Thursday, December 31, 2009

Twin Cheek's Best Albums of 2009

I don't really listen to, or particularly care for, a ton of new music. I do manage to find a few records each year that I deem worthy enough to spend my hard earned trust fund money on, and they are as follows:

Psychic Ills - Mirror Eye (The Social Registry) This was the first record that came out this year that really grabbed my attention. I think it was released the first or second week of January, proving that Merriwether Post Pavillion was not even Album of the Month when it was released, much less album of the year. A huge improvement over 2006's Dins, Psychic Ills seem to be both more focused AND spacey this time around, or maybe just more focused on being spacey. Hell, I probably listened to this record 5 or 6 times before I realized/remembered that there were vocals on a few tracks! Perfect album to sink back into the couch for a while.

Wolves in the Throne Room - Malevolent Grain EP, Black Cascade LP (Southern Lord) Uh-oh, trendy black metal band, watch out. I can't understand the bad reviews that these releases got when they came out. It seems like the indie critics were upset that they didn't replicate 'The Two Hunters' and the metal guys didn't like the fact that WitTR had strayed so far from their debut (and best album) Diadem of 12 Stars. When I put these on the turntable I hear some great 10-15 minute songs that seem like they are over in 5 with tons of guitars and fantastic production. It fucking works for me.

Zola Jesus - The Spoils (Sacred Bones) Here we have another fine addition to the Sacred Bones catalog. I'm sure it's pretty tough to produce an appealing blend of noisy, digitally delayed instruments (all of em!) and a female singer that reminds me more of Ian Curtis that anyone in recent memory, but Madison, Wisconsin's Nika Roza Danilova and crew have managed to marry the two fairly effectively.

Amen Dunes - Dia (Locust) I'm not really sure if this completely qualifies as a 2009 record since it was written and recorded in November 2006, but fuck it, it was released this year. Initially I was skeptical about this one because it has one of those 'guy goes into the mountains alone to make a record' back stories that usually results in some retarded free form noise record that nobody actually likes or gives a shit about. Damon McMahon throws that theory out the window with this release, his first (maybe only?) under the Amen Dunes moniker. Dia is a fairly eclectic record, with some rocking guitar/echo vocals, acoustic folk/psych ala Pearls Before Swine (though less lyrical), and some drone organ/voice material thrown in for good measure. All of this is helped out tremendously by the sequencing of the songs, each track individually may be nothing special, but the thing as a whole is fucking great. Album of the year for me.

Reissues:

These days there a million reissues every year to deal with, so I'm not going to get that in depth about them-- if you couldn't find a record before, you probably can now. Even if you could find it before, you can get the reissue from 4 Men with Beards.

Drag City did their usual awesome job of unearthing some great albums this year, these are my faves:


The George-Edwards Group - 38:38 - This one's a fucking killer bedroom psych record from 1977. Two guys, some guitars and an ARP String Ensemble. The reissue sounds great and will save you about $500 over the very limited edition original. Highly recommended!


Death - ...For All the World to See - I'm counting this as a reissue even though only two of the tracks were previously issued in 1975. Most of the music press seemed to make a big deal about these Detroit guys being black and playing rock n roll, I guess they forgot how the whole thing started.

Royal Trux - Twin Infinitives - It's about damn time that this four sided mind fuck be available to a new generation of kids willing the plunge into whatever the fuck Neil Haggerty and Jennifer Herrema were thinking when they recorded this one.

Fifty Foot Hose - Cauldron - OK, this one isn't on Drag City. Phoenix Records released a limited vinyl run of one of the few West Coast psych albums that I consider a must have. Don't be surprised if this 1969 classic pops up in a future installment of Not New Music, if I can ever get that thing off the ground again.

Honorable Mentions:

Health - Get Color (Love Pump United) I have much better things to do with my time than look at other site's year end lists, but from the little that I've seen and heard, this record is not on very many of them and I'm not sure why.

Moon Duo - Killing Time EP (Sacred Bones) So what if it sounds like some weird hybrid of Suicide and Faust, at least it's fucking good.

Blues Control - Local Flavor (Siltbreeze) I'm sure SR has a ton to say about this one, I'd just like to add that I really dig it too.

Sun Araw - Heavy Deeds (Not Not Fun) It usually takes me a while to warm up to Sun Araw records, and this one was no different. This one might not have made my list at all if I didn't think of "War Anus" every time I come across it. Thank you, anonymous, for making me smile on a daily basis!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Weekender: Early NYE Edition




THURSDAY


Billingham's Defense System/Ocelot/Blake Ward (Fallout Lounge)

Big J/Boy Tap/Melissa Meow (The Cavern)

James Prichard/Cyberina Flux/4D/Michael Todd/Cygnus (Leer St. Warehouse)

DJ G/Vulgar Fashion/Twisted Wires/Orvahnt's Engine/Visuals by Tommyboy (Hailey's)

Bad Sports/Uptown Bums/Video/DJ No Dad (Rubber Gloves)

Geezus Krust/Hoodrat (4308 Eastside in Dallas)

FRIDAY

Goldmund/Sunnybrook/Adam Pacione (Dan's Silverleaf)

My Ears Bleed/Kaboom (Muddy Waters)

Matthew And The Arrogant Sea/Cartographers/One Hundred Flowers (Hailey's)

SATURDAY

Electric Vengeance/Tattered Flag/King Ivy/Youth Aggression/Hood Rat (1109 Hills Dr. in Grand Prairie)

Kate Simko/Planet Doobias/Dragon Lazer (Zubar)

La Dispute/Native/Zwounds/Nouveux Riches/The Reptillian (1919 Hemphill)

Select's Birthday Bashment with Select/DJ AV/Cokni O'Dire (Zubar)

SUNDAY

Shiny Around The Edges/Babar/Baruch The Scribe/Ok Sweetheart (Dan's Silverleaf)

Bolth/Torchrunner/Systems/Collick/Mass Sterilization (Phoenix Project)

It List: Wednesday


Two good shows in Dallas tonight:


True Widow/Switchblade Razors (City Tavern): True Widow continues to gain fans both outside of Dallas, and even outside of Texas, while beloved throwback act Switchblade Razors is playing their first show in quite a while, so see it if you can.

Darktown Strutters/Twisted Wires (The Lounge): Houston's Twisted Wires will play one of two shows tonight (as will Darktown), and you should take at least one of the opportunities to catch one of the newest additions to the always great Italians Do It Better roster. The 12" has a much cleaner sound compared to the group's live sets, but both are very good for different reasons. Recommended.











Photo by Rezflicks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It List: Tuesday


Mammoth Grinder/Harm's Way/Wiccans/Power Trip/Human Error (1919 Hemphill): As you may have noticed, and possibly even complained about, Mammoth Grinder made our sometimes-contributor Street Meat's top records of 2009 list, which despite what you may think of it, at least didn't look like a carbon copy of so many lists I've seen online. This is a very good lineup, and for a very good cause, seeing as it's actually a breast cancer benefit. From the invite:

This will be a night of AGGressive music and good times while helping somebody in need. the profits of this show after paying mammoth grinder and harm's way will be going to Zenaida Martin, Tina's mom, who is currently in a fight with breast cancer. recently, an organization called the "celebration of life" attempted to hold a fundraiser for her, with a big auction/dinner event to help cover medical expenses. these events are usually a huge help, because on top of any money the dinner generates, the texas senate donates a minimum of $2000 to any of these COL sponsored events. but because of some red tape bullshit, an organization administrator completely fucked things up, and the event wasn't an "official" event. basically, it hurt the turn out, and of course, no money came from the senate. money was actually lost, rather than gained. this show is the least that we can do to help this struggling family that means so much to many of us.

Anyway, here's the flyer to this bad boy. Mammoth Grinder's new CD just came out on Relapse Records. i can't fucking wait for this show. there's a minimum $5 donation for cover, but we highly encourage added donations - seeing that this is a benefit. many of you will obviously not be able to make it to the show. if that's the case, and you are feeling generous, you may paypal a donation to chunki_munki@yahoo.com , which i will in turn write a check to family. if everybody could help just a little by posting this everywhere, other boards, blogs, make facebook events, call local NPR and college metal shows, tell your friends, whatever you can think of. it's really important to me to raise as much money for the family as i can. thank you for your support and see yall there!



