Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It List: Wednesday


The Get Up Kids/Youth Group/Pretty And Nice (Granada Theater): Who told emo it was okay to come out of its room? I thought it was still being punished. Combine this with the upcoming Sunny Day Real Estate show, and it's bad times all around. Goes to show that if you wait a decade, people will get nostalgic for anything.

The Ish with Hot Flash: Schwa/Genova/Killtron (Ghost Bar): This new weekly is held at Ghost Bar, and promises no pretension; no small task on the 33rd floor of the W Hotel. The event is free, however, and that's a good start. Photos by Dustin Hollywood. Presented by Helloooooo.

Geistheistler/Kyoto/Piccline/BC The Dinosaur (Rubber Gloves): If you think you can find a "web presence" from any of these bands, be my guest.

Starfucker/Deelay Ceelay/Binary Sunrise (Hailey's): I remember Starfucker getting a lot of praise from everyone that saw them at the most recent SXSW festival, and as it turns out their synth-driven pop songs have gotten so popular that they are choosing to smartly change their impossibly stupid name, a move they recently explained to the Portland Mercurcy, which you can read here.

Ishi/Indo/Cosmic Cocks/Artwork by Chris Crave/Thomas Fernandes (The Cavern)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

not new music


Killing Joke - Killing Joke (1980, Editions EG/Malicious Damage)


Here we go, the 800th attempt to make this a weekly thing again....

I've been meaning to post this album since I started writing this column, but I guess other things have gotten in the way. I suppose that the stars are all aligned to do it now; not only has this record been played about a million times at my house over the last month or so, but Metallica is in town tonight and I can't listen to this album without thinking of them, as their 1987 cover version of 'The Wait' was my introduction to Killing Joke's music.

Aside from Metallica, the list of artists that have cited Killing Joke as an influence is loaded with some pretty big names: Steve Albini, Nirvana, Ministry, Godflesh, Faith No More, Tool, and many others. I think that there is something to be said about a group that can have an effect on so many people in so many different ways; some of these groups sound nothing like them while others have made careers out of mimicking Killing Joke's style.

KJ's appeal to the relative masses is apparent from the first synth notes on this record. The opening track, 'Requiem,' is just fucking infectious, and it keeps going from there. The only real drawback for me is the fact that the track 'Bloodsport' sounds as though it could be the soundtrack for the movie of the same name that came out 8 years after this album. No matter how hard I try, I just can't dig slap bass and goofy synth hits. A small complaint though, as I still never skip this song, I just grin and bear it.

By the way, I switched compression formats to winRAR. Let me know if there are problems, I really don't know much about computers and I can switch back.

It List: Tuesday


And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Secret Machines/Ume (Granada): You know that scene in "Stand By Me," where the kids are all really scared of the junkyard guard-dog, "Chopper?" I mean, they should be scared, right? The dog has a really scary name, and a devastating reputation for mangling the genitalia of would-be trespassers, so who could blame them?

Of course, the reality is that Chopper is really a pathetic and rather small golden retriever that starts playfully digging a hole when he chases Wil Wheaton's "Gordie" out of the junkyard. When he finally looks back to see what has caused this collective terror amongst his friends, he soberly asks, "That's Chopper?"

In fact, Chopper was played by a dog who, in reality, is named, "Popeye," and also starred in "The War Of The Roses" as "Benny," and in "Out Of Bounds" as "Barney The Dog." Names and characters surely more fitting to represent the actor-pup's gentle nature.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead might be the poster act for what I refer to as "Chopper Bands." They've got real tough names, dark album artwork, a really fierce reputation, and yet, as soon as I saw them finish a set with a childish tantrum towards their own equipment* at a sold out performance opening for Blonde Redhead years ago, I muttered under my breath, "That's Chopper?"

In fact, it is AYWKUBTTOD's equipment that has the most to fear when they step on-stage, and I find their instrument smashing act to be simultaneously redundant, and somehow also the most interesting thing about them. It was definitely the best sound that came from the stage during their performance.

I could not believe that I was supposed to tremble before this occasionally de-tuned emo-rock that at its best sounded like a lukewarm, mid-tempo Sonic Youth jam, with melodramatic, "whiny guy in a black t-shirt" vocals over it.

The artwork on their albums has gotten increasingly and ridiculously ornate to the point that it now makes the group's visual representation something of a goth doily. So there you have it. A Hot Topic Doily that should have "Benny," "Popeye," or "Barney The Dog" crocheted into the fabric. That's Trail Of Dead for me.

Metallica (American Airlines Center): I love when bands are so huge they don't have opening acts. Seriously, I think it's great. Probably the most comparably large show I ever attended was Pink Floyd in eighth grade; and I didn't have to put up with Blind Melon or Crash Test Dummies opening, or any of the similarly terrible radio rock going on at that time.

I'm not a Metallica fan other than perhaps kind of liking the ultra-dry production technique on their first record, and they have decent taste in cover songs. After that, they aren't that interesting, save for the giant cartoon they became of course, and they have done well to exploit that through more than one documentary showcasing their behavior.

To be fair, when I saw "Some Kind Of Monster," I actually cringed a couple of times when I found myself relating to a couple of particularly bad episodes which were the result of James Hetfield's attitude problems. If you spent seventy something dollars to see this, I doubt you'll be disappointed and that's probably the best thing I can say about Metallica at The AAC.

Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge)

90's Night With Yeah Def (Hailey's) Anonymous says... 4:15 pm: "Aw, dude, how can you trash Trail of Dead and Metallica and then put the link for Disco Disqo and 90's Night? Fucking lame, man. That's why this blog sux. Whatever. You guys always talk about dance music/noise/metal/punk/wimpy indie shit/hyped up bullshit/jorts/skinny jeans/v neck shirts/alan palomo/your stupid friend's bands/etc." Rock on, Scene-agers. I do it for you.



*I hear they cut this out. Too bad.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's self titled debut full length kind of snuck up on me when it was released at the beginning of this year. For a good few years before it, I had been re-discovering bands like Orange Juice, The Pastels, The Vaselines, Teenage Fanclub and Shop Assistants (along with a lot of other C86 stuff), and it was quite thrilling to me on a personal level to hear an indie pop record like Pains' debut-- one that certainly looked backwards while somehow managing to sound fresh and exciting, almost like rebellion against a lot of the sounds coming out of the world of "indie rock" over the past few years. It was difficult to tell whether I derived my enjoyment of this record from fetishizing the past or because it seemed like a very bold break from the present, but it has become one of my favorite straight-up rock records of the year either way.

Our own Frank Phosphate was lucky enough to speak with Pains lead singer and primary songwriter Kip Berman after their performance in Fort Worth last week about his band, the history of indie pop, and the inspiration behind their music. Here are the results (SR):

So this is your first major tour, right? How is it going so far?

This is our first full US tour. This is our 17th show, I counted them before the tape started rolling so I didn't just know them off the top of my head. It's been great because this is the first time we have gotten to go to alot of places that we have never been before, especially in the south and south west. It' really been an experience, driving through New Meixco and seeing the Lights of (couldn't understand). Getting an idea of the hugeness of Texas when we have entered Texas and we still had nine hours to get into the middle of it. You don't see that in other states.

