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it list : monday
  
Sunset Rubdown | Fight Bite | Hospital Ships (Granada)
So what's going on here? Welcome to the end of band names. Harmless random words haphazardly thrown together. I got it, I got it: Thimble Spectrum. How's that? I know what a Hospital Ship is, but what's a Sunset Rubdown? I hope it's subversive and offensive whatever it is. Anyways, this guy is in Wolf Parade, you probably know that, and this is his side project that doesn't really hide the music degree, which leads to an often interesting listen, until you realize that sometimes the vocals sound like The Killers or some highly affected, tortured, radio-pop singer. Why doesn't anyone ever get upset about shit like that anymore? Hospital Ships is a lot easier to swallow, less melodrama, and charming enough. What happened to Jagjaguwar ? I thought they were the alt-country label for people with PhD's or something. Fight Bite will be readying themselves on the big stage tonight for their three shows at CMJ next month, which is like a more disorganized and even more sprawling South By Southwest, but who cares? It's in New York.

Iron And Wine | The Swell Season (Palladium)
I was wondering why this Swell Season band was receiving top billing over Iron And Wine on all of the advertisements for this show, and then I realized it was that duo that includes a member of The Frames, the same duo that won a fucking Oscar.  Yeah, just like Three Six Mafia. Elliott Smith paved the way for indie folk at The Academy Awards, though these two actually starred in the movie they scored. It's easy to understand why this music goes over well with the understated foreign film loving set, and though it's not really something I'd listen to, it's loads better than Iron And Wine, an act that almost resulted in a fistfight between SR and myself. Oh, and you'll pay handsomely to see these A-listers, about thirty five bucks.  
  
Bookmark and ShareDefensive Listening on September 29thcomments (4)
  
  
monday morning rock
  


SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

MON: Sunset Rubdown/Hospital Ships/Fight Bite (The Granada)
MON: Iron And Wine/The Swell Season (The Palladium)
TUE: Cut Copy/The Presets (Granada)
WED: Nervous Curtains/Schwa/Jordan Fraker (Cavern)
THU: Mom/Florene/Voices And Organs (Dan's Silverleaf)
THU: Jonathan Richman (Rubber Gloves)
FRI: The Make Believers/The Come Latelys/Deadman (Hailey's)
SAT: Dub Assembly (Green Elephant)
SAT: Lollipop Shoppe (Allgood Cafe)
SAT: Henry Rollins (Lakewood Theater)
SAT: Daniel Francis Doyle/Yellow Fever/TBA (Rubber Gloves)
SAT: Vorvadoss/Zanzibar Snails/Swirve (Good Records)
SAT: Roky Erickson/The Black Angels/Dove Hunter (Granada)
SAT: Dub Assembly W/Jam-2 (The Green Elephant)
  
Bookmark and ShareDefensive Listening on September 29thcomments (2)
  
  
weekender
  
We'll be spending our weekend rounding up the votes for our 2008 WSJR Awards, and we'll announce the winners some time in the middle of next week. And by the way, you can tune in to CNN tonight at 8pm and watch the presidential debates, which thanks to the courage of John McCain (did you know that he was one a POW?), is still on for this evening. Now for shows (sorry we're late today)

FRIDAY

Fleet Foxes | Frank Fairfield (Lola's)
Didn't Fleet Foxes play in Dallas recently? I don't know, I can't keep up with all these indie rock bands anymore. Actually, Fleet Foxes aren't all that bad-- 60's folk and 70's singer/songwriter influences dominate their sound, along with a touch of classic country and a bit of Crosby, Stills and Nash,, and most of their work is quite pleasant and even memorable at times, even if it does absolutely nothing new with the source material from which they arise. After I listened to the second song on their myspace page, I thought "man, I bet these guys are on Sub Pop." Ding ding ding. Spune Productions has been telling people that this show is close to selling out for weeks now, so I'd suggest getting there quite early or buying your tickets in advance, just in case they aren't lying.

The Party (Zubar)
Tonight's Party will be a celebration of the one year anniversary of Collective, a skate shop with personal ties to the Central Booking crew. Free giveaways from the likes of Vans and Red Stripe will apparently be going on all night, and DJ A-1 will be spinning in the back room.

