Sunday, November 30, 2008

Monday Morning Rock







SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

MON: Deerhunter/Times New Viking (the Loft)
TUE: Duran Duran (Nokia Theater)
THU: Terrible Twos/Wax Museums/Uptown Bums/John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death (818 Hickory St., Denton)
FRI: El Ten Eleven/The Boat Lights/Slider Pines (the Cavern)
SAT: Viking Moses/Golden Ghost/Daniel Bass (Muscle Beach, 907 Denton St.)
SAT: Hands Up with Dj A1 (the Loft)
SAT: Blixaboy/The Faith/Farah(Rubber Gloves)
SUN: The Theater Fire/Peter and the Wolf/Delmore Pilcrow (Muscle Beach)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Half Assed Weekender

The really cool thing about doing this as a hobby rather than a job is that I can just decide at the drop of a hat that I really don't feel like doing jack shit on a given day and then just not do it.  Actually, we're all busy spending this weekend with family and friends, so cut us some slack and just be satisfied with the Chad Hopper interview below and this linkless Weekender with no descriptions.  We'll be back starting Monday with a couple new features and a couple new writers.  Get ready for it.  Oh, and feel free to add any shows in the comments.  
FRIDAY

Doug Burr/Shiny Around The Edges/Dust Congress (Dan's Silverleaf)

Four Days to Burn/The Great Tyrant/Vorvadoss/Caddis (the Exploding House, 711 Page St., Ft. Worth)

The Party (Zubar)

The Rosebuds/PVC Street Gang/Bridges And Blinking Lights(Hailey's)

SATURDAY

Dan Dockrill/Starhead/Holy Diver (Hailey's)

Melissa Deluxe Party with Disqo Disco/Tigerfight!/Dillon Bartel (The Cavern)

Verulf/Doyen/H...N (Time Bandits)

SUNDAY

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greatness: Chad Hopper

Chad Hopper is a Dallas native whose free mixed media art has been found on refrigerators and in odd places from here to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Mr. Hopper sat down for some hard-hitting art questions with DL and RH for this week's Greatness.

Defensive Listening: A lot of your work in the late 90's, or around early 2000 made a lot of reference to the 80's in a way that has become much more prevalent now. Songs with choruses like "...With 'Night Court Bedsheets'/With 'Night Court Bedsheets'." At the time, referencing June Cleaver's career revival in Muppet Babies and other Reagan Era imagery was not nearly as common. Has the increased use of 80's culture in art and music changed the way you feel about your use of it? You were pretty ahead of the curve on that one.

Chad Hopper: The increased use of 80's culture has not had much effect on my work except for the silent alarm that goes off in my head when I may be toying with a particular 80's image that has been too "exposed" or is old hat, as they used to say. There are several filters out there (especially TV shows like Family Guy) that help me gauge and separate the ultra hip 80's lore from the rest. A majority of the new writers for TV grew up in the same TV brain rage that I did and they regurgitate in a different way (mostly quick and zany references). I rarely use an iconic image for shock value; most of my work is laid out in riddle form and these commercial symbols that were shoved into my head when I was younger had to find their way out somehow.

DL: You once had a collage of the Dallas skyline with the words (paraphrasing) "Kingdom Of Nowhere" placed on the image. How sarcastic was that piece, and more importantly, is it for sale?

CH: I'd say on the sarcastic meter it would register a 6 (with 10 being the highest or most sarcastic). Dallas is huge, I mean really large so it seems that it would be nearly impossible to be there and feel like it is nowhere (because it has everything). But there is a sense of loneliness that goes with it. That piece was distributed through free treats many moons ago... I wonder where it is now? I wonder if it is hanging up somewhere in Dallas?

DL: You subscribed to a "Free Art" philosophy and I used to see your piles of artwork and cassettes at Bill's Records or little house-held exhibitions, laying on a counter or table, and up-for-grabs. When I saw your work at And/Or Gallery it was priced, as would be expected. I was really inspired by the giving away of your work, and I in no way fault you for eventually selling it, as it was often meticulous and profound. At what point did you start to sell your work, and what changed about your philosophy, if it changed at all?

CH: I started selling my work via Science Bear Arcade which is a mobile craft unit I established in 2003 (it started out as a gallery in my closet which I opened to the public) after weeks of unemployment. That got me used to the idea of fair pricing but still today I mainly rely on donations. I average about 2 shows a year now and am fine with that... I keep my prices so low that many galleries wouldn't even consider showing my work. I still tend to concentrate on smaller gigs and group shows... there is something enriching to me about maintaining the balance of remaining under the radar and exposing my creations to a certain audience.

Richardson Heights: Use a character or theme from Who's The Boss as a metaphor to describe your work.

CH:
I would compare my body of work to Mona
sassy, smart, and on the loose
or perhaps maybe Samantha
seductive, nurturing, and competitive
tough choice

RH: Instincto Records of Austin is going to release a collection of your recordings from the early 2000's... can you tell us a little about your original recording process (way back)?

CH: Yes, 'tis true, there will finally be a Sleuth Science CD. Actually, some of the recording go as far back as 1993 when Paul [Slocum] and I were using multiple tape decks, samplers, guitars with 2 strings...a lot of the recordings are a blur to me now because of all the LSD I was experimenting with at the time. However, starting in the late 90's, we had a more traditional way of recording. I see some of our earlier methods shine through when I see Paul (Treewave) play live. For my solo projects I am still a four track lo-fi rascal.

RH: You're in a large supermarket. You pause for a moment and look down an aisle. Which aisle is it, and how does it relate to the art you make in your studio?

CH: I invest in craft supplies at the market but the aisle I am always most curious about is the aisle with mousetraps and sports soda. A large portion of my World Salad comics have been inspired by trips to the grocery. You can meet some real freaks there and then go home feeling better about yourself and where you are in your life.

RH: Suppose McDonald's approached you and wanted your work for their next big advertising campaign. Would you do it? Why or why not?

CH: It is tempting to think of the possibilities but we both know that they would never accept something I was happy with... but in a parallel universe who knows???

And/Or Gallery will be hosting another show of Hopper's work some time in early 2009. His work and writings can be found at Palfloat.com. Image courtesy of Chad Hopper.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It List: Tuesday


Shannon Murray/Bully Gote/Tammy Gomez featuring Ramsey Sprague/Baby Talk/Crystal Casey (1919 Hemphill): This show is partially a tribute to the late Devin Adams, a Fort Worth artist and musician who served an under-credited role in the development of 1919's mission, in ways both physical and philosophical.

Blitzen Trapper/Delmore Pilcrow/The Parson Red Heads-Evan Way (Hailey's): I always get stuck describing the Blitzen Trapper show. This band recently described their sound as less about music and more about authors; Zane Grey, Italo Calvino, and Frank Herbert. Look, I'm not really going to buy that some indie pop band sounds like these, or any, particular group of authors. In that case, I'll pick a new handful more representational of their quality and intent: Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, Tim LaHaye and Dean Koontz. I would respect a band so much more if they gave that little list to an interviewer with a straight face.

