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)
Hey there pals... I'm really tired, so I'll just say this: we have TWO pairs of tickets to give away to this Saturday's Silver Jews show at Hailey's (thanks to our good friends at Radio UTD), and if you want them, you should email email@example.com any time between now and 3 pm today (Thursday). Make "Silver Jews" the subject line and include your full name... blah blah I'm tired. We'll pick winners at random.
Scott Anderson: Rendezvous Point and Daniel Mirer and Joe Pflieger (Light and Sie)
CADD Art Lab Open House (1608-C Main Street)11-8pm This is the grand public opening of the CADD Art Lab, a new gallery and educational center for contemporary art that will feature themed shows drawn from the collections of the CADD member galleries. The current exhibition, "Indexing the Moment, features work from work of David Dreyer, Vincent Falsetta, Greta Gunderson, Ted Kincaid, Janaki Lennie, Kristen Lucas, Kenda North, Brent Ozaeta, Rusty Scruby, Ludwig Schwarz, and Allison V. Smith. This opening will also feature the issue launch for the Fall 2008 Art Lies, and artists talks at 2pm (with Rusty Scruby) and 6pm (Rachel Cook).
Stuff at Centraltrak Man, Centraltrak has really packed in a full night for themselves. There will be three simultaneous shows: Ludic Space: Faith Gay and Ruben Nieto in the main gallery, Laray Polk in the Corridor and Unit 9 (her work is also at the MAC right now). The photographs of Kate Nelson will be in the Project Room. Fight Bite will perform at 7pm.
Throw Me The Statue | The Boat Lights | They Were Stars (The Cavern) Throw Me The Statue is a Secretly Canadian band, rich with a wealth of perfect press snippets, and sometimes compared to The Kinks. Kinks comparisons are often dubious, and this is no exception. In fact, as I blasted this music out of tinny little computer speakers, the office consensus was that the music is a little more David Gray than Dave Davies. This is part of the "Detour" series and DJ Redeye will be playing as well.
These Are Powers | When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (The Lounge) When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth's follow-up to their 2006 debut, "Snacks," bears an appropriate and purposely annoying title, "Not Noiice," which has to be the most obnoxious name since two guys from Ft. Worth decided to call themselves Best Fwends. And of course, when you do something like that, you're bound to make as many enemies as "fwends." I can respect that WDRTE definitely go out of their way to grate on the listener with whatever it takes; two drummers, two singers, a small army on stage, and all of it just to get under your skin with a sound that is shrieking, screeching chaos and spidery guitar lines, jarringly interrupted by low-blood pressure sludge rock. You get the feeling they want to make you nauseated, which shouldn't bother you if you're already sick.
These Are Powers blend noise and dissonance into their song structures in a rather different way, though an easily recognizable way where it's immediately apparent the band is determined to be taken more seriously than the aforementioned pranksters. Theirs is a throbbing, thudding attack, with some tribal-like pummeling as well as some willfully machine-like rhythms. Some of the extended monotone moaning sounds somewhat like the vocals in Live Skull, or the mini-genre of groups that "kind of sounded like Sonic Youth" in the mid to late 80's. Both acts certainly have their moments and that shouldn't be overlooked due to either their occasional mischief or pretense, respectively.
Ratatat | Panther | E*Rock (Granada) THIS SHOW JUST SOLD OUT: In my mind, Ratatat is a band that must be experienced live. Some might see that as a backhanded compliment of sorts, and maybe it is, but it also happens to be the truth. Most of Ratatat's recorded material is solid, dance leaning instrumental music that takes cues from influences as diverse as DJ Shadow, Bollywood and Iron Maiden, embracing heavy metal's past in one instant while looking towards abstract hip hop in the next. This is all well and good, but the experience of sitting down and listening to an entire Ratatat album on an Ipod can be a little bit tedious at times-- the songs tend to get a bit repetitive and eventually become a tad difficult to pay attention to. Live, however,the band is certainly more than a worthy experience. I've been able to catch them several times in the past few years, and watching them do what they do on-stage is highly entertaining in and of itself. Mix this with a lot of volume and an appropriately excited atmosphere, and Ratatat transforms into a can't miss show.
Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge) This is an after-party for the Ratatat show, and The Frenz will have copies of their new ep.
