Monday, April 27, 2009

End of an Era at Adair's

Mondays, as a general rule, suck. Your body hasn't recovered from the weekend, and to make matters worse, you have to go to work. Mondays were in need of something to make them less painful, and for the past year, Adair's has helped make Monday evening make up for the rest of the day. This was accomplished through the residency of King Bucks. To quote another local band, Pleasant Grove, "nothing this beautiful could ever last." And so tonight marks the end of the band's year long Monday night residency at Adair's. Please, no tears in beers over this; that's not how the band would want the last show to go down. Instead, there should be plenty of beers, but minus the tears. Besides, it's not like there won't be more opportunities to see the band. Just check out their MySpace and you'll find plenty of shows, even a few at Adair's. But alas, none of them are on Monday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 4/26/09

  1. "Were Here", The Orbans
    My hopes were high for the Orbans' performance last night at M2S2, and the band most definitely met those hopes. Within the two year period since the last time I saw the band (under the name The Lifters), they have gone from a good band to a band who's sound is so tight and incredible that they are inches away from being ready for the big time. The band has a lot of shows in the Dallas/Denton/Fort Worth area within the next month, and I would advise you to check one out, because they may not stick around these parts much longer.

  2. "California", The O's
    What's better than seeing a performance by the O's? The answer is getting to see two performances by the O's in a day. I went from seeing them at M2S2 to catching their set at The Cavern. Amazingly enough, they played another show earlier that day. I suspect that John Pedigo and Taylor Young are either still sleeping at this moment or nursing a very nasty hangover. By the way, next time you see Mr. Pedigo, ask him to show off his new belt. It's pretty darn nifty.

  3. "Doreen", Old 97's
    I thought about doing a playlist exclusively of bands whose name begin with O. I came up with The Orbans, The O's, and of course Old 97's. And then I got stumped. So much for that idea. Still, it's a miniplaylist of bands beginning with the letter O, plus it's always a good thing to have an Old 97's song on a playlist.

  4. "Secrets That You Keep", J.D. Whittenburg
    Mr. Whittenburg has kept busy playing with Eastwood lately, which seems to have resulted in putting his own solo material on the backburner. Fortunately, he came out of hibernation this week to play a set at Allgood Cafe, and I know he's got another solo gig coming up. I don't remember when or where, but I saw it somewhere on the interwebs. Anyways, this is by far my favorite track off of his solo CD.

  5. "On the Ground", Tripping Daisy
    Not all songs have a particularly special reason for being on my playlist. This song is the perfect example. This Tripping Daisy song came up on shuffle on iTunes yesterday, and I just felt it needed to be on this week's playlist, and so it is now.

  6. "Lovable", Winslow Bright
    When I first got Winslow Bright's CD, it stayed in heavy rotation for several weeks. Alas, since I'm always discovering new bands and albums, it's easy for an album that I once raved about to be put on the backburner. I felt that it was time, however, to put Ms. Bright back on the limelight and make room in the playlist for the title track of her CD.

  7. "Maybellene Don't", THe BAcksliders
    THe BAcksliders are calling this the first "single" from the album Thank You. Unless they plan on putting out another 7" (which I'd welcome) then I suspect they just mean this is their "empashis track" for lack of a better phrase. Whatever you call it, it's good rock and roll, and I'm sure you'll hear this song when they play House of Blues on May 16th.

  8. "You Know Nothing", Inner City All-Stars
    Yesterday was last call for local bar Gezellig. I went to the club exaclty three times, and for all three times, Inner City All-Stars was part of the lineup. I guess I'll have to find a new place to watch the band.

  9. "Lightbulbs", Something in the Wheel
    I finally got the opportunity to see the band for the first time last night, and I was quite impressed by their perfomance. Their music is a simple yet beautiful blend of folk and bluegrass, and this particular song stood out to me as one of their finest. Fans of the O's need to check out SITW.

  10. "Some Sweet Day", Budapest One
    I was all excited about the upcoming Budapest One reunion show Friday night at the Fairmount in Fort Worth. Rumor has it, however, that the reunion show will not be happening after all, though the cut*off and Whiskey Folk Ramblers will definitely be playing that night. I'll let you know more as I know more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Complete Weekend Update (aka All Shows Not Called M2S2)


  • Cas Haley/Camillle Cortinas/DogDanger (Opening Bell Coffee Mosaic)
    I recently reported that Camille Cortinas was no longer using the band name of Fishing For Comets and the shows will be billed as Camille Cortinas shows. Normally her shows will feature the full FFC band, but tonight's show only features Eric Neal accompanying her. Camille consistently gives an enjoyable show that is sure to bring a smile to even the biggest scrooge's face. I've only seen DogDander once, but this project fronted by Billygoat Brink (please tell me that's a stage name) shows incredible promise.

  • Eleven Hundred Springs/Tejas Brothers/Deke Dickerson/Jesse Dayton (Double-Wide)
    This show starts unusually early (7:30 to be precise) and is sure to be a big freakin' deal. Things you can count on if you go to this show: parking will be a major bitch, the music will kick serious butt, and you will probably wind up hungover the next morning.

  • Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Florene/Nervous Curtains (City Tavern)
    This is a solid lineup for fans of Denton indie rock/electronica/experimental/etc. Matthew and the Arrogant Sea may have the biggest blog following, but for my money, I'd say that Nervous Curtains are the strongest band on the lineup.

  • The O's/Romp Almighty/King of the Rabbit Trail (The Cavern)
    In case you can't make M2S2, or in case one show of The O's in one day isn't enough, check them out at The Cavern. While you're there, you can pick up the brand new Romp Almighty CD, as this is their CD release party.

  • Rodney Parker & The 50 Peso Reward/The Orbans (Andy's Bar)
    Obviously The O's are not the only band who are feeling the need to play a show after M2S2. By the way, have you checked out the "Were Her" video? I think that both the video and the song are beautifully produced, both looking and sounding incredible. If you live in little D, this is the show to attend.

  • Rahim Quazi (Veritas)
    Rahim, why did you have to book a show here against M2S2? Seriously. You're one of Dallas' finest singer-songwriters (probably second only to Salim Nourallah in my book), and it has been forever since I've had the privilege of hearing you play live. Although a wine bar might not be where one would expect to hear such great live music, the spirits of the wine might mix with the spirit of the music in quite an intoxicating manner. If I could clone myself, I'd be here too in a split second. Oh well...

And of course, there's M2S2, but you already knew that.


I promise, I'll get a more thorough list of good weekend shows later today. In the meantime, let me tell you a little about the biggest show of the weekend. M2S2 goes down this weekend at Life in Deep Ellum, and this will be an all day celebration. Before I start talking about the event, however, let me ask you this: have you RSVPed yet? If not, take a break from reading Ghost of Blind Lemon and RSVP. Simply send an email to and when you arrive tomorrow, you'll be on the list and will not have to pay a cover charge. Sweet, huh?

Now for the details. The event kicks off at noon, with a Zounds Sounds CD release and performances by several bands featuring Zounds Sounds students. Then at 4:00 pm, the art gallery at Life in Deep Ellum will host Ear Candy, featuring many of the area's finest photographers works on display. This will include works by Ange Fitzgerald, Erica Felicella, Hal Samples, and Kate Mackley, among many others.

The main event starts at 7 pm, with artists playing in both the Mokah Coffeehouse and the main stage. I'm not even going to begin to list all the bands playing; go to M2S2 for the complete lineup. I will list a few special highlights for me:

  • The Orbans will be playing, and I'm curious to hear how they've grown since they were The Lifters. Based on their new song "Were Her", they've gone from good to fabulous.

  • It's been a year since I've seen RTB2, and that's way too long a wait. That changes tomorrow.

  • Two GOBL favorites, Nicholas Altobelli and The O's, will play the Mokah Lounge and main stage respectively.

  • Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights headline, and every time these guys play, they blow my mind.

Hope to see many smiling faces there!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fishing For a Solo Career?

So what do you call it when a band no longer exists, but hasn't broken up? I didn't think such a thing was possible until yesterday. In a MySpace bulletin, Camille Cortinas announced that there would be no more Fishing For Comets shows. Before any FCC readers start to panic, let me put some of your fears to rest. Camille Cortinas will still be playing songs, but now as a solo artist. These will be the same songs you have come to know and love from her band. While the future gigs will be considered "solo" gigs, she will be playing with all of the same members of Fishing For Comets; there will be no change in lineup.

I got the opportunity to chat with Camille earlier today, and I asked about her reasoning behind this decision. The reasons for the switch varied from the band's internet domain expiring (goodbye to her frustration about venues butchering her band's name. Fishing For Comets seems pretty straight forward to me, but clubs have been notorious for misspelling names of bands. I also asked her if this signified any change in the group dynamic. Ms. Cortinas has surrounded herself with an A-grade cast of local musicians, and I wondered if her becoming a "solo" act meant a redistribution in the sharing of creative musical input. Camille put this worry of mine to rest in a hurry. Simply put, the only difference between a Fishing For Comets show and a Camille Cortinas show is the name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and the same music by any other name will sound as sweet.

For those wanting to see Camille do her "solo" material, you can check her out this Friday at the Mosaic location of Opening Bell Coffee. Cas Haley will headline, and Dog Dander will also share the bill.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watch This, Then Watch It Again... and Again... and Again...

I come home, check my email, and find a letter from The Orbans (previously called The Lifters for those keeping score) sending me a link to their new music video for "Were Her". I enjoyed many of the Lifters songs, most notably "Carolina", whose intro sucks you in immediately. I therefore expected good things from the new song.

What happened next came out of left field for me. This song knocked me off of my feet, and I am not sure of the last time a song had that effect on me. From the first moment, my ears were drawn to the organ intro and the guitars, and lead vocalist Peter Black's voice is quite impressive. The song begs for radio play not because it is generic and traditional Top 40 material, but instead blends a perfectly polished production quality with a melody that leavings you craving repeat listens. Simply put, this is the song you wish the radio stations would play.

The Orbans have yet to release a full length album (although they released Switchblade Waterpistol as The Lifters), so it's too early for me to say how good the band is as a whole. What I can say, however, is that if this song is indicative of the quality of their music, then The Orbans will be one of my new favorite bands.