PS-We Shot JR is off for the next two days, and we might have one brief post tonight letting you know about a couple of shows taking place during our break.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It List: Monday

Well, this article pretty much sums up what Thanksgiving week is all about for me most years... what do you guys usually during festive Holidays like this? Anyway, we'll be taking a couple days off later this week (WED AND THU), but we are going to try to have a few cool things for you before we go, especially tomorrow if we can pull it off. Anyway, here is stuff:

Cool Out (The Cavern)

Soul Glow Monday with Young Doc Gooden (Hailey's)
Top Secret Robot Alliance/The Hormones Limited/Bueno Tornado/Giggle Party (The Lounge-- FREE): This free Parade of Flesh show at the Lounge is a little bit silly, but I guess thats why it's free. Aside from both having absolutely terrible band names, Hormones Limited and Bueno Tornado both share the distinction of sounding like bands clearly fronted by teenagers raised on a steady diet of post-hardcore. Unfortunately, neither of their diets have done them many favors thus far, and maybe it's the fact that I'm not paying attention, but I really can't tell these two bands apart. I'm not going to sit here and pick on kids (if these are in fact kids, I couldn't really tell), but I'd skip these for now. I think you'll have much better luck with Giggle Party's keyboard heavy, anthemic pop punk-- its actually quite solid and easily the best thing on this bill tonight, particularly if you're a fan of that Wham City sound. Top Secret Robot Alliance is like Lazer for English lit majors, but fortunately, I took enough philosophy classes to be satisfied with sitting at home and staring at a wall.

Monday Morning Rock




SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK


TUE: Blitzen Trapper/Evan Way/Delmore Pilcrow/The Parson Red Heads (Hailey's)
TUE: Shannon Murray/Executrix/Tammy Gomez/Baby Talk (1919 Hemphill)
WED: Retro Spectro/Best Fwends/Smitten Kitten (1919 Hemphill)
WED: The Misfits/Spector 45/Speedealer (The Granada)
WED: Little Joy/Dead Trees/Cocky Americans (The Lounge)
WED: Tum Tum/Big Tuck (Firewater)
THU: The Me Thinks/Great Tyrant/Bastardos de Sancho (Lola's)
FRI: Doug Burr/Shiny Around The Edges/Dust Congress (Dan's Silverleaf)
FRI: The Party (Zubar)
FRI: The Rosebuds/PVC Street Gang/Bridges And Blinking Lights(Hailey's)
SAT: Dan Dockrill/Starhead/Holy Diver (Hailey's)
SAT: Melissa Deluxe Party with Disqo Disco/Tigerfight!/Dillon Bartel (The Cavern)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekender

It's a rare thing when most of the shows I really want to see over a given weekend take place in Ft. Worth, but thats whats up on this rather slow weekend, yo. In fact, I'll apologize in advance for being a bit dismissive this week, but I don't have a lot of time today and I could really care less about a lot of this shit anyway. Guess which ones! You'll continue to see a few new reviews and features early next week, so don't get mad friends! Take a look:

FRIDAY

Torche/Black Cobra/Clouds (The Lounge): Is Torche a guilty pleasure band? I don't know, but I kind of like them, and I kind of feel guilty about it. They sort of remind me of a band that I would have absolutely loved in 1994 after I heard them on The Edge, except unlike most bands that actually existed back then, I don't hate them now.

Doom Siren/Akkolyte/Vorvadoss (Exploding House): Doom Siren is a grind band from Austin with some DFW roots, featuring Mark Davis, ex-vocalist and bassist from the much-loved and influential Bread And Water. The group is known for putting on a disturbingly angry show. Akkolyte and Vorvadoss round out what is a very formidable lineup.

Deep Snapper/The Makebelievers/White Drugs (Rubber Gloves): I love it when the two best shows on a given night feature local bands almost exclusively.

Today is the Day/4 Days to Burn/Admirals Club/Trampskirts (Reno's Chop Shop): Unfortunately, Weedeater had to pull out of this tour due to an injury sustained by one of the members.

Nada Surf/Delta Spirit/Jealous Girlfriends (Hailey's)

SATURDAY

Loretta Lynn (Billy Bob's)

George Jones/Jerry Jeff Walker (Nokia Theater): Why isn't it cool for No Depression dudes to be into George Jones? Did he write a song dissing the Replacements or some shit?

PVC Street Gang/Darktown Strutters/Fauna Valetta (Chat Room): Again, one of the better shows of the night features local headliners.

Damaged Goods/Show Me Tiger/Prince William (the Lounge)

Sodomorrhea/Strugglebear/Girlfren/Cleric/Baconator (Exploding House): One of two great shows at Exploding House this weekend. This is the more diverse of the two, featuring everything from the devastating metal of cleric to the erratic, bass-led, bratty-ness of Girlfren. Baconator has ex-members of Koji Kondo and Division of Power, and I have no idea what they sound like.

Florene/Art Show (1837 Corinth, Dallas): Taking place from 7PM until 10 in the warehouse where Disturbathon usually exists. Here is a bit from the press release--

Featuring work by Andrew Bayer and Doug Voison (from House of Dang), Scott and Nicole Horn (curators of the Magnolia Gallery), Benjamin Hancock, Kate Nelson, Zachary Broadhurst, Luke Harnden, Brent Kollock, Jonathan Brooks, Ronald Wadanski, and Sarah Jane Semrad. Music by Florene, as well as DJ sets by them all evening. Free beer, Ketel One, and Crown Royal.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band/The Felice Brothers/Rig 1 (Palladium): The Mystic fucking Valley Band? Really, asshole? Here's something that actually IS Mystikal.

Mundo/Blixaboy/Convextion/Dj Lloyd-E (the Cavern)

Lions/Baboon/Dove Hunter/Record Hop/Pikahsso and Tahiti (Doublewide): This is easily the best show that Doublewide has hosted in months. Maybe it makes financial sense for them to book ridiculous garbage 95% of the time, but it sure seems like a waste of a great space for shows. Usually the crowd at D-Wide seems like a bunch of rednecks pretending to be non-rednecks who are pretending to be rednecks, and as Morrissey once said, that joke isn't funny anymore. Next. And when are Lions just gonna move up here?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gang Gang Dance


Gang Gang Dance is performing tonight at Lola's in Ft. Worth, and we were lucky enough to get to speak with Brian Degraw about the band's music, his visual art, and the thought process he enters into when writing songs.  Here's our discussion:  

When I was preparing for this interview, I thought about one of the first times I ever listened to your band-- it was a couple years ago, and I listened to God's Money on my ipod at Shedd's Aquarium in Chicago, and it seemed absolutely perfect for that setting since that record almost sounds like it was recorded underwater.  I was wondering if you ever think about things like that when you're making your music-- visual things, settings in which your music will be heard, etc. 

Yeah, but not really in terms of other people, more just environments in which I picture myself listening to music.  But yeah, I often think about underwater scenarios when I'm making music, so it's lucky that you were able to experience it in that situation.  I really do think about a lot of visual things when making music, its really more about visualizing shapes and colors than specific imagery, but it is a really big thing for me when we're making music-- sort of visualizing patters of color, more so than paying attention to the actual notes and things like that.  

I read that you are a visual artist yourself.  What kind of stuff do you do on your own?

Yeah, I do all the artwork for the records and stuff too.  But on my own, it really depends, I try not to do just one thing.  I used to do these sort of big drawings on paper, but making music has sort of altered what I do with visual art because the two just sort of melt together.  I used to only make these black and white drawings, but because of music I got more into color instead of just that black and white, and I do less figurative drawing now.  Now I kind of just do whatever I feel like doing at the time I have a show.  I just did a show in France that was more of an installation sculptural thing that had a lot to do with DJing, sort of revolved around that.  I DJ regularly, so I made an installation dealing with the more negative side of DJing.  I don't know why exactly that happened, but that is just what I ended up making at the time.