Center Divider/Emil Rapstine/Dim Locator (Will Kapinos of Jetscreamer) (Dan's Silverleaf)

Note: Disqo Disco has been canceled due to work on the building.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It List: Monday


No time today, but DUH:


Neon Indian/Fizzy Dino Pop/Ishi/Yeah Def (The Granada)

Cool Out (The Cavern)

Monday Morning Rock



SHOWS OF NOTE:

MON: Neon Indian/Ishi/Fizzy Dino Pop/Yeah Def (The Granada)
MON: Leg Sweeper (Billiard Bar)
TUE: Mammoth Grinder/Power Trip/Harms Way/Wiccans (1919 Hemphill)
TUE: Center Divider/Emil Rapstine/Dim Locator (Dan's Silverleaf)
WED: True Widow/Switchblade Razors/
WED: Darktown Strutters/Twisted Wires (The Lounge)
THU: Billingham's Defense System/Ocelot/Blake Ward (Fallout Lounge)
THU: Big J/Boy Tap/Melissa Meow (The Cavern)
THU: James Prichard/Cyberina Flux/4D/Michael Todd/Cygnus (Leer St. Warehouse)
THU: DJ G/Vulgar Fashion/Twisted Wires/Orvahnt's Engine/Visuals by Tommyboy (Hailey's)
THU: Bad Sports/Uptown Bums/Video/DJ No Dad (Rubber Gloves)
THU: Geezus Krust/Hoodrat (4308 Eastside in Dallas)
FRI: Goldmund/Sunnybrook/Adam Pacione (Dan's Silverleaf)
FRI: My Ears Bleed/Kaboom (Muddy Waters)
FRI: Matthew And The Arrogant Sea/Cartographers/One Hundred Flowers (Hailey's)
SAT: Electric Vengeance/Tattered Flag/King Ivy/Youth Aggression/Hood Rat (1109 Hills Dr. in Grand Prairie)
SAT: Kate Simko/Planet Doobias/Dragon Lazer (Zubar)
SAT: La Dispute/Native/Zwounds/Jubilee/The Reptillian (1919 Hemphill)
SAT: Select's Birthday Bashment with Select/DJ AV/Cokni O'Dire (Zubar)
SUN: Shiny Around The Edges/Babar/Baruch The Scribe/Ok Sweetheart (Dan's Silverleaf)
SUN: Bolth/Torchrunner/Systems/Collick/Mass Sterilization Phoenix Project)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Streetmeat's Best Albums of 2009

I figured Christmas eve was as good a time as any to add the heaviest Year End List you'll see on this website in the foreseeable future. Very occasional contributor Streetmeat has listed his favorite records, along with a few he simply liked and some he didn't like at all... anyway, scroll down and enjoy, and you'll see lists from myself, DL and TC here pretty soon. Happy holidays. PS-- we'll do a quick post of weekend shows on Friday afternoon, and be back in full swing on Monday. --(SR)


This thing is gonna be longwinded, in no particular order, overly opinionated, and underinformed. I haven't listened to everything this year. I haven't even listened to HALF of everything. I've forgotten lots of stuff. You know you can't wait to hear what I have to say. Right? Oh. Anyway, you'll probably hate the things I like and be offended by the things I don't...but let's be honest, since none of these bands are the Bad Brains circa 1980, none of them are any good anyway.

All apologies for filling this list with "heavy" music. Sort of. You know, if you really hate all things heavy, though, there's a website called Pitchfork that might be up your alley. I hear they REALLY have the scoop on the new Vampire Weekend.

So here we go. I liked this first group of albums a lot-- you might say I think they're the "best" of 2009. remember - these aren't in order!

- - - - - - - - - -

2
Nadja - When I See the Sun Always Shines On TV

This covers record by the (overly?) prolific doom/drone band Nadja kicks off with a cover of MBV's "Only Shallow," and then goes on to reimagine Elliott Smith, Slayer, Swans, Codeine, and a few others. This might be my favorite record of the entire year. It's gorgeous, well-produced, and far better than any covers record has a right to be, really. the Kids in the Hall cover is one of the gloomiest things I've heard in a long, long time.

1
Hatred Surge - Deconstruct

Dunno what it says about me that this record was probably my most-played of this year, but it was. The self-applied "grinding powerviolence" descriptor fits this perfectly. Ugly, bleak, raw, oppressive, and just about ideal as far as this stuff goes. This was originally a very Despise You-esque project of the bassplayer from Insect Warfare, but it's a lot more than that now. People will try to top this for a long, long time, which leads me to...

3
Mammoth Grinder - Extinction of Humanity

Basically a couple of dudes from Hatred Surge, but sans Faiza and plus someone else.(?)(!) Really good old-school death metal. the riffs. THE RIFFS.

4
Trapped Under Ice - Secrets of the World

Baltimore hardcore in the vein of Cold World and all that other Wilkes-Barre business - sort of. Bleak, angry, memorable, no-frills stuff. Kind of a must-have, as far as these things go.

5
Dinosaur Jr - Farm

I don't need to talk about it. I just need to let you know that if you don't like it you're a jerk.

6
Moutheater - Ornament

Incredible Jesus Lizard-meets-Cursed kind of noise rock record, if I may oversimplify. Bits of harsh noise stylings creep into this release in a very welcome way-- its maybe a bit angsty for some, but I think it's phenomenal. I'm just afraid this band is peaking early with their first LP. Can't recommend this enough, along with all the EPs they released prior to this.

7
The Atlas Moth - A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky

This is the first full-length by these guys, and I can't wait to hear more. It should be noted - although I'm gonna compare them vaguely to Neurosis and what Isis should sound like now, there's a lot more going on than that, and it's not tired at all, unlike the vast, plodding majority of the bands that fall under that umbrella. A significant amount of NOLA-styled sludge (think Eyehategod) and texture are happening here as well, along with a heaping helping of American doom. This and the new Yob are atop the list for me as far as the longer, meaner stuff goes. Give it a spin. Or four.

speaking of Yob,

8
Yob - The Great Cessation

Try and find a better doom record this year. I dare you. The Pacific Northwest must be really, really oppressive, because even though at least one of these guys is a family man, it hasn't toned them down a bit since their inception. Man, despondent rage never sounded so excellent.

9
Burnt By the Sun - Heart of Darkness

This sounds exactly like it was supposed to, which is why it's so phenomenal. These dudes didn't slow down a bit during their (rather lengthy) hiatus. Heavy, complex, and proficient. Excellent. It's been a good year for old guys making relevant music typically executed by "kids."

10
Afgrund - Vid Helvetets Grindar

Top-notch crusty Swedish grind in the vein of Human 2.0-era Nasum or Rotten Sound. Does the new Magrudergrind one better. Grind nerds shouldn't miss out. Willowtip is on a roll this year, seems like.

11_ />
<br /><b>Blacklisted - No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me</b>
<br />
<br />Where did this even come from?  I didn't even hear about this until after it released.  Either way - it's phenomenal, and continues the group's progression from a hardcore band into something else.  I'm getting a lot of Jesus Lizard out of this, and a whole lot of 90's Seattle grunginess too.  I like it a lot.  This one will probably be forgotten, unfortunately, because hardcore kids don't tend to appreciate deviation from the norm, which is an awful thing in this case because this record is great. Ugly cover art, though.
<br />
<br /><img src=
13
Coalesce - OX/OXEP

I'm treating these as one entry because they're both from the same recording sessions and are quite similar. I'm not gonna try to sell anyone on this band - if you know who they are then you already know whether or not you like them based on years and years of releases. This seems to be the year of the comeback record for bands that have been inactive, and OX is probably the best of them all. (OXEP is the stuff that didn't fit on OX.)

last, but certainly not least...

14
Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse

This is so good. They took the old ANb formula (short songs, frantic drum machines, lack of a bass) and threw it all away. The songs are 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes long, they've added a female vocalist (Kat of Salome), they've added a bass, and there's a drum machine solo. It's fantastic. The lyrics are absurdly offensive, and so is the Florian Bertmer artwork.

- - - - - - - - - -

ok, here's the stuff I rather liked but didn't feel made it to whatever arbitrary list is above this text, with a blurb about each.

Polvo - In Prism - Like I said earlier, 2009 was pretty magical for bands returning from inactivity to record solid albums. this stands with any of their previous records, I think, and it continues to grow on me with every listen.

Rise & Fall - Our Circle is Vicious - Nasty Integrity-influenced Belgian hardcore. I felt the previous record was better, but this is still pretty good.

