Some might think that to be an unusual period for waxing nostalgic. Perhaps this is because I was not a first hand witness to the glory days of late 80's/early 90's Deep Ellum. I missed out on the rise of New Bohemians, as well as such local heroes as Ten Hands, Course of Empire, Tripping Daisy, Rev. Horton Heat, Toadies, Deep Blue Something, and the many others that helped define that musical era. While I did catch on to the Old 97's early on, it wasn't until the early 2000's that I became consumed with the sounds of the metroplex. If it wasn't for the early 2000's, I would not have come to love local music, and there most certainly would not be this blog. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on where this journey of local music started for me.
(Next week, I will return to playing newer songs, so if you want your song to appear on the list, email me at email@example.com and if I like it, you may wind up on the list.)
- "Jack Never Crashes", The Deathray Davies
The first time I saw them, they had the unenviable task of opening for Old 97's. Although this is arguably prime musical real estate so to speak, there is one problem with opening for them. Usually, there's only one thought going through my mind when seeing a new band open for Old 97's: how much longer until they start? The Deathray Davies pulled off a nearly impossible feat during this set; I never was wanting their set to quit. I knew from that moment on that this was one amazing band.
- "Just Like Anyone", I Love Math
This band originated as a means for John Dufilho to test out potential DRD songs before taking on a life of its own. This is probably my favorite track from their self titled debut.
- "Big Drag", Lucy Loves Schroeder
Before becoming a Rental or even going solo, Sara Radle made her mark on the local music scene with this pop-punk band. During a period where the phrase pop-punk got a bad rap due to national acts like Sum 41, Simple Plan, and Good Charlotte, Lucy Loves Schroeder kept true to a more classic pop-punk style a la Ramones or Buzzcocks. The band may not have broken much new ground, but it managed to create some really short but amazing pop melodies. In fact, "Big Drag", clocking in at barely over 3 minutes, could be classified as an epic in the LLS songbook.
- "Hello", Sugarbomb
This band came so close to the big time. RCA signed the band and released their album Bully. The lead single, "Hello", was even getting radio play not only in Dallas, but across the country. There was even talk of them doing a national tour with Garbage or The Verve Pipe. Then 9/11 happened. The music business, like the rest of the country, was thrown into a tailspin. Sugarbomb was one of many bands that lost major label support after 9/11. The band never really recovered, and broke up less than two years later.
- "Cold And Grey", Sons of Sound
Looking back, Sons of Sound could easily be regarded as a Dallas supergroup, even though no one knew it at the time. The band featured Josh McKibben (Happy Bullets), Chad Stockslagger (The Drams, The King Bucks), and at different points both Chris and Jason Bonner (THe BAcksliders). It always amazed me that for as much talent as there was in that band, not many people still know who they were. Here's hoping a little Ghost of Blind Lemon love helps change that.
- "Gonna Be A Rockstar", The Happiness Factor
Although I'd heard a few Moon Festival tunes (most notably "Desert City Sleeps"), this was my first true taste of Salim Nourallah. This was easily Mr. Nourallah's most aggressive sounding band, but this trademark sarcasm and wit can be easily found in this track.
- "Cut from the Same Cloth", Legendary Crystal Chandelier
I could isolate probably half a dozen lines from this song and analyze their brilliance. Instead, just listen to the whole song and save me the time and effort.
- "Straight Razor", Chomsky
One cannot discuss Dallas music of the early 2000's and not mention Chomsky. Okay, it can be done, but it would be an omission of epic proportions. Their live sets were equal parts professional musicianship and onstage debauchery (Glen Reynolds was a master of both). Throw in some killer hooks, a certain amount of new wave nostalgia, and Sean Halleck's trademark vocals, and it equalled one of the biggest local acts of that time.
- "It's All Gone Wrong", Pennywhistle Park
For a few months in 2001, it seemed like Pennywhistle Park was destined for greatness. Their live shows were growing stronger with each listen, and this song set up permanent residence in my head. In fact, if I had made a list of the best local songs of 2001, this would've EASILY made the number one slot. Shortly after the release of their album, The Built Up for the Big Let Down, lead singer Lindsay Romig left town to move to Los Angeles. She has since moved back to Dallas, but has not actively pursued music. Lindsay, let's change that.
- "It's All Gone Wrong", Pennywhistle Park
- "Star", Captain Audio
Admittedly I wasn't a die hard Captain Audio fan, but I gotta give props to this tune for being really catchy.
- "Bring Me the Head of Jose Cuervo", Sparrows
This may not be the most profound song Carter Albrecht ever wrote, but it's probably the most fun one.
- "The Technology", [DARYL]
Before there was The Crash That Took Me, there was [DARYL]. Both bands shared a certain sense of musical ambition and experimentality under the helm of Dylan Silvers. But while TCTTM leans more towards 60's psychedelia, art-rock, and shoegaze, [DARYL] meshed together a balance of loud guitars and classic synthesizer sounds. There was also quite a fixation on technology, as exemplified by this title track to their 2002 album.
- "Execution by X-Mas Lights", Flickerstick
In 2000, there were three bands critical in developing my love of local music: Deathray Davies, Chomsky, and Flickerstick. Flickerstick called it quits last year, and it was an emotional show for me. Chomsky had already called it quits, and at the time Deathray Davies were on an indefinite hiatus. The show marked an end of an era of sorts for me. At the end of their farewell show, Brandin Lea performed this song, adding a few extra verses toward the end. You can click here to the see the video. In spite of having part of the song cut out and questionable cinematography, I can't watch it without getting a lump in my throat.