Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Saturday Heavy Weekend

Before I get with the business of discussing this weekend's shows, two things I want to say. First of all, thanks to all who came out to Granada Theater last night, and an extra special thanks to everyone who put together a beautiful evening of music. I have to believe that Carter was smiling up above in heaven.

Second of all, today is the deadline to vote for Quick's Big Thing. To be more specific, the deadline is tonight at midnight. If you haven't voted yet, now would be the time to do so. Go to Quick DFW to find the ballot. If you're having trouble deciding who to vote for, you can always click here for my thoughts on the matter, whatever they may be worth.

As for the weekend, the Friday options are fairly slim, but Saturday may find people struggling to choose what event to go to. The problem is not a lack of good shows, but rather an excess of excellent options. For Friday, your best bet would probably be to go to Prophet Bar for the Becky Middleton CD release party. The O's and Salim Nourallah will also be on that bill. Runners up include Camille Cortinas at Sue Ellen's and King Bucks at Adair's.

Saturday's options will not find in a nice, concise paragraph, so here's a list.
  • A Day on the Green (Skillman Bible Church)
    An unlikely venue for recommending a show? Perhaps. But Nicholas Altobelli is on the schedule, and I have made no secret of my love of his music. Ronnie Fauss is also on the lineup, and while I have yet to see him play live, his CD New Songs from the Old Frontier is quite enjoyable. For fans of laid-back, real deal country, this is an artist worth checking out. This is an early show, so check out the link for all the details.

  • Lattitude (Opening Bell Coffee - Mosaic)
    Lattitude is not a band, but rather the name given to this day's impressive lineup playing at Opening Bell Coffee. Denton favorites Baptist Generals will be playing, along with Sleep Whale, which apparently is spin off from the group Mom. The real reason to attend, however, would be to catch RTB2 and Morning Elephant.

  • Airline/JJ & the Rogues/Shapes Stars Make (The Moon)
    I know nothing about the first two bands, but Airline always delivers a satisfying performance. For you Fort Worth folk, this is your best bet in the area.

  • Trey Johnson/Ronnie Fauss (White Rock Coffee)
    There aren't a lot of major shows here, which is a real shame. The coffee here is excellent, and it's a nice intimate venue. Trey Johnson remains one of Dallas' finest songwriters, plus it provides those who miss Ronnie Fauss at A Day on the Green a second chance to see this fine musician.

  • Little Black Dress/Stereo is a Lie/Colour Wheel (Double-Wide)
    LBD's full length CD, Snow in June, officially hits stores this Tuesday. If you're lucky, lead singer Toby Pipes have a few copies on hand. I look forward to seeing the band again to see if they can match the intensity of their Granada Theater show last year.
  • THe BAcksliders/Old Snack (Dan's Silverleaf)
    THe BAcksliders will be bringing their larger than life rawk sound to Dan's as they celebrate the Denton CD release party for Thank You. I suspect that, like the House of Blues show, you can receive the CD for the price of admission. Of course, the band would be worth the price of admission even without the CD, but in these tough economic times, free is always better. Oh, and needless to say, nothing else in Denton can hold a candle to this event.
  • The Heelers (Barley House)
    Speaking of tough economic times and the word free, that's one joy of the Barley House. Unless if Slobberbone's reuniting, there's no cover charge. You've probably noticed the song "In Case You Might Forget" on some of my past playlists. It's the type of song that when you listen to it, you wish you had written the song. At least that's what you're thinking about after you've healed from the emotional kick in the gut that this song is. Some of their songs are in the same introspective vein, while others are full-on alternative country rockers. No matter what, The Heelers deliver the goods.

And before you go out to a show tomorrow, check back here as I may have some big deal news to share.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Carter Albrecht CD Release Party Tonight

Almost two years after his untimely death, Carter Albrecht's CD, Jesus Is Alive... and Living in London, will get a proper release party tonight at Granada. Salim Nourallah, Chris Holt, Sarah Jaffe, and the members of Sorta will be among those who will be breathing life into Carter's songs. Doors will open at 7, and the music should begin at 8. This is certain to be an evening of beautiful music and intense emotion.

By the way, I'm working on a piece for Lakewood Now about the CD release party, and I'll provide the link for it once published. In the meantime, I leave you with a video montage of Carter set to Sparrows' "Rock and Roll Days". Like many of his songs, "Rock and Roll Days" seems to take on an extra special meaning since Carter's passing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Promoting a Show for... a Competing Blog???

Yes, I'm promoting a show hosted by the fine folks at DC9 at Night. They've been hosting a series of shows at Hal Samples' Space, and tonight is going to be a good one. Based on the posting on their website, apparently they keep the bands secret.

I don't want to spoil their surprise, but I happen to know who will be playing. Don't worry Pete, I'm keeping your little secret. But I must say this: the band that's playing tonight has become a big favorite of mine in recent months.

Oh, and you're welcome, Dallas Observer. Glad to help you promote your stuff. But you know what this means, right? You owe me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

MySpace Playlist Special Edition: Memorial Day Weekend Countdown

Before I get into the actual countdown, let me offer up a reminder that today is the Can't Stop the Serenity music showcase at Poor David's Pub, which starts at 4:00. Get there early, because opener Kristina Morland is truly one of the metroplex area's finest hidden gems. Also on the lineup are Morning Elephant, Alaska native Marian Call, local burlesque troupe Velvet Kittens, and Inner Frequency. Cover is $13 and goes to Equality Now.