Do you try to address any of the same things in your music and your visual art?

Not really.  If anything, there is a spiritual aspect of both that is maybe similar, but it depends on my mood really for both mediums.  I sort of let my mood dictate what I do in both, I try not to preconceive too much.

Do you think that the nature of music as a medium, the way it is produced, marketed and sold, etc., makes it more of a commodity than visual art?  Do you feel like you're dealing more with a commodity when you are making music?  Does this have any impact on your work?

I think they're both sort of the same in those respects.  If anything, I think I struggle more with showing art in galleries, I have a bigger problem with that than I do with being in a band, just because I feel that showing artwork is sort of limited to a certain class of people, whereas music is a more diverse audience, I think its heard in many different places and venues.  There's radio, live shows, and video, whereas as a gallery is sort of a more incestuous community of people, a little richer, and I have a lot of problems with that actually.  I feel very uncomfortable showing my artwork because I know that it is only being seen by this certain group of people who are in the know, as they say.  I feel better knowing that music is experienced by a broader group of people.

Well the elevation of pop music into higher art is a very recent phenomenon, it's a relatively new thing for such large groups of people to experience things that are considered "higher art."

Yeah, totally, I like that.  I kind of stopped making artwork a few years ago because of that, I could only really relate to making music because it was more immediate and direct, and playing shows was more interactive.  And then I'd have these art openings and it was a bunch of people drinking champagne and not really looking at the work, like it was more of a social thing or something.  That started to really bug me out.  I got over it, but I really do think music is more effective in that sense, it reaches more people in a more real way.

I was thinking back to the first Gang Gang Dance material, which consisted of much longer, more collage like pieces, and of course what you do now is very different, a lot more song oriented.  

Well we used to really just improvise everything, the older pieces are more just improvisations that are edited down into some sort of sequence, and lately we do a little less of that.  Improvisation is still the basis of everything that we do, but I'd say we spend more time refining the bits we record, whereas before we'd sort of roll tape and let it be.  Now we try to structure the pieces a little more.  We're a little more into pop structures now than we were before.  

Do you think that what you're doing now is what you've always wanted to do, or have your interests changed as far as the kind of music you want to make?

I don't think it's either, again it is not very conscious.  When we started playing, we just wanted to be loose and be free and we were listening to a lot of improvised music and we were around a lot of people making improvised music, free jazz and things like that, so it just gave us the confidence to just play and not really worry about what the hell we were doing.  But after we were doing that for a while, I think it's a natural progression into sort of getting bored with how free it is to just improvise.  It sounds sort of the opposite of what the terms "free" and "improv" mean, but it does eventually get a little limiting in a way, to only improvise.  To get ourselves excited, we started taking this music and structuring it, and we had never done that before, so it became an exciting thing and we continued to do that gradually.  I think the next one will be even more structured and melodic and pop.

And with God's Money, you guys sort of tapped into a particular sound and feel taken in different directions, whereas the new one is much more stylistically diverse, kind of all over the place.  What do you think accounted for that difference?

A lot of it had to do with the recording process, which was a brutal nightmare to be honest.  It was three years between records.  We tried to record this new record a bunch of times, but we kept throwing it away for various reasons.  We never really spent enough time in the studio at once for this record.  We would record for like a week, and we'd go on tour, and when we came back we wouldn't really be happy with the music because it wouldn't be refined enough, and we'd throw it out and the whole thing would happen over again.  Eventually, the record we ended up releasing is little bits of all those previous attempts, but for the most part it was done last December, we just decided to take a month and just do it and not really be too critical.  We were being way too critical about it before, and I think that has a lot to do with how all over the place it is.  And we struggled with that.  We weren't too sure we liked that at first, but now I'm glad because I think it makes for an interesting record, and I don't think we'll ever make a record like that again.

I know you said you were a DJ, and I think you can hear the influence of hip hop and dubstep and reggae in Gang Gang Dance.

Well DJing really influenced me with the new record for me personally as far as the sequencing and transitioning between the songs.  I used a lot of the same techniques that I use when I DJ live.

What do you like to spin when you DJ?

All over the place really, I like to play everything.  The majority of it is maybe sort of reggae based music, like dancehall and grime and dubstep, but really I play all sorts of things.  My whole thing with DJing is trying to find connections between drastically different genres of music and sort of find a way to melt them together and form a bond between different genres.  

And it seems like that theory applies to Gang Gang Dance's music as well.

Yeah, definitely, like with this record, there are obviously very drastically different sounding individual pieces, but the best part for me of making the record was the sequencing, finding a way to put these drastically different pieces together.

I read a headline on you guys the other day in some English music magazine, and the headline was "Gang Gang Dance: Hot Chip and Klaxons Favorite Band!"  I started to think about all the coverage you guys get in fashionable magazines, etc., and I was wondering what it means to you, if anything, to be considered a "fashionable" band.

I'm glad that it happens to us because I don't think the music we make is very accessible, so I feel very privileged to be put into context like that, where people may be tricked into listening to us.  Like if someone reads that we're Hot Chip and Klaxons favorite band, and they like that sort of music, then I don't think if they researched us and listened to us that what they'll find is exactly what they thought they would find.  In that way, it's really good, to expose people to a type of music that is a little more out there, whatever means it takes I guess.  I think it's a good thing for sure.  Like those bands are pretty pop and accessible and mainstream, so if their fans can check us out and be weirded out by us, that is a good thing.

So what can we expect from your live show?  What is your set up?

We have our usual set up, it's Josh playing guitar and synth guitar, and then a live drummer, and then I have a table with various snyths and effects and electronic percussion, and then stuff for vocals.  On this tour, we're not really playing much from the new record actually, and except for one song on God's Money, the rest of it is all newer stuff that we're working on for the next record.  It's strange sometimes because people seem to want to hear what they know, but we just get bored with our music and we want to kind of move on to the next thing.  The record was done so long ago so we just started playing newer stuff.  We're recording again in January, so we're doing a lot of that stuff now on the tour.  

Labels:

It List: Thursday

Ok guys, I'm working on something that you'll see appear above this list in just a few minutes, so you're only getting links today.  Boo hoo:

Gang Gang Dance/Rainbow Arabia/Sydney Confirm (Lola's)

Danielson/Cryptacize/Mount Righteous (The Granada)

PVC Street Gang/Edie Sedgwick/Scuba Team Go (The Lounge)

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

Screening of Holy Mountain with DJ set from Blixaboy (Angelika): Screening is at 8pm with Wanz Dover's soundtrack remix performance starting a little bit before.  This screening will feature the remastered 35 mm.  

Supersuckers/Scott McCurry/Here, In Arms (Lakewood Bar and Grill)

AIDS Wolf

AIDS Wolf needs little introduction after the two hundred plus comment thread they partially inspired in their show preview last week. I was honored to get a chance to speak with lead vocalist, Chloe Lum, by telephone ahead of the group's show in San Diego yesterday, and as far as intimidating and confrontational lead singers go, Chloe gives one of the most chilling live performances you'll witness by anyone in a currently active band. She gave me some insight into the group's feelings on their critics (complimentary and otherwise), the special relationship with their record label(s), people getting your art confused with your music, Texas, Weasel Walter, and other oddities and concerns of life in a touring noise rock band from Montreal...

