Friday, August 20, 2010


By Defensive Listening.

I was lucky enough to catch Yells At Eels and Blixaboy at The Cavern last night, and it was definitely the best show I've seen there in well...probably years. Yells at Eels was as solid as always, but this time the soft refrain/chaos/soft refrain switching-off brought to mind records like Sun Ra's Lanquidity, or Art Ensemble Of Chicago's Les Stances à Sophie which are a couple of personal favorites as far as "out-there" Jazz goes. Stefan Gonzalez is moving to Austin soon, and will be sorely missed, but something tells me we will still continue to hear great things from this legendary local family.

As far as Wanz' Blixaboy set, I'll be the first to tell you that I've heard plenty of hyperbole from Dover over the years about his various projects, and I understand that it's a mix of civic frustration and an almost impossible and borderline insane determination that keeps him so on-edge. Just a guess. Maybe I recognize it in the very reasons that started this whole website. All guessing aside, I have to say that it was by far the best set I've ever seen Wanz play, thanks in no small part to his excellent drummer. I'm the first guy to get nervous when I see the laptop/theremin combo, but Wanz really, really pulled off the various styles of electronic sounds he's into with more confidence and success than I've previously seen. Keep in mind that this is a guy I've watched since I was sixteen. That's much longer ago than I even want to admit, but I'll give you a hint: Chris Farley was still alive.


George Quartz | Darktown Strutters | Future Blondes | DJG (Pastime Tavern): Dallas debut for Future Blondes, which is yet another avant-leaning Houston group that doesn't suck, and just lends more substance to my theory that the city has always been a dark horse in the never-ending discussion on Texas music. After all, this state is as big as Afghanistan, remember? The group is led by one particularly prolific Houstonian, simply named Domokos, who has ties to other respectable acts like Rusted Shut and has even written (and quite well, I might add) for Houston Press, interviewing such underground luminaries as Psychic TV cohort and Genesis P-Orridge's manager Ryan Martin as well as WFMU musical director Brian Turner. It's important to let people who actually deal with music firsthand to have a say in things, as the content of these interviews proves.

Houston also has some forward thinking venues like Notsouh and Super Happy Fun Land which has regularly hosted noise fests and other under-the-radar events, yet still receives regular coverage in the city's alternative weekly.

Not only that, but the best show I've probably ever attended was in Houston: The Ex playing in a high school cafeteria with The Aislers Set, which was sponsored by the non-profit group, MECA. It was at this show that I realized what a strongly supportive underground, free jazz, and noise scene Houston had, and I started to understand why the city's dealers always have the best selection at every record convention. There were little tables set up with all sorts of activist pamphlets and the atmosphere was extremely friendly and utopian. Finally if you're ever naming names, don't forget Jandek, Red Krayola, DJ Screw, and the entire International Artists roster.

In short, don't sleep on this show and don't talk shit about a place you know very little about. You know what other city is cool? LA.

Sextape | Museum Creatures | Vulgar Fashion | Prince William (Fallout Lounge): Great lineup with various forms of synth aesthetic, both poppy (Sextape, Museum Creatures) and creepy (Vulgar Fashion). Last time I saw Vulgar Fashion here they only performed one song, which was a complete drag, but it was the best one-song set I've ever seen. It's good to see Prince William out and about. I know someone was saying on some comment this week that we only ever covered "hipster" dance music, but I'd like to see someone claim that the work that Prince William did with local rapper Hawatha in particular is hipster. Can we finally abolish that stupid term anyway? We're all guilty. Trust me, when you're hanging out at Gloria's or whatever and you're not the polo-necked men and mannequin women actually enjoying themselves, but instead arguing with your friends over "Who got what?" and "Who's getting the tip?" then you're definitely not anyone that should be calling anyone else a "hipster."

Slow Form of Suicide | Contract Killers | Shudder | Ratt Bastards | Electric Vengeance (1919 Hemphill)

The Smoke: Lost Summer Dance (Sons of Herman Hall)

The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt | Kiwi Sisters | Manned Missiles (Nightmare)

Analog Rebellion | Archeology | Land Mammals | Young and Brave (Hailey's)

Caleb Ian Campbell | Peopleodian | Savage and the Big Beat (Dan's)


Embolization | Akkolyte | The Body (Pastime Tavern): I was surprised to see that crazy, costumed duos that play loud and heavy music still come from Providence and that people are still into it. I genuinely think that's cool. It may not be as shocking as it was in 2000, but isn't it kind of reassuring that the world isn't as different as you thought it was? Some of their tracks take themselves more seriously than I was expecting. One track in particular had me worried because it kind of sounded as simultaneously grandiose and somber as something by Dirty Three or Mono. But then I hear this ridiculous cover of Black Flag's "Police Story" and the nasty desperate screams that passed for a vocal made the other slow song so much better. Know what I mean? DIVERSITY. The classic metal of Embolization along with the politico-grind of Akkolyte make this a perfect, fucked up beast of a show.

Ghetto$lang | Gobi | Yeahdef (Hailey's)

Dan Sartain (Nightmare)


Video | Gestapo Kazi | We Are Brothers (Rubber Gloves)


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