Stay Cool Swag School with Heartstring Stranglers | Young Doc Gooden | Five Easy Pieces (Rubber Gloves)
I heard that the last one of these was pretty much the craziest party that Rubber Gloves has had in a while. And Check out some of Austin Brown's chopped and screwed material on his Myspace.

Parasytic | Tolar | Resigned to Fate | Rocket for Ethiopia (1919 Hemphill)

Laptop Deathmatch (Club Dada)
Three year anniversary featuring a performance from the acclaimed Cygnus, among many others. It appears that they have shortened the format a bit and made it less like a game show, which I think will be a very good thing for this event. You'll hear some very talented local electro producers this evening (they often seem to lean in the direction of IDM) if you decide to venture out.

Culture Prophet | Top Secret Robot Alliance | Keith P | Prince William (The Lounge)
Electro dance group Culture Prophet covers most of the predictably hip dance influences in their music, from dance punk to 90's rave to 80s pop. It is well done, but trust me, you've heard it all before. And sorry, but the jokey German electro pop shtick of Top Secret Robot Alliance is just a bit too goofy for its own good.

Black Keys | Jessica Lea Mayfield (Granada)
SOLD OUT. So I guess you're either going or you aren't.

The Temptations/The Four Tops (Nokia)

Neva Dinova | Colour Revolt | Sybris | McCarthy Trenching (Hailey's)

SATURDAY

Thomas Function | Teenage Cool Kids | Wax Museums | Uptown Bums (715 Panhandle)
Don't have a lot of time to talk at this point, but Thomas Function sounds pretty fantastic actually... nice 60's pop stuff. Listen for yourself. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up being, like, a "buzz" band or something next year, and I don't mean that as an insult at all. I'm actually shocked that every other local media source in town missed these guys. Wait, no I'm not. Highly recommended.

Dead C Documentary (Rubber Gloves)
Will Kapinos' final project at UNT's film school deals with legendary New Zealand band the Dead C, and here is a little description of the film. Should be very good:

The Dead C. made a rare U.S. appearance at the Sonic Youth-curated All Tomorrows Parties festival in Los Angeles, CA on 17 March 2002. The festival was the first show of a three-day mini-tour through LA and San Francisco to promote their album New Electric Music, the second release on their own Language Recordings imprint. This documentary features two complete performances, the first from the ATP festival and a set from the following night at The Smell, a small downtown experimental music venue. Both performances are as different from each other as the Dead C. are different from anyone else in the history of punk rock/avant-garde/free noise music. This concert film provides a rare up-close look at one of the most unique and mysterious bands to ever emerge from New Zealand.

Decadance with Faux Fox | Sydney Confirm | Tigerfight! (Fallout Lounge)

Neko Case | Giant Sand (Granada)

SUNDAY

Rival Gang | The Heartstring Stranglers | Febrifuge (Swiss House)
A solid and fairly mellow show will be taking place at Swiss House until Rival Gang gets up there and does, uh, what they do. It involves a flying V I think. Get there early to check out the chronically undernoticed Febrifuge. Is that even a word? Not according to blogger it isn't.

Cola Freaks | Black Time | Wax Museums | Secret Bangs | Bad Sports (Muscle Beach, 907 Denton St.)
Very solid garage punk show this evening starring Denmark's (oops) Cola Freaks, a band that seems to take a good deal of influence from fellow Australians The Saints while injecting a dose of classic garage rock into the mix. And oh yeah, be sure to check out some tracks from Denton's excellent Secret Bangs, particularly "Violent Love" on their Myspace page-- nice keyboard attack in there with some "wait, is this really a local band" vocals. Sounds promising.