Don't take my word on how good the song is. Here is the video for "Were Her". The credits start at the beginning of the video, and the song itself starts at about 00:19 or so. And if you're like me, you'll find yourself playing this video more than once. And by more than once, I mean you'll play it so many times that if it was a vinyl single, it'd be worn out by tomorrow.

The Best Unsigned Band in Texas!! The Orbans "Were Her" music video from Jon Todd Collins on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 4/19/09

  1. "Cathedrals", The Felons
    My playlist was all set and ready to be published, and The Felons had to mess it up by debuting a brand new track today. I've only seen the band once since the departure of Fred Holston on keyboard, and I always worried that his absence would leave a sonic hole in the band. This track lays to rest any worries that I've had. The track has something of a Muse-like feel, and that's not a bad thing. Not at all.

  2. "Evil on the Highway", Dove Hunter
    One of the great joys of being a blogger is the array of cool people I get to meet. Angela, a recent acquaintance of mine, is a big fan of such great bands as Rose County Fair, THe BAcksliders, and The O's. She also seems to have a thing for bands with great drummers. When I think of bands with great drummers, these are the first guys that come to mind. Enjoy, Angela!

  3. "Supernatural", Rahim Quazi
    I still haven't seen the new Listening Room at Club Dada, but the roster at the new side room has been first rate. This month has already seen Salim Nourallah, The Monco Poncho, and Winslow Bright performing there, among others. This Wednesday should be another killer show, with one of the favorite singer-songwriters (and one of my favorite persons for that matter) Rahim Quazi headlining. Manya Repnikova of Blue Petal and Morning Elephant (another really cool person) will be playing, as will Shanti. I know nothing about Shanti, but I'll assume Shanti is cool by the company she'll be keeping that night.

  4. "The Spilling Blood Child", RTB2
    "Wire to the Walls" has been on the playlist for the past two weeks, so I decided it was time to give the song a rest. Sure, I could give RTB2 a rest on the playlist, but why would I want to do that? Besides, it gives me a great opportunity to plug their performance at this Saturday's M2S2 festival. I cannot stress this enough, people: RSVP now. Doing so will ensure your ability to get in, and to get in free of charge for that matter. If you need the info, look up my article M2S2 RSVP for all the important contact info and stuff.

  5. "Pawn Shop Special", Noah Caveny
    I found Mr. Caveny's set at Sons of Hermann Hall last night to be quite enjoyable. I hadn't heard much about him before last night, but he definitely proved that his songwriting and performing chops are more than up to par.

  6. "Take a Ride", Lovie
    May 9th is still a little ways off, but I figured I would add a Lovie song in hopes of drumming up a little extra excitement for the Ultraviolet showcase. By the way, if you're in a band, start saving your pennies so you can bid on the opportunity to have me review your album. I hope to have a bidding war over this so that it helps raise a lot of money to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. And I'm not going to lie, a bidding war would be a nice stroke for my ego.

  7. "It's All Coming Down", Binary Sunrise
    One of the biggest problems I face as a blogger and music fan is discovering too much good music. I saw Binary Sunrise for the first time last June at Double-Wide, and I remember being impressed by their performance. Over nine months pass, and I do not manage to make it to a single Binary Sunrise show. Finally, I go to the Good Records showcase yesterday and catch them. They were even better yesterday than I recall them being at Double-Wide. Letting another nine months pass without another Binary Sunrise show would be criminal.

  8. "Rocketships", Menkena
    Good news: Menkena is in the midst of recording their first proper full-length album. Bad news: as a result, it looks like there may not be many Menkena shows on the horizon in the future. Yay to the first, boo to the second.

  9. "Devil's Basement", Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights
    I thought this was a good song when I listened to it on MySpace. After hearing them perform this song live yesterday at Good Records, this MP3 pales in comparison. There is a definite energy in their live performance that is near impossible to capture thru a recording. If you missed their Good Records performance, be sure to RSVP to see them headline the M2S2 festival.

  10. "Clever Found a Name", Deathray Davies
    I got the opportunity to chat with DRD frontman John Dufilho at the Good Records show, and he tells me that there are some live shows on the horizon for the band. And yes, there is a Dallas date among them. I don't know if I can officially announce the date and venue for their Dallas show, but once I get the official okay, you will be the first to know. In the meantime, enjoy this DRD classic.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ghost of Blind Lemon Sells Out... for a Good Cause

Yesterday, I revealed the lineup for the upcoming Ultraviolet showcase that will take place May 9th at Club Dada. I am always happy to promote the Ultraviolet showcase each year; I love any show that is put on in order to help a cause. This one, however, is perhaps a little more special to me than most. During my time of blogging, I have gotten to know Rebecca Robinson Dixon, lead singer of Lovie. She is truly a sweet person who always brings a smile to anyone's face that she encounters. Any opportunity to help her and/or her daughter is an opportunity I will gladly take.

Obviously, part of that is promoting the upcoming Dada show. I wanted, however, to go a step above and beyond that. This is where local photographer Ange Fitzgerald comes in; she is the woman behind the silent auction that will be taking place at the Ultraviolet showcase. Included in the auction will be art, photography, poetry, and other such creative works. I would have loved to be able to give Ms. Fitzgerald a piece of art to the auction, but there's one problem: I draw worse than your average five year old. I tried poetry. Here is one of my poems:

Roses are red,
Oranges are orange,
And I can't think of a word
That rhymes with orange.

