Scene, heard

Cheap tricks, SXSW, record releases, and lots of words in bold type

Scene, heard

Despite recent rumors to the contrary, it doesn't appear the Old 97's will be leaving Elektra Records anytime soon, though the recent merger of Time-Warner (Elektra's parent company) and America Online will no doubt result in the door hitting more than a few bands' asses on the way out. In fact, the label is already making plans with the band to record a follow-up to last year's Fight Songs, as well as figuring out what to do with the long-rumored (and as-yet-unrecorded) album by the Ranchero Brothers, Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond's side project. A spokesperson for the label says the disc may come out on the duo's own Elektra imprint. (He made us promise not to say the name, but let's just say it's quite similar to a very heavy local label. Is that enough of a hint?) In addition, Elektra is preparing to release the third single from Fight Songs, "Jagged," as well as a video for the song. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Elektra could ditch the 97's later on; keep in mind that this is the same label that dropped Luna after advance copies of its fifth album had already been put in the mail. But as it stands now, the band is still an Elektra Records recording artist, end of story. So don't send any e-mails...

Captain Audio will release its first full-length, LUXURY or whether it is better to be loved than feared, on March 3 at the Gypsy Tea Room, with a show featuring performances by Stumptone and Sub Oslo. Actually, the CD officially hits stores on March 14, but limited-edition copies of the disc will be available at the release party. The 12-track album, which will be released on Last Beat Records, also includes Quicktime videos for "Bugs" and "Driving, Riding," directed by Lindsay Romig and Derek Welch, respectively. In other Last Beat news, on March 7 the label will put out a compilation disc culled from its roster of bands, consisting of previously available songs by Pinkston, Pleasant Grove, Clowns for Progress, Captain Audio, and others, as well as unreleased demos and rough mixes by Astrogin and Vibrolux. Recalling Vibrolux's history with labels, we're wondering whether the disc will actually make it into stores. That was a joke, fellas...

If you missed the beyond sold-out performance by The Cure at Deep Ellum Live on Monday, take comfort in the knowledge that at least a few people shelled out more than $500 for two tickets to the show, according to some of the online auctions at www.ebay.com. There were also rumors that some tickets went for as much as $500 apiece, a price that strikes us as a bit, well, insane. Hey, we know it must be a thrill to see the band in such a relatively small venue, but we'd rather pay our rent and wait for the group to come back in the summer. That show, by the way, is scheduled to happen sometime in July at Starplex Amphitheatre. Let the technologically advanced scalping plans commence...

For those of you who were wondering what happened to guitarist Rex Ewing after The Bat Mastersons broke up, he's now a member of Flickerstick. The group's new five-piece lineup will perform on February 24 at Club Clearview with Slowpoke. Manager Paul Bassman reports that no one has left the band, but that singer-guitarist Brandin Lea will now be playing less guitar. Thank God -- we were worried there for a second. If you didn't notice, that was sarcasm...

Cheap Trick has signed on to participate in this year's Wildflower & Music Festival in Richardson, which happens April 28-30. The annual festival is, in part, booked by Patrick Keel's music business class at Collin County Community College. In a way, it's fitting that the class has gotten the band to agree to perform at the festival, since cheap tricks are a subject that will come up more than a few times if any of them sticks with the music business...

Both Quality Park Records' expanded re-release of the Baptist Generals' Dog EP (with a handful of extra tracks) and the label's Band-Kits compilation (featuring new and unreleased material from Wiring Prank, Mandarin, Centro-matic, and others) will officially be released March 14. But if you can't wait until then, the label is accepting pre-orders at its Web site, www.qualityparkrecords.com. There will be a handful of release parties for the forthcoming Quality Park releases, including a show on March 31 at Gypsy Tea Room with a three-way dance featuring the Baptist Generals, Stumptone (another one of the bands on Band-Kits), and Centro-matic, which will be celebrating the imminent release of its own new album, All the Falsest Hearts Can Try, due to hit area stores sometime in April before going national on May 9. Other Band-Kits release shows are scheduled for March 23 at The X in Denton and for March 24 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. Lineups for both shows are unconfirmed at the moment, but expect appearances by a number of Denton's finest. Quality Park Records boss (and, as far as we can tell, its only employee) Matt Barnhart is going to need an extra ass, because it looks like he'll be working off his old one in the next few months...

Speaking of Centro-matic, the band will not be performing at the upcoming South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, though the group had initially accepted the festival's invitation. A few other area bands have been added to the SXSW roster: Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks play on March 15 with Brave Combo at the Iron Cactus; the Unfadeable Young Guns perform on March 16 at Velvet; and GNO, Ordained in Lyrics, Phat K.A.T.S., and Casino Family hit the Flamingo Cantina on March 17, the same night Pimpadelic performs at the Iron Cactus. In addition, RainMaker Records will hold a label showcase at Lucy's on March 16 (with The Nixons, Blue Sky Black, Soak, and Sugarbomb), a block or so away from Last Beat and Two Ohm Hop's shindig at Ritz Lounge, where Pleasant Grove, Captain Audio, Mandarin, Stumptone, and Sub Oslo will take the stage. Other local bands on the SXSW schedule include The Adventures of Jet, Slobberbone, Ed Burleson, Shabazz 3, Speedealer, Reverend Horton Heat, and Kim Lenz and her Jaguars. The Deathray Davies and Chomsky have also been rumored to be making the three-hour trip south. For up-to-date schedules of artists and venues, go to www.sxsw.com. For a cheaper way to see most of the bands who'll be performing there, go to Deep Ellum and Denton instead. No one can say we don't look out for the home team...

Former Dallas Observer visual-arts critic Christina Rees moved to London earlier this week, ostensibly to write a book, though we're not sure we buy that. Before she left, Rees completed work on an EP with her ad hoc band, Automaton, which should be available sometime in the next few months. Automaton reunited Rees with former Triple Crown bandmates Joe Cripps and Bart Rogers, and also features guest shots by Centro-matic's Will Johnson and Pleasant Grove's Marcus Striplin, among others...

And while we're putting over Observer employees, we remind you to check out Scene Heard Radio, the weekly Internet radio show hosted by Observer music critics Zac Crain and Robert Wilonsky. This week, Scene Heard Radio debuts in its new time slot (every Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), and as always includes new, unreleased, and rare music, as well as an opportunity to speak with Crain and Wilonsky on topics such as how we've managed to defy simple laws of physics and both suck and blow. Bonus: We can't critique your spelling, grammar, or new and interesting uses of curse words. Just call (214) 748-2488; we're listening. And no, we won't accept questions relating to why we repeatedly and desperately include mentions of the radio show in the paper.

Send two proofs of purchase and $5.95 to Street Beat at zcrain@dallasobserver.com.

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