner rock (Chief Death Rage) to rriot girl no wave (Christian! Teenage Runaway) to early My Morning Jacket dream-pop (Matthew & the Arrogant Sea) to outsider Italo disco paintings (Farah), and every bit of it is top-shelf. It’s not only an amazingly comprehensive overview of the musical riches Denton has to offer, it’s also got a killer mixtape flow courtesy of Chad Withers & company. I haven't had a chance to pick up Vol. III yet, but with a few holdovers and several new/old favorites, it’s looks to be two more solid discs of the same. I’m looking forward to seeing these comps (uniquely packaged in DVD cases with striking covers by local artists) in wider distribution, and the store has indicated it will do just that in 2008. (4 stars) (Rarebit)
Aphonic Curtains: Virulent: Like the Angry Businessmen tape mentioned elsewhere in this post, this is another release recorded at a group's flagship venue (in this case, House of Tinnitus), further proof of a lively active scene that produces hard copy evidence of the goings on of its respective creative hubs. Which, of course, is a fancy way of saying "people hanging out in their living room."

Since I witnessed the actual performance from which this recording is drawn, it's interesting to be removed from the setting, without access to who's making what sound, and with what instrument, in a given moment. Off the top of my head, I do believe that a Korg Kaoss pad was involved, along with some scrap metal, dangerously home-rigged electronics, a butter knife, and finally, a bass. All objects and instruments are played by the phenomenally talented trio of Aaron Gonzales, Mike Maxwell of SDS, and HOT proprietor Rob Buttrum, a man who's never booked a bad show in his life largely through that magic word so foreign to the local music scene: "No."

The group produces an intimidating racket that swells with an imposingly alien detachment. Shrill squeaks, honeybee-buzz bass distortion, and uncontrolled feedback drop in and out in morse code rhythms as the highs and lows mingle, swapping out turns as the most upfront frequency. The peaks and valleys then band together to dominate the room and summon horrific daydreams of post-natural disaster rumbling, the earth shifting slowly, wounded amid the warning sounds of electronic alert systems panic audibly over the chaos.

Spirited applause sharply chimes in at the exhausting finale to this improvised storm, suggesting that the destruction Aphonic Curtains summons to fuck up the audience's eardrums is a welcome destruction. Glad to see that's available in a portable size, ready to fuck up my boom box at home. (4 stars) (DL)

Dust Congress, Egg Tooth: Dust Congress is Nick Foreman, a sparkling talent waiting to be discovered. Egg Tooth is full of raw, poetic, and affecting songs delivered with an untamed delivery similar to Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum or Okkervil River’s Will Sheff in his less raucous moments. You don’t have to see Foreman play drums with his feet while singing and playing banjo to appreciate this, but it might help to know that he scrapped a more polished, fleshed-out recording in favor of the original batches of demos that eventually became this EP. After all, it’s the intimacy of the recording that makes it such a favorite, with the deliberate, gut-wrenching “Banal” giving way to spare, shipwrecked shards of a soul lost in the meridians, buoyed by the intuitive and skeletal bass playing of Ryan Williams (Baptist Generals), ending with the cathartic, bouncy resolution of “My Name is David.” It's the best 15 minutes of 07. (3.5 stars) (Rarebit)

Mom, Little Brite: How I failed to formally review this release is pretty much beyond me, especially considering the huge and surprising splash Mom made in 2007. When this website first posted about them back in June of 2006, it seemed quite unlikely that local music fans would ever see a band like Mom on a Good Records sales chart, much less every Good Records sales chart for months on end. But that is exactly what happened in the year that Mom took the local music intelligentsia by surprise, and considering how strange much of their music is relative to other successful local bands, it was a noteworthy development indeed. Putting any pop sociological analysis aside for a moment, one can probably explain the Mom phenomenon simply by paraphrasing James Carville: it's the music, stupid. Every track on this record is full of surprises, textures and effective broad strokes, but it's the intangible quality of the songcraft that takes these "electro-acoustic" pieces beyond merely interesting and thrusts them into the realm of celebratory emotional resonance.

Yes, the Books can be heard throughout the album as a rather clear influence (as can bands like Stars of the Lid), but such considerations get deprioritized pretty quickly when you permit yourself to get a little lost in these tracks. On opener "Skipping Stones," a pleasantly complex acoustic guitar piece fights for attention with bits of musique concrete and a continual recording of flowing water, establishing a core mood of hopeful, meditative introspection that is maintained throughout the record. Closing track "Little Brite" starts to effectively alter the M.O. a bit with a swelling section of noise at the one minute mark and the album's only use of vocals (which might remind some listeners of Songs of Green Pheasant), but the unifying feeling of the record ends up remaining intact, and the possibilities of what Mom might one day turn in to remain audible. I've heard people complain that this music is too pretty and predictable to be anything more than indie fodder, but I think they're missing the point: these songs are largely instrumental and lack traditional verse chorus verse pop structure completely, and that alone makes it pleasantly surprising that so many in the area have taken to this band. And the fact that the record is actually good makes Mom's emergence more important still. (4 stars) (SR)

St. Vincent, Marry Me: Ah, the big one. Polyphonic Spree member Annie Clark outdid her main project this year with a solo record that made it's way on to many respected 2007 "Best of" lists. But what is it about this record that makes it so appealing to so many? No really, I'm asking, because after a couple listens I'm having trouble figuring it out.

To begin, the whole affair is quite dramatic and emotional all the way through, with sweeping strings and big choruses and bold lyrics that sharpen the focus on the stories and moods of Clark, who seems to play some sort of classic protagonist in many of her songs. The problem is that I really just don't give a shit, and the moments that make me reconsider my stance are too few and far between. Case in point is the title track, a piano and strings orchestral ballad dedicated to some dude named John who is apparently Clark's love. The singing and production values are top notch, and the whole thing is catchy and substantive enough to satisfy on some levels, but the track can't help but come off as a bit too stylized and forced to me. By its end, I really don't like John very much, and I certainly couldn't give two shits whether the two clever bohemians get married or not. And it's not as if there aren't a few solid moments scattered throughout, its just that Marry Me feels more like a slice of lifestyle than a collection of songs worthy of more than a casual listen, which is a tad disappointing when you consider the talent and potential on display at various moments throughout the record. (2.5 stars) (SR)

Shane English, Conspiracy Theorist EP: Although we posted about this just the other week, it seems that a bit more discussion is warranted considering how different much of this music sounds compared to any other local release from the last twelve months. A brief sample of rhythmic opener "Arriving at Camp Hero" might convince you that this EP will end up hitting like (English's former band) Ghosthustler on a bad acid trip, but it's clear from the get go that this isn't an attempt at a dance record. Instead, harsh industrial touchstones rule the day and rhythm is pounded into place through cold repetition, yielding a set of songs that are surprisingly accessible in spite of the prevailing darkness.