Okay, so the poetry route isn't such a good idea either. There is one thing that I can do well, and that is write about the local music scene. So instead of art, photography, or poetry, I am auctioning off a CD review. That's right, for a minimum donation of $20 (hopefully more if there's a bidding war over yours truly), I will write a review of your band's album. I do not promise a glowing review in my blog, only a honest review. Having said that, if you are of the belief that any press is good press, then this might be the perfect opportunity to gather some extra exposure. Plus, you get good karma points for giving to an important cause, as all the money to the auction items goes to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Below is a copy of the bid form that you will find at the silent auction. Take a look at it for the basic details of how the review works. I hope to see everyone at the auction, and bring plenty of money to bid on the potential album review!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Modification to This Week's Playlist

Track number four on my playlist was originally "86 Me" by THe BAcksliders. Alas, they have removed all songs from their MySpace except for "Have You Ever Been Down?" which is the opening track on their new CD, Thank You. BAcksliders, I'm glad that you posted new music on your site and all, but next time, give me a heads up before you delete a song that I've added to my playlist, k?

Ultraviolet '09

As you can see, the lineup for this year's UltraViolet showcase has been announced, and as usual, the lineup is first rate. Here's some background info for those not in the know: Violet Dixon, daughter to Rebecca Robinson Dixon (Lovie) and _ Dixon (El Gato), was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in November of 2006. The first UltraViolet show was held the following year. The purpose remains the same: to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in hopes of eventually finding a cure for the disease.

In addition to having a stellar lineup of music, there will be a silent auction for art, poetry, and other items. As far as I know, donations are still being accepted. If you are interested in donating art, poetry, and the like, contact me and I will get you in touch with the right people. Oh, and yours truly is donating to the silent auction. I will have more on that front some other time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 4/12/09

I'm shining a spotlight on this weekend's shows, with one particular show getting the largest serving of spotlight.

  1. "Wire to the Walls", RTB2
    I have become outright obsessed with this song as of late, listening to it repeatedly. And their latest track, "When Hammer Hits Stone", is pretty friggin' awesome too. Thanks to Hunter Hauk for sharing that song on the Nightlife blog. If you are in Denton this Saturday, and you are at any other show than RTB2's show at Rubber Gloves (along with Record Hop and Timeline Post), then you are a freak. And I don't mean the good kind of freak.

  2. "Down that Dusty Road", Nicholas Altobelli
    Damn, Mr. Hauk has been getting all the breaks lately. He's breaking new stuff by RTB2, Kristy Kruger, St. Vincent, even Deathray Davies! Oh, and this track too. Since Mr. Altobelli sent me an advanced copy of his Dog Years EP, that helps make me a little less jealous. Come on, Hunter, don't you want to let me have a few chances to break new music? Anyways, you can catch Mr. Altobelli this Saturday at the Hydrant Cafe in Denton.

  3. "Pictures Collected", Salim Nourallah
    I'm not sure how much I'm at liberty to discuss the Salim Nourallah show occuring this Saturday night. Here's what I will say: it will truly be an intimate performance with one of Dallas' finest singer-songwriter treasures. I'm sure he'll be playing this gem off his latest effort, Constellation.

  4. "86 Me", THe BAcksliders
    After years of raving about this band, it appears they're about to get a major break of sorts. THe BAcksliders will be hosting their upcoming CD Release Party for Thank You at House of Blues on May 16th. And no, I'm not talking about the Pontiac Garage. I'm talking about the big main room. In the meantime, you can catch them at the relatively smaller Sons of Hermann Hall this Saturday. The show benefits the non-profit charity SoupMobile.

  5. "Target for Tonight", Johnny Lloyd Rollins
    Most of the good shows are happening on Saturday, but the Johnny Lloyd Rollins show is the one bright spot for Friday night in Dallas. You can see him and Ellen Cherry at the Mosaic location of Opening Bell Coffee.

  6. "Five Minutes", Binary Sunrise

  7. "Come Closer", Shiny Around the Edges
    Of course, the big deal show of the weekend is Good Records' 9 Year Anniversary Showcase. I'm not even going to bother listing all the cool bands playing. For that, just go to the Good Records website. These are just two of the many great bands playing the show.

  8. "The Sparrow Spooked the Crow", Dove Hunter

  9. "Shar Shaped Octagons", The Crash That Took Me
    These are two more bands playing the Good Records show, but you can also catch both in Fort Worth the night before. They will be opening for Starlight Mints at Longhorn Saloon, along with Burning Hotels, who will not be at the Good Records Show. Starlight Mints, however, will be at the Good Records show.

  10. "On & On", Erykah Badu
    And yes, she will be playing with The Cannaboids at the Good Records show. Damn, I can't wait for this show.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Smoke-Free Weekend Update

Now that I've gotten the smoking ban story out of the way, let me help you find a show that you can't smoke at.

Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights/The Orbans (House of Blues Pontiac Garage)
This band has been touring like crazy lately. This summer won't be much better, as they'll be doing shows with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock. Yeah, I'm still stratching my head about that one too. Either way, it's good exposure at least. Tonight, they'll be playing with The Orbans, who were good as Lifters, and word has it they're even tighter as The Orbans. And yes, JT&NL still put on a great live show. I don't see that ever changing.
Nicholas Altobelli (Buon Giorno)
If Mr. Altobelli is playing a show, you can just about guarantee it'll wind up on the weekend list of shows. He's just that good. I've never made it out to Buon Giorno, but he raves about the place. It's out in Grapevine so I'm sure it's a bit of a drive for most people, but Nicholas' music is worth the gas mileage.
Ella Minnow/A Modern Sidewalk/Dead Beat Poetry/On After Dark/You and Me (O'Riley's)
O'Riley's is better known for booking metal band, hair metal cover bands, metal cover bands, and other types of music that I don't like. So imagine my surprise when I saw that Ella Minnow, a band whose music I like, is headlining a show there. Perhaps this could be the beginning of a positive trend. Heaven knows that North Dallas desperately needs a good music venue (other than Dunn Brothers Coffee in Addison).

The Nervebreakers/Spector 45/Sparrowbox (Club Dada)
I don't know who is responsible for the wikipedia article on The Nervebreakers, but take a quick break from reading my blog and click here to find out about the history of this classic punk band from Dallas. But here's my biggest question: will Nervebreakers lead singer Barry Kooda jump on stage with Spector 45 to sing "My Girlfriend's in Iraq", a rewriting of their song "My Girlfriend is a Rock"? The only way to find out the answer is to go to Dada. If you miss this show, well, who knows when or if Nervebreakers will ever do a show again.
The Drams/Homespun Remedies (Barley House)
Between the Slobberbone reunion and Keith and Chad playing in King Bucks, there just have not been near as many Drams shows as there used to be. Catch them this Saturday with Homespun Remedies, a band I'm surprised hasn't made more of a name for itself. Perhaps this opening slot will help them get the exposure they need.

Wow... is that all that's happening this weekend? Surely I must be forgetting something. Let me know if I have.

Blowing Smoke

Tonight, like every other Friday night, music fans will be heading to their favorite clubs, drinking beer, and checking out their favorite bands. But unlike most every other Friday night, one major ingredient will be missing: the cigarettes. Last night was the end of the smoking era for Dallas clubs. Now smokers will be relegated to smoking outside of the venues. I'm not sure how this will work; will smokers be allowed to smoke directly outside the club? I thought most businesses had a 15 feet rule, where you could not smoke 15 feet within the entrance to a business. I suspect that will not be the case here. Granada Theater already allows smoking in an outdoor area right next to the ticket sales.

Before I give my opinion out, let me get this out of the way: I am a non-smoker. On a personal note, I will be glad to not inhale other's smoke, and I will also be glad not to come home smelling like smoke. My feelings on the ban have always been mixed. A large number of those who go to bars to hear music are smokers. I am a firm believer that an individual has the right to do with his or her body as he or she sees fit. Unfortunately, the second hand smoke affects those around the smoker, many of whom are non-smokers. I also worried that this would have a serious negative impact on many music venues, and times are already tough enough for many clubs. Will people quit going to clubs if there is no smoking allowed? For some, the answer will be yes. For the bigger picture, however, let us look down south to Austin for our answer. Their smoking ban has been in place for years, and their music scene has not only survived, but thrived. The smoking ban may in fact bring individuals into the clubs who would otherwise not go because of the cigarette smoke. I hope this scenario will play out in Dallas.

That is my take on the issue. I wanted to get a variety of opinions from people I know within the local music scene. To my surprise, it was almost unanimously in favor of the ban. Only one individual outright opposed the ban, and a few others had minor complaints. Here is a small sampling of the comments:

"On the one hand, I don't agree with the ban, because I believe the club owners should be allowed the freedom to dictate their own smoking policies. But personally, I am glad I can go see a show now and not go home smelling like cigarette butts." - Brett Michael Strawn (Cocky Americans)

"Bars were the last bastion for smokers. Where does it stop. Will I no longer be able to smoke in my car? My house?" - Brian Nesbitt (producer, January Sound Studios

"I hadn't heard about that, but it's genius...maybe I'll start playing shows at bars again" - Cory Helms (Professional Juice, ex-Chemistry Set)

"I'm good either way. When I was a smoker, I didn't mind playing at the Granada and stepping out to have a cig and it was nice being in a room that wasn't a big cloud of smoke all the time. At the same time though, I can appreciate that bars are for drinkin and smokin! Woo! Party! The two go hand in hand." - Josh Hoover (Johnny Lloyd Rollins, Sunward)

"As a non-smoker, I say yay. As a photographer, boo. Some cool photos will not happen without the smoke, but my lungs are grateful. I might live an extra year or two without the second-hand smoke." - Kate Mackley (photographer)

"I could wear the same pair of jeans again the next day. I also wouldn't have to shower at 3 am. because my hair smells so bad." - Manya Repnikova (Blue Petal, Morning Elephant)