Lazy Magnet | Pro Bro Gold | Animal Forces | Aunt's Analog (House of Tinnitus)
Check out the drugged and deranged abstract 90's rave inspired dance stuff from Pro Bro Gold... sort of a change of pace for Tinnitus and very interesting. Too bad I have to miss this one. :-(
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 26thcomments (2)
  
  
it list : thursday
  
Spiritualized | Grand Ole Party (Lakewood Theater)
When it comes to Spacemen 3, I've always been more of a Sonic Boom kinda guy, and after interviewing the man himself last year, I was left with sort of a mixed impression of both Sonic AND Jason Pierce on a personal level-- the constant fighting and he said he said stuff between the two of them was sort of a turn off in a sense, although it made for an entertaining read to say the least. Through Spiritualized, Pierce has certainly emerged as the more commercially successful former member of Spacemen 3, and although I would argue that his career has been less consistent, challenging and interesting than Sonic's, it is hard to deny that when Pierce has one of his moments, his music can be purely electrifying. Take the title track to his classic 1997 album Ladies and Gentleman We are Floating in Space for instance-- I'm pretty sure that nothing in Sonic Boom's solo catalogue has had the immediate emotional impact that the aforementioned song had on me the first time I heard it, and this is just one small example of how the relative accessibility of Pierce's material has worked in his favor time and time again. Lakewood Theater is an interesting choice for this show, and I've certainly never seen a concert there that packed the kind of volume this show is sure to. I wonder what is going to happen? Stuff starts REALLY early over there, so plan accordingly.

Hot Chip | Drums of Death (Palladium Ballroom)
Another early start (website says that the show begins at 730... can't a guy squeeze in a nap around here?) at Palladium for what will surely be a show worth seeing. I've enjoyed each and every one of Hot Chip's three full lengths a great deal, but they seem to get better each time. The band's latest, Made in the Dark, is easily their best, and the album's first single, "Ready for the Floor," is arguably the catchiest in a long line of very catchy singles from a band that takes bits and pieces of things like disco, punk, funk, soul and synth pop to create a sound that has produced so many inferior sound-a-like bands over the years that it probably deserves its own genre. This is fun dance pop written and performed by people who actually have a better record collection than you do, so here's to hoping that some of the kids out there will learn a thing or two tonight between smoke breaks.

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien | Bukue One | Tee Double | Headkrack (Granada)

80's Night with DJ G (Hailey's)
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 25thcomments (3)
  
  
give away-- cut copy
  
Thanks to our friends at the Granada, we have three pairs of tickets to give away to Cut Copy's September 30th performance at the Granada Theater with the Presets. We'll give them to three random winners who email us at weshotjrtix@yahoo.com with "Cut Copy" as the subject line, any time between now and noon tomorrow. Good luck!
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 25thcomments (49)
  
  
art list
  
photo by Arno Rafael Minkkinen
I guess it must be the musky dander of Big Tex in the air, because there is a whole shit load of not much going on this weekend. Please let me know in the comments section if you think something should be added.

THURSDAY

Arno Rafael Minkkinen [link]
Richland College Lago Vista Gallery
Closing Reception & Artist Talk, 8-9 PM

This seems to be the major event of the week. Minkkinen is a Finnish-American photographer who has a tendency to show up uncomfortably naked and sometime butt-wrinkly in his own photographs. If you take into account that he doesn't digitally manipulate his images, some of this is really impressive. Instead of a tiny LCD screen, he uses Polaroid T-55 film, so he can get instant feedback while trying to construct a shot. When asked by the EGG Art Show (PBS) why he's always naked, he responds:

If I had any stitch of clothing on, it'd be about fashion. It'd be about a shirt or a tie or a coat or shoes. Running shoes, running on water. By being nude, it links it immediately back to nature. It links it to the same nudity that I find in the water, in the trees and the rocks. And the sky. Just as normal or natural. Also, it is always me because I didn't want to ask anyone else to be nude in the cold and leaning out over a cliff or putting themselves in harm's way. I had to be nude, in all the seasons and all the conditions I could find.

SATURDAY

Heavy Hitters Art Exhibition
F6 Gallery [link]
Saturday Night ONLY

The spirit behind the F6 group seems good. F6 was voted "Critic's Choice for Best Gallery 2008" by the Fort Worth Weekly. Also, check out the new F6 Gallery web site.
  
Bookmark and Shareplatetone on September 25thcomments (0)
  
  
surprise!
  