Now onto the countdown. I thank all of you that voted, and here are the results. The playlist itself goes in reverse order, starting at #10, and counting down to the number one best local act of all time. Well, at least according to you guys. This is a countdown of acts, not songs, so I simply selected what I feel to be one of the strongest songs by each performer. The chosen song is indicated in parenthesis.


  1. Erykah Badu ("Appletree")
    Dallas' own queen of soul has managed to stay musically relevent for the past decade through continual reinvention and melding of various styles in her music. Personally, I'm partial to the jazzier stylings of her debut album, Baduizm, but I am convinced that the woman is incapable of creating non-interesting music.
  2. Tripping Daisy ("My Umbrella")
    Two bands seemed to defined 90's alternative rock in Dallas: Toadies and Tripping Daisy. Much to my surprise, Toadies failed to enter the top 10, but Tripping Daisy's heavier psychedelic rock sound managed to land them at number 9 on the countdown. Yes, I could've gone with the severely overplayed "I Got A Girl", but I found their debut album Bill to be a stronger effort as a whole. Tracks like "One Through Four", "Blown Away", and "My Umbrella" were regular staples on KDGE back in the day, and it seemed like the band was destined for mega-success. The rest of the nation never caught on until "I Got a Girl", but that was their loss.
  3. The Drams ("Unhinged")
    I would have never expected The Drams to outchart Brent Best's previous band, Slobberbone. There is obviously a slant towards more recent band, which helped them. Either way, The Drams is no dramatic departure from Slobberbone. The country influences are not as obvious (particularly in comparison to Slobberbone's first two albums), but either way, it's all good.
  4. The Deathray Davies ("Jack Never Crashes")
    I may have attented my first local show in 1996, but I truly credit The Deathray Davies as the band that started my addiction to local music. The band originally started as a Dallas super group of sorts, but it didn't take long for lead singer John Dufilho to realize that DRD needed to be more than a mere side project. The band's live shows were nothing short of parties, filled with enthusiastic audience members. Although the band has been on hiatus for awhile, expect to see the band perform shows this summer. Long live Deathray Davies!
  5. THe BAcksliders ("Have You Ever Been Down?")
    Apparently I'm not the only person who feels that THe BAcksliders are one of the best live bands around town. At the rate the band is going, they might steal the number one spot next year if I redo the countdown.
  6. Sorta ("Sweet Little Bay")
    There may be many bands from Dallas that I like and even love, but very few have had the emotional impact on me that Sorta had. I'm not quite sure how to put it in words. Is it the lyrics in the songs? Make no mistake, Trey Johnson is one of Dallas' finest singer-songwriters, but there's more to it than that alone. Is it the musicians around him that helped bring the songs to life? When Danny Balis, Chris Holt, Ward Williams, Trey Carmichael, and the incomparable Carter Albrecht are in your band, you have a group of musicians that could perform "Chopsticks" and make it sound like a musical masterpiece. Perhaps it was the mixture of all of that, with the addition of plenty of heart and soul from all of the above. All I know is that their songs were brutally honest, yet never brutal. Their songs always brough hope, no matter how hopeless the lyrics might have seemed. Yes, I'm gushing; I realize that. That's just the effect Sorta has on me.
  7. Sparrows ("My Beautiful Life")
    Many people thought of Sorta and Sparrows as different sides of the same coin. There was certainly a major overlap of band members between the two projects. Whereas Sorta's sound was much mellower, Sparrows definitely possessed much more of the straight ahead rock sound, which I've heard compared to everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Led Zeppelin. Don't let the rocking sound fool you though; many of their songs shared a similar emotional intensity to that of Sorta. The band only released two full length CDs before disbanding, but lead singer Carter Albrecht managed to pack both efforts with his trademark sound. I'm particularly partial to the 2nd album, 5nowflak5, which pull off a particularly difficult balancing act. Even though the tunes were diverse in style, sound, and lyrical content, the album never felt disjointed but flowed smoothly from one track to another. And one final note: if anyone out there dislikes the song "My Beautiful Life", I have to seriously question that person's musical taste. Seriously, I do.
  8. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians ("What I Am")
    I'm not sure if the New Bo's can take all the credit for giving birth to the modern day Deep Ellum scene, but when I think of popular local bands of the late 80's/early 90's, without fail, they are the first group that comes to my mind. Perhaps it's because they are one of the few non-metal Dallas acts to have major success outside of this city. No matter what one's opinion on the band is, it would be near impossible to deny the success of the band, as well their place in Dallas music history. Interesting fact: acts number 5 thru 3 all featured Carter Albrecht (he joined the band when they reunited this decade).
  9. Old 97's ("Murder or a Heart Attack")
    I have to confess: I was pulling for this band to take the top spot in the countdown. I have never known a band that was as consistently great on stage as Old 97's. I've heard lead singer Rhett Miller grow musically through the years, from the teenage folk stylings of his first solo effort Mythologies, through all the various sounds that the Old 97's have tried on. Through it all, one thing has stayed consistent: Mr. Miller's wit and humor in his songs. Oh, and did I mention that Murry Hammond is quite possibly my favorite bass player of all time? I'm not sure what else there is to be said about the band that I haven't said already, so let's just say they kick ass and leave it at that.
  10. Salim Nourallah ("The World Is Full of People Who Want to Hurt You")
    There's a stereotype in the music industry that as you get older, your music gets weaker. Granted, I could come up with a long list of superstars who have helped create the stereotype. And then there is Salim Nourallah. The man played in various bands over the years, including Moon Festival and Happiness Factor. It wasn't until Mr. Nourallah started releasing his solo albums, however, that he fully came into his own. Salim blends a Beatlesque pop sensibility with darker, more melancholy lyrics. The two might seem an odd pairing, but under his direction, he has composed some of the catchiest sad songs I've ever heard. No one but Mr. Nourallah could pull a song off like "The World Is Full of People Who Want to Hurt You". Between his two decades in the local music scene as both a musician and successful producer, Mr. Nourallah has definitely done more than enough to earn the title of Best Local Act of All Time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tonight's Best Bet

