By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The alternative venue at the moment is the Elbow Room on Gaston Avenue, just on the cusp of Deep Ellum, previously thought to be little more than a beer-and-billiards joint--a good hang, but not much more. For the past few months, however, it's been the center of Dallas' burgeoning instrumental music community, with the Dallas Creative Music Alliance--so far, Flipside, Quartet Out, and Shibboleth--holding weekly "meetings" there each Wednesday at 9 p.m., gigs featuring one of the groups onstage and most of the others in the audience. Unger and Flipside have been attempting to make a change since they started playing around about a year ago. Shibboleth's Don Cento--who plays guitar and lap steel with Shibboleth and keyboards with Chomsky, and fronts his own band, The Browsers--says that Flipside is "doing a lot for the instrumental music scene in Dallas, trying to get out of restaurants and stop being musical wallpaper for some society club members' shrimp cocktail." As for the weekly shows at the Elbow Room, Cento says, "the emphasis is on original and rehearsed music--no reading lame tunes out of fake books."
Besides Cento, Shibboleth features Richard Martin on synthesizers, drummer Bob Kouba, and Chomsky bassist James Driscoll on, um, bass, and makes a noise that, at least in Cento's estimation, sounds like "incidental music from a Jim Jarmusch film performed by a Malaysian hotel band." You pretty much have to check out any band that even comes close to that description, right? Since Flipside and Quartet Out are the other Wednesday-night regulars, the Elbow Room has something for everyone. Well, everyone who happens to like exciting, original, instrumental music. Don't worry: If you get scared and need unoriginality and vocals, The Rock is, like, two blocks away. It'll be OK...
Expect to see and hear much more of Legendary Crystal Chandelier in the next few months, as LCC bossman Peter Schmidt and guitarist-engineer James Henderson have finally found their way out of Henderson's Denton studio, emerging with the long-awaited (by us, at any rate) follow-up to 1998's Love or the Decimal Equivalent. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean the record will be in stores anytime soon, as LCC is currently sans label. In the meantime, however, the band will be playing a few gigs (including a show at the Curtain Club on November 2, with The Figgs and The Happiness Factor), and Schmidt says that the group is currently in the market for a permanent drummer and someone to man the keyboards and synths. Schmidt has even waived his "no idiots" rule to help with the search. Interested parties can call (214) 781-4278, and should prepare themselves--should they be invited to join--to be "jumped in," as they say in Colors. Point of reference: When bassist Salim Nourallah signed on earlier this year, Schmidt and crew put him in the hospital for a month. OK, that's not true; it was only a week. In the meantime, head to www.thelcc.net, the band's newly redesigned Web site, for all the latest...
Speaking of Nourallah, besides playing with Legendary Crystal Chandelier and The Happiness Factor, Bedford-based Western Vinyl just put out a collection of songs recorded by him and his brother Faris, appropriately enough under the name the Nourallah Brothers. The disc is as well-crafted as pop albums come, sounding a little like two Elliott Smiths teaming up to record forgotten Chad and Jeremy songs, with a few Kinks covers thrown in for good measure. Of course, those are just recommended-if-you-like comparisons; every song really stands on its own. Maybe that's lofty praise, but we listened to the thing front-to-back five times in a row while we were cleaning out our desk (don't get excited, just moving to--strangely--an even more decrepit work station), and we couldn't find a single note out of place. Seriously, if you can't find it in a store near you, head to www.westernvinyl.com or www.nourallahbrothers.com and find out where you can get yourself a copy. Or you can just ignore us. It wouldn't be the first, or the last, time...
Time flies when you're making fun of people: The North Texas New Music Festival is upon us yet again, and it feels like only a month or so has passed since last year's installment. Really, have they started holding these things twice a year? Anyhoo, this year's shindig, with showcases on November 10 and 11, is free if you get your tickets in advance (and $6 at the door if you don't), and every venue in Deep Ellum with a stage seems to be participating: Club Atlantis, Club Clearview, Club Dada, Curtain Club, Galaxy Club, The Ger, Liquid Lounge, Live Garden, Main St. Internet Café, The Rock, Sushi Nights, and Trees. Among the two nights and dozen or so clubs, there are more than a few highlights, such as the Red Animal War-The pAper chAse-[DARYL] lineup at Sushi Nights on November 11, and the Idol Records showcase on November 11 at Club Clearview, with sets by The Mag 7, Clumsy, The Falcon Project, and Viva Maxitone. Other bands playing during the fest include Baboon, Chomsky, Crash Vinyl, Dixie Witch, Evil Computer Genius, Fivecat, Flipside, Fury III, James Hall, The Happiness Factor, The Hundred Inevitables, The Limes, Meredith Miller, Pinkston, Pleasant Grove, Riverboat Gamblers, Rock & Roll Disciples, Union Camp, Valve, Vibrolux, and many more. We could have just said to check www.newmusicfestival.com at the beginning, but we figured we'd give you a head start while the site is s-l-o-w-l-y loading...