Turns out we won't have time to take the 2008 We Shot J.R. Awards ballot down until later this afternoon, and since it'll still be up there for most of the day anyway, we figured we might as well continue to allow people to vote for a few more hours.  You can go here to vote, and you'll be able to do so until the It List is posted later this afternoon.  And as hard as it may be to believe, we've received a very large number of thorough and thoughtful votes this year, so don't fuck up, ok?  
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 24thcomments (0)
  
  
it list : wednesday
  
Not much going on today, which is not surprising as Wednesdays are often terrible. As I double-checked and scoured for anything at all, I noticed that a local website suggested that you could perhaps eat at "Hooligans Pub," while catching the Lupe Fiasco show at UTA's Texas Hall in Arlington. I once had my on-stage microphone cut off early at an event I spoke at in Anaheim, CA, because I compared Anaheim to Arlington. They were NOT at all happy about the comparison. I thought the similarities were all too obvious. Oh, well.

I almost forgot: Wanz Dover is celebrating his birthday tonight at The Lounge with a new group, Eldridge Meatcleaver and The Soul Reavers. I'm sure you can guess the genre, and the set-list is said to include everything from Etta James, to Booker T. And The MG's, to The Sonics, and Serge Gainsbourg. Should be interesting. Wanz will also be DJ'ing along with DJ Gabriel.

Taxi Fare (Zubar)

Finally: Today is the last day to vote in the We Shot JR Awards. So please do so.
  
Bookmark and ShareDefensive Listening on September 24thcomments (1)
  
  
it list : tuesday
  
The Juan Maclean (The Loft)
Stonedranger thought I wouldn't be too familiar with The Juan Maclean and took it upon himself to give me this little primer:

1. they are touring as a four piece
2. Front man John MacLean used to be in Six Finger Satellite
3. He was one of the original members of the DFA crew, and anticipated a return of Chicago house and disco as early as 2002, when he started working with James Murphy in NY
4. Album due out later this year, new single "Happy house" has become a huge club hit over the summer, and it is pretty much straight-up Chicago house, complete with a pounding straight piano loop... you can listen to it on the myspace page if you want to hear for yourself... wait until about 2:30 into the song in order to get a feel for it.

Coolz?
"

I would just like to add that I have been a fan of Maclean's music for over a decade, though I think his straight-faced foray into straight-up house music has moments that are better than others, which I suspect is precisely why SR sent me the informative e-mail. I've seen some live videos that have definitely sold me on seeing the group perform this music. Six Finger Satellite's recorded output from 1993 to 1998 is so ahead of its time, that I'm hard-pressed to think of a 90's band that sounds less dated, especially for a group on Sub Pop. Murphy's weirdly distorted beat production on the last SFS album Maclean was featured on, "Law Of Ruins" is still a fascinating listen over two LP's. I am still kicking myself for choosing not to see the group at Rubber Gloves, so many years ago. I hate teenage Defensive Listening.

UPDATE: I should also mention that Keith P is opening this show.

Thee Oh Sees | Sic Alps | Dogme 95 | Ty Sengall (The Lounge)
Though San Francisco's Pink And Brown were quite respected and respectable, the duo, consisting of John Dwyer and Jeff Rosenberg, maintained that respect largely by involving themselves in such a diverse list of projects: Coachwhips, The Hospitals, Young People, and of course, Thee Oh Sees. Thee Oh Sees aren't necessarily my favorite out of this list of noteworthy groups, they sound about what you'd expect from a band that uses "Thee" in their name: energetic, reverbed out, garage rock, with some psych passages. Thee Oh Sees have an excellent live reputation and this sounds like a show worth catching overall. The Sic Alps released a record on Siltbreeze over the summer, and have a sound that is as anachronistically inspired as Thee Oh Sees, but is dirtier, druggier, and more sprawling. Local act Dogme 95 has done everything from solo folk stuff, to remixes of other artists' music, to revisionist Nirvana covers.

PS-No hard feelings, SR. You big jerk.
  