I'm not saying that this is the only good show tonight. This is, however, the best show going on tonight. And yes, Les Americains and Menkena will be playing. It will be at the Double-Wide in Dallas, however, not at Grayton Beach. Why should you go? I'm so glad you asked. Let me tell you a little about the two bands.

Jimmy and the other guys from Menkena have been busy recording their first full-length CD, and as a result, live shows have been rare. For those who have yet to hear the band, it is quite the unique blend. The songs alone stand alone just from a singer-songwriter perspective. What the band does is take these solid melodies and lyrics and sets them to a dreamy, shoegaze style. One might be tempted to classify the music as mere shoegaze, but I cannot think of another shoegaze band that gives as much attention to the art of storytelling as does Menkena.

If that's not reason enough to attend, Les Americains will bring plenty of rock this evening. Correction: Les Americains will bring plenty of RAWK. And yes, there is a world of difference. If the band has a familiar feel, perhaps it's because of Jeff Parker and Mike Lamm, formerly of the band [DARYL]. When Dylan started The Crash That Took Me, he took the more experimental/melodic side of the band with him. Jeff and Mike took the hard driving rhythms with them and injected that same energy in Les Americains. The songs are loud, heavy, and most importantly, a helluva lot of fun to listen to.

Oh, changing gears here: I'm extending the voting until tonight at Midnight. Email me at with your top 5. Yes, I'm giving you guys a little more time. Use it wisely.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Still Can't Stop the Serenity

It's been a crazy week, and I have had yet another "wish I could've blogged more" week. Oh well. Normally on Friday, I'd give the Friday/Saturday recommendations. I'll do Saturday recommendations tomorrow. If you're reading this and you still have time, head to one of the two following places: Lee Harvey's (Boys named Sue) or City Tavern (RTB2 & Binary Sunrise).

I want to talk about Sunday plans for a bit. You've got the Memorial Day weekend, and you probably don't have to go to work the next day, leaving you more time to go see some bands. If that's what you're thinking, then I would encourage you to head over to Poor David's Pub for the second annual Can't Stop the Serenity music showcase. I attended last year's event, and had quite the good time, and I'm sure this year shall be great as well. Here's the lineup:

  • Kristina Morland, starting at 4:15

  • Morning Elephant, starting at 5:00

  • Marian Call (from Alaska), starting at 6:00

  • Velvet Kittens (burlesque act), starting at 7:15

  • Inner Frequency, starting at 8:00

Cover is only $13, and all the proceeds go towards the charity Equality Now. Good music and a good cause. What more do you need? Oh yeah... no guarantees, but last year I ended up sort of emceeing the event and introducing the bands, and that just might happen again this year. I don't know whether that will be a motivating factor, or if it will frighten you off. Who knows?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 5/17/09

This weekend, I have gotten to spend time with a friend I haven't seen in ten years. I also dragged her to the House of Blues show last night, which was just incredible. That's the good news. Unfortunately, my sleep has suffered this weekend, and my ability to write I'm sure is suffering. Usually on the playlist, I offer a lot of commentary on each song. This is my commentary for this week's songs: I like these songs.

I'm sorry, was that not as witty and thought provoking as you wanted? OK, let me try again.

I like these songs. A lot.

Ah, much better.

  1. "Henry the Skunk", The Boom Boom Box

  2. "Five Minutes", Binary Sunrise

  3. "Razor Wire", Kristina Morland

  4. "Drug Is Done", Holy Moly

  5. "Endlessly", Green River Ordinance

  6. "Were Her", The Orbans

  7. "Pictures Collected", Salim Nourallah

  8. "Out of View", Little Black Dress

  9. "In Case You Might Forget", The Heelers

  10. "Am I Still Loaded", Sparrows

By the way, Friday at midnight is the voting deadline to enter your top 5 local bands of all time. Email me at with your choices; the top 10 local bands of all time will be announced on next week's playlist. Don't delay, please vote.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Weekend of So Long's and Thank You's

Usually, I'll give a long list of cool shows to attend in any given weekend. I'll still give a little of a list of extra shows at the bottom, but I'd rather focus on two special shows this weekend.

For Friday night, The Aardvark is the place to be. Calhoun will be playing tonight, and at the very least, this will be the last show of theirs for a long, long while. It's been interesting to watch the progression of Tim Locke's music over time. His first band, Dead City Radio (which became Grand Street Cryers, then Blue.Sky.Black) was a more straight ahead rock band with a few hints of alt-country thrown in. His most recent project, Calhoun, still maintains some of the same rock hooks on certain songs ("Drum Kick Mind") but explores a much darker and heavier lyrical terrain than his earlier bands. Calhoun always delivers a great performance, and I have no doubt they'll go out with a bang tonight. Hopefully, this is just a long term hiatus and not a final show.

