Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MySpace Music Posts

I think I'm one of the last of the faithful MySpace users. Yes, Facebook is admittedly better for everyday messaging and finding long lost classmates. In the arena of music, however, MySpace still remains king. When was the last time you saw a band use Facebook as its primary website? My point exactly. MySpace is a far more useful tool in keeping up with the events of the local music scene. Through information found on the site, I bring you the following two pieces of new music news.

Let me start with some great news for Red Monroe fans. It's been about two years since their last album, and it has been since about last summer when they played a show. There is still no news on the live show front, but at least there is new music from the band. Red Monroe has posted three new songs on their MySpace. These songs are also available for free download on their website (see links to the left for their site).

As a general rule, I don't talk about guys in Spain who remix songs. This is, after all, a Dallas music blog. But when Spanish songwriter/producer/remixer Paul Rawson (aka snr_paul) decided to remix Blue Petal's "Blue Balloon Girl", well, I had to take a listen to hear it for myself. I've often though that Manya Repnikova's voice would be perfectly suited for a slow, trip-hop, electronica vibe. This particular mix leans a little more towards a more mainstream dance sensibility, yet it proves to be a interesting and catchy remix. Many of Snr_Paul's MySpace fans have commented on the beautiful vocals on his latest remix. Anything that brings extra attention to Blue Petal and/or Manya is a wonderful thing in my book.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 3/29/09

Last night, Black Tie Dynasty became the most recent entry in the graveyard of local bands. I figured this would be a good opportunity to make a playlist of some of the best local bands that are no longer around.

  1. "New Hope PA", The Chemistry Set
    You know the scene in High Fidelity where there's the discussion on the top 5 opening tracks to albums? If I were to make such a list for local bands, this song would definitely be on that list. From the opening chords, "New Hope PA" combines all of the best elements of the soaring, hopeful U2 sound to the pure larger than life rock sound of The Who. It's been over a year since Chemistry Set lead singer Steve Duncan moved away. Steve, come back. Dallas misses you.

  2. "On & On", The Hourly Radio
    The Hourly Radio definitely shared a large amount of common musical ground with BTD. But whereas BTD leaned heavier towards Joy Division and the darker side of the 80's new wave movement, The Hourly Radio was (relatively) lighter and poppier. Think more New Order, except less dance oriented. This band seemed poised to make waves out of Dallas, but that never happened, and then the band announced their breakup with no fanfare or even an official farewell show. So much for closure for the fans.

  3. "A Million to One", Sugarbomb
    Sugarbomb was one of the first of the bands that I followed regularly to have a major breakup show. It was possibly the most emotional final show for a band that I've ever been to. I opted for this track simply because it gives me the opportunity to spotlight something from their debut album, Tastes Like Sugar, as opposed to the slicker production (sometimes too slick) of Bully.

  4. "I Like Love", pop poppins
    I remember hearing this song being played on KDGE back when I started my first semester of Richland College. I know that dates me. Shut up.

  5. "The Saint's Id", Hi-Fi Drowning
    Most bands put on a better live show than CD. If the album is better than the live show, that's usually a sign that the band's live performance is, well, awful. Hi-Fi Drowning is the only local band who put on a good live show but had a better CD. Technically, Hi-Fi Drowning never "broke up", but the band hasn't played a show in almost six years. I think we can safely call it a break up and not "on hiatus".

  6. "Blown Away", Tripping Daisy
    I would've loved to post their cover of "Green Tambourine" off of the original Dragon Street Records pressing of Bill. Alas, this will have to do.

  7. "When We Was Kool", PPT
    As a whole, I don't listen to a lot of rap and/or hip-hop. But when a band as talented (and fun) as PPT comes along, it's just impossible not to become a fan.

  8. "Three Months Later", Lucy Loves Schroeder
    Before Sara Radle became a Rental, before Andrew Binovi moved away, and before Rob Schumacher played drums in almost every rockabilly/psychobilly band of note in Dallas, this fine trio of musicians were collectively known as Lucy Loves Schroeder. The band began every show with their mission statement: "We're Lucy Loves Schroeder, and we're going to rock your balls". Never did a live show go by where their mission was not accomplished.

  9. "Might've Said It", The Spin
    I'd love to find a few more local gems from the early 90's on MySpace. Here's an idea if you're reading, Jeff Liles: create a music MySpace page called Tales From the Edge. Come on, get on the phone with George Gimarc and see what you can make happen. In the meantime, readers, enjoy this classic early 90's track from The Spin.

  10. "Sweet Little Bay", Sorta
    When I talked about the emotional farewell show of Sugarbomb, the emotion was simply over the band's decision to call it quits. Sorta's farewell show was more emotional, and for obvious reasons. Yes, everyone saw the musicians onstage, but what everyone noticed is who was not on stage. This band ended way too early, just like the life of Carter Albrecht.

Finally, I leave you with a "bonus track" of sorts. It's a video of Flickerstick's final performance at The Aardvark. Lead singer Brandin Lea ended the night with the song "Execution by X-Mas Lights". It was only him and another guy on violin on stage. Towards the end of the song, Brandin added his own final verse to the song. This song has always been a Flickerstick fan favorite, but that night, the song's power was stronger than usual. Many critics of Flickerstick have complained about them sounding too commercial and slick, but this performance is anything but slick. It is simply a power, emotional, heartfelt performance by Brandin Lea that brought many an audience member to tears. Rewatching the video still puts a lump in my throat the size of a softball. The sound quality of the video is questionable, yet I feel that the emotion of the performance transcends the sound issues. Ultimately, as the saying goes, "you had to be there", but this the best I can do for my readers at the moment. By the way, if anyone has a higher quality video of that night, please let me know.