Bookmark and ShareDefensive Listening on September 23rdcomments (3)
  
  
remember to vote for the wsjr awards 2008
  
Just a reminder that voting for our 2008 WSJR Awards ends at roughly 1am on Thursday (Wednesday night, basically), so if you want to have a say in the only local music awards that actually matter to anyone with taste... click here and vote now.
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 23rdcomments (5)
  
  
it list : monday
  
Miss Kittin and the Hacker (The Loft)
Monday night in Dallas is pretty much a total bummer setting for a show in which "sex with movie stars" will be a primary lyrical focus, but I guess a lot of people would argue that the novelty of "electroclash" is a pretty big bummer too. Of course, picking on electroclash has sort of become like picking on a retarded kid in elementary school, hasn't it? Yes, anyone who has picked up a single lifestyle magazine in the past six years knows that electroclash was a flash in the pan, but really, was it as insignificant as people like to claim? I don't know, but I have a hard time imagining that any of the trends that we've seen in dance music over the past several years would have occurred in the same way without the influence of people like Miss Kittin and Felix Da Housecat, for better or worse. They kind of served as a gateway drug for moody indie kids to finally accept the fact that dance music was ok to listen to even if you didn't take Ecstasy. And whether you're happy about what has become the dominant and single most significant development in American and European underground music in the past decade (the embrace of electro), you can hardly call it insignificant, and you can't say that tracks like Miss Kittin's "Frank Sinatra" didn't play a noteworthy part.

The Queers | The Independents | The Lash Outs (Doublewide)
This is the coolest show I've seen booked at Doublewide in many months, and obviously, that isn't saying much. Oh and by the way-- the Independents have been touring pretty much non stop since 1995, and they refer to themselves as a "horror ska" punk band, which is so awkward that its even hard to make fun of. Uh, Nelson Mandela is already free, mkay Danzig?

Cool Out (The Cavern)

  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 22ndcomments (2)
  
  
fast give away: hot chip and juan maclean
  
As you might already know, Juan MacLean will be playing tomorrow (Tuesday) at The Loft, while Hot Chip will be playing Palladium Ballroom on Thursday. The Palladium people were nice enough to give us

*One pair of tickets to Juan MacLean
*Two Pairs of tickets to Hot Chip

But since we have to give them the names of the winners ASAP, we'll just say that the first two people to send us an email to weshotjrtix@yahoo.com titled "Hot Chip" will win the Hot Chip tickets, and the first person to send us an email titled "juan maclean" will win tickets to his show. I've seen both live and they are fantastic. Anyway, go for it.
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 22ndcomments (0)
  
  
monday morning rock
  


SHOWS OF NOTE THIS WEEK

MON: Miss Kittin (The Loft)
TUE: The Juan MacLean (The Loft)
TUE: The Oh Sees/Sic Alps/Ty Segall/Dogme 95 (the Lounge)
THU: Hot Chip/Drums of Death (Palladium)
THU: Spiritualized (Lakewood Theater)
THU: Del the Funky Homosapien (Granada)
FRI: The Party (Zubar)
FRI: Culture Prophet/Top Secret Robot Alliance/Keith P/Prince William (The Lounge)
FRI: Fleet Foxes/Frank Fairfield (Lola's)
FRI: The Black Keys/Jessica Lea Mayfield (Granada) SOLD OUT
SAT: Thomas Function/Teenage Cool Kids/Wax Museums (715 Panhandle)
SUN: Lazy Magnet/Pro Bro Gold/Animal Forces/Aunt's Analogue (House of Tinnitus)
SUN: Rival Gang/The Heartstring Stranglers/Febrifuge (Swiss House)
  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 21stcomments (4)
  
  
weekender
  
Pretty solid weekend for shows, particularly if you live in Denton. As always, if we missed something, let us know in the comments and we'll add it to the list if it's cool enough. And PS-- we're actually starting to post MP3s in our MP3 section now, so check it out over to the right below the pics.  We have a couple good ones available right now. And PPS-- vote for WSJR awards here. Whoomp here it is:

FRIDAY

Late Night with Operation Playmate (Dallas Museum of Art)
Video artists/electro composers Operation Playmate (who we told you about earlier in the week) will be the most interesting thing going on at this month's edition of DMA Late Nights. The group will be performing music and displaying video inspired by the DMA's Materials and Meaning exhibit, which you can learn more about here. Late Night starts at 6, but this performance will begin at 10pm in the Atrium.

Zanzibar Snails | Geistheistler | Dirty Water Disease (J&Js)
Dirty Water Disease? I think we might have a finalist for our "worst band name" award. I also caught Zanzibar Snails a couple weeks ago at the Lounge, and after about 10 minutes of confusing the shit out of me, I was quickly reminded of why I liked this band in the first place.