Saturday night, the party will be at House of Blues as THe BAcksliders celebrate the release of Thank You. I have said this before, and I shall say it again and again: THe BAcksliders are the best damn live band in Dallas. That, of course, is no surprise, considering the caliber of musicians in this band. Chris Bonner is a musical powerhouse who not only plays a mean guitar solo, but also does so with energy and passion, often playing these solos not on stage but in the audience. Taylor Young has always been one of Dallas' best drummers, and THe BAcksliders, moreso than any other band Mr. Young has been in, provides songs that allow him to show off his skill. Kim Bonner's raspy voice is the perfect vehicle for conveying the emotions in the songs. Simultaneously sexy, passionate, and even desperate in some of the songs, she puts herself in a league of vocalists that few other women in Dallas can reach. And lest I should forget R Jason Bonner, who plays a mean bass.

Obviously THe BAcksliders are the highlight of Saturday night's slow, but let us not forget Somebody's Darling, The Monco Poncho, and Escort Service, all on the same bill. Escort Service fans take note, as this is their final show. You get all of this AND a copy of THe BAcksliders new CD for the price of admission. Simply put, this is the right place to be Saturday night.

Just in case those events weren't enough for you, here are some other shows going on this weekend. But trust me, Calhoun and THe BAcksliders are where it's at.

The O's (Six Flags Over Texas)

Toadies (Wildflower Music Festival)
Iris Leu (Opening Bell Coffee - South Side)
Rahim Quazi (New Amsterdam Coffee House)
King Bucks (Lee Harvey's)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Voting for Big Countdowns and Big Things

Thanks to those who have vote so far... all two of you (three if you count the fact that I'm voting). In order for this to work, I'm going to need a few more votes than I've gotten so far. That's okay, as you still have until midnight of May 22nd to cast your ballot. Send me an email at and give me your top 5 Dallas bands/solo artists of all time. Please rank them in order, with number one being your favorite.

Here's how the scoring works: the number one act on your list gets five points (five plus one just because it's your top choice), act number two gets four points, number three gets three points, number four gets two, and number five gets a point. In case of a tie between acts, I shall cast the deciding vote in terms of ranking; call it a perk of running the blog.

As stated before, please do not use this voting process as a vehicle to promote your band that no one's ever heard of before. No one has done that yet, but I'd like to stop that before it starts. If you'd like a list of suggested bands to nominate, feel free to look at the list of favorite acts either on the side links or on the GOBL MySpace page. Or better yet, check out Jeff Liles' list of great bands and solo artists at A History of Dallas Music. Feel free to stray from those lists, as they are merely suggestions of likely worthy bands, not a comprehensive listing. The acts you vote for must be local acts. I define local as being from either the Dallas, Fort Worth, or Denton areas (or the suburbs surrounding those cities). If the act is not from one of those areas, then do not nominate it. Also, just because a musician was born in Dallas (or surrounding areas) does not mean the musician is a Dallas musician. All acts should have musical roots in the area, so please, no Billy Joel or even Elliott Smith votes.

Speaking of voting, how many of you have voted in Quick's Big Thing? If not, go to Quick now and cast your vote! Voting ends at midnight, Friday May 29th. I'm not going to list all the nominees, but rather some of my favorites from each category, as well pointing out a few significant oversights.

Who should win: There are so many good choices here, including The King Bucks, The Theater Fire, and RTB2. Two bands, however, stand out as my favorites of the group: Dove Hunter and The O's. This is a close one for me, but I'm going to have to go with The O's. I just hope that Smile Smile and RTB2 don't retaliate against me in this bloody duo deathmatch.
Big oversight: Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights are easily one of the biggest and best bands around these parts, and why they're not nominated is beyond me.

Who should win: Do I vote for the new kid on the block (Nicholas Altobelli) or the seasoned veteran (Salim Nourallah)? Everyone realizes how brilliant Mr. Nourallah is. Not as many people are acquaintance with the hauntingly beautiful songwriting skills of Nicholas Altobelli. Perhaps a win by him would change that. My vote shall go to Mr. Altobelli, but I won't complain if Salim walks home with this one.
Big oversight: Admittedly Doug Burr's latest project, The Shawl, may reach a more limited audience as it is a modern day musical interpretation of the biblical Psalms. The project is still very impressive, however, and Mr. Burr's exclusion is a big oversight indeed.

Who should win: For a long time, there was a misconception that because of the extra space on CD's, albums needed to be longer. Dove Hunter's The Southern Unknown may have a mere nine songs, but when your songs are that good, no more is needed. The tracks are rhythmically complex yet memorable and catchy. The tracks range in pace from slow and leisurely ("Devil's Lake") to the heavier, more rocking and brooding ("What Turns Inside"). There are certainly other good CD's in the running (Even Born Again and Sorta's self-titled CD come to mind). But ultimately, Dove Hunter should be the decisive winner in this category.
Big oversight: Airline's Farewell Republica is a complex album that only gets better with each listen. The song titles range from eccentric to flat out weird ("Ulysses", "The Visigoths Await"), but the melodies are as interesting as the titles are peculiar. Experimental in nature, melancholy in mood at times, and ranging from moody pop to straight ahead rock, Farewell Republica will keep listeners on the edge of their seat.