Reign Supreme - Testing the Limits of Infinite - I think I wore this out early on. It's kind of dumb, but it's immensely memorable and enjoyable. Very solid "typical" hardcore record.

Behemoth - Evangelion - Great death metal record, zero trendy "deathcore" garbage. Reminds me of Nile, but with a Sumerian theme. I think this is on here because I didn't listen to nearly enough new death metal this year, but either way, it's solid.

Yeah Yeah Yeah's - It's Blitz! - This wins for the occasional Italodisco stylings alone.

Baroness - The Blue Album - Maybe if Mastodon had any talent left after their one good record and one decent record they might have evolved into this band, but instead they put out Crack the Skye and made a prog album for deaf people. Pity. Anyway, this is good.

Poison the Well - The Tropic Rot - I didn't expect to enjoy this, so much so that I had to be convinced to listen to it. It's way, way better than it has any right to be. Honestly! (and no matter what anyone says, this band was embarrassing back in their 'heyday.')

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca - I really liked the last one (which was quite different in tone, I think), and I might like this one even better. Unique and inventive.

Tombs - Winter Hours - I might have liked this more, except for the part where they kind of sucked live, TWICE. "Merrimack" is a standout track though.

Darkest Hour - The Eternal Return - Look, I'm supremely mortified to add this, but I have to be honest, it's really good. This band got pretty wretched for a few years there, and they've always kind of been (ok, they've always really been) an At The Gates knockoff, but this...this is actually good thrash. Who knew? 2009 has been full of surprises.

Ancestors - Of Sound Mind - If King Crimson and Black Sabbath had a baby...

Church of Misery - Houses of the Unholy - Nothing groundbreaking, but Japanese EHG-worship bands writing long songs about serial killers apparently happens to really be my thing, so on the list it goes.

Magrudergrind - Magrudergrind - How did the generic grind band with a bad name suddenly put out a completely solid Nasum knockoff record? I'm pleased and surprised. I can see them improving with age.

Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures - Hey, neat. didn't want to like this but I kinda do. Dave Grohl should stick to drumming if he won't write anything like Foo Fighters - S/T again.

Brutal Truth - Evolution Through Revolution - Another one of those releases where you either know if you're gonna like it or not before you even hear it. Solid grind release by a band that's been around the block many, many times.

- - - - - - - - - -

ok, I didn't like these. I'll start lightly. or at least I'll try to.

Clipse - Til the Casket Drops - Too bad this has one of the best hip-hop singles of the year on it (Popular Demand), because otherwise I could write it off almost entirely. What happened to these guys?

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion - I recall making fun of this last year when it leaked. Gonna do it again. Overrated, overrated, overrated. I don't even like the word and I feel it applies here more than anywhere else. Look, this is pleasant enough, fine. But come on. Enough. It's not mindblowing because it's a hopscotch sonic collage - it's just temporarily interesting. This is not the new Pet Sounds. Everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten that these guys were wearing animal suits and playing bad freak-folk (now there's a redundant phrase) a few years ago. Yawn.

Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 - What, naming it after 2 better records somehow validates this phoned-in garbage? Nice try, dude. There are a couple of good tracks on here, but by and large, this is filler and yacht payment slurry. Forget it.

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem - Elvrum's "black metal" album turns out to be nothing more than a gimmick backed with monotonous songwriting and fuzzy overproduction; indie world takes no notice, purchases in droves anyway. more at eleven. (ok, fine, the Twin Peaks song was good. because he didn't write the cool parts.)

The Mars Volta - There was some new one, right? - didn't listen to this because I'm a decent human being.

Immortal - All Will Fall - These guys and Darkthrone are apparently in some sort of grim, kvlt race to see who hits the frostbitten pinnacle of black metal irrelevancy first. Darkthrone's winning but this just closed the gap. spare me the mid-tempo drudgery.

Converge - Axe to Fall - I heard the first track off of this and got really excited. Then I heard more and got really unexcited.

Mastodon - Crack the Skye - I don't know which makes me more embarrassed to admit I like metal - garbage like Disturbed that the average Joe seems to think is metal, or garbage like this that used to BE metal but sounds like a toothless prog-for-dummies bar band. Nice face tattoos, dude. At this rate, two albums from now they'll record an album that Phish fans will enjoy.

Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder - This isn't horrible, don't get me wrong. However, if a sludgy doom band has Wino, Al Cisneros of Sleep, Dale Crover, and Scott Kelly in it, I expect - nay, demand! - more than mediocre, forgettably decent songs. What a colossal letdown.

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest - Feeling very sleepppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp

sorry, dozed off on the keyboard there.

Trail of Dead - Century of Self - More like Century of Suck, amirite?! Seriously, this sucks.

Jim Jones - Pray IV Reign - Think about this - when was the last time you heard a hip-hop album where the intro was better than any of the tracks that followed? Now that's special.

Cam'ron - Crime Pays - Bad year for Dipset stuff. this one's not too good either.

Sonic Youth - The Eternal - Band makes good album and breaks with tradition; band follows up good tradition-breaking album with laurel-resting, badly written album. hm.

Slayer - World Painted Blood - Look, I should've known, ok?

- - - - - - - - - -

I liked these records, but I didn't hear enough of them to honestly list them.

Girls - Album (I need to get this...it's exceptionally pleasant)
Nadja / Pyramids - split (you may have noted that I have a thing for Aidan Baker/Nadja)
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns (what's up, Kate Bush worship?)
Napalm Death - Time Waits for No Slave (saw the show. does that count?)

- - - - - - - - - -

and finally, three things I didn't listen to/couldn't stand because I am a decent human being with a conscience:

Wavves - whatever it's called (maybe if I didn't shower enough and wore TOMS shoes I would 'get it')

Vampire Weekend - whatever it's called (despite what NPR and J. Crew tell you, this is worthless.)

Jay Reatard - whatever it's called (look, I enjoyed Blood Visions, but COME ON.)

- - - - - - - - - -

discuss!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Monday

Not a whole hell of a lot going on all week as far as shows are concerned. In fact, I don't really even see a point in doing a "shows of note" feature because there aren't a lot of noteworthy touring acts coming through this week. However, we will have more posts coming between now and the next couple of days, so check back with us throughout the week, and let us know about anything good we haven't heard about in the comments sections.









Enjoy Cool Out at the Cavern tonight and Jazz at the Amsterdam as well....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Weekender

Hey there-- Year end writing, holiday traveling and a variety of other things have caused us to not have a ton of time for the Weekender this week, sorry about that. We do have a lot of shows and links listed below, however, so check them out. We know we've been a little lame this week, but we have more content coming next week and we think you'll like it, so stay tuned. Shows:


FRIDAY

Black Friday with Keith P/Red Sean/Anthony Social/Young Adult Fiction (Fallout Lounge)

Hardin Sweaty And The Ready To Go/Jacob Metcalf/Therapeutic Smile/Little Birds (Rubber Gloves)

Dustin Cavazos/Awkquarius/Dem Southernfolkz (Good Records)

Eaton Lake Tonics/Whiskey Folk Ramblers/Slider Pines (Lola's)

Sarah Jaffe/Robert Gomez/Matthew Gray/Josh Mease (J&J's Pizza)

Colette/Kelle Marie/Paul Paredes (Glo-Lounge)

Rusko/Bird Peterson/Dub Assembly/Mike B/Select/Titan (Lizard Lounge)

SATURDAY

Dead Noise/Hell Kontrol/Life Erased/Tolar/Rotundus (Phoenix Project)

Muzak John/Larry Llorac/Habeeb/A Fail Association/Mind Hunter/Ascites/Poison Apple/Joey Lawrence Gets A Coke Problem/Shortwave Death System/Hawaiian Breeze (Wasted Words Art Collective located at 2404 S. Fielder in Arlington)

Hentai Improvising Orchestra/Breaking Light/Zeitmorder (1919 Hemphill)

Day Bow Bow Presents Christmas Spectacular/Christmassacre with RTB2/Manned Missiles/Spooky Folk/Delmore Pilcrow (Rubber Gloves)

AND

Damaged Goods/Record Hop/Yeah Def/Dharma/Florene (Bee's Manor)

SUNDAY

Christmas In Candyland with Melissa Meow/Courtney Crave/Bunny Bailey and more (The Church)

Screening: Three On Sunday With Martin Iles featuring Santa Claus Story/Winter Carousel/You Better Watch Out (Dan's Silverleaf)