Back to School with Young Doc Gooden | Florene | Pepi Ginsberg | Make Believers | Grassfight | Bob White and the F Electrics | Sydney Confirm | Kaboom (Hailey's)
A lot of variation on a bill that seems to be designed simply to herd as many UNT students into Hailey's as possible. If you haven't heard Aaron White's Make Believers yet, you should go to their Myspace and give them a listen-- the guy continues to reveal his talents as one of the more underrated songwriters in the area with a mastery of psychedelic pop/Bakersfield/etc. Pretending that he doesn't post on Denton Rock City will help you enjoy the music even more. JK guys! Ever since I heard that people have to pretend to hate us when they hang out at Dan's Silverleaf, I guess I've been a little jumpy. :-(

Bad Sports | Uptown Bums | Yeah Def (Rubber Gloves-- FREE)
An amazing local garage punk band? Sounds like the butt of a joke until you hear Bad Sports for the first time. And when did Uptown Bums start being like WAY better than they used to be? Check "Running My Mouth" on their Myspace page for evidence of this.

Blackheart Society | Street Hassle | Jack with One Eye (The Lounge)
Is it sexist for me to say that I have a crush on Mila, Jack with One Eye's lead singer? I guess the fact that I actually like her music sort of makes it a non issue since my mentioning this show has nothing to do with crushes... but after all this Palin shit, I'm pretty confused about what I'm not supposed to say about women. I wonder what those fearless feminists Karl Rove and Dick Morris would think of this issue? All BS aside, Jack with One Eye really is the standout here, reminds me of like a shoegaze Electrelane or something.

Uptown Fridays with Select (Zubar)

SATURDAY

Silver Jews | James Jackson Toth (Hailey's)
I really can't stand poetry. Call me ignorant if you want to, but I've been spending the past few minutes sitting around trying to think of ONE poet who really means something to me, and I just can't do it. I think TS Elliot is good, for example, but I don't take enough time to allow much of his work to really matter to me. It's probably my problem and not his, but I mention this only to say that I recently went over to my hipster friend's house and picked up a copy of Dave Berman's poetry book on his table. After reading a few of his short entries, I, for the first time in my life, acknowledged that Dave Berman is a genius, at least on some level. Does his new album suck? Yep, big time. But he made me enjoy poetry.

Fight Bite (Central Trak, 800 Exposition, Dallas)
Starts at 7pm at Central Trak, a gallery space run by the University of Texas at Dallas. There will be visual art on display, but I don't have the details on that. Maybe El Tocadiscos, WSJR VP of Visual Art and Media Affairs, could provide more information?

Visitations | The Diamond Center | Heartstring Stranglers (Fra House, 7pm)
This show, like most others going on in Denton this evening, is designed around the Silver Jews show so that you can hit up both if you want.  Visitations' Myspace page lists a number of notable influences, including Faust, Negativland, Ghost and Fela Kuti, but, uh, they don't really sound like any of that-- I hear lots of 90's indie pop in there, a touch or two of Grandaddy, and maybe a splash of Athens' the Glands.  Remember them?  

Visitations (1110 N. Austin St., Denton)
Starts at 2am in case you didn't catch them earlier at Fra House.

Operation Playmate | Phantastes | Tommy Boy (Knight House, 1433 Knight St., Denton)
We already told you about this show in our news section this week, but let me say that anyone with an interest in early Detroit techno or mid 80's industrial should check out Phantastes at this show. Did you read the description of what they are trying to do at this house? Here's to hoping this stuff starts happening in Denton a lot more.  Stuff kicks off around 930 over there.

John Wesley Coleman (J&Js, 8-10pm)

The Theater Fire | Eyes Wings and Many Other Things | The Angelus | Clint Niosi | Chris Flemmons (Good Records)
Starts at 5pm with Theater Fire taking the stage at 9pm to celebrate the release of their latest CD. Eyes, Wings and whatever? Another nominee in our "worst band name" award category.

SUNDAY

For Your Pleasure with DJ G and Gabriel (Hailey's)
Probably the most unique playlists in town, people.