Friday, March 27, 2009

An Excellent Weekend of Shows

So what excellent shows are happening this weekend? I'm so glad you asked. Pull up a seat, because this could take awhile:

The Doubledowns/Spoiled Royals/Dragna (City Tavern)
The Doubledowns haven't played a show in several years, so this is a very rare opportunity to see the band live. There is a definite 50's influence in the band's sound. No, this is not the doo-wop, clean cut 50's sound. Start thinking Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and you're getting warmer. Start thinking 50's rockabilly and thinking about how dangerous rock music seemed in the 50's, and you're dead on as to who The Doubledowns are. Their live sets are reportedly even more rocking than what's on their MySpace, which is already pretty darn rocking. Opening act Dragna always rocks. Not familiar with Spoiled Royals, but I'd imagine they know a thing or two about how to rock, otherwise they wouldn't be on this lineup.
Nicholas Altobelli/Kristina Morland/Clint Niosi (Opening Bell Coffee - South Side)
Now that the Mosaic location of OBC has opened, it seems like there have been fewer noteworthy shows at the original location. Tonight's lineup breaks that cycle. Nicholas Altobelli's sound is part Dylan, part Nick Drake, part Texas singer-songwriter, and 100% awesomeness. Kristina Morland's style is similar to that of Sarah Jaffe, except minus Kris Youmans on cello. Any fans of Ms. Jaffe's who haven't seen Kristina play yet will more than likely become instantaneous fans. Clint Niosi is the only act here I haven't seen, but based on what I've heard, he's every bit as talented as the other artists.
the cut*off/The Orbans (Barley House)
The cut*off are calling tonight's show the "Barley House Square Dance". I've seen their drummer Jake rock a really mean shark dance, but I'm not sure how well he dances in clogs. Either way, if you're wanting a good time, then grab your partner and do se do over to Barley House tonight.
Macon Greyson/Slideshow Tragedies (Boiler Room)
I rarely make my way up to Denton, and as a result, I still haven't been to Boiler Room yet. Whether or not the club itself is good, there is no question in my mind that tonight Boiler Room will be the place to be in Denton. Why? Anytime Macon Greyson takes a stage, it is a good time. The band has been getting loads of attention for their track "Black Light", which appeared in movie The Wrestler. Is it a great song? Of course. But stick around for the whole set, because Macon Greyson is no (semi) one hit wonder; just about every track off of 20th Century Accidents is worthy of being a hit single.

Black Tie Dynasty/The Burning Hotels/Airline
I've said my piece about BTD in my previous entry. Read that for my full opinion on the band. Instead, I'd like to take this time to encourage those attending the show to get their early. Airline is a great band that manages to pull of the job of creating melodies that are as complex as they are catchy. And yes, you should stick around for Burning Hotels and Black Tie Dynasty.
Salim Nourallah/Buttercup/Vanessa Peters/The Monco Poncho
I hate it when two awesome shows are pitted against each other. I have been a long time fan of BTD and hate to miss their final show. I've been a fan of Salim Nourallah's for even longer, and this will be the CD Release Party for Constellation. If Salim was telling the truth in his Dallas Observer article, Constellation is going to be the last album he puts out. I understand that Mr. Nourallah wants to end on a high note, but I feel that this is a mistake. He is Dallas' own equivalent of Benjamin Buttons in the sense that his albums get better with age, which is the opposite of just about every other musician I can think of. Either way, catch Salim while you can, just in case his shows become fewer and fewer without new material to promote.
Stella Rose/Cocky Americans/Binary Sunrise (Lola's Saloon)
If you're wanting a solid rock show with no filler bands, this lineup is for you. Damnit Stella Rose, when are you doing a Dallas show?
The Theater Fire/Eyes, Wings, and Many Other Things/Clint Niosi (Lee Harvey's)
Eyes, Wings, and Many Other Things wins this weekend's award for weirdest band name. If you're the type of person who likes to check out bands with weird names, you can seem them free of charge at Lee Harvey's. And more importantly, you can check out the always amazing Theater Fire.

Finally, you can go to Amsterdam Bar this Saturday and Sunday for the Nate Fowler Benefit. If the information I've heard was correct, Mr. Fowler was in a major car accident over a year ago, which left his wrist shattered and his finances were equally injured. That's the sad thing about being a musician: it doesn't come with any health benefits. Since the insurance doesn't pay benefits for musicians, fellow musicians have to help each other out through such tough times. The show has several great acts, like THe BAcksliders and Paul Slavens Saturay night, and way too good acts Sunday night to type. Here, I'll just post the flyer and be done with it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goodbye, Black Tie

Much has been said about Black Tie Dynasty ever since they announced their breakup. Since this Saturday will be their final show, I figured I needed to put in my own two cents worth. Hopefully it’s at least worth that much.