What has the response been in these other places?

its been great and it's really heartening to know that there are people out there who have been hearing our record in places really far away from where we are from. Coming from New York it's really easy to get trapped in a bubble, but to get to go to places like Salt Lake City and have kids that are really psyched about the music, it's great to see that response in people who aren't our friends back home. It's a really cool feeling, and definitely one that we don't take for granted.

How did you hook up with Slumberland records? What was the transition like from doing the CD-R with Cloudberry to the full length with Slumberland?

It was really natural but almost kind of accidental, but also an ideal fit for the kind of music we play. Slumberland was a label we grew up listening to. It was one of the big independent pop labels, it was important to us. There were other ones like K, March records for awhile, Merge and Magic Marker. There are alot of great American independent record labels but Slumberland was one that really combined sense of straight up pop music with the noiser elements. Bands like The Ailsers Set, Rocketship, Stereloab, The Lilly's and obviously Black Tamborine. The guy that runs it was in Black Tamborine. It was a label that historically meant alot to us as nerdy kids who liked records more than we should have for our social lives. It was a dream come true. The other cool thing about the label was it wasn't just for nostalgia sake, they were releasing albums from a lot of bands that we admire now like Crystal Stilts and Cause Commotion, and they are continuing their seven inch series searching for the now, like they did one recently with Sunny Day in Glasgow. We played with them a couple times in NY and Philly and they are really nice people. Long story short i was ordering a BT vinyl reissue from them and sort of struck up a conversation, I dont know if he got a lot of requests for that at the time. Peggy had recommended them and I had never heard them before. I must have let on in a very subtle way that I play music in a band, so I just sent him some demos and he was really supportive. When another band he was putting out called the Lodger was playing in NY he asked us to open. He ended up coming out all the way from Oakland for that show which was amazing. I dont if he was overly intoxicated or what but he was really enthused about the show. I guess the really important thing about that show is it was the first show we played with Kirk as our drummer, before then we had been using a drum machine. Beside his role in indie pop history he just knows alot music. We went over to his house after the last tour and he has everything! I think I am pretty nedry about music, but he is knowledgeable in ways far beyond me. He said if we ever got our record together that he would love to put it out. We didnt immediately put it out, we took some time to record it. it was definitely a dream come true to have a record on Slumberland.

And what a great way to get there, very organic.

I want to make clear that at the time, and up until last february, we had been a band for a couple of years but no one outside of this sort of fetish indie pop community were interested in what we are doing, which was fine because that is the way of things with indie pop music. 12 people will care about your band and those people will care alot. but it is not somehting that has been historically appreciated. It has a small but very devoted group. Of all the great indie pop bands that were influential for us, none of them really reached beyond that core. I mean Belle and Sebastian obviously got bigger but even they are not that big.

There is no Radiohead of indie pop.

Yeah exactly. you would think like Rocket Ship would have been big. I guess Velocity Girl had a song on the Clueless soundtrack and they were on Sub Pop which is sorta the biggest indie pop got in the 90s. Aisler Set were pretty well accepted. Hefner were big in England. There isnt alot of precendent for indie pop getting any bigger than basement shows.

What is it about indie pop that inspires such a rabid fan base? Looking at feedback fans have for you, its always a "this band is my life" mentality. Like you were saying, there is this inclination for a certain sub set of music fans.

Indie pop generally appeals to people like myself who maybe don't have alot of social skills or a lot of friends. Not like total losers, but people who are a little disconnected from whats going on with the cool kids in school.

Spend alot of time reading books.

It's easy to fetishsixe these things "oh Im so persecuted for my inellect" but I think of myself as a pretty normal person. I only had a couple friends but were really intense friends. I think this music for whatever reason speaks to people who are slightly... the underdogs. Maybe mainstream doesnt encompass their world view. But there is this music that connects people and their worldviews. Peggy has a lot of stories of being pen pals with people and making mixtapes. Now technology has changed and things move alot faster. Indie pop has always appealed to the fringes of society. Not in the "I'm going to shoot this place up" way, not a crazy loner, just kids that maybe dont totally fit, and this music kind of gives them hope and a sense of belonging. I always based my idenity growing up on the type of music I liked. That was always a part of who I was. Not saying that is the only way to define yourself. I love this music so much and I wanted to know other people that did too. That to me was the ideal "what if there was a girl who liked indie pop bands as much I do." That is obviously far fetched and didnt exist, but it was the ulitmate fantasy. Meeting people who liked the same music you do. I know that it is easy to see that as shallow or superficial because there are cool people who like other stuff. And there are a lot of lame people that like the same people you do and you wouldnt be friends otherwise. I don't know what it is that spawns this fandom, but I'm glad it exists. It's nice to have people to geek out with. Talking about shows we saw, it's a wonderful community and I am glad to be a part of it.

Has being a player in that world changed your outlook in any way? The way you perceive it? Do you enjoy it the same as you did before?

To be quite honest I haven't socially progressed since high school. I'm not sure if other people do, but I still feel very much the same now. People ask me what my other hobbies are besides playing in Pains. "I like playing this music and I guess maybe video games?" It's always hard to think of other intrest in life, I know that sounds kinda boring and one dimensional. I just think music is great thing.

No I see where you are coming from.

No it's bad. maybe other people are like "I really like cooking" "I have been taking Tango lessons" not me. I like to listen to loud wussy music and hang out with my friends who are also in my band. If they ever kick me out of the band...

What are you going to do?

I don't know, I don't have any other skills. I'm not even sure if this is a skill yet.

I'd say it's a little more than a skill. How are the song writing duties handled? What is the creation process like for you?

The thing that I want to make clear is the songs are as good as they are because everyone contributes. They would not be good songs if I just wrote them in my bedroom with the one drumbeat on the drum machine I knew how to play and played bass horribly and my one note on the keyboard. Even though that is probablly how most of them sound. The chords and prgoressions are what I write. When the song becomes developed and fully realized as a Pain's song it is because Kurt's drum ideas are there and Alex with his bass and Peggy with the keyboard. I kinda do the Skeleton I guess. The thing I care the most about are the lyrics. I have never been the type of person to say "Hey guys what should I rhyme with fucking right...fucking tight?" Everyone does their part. And the quality of the demos on my computer at home can attest to that.

This new Pains EP just came out. How did that come about so soon after the album was released and how do you see it difer from the album?

Well we finished the album last summer, it was all mixed and done and I had it on my ipod. i could listen to it if I wanted to, I could play it for my mom. then it ended up that it was going to be like 6 months before it would get released. So we had a bit of down time. We couldn't tour because we didnt really have anything to tour behind. We did get to go on a support tour for the Wedding Present. It was areally big deal last december and a really cool experince. I guess in that time we continued writing songs. they were songs that we played live in our sets we just didnt have them recorded. They were either written after the album or during and we just didnt feel like they fit. In fact I was kind of paranoid that the album was going to fail, and that september I started writting the next album. I was like "oh if this album doesnt turn out good, if everyone hates it" then I wanted to have an album to release right after it. Kind of like a make up album. So I started writing songs pretty feverishly. Im really excited about these songs, even though people did end up liking the album, that was pretty cool. What were the chances? People would like indie-pop? It was one of those things where I though my children might see it, and I dont even have children.