I'm going to start off with some questions about lineup changes and live performances...


Alright.

So, your live performances are almost frightening and are extremely convincing. It seems like a lot of people I've known have been converted especially after seeing you live, and you had a significant lineup change after releasing your new record. In what ways do you think this change affected the live show, or do you feel it affected it at all?

I've got to say, at this point; Alex (Moskos) joined the band in the summer, and we pretty much spent a couple of months woodshedding with him, and before we left for tour we only played three shows with him. We've played maybe a total of twenty shows so far with him. When we're playing, I'm just in the moment. I haven't seen any footage or heard any recordings of us playing with him, so I can't even tell how much is different. But, I will say that because he comes from more of a new music background, I guess, he's really confident and adept at improvising. So that's been really cool, because we do chunks of improv in our sets. I don't know, I mean, to us, being in a band, such a big part of it is about playing shows. You know?


Yeah.

I mean, we, I know it sounds totally cheesy; put a lot of our souls into it, I guess? (Laughter)

That's not necessarily cheesy.

As a band, we want to be the kind of band we'd be excited about seeing.

Exactly. I wanted to ask you about some of your coverage. It seems like even though blogs have the potential to provide diverse, individual viewpoints on what type of artists to cover, there has really grown to be a glut of similar sounding acts that are regularly featured. Even though your band has been discussed on a lot of blogs, and blog-sympathetic websites, you don't sound anything like most of the homogenized music you find on most blogs. So, to what do you attribute the coverage? And, for the record, I'm really glad you get covered a lot.

I always thought any of the coverage we got on blogs was super-negative! (Laughter)

You think it's usually negative?

I don't really look at music blogs, usually. The ones that I have seen that have written about us, it seems like it was always not only dissing our music, but dissing us on a personal level, too. So, I don't really know. I haven't really seen any stuff on blogs talking about our band in any kind of objective way. But then again, I don't really go looking for it either. I think at this point, we all try to kind of avoid looking at what's written about us. Because, otherwise, it would probably be hard to find the druthers to carry on. Personally, I'm pretty out-of-touch with a lot of what's going on in music outside of the very specific realms of interest that I have. I wouldn't even know what the blogs to check are, or even if there are any that write about the kind of music that we play.

It seems like the new record got a lot of good reviews, compared to what I've seen in the past.

Yeah, I've been told that people are more into it than the other stuff we've done. Which, I guess that's...good? We worked really hard on this, on the new record. It's more of an "album," I guess, than the first one.

It's seems like a lot of the reviews, and I'm sorry that the follow-up question is about reviews and you say don't really read them, but it seems like a lot of them...

I have to avoid reading [reviews], because I take shit like that personally. If somebody doesn't like my band and my art, it's like they're fucking stabbing me in the heart! (Mutual Laughter)

Yeah, that's understandable.

I put so much of myself into it, and I think my band-mates are pretty much all the same way. We have our people who we work with who tell us what's going on.


Does the label monitor all that?

Yeah, yeah. Sometimes our publicist will send me the links and I'll just post them on MySpace without even looking at any of them!

A friend of ours that writes reviews posted a review, and she said that you were upset maybe, at the mention of the art activity, and it not reflecting the whole band?

What review was that?

It was "Megzeazez," and then she rewrote it I think, because she felt bad.

Oh, that was basically a misunderstanding, because she wrote that AIDS Wolf was this Seripop band, and I guess in a way it is, because Yannick (Desranleau) and I are... but there are two other people that contributed an equal part. We think that it's important that everyone gets their due.

Definitely.

I don't really want it to be the "Chloe and Yannick Show."

Do you feel people focus on that too much, on the Seripop stuff?

Um...maybe. I don't know. It seems now that our band has gotten a bit more established, it seems like it's the other way around: We'll do Seriopop stuff and it will get credited to "AIDS Wolf." I guess it goes both ways. It's not something that I lose sleep over, but I do think it's important that people know we are...a band. It's a democratic thing. There are four of us, writing the songs together, putting the guitar together, and fucking hitting the road together. So, that's basically my only concern there.

You worked with Weasel Walter on "Cities Of Glass," who is a legendary and sometimes polarizing figure. What was it like working with him? What about his style was different from your past recording experiences?

Well, past recording experiences with this band have been pretty limited, pretty bare-bones. You know, when we did "The Lovvers," it wasn't even intended to actually be an album. We were just recording with our buddy at our practice space. Then we did other recordings in the same way, where we just had friends that would record us at our jam-space on Pro Tools. I mean, the first studio thing that we ever had come out was the split we did with Night Wounds, which came out this summer, which we did at Hotel2Tango. So, when we went to record with Weasel, it was basically only the second time that this band had ever set foot inside a studio. So, we're in a studio for two days instead of five hours, and we have a producer, and an engineer, and an assistant engineer, and we had been on tour for five weeks. So for us to be able to get stuff done, it was definitely in a perfect situation. Working with Weasel, the guy definitely knows how our band wants to sound, and understands what we're trying to do, so his directions were pretty crucial. We spent months working on the mixing with him, getting it to sound the way we wanted to, and he was a pretty good sport about it. It's kind of a little overwhelming to work with someone you respect so much, and hold in such high regard. He definitely made the process as painless as possible for all of us. I feel that it helped us sound like we always wanted to sound. I feel like "Cities of Glass" sounds how we sound, in a good live show, at a place that has a good system. I feel like it's really representative of what this band is. We would definitely work with him again, if we can.

Was that also on Pro Tools or did you record to tape?

It was on Pro Tools.

I really enjoyed, not to mention really agree with, the "Nine Principles Of Aids Wolf" that I've seen floating around recently. You seem very committed to the struggle of touring and maintaining a lifestyle that revolves mainly around art and music. You also mentioned "Get In The Van." Do you think that kind of will and dedication is something that a lot of groups lack today? The way the principles are worded, it sounds really authoritative.

I would say that most of the bands that WE know are pretty fucking intensely dedicated people. When I think of bands that we've played with, you know like Sightings or The USAisaMONSTER, people who play intensely difficult music to small audiences, and they are just total dynamos taking it out there, and recording, and have such a positive outlook with a lack of tangible gain. I think are a lot of bands in the underground today that have a really inspiring outlook and attitude about things, just a really good work ethic. Those are the people who we are attracted to doing stuff with, to be around like-minded people in that regard. It almost becomes like a game where you're challenging each other, "You did THAT! Well, we're gonna do THIS!" Just friendly oneupmanship. When we toured with Old Time Relijun last Fall, we would always race each other to the venues. I don't really know about other bands, but most of the bands we associate with seem to be super-hardworking, and hardworking even without having any potential reward in mind, since most of them are pretty aware that their music is difficult and non-commercial. It just something that they're compelled to do, which is something that I've got to say, I relate to pretty well.

Are you influenced more by the classic Hardcore Punk touring philosophy, or the music, if at all?