As I mentioned in our initial post, the likes of Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire and Nitzer Ebb are probably the most obvious reference points here, particularly on the standout opener and the equally impressive centerpiece "Creation of Care," a slurred, slow moving hypnotically sludgy track that starts off as a formless noise piece before a classic industrial bass/drum machine groove emerges and English begins an echo laden chant concerning, uh, I'm not sure exactly. And despite taking a back seat to more experimental electro, dance music isn't totally out of the picture here either, as "I Was Born on 9-11" dives into the territory of YMO, Yello and Liaisons Dangereuses, among others, with a tight, skeletal rhythm and a Kraftwerk-like focus on funk through paranoia. Lyrically, the album features a loose fixation on various conspiracy theories surrounding the September 11th terrorist attacks (these colors don't run), and while the general approach is bold and interesting, the vocal performances occasionally leave a bit to be desired as far as tone and delivery, even though such slight setbacks are clearly fixable. All in all, Conspiracy Theorist is a promising solo debut full of smart influences and big ideas from a local musician who seems happily ready to take risks at the drop of a hat. We could use a few more of those around here. (3.5 stars) (SR)
Angry Businessmen, Self Titled: This was the third release on the NPNR cassette only label and it neatly sums up the spirit and philosophy of the label, band and 715 Panhandle house that was the physical foundation for the culture that made this release possible. And although the tape's sides are divided into "Awesome" and "Bodacious," this young band is definitely spooked by some serious topics.

The articulate punk is introduced by some smart aleck samples that run almost as a narrative throughout the tape. The music and singing is at times reminiscent of The Big Boys in not only subject matter ("Fraternicide"), but also in the soulful approach that is especially evident on the occassional instrumentals that are like stumbling on an old box of scratchy obscure surf and soul 45's.

The tape features an explosive opening in the form of the group's "Theme Song", a long running tradition of many great hardcore acts. Nuanced and melodic basslines carry the songs against lead singer Clint's throat shredding and some Rudimentary Peni style backing shouts. The drumming is wonderfully understated with the bare necessities of snare, tom, and cymbal sans bass drum.

This isn't just frantic, hateful hardcore, but high concept minimalism with an emphasis on staying enthusiastic, involved and unpretentious, a message that avoids overpowering dogmatism. The sixteen tracks climax with the live favorite, "Galveston," a "dead zone" conscious environmental anthem that will ring true for anyone who's ever walked those cursed beaches. The delivery, though angry (duh), is at once light-hearted and firm, and is one of the most charmingly convincing arguments against selling out I heard all year. Now when's it going to be on Itunes? (5 stars) (DL)
Shiny Around The Edges, I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye 7 Inch": The Shiny Around The Edges seven inch quickly establishes the overall aesthetic of the group, and ends much too quickly. Like all good seven inches, you'll want to hear an album, or at the very least, an EP afterwards. Side A is a cover of the Willie Nelson track "I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye," which is done in the Shiny tradition of dousing more conventional material with liberal amounts of drone before peeling the comforting layers, lyrically and musically, until the fragile little emotional structure is left exposed. In this case, Jennifer Seman's vocals bring to mind a mother singing an a-capella lullaby to a deathly ill child in the dark. The drone eventually gives way to such niceties as a keyboard part faintly employing the pop tradition of mimicking the main vocal and the subtle backing harmony of The Castanet's Ray Raposa. When the track draws to its dreary conclusion, you're left startled at the abruptness of the needle clipping the runoff.

Side B is titled "Applied Quantum Physics" and builds up with an effective moodiness that's only barely threatened to be broken by the busy plink of pianist Sean Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick is skilled to be certain, but is perhaps too much of a soloist and is stylistically so recognizable that I knew who it was without reading the credits. The playing sounds much like his work in The Paperchase and his own solo project, where his menacing minor key sounds much more comfortable. It's not exactly a knock against Kirkpatrick to suggest he's better off not being a session man.

As the track releases, it reaches a place that they've come to live as the band has improved their live palette by incorporating a more palpable push in their dynamic. The backing vocals blend superbly with Michael Seman's somewhat deadpan declarations and are offset by the upright tom pounding and starkly understated thud. Definitely memorable. (3) (DL)

Deep Snapper, A Drowning Man Can Pull You Under: This is a release that got away from us, and we really have no excuse as to why we didn't review this record earlier. I mean, if some of us can literally throw some CD reviews out the window, then certainly we can find the time to review albums that we can make it through, and even possibly enjoy. Considering how few and far between that occurs, there's even more reason to mention this record.

Deep Snapper has made a very clear headed and direct statement, where fairly dark themes are tackled with equal amounts of humor and lament. The separation and clarity is all the more compounded by another hands-off styled recording courtesy of Matt Barnhart and The Echo Lab, and it serves this music particularly well.

The group's sound is best summarized by the resemblance it bears to the progressive punk of the late 80's, where the rage was toned down a bit, mid-tempo rhythms started to appear more frequently on SST recordings, and the Washington DC scene added a studious and thoughtful maturity to variations on the "Fuck You" theme.

What's immediately grabbing on "A Drowning Man Can Pull You Under" is the solid playing, and more specifically the manner in which the guitar playing contains more hooks and melody than the actual singing. Guitarist John Newberry's approach to the instrument doesn't divert to the obvious break for a solo as much as he spends his time palming, scratching, and strumming in the high register and the end result is more striking and uniquely effective.

If Deep Snapper played more to its strengths, it would do a lot towards opening up some of the density that starts piling up around the album's midpoint. Some songs switch from crunchy barres to open chord chime, which changes the feel, but not always enough to differentiate emotion from emotion as the album progresses. On the other hand, a song like "Autopilot" has more space, tension, and release, resulting in a broken-dam finale that is also the group's most successful moment.

This is a band that has everything lined up to continue being a good, straight-forward rock band. They could easily transcend that and many similar peers by adding some more extremes, whether they be faster, harder, softer, or slower. It's determined dynamics like these that made records such as Pink Flag such a classic, the important characteristics that distinguish each song from the next and a conscious effort to push a different button every time they attack.

There is much to return to here, whether it be the thinly veiled gallows humor often alluding to death and injury (sample song title: "Politics of a Misdiagnosed Head Bleed"), or the audible debt to D.Boon on the vocals, never a bad singer to look up to if you feel like being honest without being cheesy.

I would say that I'd like to hear what Deep Snapper does next, but apparently the wait is already over. According to the band's website, there is already a new release being prepared, less than a year after this record, and their third album overall. Between that and the shit that Violent Squid pulls, we'll be posting this winter's releases sometime in 2010. (3.5) (DL)

Monday, January 28, 2008

having a case of the mondays

contrary to many reports.. we were not hacked, 0wn3d, or had a kitteh in our box.. what did happen was our server had to come down for some maintenance so that we won't get 0wn3d in the future.

this being said.. google is also telling us that they're going to have to do maintenance to the server for a little bit.. so around 6 you'll be able to read our website but not add comments for about 10 minutes..


UPDATE: WE'RE BACK!

UPDATE UPDATE: Couldn't do an it list today due to our problems, but we'll have a nice little post for you later tonight. Check it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Monday Morning Rock



SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

THU: Laromlab/Robotcowboy/Alext Atchley/Boogdish (1919 Hemphill)
FRI: White Williams/Rings/Sticky Buns (Hailey's)
FRI: Nicky Click/Rival Gang/Dark Town Strutters/samizdat (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: Super Furry Animals/Fiery Furnances/Holy Fuck (Granada)
SAT: Band of Horses/Cass McCombs/Tyler Ramsey (Palladium)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Weekender

FRIDAY
Loop 12 (And/Or Gallery): Starting at 830 pm sharp, Loop 12 will be performing their strange, captivating electro sound collages with an array of different equipment, including video. I have yet to see Loop 12 live unfortunately, and since that seems to be the way to experience them, we'll just say that fans of experimental/improv electronic will likely be interested in this. As will pot heads.