The one song that stands out is "Higher than the Stars," its what I thought would be track one of the next album. We started plaing it live and we really like it. It's different from the album, I think people, rightfully so, heard a lot of fuzz pop on the album. Ideally a Pains of Being Pure at Heart song is a pop song, it doesnt have to be alot of fuzz or be a certain length. We just want it to be a good pop song. So its kind of an example of writing a Pains song that probablly didnt sound a lot like what people thought of as a Pains songs up to that point. I think even more so with "Falling Over." It rips off a band...I don't know how to say this. There are bands that we love that we dont sound anything like. I love Orange Juice and The Wake, alot of those Scotish bands of that era, Aztec Camera. Those are bands that are influential to us, but you wouldn't know it from listening to our album. We like a lot of stuff from the same zip code.

I always see the Smiths refrenced to your music, but I have always seen a closer connection with a band like Orange Juice, as far as the pop sensibilities.

Yeah! When people say the Smiths its like...

It's the easiest thing to say , it's what people know.

Oh an indie band that has over the top lyrics, it's very flattering to be compared to them. We arent even 1/8th as cool as the Smiths. I think people that are more aware of the music we like would see more of the Orange Juice than Morrisey. We would happy to be half as good as either of those bands.

Labels:

It List: Monday


Burst/Zoroaster/Four Days To Burn (The Lounge): This is Burst's farewell tour, thus bringing the constantly evolving Swedish outfit's sixteen-year history to a close. The group has gotten further and further away from their hardcore roots, and into increasingly "melodic/progressive" territory, to the dismay of some fans. If there's one thing I know about farewell tours however, it's that groups often dust off their earlier material since there is most likely less pressure to "push the new record" and other notions that are unfortunately not antiquated, though really should be.

Atlanta's Zoroaster caught my attention by including a soft, piano-driven section of their track "Spirit Molecule" (from "Voice Of Saturn," their most recent release), that actually worked and didn't sound forced. Stylistic deviation of this sort is sometimes a really sketchy prospect in the hands of some metal acts, but they pulled it off. They might have the most enjoyable set at The Lounge tonight.

Mayhem Mondays With Stefan Gonzalez (Fallout Lounge)

Peelander Z/Birthday Suits/Stew (Rubber Gloves)

Cool Out (The Cavern)

Generationals (Hailey's): SHOW IS NOT TONIGHT Not only are bands recycling every forgettable little fad of mediocre songwriting from the past four decades, but you have to give them credit for having the guts to step into a studio and say, "Yeah, you know that Escape Club sound? Let's cut off a little slice of that shit for our new record." GO FOR IT. UPDATE: THIS SHOW IS NOT HAPPENING, DESPITE WHAT HAILEY'S WEBSITE SAID EARLIER TODAY.

Monday Morning Rock



MON:Burst/Zoroaster/Four Days To Burn (The Lounge)
TUE: Secret Machines/And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Ume (Granada)
TUE: Metallica (American Airlines Center)
WED: The Get Up Kids/Youth Group/Pretty And Nice (Granada Theater)
THU: Pretty Little Flower/Akkolyte/Enemies Of Inertia/Releaser (Phoenix Project)
FRI: Theater Fire/Mimicking Birds/RTB2 (City Tavern)
FRI: Spires (1919 Hemphill)
SAT: Intelligence/Fungi Girls/Video/PVC Street Gang (The Handsome Kitten)
SAT: Blue Jungle/True Widow/Eyes, Wings, And Many Other Things(Amsterdam Bar)

ADD:
SAT: En Vogue/Mad Skills/DJ Klipse (State Fair Of Texas)
SUN: Eek-A-Mouse/Grimy Styles (Boiler Room)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Last Minute Reminder: Dallas Record Swap Sunday

Click on the flier or go here for more info.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekender

There's a band playing this weekend at 1919 called "Cruddy," and that's what this list is: cruddy. Sorry, everyone. Everything went wrong today and I only got to describe the Boy Tap set. There's something kind of amazing about that. See you next week. -Defensive Listening

FRIDAY

Desolation Wilderness/Florene (Ochre House located at 825 Exposition in Dallas) Ten dollars. All ages.

Sydney Confirm/Ishi (Double Wide)

Secret House Show with Yeah Def (Denton): hit up twitter.com/yeahdef for details.

The Percolator with A1/Select/Broken Teeth Crew (Zubar): Hosted by Mollotova.

Busdriver/Abstract Rude/Schwassanova (upstairs) (The Cavern)

Raging Boner/Rotundus/Embolization/Unit 21/Life Erased/Cruddy (1919 Hemphill)

Black Fridays With Keith P (Fallout Lounge): Guest DJ set from Anthony Stanford. Unofficial afterparty for The Horrors.

Ian Bangs/ BC Tha Dinosaur/Gun Gun/ Fire Nation/Last of the Interceptors/The Daily Beat (Rubber Gloves)


SATURDAY

Billingham's Defense System One Year Anniversary Party with BDS/Ocelot/Boytap/Sydney Confirm/Richard Blake/Select/Big J/Schwa/Yeah Def (Fallout Lounge): Show starts at 5:30 PM and there will be barbecue for early attendees. I saw Boytap recently and was impressed by the cohesiveness of the show despite the fact that the group admitted to not having played together much previously. Their set consisted mostly of party music fair that didn't take itself too seriously; synth pop with outrageous vocal antics, but backed by an extremely capable backing band including members of The Frenz as well as Heaven Is A Hotel for that particular show. Happy Anniversary to BDS, and thanks to Schwa for always playing "Optimo."

Birds of Avalon/Maleveller/Yam/Dead Beat Poetry (The Lounge)




Record Hop/PVC Street Gang/The Cocky Americans/On After Dark (Boiler Room)


Spooky Folk/Chris Flemmons/RTB2/New Science Projects/Baruch The Scribe/Peoplodian/Boom Box Society (The Schoolhouse located at 914 Bolivar)

Mount Righteous/Hard Times/The England Ramaband (Zuroma located at 2140 Hall-Johnson Rd #118 in Grapevine )

ADD: Inner Realms/Outer Realms Benefit: Improv Lottery with Sarah Alexander/Gerard Bendiks/Nick Cabrera/Michael Chamy/Mark Church/Kim Corbet/Chris Curiel/Aaron Gonzalez/Stefan Gonzalez/Nevada Hill/Jim Lenhart/Stephen Lucas/Mike Maxwell/Kenny Withrow/Brandon Young (Phoenix Project located at 406 S. Haskell St.)

SUNDAY

Tiger Shark Death Brigade/Warcola/Violent Messiah (Phoenix Project)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art List

FRIDAY

Strokes
Cora Cohen (see also wikipedia), Gabriel Dawe, Kyle Kondas, Chris Kysor, Peter Ligon, Jennie Ottinger, Lorraine Tady, and Johnny Robertson
Visual Arts Building at the University of Texas at Dallas
800 W. Campbell, Richardson, TX 75080
September 25 : 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Curated by John Pomara. Seems that Cora Cohen is probably the highlight here. Johnny Robertson wins this year's award for most annoying web portfolio gallery ever, but his paintings are pretty. But my favorite here is easily Jennie Ottinger (so amazing: this, this, and this, plus the featured image above). Here is an interview with Ms. Ottinger. And there's much more good stuff here.