I would say, both. I got into it from the music, and all these years later, at the age of thirty, I still find it relevant, in large part because of the philosophy. And in turn, the philosophy makes me reevaluate the music and analyze my own appreciation for it. We do listen to a lot of punk and hardcore together when we're in the van. At the same time, it's a scene that we all definitely feel like outsiders to. It's more like an anthropological thing. Then again, I feel like an outsider to everything. (Laughter)

Yeah. (Long awkward pause from DL) I understand that. You also mention willfully bumming the crowd out and bringing "failure and misery with you in the wider world." How important are these negative concepts to your overall philosophy and aesthetic? I often wonder about concepts like these and am fascinated by them. Do you in any way feel that negative energy can often be applied to life in positive ways that are simply misunderstood?

I do think that negative energy can be applied in positive ways. I actually see our outlook as very positive. It's more about realizing your limitations, and then celebrating them. You know?

When we started this band, we didn't expect that people were going to love it, and we didn't expect that we were going to be wonderfully popular or anything. But we also didn't expect to be a bone of contention, we actually thought, if anything, we would just be ignored; we would do our thing, play in people's basements, the five people who liked us would come out, and no one else would care. Um, that didn't happen. It seemed like there were always a lot of people who hassled us, and had a lot of loud opinions about not liking us. And we kind of take that and laugh with it, because, what else are you going to do? Are you going to stop playing music? Are you going to change what you're doing? Basically our whole idea of negativity and bumming people out, it's about turning it on its head and being like, "OK, yeah. Some people don't like what we do, and maybe what we do is never going to be popular, but this is what fucking lives inside of us that needs to come out and this is what we need to do and we're just going to keep doing it no matter what." It's basically like us against the world, we're like a gang. It's celebrating that we're not going to be deterred from what we're trying to achieve aesthetically and we are not going to be driven off-course by anybody else's feedback or opinions.

You have released records through Love Pump United and the venerable Skin Graft Records. What are the similarities and differences between the two labels?

Well, I see that they have similarities, in that they're labels that treat their rosters like family. They're both labels that are committed to a certain vision of uncompromising music. They're both labels that are very small, and run with a lot of personal touch. They're very hands on, they're there for their bands in as many ways as possible. As for as differences go, I don't really see too many. You know Mark (Fischer)'s older than Jake (Freedman) and Mookie (Singerman) at Lovepump, he's been around for longer, but we basically got a really similar vibe from both of the labels we work with. That's why we work with them, we feel they're people who are our friends, we feel like they are people that are our peers, and we can talk to them, and we can use their judgment and look it as a sounding board sometimes. It's really cool. I guess the only big difference is that Skin Graft is based in Europe, and Lovepump is based in New York. So we hangout with Skin Graft when we're in Europe, and Lovepump when we're in the US. They tend to run things in a very similar way, very hands-on.

That's the end of the "official questioning." How did you feel about your Texas shows?

They were OK, they were OK. I mean, Texas is not the coast. I think we need to go there more. Not a ton of people know about us there yet. We're going to do South By Southwest for the first time this Spring, and that gives us a bit more time in Texas, so maybe after that it's going to make things perk up a bit for us.

We had a lot of fun in Austin and Dallas, those were cool shows. Even Lubbock seemed pretty cool.


You played at Riprocks, is that right?

Yeah, that's a weird place!

Yeah, it is kind of weird.

The soundguy there was awesome, though. He was really fucking cooperative with what we wanted to do. There were some good bands there too. We played with good bands at all the Texas shows. Like Magic Jewels in Austin, those guys were fucking awesome. That Orange Coax band, they were really good too. That's what makes it cool for us, to get to play with good bands. That's a big part of it.

Photo by Matt Burgess.

Labels:

Art List

A slew of things going on this weekend- let me know if I missed anything. Hopefully you don't have a crappy job in the suburbs like I do, so you can make the artist's talk at CADD Art Lab tonight.

THURSDAY

Art Social (CADD Art Lab) 5-8pm
Paul Slocum and Kevin Bewersdorf artisits talk at 7pm! With DJ Sober.


SATURDAY

Artist talk with Brent Ozaeta (Public Trust) 4pm
Dallas artist Ozaeta's show Super Market is up right now at Public Trust.

Kenneth Holder: Then & Now and Small Works Show (Conduit)5-8pm
Two exhibits, featuring the work of Kenneth Holder and the Small Works Show featuring Carrie Marill and Mary Emma Hawthorne.

Pard Morrison: Ghost Call Love (Marty Walker)6-8pm
Colorful Judd influenced sculptures, with Dallas artist Douglas Leon Cartmel's paintings also on display.

David Aylsworth: Is it the real turtle soup? (Holly Johnson)5-8pm

Bill Owens: New Suburbia (PDNB) 5-8pm
This will also be a booksigning with the artist in attendance.

MONDAY

Vicious Pink (Centraltrak)
Featuring artists Ben Aqua, Dylan Reece, Vanessa VanAlstyne, Jesse Meraz, LeeAnn Harrington, Mary Benedicto, Gerg Kachikis, Bunnyphonic - Michelle Valdez, Margaret Meehan, Mark Babcock, Val X Curry, Chancellor Page, Greta Poulsen and Lanie Delay

Also, the Metrognome Collective is currently showing work of Andrew Kendall, Jackdaw Russell, and Daniel Bennett at the Chat Room.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It List: Wednesday


Q-Tip/Cool Kids (House Of Blues): I just don't know about Q-Tip. I was so let down by that first solo album, and the R & B heartthrob image makeover that came with it, even if the music didn't necessarily reflect that change. I hear the new record's good and I'm willing to give it a chance. At least he didn't do anything as confusing as Phife's "Ventilation." I'm still trying to wrap my head around the out-of-place acoustic guitar sounds on that record. Anyways, I respect Q-Tip, and would like to see him perform, but at this point I'm more confident about a Cool Kids set.

Lil Jon (Ghostbar): This seems like a really hard show to get into. Anyone know?

Blixaboy/Yeah Def/Billingham's Defense System (The Lounge): Tonight's lineup will be a diverse mix of electro, grime, and hip-hop. Billingham's Defense System is a new DJ duo that we've been meaning to catch for weeks.

Murs/Kidz In The Hall/Rapper Big Pooh (Hailey's): I'm not into most indie hip-hop, but Murs' "Dark Skinned White Girls" is one of the best examples of the genre that I've ever heard, a lyrically brilliant and even touching track that focuses on biracial female identity politics, and of course, hitting on those females. In spite of some of the lusty silliness, I almost choke up when he gets to the part about listening to Morrissey.

Taxi Fare (Zubar)

ADD: Menkena/Select/Art By Drew Williams (The Cavern)

Review-- Roy G and the Biv-- s/t EP


(We are finally starting the process of reviewing some of the noteworthy local releases that have landed on our desks over the past few months. We realize that some of the reviews you'll read in the coming weeks address albums that might have been released a couple months ago, but hey, we're playing catch up here, ok?)