We've kinda been pals with the guys and gals that run Fun Fun Fun Festever since the event's inception a couple years ago, and now we might be well on our way to becoming BFFs-- the organizers have been nice enough to provide us with a pair of passes to this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin (November 8th and 9th at Waterloo Park), and we're giving them away to you. Highlights of this year's fest include:
* Bad Brains * Flipper * Clipse * Dan Deacon * Yacht * ALL * Kool Keith * Deerhoof * Islands * Dead Milkmen * Centromatic * Frightened Rabbit * Experimental Dental School * Tim and Eric
You can check the full line up here, and if you want to win the passes, just email firstname.lastname@example.org any time between now and this FRIDAY at noon. Be sure to title the email "Fun Fun Fun Fest." Good luck!
In case you hadn't seen it yet, there is a nice feature article in this month's Fader Magazine concerning Dallas' suddenly noteworthy hip hop scene. The article is rather detailed, particularly for a "lifestyle" publication like Fader, and the author gives props to Big T Bazaar, Play N Skillz (of course), Tum Tum, Big Chief, Big Tuck and Lil Wil, among others. Read it here, and cue the inevitable rockist commentary about how rap is dumb and stuff.
Usual stuff... Cool Out @ Cavern, Young Doc Gooden @ Hailey's, great night for sitting outside listening to jazz at Amsterdam. More posts coming tonight, including news and MP3s.... also, take this opportunity to vote for our 2008 Awards.
Saw this video for Salem's "Dirt" over on Gorilla VS Bear the other day, and after a quick trip to the group's Myspace page, I realized that I kinda dig them. Anyway, I'm curious as to what everyone thinks of this video since it's very, uh, provocative to say the least. And by the way, this thing is absolutely NSFW, and probably shouldn't be viewed in front of children or old people either. Get ready for depression:
TUE: Ratatat/Panther/E*Rock (Granada) TUE: These Are Powers/When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth/Scarily Terrible (The Lounge) WED: Throw Me the Statue/The Boat Lights/They Were Stars/Red Eye (The Cavern) THU: The New Year/A Weather/Transona 5 (Granada) SAT: Silver Jews/James Jackson Toth (Hailey's) SAT: Visitations/Heartstring Stranglers (Fra House)
Hey best friends-- I've been a little busy at work this week, so unfortunately, you guys will have to make up many of your own shithead comments for this weekend's set of shows. I'll try my best, though. Here we go:
Hamburger Headache with Select | Keith P | Prince William (The Lounge) So far I've heard nothing but complaints about The Lounge-- bad bar service, no credit card machine, expensive drinks, poor sound system, etc., and it really sucks because I think the people who book the place are really trying to take the right kind of chances with their small but compelling Deep Ellum space. These are probably all indications of a business making mistakes as it finds its footing in the community, but I hope they fix some of these problems sooner rather than later. Should be a very solid show tonight as three of the area's best DJs play House, Juke, B'More and more. Some of these Dallas hipster kids could really use a house lesson or two, you know? Not everything is a fucking mash up, ok Gen Y?
Faux Fox | Sydney Confirm | Rival Gang | Gun Gun (Chat Room) This is the first of two CD release shows for Faux Fox this weekend (that makes a total of 23, correct?). I have heard Sydney Confirm sound very solid AND rather terrible at different shows, so I hope they've got the goods tonight because I think they are attempting some ambitious dance material. One of my favorite things about seeing Rival Gang the last time I caught them was watching dudes hit on them as they packed up after their show. "So, you like music, babe? You should check my shit out. It has like the intensity of Rage Against the Machine but it's soft and sweet like fuckin Counting Crowes or some shit." Uh, you DID just see their set, didn't you Von Dutch?
Mogwai | Fuck Buttons (Granada Theater) I'm sure there aren't a whole lot of people on here that need a history lesson on Mogwai, but that new Fuck Buttons record is very confusing to me. I've listened to it several times, and despite my better judgment, I can't help but thinking of Fuck Buttons as "noise for the masses," you know? Like they're a noise band that my mom wouldn't be offended by. That isn't necessarily a knock against them, but rather an observation on how popular this kind of typically harsh instrumental/electonic music has become over the past few years.