Pete Freedman from the Dallas Observer called the band “the line in the sand when it comes to area music fan tastes”, and that seems to be a very accurate statement. Judging by the comments on the DC9 blog, reaction ranged from mourning over one of the best local bands to wishing the band good riddance along with complaining about what the local music scene. I don’t particularly want to get into a discussion on the latter category, as most of those comments lacked any form of insight, unless you call hurling juvenile insults insight.

So instead of insults, or going to the opposite extreme with flowery praise, let me state the truth as I see it in regards to BTD. If you are looking for an innovative band that is always looking to push the musical envelope, then Black Tie Dynasty is not the band for you. BTD was formed around the time that Interpol was making a name for itself, and like Interpol, BTD was definitely riding the 80’s revival train. Such influences as Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division were blatantly obvious on their debut EP, This Stays Between Us, and well as their first full length, Movements. Although their most recent effort, Down Like Anyone, showed a definite growth in its sound, Black Tie Dynasty's sound is still firmly rooted in its trademark 80's revival sound.

What Black Tie Dynasty lacked in originality, however, the band more than made up for it in its captivating live performances. Lead vocalist Cory Watson not only possessed a powerful stage presence, his rich voice was enough to grab the attention of anyone who saw the band live. Drummer Eddie Thomas is regarded by many as one of the best drummers in Dallas; he even managed to capture a Dallas Observer Music Award for Best Musician. And while the band’s style may be less than unique, Black Tie Dynasty’s songs were catchy enough to bring the band a certain level of mainstream success, even if that success was confined to the metroplex area.

This brings me to why I think so many people are ready to jump on the BTD bashing bandwagon. The band committed what seems to be a cardinal sin within the music scene: they became successful. When Black Tie Dynasty began playing shows, all the reviews seemed to suggest that they were the great new hope for the local music scene. As the band’s fan base grew, the praise from critics seemed to shrink. By the time that BTD released their single “Tender” and the song became a staple on 102.1 KDGE, the group went from great new hope to every critic’s favorite band to ridicule. That’s a shame, especially considering the fact that “Tender” is one of the best songs to have been in regular rotation on KDGE over the past several years. From its opening keyboard hooks to close, it was one of the rare songs on the radio anymore that was worth listening to.

I can understand some of the criticisms against the band. Much of their sound is so wrapped up in the darker stylings of new wave that those who hate the sounds of that period are bound to hate Black Tie Dynasty. And Black Tie Dynasty was definitely not breaking new musical grounds. I can understand and even accept all of those complaints. What I cannot accept, however, is the fact that so much of the criticisms against Black Tie Dynasty only seemed to surface AFTER the band’s success. This is not a case of a band changing their sound in order to cash in; their sound remained constant as their fan base grew. Please, do not hate the band for whatever success it has gained during its time. This tendency for people to turn their backs on a local band once they gather any level of recognition is a problem that, if left untreated, will poison this city’s music scene. All the hipsters will complain about how the DFW music scene is so weak, when the complainers are the biggest problem with the scene.

But let’s get back to Black Tie Dynasty. Simply put, I like the band. They are a talented group of musicians whose songs are memorable and catchy. I have had many a good time at a BTD show, and I will miss their presence in the local music scene. I leave you with a video for my favorite song of theirs, “Bells”. Enjoy the video, and feel free to say goodbye to the band this Saturday at Granada.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 3/22/09

Bad news: I missed SXSW. Good news: I have my sound card back in my computer. I've been an something of a disadvantage for awhile here, considering that I couldn't hear any new local music for months thru the internet. I'll be doing some major catching up here in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I offer up a playlist of some recent discoveries of mine.

  1. "Lay Low", Black Tie Dynasty
    I realize I'm more than a tad late checking out the new BTD. There's still a lot of 80's influence in the band, but the band is branching out in its sound. I'm sure this song will be played Saturday at the Granada Theater for their farewell show.

  2. "Blumenthol (Acoustic)", Iris Leu
    Her CD Hushaboo has spent a lot of time in my CD player, and I know it's only March, but it's already a contender for one of the ten best local CD's this year. This song is an acoustic version of a track from her previous effort, Permanent Transient. And while I realize this is EXTREMELY short notice, she'll be playing at the Greenville/Lovers Lane Borders location at 3:00 pm. My advice: take a break from reading, get in your car, and go now!

  3. "In Case You Might Forget", The Heelers
    I saw The Heelers a few months ago at Double-Wide, and listening to this track reminded me of how freakin' awesome these guys are. I've heard them be compared from everyone from Two Car Garage to Counting Crows. Here's my take: mix equal parts Slobberbone, The Replacements, and Bruce Springsteen, with a heaping serving of musical passion, and you have The Heelers. I'm surprised there isn't more buzz around this band yet.

  4. "And We Will Be Saved", Doug Burr
    I've heard a lot of mixed reactions on Mr. Burr's latest effort. Some have found the new CD a little harder to get into because of the nature of the material. It is, after all, an entire album centered around the Psalms. While having a Christian background may enhance your experience of the CD, the music is beautiful enough that I cannot see why anyone could not appreciate the music.

  5. "Swissex Lover", Fight Bite
    Yes, I realize I'm severely late on jumping on the Fight Bite bandwagon. I am frequently skeptical of overly hyped Denton artists, but at least in the case of this gorgeous track, Fight Bite is worthy of the hype. I'd be curious to see how this sound translates live.