A while back in one of our comments sections, a brief discussion was held concerning the difference between parody and pastiche (I believe this was sandwiched between a debate regarding Kyle's fighting skills and another addressing the size of an anonymous commentator's penis). If I understand the two concepts correctly, the term pastiche typically refers to a work of art that, whether it be literary, musical, or of another medium, appropriates the artistic style of another artist, artistic movement or era with a light hearted and reverential sense of humor-- sort of a tongue in cheek nod, sans overt commentary, to a subject that the appropriating artist probably admires on certain levels while being fully aware of its perceived critical faults and artistic deficiencies. This is also probably just a long winded way of saying "wink wink nudge nudge," but it's almost impossible to avoid becoming indulgently abstract when discussing concepts of artistic criticism in any degree of detail. On the other hand, the concept of parody seems significantly simpler to define-- to borrow a bit from the highly respected art historian, Dude Who Wrote the Wikipedia Entry on Parody, parody is a "work created to mock, comment on or poke fun at an original work, its subject, or author, by means of humorous or satirical imitation." In other words, a work of parody requires deliberate and obvious mockery, whereas a pastiche generally leaves more to the imagination, never fully committing to any clear judgment regarding its subject other than some sort of vague gesture of detached, almost relativist cultural analysis. Pastiche seems to arise constantly in dance music as various retro musical movements fall in and out of favor as points of reference and inspiration, but parody, especially goofy parody, seems much less welcome among serious dance music listeners. And given the track record of "funny" dance music throughout modern history, there's a good reason for such rejection-- to put it plainly, dance parody usually isn't funny at all, it's just stupid.

At this point, it is probably more than a bit unclear as to what any of this has to do with Roy G and the Biv's debut self titled EP, but a casual first listen to this collection of songs will place these concepts front and center in the minds of even the most willfully obtuse listeners. The band's music, which can be described as blog-friendly, disco leaning dance pop packed with nods to 80's R&B, contemporary Australian and English hipster dance and 70's soul and funk, typically seems to fall into one of the above categories depending on the song. The problem is that the record leans far too close to parody more often than not, and no matter how abstract or frivolous this issue might seem at first, it ends up being the main drawback to an otherwise entertaining and highly promising local debut. To put it another way-- are these guys joking? And if so, is it funny?

Of course, this isn't to say that the members of Roy G and the Biv aren't sincere or serious in what they do, at least in some respects. Each and every aspect of the production and crafting of this set of tracks is rather impressive as far as tastefulness, musicianship and execution, and the group's knack for writing a catchy electro pop tune is more or less unparalleled in the current North Texas music scene. In fact, it's difficult to listen to anything on this EP and not imagine the possibility of the duo one day being able to pen a guilty pleasure top 40 dance single for an artist that you might not admit to liking.

Standout track "Nicotine" is a perfect example-- clearly the strongest song on the record, things get started with the bold and memorable proclamation of "I can be your nicotine" before blasting into a studio slick late 70's/early 80's funk r&b bassline accompanied by soulful, sugary keyboard flourishes and an instantly infectious groove that almost commands physical participation, recalling legendary groups like Kool and the Gang, Earth, Wind and Fire, Chic and Cameo (as well as newer ones such as Chromeo and some of Justin Timberlake's Timbaland produced material). The full chorus, "I can be your nicotine/it's heaven when you're smoking me," is a bit silly and dirty in a middle school sort of way, but it's clever enough to work in a song that is otherwise virtually flawless-- a dance floor ready pop gem that could almost pass for a long lost single from the immediately post-disco early 80's. It's cheesy in the best sort of "wink wink nudge nudge" sense without crossing over into the realm of parody, and it is effective because of it.

Elsewhere, however, the goofy humor is taken to another level, approaching a Sandleresque level of cutesy funny that makes Beck sound like Ian Curtis. Unfortunately, it's all very hard to look past, and more often than you'd like, Roy G and the Biv take the parody route and nearly drive themselves into a ditch. "Socks On," for example, is in most respects an excellent dance track taken straight from the Quincy Jones/Timbaland/Neptunes playbook. However, the chorus, "I keep my socks on/when I get my rocks off" is just so suburban cute (and not really funny) that it almost becomes insulting-- it comes off as a failed attempt to parody the sometimes oversexed 70's and 80's R&B from which the group pulls its musical influences, and their unwillingness to take themselves seriously makes it difficult for the listener to as well. These guys obviously have the songwriting knack, singing voices and production experience to do whatever the fuck they want within their preferred genres, but the EP's lyrical content often comes off paper thin, like a less convincing Har Mar Superstar attempting to cover Sebastian Tellier and failing to pull it off (such as when the group addresses the subject of interracial romance with a song entitled "Jungle Fever"). This problem arises in several other spots throughout the record, often hijacking otherwise impeccable tracks and forcing the listener to focus on the group's weakest link-- their lyrics.

This isn't to say that parody is a bad thing in and of itself, of course, nor that groups shouldn't attempt to incorporate humor into their songwriting. But cuteness just doesn't suit Roy G and the Biv very well, especially when one considers how effective these songs would be if these dudes would just stop goofing off so much. Despite these drawbacks, it should be said that in most respects, this is a fantastic debut that really deserves to be heard, and I wouldn't be shocked to hear almost any of these tracks in a club some time soon. But a bit of growing up is in order for Roy G and the Biv, because if these guys can shake their desire to parody their own inspirations and instead move into more subtle forms of self aware humor, not only would their songs become funnier, some of them might even have a chance to become hits.

(3 of 5)
The EP can be purchased on the band's Myspace page or via Itunes

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It List: Tuesday


Caw Caw/Sydney Confirm/Rival Gang (Rubber Gloves): A critical blurb on Caw Caw's page described the group with the never-asked rhetorical query "what-if-Radiohead-were-a-punk-band," which is one of the worst descriptions I've read in some time. Despite that confusing explanation, tonight you have one indie pop band, one dance pop band, and one tasteless trio of gender-benders that play something actually resembling punk, no Radiohead necessary.

Digable Planets/Strange Fruit Project (The Granada): I don't remember Digable Planets being as well-regarded as The Jungle Brothers or De La Soul, but I guess Blowout Comb is considered something of a masterpiece from that era, judging from the way you still see it's rather literal cover imagery anywhere that DP is mentioned. Strange Fruit Project is from Waco and has collaborated with Ghostface Killah, which is just about the best thing I've ever heard of happening to anyone from Waco.


Fromholz
/Carl Naylor (Dan's Silver Leaf):
I know Fromholz is a "Texas Legend" and the "Texas Poet Laureate," but man, that one record where he's standing on the mountain is the scourge of Half Price Books overstock bins all over the state. At least that means a lot of people bought it.




Photo By Squeek.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free Tickets Galore

Ok pals, so we have a lot of tickets to give away this week, and I figured we'd do it all right here right now, in one big post.  First, our friends at the Granada hooked us up with:

1.  three pairs of tickets to Digable Planets on Tuesday night. If you want to win these, be one of the first three people to email weshotjrtix@yahoo.com with "Digable Planets" in the subject line and your full name in the body.

For the rest of the shows below, we'll choose the winners randomly-- just email weshotjrtix@yahoo.com any time between now and Wednesday at Noon with the name of the show you want to see in the subject and your full name in the body (feel free to enter for multiple shows if you want)....

2. Three pairs for Danielson @ Granada on Thursday

3. 2 pairs for Gang Gang Dance @ Lola's on Thursday (courtesy of Spune)

4. 1 pair for Nada Surf @ Hailey's on Friday (also courtesy of Spune)

Good luck!