Zanzibar Snails/Cereboso/Yanari/Jin Men Ju (F 6 Gallery): UPDATE: SORRY, THIS SHOW IS ON SATURDAY, NOT TONIGHT! STARTS AT 3PM. This event takes it title from the oft heard barb "That's Not Art," the battle cry of Philistines, session musicians, and singer songwriters everywhere. Just joking, dudes. Apparently this theme will be further explored through patron participation by providing the audience with some household objects with which they can create their own art. Artwork prepared before the show will feature local artists Brent Frishman, Joyce Martin, Kris Swenson, Lori Thompson and more. Musical performances will be provided by the avant adventurers listed above including Zanzibar Snails and Gutterth Records head Michael Briggs, also known as Cereboso. Yanari's lone myspace track sounds like some pretty good ambient drone. So, a show that questions the definition of art by showcasing art and music while asking the audience to create new art with the performers. I get it. Bonus points for being in Arlington. (DL)

The Party (Zubar): Still thriving? Yep.

Dub Assembly (Green Elephant): Damn it, why does this have to be on the same night as the Party? Guess I'm going to be busy this evening, because Dub Assembly is always worth stopping by, especially when you consider its growing reputation as one of the most solid dubstep nights in the country. I know I've said that before, but really: smoke a blunt and go get overwhelmed by the bass for a while. The Party doesn't get jumpin' until after midnight anyway, right? This month's edition will feature a performance from Mundo and Lifted MC, who recently appeared on our Projection 002 compilation (and have received positive national and international press), as well as Wanz Dover, Royal Highness and Dragonman.

The Sword/Record Hop (Lolas): The Sword have sort of become the whipping boys of "hipster" metal in some circles, taking shots for their lack of "sincerity" or metal authenticity or whatever. But all that aside, they've got some great hooks and pack a fucking punch live, and with Record Hop opening up for them, this is a great reason to head to Ft. Worth to see the new Lola's venue in person. It also makes me wonder who is more pretentious: the hipster into metal or the metalhead who scorns him?

Bell Biv Devoe/Keith Sweat/Tony Toni Tone/Guy (Nokia): If any of these groups have Myspace pages, I refuse to link to them. Besides, anyone who would consider going to this already knows the score anyway. Guy gets bonus points for playing at the Cash Money Brothas party in New Jack City, and Tony Toni Tone get points for "Feels Good," a song that somehow, some way, never sounds dated or silly. Who would have anticipated that back in 1990? And I'm sure the members of BBD are total train wrecks these days. Either that or born again Christians. Anyway, all of these groups can be categorized as part of the "New Jack Swing" sound of the late 80's/early 90's that has come back in vogue with hip electro fans in europe and the U.S. in recent years. And given the cost of this one, I think I might just go Zubar tonight since they'll probably play at least one of these guys at some point anyway.

White Drugs/The Brewers/Melba Toast/Kijoto (Rubber Gloves): One of the area's finest garage/punk/heavy bands headlines what I believe to be their first show in a while. Would love to hear some new material from those guys.

SATURDAY

Rogue Wave/Midnight Movies (Hailey's): I'll probably catch shit from certain parties within WSJR HQ for this, but I'm a Rogue Wave fan. I don't even know why really, considering I typically have the same level of patience for cookie cutter "indie pop" as Stalin did for Trotsky, but something about Rogue Wave's music just works for me. It could just be the excellent "10 to 1" off their second record. I don't know. And Midnight Movies are one of those bands that I can't tell you much about. What are they trying to do exactly? Stereolab meets Echo and the Bunnymen, Pretty Girls Make Graves and people who wRite LIke tHIS? Whatever, I don't care.

Treewave/Capillary Action/Trifle Tower/Koji Kondo (Rubber Gloves): UPDATE: TREEWAVE CANCELED TONIGHT'S SHOW DUE TO ILLNESS. Little of everything at this show, from crazed punk rock to jazzy experimental structures to tweaked vintage electro pop. Capillary Action change tempos, emotions, styles, and even genres in the same song to the point where it becomes absurd. This schizophrenic approach puts them somewhere between Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Mayo Thompson and finally Van Dyke Parks, since they seem to usually have pop song undertones, no matter how skewed the delivery. Koji Kondo and Trifle Tower know their way around tempo changes, but are definitely more straight ahead hardcore in comparison to the rest of this group. Treewave playing this show was a welcome surprise, since his music sticks out the most on this bill and he's not in Denton too often. Any two of these bands would be worth seeing, all four of them make it unmissable. (DL)

Coprolingus/Life Death Continuum/Vorvadoss (Red Blood Club): I can't wait to check this show out. And if they start it as early as RBC has been lately, then it's sweet because you can catch the whole thing and still have an entire evening in front of you.

Hot Flash One Year Anniversary (Fallout Lounge): The one year anniversary of the Hot Flash Party is here, and they've really had a pretty nice run of it. Consistently packing Fallout Lounge every month with an impressive variety of tracks and friendly vibes all around, Hot Flash parties are typically some of the most "unDallas" DJ parties you can attend in Dallas. Keith P will be spinning with these guys as well.
Banger's Club After Hours Party (Sloppyworld): Wanz Dover will be joined by Select, Sober and Robert Taylor for an after hours dance party that will start at 1 and go till 4am. A great sound system at Sloppyworld and BYOB make the $5 cover a no brainer for people looking for something after hours, especially with a solid DJ line up like this. I'd expect this one to be well worth it, and if it gets really good, I don't see why it couldn't go even later than posted. I'm sure you'll hear pretty much every genre of electro under the sun too. Well, maybe not progressive trance or some shit like that.
Alan Palomo of Ghosthustler and It's What We Get will be spinning records at Art Club along with visual productions from a variety of artists.

Van Halen (American Airlines Center): Something about the way David Lee Roth sounds when he screams "class dismissed!" on "Hot for Teacher" makes me think that he's a big enough jerk to deserve a little bit of credit. And yes, I'm pretending that he doesn't do that reality show or whatever the fuck he does now. Right Now... David Lee Roth isn't fitting into his old leather pants.

SUNDAY

Wyclef (House of Blues): What am I supposed to do with you, Wyclef? Pretend that its 1997 and you just put out that sweet album that my girlfriend and I listen to when we smoke pot because we still give a shit about the Fugees? Well seeing as how I can get into this show for free if I want, I guess I'd be willing to give it a shot as long as my DVD player happens to break on Sunday or something.

It List: Thursday


High On Fire/Saviours/RWAKE/A Life Once Lost (Rubber Gloves): I know a lot of people are excited to see High On Fire in a venue that probably holds five times fewer people than the place they played last time they were in town. There's no doubt that a band like HOF will be extra impressive at a place the size of Rubber Gloves, though I'll be the first to admit it's not always the most practical idea if you consider how much their crowd has grown over the years. Expect an energetic, fucked up performance...especially from the audience. It's also nice to see a show this big still happens at RGRS. I worry about them sometimes.

New Science Projects/Hundts Kup/Real Live Tigers (Strawberry Fields)

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


Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire/Restless Youth (Red Blood Club): You'll have to pick your "Fire" tonight. For my money, this super complicated grind band (CTTTOAFF) sounds much scarier than High On Fire. Their name is also one of the most ridiculous I've seen in some time. I understand the reasons behind Red Blood having to start and end shows so early, but man, it's inconvenient. I missed Akkolyte on Monday by assuming that they were still running normal start times. Oh, well.

Will Someone Shut this Guy Up, Please?