  6. "She's a Ghost", Dead Twins
    Although not as killer of a track as "Action Reaction", this track at the very least helps prove that Dead Twins have more than one great rock song in their arsenal. Not that "Action Reaction" was exactly a true hit, but damn, what a song that is. By the way, if you want to listen to "Action Reaction", the band accidentally mislabeled the track on their MySpace. To listen to "Action Reaction", click on "Black Horse", and vice versa.

  7. "Behind the Footlights", Jessie Frye
    I met Jessie Frye awhile back at the Opening Bell Mosaic location, and Pascale was so happy to have her playing there. I had never heard of her before. I don't know how she slipped underneath the radar for so long, but I think it's safe to say the secret is getting out. This is one talented young lady who is ready to make a name for herself, both in and out of this city. With strong tunes like this, she's poised to make some major waves.

  8. "Talkk Radio", Satellite Eyes
    A few months ago, one of the band members from Satellite Eyes emailed me to promote his band. Sometimes you can discover great bands that way, and other times the music just isn't that great. Fortunately, Satellite Eyes belongs in the first category. Their sound is definitely kinda poppish, almost sounding a little like The Fray. Still, the melodies are enjoyably catchy, and in the end, that's enough for me to recommend a band.

  9. "Struggle to Find", Trey Johnson
    Trey was telling me about the new album that he is in the midst of recording, and that his solo album will not just be a continuation of the sound of Sorta. Even though his distinctive voice is sure to remind listeners of Sorta, this track is much more stripped down and eerily haunting than anything ever put out by Sorta. Hearing this track only makes me more curious to hear the rest of the album.

  10. "Don't Mind Me (Single Version)", Salim Nourallah
    Fans of Mr. Nourallah's will undoubtedly be at Sons of Hermann Hall this Saturday for the CD Release Party for Constellation. Perhaps more than any other local artist, Salim has a record of putting out consistently excellent material. I have never been disappointed by any of his efforts, and I'm not sure I can say that about any other local act that has been playing as long as Mr. Nourallah has. Based on this track, Salim will not disappoint. Gee, what a shocker there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Plans: Austin & Dallas

My apologies on the lack of SXSW info. I've been busying dealing with getting my computer sound fixed, among other technical issues. This is interesting, because I was dealing with computer video issues this time last year. I think my computer is allergic to SXSW.

If by chance you're in Austin right now and needing some good show options, here are my picks:

  • THe BAcksliders (Electra Beauty Lounge - 1:30)
    I still don't believe that this band isn't part of the official SXSW lineup. Are the SXSW people allergic to energetic rock and roll music? On the bright side, you can check this band out free of charge, and free is a beautiful thing for SXSW goers.

  • THe BAcksliders (Trophy's - 4:00)
    Because one BAcksliders shows in a day just isn't enough.

  • Idol Records Showcase (Mother Egan's - 9:00 to Close)
    Some things in life you can always count on: death, taxes, and an Idol records showcase at SXSW. Unlike the other two dependable events, an Idol records showcase is fun. The evening starts with Dallas' favorite instrumental band, Shibboleth. Next are The O's, who deserve some big time buzz. Rounding out the bill are the loud but good Here Holy Spain, shoegazers Little Black Dress, and The Crash That Took Me, one of the biggest bands around these parts.

  • Dallas Observer Showcase (Habana Bar - 10:00 to close)
    I still think the folks at the DO should not be going up against Idol Records. With Telegraph Canyon, Bosque Brown, and I Love Math on the lineup, that's gonna make for a tough decision for Dallas music fans. Oh, and let us not forget headliners Jonathan Tyler and Northern Lights, who are sure to get the party started in a major way.

Okay, those choices are fine and dandy for those who are in Austin today (or who can get a last minute ride down there). The options for those still in Dallas are a bit slimmer. Nevertheless, I still have some solid picks for tonight.

  • Happy Bullets/American Werewolf Academy/Brown Shoe (The Prophet Bar)
    I love Happy Bullets, but tonight's show is really about American Werewolf Academy. Lead singer Aaron Thedford is moving to Austin, and while the band isn't breaking up, I would not count on any AWA shows in the near future. I've always had a soft spot for this band for many reasons. The most obvious is the band's talent at creating brief yet powerful pieces of catchy rock. To quote Mr. Thedford, "When Tony and I started this band there was never a plan. That's why it lasted. No drama, no fights, no agenda to make it big, just beer, hooks, and power chords." And really, what more do you need?

  • Stella Rose/Those Darlins (Lola's Stockyards)
    I don't want to say too much about Stella Rose right now, because I 'd like to discuss them in greater detail at a later date. So instead, I give you three things you need to know about tonight's show. Number one: the band rocks. Number two: the show is free. Number three: when a band that rocks plays for free, you don't need a third reason to go.