Who should win: Uh, can we have a five-way tie here? No? OK then. My apologies to the cut*off, Dove Hunter, The O's, and Sorta, but Ms. Jaffe's voice on "Even Born Again" gives me chills every time I listen. I'm starting to get a chill down my spine just THINKING about the song. There is an emotional intensity found in Sarah's voice that is almost epic in nature. The other four tracks are awesome, but in all honesty, this one is just a little awesomer. And don't say nothin' about me be using bad grammar.
Big oversight: If I had to choose the song that defined 2008, Rahim Quazi's "Supernatural" would have been the hands down winner. To say that it's a feel-good song almost undercuts the power of this tune. Corny as this sounds, the track radiates a joy that is downright infectious. For the record, this song should have not only been nominated, but it deserves the title of "Big Song".

Who should win: Dove Hunter. I'm tempted to do my usual rave about Quincy Holloway's drumming skills and how he is the best drummer in this city. However, let me just say that this is not the Quincy Holloway show, but rather a collection of great musicians, and that the fact that these guys can keep up with Mr. Holloway proves their talent.
Big oversight: I have said it before, I shall say it again: THe BAcksliders are the best live band in Dallas. Is someone at Quick afraid of pure, frenzied rock and roll? That's the only explanation for this omission that makes sense.

Who should win: This is another category where I have two big favorites: Iris Leu and The Orbans. I'm going with Ms. Leu for her gorgeous voice and skills on the piano. Songs like "Hollowville" and "After All Is Done" are equal parts beauty, grace, strength, emotional resonance, and great music technique. Still, the amount of talent The Orbans have been showing lately is growing exponentially, so if they win, I'll be happy with that result too.
Big oversight: She may be only 17 years old, but Winslow Bright is showing a talent that is beyond her years. Her sound meshes together the best of 1960's pop a la Dusty Springfield with a modern sensibility. Tracks like "5000 Miles to London", "Let's Slip Away" and "Could You Be My Baby" suggest that this is not a mere teenage flash in the pan act, but rather a true artist whose music has the potential to endure.

I can't say much about this category, as I am not very knowledgable about local DJ's. So here's what I will say: Clay Pendergrass spins a mean mix of funk, world music, and other obscure yet captiving pieces of music. I'm throwing my vote behind Mr. Pendergrass.

Salim produced the latest Old 97's CD, and well as CD's by the cut*off and Winslow Bright. Need I say more?

Are These the Dead Days? Calhoun Update

There's been a lot of mixed rumors about Calhoun's May 15th show at Aardvark. According to the band's MySpace, this will be their last show for awhile. On the Aardvark page, however, they are billing this as the band's farewell show. So which is it?

I decided the best approach to finding out the answer would be to ask Tim Locke, lead singer of Calhoun. He responded back to my email, but alas, I have no answer. Why is that? Tim himself is not certain whether or not this will be Calhoun's last show. He is definitely taking a break from performing music, but he did not state whether that break was permanent or not.

Mr. Locke has always kept busy ever since starting Dead City Radio about thirteen years ago (BTW, my first show in Deep Ellum was Old 97's, Dead City Radio, and Slobberbone at Trees. Just felt like sharing that). Dead City Radio eventually became Grand Street Cryers, which then morphed into Blue.Sky.Black before disbanding. Grand Street Cryers was one of my favorite Dallas bands in the latter part of the 1990's. Dallas Observer regularly dissed the band, but I didn't care. Songs like "Push Erase", "Angie Wood", and "How You Like It Now?" were solid rock tunes with a slight tinge of alt-country (particularly in the latter two) that sounded even better live than on the CD. Tim's stage presence was always energetic and entertaining.

It wasn't until Mr. Locke started Calhoun, however, that he received equal parts critical acclaim and large fan following. Calhoun was definitely less of a big rock production, and a much more melody and lyrically driven project. Tunes like "These Are the Dead Days" (my favorite by Calhoun) show that you can write a song about hopelessness and yet make it sound not only catchy but even... lively? It sounds impossible, yet Tim and the band pulled it off.

Tim's final (or not so final) Calhoun show will be this Friday night at Aardvark, with Matt Cliff and Sean Russell & The Rudders opening. Buy him a drink and let him know how much you've appreciated the music. And feel free to encourage a Calhoun reunion show in the very near future.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Random Weekend Stuff, Plus... a Memorial Day Weekend Countdown?

This past weekend was an excellent one for shows. I kicked off my weekend in Addison, of all places. No, I wasn't catching a Top 40 cover band. The Taste of Addison managed to booked Old 97's for Friday night's show, and the Old 97's were awesome. Granted, I can say that for every Old 97's show I've been to over the past thirteen years. There's something to be said for consistency.

Saturday was filled with benefit shows, and alas, I was only able to make two of them. My apologies go out to the SPCA and City Tavern. Maybe I'll manage to make it next year. I did, however, catch a brief portion of the Karen Naomi benefit show. I stayed long enough to hear Iris Leu's set (she's probably my favorite discovery of the year thus far), a song of Karen Naomi's (I never realized how beautiful and powerful her voice was), and most of Camille Cortinas' set (delightful as usual).

Afterwards, I headed over to Club Dada for the UltraViolet benefit. For those curious about the results of the auction, the winning bid went to Dave Hickmott, lead singer of The Felons. This marked the second time I saw the band play without Fred Holston on keys. The first time was at the GOBL showcase, and it was one of the first shows they performed sans Fred. It was obvious that the band was still learning to adjust to being a three piece. After seeing their performance Saturday, it is safe to say that the band is doing more than merely managing without Fred. In fact, it seems that Fred's absence has encouraged all three members to experiment more with their sound. Many of the tunes sound edgier, perhaps due to the aggressive drum beats by Jason Cook or the great bass lines thrown down by Adam Carter. As for Dave Hickmott's voice, he never fails to deliver the goods. Haven't heard the CD yet, but I have a good feeling.