For Your Pleasure With DJ G/DJ OPS (Hailey's)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Frank Phosphate's Best Albums of 2009

Welcome to the very first part of our year end coverage. Below you'll find Frank Phosphate's thoughts on his favorite records of the year, and within the next few days you'll see mine and DL's lists as well, followed by several all local features, including the local 2009 album reviews post we promised. Again, if you want us to review your record as part of our year end coverage, please email weshotjr@gmail.com with a download link and clearly label the name of the artist and album, preferably in the subject line of the email. Please do this before the end of the week. Thanks. (SR)

Honorable mentions - Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career, Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms, Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar, Lilly Allen - It's Not Me, It's You, Destroyer - Bay of Pigs, Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs, Prefab Sprout - Let's Change the World with Music, Inglorious Basterds OST, Leonard Cohen - Live in London

Notable reissues - The Vaselines - Enter The Vaselines, Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky, Dolly Parton - Dolly, Damon & Naomi - The Sub Pop Years, Brian Eno and David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Harmonia and Eno 76- Tracks and Traces


Limits of Control - OST: Boris and Sun O)))) are not artists I particularly stay up with, but their music was a perfect match for Jarmush's dadaist romp. I really liked the movie but everyone else seemed to hate it. The majority of the criticism, from both peers and journalist alike, claimed it was slow, boring and pointless. The exact words that pop into my head when I think of Boris and Sun O))). When people complain about the pretentious artiness of the movie, I imagine sitting them down and explaining-- "This isn't a movie about philosophy nor does it have anything near a complex plot. It is not driven by plot, but rather by brief character interactions and imagery which isn't something done very often in Western cinema. There is nothing to 'figure out' in the storytelling. Just sit back and try to approach it like listening to a piece of Jazz or Classical music." Now if anyone sat me down with a similar line concerning Boris I would punch them in the face, so is the polarizing nature of art. Anyhow, the soundtrack reminds me of the movie and I like that. There are some surprise ethnic tinged tracks thrown through out to break up the monotony a bit. Just like the movie, this soundtrack is a slow journey and can loose your attention if you don't watch out, but the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.

McAlmont and Nyman, The Glare: I have been a big of Nyman's score work for awhile so I was very excited to hear about this unusual project which is essentially soul music done Micheal Nyman style, words and vocals courtesy of David McAlmont. The album is built around McAlmont lyrics which are all first person narratives inspired by news headlines. These struggles of desperate and all too familiar people work in stark contrast to the lofty avant-garde classicism of Nyman's music. The idea of Nyman's signature staccato serving as the backbone for a socially progressive soul might seem a bit daunting, and upon first listen it can be a lot to wrap your head around. As far as the sound, the best analogy I can come up with would be Prince doing the soundtrack for a Peter Greenaway movie. Much like the films of Greenaway, repeated viewings reveal the beauty in the space between two conflicting ideas. The interaction between voice and song is similar to Antony and The Johnsons, though a lot easier to stomach due to McAlmont's third person perspective on his downtrodden subjects. One of the more challenging and by turn more innovative releases of the year. Exciting stuff. Plus I read they hooked up on Facebook, how about that?


Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix: While not quite as consistent as 2007's It's Never Been Like That, Phoenix still delivered one of the most polished and fun records of the year. Phoenix seem to exist in an universe un-daunted by musical trends or fashions. Some tracks work much better than others, but the ones that stand out do so with a Cadillac grade bullet.









Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band, Between my Head and the Sky: Funny how the freshest sounding album of the year comes from someone is 77 years old. Ono assembled this new incarnation of The Plastic Ono Band with members of Corneilus, Cibbo Mato and her son Sean Lennon. Under Yoko's tutelage, the band creates an album that we have come to expect from the iconic screecher-- namely, the unexpected. I was also surprised at how accessible this album is. Of course Yoko wears her avant-garde ideals on her sleeve, both musically and socially, but the results here are more therapeutic and less jaw clinchingly forward thinking. If I had to rank my choices, and thankfully I don't, this would be my number one.


Keith Canisus, Waves: Shoegazer album of the year. Big time Coceatu Twins vibe throughout but more Heaven or Las Vegas than Treasure. If you know what that means then you know this is worth checking out.










Cold Cave, Cremations/Love Comes Close: I bought the single "Painted Nails" on a whim-- very rarely will I pass up a record with a topless woman on the cover. Very caustic, very dark, reminiscent of something you might catch at House of Tinnitus but with a pop sensibility that recalls Nine Inch Nails or Depeche Mode. "Painted Nails," along with other early demos and live recordings were featured on the release Cremations. There is a creativity in the recordings that has long been missing in the genre, like since the 80's. Love Comes Close, the full length LP re-released through Matador, shows their progression into less experimental and harsh realms and streamlined, albeit very dark, synth-pop territory. This initially pissed me off but I shrugged my shoulders and came to terms with the fact that it is still an awesome album. The band utilizes a diverse array of synth/gothic influences to create distinct nuggets of modulated sorrow. Very dark, but less tongue in cheek than you might expect. Side B opener "The Trees Grew Emotions and Died" is my favorite track of the year.


The Clientele, Bonfires on the Heath: There are certain bands that you can count on to release a solid album every season, and The Clientele is one of them. God Save the Clientele saw the band moving away from the hazy lofi pop of previous releases and into more polished and produced territory, some say to a fault. Bonfire does a great job of retaining the maturity of the band as performers but recalling back to those rainy fall nights of the early E.Ps.








Royksopp, Junior: Without a doubt the best electro-pop album of the year. The Norwegian duo have totally abandoned the electro-chill of their brilliant debut and have elected to build on the unapologetic post modern dance pop of The Understanding, which was good but showed a band trying to find their foothold, something they accomplish here. Even though it is electronic and has the trappings of dance music, this album would fit in better as score to a sci-fi movie than on the dance floor. The album features an array of female vocalist (Lyyke Li, Robyn Karin Dreijer of The Knife) that help bring soul to the synthetic sound the music, and although the soul may be that of a robot, it's a robot that is ready too boogie in a post-modern disco of inequity.


The Pastels/Tenniscoats, Two Sunsets: Not content with reliving the glories of old, The Pastels teamed up with Tenniscoats to make this sparse yet engaging album. This one came totally out of left field for me-- I had actually never Tenniscoats before, which I quickly corrected, and I always like The Pastels even though they are not one of my favorite bands from the C86 era. Even though both bands could fall under the "twee" category, they approach it in very different ways: The Pastels with their guitar based jangle pop and Tenniscoats with their sparse, electronic, Mum like experimentation. On this album, the bands somehow marry these two very different styles together into something new and refreshing. The two have no concern for the conformity of either genre and allow the art to explore and grow into an expectantly fragile but emotionally rich experience. The hazy, childlike mood had the potential of becoming wary, but the pacing is handled with such care that it works from start to finish.


Bricolage, ST: These Pains of Being Pure at Heat label mates share a love for 80's indie pop and are not afraid to show it, but Bricolage's approach is rooted in crisp guitars and vocals similar to Orange Juice or Vic Godard as oppose to Pain's fuzz worship. While it would be easy to cry rehash here, the music is done so well that it just doesn't matter. Plus it's not like this music is attempted too often these days, anyway. One of the things I love about indie-pop is that it has taken shape in so many different forms over the years that it's possible to create fresh sounding music by imploring the wellspring of stylistic choices. Of course this is all music that caters to a niche of people who over analyze things like this, so if you're not in the boat already this probably won't provide anything to lure you in. But for those of us still clinging to our copies of You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, this is a warm and welcomed addition to the cannon. Also Slumberland, Bricolage and Pain's label, have been distributing this kind of music since it began so I think that helps support the idea that this new wave is an extension of the previous and not just an emulation.


God Help the Girl , ST/Stills: While the details of the plot might be sketchy, the album is written around three central female singers and their tales of loneliness, social misfits, un-requited love, taking mushrooms and sensual sponge baths. I have always appreciated the way Murdoch is able to shape a song from begging to end, not relying on a catchy chorus or flash to keep his songs going. All of his songs are shaped from the ground up, painting stories and vignettes that resonate on a level that all sad sack boys and girls can appreciate. Murdoch started GHtG as an outlet for songs he had written intended for women-- Belle and Sebastian has had two female singers, but neither of them have much in the way of vocal range. These new songs writing specifically for women has given his characters a new dimension and frees up the limitations of his muses' voices. The thematic territory here is nothing new, Murdoch's characters are all beautiful losers, but this time they are more realized characters as oppose to the abstract characters of his previous work. Writing aside, the album is filled with some of the lushest strings and melodies heard in awhile, and although I could go on forever, I want to go listen to this album right now. With out question my most listened to releases of the year.