It List: Monday




Skeletons/Sydney Confirm/Florene/h...n (Club Dada): Skeletons are a group that I've been listening to ever since I first stumbled across their debut in early 2004, and I'm still having trouble figuring out a way to describe them. This really isn't much of a surprise considering that many of their label mates on Ghostly International present similar problems, but pin pointing their influences can be a bit challenging. It isn't that their music is particularly inaccessible or unclassifiable, it just difficult to figure out what the group is really trying to be sometimes, and fortunately, this confusion is ultimately a good thing. You can hear a wide range of influence in most of their material, incorporating everything from the hyper psychedelic musings of Silver Apples to the quiet, electronica side of post rock a la Sea and Cake and the innocent wide eyed disco of Arthur Russell (probably the most pronounced influence) but what really stands out, aside from the group's dark, surrealist lyrics, is the overall pop bent that ends up erupting into the foreground of their best work. At the end of the day, a lot of this stuff ends up sounding like pure R&b sweetness, although perhaps on an acid come down. This is generally cheerful electronic pop that never forgets to remind you of the dark side of life, and I highly recommend it.


Doomhawk/Filth Mattress/Division of Power/Big Fiction/Csygnus Psyanide (Exploding House): Seattle's Doomhawk plays a very theatrical kind of metal (kind of liked a tripped out Dungeons and Dragons take on black metal) that should take on an oddly appealing character when witnessed at a house show. Exploding House is located in Ft. Worth at the corner of Hemphill and Page st.

Cool Out (The Cavern)

Young Doc Gooden's Soul Glow Mondays (Hailey's): A format change over at Hailey's tonight, with YDC focusing more on funk, disco and soul records.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Monday Morning Rock




SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

MON: Skeletons/Sydney Confirm/Florene (Club Dada)
TUE: Digable Planets/Strange Fruit Project (The Granada)
WED: Q-Tip/The Cool Kids (House of Blues)
WED: Murs/Kidz in the Hall/Rapper Big Pooh/Isiah (Hailey's)
THU: Gang Gang Dance/Rainbow Arabia/Sydney Confirm (Lola's)
THU: Danielson/Cryptacize/Mount Righteous (The Granada)
THU: PVC Street Gang/Edie Sedgwick/Scuba Team Go (The Lounge)
FRI: Torche/Black Cobra/Clouds (the Lounge)
SAT: George Jones (Nokia Theater)
SAT: Loretta Lynn (Billy Bob's)
SAT: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band/The Felice Brothers/Rig 1 (Palladium)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekender

FRIDAY
Peaking Lights/Rival Gang/Florene/Bryce Isbell/Lil Foot (Majestic Dwelling of Doom, former 8th Continent, Denton): I've had the chance to listen to Peaking Lights several times this week, and I've been very impressed with what I've heard.  In fact, I'm surprised this group isn't a much bigger deal on ye ole MP3 blog circuit these days.  They are in the process of releasing some work on the respected Fuck It Tapes label, and their sound is really quite pleasant-- mixing influences from all over the place, everything from Bibio to Animal Collective to Pearls Before Swine to various noise collage artists, the group creates a quiet, elegant and dream-like echo that might remind you of what some of your favorite softer music sounds like as you doze off.  I suppose you could literally call this electro-acoustic music, because it does seem to be equal parts electronic and acoustic based songwriting, but really, at its core its folk pop mixed perfectly with sound collage and quiet drone, leading to a wonderful atmosphere that might be perfect for our first real winter evening.  The rest of the line up is quite solid too.  Majestic Dwelling is where the 8th Continent used to be, 731 Texas St. in Denton.  

Dub Assembly feat. Martyn (Green Elephant): Another edition of Dub Assembly is sure to be as solid as usual, with Dallas' own Jason Mundo on the decks after a successful European tour over the summer.  DC's Martyn will headline, leaning towards the poppier side of Dubstep, drum n bass and heady hip hop a la Flying Lotus, who he has remixed in the past.  Very solid stuff that will sound fantastic on Green Elephant's obscene sound system.  

King Khan and BBQ Show (The Loft): King Kahn joins up with another contemporary garage legend, Mark Sultan.  I caught these guys about a year ago up in Denton and their minimal stage set up absolutely does not disappoint or limit the punch they pack.  Not sure about an opening act for this because I can't find one listed, but I'd be happy just seeing them myself.   

Fizzy Dino Pop/Whoa! Coder/So Juicy/Ops/Super Robocandytron (J&Js): Fizzy Dino Pop's spazzy 8 bit dance music might remind you of groups like Crystal Castles, Boys Noize or even the more heavily electro moments of the Death Set or Japanther, but the guy really seems to be on to something all his own here, and it is quite good.  Locals Whoa! Coder sort of operate on a more hardcore based, Eats Tapes level, and it works for them as well, particularly when they let a bit of their house and r&b influences shine through, such as on demo "Feather Your Bangs" on their Myspace page.  Solid collection of relatively overlooked local electro groups, should be fun.  

Of Montreal/Icy Demons (House of Blues):  Everyone at WSJR HQ really hates Of Montreal except for me.  I can totally see why I stand alone on this one, what with Kevin Barnes' strange rantings on capitalism and highly inconsistent output, but hey, when he's on he's on, and his latest record, Skeletal Lamping, has a few more gems to add to his list of triumphs.  And PS, as much as you might not expect it, Of Montreal is actually very good live.  Who woulda thought?  Also, you might want to get there early for Icy Demons, especially if you're a fan of groups like Skeletons.    

Uptown Fridays with Select (Zubar): I saw Select describe this night as a "non hipster dance party."  Thank god.  

Envy Model Search feat. Astronautalis/The Bright/Pikhasso (Granada Theater): Model search for Envy magazine?  Ok.  I'll just pretend that I went and like tons of girls talked to me and stuff.  Hey, I can even pretend to like The Bright and stuff too if necessary, even if they fucking do a "sexy" cover "Kashmir."  Who the fuck does that?

Prince William/Keith P (The Lounge): I haven't heard anything else about this show other than the fact that it is listed on various sites, so if this isn't going on anymore, someone let us know in the comments, will ya?

Stumptone/Nervous Curtains/Jack with One Eye (Lola's)

SATURDAY

Nouns Group/Shiny Around the Edges/Darktown Strutters/The Make Believers (Hailey's)

The Theater Fire (J&JS)

Power Trip/Decades/Coptic Times/(1919 Hemphill)


SUNDAY

Method Man/Redman/Termanology (House of Blues)

For Your Pleasure with DJ G and Gabriel (Hailey's)

Young Jeezy (Cirque)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It List: Thursday

AIDS Wolf/Teenage Cool Kids/Orange Coax/Secret Bangs (Club Dada): Aids Wolf once described themselves in an interview as "a little bit no wave and a little bit hardcore," and if you're searching for the most concise way to accurately describe their sound, that's probably as good as it gets. People often seem to throw out comparisons to Arab on Radar, Lightning Bolt and the Locust when describing Aids Wolf's music, and although these are all accurate on certain levels, you can also hear hints of a lot of other stuff in there as well-- everything from the Germs to Teenage Jesus and the Jerks to some of the most arresting moments of Sun Ra's output. Of course, none of these references really hit home when it comes to describing the totality of this band's thrashing, atonal attack, but instead provide some parameters for readers to imagine what some strange amalgamation of the aforementioned artists would sound like. I've read all kinds of different reviews on their latest record, Cities of Glass, and although it appears that some of these writers would completely disagree with me, I think it is the most accessible record of their careers. Do I mean to say that Club Dada's Wilco loving regulars will dig it? No way. But the record leans decidedly closer to the lil' bit hardcore side than I think the band ever has before, and the small doses of cohesive rhythm that seem to creep into the tracks as a result is really a pretty welcome development. Again, Aids Wolf sounds crazy as fuck, and could in no way be considered hardcore, but the little touches of 1st wave American are just right. Oh and by the way, I'm thrilled that I got the privilege of seeing Secret Bangs and Orange Coax last Friday at our part. Both were fantastic. And yeah yeah, I know Orange Coax is on our label, but fuck it: they put on one of the best local shows I've seen all year. You can choose not to believe me if you want, but don't cut off your nose to spite your face, ok?