SATURDAY

Mid-century Ideology & Imagery meets Modern Chaos
Jonathon Kimbrell and Kat Gardner
Cameron Gallery
1414 Dragon Street, Dallas, TX 75207
September 26 : 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Oh, Kat Gardner. So hard to make a decision about that. Almost as titillating (artistically, of course) as my favorite North Texas artist Haylee Ryan Yale. A quick look at Jonathan Kimbrell's site makes you realize he's the "mid-century ideology & imagery", which I guess leaves Kat Gardner with "modern chaos".

Nineteenth Anniversary
Kittrell/Riffkind Art Glass Studio
5100 Belt Line Road, #820, Dallas, TX 75254
September 26 : 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Some of this glass looks really amazing, like this (Mark Abildgaard) and this (Anna Booth) and this (Steve & Claudia Beckwith) and this (Steven Anderson). They've got an all day event going on Saturday at their Addison location (Southeast corner of Belt Line and the Tollway).

Image sort of courtesy of Jennie Ottinger

It List: Thursday

By Frank Phosphate and Defensive Listening.


The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart/Depreciation Guild/Cymbals Eat Guitars (Lola's): My life revolves around pop music, always has, probably always will. Especially pop that I will not so simply refer to as "independently produced forward thing pop," instead of that dreaded "indie-pop" term that we like to throw around so much. This pop music beast shows it self to me in varying, spectrum-bending ways. On one end we have pop deconstructionists like Ariel Pink who strips away all of the sheen brought on by timely studio tricks, leaving the listener with hooks at their most frail, sleazy, and challenging.

Then we have the Max Tundra's, whose job it is to turn the pop song upside down, filter it through his post modern hyper digital perspective, leaving us with an equally challenging and yet totally different piece of Pop Art brilliance.

So we are left with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the New York-based band whose self-titled release has not left my record player for more than a 24 hour period since it's release in February. Critics love to tie their influences to the whipping post; Ghosts of "Ecstasy and Wine"- era My Bloody Valentine, everything C86 and (gasp!) even The Smiths can be heard throughout their music. I will not deny, they do wear said influences on their sleeves, but come on, that stuff was 20+ years ago. Countless bands have attempted to recreate said sound, just like any other genre, since The Smiths broke up. Very few have done it with favorable results. These New Yorkers know how to write great songs, and know which medium to deliver them through. Three chords may be enough to make up a pop song, but it takes those chords coupled with heart to make it great. Luckily and ironically, Pains have that in spades. Whereas Ariel Pink is too simple for some and Max too out there, Pains' Achilles' heel is that they relish in the sound that means a lot to a certain set of music listeners. I for one, thank them for that.

The recently released "Higher Than the Stars" EP is an obvious extension of their debut. The fuzz has been cleaned up on a couple tracks, letting those glorious hooks and even the vocals shine though. Saint Etienne, another band unwilling to compromise their pop vision in lieu of records sales, offer a pleasant re-mix as well. Wisely chosen. Can't wait to pick up the vinyl so it can rest at its new home atop my stereo. If this kind of music gives you a huge boner like it does me, might I suggest that you also check out the criminally overlooked Bubblegum Lemonade debut, "Doubleplusgood," released last year. Another amazing record. Let's hope that we are on the precipice of an independently produced forward thing pop revival.-(FP)

Chris Clavin/Imperial Can/Gerd/Genius Party/Star Commander (1919 Hemphill): Look, there might be some people at this show awkwardly looking at the ground and unable to make eye contact because they thoroughly fucking enjoyed themselves at a certain big event last night. It's okay to have a good time, okay? Life is so full of pain, take happiness anyway you can.-(DL)

Experimental Dental School/El Paso Hot Button/History At Our Disposal (The Lounge): Wish I had more time to talk about Experimental Dental School's genuinely interesting music; ambitiously stuttered rhythms with smooth yet quirky vocalizing over it and somehow created by a mere duo, but it's worth checking out at The Lounge tonight. -(DL)

The Polyphonic Spree/DJ Lord (The Palladium): FREE SHOW FOR 21 AND UP/SPONSORED BY SOCO/THAT'S SOUTHERN COMFORT FOR ALL OF YOU UNDERAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT REAL "WHISKEY FLAVORED" LIQUOR IS ALL ABOUT. ON THEIR WEBSITE THEY HAVE INSTRUCTIONS SHOWING YOU HOW TO PUT A HOT DOG IN A CROISSANT BEFORE YOU MICROWAVE IT. CHECK IT THE FUCK OUT. SEE YOU TONIGHT.-(DL)

Top Notch Thursdays With DJ SOBER and Dayta plus Screening: "Fixed City" (The Cavern):
I don't how easy it will be to show a film at The Cavern, but they will attempt it at Top Notch tonight along with a bike ride. From Sober:

This is a special edition of Top Notch.

Sixty 4 Art Collective and myself will be hosting a bike ride that will start at Mockingbird Station @ 8pm. The ride will end at The Cavern @ 10pm, where we will be screening the brand new "Fixed City" film for the first time in the US!

Stick around for Top Notch! I have the homie Dayta from Houston rocking with me.

It's going down in these skreets!


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

Monotonix/Harlem/Uptown Bums (Rubber Gloves): Monotonix are worth the slightly higher ticket price tonight, and you should really see them before they are forced to play a lame venue due to their ever increasing profile. I think it's really cool that Drag City put their record out, and I certainly didn't see that one coming. The Chicago-based label has definitely kept things interesting even if I don't always understand their actions. I recently overpaid for a publication they put out simply because they had an article on Del Shannon mixed in with all of the weirdo folk articles. -(DL)

Free Pains of Being Pure at Heart Tickets

Hey everyone, the folks at Spune were nice enough to hook us up with a pair of tickets to tonight's Pains of Being Pure at Heart performance at Lola's in Fort Worth. If you'd like to win them, just email weshotjrtix@yahoo.com before 1pm today. Please include your full name in the body and make "Pains of Being Pure at Heart" the subject. We'll choose a winner at random. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some Announcements and It List: Wednesday


Hey best friends, it's been a little while. How are you? Some of you might have noticed that I haven't been doing a lot of writing around here lately, and I wanted to let you know why. A couple weeks ago, I moved from Dallas to a temporarily undisclosed city far away from Texas, and I've had to take some time to get settled into a new apartment, a new job, and essentially a new life all together, and I simply haven't had the time to contribute much to this blog. Sorry about that.

But before I left, myself, DL and the other WSJR contributors spent some time discussing what would be done once I departed. After pondering many different options, we decided that instead of throwing a goodbye party and calling it quits, we would try something completely new with the website, not only to keep things exciting for us, but also to provide something more entertaining for all of you.

Over the past few months, we've been making friends in a small handful of exciting cities around the country, and we've decided to join forces with some new people and expand the scope of this website to include coverage of the music scenes in at least three new cities, including the one I'm currently living in, as well as to provide a more national focus on music we're (and hopefully you're) interested in from all over the country. We'll still continue to provide the same kind of substantive coverage of DFW and Denton music that you've seen here for the past (gulp) three and a half years, and I'll still be contributing to the site fairly frequently, along with DL and a group of smart new local writers to whom you've recently been introduced. So in short, we won't be sacrificing any local coverage as part of this transition, but simply adding to what we already do, and hopefully helping to raise the profile of local DFW/Denton bands in several new cities with thriving music scenes.