I was actually trying to avoid talking about this, but I just can't take Bill Clinton anymore. The way he and his wife are running their latest campaign is nothing more than another shameful example of American politics at its very worst, and it seems that the media is falling for it, as expected, hook, line and sinker. The fact that Clinton has the nerve to try and play the victim card in all this is just laughable, but really, it isn't surprising. Did you expect them to do anything less than this? Did you think they wouldn't be willing to diminish the tone of the debate in an effort to destroy Barak Obama? Did you think they were actually going to address substantive policy issues in a primary where most of the potential voters really don't agree with them?

The Clintons have demonstrated time and time again over the past 15 years that they have no principles, and, despite what many on the left seem to think, they have no affiliation with leftist or progressive ideas. Whether it is foreign policy, health care, Iraq, or commercial and business regulation, the Clintons are far to the right of most in the Democratic party, yet they act as though the progressive vote should be theirs for the taking. Well those two spineless corporate whores aren't getting my vote, and I think that anyone on the left who is considering a vote for Hillary Clinton should really ask themselves whether we need four more years of divisive partisan bickering and a cowardly Democratic Party operating far to the right of common sense.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It List: Wednesday

Bad Taste (Art Six): So for the past couple of weeks we've really been diggin' on a song called "Can I Keep Her" from a new Denton singer/songwriter who goes by the name of Bad Taste. The "punk" or plugged in version of the song (you can hear it on the Myspace page) is a surprising and excellent bare bones track that draws heavily from the Stooges and the Misfits while managing to throw in a few touches of swirling distorted guitars in the background a la My Bloody Valentine and Catherine Wheel (listen with headphones if you want to hear what I'm talking about). We think he'll be playing acoustic tonight for the first ever Bad Taste performance, and we're interested to see where he can take some of his heavier material. Bad Taste goes on at 8pm sharp, and I believe this is FREE.

Lupe Fiasco/Optimus/Sessions (House of Blues): I have to admit that I haven't heard any new material from Lupe Fiasco, but dude brought the De La/Tribe flavor back to the forefront of hip hop quite successfully with singles like "I Gotcha" and "Kick Push," which happened to be the coolest hip hop skateboarding track this side of "Deeper Shade of Soul." The best part was that none of it sounded derivative. A great MC with lots of style and an ear for both history and the future. Hip hop shows are more often miss than hit in my experience, but I could see this one being an exception.

It's What We Get (Hailey's)

Taxi Fare (Zubar)

Cartright/Paleo/Audrey Lapraik (Rubber Gloves): I remember being pretty amazed back in 06' when I saw a room full of people singing along to Cartright's songs at the long lost Yellow House on multiple occasions. Pretty good times. But of course, some of us here at WSJR HQ don't have any patience for Cartright at all, and there is probably something to be said for that perspective too. It's amazing what a lot of beer and a good party can do for a band or a song or a sound or a moment in time. I don't know, you've probably already made up your mind about that guy anyway.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It List: Tuesday

Bill Frisell Trio (Dan's Silverleaf): I'm not really sure what guitarist Bill Frisell's current trio sounds like, but it's probably worth checking out if you're into improv. Also notable for his long diverse history of collaborators including John Zorn and Fred Frith.

Last Week's Local Charts

GOOD RECORDS OVERALL TOP 20


1. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows
3. Mom - Little Brite
4. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
5. Red Monroe - ¡Policia! ¡Policia!
6. The Octopus Project - Hello, Avalanche
7. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
8. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
9. Ben Harper - Live at Twist & Shout
10. Caribou - Andorra
11. Citay - Little Kingdom
12. Burial - Untrue
13. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
14. Demetri Martin - Person (DVD)
15. Rivers Cuomo - Alone-The Home Recordings
16. Johnossi - Johnossi
17. Sigur Ros - Hvarf-Heim
18. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
19. Libertines - Time for Zeroes
20. Soundtrack - Once (Collector's Edition)

Rivers Cuomo? I had no idea that nutsack still made music.


GOOD RECORDS LOCAL TOP 5

1. Mom - Little Brite
2. Red Monroe - ¡Policia! ¡Policia!
3. Doug Burr - On Promenade
4. Salim Nourallah - Snowing In My Heart
5. Shock of Pleasure - It's About Time


Didn't have access to the other charts this week, but they'll be back next week.

Monday, January 21, 2008

It List: Monday

Yeasayer/MGMT/Dove Hunter (Granada): Brooklyn's Yeasayer is a pretty puzzling band to me. On the one hand, there are some things about their debut full length that I can't stand: the fact that it often sounds as if it was recorded by Jars of Clay as a Page/Plant tribute album in the early 90's is tough to get over. And so is the fact that I think "Akron/Family light" every time I hear it. And given that much of their material sounds right at home on the "world music" rack at Starbucks, it's a bit difficult to look past some of these limitations and give the band more than a passive, disinterested listen. But on the other hand, it's hard to deny that their debut single "2080" is pretty excellent, and there are various moments of bold, psyche/prog influenced goodness scattered throughout the record that have to make you admire the band's ambition at the very least. How all of this will play into their live show is impossible to say, exactly, but since most of my beef is with the way they've recorded thus far, maybe some of the stronger moments will shine through a little better on stage. Or maybe not. How's that for fence sitting? And MGMT sounds pretty interesting to me as well, although I've been listening to Hunky Dory a lot lately, and that might have something to do with it.

Man the Conveyors/Bring Down the Hammer/Akkolyte /Tolar/Terror Management Therapy (Red Blood Club): Any excuse to see Akkolyte is good enough for me most of the time, and catching them in their element at a place like Red Blood Club might be even better than usual. Pretty solid politically oriented grind core line up all the way through.

Also, Cool Out at The Cavern. You know you want to be in those party pics, right?


ADD: We should also mention that Chicago House Pioneer Boo Williams will be joining the Cool Out Lineup tonight.-DL


AND

Sydney Confirm (Fallout Lounge): Not really clear on the details surrounding this show, but I do know that the words "secret" and "Myspace" are involved. Dubious as that sounds I'll probably go anyway. Get there at ten.

a podcast for the ages

So once again we've opened our wallets (and some may say our hearts) for you guys. This time it's not free beer, but it's a podcast that we don't have to take down. (we had to take down the old one because we used 100gigabytes of bandwidth in a couple days).

just click below on the appropriate link, and you will be on your way to downloading our podcast & projection2 (just in case you haven't already).

add our podcast via itunes
via direct RSS Podcast Feed

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Monday Morning Rock



SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK:

MON: Yeasayer/MGMT (Granada)
WED: Lupe Fiasco/Optimus/Sessions (House of Blues)
THU: High on Fire/A Life Once Lost/Saviours/RWAKE (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: The Party (Zubar)
FRI: Dub Assembly (Green Elephant)
FRI: Bell Biv Devoe/Keith Sweat/Tony Toni Tone/Guy (Nokia Theater)
SAT: Rogue Wave/Midnight Movies (Hailey's)
SAT: Hot Flash One Year Anniversary (Fallout Lounge)
SUN: Wyclef (House of Blues)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekender

Sorry cuties, we gotta give you a slimmed down list this week, but give us a break. We've done a lot in the past few days, and theres more to come next week:

FRIDAY

Rosemary Malign/Steel Hook Prostheses/Concrete Violin/Werewolf Jerusalem/Aphonic Curtains (House of Tinnitus): Another wildly disturbing House of Tinnitus show might be exactly what the doctor ordered for me this evening. Headliner Rosemary Malign's music is particularly dark and rough, even for H.O.T., utilizing what sound like found vocal audio clips with an overwhelming mixture of stop/start fuzz, feedback and the kind of electronic sounds that might call to mind the sounds two cars make in a head on collision-- truly an angry collage of abstract violence. Concrete Violin appears to be another highlight here, with a slightly more subdued yet equally interesting approach. We also heard a rumor that Akkolyte was playing, but we aren't sure-- can someone confirm or deny this?