  • Macon Greyson/The Dirty Sound/The League of Fucking Decency (City Tavern)
    What do Macon Greyson and The League of Fucking Decency have in common? Other than both being bands I like, I haven't a clue. Still, good music is good music, so it's still a worthy lineup. Maybe The Dirty Sound will act as a nice bridge between these odd pairing. By the way, Macon Greyson, why is the band not at SXSW capitalizing on the success of "Black Light"?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 3/15/09

Some of you may be aware of this little music festival happening in Austin this week. It's called South by Southwest, or SXSW for short. It's merely the biggest music festival in the nation, a place where bands hope to achieve superstardom, or at least some interest from major labels. This year's lineup seems overall to be a little less exciting than in years past. I don't know whether to blame that on a struggling music industry, or if the overall economic downturn is at fault. Still, that doesn't mean the event is a total flop. On the national level, you can check out Primal Scream, Indigo Girls, Peter Bjorn and John, and the reunited Superdrag, among others. If you're wanting to support the local guys, here are a few of your best bets:

  1. "Now Now", St. Vincent
    Dallas' own blogster darling is going to be down there promoting her upcoming effort, Actor. She'll be playing two official shows: the first will be at the Central Presbyterian Church (interesting choice of venue). Then on Friday, you can catch her at Antone's.

  2. "Even Born Again", Sarah Jaffe
    There are two local acts that I feel have the best shot at getting a lot of buzz this year. Ms. Jaffe is one of the acts. More than any other performer I have ever seen, she has the skills to shut the audience up and make them listen. She does not do this through any obvious means of cajoling the audience. The only thing she has to do is sing and play; her haunting vocals and talented backup band do the rest of the work. She'll be playing Friday Night at The Parish.

  3. "Finding It Hard", The O's
    The O's are the other band that I think has the potential to be a buzz band. On the surface, the formula seems unlikely: get two guys together playing guitars, banjos, steel guitars, and kick drum. Here's the catch though: through good harmonizing, excellent musicianship, and great songwriting, The O's create an exciting atmosphere with every live show. The band has always sounded fresh, never forced. Both John Pedigo and Taylor Young have put years of blood, sweat, and tears into their music. I would be ecstatic if the hard work finally paid off for these two exceptionally cool guys. Catch them Saturday at Mother Egan's.

  4. "Fat Girls", THe BAcksliders
    Why this band is not playing an official SXSW is beyond me. No band in Dallas puts on a more consistently fabulously dirty rock and roll spectacle than THe BAcksliders. Instead of official shows, the group will be playing two Saturday shows. One will be at the Electra Beauty Lounge, and the other will be at Trophy's. I don't know if there'll be a cover charge, but even if there is one, pay it. You know you want that dirty rock and roll.

  5. "Snow in June", Little Black Dress
    You can catch the band at Mother Egan's at Saturday night, along with Shibboleth, The O's, Here Holy Spain, and The Crash That Took Me, all part of the Idol Records showcase. Technically, Little Black Dress are on Exploding Plastic Records, a subdivision of Idol headed by The Crash That Took Me's Dylan Silvers. But I'm getting too technical here.

  6. "Gypsy Woman", Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights
    Why, Dallas Observer, why? Why did you put your showcase directly against the Idol Records showcase? Couldn't you have done a Friday night show instead? You're forcing us to choose between two excellent local music showcases. Anyways, JT&NL will be headlining this sweet showcase at Habana Bar. I Love Math, Bosque Brown, and Telegraph Canyon round out the Observer showcase. By the way, Mr. Tyler and the boys need not worry about being signed. They're already on F-Stop Music, a subdivision of Atlantic Records.

  7. "Minor It Down", True Widow
    If Little Black Dress isn't enough local shoegaze for you, then you can also catch True Widow's set Friday night at The Independent. What, no Menkena or Jack with One Eye?

  8. "Let's Hit the Town", AwkQuarius
    I still have not caught a proper AwkQuarius show (even though the "PPT" set at the DOMA showcase was essentially just that). Either way, these are two of Dallas' finest rappers, and they'll be playing Thursday night at Backyard Social.

  9. "My Girlfriend Is a Rock", Nervebreakers
    If I were to predict this band's likelihood of getting signed to a major label, it would be somewhere between slim to none. Still, the fact that these pioneers of Dallas punk are reuniting is a pretty damn big deal, even if only to those in the DFW area. The band will be playing two non-SXSW shows. Their first show will be the Owl Tree Friday Party at Owl Tree Roasting; the band will go on at 5 in the afternoon. Then Saturday they'll play at Antone's Record Shop. In case you can't make it to Austin, fear not. The Nervebreakers will do a show April 11th at Club Dada, with Spector 45 opening for the band.

  10. "She's Wasted", Airline
    I'm a little confused if the Red Gorilla Music Festival is part of SXSW or separate from it. Either way, they'll play the Dizzy Rooster at 8 p.m. on Thursday. I'm sure they'll play plenty of tunes from last year's Farewell Republica, a CD that grows on me with each listen still.

By the way, I'm still trying to compile a thorough list of bands playing parties, free shows, and so forth. Please, please, please send me whatever info you may know. As for info on actual SXSW shows, feel free to visit SXSW.com for details.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Addendum

You already know about NX35. Also, if you read yesterday's blog entry, you know about Fishing For Comets at Jack's Backyard, as well as Somebody's Darling at City Tavern. If you don't know about the after St. Patty's Day Parade happening on Greenville Avenue featuring Old 97's, then I welcome your return from living under a rock.

There are, however, a couple of worthy shows that I missed yesterday. Hey, I'm not perfect. Allow me to make up for my oversights.

  • Lions, Dead Twins, Here Holy Spain (Double-Wide)
    No, I still haven't seen any of these bands live. I admit, it's harder for me to get into the louder bands. There are a few exceptions to that rule for me, like Baboon and Record Hop. Based on what I've heard of Dead Twins and Here Holy Spain, odds are I could add them to the list. So if you're craving something that will make you feel good as your ears bleed, I cannot think of a better place to be tonight than Double-Wide.