On a completely separate note, I've been pondering an idea for a Memorial Day Weekend countdown. No, this is not going to be a Top 500 classic rock songs type deal, where no one is shocked that "Stairway to Heaven" remains at number one. What I wanted to do, instead, is compile a top ten list of the greatest bands to ever emerge from the metroplex area. The results will be found on my MySpace playlist to be compiled and published on May 24th.

Here's how this will work. Email me at and send me your top 5 local acts of all time. Please put your favorite as number one, obviously. I don't want to put too many rules on this, but I do have two general rules. Here's the biggest one: I do not want people to use this countdown as a means of promoting their new band or their friend's new band. This countdown is supposed to represent the best of the best of what Dallas and the surrounding areas has ever put out.

Second of all, while this blog is rather eclectic in what it covers, please do not vote if you feel there is no shared ground in my taste and yours. Yes, I realize that there are some major local bands out there that have made their mark on our music scene that are far outside that of my musical taste. Pantera, Drowning Pool, and Forever the Sickest Kids are three bands that while I do not like their styles, I cannot deny the impact they have had on the music community. Having said that, I think this countdown should be a fair representation of the tastes of my readers, and if you do not share my taste, please be respectful and bow out of the voting process.

With that in mind, I welcome all your votes and look forward to seeing how this countdown will turn out. Voting will end May 22nd at midnight, so don't delay and send in your top five.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 5/10/09

Contrary to popular belief, not all songs are about girls. There are songs about... hmmm... let's see, there's... uh...

As I ponder other topics for songs besides girls, I give you a special playlist of songs about girls. More specifically, a girl's name is mentioned in every song title. Coming up with songs for this playlist was not as easy as one would think, but I finally compiled ten worthy tunes.

  1. "Victoria", Old 97's
    I cannot think of a better song to kick off this playlist than this, one of my all time favorite Old 97's songs. And for those who missed the Taste of Addison festival, this song was played Friday night.

  2. "Maybellene Don't", THe BAcksliders
    Do you have a large circle of friends that likes THe BAcksliders? If not, then it's time to get some new friends. The band's CD release show is this Saturday at House of Blues in the main room. That's right folks, not the little Pontiac Garage, but the room where the big boys play. You can buy a single ticket for $12, but if you buy tickets in groups of four, each ticket costs a mere $5 (minus service charges of course). The band is taking the name of their new CD, Thank You, quite seriously and giving each ticket purchaser a free copy of their CD. If that's not reason to go, Somebody's Darling and The Monco Poncho are on the bill, and Escort Service will play their farewell show that night. If that's not enough for you, then you've got a problem.

  3. "Evil Livia", Airline
    I'm curious to see what this band's next effort will sound like. Airline's melodies walk the fine line between being complex yet catchy and accessible. That's not an easy feat to pull off, but songs like this showcase this talent that the group possesses.

  4. "Gina from San Jose", Eleven Hundred Springs
    As I previously mentioned, coming up with enough songs to fit this theme was not as easy as one might think, and I had to do some extra research. I discovered this Eleven Hundred Springs track, took a listen, and gave it the thumbs up.
  5. "Adelaide", Tim Miller
    Here's another track where I had to do a little extra digging beyond many of the artists I usually feature on my playlist. I remembered the name of this song by Tim Miller, gave it a listen, and was reminded of how talented this man is. It's been three years since I've seen him, and if this track is any indication, his music has matured and only grown stronger.

  6. "Ruth", Toadies
    I wonder if the band will dig up this track from Pleather when they play the Richardson Wildflower Festival this Saturday.

  7. "Carolina", The Orbans
    Question: does credit to the song go to the Lifters (the band's monicker when they released Switchblade Waterpistol) or to the Orbans? Either way, great song.

  8. "Beatrice (Ode)", The Theater Fire
    Who exactly is Beatrice, and why did the band feel compelled to do not one, not two, but three songs about her on their latest, Matter and Light?

  9. "Julianne", The Crash That Took Me
    There's been a lot of talk about M2S2 this week, both on my blog and on DC9 at Night. For those who have read the verbal sparring between me and the anonymous commenter, I really have no further comment. I will say this, though, The Crash That Took Me has a unique sound that cannot be neatly pigeon holed into a simple classification. I fail to see how that earns the label "boring alternative music".

  10. "Lydia", Camille Cortinas
    I briefly stopped by Opening Bell Coffee last night for the benefit for Karen Naomi's mother, and I got to hear a new song from Camille. In this new song, she sings the line "I drink way too much wine." This song here is also about a girl who loves wine. And you know, every time I see Camille perform, there seems to be a glass of wine near her feet. Coincidence?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Night's Alright for... Charity?

Yes, tonight is your lucky night to be a rock and roll philanthroplist. OK, so perhaps that's an exaggeration. There are, however, three exceptionally good shows that are also benefits for worthy causes. The only hard part is deciding which ones to go to. You could attend one, two, or all three.

The first event is the Crawfish Boil at City Tavern benefitting the Dallas SPCA. The second event is called Mamma Mia, and it takes place at the South Side location of Opening Bell. The cover charge goes to help the medical bills of Delia King, mother of local musician Karen Naomi. To find out more about Karen's mother, go to for details. Finally, Club Dada is host to the 3rd annual UltraViolet showcase, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. There will not only be great live music, but also a silent auction featuring art, poetry, Ghost of Blind Lemon album reviews, you know, the usual stuff. Let the bidding war begin!!!