Pains of Being Pure at Heart, ST/Higher Than the Stars: I already made my case for these guys when they made their way through so I'll leave the gushing for Stoned Ranger, cause I have a feeling this one is going to show up on his list. I would also like to say that interviewing Kip was a great experience-- we talked for half an hour off camera about the music we love and it was pretty rad. That's all.







Jim O'Rourke, The Visitor: When I heard that Mr. O'Rourke would be releasing a new solo album I got tingly all over. I was a little upset to find out that it was going to be a one track instrumental album, but luckily it is more of the Bad Timing variety as opposed to Terminal Pharmacy. I think this is a better album than the similarly guitar driven Bad Timing, and there is much more cohesiveness to this recording. The styles range from Fahey style guitar work to AM soft rock that wouldn't seem out of place on the Delilah radio show. All these ideas are loosely strung together in what seem to be almost a classical constructed orchestra piece with one man at the controls. What can't this guy do? Now if only he would get to that movie he said he was planning on directing.


Kings of Convenience, Declaration of Dependence: When Erlend Oye isn't plucking and cooing and one half of Kings of Convenience he is involved in numerous projects where his sunny side gets to show through. Once every few years he sits down with his bandmate and records some pristine folk very much in the vein of Simon and Garfunkel. Their latest is a concept of album of sorts concerning the hellish parallels between relationships and war. KoC have a very direct and earnest brand of songwriting, at the end of the day it's just them and their guitars. I know alot of people who are uncomfortable with this Bookends style of music making, but you should really try to just give yourself into the far stretching sense of melancholy here that must be taken with a grain of salt. Definitely not for everyone but one of my favorites of the year.


Etienne Jaumet, Night Music: Ok you ready for a descriptive sentence? This album is beautifully composed and ecletic electropop with numerous and crunchy synth lines coupled with ominous sci-fi sax and other unconventional surprises. Very similar to early Air. If you try to listen to this in a car with a decent, bass heavy system, you will undoubtedly throw up.

It List: Thursday

Hey everyone: we're working on year end coverage right now, the first of which you'll see later this evening, so forgive us if we just provide links for shows this evening:


The Daily Beat/Broadcast Sea/Von Ehrics/No Heroes (Rubber Gloves)

Memphis Pencils / St. Anthony / Holy Wave / Kampfgrounds (Majestic Dwelling of Doom)

80's Night with DJG (Hailey's)

Art List by Sandy Corn-Hall


Dear Metroplex artists,

Who keeps creating all of these terrible tribute renderings of Bob, Jimi and Che? Whenever I see one, I immediately discard it's creation as a complete lack of imagination and write the piece off as swill. My knee-jerk reaction is tragic I know, but realize that if you do make art in this hero-worship vein, your guilt is in your association. Now on to the art week in review.

Landers Machine Shop Art Gallery, 207 E. Broadway Ft. Worth 76104

Before heading out to Artcon, I was lucky enough to hear about a different one night group exhibit going on at the old Landers Machine Shop off of S. Main in Fort Worth. While nearly all of the 8,000+ sq ft building was in action on Saturday, a smaller room (under some leased loft housing) is more frequently used to feature solo exhibits for short periods of time. I hope the new owners keep to that stride at the very least. Saturday's show featured about 50 'emerging' artists from around Tarrant County. I was admittedly drawn to only three or four pieces, and was surprised not to find any hint of an artist's name attached to my favorites. There were many proud price tags, branded right next to lesser regurgitations (see above) of horrible pop, psychedelic, and lazy Photoshop atrocities. While it would have been nice to know who painted the works I enjoyed, I had an overall positive experience, and wish everyone involved with Landers the best of luck.


My favorites from Artcon5

Lauren Kirchner
Vanessa Davis
Jennifer Baker
Iris Bechtol
Jeff Shaw
Robb Conover
Shannon Driscoll
Tania Kaifmann
Amber Campagna
Vet
Jason Janik
Jennifer Carlisle
Sheila Cunningham
Andrew Tolentino
David Wilson
Ange Fitzgerald
Dan Colcer
Jennifer Morgan
Scott Horn

Artcon is a really great annual, and I always have an excellent time. Benefiting area non-profits, the Dallas/Oak Cliff event challenges an incredible number of artists to create one work on a square board in less than three hours. Don't miss Artcon6 in 2010.

The Modern focus: Gardar Eide Einarsson

I don't think this spotlight exhibit is up yet, even though the Modern claims it runs from12/13-2/14. I couldn't find it, and was disappointed. The Modern regularly features impressive touring works, and are continuously amassing a fantastic collection, such as

UNT grad Erick Swenson's physics-defying Untitled sculpture in Gallery 7 immediately trumps the still impressive featured exhibit Moving in Place by Susan Rothenberg. While you're there, check out two video installations in Gallery 8: Vault Sequence Number 10 by Brian Fridge and Setting a Good Corner (Allegory and Metaphor) by Bruce Nauman. Vault Seq. is a loop of different patterns Fridge discovered when introducing steam to his iced-over freezer, and Corner is an hour-long loop of Nauman setting a fencepost. A few of my favorites from the permanent collection are in rotation right now as well, look for the for Sharps Rifle Shop by Rosson Crow.

As you might expect by now, the Kimbell owns a permanent collection of Impressionism, Realism, Italian Renaissance and Surrealism with a little Mondrian thrown in. Currently featured are various works from private collections all over Texas. I encourage you to check this out if you're nearby. Orpheus by Klee and Hector and Andromanche by De Chirico stood out to me. (there's more Mondrian in this gallery too, if you're into that sort of thing)

I haven't made it out yet, but the FW Museum of Science and History is back up and running in their new building. I'll miss being able to point out where eight-year old me puked during during the Omni's helicopter ride opening sequence, but I'm sure the new spot fits well with the rest of the amazing museums in the area. Hope to see it soon.

- Sandy Corn-Hall

Art Con 5 painting night photo by Richardson Heights.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It List: Wednesday



Nothing going on tonight. Check back tomorrow. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It List: Tuesday


Phobia/Akkolyte/Life Erased/Releaser/Enemies Of Inertia (Rubber Gloves): Phobia is a long-running West Coast act that made a name for itself mostly during what was arguably the golden age of American grindcore, and thusly put out records on the vastly influential Slap A Ham label. Tonight's stop in Denton is the final date of their tour. NOTE: Enemies Of Inertia is a last minute replacement for the previously listed Kill The Client.

Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge)


True Widow (DJ Set)
(Double Wide)


The Golden Age/Decades/Human Error/High Anxiety (1919 Hemphill)

Monday, December 14, 2009

It List: Monday



I had a discussion earlier today about why I continue to write about music, and more specifically local music. I think the clip above, from Cassavetes' Husbands, has always perfectly, although at eight minutes plus, not succinctly, encapsulated the urge to write about music, however ill-advised. After watching this again today, I also realized the interaction between critic and performer is also beautifully represented, complete with the complex and cruel emotional intricacies that accompany such relationships. It doesn't get any more "local" than what you see above.