I don't want to give too much away right now because we'll have a more formal announcement for you in the next few weeks explaining which cities we'll be covering and how we're going to do it, but for now, let me just tell you that I'm very excited about our plans, and I think most of you will be very pleased with the way things go around here over the next few months.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for making this summer the most highly trafficked season in the history of this website, and I hope you all will stick around to see what we're going to do from here on out. And oh yeah, one more thing-- by popular demand, It Lists will now appear in the morning or early afternoon each day in order to give you more time to see which shows are the easiest to make fun of. Here's today's list:

Ra Ra Riot/Maps & Atlases/Princeton (The Granada): As I was reading a couple things about Ra Ra Riot last night, I noticed that they had recorded a session for Daytrotter back in 2007, and this seemed like an important thing to mention because Daytrotter is an important thing, right? The weird part was that as I sat and thought about it, I realized that I didn't even really know what the hell Daytrotter actually was. Criminal for a blogger, right? I mean, Gorilla vs Bear and Pitchfork and Stereogum and all those places talk about it all the time, and I know its a pretty big deal in the world of "Indie Rock" and all that, but I've just never taken the time to really look at it since it always seems to feature like a recording of St. Vincent playing a cover of an Irish drinking song or some garbage. Actually, I don't even know if St. Vincent has ever recorded with Daytrotter, its just a figure of speech.

I guess the point in bringing all this up is to demonstrate my feelings of detachment from the kind of music Ra Ra Riot makes. This is Indie Rock with a capital "I," and although most of it is pleasant enough, all of it feels like its just kinda sitting there, waiting for its chance to start being played over the loudspeakers at Banana Republic instead of Urban Outfitters because those are the people who still actually buy CDs, right? Influences seem to range from Interpol to Coldplay to Arcade Fire, with nods to Elliot Smith and 90's Brit Pop and Post-Punk, and I wasn't kidding when I said it's pleasant enough because it is. But much like Daytrotter, I kinda know what its like and I don't have a problem with it, but I also know that I don't have to pay it all that much attention in order to conclude that I don't really give a shit.

Chicago's Sung Tongs and Elephant 6 influenced Maps and Atlases open, and they're a bit more interesting.-(SR)

I want to add that Princeton is one of the few bands I've seen recently where I felt that the record sounded better than their live show, which was fine, it just didn't capture some of the little subtleties and influences apparent on the recording that I'm sure they would want to convey through a performance.-(DL)

Social Junk/Mincemeat or Ten Speed/Dick Neff/Guilt Trip/Corporate Park/Joey Lawrence Gets A Coke Problem (House Of Tinnitus): Philadelphia's Social Junk certainly don't make pop music, but they are still probably one of the most accessible bands to have ever set foot in House of Tinnitus, even if you'd never use the word "accessible" to actually describe their music. Confused? Well, this really says more about House of Tinnitus' challenging bills than it does about the band, but its still important to note because it might provide you with just a glimse into Social Junk's sound-- this is found sound happy, largely instrumental psychedelic music that ranges stylistically from peaceful bird chirping and drones to more rhytmic, early industrial influenced experiments with elements of tribal percussion and general abrasion. This is tough, interesting music to be sure, but the group's quiter moments might just be right up the alley of a few people who don't often listen to "harsh noise," for lack of a better term. Social Junk is an excellent group that shouldn't be missed, especially in one of the most intimate and welcoming spots in the area.

Mincemeat or Teenspeed are another fantastic Philadelphia group with an eclectic set of influences ranging from Afro Funk (including Konono No 1) to harsh noise to 8 bit to psychedelic folk, all of which come together incredibly well, surprisingly enough, resulting in one of the more interesting bands I've stumbled across this year. We highly recommend that you show up early to catch them.-(SR)

Nobunny/Video/Hunx And His Punx/War Party (Mable Peabody's): Another show definitely worth checking out in Denton tonight, featuring the masterful pop songwriting of Nobunny, a guy who always backs up his performances with a rotating cast of able musicians, including local Payton Green. Hunx and His Punx includes the kind of great lyrical content that often occurs when punk bands tackle gay themes, and there's no doubt in my mind that Video will put on a flawless show. -(DL)

Binary Sunrise (Good Records): Show celebrating the release of the group's new recording which is released on the venue's label, Good Records Recordings. -(DL)

Western Giants/Jacob Metcalf/Young Adult Fiction (The Cavern)

Wind Suit Party with Ghost Pizza/Land Mammals/90210hh!/Vessels (Hailey's): Free entry when wearing "appropriate attire." Presented by We Made Out Once.

NOTE: "Decades" is canceled at Rubber Gloves tonight, due to DJ No Dad's illness.

It List: Tuesday


Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge): with Feezy, DUH.

Creed (Superpages Center): I hate the fact that Creed is such an easy target, a punchline band even for people with poor taste to make fun of. Just remember, Radiohead, The Arcade Fire, and Iron & Wine are like Creed to some people. I don't know who, but I just thought I'd mention it. By the way, Pitchfork covering the "Decade in Indie" is kind of like Sean Hannity reporting on Townhall crashers and shit, isn't it?


Greg Ginn & The Taylor Texas Corrugators/Jambang/Zanzibar Snails (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio): I'm not going to attempt to breakdown Ginn's career by explaining that playing in a Texas-themed jam-band is actually the most unexpected and punk thing that he could have done, but I will say this: Greg Ginn has always done exactly what he wants to do, he always will, and if you think you're that free, you're probably lying to yourself. He pretty much invented hardcore, and decades later, it seems he could care less. Though that may be a depressing thought to some, I've always admired people that could do something completely revolutionary and shrug it off eventually, even if I don't necessarily consider myself a big fan of their current work.

Who could blame someone for shunning something with so much attached cultural hubris? That's a common thread running through the various bios of pioneers in just about every art movement going back to the first time anyone cared to ask. Some people feel that running in place is the most profound statement they can make, and others feel that you must forever radically shape-shift in order to evolve as an artist. For better or worse, Ginn evolved, even while still playing in Black Flag, which has been well-documented. Interestingly, he recently performed with The Dirty Projectors, just another in a long line of artists who have interpreted his work, however this popular, modern, indie rock group somehow managed to be christened with the distinction of winning the fleeting and mysterious stamp-of-approval from the man himself. It's worth mentioning that most people try really hard, create total garbage, and then spend the rest of their lives bragging about the one thing they did that was never good in the first place. You could never accuse Greg Ginn of anything like that.


Telefon Tel Aviv
/The Race/Ishi DJ Set (The Cavern): None other than Stoned Ranger(!) told me today that Telefon Tel Aviv's latest analog-only record was pretty good, and I should go back and see if I can notice much of a difference when they changed their approach towards both synth and recording technology. The duo was also involved in some sample work for Berlin/Los Angeles-based electronic software maker, Native Instruments; I'm assuming before the tragic and untimely death of founding member, Charles Cooper.

On a lighter note, I met some employees of Native Instruments in Germany this past summer, and after some extensive discussions regarding their work, came to the conclusion that they are the happiest workers on earth.

Didn't know Ishi had reached "DJ set" status already.