Here is a list of the lineups for the three charity events. Use this to plan your day accordingly.

City Tavern (SPCA Benefit)
3:00 Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos
4:00 Airline
5:00 RTB2
6:00 Slowburners
7:00 David Ramirez
8:00 Sideshow Tragedy
9:00 Macon Greyson
10:00 Binary Sunrise
11:00 Slider Pines
12:00 Somebody's Darling

Opening Bell Coffee - South Side Location (Delia King Benefit)
4:00 Karen Naomi
4:45 Mary Hestand (Merry & The Moodswings)
5:30 Casey Shock
6:15 Chris Gonzalez
7:00 Iris Leu
7:45 Camille Cortinas
8:30 Chris Holt
9:15 Johnny Lloyd Rollins
10:00 Jacob Metcalf (The Brushlanders)
10:45 Steve Jackson
11:30 Sam Arnold (Opposite Day)

Club Dada (UltraViolet - Cystic Fibrosis Benefit)
8:15 The O's (Indoor Stage)
8:50 The Felons (Outdoor Stage)
9:25 The Boom Boom Box (Indoor Stage)
10:00 The Monco Poncho (Outdoor Stage)
10:30 Lovie (Indoor Stage)
11:00 The Happy Bullets (Outdoor Stage)
11:30 El Gato (Indoor Stage)

Friday, May 8, 2009

What to Do: Friday Night

Normally, I just post all the Friday and Saturday night events together. Tomorrow, however, is an exceptional busy day because of three great charity show lineups. I don't want to discuss those shows at this point, other than to tell members of bands to come to UltraViolet tomorrow and bid on the album review I'm auctioning off. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's gimmicky, but it's allowing me to help raise money for a very important cause.

For now, let's focus on tonight's activities. It's a little lighter of an evening than tomorrow will be, but there's still plenty to do.

Boys Named Sue (Allgood Cafe)
Don't these guys ever get tired of playing this venue? Obviously not, and I wouldn't either, especially if they'd pay me in terms of their chicken fried chicken. Mmmmmm!
Sean Russell/Kristina Morland/Clint Niosi (Opening Bell Coffee South Side)
Never heard of headliner Sean Russell, but the other two artists are reason enough to go. Mr. Niosi recently gave me a copy of his fine CD, The Sound of Dead Horses Beaten Against Cold Shoulders, and have enjoyed listening to it. My love for Kristina Morland's music has been made known on numerous occasions, having compared her to Sarah Jaffe. I'm surprised Ms. Morland's fan base hasn't grown exponentially at this point, because she's just that good.
Cocky Americans/PVC Street Gang/The League of Fucking Decency (The Cavern)
I still haven't caught any of these three bands, and I so want so see all three. Although I have a feeling I'll be getting to see Cocky Americans very, very soon. More on that one at a later date...
Solly/The Slack (Club Dada)
I know The Slack are doing an acoustic performance. I cannot imagine Solly doing an acoustic performance, as lead singer Marc Solomon seems to only like one volume level: extremely loud. Mr. Solomon keeps so busy running Zound Sounds that he does not play many shows with his band, which I would describe as powerpop a la Cheap Trick, only louder and heavier.
Reverend Horton Heat/Eleven Hundred Springs (Aardvark)
I would imagine than Eleven Hundred Springs alone could have Aardvark fairly tightly packed. Add the Rev to the mix, and movement within the club will be nearly impossible. This is the show to be at in Fort Worth this weekend, but you knew that already, didn't you?
Taste of Addison
Here's all you need to know: Old 97's play at 8:30. Enough said.

Check back tomorrow, and I'll give you the scoop on the SPCA benefit, the Delia King benefit, and UltraViolet. And at risk of sounding like a broken record, bring money to bid on the Ghost of Blind Lemon album review being auctioned off. Bring money to bid on the Ghost of Blind Lemon album review being auctioned off. Bring money to bid on the Ghost of Blind Lemon album review being auctioned off.Bring money to bid on the Ghost of Blind Lemon album review being auctioned off...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Snow in June May

No, this is not a weather prediction. Everyone in Dallas knows that if it snows in May or June that the end of times are upon us.

Snow in June is the name of the debut album from Toby Pipes' new band, Little Black Dress. Fans of the shoegaze sound will be delighted by this new band. To quote their press release, "Their unique sound might remind you of a deep-cut track from one of your favorite 4AD compilations with influences spanning decades of innovative music - from synth driven sounds of Depeche Mode and Cabaret Voltaire, to the droning but noisy guitars and under-stated vocals of My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain, to the layered melodic swirling of the Cocteau Twins." I'm failing to hear the Depeche Mode influence, but traces of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Cocteau Twins can all be found in their tunes.