"I wish there could be a happy medium. Perhaps, some way to enforce rules about providing adequate ventilation in bars/clubs so that people could continue to smoke and the air could remain relatively clear. I have actually been to venues in Dallas where people are smoking and it’s not very noticeable at all. It’s too bad more venues can’t be like that." - Michelle Stockton (local music fan)

"I don't really mind a smoking ban in clubs. Yes, I am a smoker and this will be an inconvenience to me, but I also understand the need for non smokers to be able to go out and enjoy sitting in a bar without getting ciggerette smoke blown at them from every direction. I don't mind stepping outside to have a smoke if I have to. Besides, Austin has had a smoking ban for awhile now and it seems to be getting along just fine. After the initial shock I think Dallas smokers will be ok too." - Mikey (Obscenely Unseen)

"I'm coming from a very biased non-smoker point of view but, I like it. Sure, the bar owners and smokers are pissed. They should look to our friends in New York or California to see that it is not the kiss of death. As a musician with much travel experience in both of those states, it's easy to see even proper bars (w/out) live music continue to exist after several smoke free years. Austin has joined the game and I don't recall many bars closing because of a smoking ban. Even here in Dallas Granada and HOB seem to be doing OK while asking smokers to step outside." - Robert Anderson (Nervous Curtains)


I've got a busy day ahead of me, including the usual weekend update as well as the smoking ban story that I'm working on. By the way, I thank all of you who shared your opinions with me.

But for now, I wanted to talk little about M2S2. Actually, I'm going to let the official press release do most of the talking, but let me make a comments on the festival.

  1. Booking Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights is no small feat, so hats off to the organizers for getting him to play.

  2. I have been listening to a lot of RTB2 this week even though I've only seen part of one show. I am pumped to see a real live performance of theirs, and I have no doubt that they will rock my world.

  3. If you are smart, you will do as I have done and RSVPed. This insures your ability to get in and see the show free of charge.

  4. Since M2S2 does not have a sponsor this year, use the money you saved on cover charge to buy some beverages (and yes, Double-Wide will provide some adult beverages) and buy some raffle tickets that will help the organizers at least break even after holding this festival.

As for the rest, I will let the memo say everything else.

(I don't have the tech no-how to do cool things like put the memo in a box, so just visualize the memo below in a box.)

DALLAS, Texas (April 9, 2009) -- Begun in 2008 as an annual gathering of DFW/Denton music scene participants, supporters and fans, the second Mokah Music Summit and Showcase (M2S2) takes place on Saturday, April 25 at Life in Deep Ellum (LIFE) on the corner of Malcolm X and Taylor Streets just outside of downtown Dallas. The event is hosted by LIFE and the Carter Albrecht Music Foundation. Full event information can be found at the event web site,

The free event starts at Noon with a Zounds Sounds CD release concert (Noon-4pm); followed by a music-themed art/photo exhibit called “Ear Candy” (4-7pm); and culminating with band showcases in the evening (7-Midnight) featuring headliner, Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights. Sankofa, located two blocks away on Commerce Street, will host the official M2S2 after-party featuring a set by Hoyotoho from Midnight-2am (M2S2 wristband wearers skip the $10 cover).

The Double Wide Bar will be providing a cash bar service all day for beer and wine sales and Mokah Coffee Bar will be providing a full complement of non-alcoholic beverages sales.

People wanting to attend the event are simply asked to RSVP and get on the entry list by sending an email to Emails will only be used for updates on M2S2 and those not on the RSVP list will be required to fill out a card with their email before gaining admission on the day of the show. Should capacity become an issue, those on the advance RSVP list will be admitted first.

Performing on the Live at Mokah main stage starting at 8:00 will be RTB2, The Orbans, The O’s, The Crash That Took Me and Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights. Performing in the Mokah Coffee Bar lounge stage starting at 7:00 will be Something in the Wheel, Nicholas Altobelli, Clint Niosi, Johnny Beauford, Jayson Wortham (Dove Hunter), Emil Rapstine (The Angelus) and the Blackland River Devils.


Zounds Sounds kicks things off with a CD release concert featuring original songs from their student bands from Noon-4pm. Students will be performing songs related to Dallas in some way as part of the afternoon session.

“Ear Candy” follows from 4-7pm in the Mokah Gallery featuring local music-themed art and photography on sale from talent such as: Hal Samples, Jason Janik, Kate Mackley and Charles Siler. Jeff Liles, aka “Cottonmouth Texas,” will be DJing during the reception. “Ear Candy” will remain on display thru Thursday, May 7 when the Mokah Gallery will host a closing event from 7-9pm.

Other components of M2S2 include: a video discussion among a variety of music industry professionals which will be posted online this Summer. The idea is to get a snapshot of viewpoints on the DFW/Denton music scene by those most heavily involved. Sample clips of some advance interviews will be shown at M2S2. Also, details on the Carter Albrecht Award will be announced with plans for the first recipients to be named at the 2010 M2S2 event. And finally, a $5 raffle for some attractive prizes will be conducted to help raise funds toward the expenses LIFE has incurred for hosting and producing the M2S2 event.

