Vote the rock

Just call these the Old 97's Observer Music Awards

Dover says the relocation was a necessary one having to do, first and foremost, with the demise of the Argo, where Dover worked as booking agent since moving to Denton. But, he adds, the area's more avant acts, such as Sub Oslo and Light Bright Highway, also have found more compassionate booking agents in Austin, where the town's clubs aren't controlled by a handful of people betting the future on the sounds of the past.

"Where we gonna throw it up here?" Dover asks. "Everything in Austin has been giving me 20 million times more support than I got up here. People down there are more in tune than people here, and they've always accepted us with open arms. The Melodica Festival promotes brotherhood between Texas bands, and most of the booking agents around here haven't heard many of the bands here, except for the ones that are huge here. I couldn't even think of a venue open to doing this...In Dallas, there's just too many politics to deal with."

To that end, the lineup this year is particularly Austin-centric, featuring such acts as And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Paul Newman (both on Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey's Trance Syndicate label), Pirate Ships (featuring members of Stars of the Lid), 7% Solution, and the Primadonnas. Among the local bands performing at this year's Melodica are Captain Audio, Vas Deferens Organization, Transona Five, Roshanda Red Quartet, Sub Oslo, and Mazinga Zeta.

Interestingly, Austin's credited with the birth of the "new Texas psych" scene in the latest issue of Option magazine, which boasts a story titled "Austin Outer Limits." The piece, which attempts to link the drug-crazed psychedelia of Roky Erickson to the pop of Sixteen Deluxe, celebrates the likes of American Analog Set (Austinites by way of Fort Worth) and 7% Solution, while giving only a slight nod toward the Denton-Dallas rock scene. Meaning: Author Richard Martin, music editor at the weekly Willamette Week in Portland, interviews Dover. Period. But the story does heavily plug Melodica '98, which was, after all, the point.

Six to seven bands will perform each night, and a DJ will spin discs in between sets. Tickets will run $8 per night, and Dover says the proceeds will go toward the release of a double-disc compilation that documents the, er, history of the modern Texas psychedelic scene, from Carrier Wave to American Analog Set. (Man, that takes me back.) "The past three years have been awesome," Dover says. "It seems the scene is going through a real metamorphosis. There has been a sense of closure and a new beginning, so it seems like it would be a good idea to try to document it so people don't forget that it ever happened--even though most people don't know it happened in the first place."

Scene, heard
We're a stickler for facts here at Street Beat--no, seriously--and it turns out we made a tiny mistake concerning Joe Butcher's employment as the new bassist in Radish. Though Butcher was indeed trying out for the position, as reported here a few weeks ago, he has instead been hired on as Ben Kweller's second guitarist. Turns out the new bassist is Deborah Williams, formerly with Juno Specter, and that the new quartet is currently in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recording its second album, which Mercury Records execs say is due out early in 1999...

Also, Jay Singleton sent us a missive informing us his band Kid Chaos is not a ska band and took offense at the comparisons to Less Than Jake: "We have no ska influence at all," writes the band's trombonist. "We play what we feel like playing, and we just like to think of ourselves as some kind of punk band with horns." Sorry, Jay, but you can see how we might have been confused. We don't think Less Than Jake's a ska band either...

On May 9, Tommy Shaw's kid brother Corn Mo will celebrate the release of his debut seven-inch I Can Tell by Your Pants That You're an Entertainer with a party at the X in Denton (on the corner of Oak and Welch). The three-song record, which Hot Link Records is pressing on gold vinyl ("because if anyone deserves a gold record, it's Corn Mo," reads the invite), features the classic "Shine On, Golden Warrior" and two other sure-fire hits. Free weenies for everyone who attends, but of course.

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