Les Savy Fav/Fatal Flying Guilloteens/Mom (the Loft): I'm not really that big of a Les Savy Fav guy. They're one of those bands that is loved by a lot of people I respect, but every time I hear them, I just fail to see what the big deal is. But people who dig them can't seem to shut up about how good their live shows are, so if you like these guys, it will probably be well worth it for you.

Florene/Peel/ A Childlike Fear (3114 Swiss Ave): These Swiss Ave. house shows have become quite popular in Dallas, a town that desperately needs more shows in places that aren't lame bars. And thats a good thing. The line up tonight includes Austin's surprisingly solid indie pop outfit Peel, who will bring some rock to an otherwise mellow line up. Usually starts around 10, picks up at midnight and goes till well past two. Pretty much always a good time no matter who is playing. BYOB $5.

Poison the Well/The Locust/Dance Gavin Dance/A Girl A Gun and A Ghost (the Door): Yeah, I know. The Door. No smoking and energy drinks and the worst kind of covert Christian crusading masking itself as some form of "counterculture." Gross. But the Locust is playing there, so it might be worth mentioning, even if I would have a real problem giving this place one dime. Actually, seeing those dudes play a Christian venue could end up being more than entertaining unless they end up pulling a Jesus coup like Insane Clown Posse or something.... I've never seen them live, but I'm sure its great.

Big J will be having his birthday party at the Cavern tonight featuring an MC battle of some kind. Sorry, don't have any more details on this.

Criminal Damage/ANS/Wax Museums/Just Another Consumer/Stymie (Red Blood Club)


SATURDAY

Laptop Deathmatch (Sloppyworld): Laptop Deathmatch returns with a lot its regulars to Sloppyworld, which is honestly becoming one of the better places to see a show in Dallas: very solid sound, nice stage, relaxed atmosphere, good crowds and BYOB. Hint hint Dallas... people will get into these kinds of places if you do it right.

Backsliders/Dragna/RTB2 and more (Bar of Soap): Bar of Soap reminds me of that bar in the movie Tombstone. You know, the one that is so rough and tough and filled with Billy Bob Thornton's beard that even the regular cowboys won't drop in. But aside from its bad rep, Bar of Soap isn't that terrible (the air hockey rules) sometimes. Anyway, they are apparently holding this all day fest to help save the place from financial problems, although I'm not clear as to what the problems are, exactly, or what they need to solve them. Starts at 330pm and goes all day and night... I'd give you the full line up, but I want to go home and I don't really care. Thanks!

SUNDAY

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It List: Thursday

The Wax Museums/Estrogen Highs/Stymie/Moto (Xtreme Dudes Manor): You'll have to hurry to make it to Xtreme Dudes Manor, bbq starts at five, with music at seven. Besides the usual greatness of Wax Museums, tonight's standout group is Estrogen Highs, who sometimes sound like a slightly more ragged Modern Lovers , or something straight off of their "Live in Berkeley and Boston" record. I should also mention that Stymie just put out a seven inch on Denton's Gnarly Slaughter Records, who have also released music by WSJR Projection contributors, The Bleach Boys.

Peel/Fishboy/The Happy Bullets (The Cavern)

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

ADD: Cool Out will be doing a set this evening at Obar. NO COVER. --SR

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It List: Wednesday

You've got about two hours to head over to Good Records to catch an in store with Ben Chasny's Six Organs of Admittance. Starts at 6.

Six Organs of Admittance/Zanzibar Snails/Dust Congress (the Cavern): In my interview with Ben Chasny last week, we talked about his different recording techniques and the various, often opposing musical influences that seem to creep into his work. The combination of these elements that can be found on the latest Six Organs record doesn't produce the kind of results that, say, School of the Flower did, but after a couple years of listening to his catalogue and getting a chance to speak with him, I'm quite confident that he'll continue to do interesting things, even if his latest material isn't quite my favorite. I've read that he'll be doing a lot more acoustic stuff than noise on this tour, and I think the Cavern (despite its many problems) will be the perfect intimate venue for this show.

It's What We Get (Hailey's)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Projection 2: Local Compilation

Several weeks ago, we realized that it had been over a year since we released our last local music podcast/compilation CD, and we thought it was about time to do it again. So for the past few weeks, we've been gathering tracks from some of our favorite local artists in an attempt to put together a compilation that accurately highlights the interesting things going on in the area right now. Projection 002 is the result of this effort.

What you'll hear on Projection 002 is a wide variety of sounds from Denton, Dallas, Ft. Worth and elsewhere in the area. Many of them may surprise you. You'll find a brand new track from Ghosthustler that you'll probably agree is their best song yet. You'll hear fantastic hip hop tracks from Krispee Ones associates Hawatha Hurd and Damaged Goods. You'll be floored by a catchy, ferocious and absolutely killer opening track from Record Hop (recorded with Steve Albini). You'll peek through the haze as the underappreciated Mundo and Liften MC lay down a druggy, bass in your face dubstep track. You'll marvel at beautiful tracks from Mom and J Gray, and get a chance to hear Chris Garver rock the fuck out on one of his best songs to date. Of course we could go on and on, but rather than telling you about each track, we'll just tell you that we're really excited about this collection of songs, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

The podcast is just that: one podcast containing all the tracks you see below. The MP3 downloads are split into two seperate MP3s as indicated below. And within the next couple of weeks, you'll start to notice double disc hard copies of Projection 002 appearing magically in places that many of our readers frequent, and we'll give you the details on all of that very soon. Enjoy!

(UPDATE: If you look down and see that the podcast is missing, it's because we're having bandwidth issues-- we've had an unexpcted number of downloads up to this point, so we've decided to temporarily remove the podcast and to transfer the MP3s to a file hosting site for now. So you can still download the MP3s via the links below, and we'll give you more details on the podcast and other formats soon. Sorry.--SR



to download Projection 002 directly as two MP3s, use these links:
Part 1
Part 2

The tracklist:

Part 1
1. Record Hop "End of the Line"
2. Ghosthustler "Only Me To Trust"
3. Damaged Goods "I'm Killin Em"
4. Hawatha Hurd "Fuckin' with Me (Krispee Ones Lacquer Remix)"
5. Peephole "Lacquered Strawberry (Lacquer Remix)"
6. Violent Squid "Sassy Mink"
7. Transona Five "No Motor"
8. The Frenz "Burn Session"
9. Mundo and Lifted MC "Kill Softly"
10. Electronik Warfare "Real-ize"
11. The Great Tyrant "Take Care"

Part 2
1. Bleach Boys "Pukewave"
2. Koji Kondo "Armand Bonvincin"
3. Koji Kondo "Hypothetical Bong Violence"
4. Chris Garver "Captives of a Furious Nation"
5. Farah "Law of Life (Remix)"
6. Mom "Green Echo"
7. Shiny Around the Edges "Applied Quantum Physics"
8. Dust Congress "Kravche"
9. J Gray "Stop Playing Those Sad Songs"
10. Matthew and the Arrogant Sea "Pretty Purple Top Hat"
11. Mom "Giant Wings"
12. J Gray "You Are the Golden Child"
13. Zanzibar Snails "Brown Dwarf (Omega)"

It List: Tuesday

Amandla/The Frenz/Vaqueros Electronicos (Club Dada): Interesting lineup with headliner Amandla, a group fronted by,Claude Coleman, who is mostly known for his session player chops in Ween. Indeed, when I saw Ween several years ago, he was certainly the most entertaining part of the show. His solo project sounds kind of like a less funky Jamiroquai. Not sure what the lineup for The Frenz is going to be like tonight, but I heard Gini Mascorro drop simply "Wanz Dover" on NPR today. Does anyone know Gini Mascorro? What's she like?