Faux Fox | Darktown Strutters | Gun Gun (Good Records) Early Good Records in store starts at 6 with Gun Gun. Darktown Strutters are one of the better new bands I've seen all year, so I'd make sure to at least get there by 7 to catch them. No one in town is doing anything remotely similar right now. Faux Fox is on at 8.
Morris Day and the Time | Cameo (Nokia) Uh, get some money and take a date to this, you no-style motherfucker. Oh, and even if you aren't familiar with the work of either of these groups, a quick listen will reveal how much of an influence these bands have been on some of the more hip dance music to have emerged in the past few years.
Scarves And Bowties | Laura Palmer | The Tah-Dahs (Amsterdam Bar) This will be Laura Palmer and the Tah Dahs final Dallas show as Palmer and her husband, Tah Dahs' lead singer/guitarist Roy Ivy, head off to Chicago (I believe). Both have a lot of friends in the area, and I'm sure there will be a nice crowd there to send them off, unless it's really rainy and wet and shit. Will they move the show inside if this is the case?
Matt and Bubba Kadane of The New Year (Good Records): This will be a DJ set for the New Year's album release party, and it starts at 6pm.
For Your Pleasure with DJG (Hailey's) 60's and 70's soul, R&B, krautrock and more. Here is a sample of a playlist these guys just sent us:
Bob James – Nautilus (74) Hank Crawford-Sugar Free (73) Briag Auger’s Oblivion Express -Light on the Path (70) Horace Silver –Song for my Father (64) Art Blakey-Hay no Problemas (62) Shangri La’s-Great Big Kiss (65) Johnny Thunders-ask me no questions (78) Sparks-Bon Voyage (75) T.Rex-Mambo Sun (71) Stranglers –Get a grip on yrself (77) David Bowie-V2-Schneider (77) Can-Mushroom (71) Crown Heights Affair-Dreaming a Dream (75) Augustus Pablo-King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown (76) Toots & the Maytals-Pressure Drop (69) Weather Report- NonStop Home (73) Airto-Tombo in 7/4 (73)
Death Vessel | Micah Blue Smaldone | The Heartstring Stranglers (Rubber Gloves) Death Vessel are a folk based indie pop band on Sub Pop that sounds like an indie pop band on Sub Pop. Some Pac NW twee influences make them a tad more interesting than most similar acts, but I've tried to listen to this group several times and have never been convinced that I should give a shit.
Top Notch with Sober and Luke Sardello (The Lounge) Second week of Sober's new residency will feature guest DJ Luke Sardello, who has the resume of an accomplished local DJ-- he started spinning house in the late 80s, worked at Bill's Records in the 90s, ran several small house labels, and was a staple of the mid 90's warehouse party circuit. Sounds like he'll be spinning a lot of house and disco this evening, and I would highly recommend checking it out. Check out a full interview and a mix from Sardello here.
Avett Brothers | Justin Gordon (Granada) So the Avett Brothers have been getting a lot of praise and national attention lately, and if you're into roots/Americana stuff like Centro-matic and Band of Horses, these guys will certainly wet your whistle. If not, you can skip it, because there isn't anything too remarkable going on here.
Sold on Soylent: Sculpture's Back in Town (And/Or) Guest curator Ludwig Schwarz presents artists Ann Craven, Danius Kesmina, and the Histrionics, along with work from the Estate of Uma Klick.
Allison V. Smith: Hall Pass (Barry Whistler) School inspired large scale photographs from one of Dallas's most well known photographers.
Ritchie Budd (Road Agent) Sculptures from the San Antonio based artist- remember it's next door to Barry Whistler!
Cartoon Apocalypse (Kettle Art) Work from Tyson Summers, Miguel Aguilar, David DeGrand, and R. Thies
ADD: Mod Economy(Avenue Arts) Man, I really don't know how I forgot to put this up. It's hell getting old. Designer toys from Jason Barnett, Tyson Summers, Edward Ruiz,Steven Vogeler, Diablo Texas, N'Reazon,and Ozone. My apologies to E. Ruiz.
Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler: No Room to Answer (The Modern) Austin based video art duo in their first showcase in an American museum!
Speaking of the Modern, somehow I missed their Tuesday artist lecture series. Check it out here if you are interested- Kara Walker will be speaking next week.