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

Art List

Be sure to check out CADD Art Lab and the Olafur Eliasson show- some really great stuff!

THURSDAY

More Than This (CADD Art Lab) 5-8pm
A whole slew of great artists on this show: Anderson and Low, Scott Anderson, Frances Bagley, Scott Barber, Kevin Bewersdorf, Paul Booker, Candace Briceno, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Tracy Hicks, Terrell James, Tom Orr, Jennifer Rose, Carl Suddath, Takako Tanabe, Jackie Tileston, Erik Tosten, and Lizzy Wetzel.

The title “More Than This” refers both to the potential of objects to create meaning--whether calling into question the world around you or divulging an internal fantasy--and to the futility of it, as the Roxy Music song claims, “more than this/there is nothing.”

Take your time: Olafur Eliasson (Dallas Museum of Art)
This is a really exciting show I've been waiting for a long time. You can check out his work here and see some photos from the exhibit at the MOMA.

FRIDAY

Adam Morey: Grotto (Decorazon) 6-9 pm

SATURDAY

Artists’ Talk with Frances Bagley and Tom Orr (CADD Art Lab) 2 pm

The Three Graces (Haley-Henman) 7-10pm

eNeRGy: Nelson, Ross, Garcia (Kettle Art) 7-10pm

James Ferraro: The Clown Prince of Noise and Bedroom Pop

I'm not an expert on noise. I don't really like most of it, actually.  I never really got into legends-in-their-own-time noise group The Skaters and why they are so important, and frankly I don't care. I do however enjoy the solo efforts of two of the group's memebers, Spencer Clark and James Ferraro, far more than their work with their most well known project... but please don't let me stop you from going into a long discourse about how The Skaters are going to cause the second coming of Christ through nothing more than practice amps, cheap mics, digital delays and throat noise . 

The thought of trying to describe James and Spencer's music makes my head spin so I'm not even going to bother. I listen to this stuff for one reason alone: its fun ear candy. So don't be afraid, I won't bore you with the patented, "……this is the sound of being tele-ported through a transistor radio in your subconscious as radio jingles from hell stick toothpicks in your brain…..". I did read one review on some random blog that said, "James's music is like being on drugs in hell". I found that really funny. More important is the fact that I'm posting some of Jame's full length works for your listening pleasure, so take advantage of it and give it a whirl.

 Most of the music from these two San Francisco based weirdos has been "released" (for lack of a better word) on limited copies of tapes and CDR's which have long been sold out. Some Lamborghini Crystal tapes have fetched as much as $200 on ebay. I can't imagine the type of person who would have $200 to burn on two stoners banging on pots and pans while screaming in front of a recordable boombox. Oh wait, I know-- an asshole, that's who. For now, I am only going to talk about James's projects. There is no telling how many hours of music he has put to tape (easily in the 1000s), so the projects I am posting only scratch the surface of his catalog. If I get around to it I will do a post on Spencer's Monopoly Child Star Searchers, which is excellent in its in own right.

James represents the more playful half of Skaters and that is immediately evident in the titles of his solo projects alone (each new project has a new name so it can be tough to keep up). He has recently finished up some more focused solo efforts actually titled, "James Ferraro"…..awww he's all growns up and he's all growns up.

Lamborghini Crystal: There are four or five full length tapes/CDr's of this stuff. Each one is slightly different but they are essentially pop rock sound collages. The last two minutes of Video Head Cleaner capture the essence of Lamborghini Crystal.

Video Head Cleaner MP3


90210: This recent project is the perfect blend of the playful pop of Lamborghini Crystal and the more modal drone and noise James also delves into.  It's one track, 30 minutes of synth and guitar. A very strong project from James and an easy, fun listen.

90210 MP3


Postremo Mundus Techno Symposium: This new project moves to the other extreme with two twenty minute pieces of modal sounds. One of the most horrifying projects I have ever heard. James creates a hellish fantasy world and belches it out on a cassette. The drunk trumpet in the background blended with the muffled screams in the foreground is enough to give me the willies.

Postremo Mundus Techno Symposium MP3



Edward Flex's Liquid Spring Break Skeletons: Okay…..let's go to the other end of the spectrum. By all indications (the title and cover art) this is the ultimate party album from hell. I think this project was a pre-cursor to Lamborghini Crystal but don't quote me on it. One very long 71 minute track of fun, sun, beer and steroids. I can only take about 40 minutes of this,tops, but its worth it alone for the hilarious "weight lifting" sequences at 7 and 19 minutes. The rock theme immediately follow the 2nd weight lifting "sketch" is actually very pretty. There are some really cool sequences in this and some not so cool ones too. James is a true original.

Edward Flex MP3

In closing, there isn't much info out there on James, Spencer or any of their projects. They don't have MySpace pages and from what I have read aren't really "into" the internet. I think a lot of their communication is done via snail mail and pay phones, so if anyone else out there would care to share anything about these two special and bizarre individuals, go for it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WSJR Records Party @ Time Bandits

We've been so busy this week that we almost forgot to say some thank yous to everyone who helped make our record release party such a huge success last Friday night.  

It's really hard to do head counts at free keggers in Denton, but we estimate that more than a couple hundred people came by throughout the night to catch five great performances, and most of them stayed for quite a long time.  We started getting a little concerned when 60% of the crowd seemed to disappear after the keg floated at around 1030PM, but we were pleasantly surprised when we realized that everyone had just taken a little trip over to Midway Mart to pick up their own stuff before returning to the party.  

I still think that Time Bandits is easily one of the best places to see a show in the area, due both the uniqueness of the space and the general air of positivity that seems to permeate throughout it, and despite encountering a few of the sound issues that are practically a given at DIY shows, we couldn't have asked for a better location for our party, nor for more helpful people running the sound and helping set everything up.   

So thanks to Time Bandits, Fight Bite, Darktown Strutters, Orange Coax, Shane English, Animal Forces, Secret Bangs, DL (what a guy!) and everyone else who helped us throughout the evening (including the Denton Police for showing up and deciding NOT to bust us for once.)  Mattie has some pictures here if you'd like to see them.    

It List: Wednesday


Kevin Seconds/The Unit Breed/Benny Lenny/A Smile Full Of Ale/Featuring art by Joe Demaree (1919 Hemphill): This show features the ex-7 Seconds front-man playing music that sounds nothing like 7 Seconds. I was never too much of a fan, besides kind of liking an ill-advised cover of "99 Luftballoons." There will be projections during Unit Breed's set as well as other artwork by artist Joseph Demaree.

The Scoop (Fallout Lounge): Okay, so tonight is actually the last night of The Scoop.


Goodman County
/Bent Brest/Chris Welch (Dan's Silver Leaf)


sBach/Lazer (Rubber Gloves)

Jack With One Eye (The Cavern): I have always heard great things about this band. Maybe tonight I'll actually hear for myself. Free show.

Taxi Fare (The Cavern)

Written By DL.