The CD is set to be released in June, fittingly enough. For those not patient enough to wait that long, fear not. Starting today, you can download Snow in June off of itunes. Whether you prefer digital downloads or physically tangible CD's, this is one album you'll want to have in your collection.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Musings on M2S2

I realize that M2S2 was over a week ago, and it might seem on the surface to be a little late to discuss the event. However, there was one major problem with the festival that I feel cannot go unmentioned. The problem wasn’t with the great Ear Candy exhibit; I enjoyed seeing all the photography and works of art. It wasn’t the sets I saw by Something in the Wheel or Nicholas Altobelli in the Mokah Lounge. Mr. Altobelli never fails to deliver a good set, and SITW proved that the good MySpace recordings are no fluke and that they are poised to become a significant force in the local music scene. The problem was neither The Orbans (who seem to be on the verge of being ready for national success) nor Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights (who I’m convinced are going to become humongous before the end of the year). The problem wasn’t even when Ryan Thomas Becker’s amp (from RTB2) died on him; Grady Sandlin’s drum solo kept the audience entertained nicely until the technical difficulties were resolved. No, the problem was not with any of the musical acts.

The problem is quite simple: not enough people showed up. Perhaps this is an overreaction on my part, but this has me more nervous about the state of the local music scene than I’ve been since the first day I started the blog. There are many reasons for my concern. First of all, the level of talent on the lineup should have brought far more people out. Both JT&NL and The Crash That Took Me have proven their ability to fill up Granada Theater, which is no small feat. Throw in other major players in the scene such as The O’s, The Orbans, and RTB2, and you have an event that should have had Life in Deep Ellum near capacity, if not bursting at the seams. Yet the main auditorium seemed rather vacant. What makes this even more disturbing is the fact that those who chose to RSVP were admitted into the event free of charge. Normally any one of these acts alone could easily expect $8-10 cover charge just as a headliner. The fact that more people could not be bothered to attend the event suggests an underlying apathy towards the local music scene.

I’ve tried to figure out reasons for why so few people showed up. I would not think that publicity would be the problem, as all the bands did a good job of promoting the event, as did many local blogs (including this one). I wondered if some people might have had an issue with the venue, since Life in Deep Ellum does not normally sell alcoholic beverages. It was widely made known, however, that the fine folks at Double-Wide would be on hand to sell alcoholic beverages. The only other thing I could imagine is that maybe some individuals stayed home because of the Swine Flu hysteria. Whichever scenario you look at, it still does not seem to justify such a low attendance. Life in Deep Ellum is a nice venue with an excellent sound system in the main auditorium, and the Mokah Coffee House has a charming, cozy ambience to it.

I want some input from my readers. No, scratch that. I am in NEED of input from my readers. What does it take to get people off their asses and to shows? If a free event of this magnitude does not bring out the fans, what will? And what does it take to bring new fans and new blood into the scene?

I know what the problem is not. As I have said before, the problem is not a lack of talent within the scene. Every act I saw at M2S2 I would classify as grade A entertainment, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what our metroplex can offer. I could go on for days about the talent in the area: THe BAcksliders, Rahim Quazi, the cut*off, Macon Greyson, Lovie, Winslow Bright, Airline, Dove Hunter, Salim Nourallah, The Felons, Little Black Dress, Doug Burr, Menkena, The Drams, Somebody’s Darling, Sarah Jaffe, Camille Cortinas, and the list could go on and on. And while the economy may be a factor for many disappointing turnouts, it doesn’t get cheaper than free, and that was the cover charge for those who decided to RSVP. Therefore, money was not an issue in this case. So tell me, what is the problem? And from there, what can I as a blogger do? And while I’m asking questions, I have one for my readers: what can you be doing to strengthen the local music scene? Come on readers, help me help you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 5/3/09

Is Saturday National Charity Show Day? I was just wondering, because this Saturday there will be a total of three charity events occuring. In honor of the unofficial "National Charity Show Day", I am devoting almost the entire playlist to bands from the three events.

  1. "St. Ignatius", Old 97's
    Granted, the economy has really hit the restaurant industry hard, but I don't think one could call the Taste of Addison festival a charity event. Old 97's take the stage Friday night at 8:30, and for once, something musically cool will be happening in my neighborhood.

  2. "Miss Sugar Pie", Johnny Lloyd Rollins

  3. "Ipso Facto", Iris Leu

  4. "Blind", Karen Naomi
    It's fitting that this first benefit occurs the day before Mother's Day. Delia King, mother of Karen Naomi, was diagnosed late last year with Meningococcemia, a bacterial formed of meningitis, which spread throughout her body. Delia has gone through multiple surgeries, and has had all of her fingers amputated, as well as both of her legs up to her knees. Ms. Naomi organized a benefit this Saturday at the South Side Location of Opening Bell Coffee. The $10 cover charge will go towards helping Karen's mother's mounting medical bills. To find out more about the event, as well as how Delia is doing, go to for more information.

  5. "The Song Plays", Macon Greyson

  6. "Faster Than the Roads", Slider Pines

  7. "Five Minutes", Binary Sunrise
    These three artists are just the tip of the iceberg for this Saturday's SPCA benefit at City Tavern. Other bands performing include RTB2, The Slowburners, Airline, and Somebody's Darling, among others. Oh, and there will be plenty of crawfish on hand for those who like crawfish.

  8. "Cathedral", The Felons

  9. "Million Stars", Lovie

  10. "Scorpions in Your Shoes", El Gato
    Yes, lots of money will be raised for Cystic Fibrosis Saturday night and Club Dada. There will be plenty of good music on hand that night. In addition to the three aforementioned artists, The Monco Poncho, The O's, The Boom Boom Box, and The Happy Bullets are all offering their musical services. There will also be a silent art auction. But here's the real question: how much will the Ghost of Blind Lemon album review auction off for that night? Come on bands, start saving your pennies to get yourself some free exposure. Who knows, maybe I'll even like your album, which will actually get it a good review. Either way, any press is good, right? Right?