LIFE and the Deep Ellum Foundation have funded this year’s event out of pocket and several supporting sponsors have provided various other resources to make sure the building of this important community event continues in a positive direction. These include: Double Wide, Mokah Coffee Bar, Zounds Sounds, Eyegate Media, YesGo Productions, Hackenbrew, Quick, Sankofa, Crystal Clear Sound, Deep Ellum Association, Wasteland Creative and Ellum Consulting. Event directors, Mike Biggs and Chelsea Callahan, will be seeking cash sponsors for the 2010 event starting this Summer.

Should the event receive any net proceeds after expenses incurred to continue developing the community event without a cash sponsor this year, those funds will be split between LIFE and CAMF to go toward each non-profit’s specific programs benefitting the arts and music scene. More information about these programs can be found at the event’s web site.

Life in Deep Ellum is a non-profit cultural center built for the artistic, social, economic and spiritual benefit of Deep Ellum and its residents, supporters and visitors. It is composed of four primary communities: music, art, commerce and spiritual.

The Carter Albrecht Music Foundation is dedicated to the growth and development of music in DFW/Denton by offering assistance in education, developing skills and improving the quality of life of its musicians.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

It was just yesterday that I commented on the upcoming CD from Little Black Dress. In case you're not familiar with the band, they are a shoegaze band fronted by Toby Pipes (Deep Blue Something, The Hundred Inevitables). The album will be the first to be released on Idol Records sub-label Exploding Plastic. Although I have only had the privilege of seeing the band once, they still managed to land a spot on last year's top 10 performances. The band pulled off the very tricky feat of having the gorgeous, lush, beautiful sound of shoegaze without ever becoming monotonous or boring in their live performance. Anyways, while I may still be waiting for the actual CD to come out, Erv from Idol Records sent me a JPEG of the upcoming album cover, which I felt compelled to share with my readers. Once I get my heads on the actual CD, I'll give you a review.

Something else I've been asking for is a video from Iris Leu. I attended her CD release party at Mokah, and her performance was first rate. The evening was so beautiful that I wanted to share a little piece of it with my readers. Alas, it took awhile for the person recording the show to actually post the video. As the old cliche goes, however, good things come to those who wait. The quality of the video is far superior than the majority of concert clips I see online. Aside from videos taken at Granada Theater, this might be the highest quality video I've seen. The song she's performing is called "The Red Bird". It's a song that she dedicated to Ryann Rathbone about her relationship to Carter Albrecht, ended much too soon by his untimely death. Ms. Leu is one of the best hidden musical gems in this city, though if I have my way, that will not be the case for much longer.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Idol Hands...

I've got several pieces of news about Idol Records to share with my readers. The first one is probably not news to those who read the other local music blogs, but Boys Named Sue has become the most recent addition to the Idol family. Appparently Erv was so impressed with The O's that he figured he should sign another project featuring John Pedigo. Now all that the record label needs to do is encourage Mr. Pedigo to put out a second Rose County Fair album. Then the John Pedigo-Idol Records trinity shall be complete.

It may be awhile until the next BNS disc comes out, but Idol Records artist Here Holy Spain will be celebrating the release of Manic tonight at Good Records. The show starts at 7, and there will be food and adult beverages for your partaking. Oh, and check out the cool album cover, designed by James O'Barr, the man responsible for creating The Crow. Full-size posters of the album cover will also be available at Good Records. Catch the band now, because they'll hitting the road with Toadies starting the very next night.

Now if Idol sub-label Exploding Plastic Records would finally release the new Little Black Dress album. I'm waiting...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 4/5/09

  1. "Lithium", The Polyphonic Spree
    It was fifteen years ago today that Kurt Cobain died. Was it suicide or Courtney Love? Who knows? Many thought of Cobain as the John Lennon of my generation. I wouldn't go that far, but they were definitely one of the most influential bands of the past 20 years. So as a tribute, I'm kicking off this week's playlist with the Spree's cover of "Lithium". Who ever thought a Nirvana song could sound so happy?

  2. "Private Ballroom", Red Monroe
    I've often wondered what happened to Red Monroe. The last time I saw them live was at the 2007 Wall of Sound Festival, and I know they haven't played a show in almost a year. The band finally posted three new tracks that can be downloaded for free on their website. This particular track continues their trademark sound, a halfway point between New York City cool (a la The Strokes) and new wave (vocals very reminiscent of Fred Schneider).

  3. "My Girlfriend Is a Rock", The Nervebreakers
    These Dallas punk pioneers reunited for SXSW, and are finally playing this Saturday at Club Dada, with Spector 45 opening. This is your basic sloppy three chord punk song, and it's about a guy who has obviously taken the pet rock fad of the 70's a bit too far. Rocket science, this isn't. Is it fun? Oh yeah!
  4. "Wire to the Walls", RTB2
    The White Stripes have received countless kudos for their original blend of bluesy raw rock and roll energy, and for making such an incredible sound for a mere duo. On occasion, Jack & Meg live up to this hype. I have yet to hear a White Stripes song that is as creative, energetic, and fresh as an RTB2 song. On this particular track, RTB2 pack in more rock and roll punch in less than 100 seconds than some bands can cram into an entire album. "Wire to the Walls" is easily one of my favorite tracks at the moment.