Cool Out (The Cavern)

Bad Ass Jazz (The Amsterdam)

Monday Morning Rock (Orange Coax Vid NSFW)



SHOWS OF NOTE:

TUE: True Widow (DJ Set) (Double Wide)
TUE: The Golden Age/Decades/Human Error/High Anxiety (1919 Hemphill)
TUE: Phobia/Akkolyte/Life Erased/Releaser (Rubber Gloves)
THU: The Daily Beat/Broadcast Sea/Von Ehrics/No Heroes (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: Electric Vengeance/King Ivy/Tattered Flag/Stoned Men/Insinnerator (1919 Hemphill)
FRI: Ascites/Insectivorous Ordure/Carbon And Water/Abuse Tactics/Deadbreed (207 Pine St. in Arlington)
FRI: Black Friday with Keith P/Redsean/Anthony Social/Young Adult Fiction (Fallout Lounge)
FRI: Sarah Jaffe/Robert Gomez/Matthew Gray/Josh Mease (J&J's Pizza)
FRI: Colette/Kelle Marie/Paul Paredes (Glo-Lounge)
FRI: Rusko/Bird Peterson/Dub Assembly/Mike B/Select/Titan (Lizard Lounge)
SAT: Dead Noise/Hell Kontrol/Life Erased/Tolar/Rotundus (Phoenix Project)
SAT: Day Bow Bow Presents Christmas Spectacular/Christmassacre RTB2/Manned Missiles/Spooky Folk/Delmore Pilcrow (Rubber Gloves)
AND
Damaged Goods/Record Hop/Yeahdef/Dharma/Florene (Bee's Manor)
SAT:Hentai Improvising Orchestra (1919 Hemphill)
SUN: Christmas In Candyland with Melissa Meow/Courtney Crave/Bunny Bailey and more (The Church)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekender

FRIDAY

S.O.T.E.G./An-ten-nae/Seied/Carbon Community/Blixaboy/Left/Right/Degro/DJ PWR/Distinct/Soy_Capaz/Universol/Josh Kynd/Acidbeats/Jello/Nao/Joe C. (Whomperland located at 1800 Lear St. in Dallas)

The Dutchess And The Duke/Fergus And Geronimo/Greg Ashley (Rubber Gloves): Another band in a seemingly never ending line of artist trying to put their spin on the eternally idolized early to mid sixties blues tinged rock and roll. The songs are short, loose but focused; leaving no breathing room in their albums short running time. D&D believe enough in the power of mid 60's bluesy rock n' roll and aren't afraid to use it with out apologizes. But when it comes down to it, it's not 1969 and we have seen numerous revivals and they aren't bring much new to the table. While not particularly inspired, the music comes from a honest place which no doubt resonates with it's fans. I might take a listen if they ever move on to their Goats Head Soup faze, but as of now it's nothing that we haven't heard before. Fergus and Geronimo who follow the same hero worship musical tendencies, but with their eyes toward early Beach Boys pop. They also seem to be better at reinterpreting the styles they love as oppose to simply recreating them. (FP)

Farah/Blixaboy/DJ G (Fallout Lounge): t's easy to dismiss Farah as a train wreck waiting to happen. Or maybe a train that has already derailed. Her makeup is always a little off, her second hand designer clothes hanging off her pale flesh, the one note beats that haze through the air and that...voice. It is hard to tell where exactly Farah is coming from with her art, but the consistency in her performance leads me to believe she knows exactly what she is doing. And if she doesn't, she sure doesn't give a shit what you think about it.

Much has been made of her association and work with Italians do it Better label and more specifically Johnny Jewel from who has produced a couple of her tracks, and while that music is great I believe it is her live performance where she really shines. I have followed Farah awhile and it's been quite the trip to see her opening for Glass Candy, covering their songs before they go on then later be featured on the Italians do it Better comp and now on to wherever the heck she might end up next. While she is not going to win any American Idol competitions, Farah is a fantastic, albeit unconventional performer. She has the gift of non-nonchalance that keeps some of the audience questioning with intrigue what exactly it is they are witnessing while the rest of the crowd might be laughing at her. I have a feeling that is what she wants, and I know that's what I want. The line between the artist and the art is definitely blurred here, but if you spend too much time focusing on the "honesty" of her performance you will be missing the point.

If you don't like watching performers answer their phones or put on make-up while performing then this show may not be for you. Someone should invite Eric Keyes to see what he thinks about it. The scarcity of her performances is also one of the exciting things about her, so be sure not to miss this one, because who's know when the next one will be. DJG will be spinning between sets, and he's the best DJ in the area for people are into music but not necessarily into DJs. Local electronically gifted and cool band shirt owning act Blixaboy rounds out this solid night in big D. (FP)

SATURDAY

Hot Flash 3 Year Anniversary Party: Duey FM, Neiliyo, Richard Henry, Killtron, Schwa, Genova (Fallout Lounge): Wow, so Hot Flash has been going on for three years now? Really? I'll be the first to admit that for the better part of the last year I lived in Dallas, I sort of started to lose track of the local hipster dance scene after almost every single one of the 8 million weekly and monthly DJ parties popping up around town started filling up with the kind of douchebag element that I started hanging out in East Dallas to escape from in the first place. This isn't a critique of the organizers or DJs involved with these parties at all, and as a matter of fact, its probably more a reflection of their successes than their failures. It's now safe to say that DJ Nature's second tenure at Rubber Gloves in early 2006 was the beginning of a very noticeable transformation of Dallas and Denton nightlife. Nature was the first DJ in the metroplex (h8 that word), as far as I know, who was keeping up with everything that was going on in international dance music from San Juan to Berlin to New York, and he was the first to realize that it was ok to play M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, a Smiths song and a straight up dance hall single back to back to back to back, setting the foundation in the area for the genre jumping sound that is taken for granted almost every night in places like Hailey's, Fallout Lounge and, gulp, Ghost Bar. The formula sounds simple enough, but trust me, the wasteland that was Dallas dance music back in 2006 was sorely lacking a DJ with Nature's sensibilities. Later that same year, Nature joined DJs Sober and Select to start the monthly Party events at Zubar, and most of you probably know where it goes from there-- soon enough, it seemed like the whole city was trying to get into Zubar each time the trio played, and after their success was eventually noticed by the Dallas Morning News, Observer, Star Telegram and other mainstream local media outlets, dozens and dozens of similar events started popping up all over the place and getting quite popular with folks on both sides of Central Expressway, leading us to where we are today-- the once underground community surrounding the Party and associates has reached relative mainstream acceptance amongst local dance music fans of all stripes. Anyway, Hot Flash was right up there with the Party amongst the pioneers of this miniature local movement, and for anyone to do anything for three years in Dallas is quite impressive, and a testament to the abilities and track selections of the DJs as well as the collectively friendly vibe this night has always exuded, and they deserve to be recognized for it. (SR)

Art Conspiracy (Resolana Benefit) featuring Telegraph Canyon/Boom Boom Box/RTB2 (511 West Commerce in Dallas):

The Beaten Sea/Naptime Shake/Slow Burners (Good Records):

Dub Assembly with Kaiten/Anna Love/Pandai'a/Mundo/Royal Highnuss (Green Elephant)

ADD:

Dave Burrell (Sandaga Market located at 1325 E. Levee St. in Dallas, TX): Presented by Inner Realms/Outer Realms, the show organizing entity run by Aaron Gonzalez. Acclaimed free jazz pianist, liked mostly by people who actually like music and write for highbrow magazines. I mean in that in the best possible way. Breath of fresh air around here to have a show like this. (DL)

Video/True Widow/The River Mouth (606 Congress In Denton): It would be stupid not to attend this if you're in Denton. Video features Harpal Assi aka Bad Lieutenant, who is a fantastic bass player. (DL)

SUNDAY

Nitzer Ebb (Lizard Lounge): British industrial pioneers Nitzer Ebb are one of those groups that has been much more influential than most people realize, playing a role in bridging the gap between early electronic dance, rough early industrial and late 80's house/pop dance music, a mixture that would go on to form the basis for a great deal of extremely popular music in the 1990s (see everything from Nine Inch Nails to the Prodigy to White Zombie to KMFDM). With influences ranging from 70's German group DAF to early Human League to Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb began with a rather harsh and mechanized (bordering on militant) take on industrial but always incorporated elements of dance music that had largely been absent from early industrial experimentation, pushing their material closer and closer to pop viability without ever really compromising anything. Essentially, instead of moving away from their harsher roots, they made it more acceptable for the dancefloor to welcome such harsh, aggressive sounds, delivering some pretty dark tracks to a much wider audience than anyone could have probably expected even a couple years before the release of their excellent 1987 debut full length, That Total Age. Seeing these legends at Lizard Lounge will likely present its own set of challenges, but if I were in Dallas this weekend it would still be at the top of my weekend musical priorities list. (SR)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Art List

Admittedly, I'm not very good at analysis and criticism. Under my tutelage, this Art List has been a little weak, blandly aggregational, and featuring some really piss poor interviews! But I'm pretty good at organizin' stuff. So, I'm trying to get some outside help to make this We Shot Jr feature better. In the next few weeks, you will also be reading some content from a person representing the Mid-Cities / Fort Worth side of our Metroplex, and his/her special name is going to be: Sandy Corn-Hall.

But I need your help, too! If you or someone you know has hard-hitting art opinions to express, or the desire to develop some while documenting the Dallas / Fort Worth art scene, would you please have them squirt a little email over to artnews@weshotjr.com?