90's Night With Yeah Def (Hailey's)

Monday, September 21, 2009

it list: monday


Nite Maus here, still house sitting for SR and DL. Not much going on tonight, aside from the usual.

Mayhem Mondays
(Fallout Lounge)

Cool Out
(Cavern)

Bad Ass Jazz
(Amsterdam)

Securicor/Maleveller/Releaser/The Initiative(Phoenix Project - 406 S. Haskell)


Things go back to normal tomorrow. Hope they don't mind I re-arranged their master bedroom furniture.

Monday Morning Rock


MON:Securicor/Maleveller/Releaser/The Initiative (Phoenix Project)
TUE: Gregg Ginn and The Taylor Texas Corrugators/Jambang/Zanzibar Snails (Rubber Gloves)
WED: Ra Ra Riot/Maps & Atlases/Princeton (The Granada)
WED: Social Junk/Mincemeat or Ten Speed/Dick Neff/Corporate Park (House Of Tinnitus)
WED: Nobunny/Video/Hunx And His Punx/War Party (Mable Peabody's)
THU: Chris Clavin/Imperial Can/Gerd/Genius Party (1919 Hemphill)
THU: Experimental Dental School/El Paso Hot Button/History At Our Disposal (The Lounge)
THU: The Polyphonic Spree/DJ Lord (The Palladium)
THU: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart/The Depreciation Guild/Cymbals Eat Guitars (Lola's)
THU: Monotonix/Harlem/Uptown Bums (Rubber Gloves)FRI: Psychedelic Furs/Happy Mondays (House Of Blues)
FRI: Busdriver/Abstract Rude (The Cavern)
SAT: Binary Sunrise/Darktown Strutters/Buttercup (City Tavern)
SAT: Kylesa/Tombs/Bison BC/Curse The Heavens (Rubber Gloves)
SAT:The Theater Fire/Whiskey Folk Ramblers/The Southern Sea (Lola's)
SAT: Record Hop/PVC Street Gang/The Cocky Americans/On After Dark (Boiler Room)

Friday, September 18, 2009

weekender

SR and DL still won't return our calls so here is me and nite maus's ramshackle list. (We usually just have our PAs return calls for us, but they're on vaca this weekend. DL and I will be back in action on Monday-- SR)


Friday

Fungi Girls/The Beets/Air Waves/The Jesus Furs (J&J's Pizza)

Are the Fungi Girls too young to be playing the music they play? Or perhaps similar musicians are too old to be playing music so youthful? Regardless, you will feel like an old has-been seeing these dudes play, but boy you will have a good time. Remember kids, J&J's closes at 12 so be sure to get there early, as the rest of the bands seem to have the same vibe going on as the Girls. Should be fun. (FP)

Saturday

Motorhead/Nashville Pussy/Revered Horton Heat (Palladium Ballroom)

Earlier this week I was sitting in a DART station when it hit me that music (and Dallas public transportation) was going straight to hell. Seriously, what a unique epiphany right? I saw a kid, iPod earphones blaring, with a Guitar Hero shirt, crispy-clean just ironed from his mother’s hot stack of laundry. This kid looked happy with himself and his position in life, and I realized…fuck getting a good review on Pitchfork. Just get a song on Guitar Hero and you’ll be eating pretty well for decades.

Anyway, the point is, I bet you 95% of the world’s population doesn’t know anything about Reverend Horton Heat except for Psychobilly Freakout,” and 99% of those people heard it on Guitar Hero. And I bet you at least 8 of those people will be at this concert, and that there will be general assent when they play that song (fists in air, head nods, interchanged glances). And they probably WILL play that song, as surely as David Byrne played "Burning Down the House" on his last tour.


Motorhead won a Grammy in 2005 for a Metallica cover. Is that an insult or a prize? I’m surprised this show isn’t at House of Blues. As for Lemmy, I’ll skip the meth jokes and say authoritatively that he “defines, eats, breathes, shits and exudes cool. He’s hands-down the motherfucking coolest human being in history.” I have that on good faith.


Also, Dave Mustaine is endlessly entertaining. I think of him any time one of these bands from the 80’s LA scene comes around. Just watch Some Kind of Monster, fast-forward it to any time he talks (and cries) and you’ll have the warm fuzzies for days. I bet he’s sitting at home this very moment thinking about how Motorhead should’ve dedicated that Grammy to him.(NM)

Vanilla Ice/Mad Mexicans/Forever Sunday (Trees)

When I was a kid, I thought Ice Ice Baby was the shit . It was a song that went well with my Legends of the Hidden Temple t-shirt and my brick-sized Gameboy. Yet I always thought that I was hearing something that would someday die. I think North Texas this weekend went out of its way to prove that some things last forever.

I’ve heard a rumor that the new Trees is booking just to make money for a while, and after they’ve cashed in they’ll start bringing in bands that are actually worth paying for. I smell deceit. Why is every house show I’ve ever been to better than any lineup they’ve brought so far? Take it from Captain Planet. You don’t need money to succeed, you need “heart!”. (NM)


With a name like Hellbastard I'm sure you know what you are getting into. Highlight here is the Gonzalez bro's project Akkolyte, who always rip it up and leaves the crowd's necks throbbing. (FP)

Dear Human/Kaboom!/Babar/Vexed UK (Majestic Dwelling Of Doom)

The debut performance of Vexed UK, a collaboration between local avant-goddess Sarah Alexander and Gutterth hype man Micheal Briggs. Lets hope it is more this and less this. Kaboom! put on one of the best shows around these parts and they have been playing less and less recently so get your ass there. (FP)

Art List

FRIDAY

Wild Flowering: The Crow Family and Asia
Crow Collection of Asian Art
Friday, Sept. 18, 6 pm - midnight

Odd that this is open until midnight. If you haven't been to the Crow Collection, it's pretty neat. Across the way from the DMA in an office building. And I think it's free admission. "Wild Flowering: The Crow Family and Asia showcases the adventures of the Crow family during their five-decade quest to collect the arts of Asia. Starting in 1960 and ending in the present day, this chronological exploration of the family’s private acquisitions profiles their evolution into a public treasure."

SATURDAY

The Naturalists
Sussan Afrasiabian
Sunny Jacquet
Shari Hornish
Brenda McKinney
Haley-Henman Gallery
2335 Hardwick Street, Dallas, TX 75208
September 19 : 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

All I Ever Wanted Was Everything
Candace Briceño
the mighty fine arts gallery
419 North Tyler, Dallas, TX 75208
September 19 : 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The Green Line
Group Show
Kettle Art
2714 Elm Street, Dallas, TX 75226
September 19 : Unknown Time, 7-9 would probably be safe.

Manifold: An Exhibition of Editioned Works
The Public Trust
2919-C Commerce Street, Dallas, TX 75226
September 19 : 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

New Drawings
Lawrence Lee
Barry Whistler Gallery
2909 B Canton, Dallas, Tx 75226
September 19 : 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

I can't find a web site for this dude, but there's a small gallery of his stuff in an unlinkable Flash gallery on their site. Look pretty interesting. I don't think he's this Lawrence Lee who paints really sweet Southwest Art like this.

Image not really courtesy of Howard Dubois.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

it list : Thursday

It list was done by I, Frank Phosphate today so if it sucks blame me. SR and DL will be back in action soon enough.