  5. "She's from the Other Side", Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights
    Mr. Tyler and the rest of the gang have spent way too much time away from this city. That will be changing this month. They will be playing the first of several local shows this Friday at the House of Blues Pontiac Garage.

  6. "Went Walking", Bosque Brown
    The good news: Bosque Brown finally gathered the attention of Pitchfork and her latest effort, Baby, has been reviewed. The bad news: it received a mere rating of 4.6. In regards to lead vocalist Mara Lee Miller, reviewer Matthew Perpetua compares her to "a talented character actress who has somehow been cast in a lead role against type, and the very qualities that would make her charming and memorable in a smaller role become unflattering when exposed to too much spotlight." With all due respect, it is her voice that carries these tunes and is what makes Bosque Brown memorable.

  7. "I Break", Frenchy & The Ferals
    This band's sound is somewhere between quirky and unique. It's taken me several listens to even establish my opinion on the band. However, with each listen, lead vocalist Carolyn Kurtz's vocals and the band's sound continue grow on me. On a completely separate note, I wonder how many people have given the band's guitarist/synth player Adam Lambert a hard time for sharing the same name as the American Idol contestant.

  8. "Hollowville", Iris Leu
    Have I mentioned lately how great Iris Leu's new CD, Hushaboo, is? Well now you know.

  9. "Hell Below/Stars Above", Toadies
    As of late, I have become addicted to the "Pick Your 5" feature on Facebook. One of the top 5's I did was the top 5 songs I like to play loud. This track was my number one, and I got kudos for Mr. Good Show himself, Tom Urquhart, for my choice. He thinks, much like I do, that Hell Below/Stars Above is a severely underappreciated album. For my money, it is a far more ambitious and intriguing CD than Rubberneck.

  10. "My Beautiful Life", Sparrows
    I got a little flack for not including Sparrows in last week's playlist, so I figured I'd wrap up my playlist with this track. It reminds me of Nick Drake in style, but without the overly melancholy feel in much of his music. This is one of the most beautiful songs to ever emerge from our city.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Some Saturday Night Shows

Alright, alright... so I'm late yet again on recommending shows for the weekend. Fortunately, there were only two shows worth mentioning yesterday. One was Jack with One Eye at City Tavern, the other being Klickitat at White Rock Coffee. For those who haven't seen Klickitat, it's simply Michaela Kuenster on piano/keyboard, and the best description I have is that she's a quirky mix of Tori Amos and Aimee Mann. If you're not familiar with her music, please click on the link above. Her sound is unique and intriguing, and I believe that with a little extra exposure, she could be a significant musical name around town.

But alas, I digress. I'm supposed to let you know the shows you can still see tonight. Tonight's options are a lot stronger. Here we go:

The Demigs/Slider Pines/The Alice (Hailey's)
It's been well over a year since the last time I saw The Demigs. From what I'm gathering, their sound has mellowed out somewhat, leaning less heavily on their earlier Pixies influence and creating a more melodic sound. Whether the sound is more pre-grunge or straight ahead indie pop, The Demigs will have no problem maintaining the attention of the crowd at Hailey's. Slider Pines does not seem like an obvious fit for The Demigs, as their music leans much more towards a high octane version of The Kinks. Both bands are great live, however, so whatever sonic differences there are between the bands, there is a common thread of quality in their music.
Somebody's Darling/The O's/Ben Tapia (City Tavern)
Ah, if I had a dollar for every time I raved about Somebody's Darling or The O's, I just might be able to blog as a full time job. I know that City Tavern usually doesn't charge a cover. This seems like an unusually strong pairing to be able to see free of charge. Heck, I'd gladly pay $8 cover charge for either act alone. To get both together for free? Suh-weet!
The Southern Sea/Cocky Americans/Elkhart (Double-Wide)
Every now and then, I see a lineup that feels backwards. When Elkhart released their CD, The Moon, my expectations were somewhat modest. I liked Travis Hopper's solo material, but I was unprepared for the gorgeous, slow alt-country style ballads that came one right after the other on the CD. The band has helped to fill the void left by Pleasant Grove's absence on the scene. If I was the one choosing the lineup, I would put them as the headliners. As for Cocky Americans, I have yet to see a live show of theirs, but everything I've heard so far is solid, straight ahead good rock and roll.
The Slack (Lee Harvey's)
I need help here. How many ways are there to say that Chris Holt is the best damn musician in Dallas? I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but what else is there to say? So let me say this: Lee Harvey's has no cover charge.
Spector 45 (Deep Ellum Arts Festival)
Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like this Saturday's lineup is a tad disappointing overall. Still, let me point out a few highlights. Darrin Kobitech plays a solo gig at 4:00 on the Singer Songwriter stage, immediately followed by his full band, Blackland River Devils. For those into a more mellow mix of electronica and pop, Shock of Pleasure may prove to be your cup of tea. The festival planners saved the best for last, and Spector 45 is sure to rev up the crowd and kick some rock and roll butt.

Having been a little hard on the Saturday lineup for the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, let me say that the Sunday lineup is the best day for music. Highlights include The Felons, Inner City-All Stars, Escort Service, and the best live band in Dallas, THe BAcksliders. Click here for the festival's website. From there, you can see the schedule.