The only thing really going on this weekend is Art Conspiracy. The challenge to the artist at this event is to paint a painting on plywood in sub-freezing temperatures in less than 2.5 hours' time. This happens on the annual Friday night painting event (it's closed to the public). Then on Saturday night all the somewhat-crippled paintings are auctioned off to support a local charity. This year's beneficiary is Resolana TX. Resolana is a pretty incredible organization, they are "a community-based nonprofit organization that provides holistic, gender-sensitive, rehabilitative programming for incarcerated women" in North Texas.

So, Art Conspiracy is happening on Saturday at 7PM. Come spend your Christmas gift money here. There are also a bunch of musical acts playing. I bet DL will cover that tomorrow. Maybe go beforehand to see the opening at Barry Whistler. It's called "Snow White" and runs from 6-8PM, at 2909-B Canton Street, Dallas, Tx 75226.

Have a good weekend,
Richardson Heights

The image is taken from Resolana TX's flickr stream of art created by inmates.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

It List: Wednesday


Written Mostly by FP

Hey there-- Although you might doubt us, I wanted to let everyone know that we're working on a bunch of different things these days, including the expansion of the site that I alluded to in a post several weeks ago. We don't see any of this being implemented until some time in January, but the good news for now is that we do have quite a bit planned for our year end coverage this month, including a boat load of local album reviews that we didn't get around to this year, which is pretty much all of them. Anyway, we have received a lot of your CDs and album download links over the past few months, but if you haven't sent us your album yet and would like it reviewed (or you think we might have lost track of your original submission), please email your download link to weshotjr@gmail.com and clearly label the album title, artist name and any additional information you would like us to have (album art would be nice). If you send your album to us, we're going to try as hard as we possibly can to include it in our year end coverage, which will start popping up here in the next week or two. Thanks. (SR)

Ishi/Yeah Def/Fizzy Dino Pop/Kashioboy/Sore Losers/Whoa! Coder (Hailey's): So you say you're sick of all that country folk Americana bullshit that seems so ubiquitous these days? Well, I wouldn't expect to see too many classical acoustic guitars tonight at Hailey's, and you might even encounter some ethnic diversity (Whoa!). This show is serving as a release party for Fizzy Dino Pop's latest E.P. which I am assuming will be available there for purchase. FDP mastermind Avery Williamson has recently gone from screaming over his music to having very lovely female vocals compliment his sugary brand of electro-pop. Although I'm sure some of his old school fans might be disappointed, I think it sounds pretty nice. Speaking of semantics, is it really J-Pop if it is conceived and recorded in In Texas? There are plenty of acts in the area and nation wide working in the same sonic realm, but I don't think I have heard the term thrown around to describe domestic artists. Seems like calling Deerhoof J-indie or something.

Kashioboy has been creating 8-bit music for the past couple years but just recently began incorporating live vocals and musical ideas beyond reworking Koji Kondo tunes. Kashioboy main man Chris still uses the "8 bit" sound (most of his music is composed on modified Nintendo Gameboys and DSs) but his songs have progressed into more main stream territory. Check I Must Say or Tortues on his Myspace for example. I have heard a thousand 8 bit covers but still got a little chill down my neck when hearing this re-imagining for the first time the other day.

This will be my first time to see Ishi play live. For some reason I don't seem to frequent the same establishments as these guys, but none the less, I have been curious as to what all the hub bub is bout. Preliminary listening reveals the same hazy quality of the sound that is all the rage now, but without any kind of stamp or personality to make it stand out. Their music definitely caters to the Peter, Bjorn and John crowd. Coming off as dreamy and unoffensive, I would not be afraid to book them for my daughter's birthday party at all. Perhaps some grand personality will emerge on the stage that catch me off guard, but for now, I can't tell if the banality of their Myspace page is an attempt to be kitschy, ironic, streamlined, or if they're just boring people. Listening to the music on said page, I'm gonna guess the latter. Luckily they play last so I can leave if it blows.

Dallas hip-hop duo Sore Losers are also on the lineup and taking a quick spin of the stuff on their site makes it seem like the show should be a lot of fun. Much better than the once a year rap CD I buy from the dudes hustling outside of the gas station I buy smokes at on my way into Dallas. Great night all around, we'll see how Ishi fairs, but to top it all of it's free so it sounds pretty appetizing to me.(FP)

The ISH with Mikey Rodge/Killtron (Ghostbar)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It List: Tuesday


Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge): According to Twitter, Red Sean might be playing some of the stuff he had planned on using for the Black Friday event, and he should be a little more optimistic about the turnout.

90's Night With Yeah Def (Hailey's): Here's a sample of what you can expect from Yeah Def tonight, who is celebrating the one year anniversary of this increasingly popular weekly: Ghost Town DJs, Britney, BSB, Snoop Dogg, Souls of Mischief, Seal, Toni Braxton, Cocteau Twins, AC/DC, Stone Temple Pilots, Paul johnson, Toybox, Daft Punk, R. Kelly, Aaliyah, Nirvana, Ace Of Base, Korn, Cypress Hill, Selena, Black And White Brothers... Everything from east/west rivalry hardcore hip-hop to homoerotic house (like that alliteration???).

Monday, December 07, 2009

It List: Monday

Just the usual tonight, unless you're into ultra-corporate pop-punk. That's not fair actually, some of you really are, even those of you whose taste I really respect. You know who's really good? The Fleetwoods. So timeless. I could listen to this all day, and sometimes I do. There is something really beautifully eerie and lonely in the recordings. Especially coupled with the All-American cookie cutter image. And just check out that album cover. I have this thing at home and the colors are unbelievable. Anyways, here's their a capella version of "Unchained Melody." Have a good evening.

Cool Out (The Cavern)

Mayhem Mondays (Fallout Lounge)

Critical Mass Bike Ride (Downtown Fort Worth): From the invite: Meet at 6:30pm at the ITC station, 1000 Jones St. Downtown Fort Worth.

Bad Ass Jazz (The Amsterdam)


SHOWS OF NOTE:

MON: Caulfield/Lunae Nemoris/Violent Messiah/Raging Boner (Phoenix Project)
WED: Ishi/Yeah Def/Fizzy Dino Pop/Kashioboy/Sore Losers/Whoa! Coder (Hailey's)
THU: Darktown Strutters (Tradewinds)
THU: Sleep Whale/Dust Congress/Eyes And Ears (Rubber Gloves)
THU: Jay Reatard/Fergus And Geronimo/Surfer Blood (The Granada)
FRI: S.O.T.E.G./An-ten-nae/Seied and more (Whomperland located at 1800 Lear St. in Dallas)
FRI: The Dutchess And The Duke/Fergus And Geronimo/Greg Ashley (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: Farah/Blixaboy/DJ G (Fallout Lounge)
SAT: The Beaten Sea/Naptime Shake/Slow Burners (Good Records)
SAT: Hot Flash 3 Year Anniversary Party: Duey FM, Neiliyo, Richard Henry, Killtron, Schwa, Genova (Fallout Lounge)
SAT: Art Conspiracy (Resolana Benefit) featuring Telegraph Canyon/Boom Boom Box/RTB2 (511 West Commerce in Dallas)
SAT: Dub Assembly with Kaiten/Anna Love/Pandai'a/Mundo/Royal Highnuss (Green Elephant)
SUN: Nitzer Ebb (Lizard Lounge)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Weekender

I made a huge mistake, so Frank Phosphate and I wrote about some of the same shows, however our opinions differ a little. Imagine that. Unfortunately, it prevented me personally from saying more about other stuff. Sorry. Especially about the punk shows and the show at eXcuses. Next time.

Also there is a Day Bow Bow show at The Handsome Kitten tonight, featuring The Kris Special, Baruch The Scribe, and Emily Stoker among others. Should have mentioned that. -DL

FRIDAY

Bill Callahan/Lights/Neal Morgan (The Granada): By dropping the Smog moniker, Callahan's music has opened up to new and exciting places. I have always been a fan of Smog's songwriting, I have always enjoyed his albums, especially those produced with Jim O' Rourke. But I REALLY liked Woke on a Whaleheart. It had playfulness, not just in the songwriting, but also the music, that I saw has a big step in the right direction after the string of solid but similar-sounding albums. Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle, Callahan's most recent album, and the second to don the Callahan name, delves back into the darker lyrical territory of his previous work, but with production values far cleaner than those early 4-track recordings.

