Scene, Heard

Prize Money's back, kinda

When Prize Money releases its new CD, All Eyes On the Prize, on September 19, it will mark a new beginning for both the band and one of the labels helping to release the disc, etherStream. Prize Money is essentially a retooled and recharged version of Slowpoke, back in business after a short layoff brought on by the group's abortive deal with Geffen Records. (Here's the short version: After releasing the band's second album, Virgin Stripes, in 1998, Geffen was swallowed whole by the Universal Music Group early last year, and UMG decided it no longer required Slowpoke's services.) During the past few months, etherStream has been laying low as well--from what we can tell. But now the digital record label--founded by Carpe Diem Records founder Allan Restrepo and Todd J. Anstis back in 1998 as sort of a regional MP3 clearinghouse--has returned with its highest profile project yet, and its first band signing. It seems to be a smart one so far, since Prize Money will definitely be maintaining a high profile during the next few weeks. The Matt Pence-produced All Eyes On the Prize, a split release between etherStream and One Ton Records, will have an official coming-out shindig on September 21 at Curtain Club, where along with performances by Prize Money, Clumsy, and Fivecat, copies of the disc will be available for the low, low price of $5. But wait, there's more. The band is also throwing a listening party at Gypsy Tea Room on September 14, with a screening of the video for the album's first single, "Rock 'n' Roll Girlfriend," filmed recently at Trees by Pennywhistle Park's Lindsay Romig. (Prize Money will also play a quick set that night.) The group will also perform at Good Records on September 21 at 7 p.m., with another release party in Fort Worth at the Ridglea Theater on October 5. So, everyone who thought Slowpoke disbanded, well, you're sort of right. But mostly wrong. Or something like that...

Just as the "record heat" (which, incidentally, was a friend's idea as a substitute for our Hear, There section) has finally begun to break--it broke our spirits long ago, but that's beside the point--Muddy Waters and the Flying Saucer are teaming up for the Lower Greenville Avenue Music Festival and BBQ Cookoff, which will feature performances by Slobberbone, The Deathray Davies, Slick 57, and Speedtrucker. The fest happens September 16 from 2-10 p.m. in the parking lot adjacent to both bars, and for $20, you can pit your grill skills against any and all comers, with the winner receiving gift certificates and such. The festival is supposedly designed to "increase awareness of restaurants, bars, and live music venues on the southern end of Greenville Avenue," or so says Saucer owner Shannon Wynne via his press flacks. Judging by all the people who end up passed out in their own funk on our front lawn after overserving themselves at the various restaurants, bars, and live music venues on the southern end of Greenville, that area definitely needs more attention. (Lower Greenville? What's that?) Maybe then, all the drunk drivers leaving our Lower Greenville neighborhood at 2:30 a.m. can remove all of the street signs with the back ends of their luxury SUVs, instead of most of them. And, oh yeah, if only a few more people knew about Lower Greenville's bars and live music venues, we could stop having people over altogether, since they wouldn't be able to find a parking spot within miles of our houses. That would be great. Can you hear the sarcasm? Because we can't lay it on any thicker...

Even though temperatures have fallen all the way into the 90s recently (brrrr--someone get our coats!), it might be a little too soon to start thinking about Christmas. Actually, it's way, way too early to start thinking about anything other than how we're going to afford the electric bill and why exactly God or whoever hates Texas. But that doesn't mean we won't tell you about the Idol Records Christmas compilation that will be hitting stores in the next few months, featuring contributions from [DARYL], The Deathray Davies, Valve, Chomsky, Pinkston, and The Adventures of Jet, among others. We heard Pinkston's excellent cover of the Kinks' "Father Christmas" earlier this year (ask a friend, someone probably has it), and you can hear AOJ's offering, "Waiting for Christmas," at www.mp3.com/adventuresofjet. We were so caught up in the spirit, we tried to get people in the office to pick secret Santas. After a thorough beating, however, the plan was put on hold until December. Or at least until we can locate our left thumbs...

We wouldn't expect to see it in stores for a couple of months or so, but the second Legendary Crystal Chandelier is apparently nearing completion. LCC's heart and soul, Peter Schmidt, has been working on the as-yet-untitled disc for much of the last year with James Henderson in Denton. From what we've heard live, we can hardly wait, and we know you can't either. Just shut up and agree with us...