Free Les Savy Fav Tickets

Folks from the Loft decided to hook us up with a pair of tickets to Friday's Les Savy Fav show, and we're going to pass them on to you. So if you want em, email weshotjrtix@yahoo.com any time between NOW and TOMORROW (Wed) at Noon. It's short notice, but we gotta do what we gotta do. Be sure to use "Les Savy Fav" as the subject line and include your full name in the email. Good luck brahz!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Remix Album: Red Monroe

We're happy to present to you a little project that Red Monroe has been working on for quite some time. A few months ago, the guys in the band told us that they had asked several DJs and bands to remix each track on their album Policia! Policia!, and were wondering if we might be interested in hosting its release. Of course we were intrigued by the idea initially, but we wanted to find out a little bit more about the project before we decided to commit-- after all, "remix" albums often, um, suck.

Happily, after hearing a bit more about what the guys wanted to do and getting a chance to sample some of the material, we realized that this remix album would not suck.

Turns out we were right (as usual). The album features ten solid remixes, with most tracks exhibiting different stylistic qualities drawn from various genres of electronic music and some bringing a sharper focus on the dance floor, which serves as a pleasantly surprising change of pace for the band. The variety of sounds and textures covered throughout the album is impressive, but the way that the sequencing seems to bring everything together is probably the project's most noteworthy feature. Everything from distorted disco (Frenz) to strangely melodic yet glitchy paranoia (Treewave) to relaxed ambient passages (Mom) can be found here, and I think many of you will be pleasantly surprised with the contributions from various locals. See for yourself--

The Tracklist:

1.) Trees and Poor Houses - DJ Stephen R
2.) ¡Policia!¡Policia! - Jasinski
3.) The Sundown Shade - The Frenz
4.) Midnight Rites - Picnic
5.) City Boy Motel - The Hourly Radio
6.) Lion in Waiting - Treewave
7.) Fever Kids - Smile Smile
8.) Sunday Papers - Kriminal Klub
9.) Governor's Ball - Mom
10.) ¡Policia!¡Policia! (reprise) - Jay Wadley

download it here.

It List: Monday

Nothing much tonight, except for the usual Cool Out at The Cavern and Jazz at the Amsterdam. This new site design makes it fun even to say there's not much going on. Special thanks to our pal, Cliff Notes, for all the hard work and lost sleep.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another World

If you are looking at this through weshotjr.blogspot.com, then switch over to http://www.weshotjr.com/ because we are no longer using blogspot/blogger.

For the past few months, we've been thinking about what we can do to improve our blog and expand what it is we do here, and what you see in front of you is the beginning of this process. But before I explain our new features to you, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our new friends at News Corp. for providing the funding we needed to get this done.* We couldn't have done it without you guys!

Here's the deal: the section you're reading right now is same old We Shot J.R. Blog. We're going to continue doing It Lists, interviews, album reviews, DJ mixes, and various other ranting right here, just like we always have. To the right of these posts (at the top of the page) is our new We Shot J.R. News section. We decided that we needed a place to keep you upated on the latest local music news and events that we might not want to devote an entire blog post to, and the News section is where you will find these items. For example, if a band we like releases a video or a seven inch, we'll post that information there. Or if an interesting show line up is announced (both local and touring), you'll find it in our news section before you see it anywhere else in town. We've been lucky enough to convince a couple new friends to help us keep this news section updated as much as possible, and we've even added a new email address just for the news section: news@weshotjr.com . So if you're a band, venue, artist, promoter, or anyone who has some news that you think we'll be interested in, send an email to the new address and tell us about it (our old yahoo email and myspace will still be checked every day as always, but we would prefer that news items be sent to the new address if possible).

Below the news section is where you'll find We Shot J.R. Videos, a project we've been working on for quite some time. In this section you'll find a wide variety of videos that we found funny, interesting, or enjoyable in some way: everything from interviews with William F. Buckley to Violent Squid songs to REM's debut on David Letterman to Mavericks highlights to Cool Kids videos can be found there, and new content will be added daily (brand new videos and golden oldies alike). What you see on the main page is a random sample of five of the videos, and when you click "browse all videos," you'll be sent over to our video mosaic. Just drag your mouse over one of the video squares to find out what it is, and if you want to watch it, click on it and watch. It's as easy as a Diebold machine. And if you have any videos that you think we might like to add, send links to videos@weshotjr.com

Below that is where you'll find We Shot J.R. Photos. We decided to ask Sally Glass to expand her role with us and allow us to host her work, and we were happy that she agreed. The photos section is where you'll find all of Sally's pictures from Cool Out, Central Booking events and everything else. Sally will also be expanding what she does for us, and soon you'll start to see band photos from shows, pictures from gallery openings, and shots of all other kinds of things going on in the area. Click on a photo square to see a particular set, or click "browse all photos" to find a mosaic similar to the video section.

And finally, in the next few days you'll see We Shot J.R. Tracks, which will be located at the bottom of the main page. We Shot J.R. Tracks is where you will find links to MP3 downloads that we enjoy-- local, national and international in origin. This section won't include a lot of description, but since you already know that we have better taste in music than you, you can probably just trust us and click away!

And of course, you'll be able to comment anonymously in every single section of the new site. We're currently working on a system that will allow you to register an account if you would like to post under a particular name all the time, but for now, you can fill in an ID (or not) and comment till your little heart's content. We realize that there will be some kinks in the new features at first, but let me assure you that we will be constantly fixing these things and working on new and better features and usability ideas. Feel free to share your stupid opinions with us concerning the new site, and we'll always take your comments into consideration!

In addition to all of our new bells and whistles, we'll also be working hard to provide high quality content more frequently, and once we've had a little time to settle into our new site with our news friends, I think you'll find a vast improvement in our content with same opinions, attitudes and thought that we've always put into what we do. So if you hate us, it probably won't change, but if you like us, you'll probably start to develop a pretty serious crush here in the next few weeks. Thanks so much for reading what we write, and I hope you have as much fun with the new stuff as we expect to.


*The validity of this statement cannot be confirmed at this time

Monday Morning Rock



SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

WED: Six Organs of Admittance/Zanzibar Snails/Dust Congress (The Cavern)
WED: Six Organs of Admittance (Good Records, 6pm)
FRI: Les Savy Fav/Fatal Flying Guilloteens/Mom (the Loft)
FRI: Rosemary Malign/Steel Hook Prostheses/Concrete Violin/Werewolf Jerusalem/Aphonic Curtains (House of Tinnitus)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekender

FRIDAY

Transona Five/The Theater Fire/Dust Congress/J Gray (Sloppyworld): This show came together for us based mostly on good luck-- Wildcat, a long time Transona Five fan, randomly decided to email the band one day a few months ago to see what they were up to. The guys responded that they were working on new material and were planning on doing a couple shows (one in Dallas and one in Austin), and we asked if they would like us to be involved. And duh, they totally did. So we helped them put this line up together, and here we are. We've discussed Transona Five this week already, and I know most of you know what Theater Fire is all about at this point, but we would highly recommend that you check out Dust Congress and J Gray if you haven't already. I haven't had a chance to see Gray live yet (as he doesn't play solo that often), but I've really been enjoying pretty much every song I've heard on his Myspace page-- his haunting vocals clearly set him apart from the pack, and the eerie, almost psychedelic nature of his music makes the material even more interesting still. If you're going to this show, I'd recommend showing up early to check him out. Show starts at 9 and is BYOB. $5. The order: J Gray, Dust Congress, Theater Fire, Transona Five.