  • Erik Neff (Carson's Live)
    Life is rough up here in the North Dallas area. Sure, the neighborhood is nice and safe, but the nightlife is pathetic up here. It's great if you like cover bands and dressing up all pretty, but if you like music that's actually good, aside from Dunn Bros Coffee, there's nothing up this way. Carson's Live usually caters to the pretty people crowd with either Top 40 dance or cover bands. Tonight, however, Erik Neff will be taking the stage at Carson's. Some of you might have caught him at my last showcase at Dada. His music ranges from straight ahead alternative rock to very bluesy rock. When he gets into his blues zone, watch out, because that's when he is at his best and can show off his chops on the guitar. I wouldn't be surprised if eventually a major label picks this guy up.

  • Binary Sunrise (Allgood Cafe)
    It's been not quite a year since I saw these guys opening for THe BAckslider's CD Release Show. For lack of a better description, their sound is kinda electronic, kinda rock, and more than kinda cool.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekend Update, Kinda Late

I know that a few hours notice isn't a lot here. I'm hoping there are gonna be a few people making last minute plans for tonight. So let's start with the Friday night options:

  • John Lefler/Salim Nourallah (Opening Bell Coffee Mosaic)
    This is kind of a weird combination here. You've got Salim Nourallah opening up for John Lefler, who plays in Dashboard Confessional. Will all the emo kids end up digging Salim? With song titles like "The World Is Full of People Who Want to Hurt You" and "It's Okay to Be Sad", the odds might be better than what one might initially think. I wouldn't be surprised if admission is a little pricier tonight, but hey, Salim's worth it.

  • Nicholas Altobelli (Buon Giorno)
    I haven't made it out to this Grapevine coffee house yet, but Mr. Altobelli says some of his best shows happen there. Heck, I'm impressed enough with him everywhere else I've seen him, so if this is an even better venue, that's gonna be one sweet show.

  • The Color of May/Menkena/Tiger City/Stem & Leaf (The Prophet Bar)
    I've heard of The Color of May, but I don't know their sound. I'll be honest, the only band I know here is Menkena. I've been to so many shows of theirs lately that they might get the idea that I'm stalking them. Until I receive a restraining order, you'll be seeing me at a lot of their shows. Why? They're just that good.

Here's what's going down Saturday:

  • Somebody's Darling/The Hymns (City Tavern)
    No word yet on when their album on Shiner Records comes out. Until then, catch them doing their thing live. They'd probably like for me to say to buy a Shiner Bock while you are at the show. But if they think I'm going to bow down to the Shiner Corporation and tell my readers to drink an ice-cold, rich-tasting Shiner Bock that goes down the hatch oh so smooth, they've got another thing coming.

  • Fishing For Comets (Jack's Backyard)
    I saw Tania Rivas (The Ramonalisas) at Iris Leu's CD Release Party, and we got into a long conversation about this new venue. She is absolutely fanatical about this place, raving about the sound system, the food, and the overall vibe of the place. I plan to check the place out tomorrow, and I'll let you know what I think. By the way, FFC lead singer Camille Cortinas had her birthday yesterday, but I'm sure she'll be willing to accept belated birthday drinks.

  • Old 97's/Eleven Hundred Springs/The Drams/The O's (Energy Square)
    The question is not about the talent of the lineup. Any one of these artists ranks as a "must see" in my book. Don't even get me started on how highly I think of Old 97's; I could go on for days. That is not the question. The question isn't even ticket price. I can't remember the last time I played only $15 to see the 97's. No, that's not the question. HERE is the question: will people be willing to stand outside in the cold weather for several hours to see these great bands? With as enthusiastic (bordering on obsessed) as most Old 97's fans are, there will certainly be a few frigid fanatics outside tomorrow.

I didn't list the individual shows for NX35 for tonight and tomorrow, but read my previous blog entry for all the best places to be in Denton.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


You know, Dallas could stand to be a lot more like Denton. My musical taste admittedly leans more toward the big D as opposed to the little D. Having said that, both cities have their share of talented bands. And unlike Dallas, Denton is actually interested in having a scene. I'm not trying to say that Deep Ellum is dead. Deep Ellum has Club Dada, The Prophet Bar, and... uh, did I mention Club Dada?

What Dallas is lacking, however, is a good festival centered around music. Some folks in Denton have decided to put together a musical festival entitled NX35 (Gee, I wonder how they got the inspiration for the name?). The festival starts this Thursday and goes thru Sunday. There will be special daytime events, along with music at nine different Denton music venues in the evening. Wristbands can be purchased for as little as $20 (admission to all evening shows for one night) to as much as $65 (all day and evening events throughout the festival). The best bet is the $50 wristband (admission to evening events throughout the festival). Rumor has it you can also pay per club, but I might be wrong on that one.

You can find the complete list of performers, venues, and other info at the NX35 website. Dates, times, venues, etc. are subject to change. What I have compiled is a list of best bets per evening based on the information I have.

