By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Other than Flag Day, the holiday season is the best time for Scene, Heard because we seem to run into everyone, and since most of the crash sites happen to be parties, more than a few of the people you bump into are in the mood to talk. (What's the deal with Flag Day, you ask? Uh, that's between us and our lawyer, thankyouverymuch.) For example, since he did say it was one of his new year's resolutions when he sidled up to us during Todd Deatherage's set at the Gypsy Tea Room on New Year's Eve, we'll go ahead and give Zach Blair no room to back out. Blair has a new band in the works, featuring himself on guitar and vocals, his brother Doni on bass, and drummer Mitch Marine, whom you may remember from his stints in Brave Combo and Tripping Daisy (locally) and Smash Mouth (recently). The fledgling group's name is Armstrong, and Blair says its sound will be along the lines of Burning Airlines, the outfit headed by Jawbox expat J. Robbins. Look for the band to show what Blair was telling in the next few months. In the meantime, Blair has apparently signed on to play guitar with The Deathray Davies, which is in addition to his less-frequent gigs with Hagfish and GWAR, also in that capacity. Blair's hiring is just in time for the Deathrays, as the band will be traveling around the state in January (including an Idol Records showcase at the Red Eyed Fly in Austin, with Chomsky and Clumsy) and throughout the Midwest in February.
A few days earlier, prior to another year-end shindig, we ran into Old Navy employee-of-the-month candidate Christy Darlington at one of Snider Plaza's finer establishments, Los Vaqueros, and the former/current/former/current singer-guitarist for Darlington (the band) said that he's getting the group back together. Which didn't come as much of a surprise, since Darlington never really breaks up, even when it does. So what's new this time? Well, for starters, Christy and his better half, drummer Steve Visneau, aren't just giving it another go with yet another soon-to-be-ex bassist this time around: Christy says that original bassist Ron "Ripper" Malippa will be in tow when Darlington hits the stage again, probably in March. What else is new about this latest incarnation of the band? Um, not much, from what we can tell, but seeing the three of them back together should be good enough. For now. You can catch Visneau playing with his pal Todd Deatherage, and look for Darlington pushing the boundaries of the dress code at the Old Navy in NorthPark Center.
Finally, judging by what we hear from a former colleague in town for the holidays, Centro-matic's recent European tour went well enough that the group is already making plans to return early this year. Apparently among those plans is a stop at legendary BBC DJ John Peel's country house to record a few live tunes for Peel's show, what they call in the business a Peel session. We've heard that the session has been penciled in for February, but since this is all still in the realm of conjecture (where we've built a small cottage near the rumor mill), don't go writing anything in pen just yet. As long as we're still speculating, we wouldn't be surprised if a couple (or all) of the Peel recordings turn up on this side of the Atlantic at some point, maybe even on Quality Park Records' planned The Static vs. The Strings Vol. II. Just remember: It doesn't happen until it happens. And if it doesn't happen at all, well, you didn't hear it from us...
With the latest additions to its release schedule, Washington, D.C.-based Beatville Records appears to be doing for area bands what Interscope Records did in the mid-'90s, at least on a small scale. After releasing the pAper chAse's Young Bodies Heal Quickly, You Know and Kid Chaos' Love in the Time of Scurvy (on its Vile Beat imprint) in 2000, Beatville is set to put out debut full-lengths by [DARYL] (tentatively titled The Technology) and Lucy Loves Schroeder later this year. Both records are in the finishing stages now, though there is no official word on when to expect their release. And speaking of Lucy Loves Schroeder, or at least LLS singer-guitarist Sara Radle, the debut by her solo project Fred Savage Fanclub, Jelly Beans With Belly Buttons, should be out now on Denton's She's Gone Records, after a few of the usual delays. Speaking of technical problems, Baboon's live album, A Bum Note and a Bead of Sweat, will hit the streets on January 23 (courtesy of Last Beat Records), after problems adding a video to the disc. The usual release shindig happens at Trees on January 20, so stop by and pick up a copy or three...
After a brief hiatus, Good Records is back in the in-store-performance bidness, with a trio of shows coming before the month is through. First up is a gig by Low on January 25 at 6 p.m., prior to the band's appearance at the Gypsy Tea Room later that night. (By the way, we recently received a copy of Low's forthcoming Things We Lost in the Fire--due in February on Kranky Records--and based on that, we'd strongly recommend checking out Alan Sparhawk and company as often as possible while they're in the area.) Following Low's lead, Cursive is set to perform at Good on January 28 at 4 p.m, and River City High will stop by on January 31 at 6 p.m. We're sure it's just the start of a year full of in-store Goodness, but don't let that keep you from missing out on these three. Study long, study wrong...