By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
While there are more than enough songs about Christmas, and more every year--Idol Records just released another 18 into the wild on Electric Ornaments, and that's just locally--there aren't very many about Chanukah. There's Adam Sandler's self-explanatory "The Chanukah Song" and...well...uh...hmmm...that's about it, unless you wanna count "A Lonely Jew at Christmas," sung by South Park's Kyle Broflovski. Now, thanks to Dallas-based TM Century Inc. and The Josh Alan Band (fronted by Dallas Observer contributor Josh Alan Friedman), there's at least one more: The klezmer-blues lament "As Chanukah Passes Me By."
The problem: Since TM Century--which, through its TM Century Comedy Network, services some 160 affiliates with parody songs and other morning-zoo fare--currently has no Dallas affiliate, there is a good chance the song will not be heard in the DFW area. Distributed solely via TM Century's network, "As Chanukah Passes Me By" is not commercially available, and TM Century's Larry King says there are no official plans to work the song to Dallas radio stations. Which isn't a surprise: Friedman's mostly serious song is somewhat of an anomaly at TM Century anyway. As King says, "The most important aspect of TM Century is parody songs. Our niche is that we do the best parody songs in the business. There's a hundred people or more that sing or play for a living at TM Century studios." And most of those parodies are based around melodies made familiar by, say, the Backstreet Boys or 3 Doors Down.
The Josh Alan Band's tune certainly doesn't fit into those categories. But King and Friedman, who go back about 10 years, have wanted to work on a project together for some time. King expects the song to do well for its New York affiliate, WPLJ-FM's The Scott Shannon Show, along with a few other markets. As for Dallas, you might want to hit the request lines at KERA-FM or KNON-FM. Friedman, meanwhile, is preparing to start a new album about--what's the word he used?--"shit." "I think America's not only ready for it," Friedman says, amazingly straight-faced, "I think they're calling for it." From what we've witnessed lately, we'd have to agree...
Sub-Tronic Theatre celebrates its one-year anniversary on December 14 with a proper shindig at the Liquid Lounge, featuring live P.A. sets by The Mind Theory, Evil Computer Genius (a.k.a. Don Relyea), and Mundo with MC Pibb, and performances by DJs Ahman and Scsi (a.k.a. hell on all spell-check programs). The monthly installments of Sub-Tronic got started on December 9, 1999, when organizer Tony Edwards and Relyea tried to bring live P.A. acts and DJs "away from the warehouses and away from the raves." The electronic music showcase has been doing fairly well, or as well as a monthly electronic music showcase can do in Deep Ellum, but Edwards expects this go-'round to do even better. "We've been getting decent crowds," Edwards says, "but this time we've got the support of Tower Records, V2 Records, a couple thousand flyers, some ticket giveaways on the Edge, a mention in Tower's quarter-page ad next week, and a pretty big buzz for our one-year anniversary." Everyone who shows up at this installment of Sub-Tronic will receive a copy of V2's Subsonic, Electronica & Beyond disc, which includes tracks by Moby, Underworld, the Jungle Brothers, Aphrodite, and many more, as well as be eligible for some other schweet swag. Of course, you shouldn't need a bribe to show up at Liquid Lounge. That would be necessary only if it was at, say, the Live Garden...
Satellite Rides, the forthcoming album by The Old 97's, is scheduled to hit stores March 20, with the first single from the disc, "King of All the World," arriving at radio stations February 12. The 13-track disc, produced by Too Far to Care producer Wally Gagel at Willie Nelson's Pedernales studio outside of Austin, is reported to take the band even further down Abbey Road, reviving the Sleepy Heroes that Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond used to be. But we haven't heard a note of it yet, so who knows? Not us, that's who. You can probably hear a new tune or two for yourself on December 31 (what we refer to around he-ah as New Year's Eve), when the band performs at the Gypsy Tea Room, along with Chomsky, Todd Deatherage, and The Barkers. You didn't even see that plug coming...
Speaking of Todd Deatherage, he stopped by the office last week to play us a few songs off his first full-length as a solo artist. If you recall, and even if you don't, Deatherage put out a five-song disc by himself earlier this year, just something to sell at shows until the real thing was ready to go. And, well, it isn't quite ready yet, but it's getting there, and Deatherage looked prouder than any new father as he handed over a copy. While the disc isn't mastered yet, and a few songs still need to be mixed, you can still hear why he's so happy with the results, and why he can't wait for it to be out in stores. Recorded by Matt Pence at The Echo Lab, and featuring, as Deatherage says, "just about everybody I know"--including Rhett Miller, Reggie Rueffer, former Darlington drummer Steve Visneau, Eleven Hundred Springs' frontman Matt Hillyer, and Deatherage's former Calways mate Todd Pertl, among others--the as-yet-untitled album is a mess of twanging geetars, shuffling drums, and weeping fiddles, with Deatherage playing country crooner on top of it all. When it's finally finished, Robert Jenkins' start-up Summer Break Records is set to release it; start looking for it in February or March.