Big Boi Estelle DJ Nice (Ghostbar)

This is a free event sponsored by Heineken. After listening to a little bit of Estelle I was pleasantly surprised. Reminiscent of Lilly Allen but with a more classic Bacharach sound, free of the hollow feeling most 60's female revivalist seem to have these days. I'm sure after a couple Heineken it sounds REALLY good.

Lydia Play Radio Play All The Day Holiday

Lydia's music is a a fusion of Fleetwood Mac and really bad acid. And not in the good way. They played Rubber Gloves earlier in the year at NX35 and had a line of 200 underage patrons waiting before the club even opened. So if you are into that kind of thing bring a pocket full of candy.

Dove Hunter True Widow Boom Boom Box Tre Orsi (Granada)

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It List: Wednesday


Today's lone list entry was written by a special anonymous contributor, whose brutally sarcastic rants about music and record store customers has been entertaining me for the past few months. (DL)

The Mars Volta (The Palladium): Do you remember the first time you put in a Pink Floyd album as a kid or teenager? Do you remember the sense of wonder that came over you as you heard men doing things with instruments that you’d never imagined? Do you remember listening to Meddle and wondering why other music wasn’t this imaginative, this inventive, this out-of-the-box? Are you frustrated that bands this creative no longer attain mainstream popularity and fill arenas as they once did, having been replaced by Nickelbacks, Drowning Pools, and Green Days?

Well, if you’ve heard the Mars Volta, take heart. This visionary band, oft-compared to the almighty and wondrous Tool, is an absolutely superb example of what six (and sometimes seven) men can accomplish when given more effects pedals than you can shake several sticks at. Don’t just take my word for it! In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine – yes, that Rolling Stone – named these fellows the best “Prog Rock Band” in all of music! These Grammy-winning musical machines have certainly come a long way from their earlier, equally great project At the Drive-In, which took the foundations laid by such mediocre bands as Drive Like Jehu and Fugazi and turns them on their collective ears.

I’ve had dreams where a man, submerged in a pool of water, was serenading me in Spanish, accompanied by a guitar looped through a dozen warbling, broken Danelectro pedals. I woke up, distraught that no one had thought to bring this idea to fruition in thirteen-minute bursts. I type before you a happy man, because my wildest dreams have been realized in a musical cavalcade of formless, not-at-all irritating solos, completely pleasant album structures, and intensely enjoyable, more straightforward parts that call to mind a tamer version of the pure rock fury that’s known as Rush. Omar Rodríguez-López certainly brings his best material to the table – if you listen to one of the twelve solo records he’s released in the past few years, you’ll see that he has enough musical ideas to fill twice this many records, and Mars Volta albums besides!

Look, here’s the bottom line – if you love Tool, and if you want to hear a band that’s so good that even members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (!) have collaborated, look no further – you’ve found the epitome of modern day prog. By extension, they’re the only rock band that matters today, if you think about it. It really doesn’t get any better than this. (Anonymous)

Soundclash Presents: Parson And Annalove are The Yellow Stripes/Royal Highnuss/Tomb (Zubar)

Nervous Curtains/Blixaboy/Davic Sunshine (The Cavern)

Macon Greyson/Dana Falconberry/Ha Ha Tonka (The Green Elephant)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interview: Neon Indian

Interview conducted by Frank Phosphate. Introduction by Stoned Ranger. Photography by Stephie Ya Know.

Whether it can be attributed to the nature of blog driven "indie rock" buzz or simply to Alan Palomo's own PR savvy, the fact that Pitchfork interviewed Palomo about his Neon Indian project before anyone in the local media had a chance to speak with him about it surely says something about the speed of ascension in pop music today. Months before they'd even booked their first show, let alone played it, Neon Indian was preparing for an international tour and a full length record release that is quickly becoming one of the most highly anticipated events on the 2009 release calendar, thanks in no small part to the mass amounts of praise the band has received from around the blogosphere.

Of course, with this kind of quick acquisition of accolades comes the inevitable skepticism in which fans wonder aloud whether a particular band is "overrated" or "deserving" of the kind of attention they are receiving, and truth be told, you can hardly blame anyone for being skeptical about the groups that American and European "tastemakers" have been crowning as the "next big thing" over the past several years. Ever since Arcade Fire wowed us with mediocrity and Sufjan Stevens showed the world just how conservative most indie rockers can really be, underground music has seen a parade of buzzed about acts that seem to offer little more than good manners and obvious influences.

Fortunately for Palomo and Neon Indian, however, the group's debut release mostly lives up to the hype surrounding it. Sure, the record might not change your life, and it'll certainly have its detractors, but Alan Palomo has demonstrated, at a very young age, that his songwriting skills can transcend the genres and fads with which he's been associated, and with the eclectic influences scattered throughout Neon Indian's debut (everything from Yellow Magic Orchestra to 60's psyche pop), its hard to imagine that this record won't appeal to a fairly large cross section of discerning music consumers. Our very own Frank Phosphates sat down with Alan to discuss Neon Indian and the upcoming tour, and here's what they talked about:(SR)

Why start the tour in Denton?

I have always tried to make it a point of testing things in an audience that I am comfortable with, and I feel like Denton is predominately just friends and allies and, even a few enemies now and then, which I always thinks makes things a little more interesting when you are trying something new but... well maybe not rivals, maybe just Rival Gang...LEANNE.

Yeah they'll fight ya!

I think there is something comforting on this occasion. For example for the Vega show we we..(at this point some adoring fans come and Alan is really nice to them and stuff) haha, the difference between this and the Vega show was that the Vega show was testing it out without and set itinerary, more just a labor of love really just trying things out...

Where was the Vega show at?

It was at Hailey's on New Year's. The way the stakes have changed now were literally on the cusp of (I offer him a cigarette) sure...If this was a Vega show I would not smoke this, but Neon Indian does not demand too much of my vocal range, so...you don't have to write that down...I feel like being on the cusp of a tour, and given that immediately three days after the show we're gonna be at Monolith Festival, Denton is the perfect environment to try it out because I can expect nothing but honest feedback, and use this as an opportunity to sort a few things out. And even then just put on a really good show for my friends. That's what I'm doing this for.

What kind of preparation have you done for the tour?

Most of the preparation has been adjusting to tour life in to begin with. I'm a pretty social guy, I move around a lot but I always do crave quite a bit of stability and this tour is literally the first time in my life where I have no set junction or time or anything. Our booking agent tells us when a show is coming up, or a string of shows or a tour for that matter, and we just have to prepare for it. What I have been trying to adjust to is things like sleeping habits, eating, trying to find the time to exercise, and feel like a normal human being in this really unusual context of constantly being on your feet.

For the Neon Indian show in particular, much of the preparation has gone into how we can differentiate a Vega show and a Neon Indian show given the vibe or presentation or something as simple as Theatrics. I recently came to the conclusion that it is something that will come with time, once we sort of feel out the audience. Our first take was all the ideas; like we walk up stage in a cloak and right before the first guitar lick starts, we just like remove them and just start playing our instruments, which we would have done if we had just made it to a Michael's and found some black bed sheets to do this with.


How did the tour come about?