Ok people-- I'm sure you've all been fantasizing about this for months now, so I'll just tell you-- we're doing awards again. The first year we tried them (2006), we had about 80 people cast their votes by replying in a comments section. Last year, we got fucking fancy and decided to craft our own online ballot form, allowing for more than a 1000% increase in votes, thus annoying everyone more than ever before. This year, we're doing something similar, but since we now dominate the music scene to a degree that no one ever anticipated, we're expecting this to be a real pain in the ass to count.
Just kidding. Kind of. We actually enjoy doing these things, and the only rational reason we have for doing them is that we are interested in what the more educated local music consumers think about our scene, and we think a lot of those people read and participate in this website, love it or hate it. We think this is a good opportunity for people to speak up about the music they like around here without dude bro Myspace bulletins and 1100 Springs getting in the way, and we hope that all of you take advantage of it.
But before you run off to vote, let me tell you a couple things first:
1. Like last year, we will not permit anyone to vote more than twice within 15 minutes, nor more than 3 times in one day. And how would we enforce such a rule, you ask? Just trust me, we have a sure fire way of weeding out excess votes in a matter of seconds. Just ask Matthew and the Arrogant Sea!
2. Other than that, you can vote however you'd like-- one category, all categories, whatever. And you won't have to go through any bullshit registration to vote. Just click on the link and get to it.
3. And before you say it, the answer is YES, we do realize that some of the categories are problematic. Coming up with a set of categories that are appropriately inclusive and as mutually exclusive as possible is a real pain, and we did what we could to make these categories as clear and as fair as we possibly could. Of course, we're open to criticism and suggestions, but just know that we're aware of the imperfections of awards like this.
4. This year, we will NOT being having an Awards Party like we did last year, however, we do have some exciting things planned in connection with these awards, and we'll tell you all about our them after the awards are given out. Which leads me to my final point:
5. You have TWO WEEKS from this very moment, Thursday September 11th at 1249 AM, to vote. At that point, voting will be shut down and we'll start counting them up. Here are the categories and the link to the ballot:
1. Best Band Overall 2. Best New Band (must have emerged in roughly the past twelve months) 3. Best DJ 4. Best New DJ 5. Best MC/Hip Hop Artist 6. Best Noise/Avant Garde 7. Best Metal (all sub genres) 8. Best Punk/Hardcore/Grindcore/Garage 9. Best Folk/Experimental Folk 10. Best Indie Pop 11. Best Solo Artist 12. Best Local Album or EP from the past 12 Months 13. Best Local Single from the past 12 Months (does not have to literally be a single) 14. Best Vocalist 15. Best Guitarist 16. Best Bassist 17. Best Drummer 18. Best Instrumentalist who doesn’t play guitar, bass or drums 19. Most Underrated Band 20. Best Live Show (Band, Solo Artist or DJ) 21. Best Use of Artwork (Either live or coinciding with record releases) 22. Best Sound Guy (or girl) 23. Best Promoter or Booking Agency 24. Best Local Spot to Record Music 25. Best Dressed Band 26. Worst Dressed Band 27. Worst Band Name 28. Best Local Music Journalist (OMG guys, thanks for thinking of us but we don’t count in this category) 29. Best We Shot JR Commenter 30. Best Local Music Blog Not Owned by A Major Media Corporation and Fine Line and that Phoreladelio or Whatever Don’t Count 31. Slimiest Scenester 32. How Old Were You When You Realized that D Magazine Actually Covers Local Music Better than the Dallas Observer? 33. Best Good Ol’ Fashioned Songwriter
Is it me or does life completely suck right now? We're likely going to have twelve more years of Republican leadership, a huge hurricane is about to make landfall, and I couldn't get a root beer float at Meridian Room last night. I hate everything. Help me out here. Give me a single reason to be optimistic.
PS-Look closely for the implied and ominous connotations of this beautiful Thomas Kinkade rendering of our sacred House.
If you want to win them, just email email@example.com any time between now and tomorrow (Thursday) at noon. Please include the name of the show you want to see in the subject line and your full name in the body. Good luck, losers!
Picture above is of Ratatat playing at the Guggenheim, apparently the first band to ever do so.