If Johnnie Taylor's recent death has you wondering exactly why people call him the best singer to ever come out of Dallas, a good place to start investigating is Fuel 2000's new reissue of Taylor's Funksoulbrother album, a collection of songs recorded in the mid-1970s after Stax Records' demise. Actually, no one is sure exactly when the songs on Funksoulbrother were recorded; Taylor himself only vaguely remembered the sessions when they were previously issued in 1996. Not that it matters: Funksoulbrother is Southern soul at its best, whether it was recorded 20 years ago, or 20 years from now. Pick it up...

Astrogin, which features Last Beat Records owner Caron Barrett, will release its debut on September 19, a CD single that benefits the Wipe Out Kids' Cancer charity. The disc features two versions of the band's song "Shine," one with backing vocals provided by some of the kids from WOKC, and was produced (in part, at least) by Nick Griffiths, who has previously worked with Pink Floyd and Joy Division, among others, as well as overseeing reconstruction work on Last Beat's studio. If you are not familiar with Wipe Out Kids' Cancer, the locally based charity raises money for pediatric cancer research. Astrogin will preview its new release, when it performs at the Hard Rock Café on September 15... In similarly worded, if completely unrelated news, Colin Cancer reports that his band, The Visitors, is in the market for a new guitarist. If you are that guitarist, or know someone who is, e-mail the group at TheVisitors@cbgb.com. If you aren't that guitarist, and have never heard of The Visitors, e-mail us at zcrain@dallasobserver.com, and we can talk about beard maintenance and the importance of Jolt cola...

Pleasant Grove is one of the bands that has been asked to perform at this year's CMJ Music Marathon, which happens in New York on October 19-22. Besides for the upcoming re-release of an expanded version of its debut on Last Beat and Germany's Glitterhouse Records, the band--with fairly recent addition, drummer Jeff Ryan, formerly of Fury III--will also contribute a new recording to a forthcoming compilation due out on Summer Break Records. Summer Break, by the way, is the label that will release Todd Deatherage's new record in the near future. That's what Deatherage hopes anyway...

In case you missed it--and unless your remote control was busted, you probably did--Brave Combo performed in Los Angeles recently as part of the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. It was pretty much standard Brave Combo fare. It did, however, contain the added bonus of watching Lewis watch the band, scrunching up his face while he concentrated on the music, tossing off sweat and Brylcreem like greasy water sprinkler, and nodding his head in agreement with every note of both songs, which he pronounced "good tooones." In fact, the camera stayed on him as much as it did the Combo, leading to some surreal, yet surprisingly entertaining television. And no, we don't know why we were watching either...

Reed Easterwood and his band Junky Southern will be releasing their seventh album, Go to Work Tomorrow You Fuckin' Jerk, on September 23 at Barley House, and September 29 at the Gypsy Tea Room. Sooner or later, one of Easterwood's records must catch on. They're just too good not to; give it a listen and you'll hear why. Another gem from the hardest-working white boy this side of Will Johnson...

And speaking of Will Johnson and Centro-matic, their next record, South San Gabriel Music/Songs, will hit stores in late September on Idol Records. The band has tentatively scheduled an official release party for October 20 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, with friends and neighbors the Baptist Generals. All the Falsest Hearts Can Try, Centro-matic's latest album, was just released overseas by Munich Records to warm reviews, leading the band to pencil in a European jaunt in December. So Johnson and crew will be momentarily slowed...

Pinkston, The Mag 7, and Valve will vie at the Hard Rock Café on September 14, as part of Lucky Strike's Band to Band competition. It's the third round of the contest; The Deathray Davies and Dollybraid won the previous two outings. The three winners are scheduled to compete in the finals on November 3. The winner gets a firm handshake and hearty congratulations. Or was it money? Come to think of it, we think it was money...

Shows what you know: The Polyphonic Spree performs September 15 at the Gypsy Tea Room, with Drums & Tuba (who'll perform earlier that day at Good Records) and Sub Oslo; Crash Vinyl opens for Samiam and The Impossibles at the Galaxy Club on September 16; and the latest installment of Subtronic Theatre happens September 14 at Liquid Lounge. Get you some.

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