Bill's dark sense of humor and curmudgeon demeanor definitely make for an entertaining live performance. While sarcastic and moody, his performance never seems forced or labored. You can tell that he is having a good time, however is not afraid to make a snide comment to a rude fan if he so pleases. (FP)

Good looking out on Bill Callahan's part in getting the excellent musicians from the horrifically underrated Austin act, Horse Plus Donkey, to back him up, and hopefully they'll be in tow tonight. Fellow Drag City residents Lights will also perform, and I enjoyed the one track I've heard by them, kind of like Glass Candy if they combined their Italians Do It Better disco with their early rocked out style. Really nice, dry production and not bad at all. You really have to give Drag City credit for keeping everyone guessing for decades now. (DL)

Electric Vengeance/Stoned Men/King Ivy/Youth Aggression/Tattered Flag (The Phoenix Project)

Doyen/Kampfgrounds/This Old House (1508 Broadway St in Denton):

M.A.N.D.Y./PointBender/James Warren/Kean/DragonLazer and Upstairs: Royal Highnuss/Redeye/Dub Til Dawn/DJ ET (eXcuses)

Vic Chesnutt/Liz Durrett/Sans Soleil (Hailey's): Lucky night in North Texas for flagship indie singer-songwriter fans this Friday. Two of the longest lasting and well respected figures in said genre will be gracing us with their collectively dour presence Friday night. There is a lot to respect Vic Chesnutt for as an artist. His resilience in the music business despite many near-fame misses and his willingness to collaborate with a diverse and ever changing group of artists has kept him in the hearts and minds of modern troubadour followers.

There is no doubt that Chesnutt has a lyrical presence. His Flannery O'Connor-by-way of-Springsteen lyrical style has given him a small but devoted following for the twenty-some-odd years in the business. Chesnutt utilizes an emotional directness in his words and music that doesn't necessarily work for me. I have always enjoyed the artier side of songwriting, as opposed to the confessional laments. I know that there are some listeners that feed off that emotional directness, but it bores me fairly quickly. As opposed to someone like Bill Callahan, who definitely does not sing about sunshine and flowers yet still delivers the same sense of weariness that Vic is going for.

I have seen Chesnutt perform three times, and the only one that I honestly enjoyed was the show he played alongside Elf Power in support of Dark Developments, which I believe to be his best album. The other two times I wanted to lay on the floor and take a nap in the club. Speaking of which, that's the same feeling I have gotten from standing through two sets by Denton post-rockers San Soleil. San Soleil create what I believe to be one of the most boring and self indulgent musical forms ever, and yet both times I have seen them, the crowd has been jam-packed and really into the music. Sometimes I just don't get stuff I guess. (FP)


Everyone's talking about Guy Picciotto and Thee Silver Mt. Zion playing on the new Vic Chesnutt record, and though I was skeptical at first, the tracks I heard on NPR's Fresh Air earlier this week were a pleasant surprise. The music was pretty brooding and building, more reminiscent of TSMZ than any DC Dischord rock, with uncomfortably honest lyrics about the death of Chesnutt's mother and love letters to suicide. Sounds bad on paper, but a compelling execution nonetheless. (DL)

Division Of Power/Collick/Lunae Nemoris/Abuse Tactics (207 Pine St. In Arlington): There may or may not be a keg involved if you're into that. Abuse Tactics includes members of Ascites performing music that is "dark" and "loud," which isn't surprising at all if you click on that link. (DL)



SATURDAY

Aesop Rock/Rob Sonic/DJ Big Wiz (The Granada)

Theatre Gallery/Prophet Bar Reunion: Shallow Reign/Decadent Dub Team/Loco Gringos/Cathouse/The Trees/Bat Mastersons and more (The Prophet Bar): This large and lofty event is going to occupy two rooms of the Prophet Bar, aiming to bring together a lot of the key figures of Deep Ellum's near-mythical past, and since I'm mainly familiar with the hearsay of ex-Deep Ellum scene types more than anything else, it's probably best for me to let the man behind the project describe the event in his own words, the very outspoken Jeff Liles. Before I do that though, I want to mention that SR and I recently had a discussion about how Decadent Dub Team got totally screwed by the All Music Guide. Happens to the best of them, Liles, don't sweat it. I'm looking forward to see what happens with the Kessler Theater Project in Oak Cliff. From the invite:

A reunion gathering for people who were part of the Theatre Gallery/Prophet Bar music and art scene in Deep Ellum during the mid-to-late 80's. The roster of touring acts that played at the Theatre Gallery reads like an alternative rock "Hall of Fame": Bad Brains, The Replacements, Husker Du, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flaming Lips, Scratch Acid, Meat Puppets, Butthole Surfers, The Smithereens, Jane's Addiction, Suicidal Tendencies, Sandra Bernhard, Henry Rollins, True Believers and 10,000 Maniacs were all featured performers.

Local acts like New Bohemians, The Buck Pets, Rev. Horton Heat, Rigor Mortis, Three On A Hill, End Over End, Shallow Reign, Decadent Dub Team, Loco Gringos, T42, Course of Empire, Mel Coolies, Peyote Cowboys, The Daylights and The Trees all established loyal followings.

Bands booked for the upcoming "Full Circle" event include: Shallow Reign, Decadent Dub Team, Loco Gringos, Cathouse, The Trees, Bat Mastersons, Cricket Taylor, Chris Savage, Graceland, Plumbrella, and many others. Louder bands will play in the big room, solo artists and acoustic performers will play in the front room at Prophet Bar. Everybody will get a chance to get on the mic for a minute and tell their favorite Theatre Gallery story.

Pre-sale tickets are ten dollars, 15 at the door. Doors are at six. We want you to bring your kids. "Full Circle" is a reference to a "a passing of the torch" to the next generation of Dallas musicians.


Shiny Around The Edges/Dust Congress/The Kris Special (Dust Congress House): There is a lot of diversity between performance spaces, aka houses, around the Denton DIY community. There are homes that seem like they stepped out of some punk rock John Hughes movie; the capacity for people and great performance space would make one think the place was leased solely for the purpose of booking shows. A great example of this would be the awesome Lion's Den. Then there are places where you feel slightly uneasy due to the "intimate" nature of the space. The Dust Congress house would be one of those places. This is not a bad thing at all, I have seen a couple great shows there and socialized with some very nice people, but it can be a little awkward standing the middle of some ones living room trying not to spill beer on a couch, staring at dirty laundry while waiting for the music to start. I would say that the capacity for this place is about ten people but each show I have seen there is at least quadruple that amount.

Shiny Around the Edges has been on a bit of a hiatus these past few months, so hopefully this marks a return for them to the realm of live performance. I have not seen Dust Congress since the departure of bassoonist Tara Wood, and let's hope the boys can make up for feminine mystique that she brought to the group. Should be a great show all around, just be prepared for the possibility of a pitch black performance if the neighbors call the cops and they start to roll by. Also there is going to be a cookout before the show. Good Ol' Denton. (FP)

Hex Dispensers/Deathray Davies/Occult Detective Club (Double Wide): Why did I not hear of this show until today? By the way, did The Deathray Davies get more experimental, or is the stuff on their Myspace page just playing at the wrong speed? Both? (DL)

Irresponsible Voltron: Parson/Chi/Exceed/Marst/Hoodie Allen/Broken Teeth Crew: Anna Love/Prince William/Mike Townsend (The Cavern)

Blixaboy/New Fumes (Good Records)

Grooms/Nervous Curtains/Eyes, Wings, And Many Other Things (The Handsome Kitten)

Radiant/Air Review/Pale Horse/Far Star (Trees)

The Sneaks/Mudpuppies/Kampfgrounds/Power Nap (920 Bolivar St.): I was laughing pretty hard when I was looking up the info to this Facebook show invite and caught the amazing pic you see above. The invite went further to assure us that "Furio won't be able to make it," since "he wants to have sex with Carmella in the 5th season." Funny, I could have sworn it was the the third. Glad to see that Facebook is slowly but surely turning into the irreverently comedic show flier ghetto that Myspace started off as. Could the end be far behind? (DL)

DJ Underscar/John Kenny/It's Native/Yam/The Sutcliffes/Zest Of Yore/Backflap (Green Elephant)

SUNDAY

Record Swap (The Lounge): Great idea. This ultra-inclusive event encourages you to bring your records and sell them, swap them, or buy them from other collectors, DJ's, producers etc. Sounds good. I hope there isn't an overabundance of CCCP records, that old Dallas vinyl standby. (DL)

For Your Pleasure With DJ G (Hailey's)