I saw The Heelers a few months back at Double-Wide, and their straight-ahead passionate pure rock sound left a major impression upon me. This is a band that I predict will be on many a music fan's lips this year. You can see them at Dan's Silverleaf and then tell me I was right. American Werewolf Academy has been impressing me for years now with their quirky power-pop nuggets, and you can catch them at J&J's Pizza while getting something to munch on. Rounding out the evening are Dead Twins at Andy's Bar, Cocky Americans at Boiler Room, and The Orbans at Banter.

I have unfortunately caught neither Grassfight nor True Widow live, but everything I've heard thru the internets gives me reason to believe that both bands would be sweet to see live. Catch both at Hailey's. I don't have to believe that Doug Burr is good live; I have experienced many a live show of his and still regard him as one of Dallas' finest singer-songwriters. He will play Dan's Silverleaf, along with RTB2 who I've only seen once and need to see again. Brave Combo always bring the party with them; their show at Boiler Room will not be an exception to the rule I'm sure. Telegraph Canyon may not be a party band, but is a must see for all fans of alt-country, Americana, and all around quality music. Catch them at Banter. Finally, I have to recommend The Theater Fire's show at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio. Sure, RGRS is definitely not within walking distance of the other clubs. Still, a Theater Fire show is a spectacle to behold. It's sort of like a backwoods version of Polyphonic Spree, except smaller and a lot bleaker. The feel good band of the year? Not quite. But their shows are so good that you are sure to be entertained.

I'm sure some of you lazy people out there don't like the walking from club to club aspect of musical festivals. For those who like to rest their feet, Boiler Room wins the award for best overall lineup in a given night. You can stay there and hear the noise rock sounds of Record Hop, The Boom Boom Box featuring members of Baboon and Pleasant Grove among others, as well as the now Brooklyn based band The Fieros. For those looking for something mellower, check out the classical music sounds of Chameleon Chamber Group at Hailey's. Stick around later at the venue to see Sarah Jaffe. Whatever you do, don't try the drinking game of doing a shot every time one of her songs sends a chill up your spine. You'll be in the hospital for alcohol poisoning, I promise. In case you need more choices for good music, I offer you Nervous Curtains at Banter, Ella Minnow at Dan's Silverleaf and A.M. Ramblers at J&J's Pizza.

Here's the bad news. I only found two bands for Sunday that get the GOBL seal of approval. The Drams, playing at Boiler Room, are the first. The other is Shiny Around the Edges, playing at Banter. The good news? You'll probably be so damn tired from the previous three days that you'll welcome the lighter musical load.

Only time will tell how well organized this festival is, and whether or not it is worth attempting again next year. The one issue that this festival will NOT face is a lack of quality bands performing. Hopefully this can be the birth of a great musical festival in Denton.

Still, there is one question that keeps nagging at me. Why is it that Dallas seems to be incapable of a festival even half as cool as this? Seriously, folks, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. That discussion needs to happen now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Calling All Bands Playing SXSW

I am trying to make a comprehensive list of all the local musicians playing SXSW this year. Half of my job has been made quite easy by the folks at SXSW, who have listed all the official showcases. What's proving to be more difficult is acquiring a similar schedule of all the unofficial free shows, parties, and so forth. I've seen bits and pieces from artists on their MySpace pages, but I'd like more. So here's the deal: if you're playing in Austin that weekend but not as part of an official SXSW show, email me at ghostofblindlemon@gmail.com with the location, date, and time of your show. I will eventually publish a list of the best unofficial SXSW shows.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 3/8/09

I posted a playlist last week, but never got around to the commentary. My bad. As a general rule, I always update the playlists, even if I don't get around to the discussion of the playlist here. Anywho, here we go:

  1. "Lydia", Fishing For Comets
    This Saturday, Camille Cortinas of FFC will be celebrating her birthday at Jack's Backyard. Instead of just relaxing and kicking back, however, her band will be taking the stage. I'll bet she plays this song. It's about a woman who loves drinking wine, kind of like Camille. I'm sure Ms. Cortinas would not object to receiving some glasses of wine as a birthday gift.

  2. "In the Garden", Doug Burr
    Last week, I was reunited with one of my best friends in elementary school who I had not seen in about 15 years or so. At one point, I noticed that he now bears a striking resemblence to Doug Burr. To be able to remind me of one of the best singer/songwriters in Dallas is always a good thing.

  3. "Harlem", Van Darien
    I picked up a free sampler CD of Van Darien several weeks ago at Opening Bell Coffee Mosaic. Being the procrastinator I am, I finally listened to it yesterday, and found it to be a very pleasant and enjoyable listen.

  4. "Truth Lies Low", The Drams
    After the Greenville Avenue St. Patty's Day Parade, there's gonna be a nice little concert at Energy Square. Actually, it'll be held at the parking lot for the Energy Square building. The Drams will be playing, along with GOBL favorites The O's, Eleven Hundred Springs, and I think there's one more band on the lineup. I'm trying to think of who that could be. Hmmm... I'll get back to you on that one.

  5. "T Docks (Summertime)", Clay Pendergrass
    I got behind on stuff, and missed my deadline for the Clay Pendergrass story. Since I didn't write the official story, let me give a brief synopsis of Clay. He is a musical chameleon, shifting from one sound to another, and from one project to another. There is only one thread holding this patchwork of sounds together: his talent. Whatever he does, whether his music is acoustic, reggae influenced, rock, or 60's soul revival (like this track), it sounds authentic and fresh.

