By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Expect to see more bands perform at Smirnoff Music Centre than ever before, now that the Pierre Smirnoff Company has taken over title sponsorship of the venue from Coca-Cola. Reportedly, Smirnoff agreed to pick up the sponsorship rights (the company assumed them in June) only if the owner of the amphitheater -- HOB Concerts/PACE Amphitheatres Group L.P. -- agreed to bring in more acts. Meaning, no doubt, more lightly attended concerts such as Brian Wilson's recent gig, which probably should have been at a more intimate venue. Or more fish-out-of-water performances like Elvis Costello and Steve Nieve's three-quarters-empty show there last year. We're not bitching; we were glad to see both of the aforementioned shows, no matter where they took place. All we're saying is, next time you're wondering why a certain show is happening at Smirnoff, keep that in mind...
As it turns out, The Rocket Summer will not make its live debut on September 23. The band -- which was, and still is, Grapevine High School senior Bryce Avary -- was supposed to open for The Get Up Kids, The Anniversary, and Koufax at The Door, and Avary had been actively recruiting bandmates, since he recorded The Rocket Summer's self-titled five-song EP by himself. But unfortunately for Avary, and anyone that has picked up a copy of the disc, the show is actually a showcase for The Get Up Kids' Vagrant Records-distributed label, Heroes & Villains. Since The Rocket Summer is not signed with either Vagrant or Heroes & Villains, or any label for that matter, that means no gig. Hopefully, Avary and The Rocket Summer will find their way to a stage sometime soon. In the meantime, The Rocket Summer will appear on an upcoming compilation, which also features Bracket, The Ataris, MxPx, A New Found Glory, and many others. No word on a release date yet...
Jeff Buckley's mother, Mary, will be stopping by Bill's Records and Tapes on August 18 to screen unreleased concert footage of her late son, as well as to discuss the cult singer's life and career. The event is something of a no-brainer: Bill Wisener (the "Bill" in Bill's Records) is a huge fan of Buckley, and supposedly Buckley was a big fan of Wisener's store. Fans of Buckley's should be in for a treat. Call (972) 234-1496 for more information...
[DARYL] will release a two-song seven-inch on Matt Barnhart's Quality Park Records in the near future. (Actually, since we have no idea when it's coming out, we should just say future.) And not only is Barnhart releasing the disc on his label, he'll be recording the songs on it as well. Word is, he'll also drop by your house and play it for you if you're real nice. Listen for yourself on August 17, when [DARYL] performs at the Curtain Club with Crash Vinyl and Lewis...
Now, for something only one of us is even remotely interested in: KNON-FM (89.3) and the Polka Lovers Club of America will co-sponsor the first annual Dallas Polka Festival on August 20 at Sons of Hermann Hall. The festival, which lasts from noon to 6 p.m., will feature music by Czech and Then Some, The Czech Harvesters, Vanek Czech Band, and Frohsinn Kapelle (which, until recently, we thought was some sort of pastry). As if it had to be said, the polkathon is the brainchild of KNON's North Texas Polka Radio show, which happens every Sunday from 2 to 3 p.m. Everything seems to be up to code, save for the promise -- nay, threat -- that "traditional polka food will be served." Unless they are merely referring to pivo (uh, beer), be deathly afraid...
Seems we say this every year, but didn't the North Texas New Music Festival just happen? Seriously, wasn't that, like, a month or so ago? Apparently not, because NTNMF is accepting applications for this year's installment. The event, "a high energy celebration of local area talent with the best new music North Texas has to offer," during which, according to its Web site(www.newmusicfestival.com), "throngs of screaming fans will flood the streets and clubs of Deep Ellum," is scheduled to happen October 18 to 22. Geez, you think it can live up to that advance billing? Unless they're referring to the ever-popular roof decks, forever pumping out '80s hits and misses, probably not...
Joe Cripps has been a busy guy lately. Actually, he's been busy ever since he left Brave Combo last year, mainly thanks to his friendship and collaboration with Barrett Martin. During Cripps' recent trips to Seattle (where Martin lives), the percussionists helped finish up the forthcoming Tuatara album, began production on their own project, Wayward Shamans, and dabbled with more soundtrack work. Expect even more from Cripps as Wayward Shamans takes a more definite shape...
Can't say they don't deserve it, but we were a bit surprised to see Slobberbone's latest, the stellar Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today, sneak into the top 20 on the list of bestsellers on Amazon.com's U.K. counterpart, www.amazon.co.uk. With an average customer review of five stars (out of five, naturally), the disc is nestled just behind a much more high-profile outing, Everclear's Songs From An American Movie Vol. 1. "From the fractured-heart bleedings of 'Meltdown' through the blazing pedal steel passions of 'Josephine' to the hearty, ass-kicking frenzy of 'Placemat Blues,'" Amazon's Ian Fortnam says in his review, "this third collection of whiskey-soaked, pedal-to-the-metal drawling dynamism is nothing short of essential." Good on ya, Ian. Couldn't have said it better ourselves...