Uptown with Select (Zubar): Select will spin a variety of records tonight at Zubar with no cover.

Paul Slocum (Dunn&Brown): Treewave founder Paul Slocum will be showing several visual art installments tonight at Dunn and Brown gallery. One of them, according to Gorilla vs Bear, will involve 20 people acting out a scene from the TV show Full House. Not kidding. You want us to come check it out, Paul? You got it dude! Starts at 6pm and looks really cool on the D&B website.
Mammoth Grinder/Koji Kondo/Teenage Cool Kids/Pool (715 Panhandle): Sorry I forgot to add this one...

Mistress/Rival Gang/Kaboom/Violent Squid (Slutbanger- 1729 Scripture, Denton): Don't have all the details on this show, including the full line up, but we've heard that the above bands will play and that it will get started around 930. BYOB of course.

SATURDAY

Dan Deacon / Florene (Hailey's): Dan Deacon rolls back in to town tonight after an incredibly fun show at the Cavern a few months ago. I had the chance to interview him back in June, and despite his larger than life, goodier exterior, the guy really knows what he's doing musically, and he's made a big impact with fans and critics a alike over the past year. And although people often complain about the stillness of Dallas audiences at shows, Deacon had the Cavern rockin in June (almost by force), which makes me think that a Denton location and an extra six months of a rising profile will result in a big excited crowd at Hailey's. On this, his "Ultimate Reality" tour, Deacon will be joined by fellow Wham City dude Jimmy Joe Roche for a multi media performance that will include a 40 minute original video production with an original soundtrack as well at two live drummers playing along AND a regular solo set from Deacon after the video. It sounds really great, and I can't wait to see how they pull it off.

Hands Up! 90's Party with The Party (The Loft): I'm hoping 90's means tons of new jack swing jams, because I'm always in the mood for that stuff.
Silk Stocking/Sean Kirkpatrick/New Science Projects/Ryan Thomas Becker/Glen Farris/Emil Rapstine/Delmore Pilcrow/Sabra Laval (Strawberry Fields): Starts at 6, free, BYOB. And btw, has anyone ever once heard an 80's dance hipster in an ironic t-shirt say something like "hey bro, come to this DJ show. There won't be very many beards, pearl snaps and people who secretly listen to James Taylor, but you could still check it out." I never have. But I don't really hang out with ironic t-shirt people anyway.

Chris Brown and Bow Wow/Soulja Boy/Sean Kingston/Lil Mama (American Airlines Center): Despite the fact that this is a commercial hip hop show, I still bet it would easily be the strangest thing you could do this weekend. And I am dumb enough to kind of like that one Sean Kingston song.


SUNDAY

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Interview: Six Organs of Admittance

In anticipation of his show with Zanzibar Snails and Dust Congress at The Cavern on Wednesday, January 16th, we were lucky enough to be able to talk with Six Organs of Admittance's Ben Chasny about his new record, his other band (Comets on Fire), and the way he approaches writing the psychedelic folk, drone and experimental pieces that have made him a critical favorite for the past few years. Chasny will also be playing an in store at Good Records on the 16th at 6pm. Enjoy:

I'll start off with some basic stuff-- when did you start playing guitar and music in general?

I started playing bass guitar when I was sixteen, and a couple years after that I started played acoustic guitar.

What were you interested in playing when you first started?

When I was playing bass, I was mostly playing in garage and punk bands, but I was really only into bands from San Francisco like the Melvins and stuff like that.

How did you progress into the Six Organs stuff you do today?

I don't know, I guess when I was 19 or 20, I picked up an acoustic guitar and it kind of clicked a lot more with me. I grew up in a small town called Eureka, and there was really nobody at the time playing that sort of thing up there, so it was just interesting, and I became interested in acoustic music at that time.

Do you feel like your early interest in punk still has an influence on you as far as Six Organs is concerned?

Well a little bit. I think as far as writing words and songwriting goes, I think King Buzzo is great. Nobody ever really talks about him as a songwriter with words or anything, but I've always been pretty stoked on his lyrics. They don't really make any sense, but they sound great phonetically, like a song like "Night Goat" or something, it just sounds great, so actually, even on the last record, I was consciously working with the words in sort of a King Buzzo realm.

That's a good segue, because I was going to ask you about lyrics-- it seems that over the past few Six Organs releases, lyrics and singing have become more important, like your voice is more central in the mix.


A little bit, but it might change. I look at every record as its own thing, and I'm working on some recordings right now where I don't have any singing and just kind of some wordless vocals, but it seems like everything has been getting more and more toward the last record, which is more singing than I've pretty much ever done, so yeah, for sure.


Was that the result of a change in what you were interested in doing or do you feel like you've become a better singer and have more confidence in your vocals?

(laughs) No, definitely not, I don't feel like I've become a better singer. I'm pretty aware of my limitations as a singer, which is why I never really sang much in the first place. I just go record by record, because the record before this only had a couple songs with singing, and the rest had sort of wordless vocals, so before I even start to write a record, I think whether or not it's going to have a lot of songs on it, and I let the record write itself.


Yeah, I guess a better way to phrase it would be that it seems that you've been more focused on lyrics with words as opposed to the earlier stuff which is more wordless.


Yeah, I guess I have, yeah.


How do you go about writing lyrics? What inspires you and where do you draw your lyrics from?

Usually there isn't like one subject. On this record there actually were specific subjects that I talked about, but usually it comes from different things. Like on School of the Flower I was working on songs when my friend was doing a movie so I kind of wrote lyrics based on his movie. I usually end up writing late at night and kind of pick stuff out later.


What were some of the subjects you were addressing lyrically on the new record?

Lets see. It usually comes from stuff I'm reading at the time, and at the time I was writing this record, I was reading a lot of Paul Virilio , so I was kind of concerned with technology and speed and impending accidents that he always talks about.

I'm not familiar with his work, could you tell me a little about it?

He's a French theorist and he really talks a lot about speed and how speed comes before power, and in recent pieces he talks about how any sort of technological advance sets up the idea of accidents, so he says that when the locomotive was invented, so was the crash, and when the car was invented, the same thing, a crash. And so then you have nuclear technology with accidents, and with bio mechanics, he talks about the possibility of accidents as well. When you read him, he seems kind of doomsday from one angle, but it's more like a warning, like "hey, pay attention to this kind of thing," so that was what I was reading when I was writing the lyrics. I can't really recommend one particular work by him, but if you get into him, there's stuff all over the Internet about him, and he's pretty awesome.

That's interesting because when I was preparing for this interview, I read the interview that you did on Pitchfork, and one thing that I found interesting is when the interviewer starting asking you about nature and spirituality, you commented that you kind of agree with Werner Herzog's thoughts regarding nature being more about death and chaos than anything else, and I wonder how that view ties in to these lyrical themes on the new album.

Well I was being a little dramatic when I told him that, you know, for the sake of an interesting read, but I think it's so easy in music, in a post new age movement, to talk about nature and be all "hey, we're a bunch of hippies," but if you really look at nature, like the winter time we're in right now, it's kind of brutal, you know?