It started with a few consistent show offers we started getting. I definitely had plans to do Neon Indian live and had plans of touring right around the time of the record release. It all kind of happened at once. We heard the album was coming out on October 13th, and then immediately after that we put up a link for our booking agent; we got about seventy inquiries in the US. A little overwhelming but we tried to do as many of them as we could, some of them fell through due to scheduling conflicts and all that, but the way it has worked up to this point is that we got all these dates and mapped it out to this logistical nightmare of how we'll get from one place to the next, which is it's own fun little ride to begin with. Even within these Neon Indian shows there are some Vega shows sprinkled in here and there. Up until this point cutting our teeth has all been done predominately through Vega shows, and the shows our booking agent has gotten us, and they have kind of been all over the place.

One thing I have had to learn is how to play to different audiences. You might play a bill where no one knows who you are and you just have to go in there and give it your all. It's pretty long and arduous, but the fact that so much preparation has gone into it, I feel confident. The most ridiculous shift we have to do is one night we are in Mexico City and then we fly up to Seattle and then c
ontinue to tour as if nothing had happened. It's pretty... well actually we fly out from Boise, Idaho to Mexico City for two shows that that promoter set up ... and you know it's fucking weird.

I feel like the biggest thing that's making it... it's not overwhelming by any means, I'm very excited about it, but whats very taxing in terms of prep-work and mental preparation is the fact that both Vega and Neon Indian are taking off at the same time, you know, just got to keep up with the work flow
.

Talk a little bit about the process of working with Neon Indian as opposed to the other projects you have worked with.

Vega has always been a project with a specific set of influences and very finite aesthetic, whereas Neon Indian started out more as a creative exercise. Try to write a new song everyday and we never spend more than 48 hours on it. Whatever the product turns out to be is whatever it is, and you can invest as much time as you want in it. I realized that really opened it up, especially when I wasn't concerned with "who's going to like this," or what is the sound it is trying to tap into, "Who would you associate with this?,"; I feel like that's when Neon Indian really became it's own thing. Before I knew it, in about a month I had an album. I realized that working in that way was so much more advantageous than the initial Vega work flow. Now I have modified Vega to be equally spontaneous in that sense. Especially now that sometime in January I have to start writing the Vega album. Definitely want to bring that to the table.

I want to talk a little bit about the music. Neon Indian has a very lo-fi, almost "druggie" sound to it. Yet the music still sounds rather positive, some almost like ballads.

Yeah, totally.

It's something we are not used to hearing from you. Did you go into the project wanting to channel something different; a different kind of outlet?

There is some irony to it all because of this contradiction where the songs sound generally upbeat. There are no dark, or unusual, dissonant songs on the album, but in terms of the lyrical content, it is very personal. It all derives from various heinous relationships. Not necessarily heinous but just specific relationships that I have revisited over time. Dissecting the moments when they have gone awry. They each have their own unusual kind of narrative.

So this is the first time you have tried that with your music, exploring those themes?

Yeah. It's funny because I would say eighty percent of the content, as far as lyrical fodder, definitely came from Denton. Most of those experiences were all very specific places in time. Looking back, I can say "Oh, this is where that happened," or "This happened over there."

Do you follow the press at all? Does it affect you? Does make any difference in what you do?

It never makes a difference in what I do. I am always interested in feedback. Music is still a very new thing for me. I'm still learning about the medium and every song is a testament to that progress. The purpose of Neon Indian was definitely to try out new production tricks. No idea is a bad idea, it's just a matter of what context you fit it in. It was definitely that kind of approach. I check blogs. I try to be an active participant in the online music culture. I think a lot of the bands that have come out of that culture have influenced what I do. I see it as a very objective thing, if you are not pissing somebody off, you're not doing something right. If you can elicit a response, whether it be positive or negative, means that you are trying to do something that isn't safe. I could speak about a lot about We Shot JR commenters. There is a very direct line in the sand. But I try not to address it, I don't let it affect me. It's whatever, you know?

Closing it up, is there anything you would like the world to know about Neon Indian? What can we expect?

I would like to eventually make it more of a multimedia project. I have thrown around the idea of a second album being the score to a screenplay I write. Music is a very interesting deviation, because I have always been a film guy. It affects the way I approach music. I would like to find a way to make an artistic project that is a conglomeration of those two ideas, and sort of do it from that perspective. I don't know if it will be the second or the third album; just depends on what time allows. You can also expect a Vega album in the upcoming future, by the way. The VEGA record will be a joint release through Fool's Gold and Downtown. And I'll just say, I can't say who it is just yet, but I will say it is a band of the last three years that has greatly influenced me, will be the ones producing the album.


















Neon Indian's next local appearance is a free show at The Granada on Halloween.

Labels:

It List: Tuesday

Fairly quiet this evening aside from the weeklies. We'll have an interview up for you soon.

Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge)

90's Night With Yeah Def and Ian Bangs (Hailey's)

The Gourds (Dan's Silver Leaf)

Open Mic Night (Rubber Gloves)

Monday, September 14, 2009

It List: Monday


Hey, did everyone read this Forbes article that says Dallas is number ten in the "America's Entertaining Cities?" I'm sure you did. Pretty eyebrow-raising. Number 9 is San Francisco and Austin is nowhere to be found. Hmm.

Tonight's events include the usual Cool Out at The Cavern, and Stefan Gonzalez playing hardcore, punk, grind and metal records for his Mayhem Mondays at The Fallout Lounge. I caught a good portion of the show at Fallout on Friday, and was impressed by the War Wizards and Convextion sets. War Wizards did not disappoint, raising the discomfort level to an all-time high by upping the ante with the involuntarily crowd-participation angle. Ouch. Such different acts on the same bill is a good thing in my opinion, even if the disparate crowds don't always assimilate so readily.

Video also put on a loud and vicious, yet very clean and well-rehearsed show at Rubber Gloves on Saturday. They are definitely "totally fucking punk" as one observer put it, but they also sound like they practice more than any band I've heard in a while. The best part is I'm sure I will get an e-mail or a random comment explaining that they never practice. Wish it came so easily to everyone.

We don't usually review our own shows, so here's a nice review of the show we hosted last week on by Laura Lately on her Radio Silence blog.


ADD: Yeah Def is celebrating Nas' birthday tonight, so expect to hear a lot of good tracks at Hailey's from the original 5 Mic winner.

Monday Afternoon Rock (Sorry)





What a week...


WED: The Mars Volta (The Palladium)
WED: Parson and Annalove AKA The Yellow Stripes (Zubar)
WED: Nervous Curtains/Blixaboy/Davic Sunshine (The Cavern)
WED: Macon Greyson/Dana Falconberry/Ha Ha Tonka (The Green Elephant)
THU: Dove Hunter/True Widow/Boom Boom Box/Tre Orsi (The Granada)
FRI: Fugi Girls/The Beets/Air Waves/The Jesus Furs (J&J's Pizza)
SAT: Motorhead/Nashville Pussy/Revered Horton Heat (Palladium Ballroom)
SAT: Vanilla Ice/Mad Mexicans/Forever Sunday (Trees)
SAT: Dub Assembly with Ultrablack/Royal Highnuss/Mundo/Passenja (The Green Elephant)
SAT: Hellbastard/Resistant Culture/Akkolyte/Tolar (Rubber Gloves)
SAT: Dear Human/Babar/Vexed UK (Majestic Dwelling Of Doom)