  
Bookmark and Sharestonedranger on September 19thcomments (2)
  
  
thursday it list and new year album review
  
The New Year | A Weather | Transona Five (Granada Theater)
Let me start off by saying that the Kadane Brothers are the best songwriters that the Dallas rock scene has ever produced. Period. How they have managed to make so many records and never make fools of themselves for a single moment is unfathomable. Though I have enjoyed many local bands in the past fourteen years, and especially the last five, the chances of another one coming along that will have the timelessness, longevity, and impact of the Kadane Brothers is something I'm not exactly counting on.

See, it's all about standards with The Kadanes. Recording in studios that don't suck with people that aren't stupid. I know, I know. Hard to imagine in today's musical landscape, where every decision is made at light-speed and the results are worried about later. No violated design principles on their minimalist cover art. One of them (Bubba) has even spent a lot of time poring over details in the only local yet nationally reputable cd manufacturer that I know of, to prevent you, bands and artists, from cutting corners and making mistakes. They have never employed the lowest common denominator tactics of so many lesser artists, which is a rare thing indeed. I'm a huge proponent of spontaneity and intentional amateurism, but there is something to be said for such a flawless discipline and work ethic.

What I'm getting at is that the Kadane Brothers are just giving us more of the same on their new New Year record, "The New Year," and when you consider that the two have spent so many years displaying such intelligence and excellence in so many variations on a theme, this is not at all a bad thing. I've heard so much hype about this being "the piano record" or something to that effect, and if that hadn't been mentioned so many times I probably wouldn't have even noticed. They have employed piano before, most famously on "The End Is Near," and have been using keyboards for at least a decade. So what's the big deal? I was actually expecting to hear ALL piano songs, with layered pianos for the big buildups, which is something I don't think I'd mind hearing them try.

But on just about every song you can point to other similar moments in their catalog, or at least a vague precedent that has already been established. If anything, the lone surprise here might be that there are more similarities to Bedhead than on the previous two New Year records, which isn't really much of a statement. It's like being surprised that Lou Reed solo records sometimes sounded like VU. For instance, album opener "Folios" possesses the same tense and repetitive snare hits used to close out "The Rest Of The Day," with chord changes and keyboard sounds very close to the track "The Present," a fan-favorite from Bedhead's triumphant career-closer "Transaction De Novo." Upon noticing the similarities, I had a good feeling this was going to be a winner from hearing the first track alone.

Elsewhere we find The New Year showing off their ability to do slow, almost country-like balladry far better than the legions that struggle to mine gold, or at least tolerable records out of that largely bankrupt territory. But they have done this at least as far back as "Any Life" from the "Dark Ages EP." The anti-rock found on "Wages Of Sleep" in the form of interwoven guitars and lack of back-beat is another facet of the Kadane sound, a reminder of the old art-world saying "Style is everything you do wrong."

There is, of course, a difference between the Kadanes' two projects, and this is largely attributed to The New Year's extended family of celebrated musicians, especially the recent announcement of Centromatic's Will Johnson joining the touring lineup. The fact that I'm not particularly a fan of Will Johnson, or even Peter Schmidt for that matter, but STILL probably won't mind hearing them tonight is just further testament to the Kadane's ability to improve everything around them. The New Year has often been compared to label-mates Silkworm for their more straightforward rock tendencies, and there is room for that comparison on the final track, "The Idea Of You," with its crunching guitar and keyboard combo. This is a logical and almost obvious comparison since Matt Kadane played some fairly raunchy organ parts on the last couple of Silkworm records, so it's safe to say it's a mutual influence. The Kadanes have also written shorter, up-tempo songs for most of their career, and it's hard to pin them down sonically, other than they seem to excel at whatever they choose to do. This record is proof of all these various abilities in one concise statement, and it could very well be my favorite of The New Year records so far.

When discussing the new album the other day, I realized that I've heard people complain about the "sameness" of The Kadane Brothers' output for over ten years now. Viewed from this perspective, the overall cohesiveness of their life's work is really something to marvel at, or as Wildcat said to me recently (paraphrasing), "their entire career is a concept." Despite the fact that they are still tragically underrated in their hometown, we should all hope that Dallas will eventually have another band that we can be equally proud of, at least in our lifetimes. (DL)

80's Night With DJG (Hailey's)

Ian Bangs | Summer Salt (Rubber Gloves)

  
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