Scene, heard

Conspiracy theories; Bella Union strikes; a Wreck of a Room; X marks the spot

Scene, heard

Though we feel we've already explained it thoroughly, there still seems to be some confusion regarding the ballot for the 2000 Dallas Observer Music Awards. One amateur conspiracy theorist has raised the question of whether the ballot was designed so that voters would select the nominees that the Observer staff would like to win. We can assure you that, even though the nominees are not in alphabetical order, there is no foul play involved. Would anyone seriously believe that we would choose RainMaker Records as the best local record label? Or that we think The Nixons' "First Trip" was the single of the year? (No offense, guys. OK, some.) Actually, the real reason the nominees appear on the ballot in a seemingly random order is because that's exactly how they were entered; certainly no conspiracy there. So feel free to vote your conscience, not ours, but make it quick: Voting officially ends on April 9. Make your last-minute selections at this weekend's free Deep Ellum Arts Festival, where a majority of nominated bands will perform...

You can find out if you picked a winner at the Gypsy Tea Room on April 18, when we hand out the surprisingly heavy trophies, with a soundtrack provided by The Old 97's, The Adventures of Jet, Chomsky, The Legendary Fritz, [DARYL], and a few special guests to be named later. The Ticket's Gordon Keith hosts, and admission is free, though you must have a ticket to enter. Head to our DOMA 2000 section for more details...

Simon Raymonde, late of the Cocteau Twins and one half of the team behind British indie label Bella Union, was slightly miffed with our recent coverage of the South By Southwest Music Festival ("Northern devils," March 23), specifically the implication that the label he runs with former bandmate Robin Guthrie is an extension of the Cocteau Twins. Bella Union, he says, doesn't "like to use our old band as a carrot to dangle in front of new artists, as I'm sure you'll understand." And, of course, we do, especially since the rest of the story remains true; Bella Union plans to release Lift to Experience's debut, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, later this year...

Studio/label/store/venue Laser Trax Records is readying the third installment of its Garage Nights at Laser Trax series, which should hit stores in June. Among the 18 bands contributing songs to the compilation are Darlington, Slowride, Kill Jenny, Shmunks For You, and Springfield University. We're pretty sure where you can find copies of the disc when the time comes, but we're not ready to go out on any limbs...

Because of the recent tornado that swept through Fort Worth, the Wreck Room lost a week's worth of business, and other residents of the city lost much more. So, on April 9, the Aardvark will host a benefit, with proceeds going to the Wreck Room and the Red Cross. Bands performing are Spoonfed Tribe, Shabazz 3, Frolic, Edgewater, Brasco, Leroy the Prophet, and The Morning People. Music starts at 5 p.m., and hey, it's for a very good cause.

We would like to take a moment to apologize to The X in Denton for implying that Good Records would be the only local outlet carrying Centro-matic's latest, All the Falsest Hearts Can Try, until the album's national release in May. Since Centro-matic frontman Will Johnson is a former employee of The X, and the other members of the band are fine, upstanding Denton boys, it would make sense that you could also pick up a copy of the disc at The X (located conveniently on Fry Street), as well as its sister store, CDX in Hurst. The update comes courtesy of Craig Crafton, general manager for both stores, who went on to point out that the Observer is not the area's leading weekly (DFW Icon is still around?) and that we could/should "stay out of Denton." Hospitable, no? "We're not even gonna bother to try to tell you about what in-stores and other cool events we have goin' on," says Crafton, via e-mail, "because you've never heard of any of the bands or artists, and until someone else who is 'in' tells you so, you won't bother to try to find out or think for yourself." Crafton will be briefly out of commission, since he recently threw his back out carrying that grudge around with him for the last seven years...

While we're on the subject of disses (and really, aren't we always?), the latest issue of British rock mag MOJO is billed as a "Texas roots special!" -- complete with cover photo of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan -- yet it virtually ignores Dallas in favor of Austin. Yeah, we know -- surprise, surprise. The accompanying story on Vaughan, written by Austin Chronicle vet Margaret Moser, glosses over his local connections in favor of further propagation of the long-standing "Live Music Capitol of the World" myth. Similarly, Ed Ward's roundup of Texas music posits Austin as the sun and Dallas as Pluto, ending its local coverage around the formation of the New Bohemians. Sure, Ronnie Dawson and Sid King and the Five Strings get brief mentions, but from the way Ward tells it, you'd think there was some sort of Footloose-esque ban on music in Dallas. It makes D Magazine's recent local rock spread ("Thanks, but no thanks," March 30) look almost, you know, good in comparison. And that's saying something. See for yourself how the locals stack up at the aforementioned Deep Ellum Arts Festival. You can't beat free.

Send Street Beat your clever ideas for where we can stick our heads, or where we've already stuck them, to zcrain@dallasobserver.com.

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