  6. "Corporate Whore", Giggle Party
    One of the Giggle Party members wanted me to add them to the playlist on a week where all the bands started with the letter S. Since they declined my suggestion to become Siggle Party, I passed on them for that playlist. After seeing the band play a few weeks ago at Mokah, I realized what a fun band this is to see live. Mokah may not have been the best venue for them, but they made the best of the venue. I can't wait to see them in a more rocking setting like Club Dada or Double-Wide.

  7. "Typically I Don't Mind", THe BAcksliders
    My stupid illness prevented me from seeing the band last night, and I won't be driving out to Oklahoma City this Friday to see them. I am, however, trying to get a ride to SXSW this year, and they're playing two shows there, both unofficial shows I believe. By the way, if you're a local band playing an unofficial SXSW show, please email me with the date, time, and location of the gig. I'm trying to compile a list of good free shows.

  8. "Manic", Here Holy Spain
    Erv from Idol Records has been telling me about this band for quite some time now. I have refrained from commenting up until recently, because I didn't have the CD. Now that I have listened, I can give my honest feedback. The album is a solid piece of rock and roll, perfect for those who like their tunes quick, fast, and hard. You can catch them this Saturday at Double-Wide.

  9. "Action/Reaction", Dead Twins
    This band will also be playing Double-Wide this Saturday. I still haven't gotten to listen to their album. If you feel like sending me a copy, I wouldn't turn it down (hint hint). I will repeat, however, what I said about the band on the Crazy Jeff Show. If the band can create an album full of songs as intense and memorable as "Action/Reaction", then Dead Twins will take their place along Toadies, Baboon, and Record Hop as one of the best noise rock bands ever out of Dallas. I still stand by that statement.

  10. "Four Leaf Clover", Old 97's
    Oh yeah... Old 97's are the other band playing this Saturday after the Greenville Avenue St. Patty's Day Parade. I don't think tickets have sold out... yet. Still, you might want to get your tickets while you can.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Truly Sick Saturday

Sick, as an adjective is defined as "suffering from or affected with a physical illness." In more recent years, a slang form of the word has come to mean "incredible or awesome". To demonstrate the difference, let me use the following sentence: This weekend is full of some totally sick shows, but unfortunately I will be too sick to attend any of them."

Yes, my body chose an unfortunate weekend to catch whatever bug has been going around. Instead of hearing some sick (as in awesome) music, I will be home resting, drinking lots of fluids, trying to not be sick (as in illness). For those of you feeling well enough to go out, check out these great shows.

  • Texas Showcase Showdown (House of Blues)
    I'm not sure of the exact order of the lineup, or which bands play where within the venue. What I do know is that several acts I rave about on a regular basis are gonna be at HOB. For a $10-12 ticket, you get to see the cut*off, Dove Hunter, Telegraph Canyon, Elkhart, Doug Burr, Little Black Dress, The Orbans, and many other Texas artists. The show starts at 7, and I'd get there early, just in case your favorite is the opener.

  • THe BAcksliders/Cocky Americans/Slider Pines (The Lounge on Elm Street)
    THe BAcksliders have played very few shows around here lately, and tonight was supposed to be the night I got my BAcksliders fill. Damnit. Cocky Americans still remain one of the best bands I have yet to see, and Slider Pines really impressed me when I saw them at Double-Wide. For people who prefer rawk to rock, this is the show for you.

  • Slow Burners/Menkena/Matthew & The Arrogant Sea (City Tavern)
    I feel like I've spent more time talking about Menkena and have been to more Menkena shows than any other band this year. That might have something to do with the fact that Menkena is totally awesome. Menkena has a truly fresh sound, and well written lyrics that show that good musicianship and good storytelling are not mutually exclusive traits.

  • Johnny Lloyd Rollins/Jungle Rockers/Sunward (Double-Wide)
    Sunward is one of the most raved about bands over on the Adventures in Live Music blog. If you haven't been reading it, check out the link over to the left. Anyways, I've been to far fewer Sunward shows, but I've always liked their vibe. Also, headliner Johnny Lloyd Rollins never fails to entertains.

  • Alejandro Escovado/Rahim Quazi (Poor David's Pub)
    I usually prefer focusing exclusively on artists from the metroplex. However, Austin musician Alejandro Escovado is a truly remarkable talent worthy of mention. Also, his opening act Rahim Quazi is local, and he remains in my book one of the biggest talents in this metroplex, and his live shows always feel fresh and unique. Rahim is never one to just phone in a show, but instead varies his melodies from performance to performance, leaving the audience member eagerly anticipating what new form the songs will take. Mr. Quazi alone is reason enough to pay the cover charge, but stick around for Alejandro anyways for an even bigger bang for your buck.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

This Is Late Notice I Realize...

I should've let you know this earlier so you could set your Tivos and stuff. Hopefully there are a few night owl readers (or early bird readers for that matter). Here's the deal: Good Day Texas on KDFW Channel 4 will be having the cut*off as their musical guests. They will be performing "Need a Release", one of my big faves off of their recent effort, Packaged Up for Beginners. If you were impressed by their television debut, then you can check them out live this Saturday at House of Blues, along with a gazillion other excellent local bands. More on that on the weekend update.

By the way, has anyone else noticed that Good Day Texas is getting a lot of good bands lately? They've had The O's, Macon Greyson, and now the cut*off in a rather short span of time. It's almost enough to make me like mornings.