By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
A brief explanation: Scene, Heard is accused of overlooking new bands trying to do new things so often, it might as well be part of the job description. While that still isn't the case, it is an unavoidable fact, as inescapable as the Slop 40 spilling over the edges of every roof-deck in Deep Ellum. You can't be everywhere at once, there are only 24 hours in a day, and we only have one good ear. Oh, and most of the complainers are in bands that are truly, truly horrible. We'll take most of the blame, but not all of it.
Occasionally, however, there is a band or musician that slips through the cracks, finds its way back out, kicks you in your ass (or some other portion of your anatomy) and asks why you haven't been paying attention. Most recently, this week in fact, that band is Crushed Stars, and that musician is Todd Gautreau. Actually, aside from Centro-matic drummer Matt Pence's contribution to the band's debut, Self Navigation, Crushed Stars and Gautreau are one in the same. Doing it himself is something Gautreau is used to by now.
You may not have heard of him, but Gautreau has been around since the early 1990s, recording electronic music (under the name Sonogram and with the now-defunct Tear Ceremony) and releasing it on his own label, Simulacra. Predictably, his efforts with Sonogram and Tear Ceremony were and are virtually ignored in the Dallas-Denton-Fort Worth area.
With a little luck--and that's usually the best you can hope for around here--Crushed Stars will be better received. Stepping away from electronic-based music, Gautreau delivers intimate, elegant bedroom pop on Self Navigation. Recorded at home and at The Echo Lab in Argyle, the album could pass for Bedhead demos. Of course, that's only a reference point, something to get you on the same page Gautreau is reading from; the disc doesn't need any help standing on its own. Self Navigation is more roll than rock, with songs that gently go their own way, not expecting you to notice. If and when you do, you won't/can't turn away.
"Crushed Stars is really the type of music I always intended to make, but along the way, I got sidetracked into experimentation," Gautreau says. "I think it was a reaction against the whole grunge movement. But Crushed Stars will be my main focus from this point on."
The disc is being released on Simulcast, another label Gautreau started specifically for this album. Which doesn't mean the end of Simulacra; he has plans for both labels. And both bands. Or, well, both band names.
"I thought it was a good time to reinvent the label with its new imprint Simulcast," Gautreau explains. "Sonogram will continue; we are currently shopping a new demo. The idea is that Simulcast material will be more 'guitar' oriented than the electronic Simulacra material. Eventually, we would like to release other bands on Simulcast and are accepting demos. I would like to use more guests on the next [Crushed Stars] record, instead of doing so much myself. I may try for a more concrete lineup and eventually do some live stuff."
We're paying attention now...
Good/Bad Art Collective is celebrating its eight-year anniversary on May 5, but it will be the last time the group celebrates in Denton. The group--which started in Denton and has gradually been shifting its base of operations to Brooklyn over the last few years--will now be headquartered in New York permanently, abandoning the old building on Exposition it has occupied throughout its existence. (The building itself, or a reasonable facsimile of it, turned up in a G/BAC event at Houston's Diverseworks.) Members of Good/Bad New York, including former benefit coordinator Chris Weber (who came up with such events as the popular Rock Lottery), will be making the trip to say goodbye, once and for all. Typically, G/BAC will be going out in its own way, with an event culminating in !!!!!!!!, the last edition of the group's "inflicted music" series. Which is: a simultaneous performance by Asphalt the Recorder, The Banes, The Baptist Generals, The Chop-Sakis, Cornhole, The Dutch Treats, The Falcon Project and Little Grizzly on a specially constructed stage. "This chaos will last as long as the participating act's longest set," G/BAC member Shane Culp says. Following that, there will be a reunion of Electric Freestyle Fantasy--including, among others, Legendary Crystal Chandelier's James Henderson--playing together for the first time since a Good/Bad event in 1998. "Expect insanity," Culp says. If nothing else, Good/Bad taught us to expect nothing less...
Also going out of business: Collectors Records, a haven for vinyl purists on Garland Road that was maybe a little out of the way but always worth the trip. Big Bucks Burnett, who's been manning the counter at the store for a few years, now is looking like the Cousin Oliver of music retail, a jinx. Don't get the wrong idea: Having Bucks around means every customer is going to find what he/she wants and probably a few things they didn't know they needed. But with the demise of Burnett's own 14 Records, as well as Pagan Rhythms, another record store he was employed by, and now Collectors, well, you don't need a calculator to do the math. Seems the store lost its lease after someone offered their landlord more money for the property, so you have until June to pay your last respects. And buy some things while you're there. Everything must go, as they say...