Yeah, when I listen to Six Organs, it feels meditative to me and it has this organic quality that does make me think about nature and Thoreau and all this stuff, but it doesn't seem like an entirely pleasant or optimistic take.

Yeah.

And that is something that I find interesting too because natural forces in the world around us are always brutal and often unkind and unpleasant, or at least less than ideal.

Yeah, absolutely. And beautiful too. It's a balance.

And I think you're right, that is something that tends not to be explored as much in pop music, particularly from artists from places like San Francisco, which people always associate with hippies and good times and positive attitudes.

Yeah, it's a bit of a curse that I live in San Francisco, I mean, not the actual living situation, which is awesome, but when it comes to people pinpointing musical styles I just want to say "No, No, I just live here because I have to live here!" It's not because of any scene or anything like that.

Yeah, people forget about the Dead Kennedys a lot, huh?

Yeah, totally, exactly. Or Crime or whatever, you know?

So on this new record, the sound was a lot more clear and crisp to me, and a bit less noisy and muddy. Do you agree?

Yeah, it wasn't really conscious, it's just the way it worked out. I recorded this one and Sun Awakens at the same studio, and School of the Flower was recorded at a different studio in Michigan, and those were the only times I've ever really recorded at a studio. Yeah, I can understand the difference with School of the Flower because it was a different studio, but maybe Tim had some tricks up his sleeve or something this time, I don't know, but it just sort of turned out that way.

One of the things I enjoy about your music is what sounds to be the contrast between opposing forces-- there's a gentle undercurrent to your acoustic guitar and singing, but then you seem to have a lot of drone and dissonant noise going on a lot in the background. Do your interests in drone and noise as opposed to acoustic music come from separate places, or do they all come from the same place?

For me they all kind of come from the same place. I remember there was a point when I couldn't put the two together or figure out how they worked together, and at the same time I started playing acoustic guitar, I started having a pretty healthy interest in pretty extreme noise guitar, and I couldn't figure out how to put them together, and I was doing all these projects and recordings and they just weren't going together. But at some point, I realized how they could go together and that is sort of when Six Organs started as a project, trying to put those things together. So originally, they were seperate, but now I see them together. I try to create something beautiful and scary and all together. I just have such an aversion to new age music, and it's funny because sometimes I get described as that, like a "totally mellow listen," and that's fine, but I actually don't enjoy mellow listening stuff and don't listen to it.

Well I've seen it mentioned that John Fahey was an inspiration for you, and you always hear people reference him as an accidental precursor to new age music.

Yeah, it's weird, people have said he was a big influence on me, and I think if you pick up an acoustic guitar, anyone is going to say that he's an influence, but I've actually consciously chosen not to play like Fahey, and I'm actually much more interested in the British guys rather than the Americans. But yeah, he did kind of start it, but he didn't like it either, which is why in his later years he was recording some of the most dissonant and ridiculous music with electric guitars because I think he realized what he started. So I think he started it, but I think he regretted it.

One thing you couldn't call Six Ograns' music is "pop." Do you find that the loose, experimental song structures you utilize allow you to express something that you just couldn't express with a more pop or trad folk approach?

Yeah, I don't really have anything to communicate in a pop form. I don't know why I put the sounds down I just do, I just work on stuff, and the things that I like to make are just usually a little more extended. When I do a song that is shorter, or more pop form, it's more kind of a trick to get people to listen to the rest of the record (laughs). It's like "hey, check this out," and then it ends up being a 20 minute song or something.

With Six Organs, do you write all the parts of all the songs, or do you ever work with other people?

No, not with Six Organs. Six Organs is just me writing. I have a lot of projects with a lot of other people, and if I ever did start working on stuff with someone else, we would probably just start another band.

So do you ever find it frightening in a way to work completely by yourself since you aren't bouncing ideas off of other people when you write?

I think that I've been doing it for so long that it is kind of just natural to me now. It might have been scary if I had never done it before, but luckily when I started doing it there was no one listening, so I could keep doing it while no one listened, like for three or four records, and ten years later, it isn't that big of a deal to me.

What goes through your mind when you read critical reviews of your work?

I usually just consider it to be a good barometer of whether I would want to hang out with the person in general (laughs), and with my record, I probably wouldn't want to share a beer with you. If I was making music that everyone liked, then I wouldn't be making music that's good. It makes total sense that a lot of people wouldn't like the music I do, and it makes sense that a few would. I don't really listen to pop music or music that sells many copies, just because of its nature, so it makes sense that lots of people probably wouldn't like what I do. I just take it with a grain of salt.

What are some of the differences between playing material in a group with Comets on Fire and playing your own material with Six Organs? What are the different things you get out of it?

Well Comets is mostly just about hanging out with friends more than anything. We don't have a lot of creative things coming up because everyone kind of has projects going on and babies and marriages that just happened, but there is still this need for everyone to get together and have a beer and play some music together every once in a while. That is the heart of that band, five guys who are really good friends and just want to play music. That's pretty much the biggest difference. Six Organs is just me and Comets is a total democracy, usually, if it works right.

If you had to choose between playing on your own or playing in bands for the rest of your life, which would appeal to you more?

If it was just between those two, I would play with other people for the rest of my life, but if you're saying I have to play with the same people for the rest of my life, I would probably choose to play by myself.

Aside from musical influences, what else in your life influences your music?

It's crazy now, it's just something that is totally natural now. It's like walking around and eating. If there is a guitar lying around, I'm going to pick it up, and a lot of times nothing comes out of it, but sometimes it does. There are all sorts of things. It's rarely a flash where I just get this great idea, like "oh look at that tree," I just pick up the guitar or think about something and go with it. It's just a really natural thing.

So when you start writing material, you don't always set out with a general intent or a firm idea of where you want to go with it? It's more of a random trial and error?

Well there is actually a specific listening trajectory that I always think of, like where the piece is going to go, and what you'll think about on the way, and once I think about that, I figure out how to do it. I always construct the records as a whole piece rather than a collection of songs.

So someone downloading a Six Organs MP3 off a blog isn't going to get exactly what is going on unless they hear the whole record?

Well I guess, but I think about it more cinematically. You can watch a great scene from a great movie and be like "oh, that's great, lets watch it again," so the trick is to be able to do both, to do something that people can pull out if they want to, because I'm not a dictator, I'm not going to force people to listen to it a certain way, so the trick is to be able to make something that you can listen to any way, even backwards. It's just that the full album is the only way I conceive of the material when I'm making it.

Does Comets or Six Organs have any new material coming out?

Comets is taking a break, Ethan is taking Howlin' Rain out for quite a while, and for Six Organs, as soon as I get back from tour, my friend just wrote this novel called Empty the Sun, and I'm going to do a soundtrack to the novel. It's funny because that will actually be the first Six Organs that is written with other people, but it will be me and my friend Steve, writing music for the novel, and we're going to go down to his house in Los Angeles and record it.

You don't really hear about novel soundtracks.

Yeah, that was my friend Joseph's idea. He said "everyone writes soundtracks to movies, so why don't you write a soundtrack to this novel I'm writing." And I said "let me read some of it," and he was kind of just getting going, and I read the first chapter and thought it was awesome, and I said "lets do it." He just finished it this week, actually, so he's going to hand it off to me in Los Angeles.

Will you distribute the novel and soundtrack together?

Yeah, we want them to be together. And the music can be listened to by itself or while you're reading. It's slightly ambient as a soundtrack and it's a good driving record, because it is kind of a road story. There are a lot of different factors going in to it.