2001 Dallas Observer Music Awards

Narrow margins remind us that everyone's a winner

You can still find one of its three solid albums on the sorely missed Leaning House Records label, and a new album is reportedly coming out on Two Ohm Hop this year. Whatever the case, chances are the next time you hear a Trio standby like "Fuck Your Reason" or whatever those three musical infidels decide to do to "What I Want to Do to You," it won't be anything like the last time. --B.M.

Winner for: Rap/Hip-Hop

Irish dandy Oscar Wilde is probably the last person who comes to mind when thinking about the merits of the young hellions who make up Dallas-Fort Worth's mischievous rap-metal outfit of Jesus-Christ-Super-fly-boys Pimpadelic, but he should. When the quip-master observed that the problem with music is that when played well nobody listens and when played poorly nobody talks, he obviously hadn't encountered the conundrum presented by the purveyors of such precocious wordplay as that found on Statutory Rap and last year's Tommy Boy debut, Southern Devils. Local yokels have seen fit to praise and castigate these blokes regardless of listening to them or evaluating if they're doing their particular groove thing well or not. Of course, watching these boys to men imagine a line that connects Seth Green in Can't Hardly Wait to Kevin Spacey in American Beauty is like watching an overturned turtle trying to right itself. You know how it's going to end, but the spectacle is more passive-aggressively titillating than a Shannon Tweed straight-to-Skinemax-after-dark erotic thriller.

Best Act Overall: The Old 97's; Male Vocalist, Songwriter: Will Johnson
Mark Graham
Best Act Overall: The Old 97's; Male Vocalist, Songwriter: Will Johnson

This crew exudes a persona that desperately wants you to believe that it never met a woman it didn't want to degrade or a substance it didn't want to try. Not content simply to reinvent Me So Horny-cum-License to Ill verbal kooks and Faith No More-qua-Red Hot Chili Peppers bass-line hooks, Pimpadelic's epiphany came when it realized that "cock" rhymes with "rock" and subsequently lowered the lowest common denominator a few igneous layers below wherever Caligula is buried. The resulting mishmash of problems that followed the band's porn-American-style video shoot for "Caught it From Me" at Trees last year, frontman Kord "Dirty K" Murphy's frequent absences are simply par for this rough-and-tumble course over the silicone hills of naughty party girls and far away into the misty mountaintops of Hollywood Babylon.

With tracks that glisten like a Pen and Pixel rendition of Sodom and Gomorrah, Pimpadelic leaves nothing to the imagination and turns and burns on its highway to hell with the pedal to the metal and a backseat full of Ciprofloxacin and Zovirax. If you can debate the idiosyncrasies of "White Trash" versus "Tits (Will BR Alright)," you can probably get yourself a staff writer position at Hit Parader or at least an internship at Vivid Video. Plain and simple, Pimpadelic makes Korn, Limp Bizkit, Kottonmouth Kings and Insane Clown Posse look like the trying-too-hard-to-be good-for-nothings that they are. And it just goes to show you that being the most authentic and convincing Real Deal in a throng of thong-snapping poseurs can win you friends and influence people. --B.M.

Winner for: Industrial/Dance

For the past two years, the Jump Rope Girls (which was once basically RopeLab + the purty vocals and guitar licks by Doosu's Casey Hess - some electronic noodling) have dominated the Avant-Garde/Experimental category. And both times it was mentioned that RopeLab out-experimented the rock sensibilities of the Jump Rope Girls--our subtle way of implying that just maybe RopeLab was more deserving. However, RopeLab is an even better fit in Industrial/Dance since its experiments lean toward drum 'n' bass, trip-hop, techno, trance and ambient. Plus, it knows how to get a crowd's attention and set a mood for the evening--two important aspects for trying to get people to either hit the dance floor or pull up a square of concrete and pay attention to a group lacking instruments with strings.

Take, for example, when RopeLab played between band sets at last year's KTCU Noize Fest in the cavernous Ridglea Theater. Four- and five-member rock bands (even ones capable of filling up Deep Ellum clubs on Tuesdays) are intimidated by the rows and rows of seats in the renovated movie house. The group (which started as Jump Rope Girls Don Relyea and Bobby Mahoney and has included Mark Rinewalt and David Gee since Mahoney moved to Denver) fearlessly stationed themselves and their turntables, keyboards and other equipment to the right of the stage. With hands moving quickly between knobs, switches and keys and heads bowed wearing lights that looked like the red glowing eyes of Star Wars' Jawas, they didn't even seem to notice when onlookers stopped by to see where the sounds were coming from in the dark smoke. And it isn't an easy sell pitching electronic music to a bunch of Texas Christian University students waiting around for Spoonfed Tribe to take the stage. Believe us.

Besides the occasional performances, RopeLab has recorded four albums--one set of live cuts, Hazardous Fluids, and two takes on the theme "Dark and the Light"--available online from its MP3 Web site. And judging from the points it has racked up online and votes tallied here, RopeLab has converted more than just a few hundred Fort Worth fans of organic drum jams. --S.S.

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