By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Here's how good a job Robert Jenkins has done spreading the word about his new record label, Summer Break Records: Even though Summer Break had yet to release anything at the time, the label came within a few nominations of making the 2001 Dallas Observer Music Awards ballot in the Local Record Label category. If Jenkins sticks to his upcoming release schedule, Summer Break will have as much reason as any other label to stake its claim to that award next year. With The Happiness Factor's Self Improvement? already in stores--the band celebrated its official release on May 12 at Curtain Club, with a shindig featuring Chomsky and Legendary Crystal Chandelier--the label is readying albums by the Todd Deatherage Band, Pennywhistle Park (The Buildup for the Big Letdown) and Austin's no-they-didn't-break-up-four-years-ago Prescott Curlywolf (Arkadelphia).
Also in the works, which is where it's been for several months, is a compilation featuring The Ranchero Brothers, The Old 97's, The Deathray Davies, Jetty Webb, Sorta and more. No word on when to expect any of these releases, but feel free to use our handy guide: If you happen to hear a street date for one of the records, tack on an extra month, and you'll be pretty close. No offense to Jenkins or Summer Break; that's just the way it works. The next time a local record comes out when it's originally supposed to, it'll be the first time...
Apparently, Russell Hobbs and Joel Fruth's experiment worked. Their all-ages, no-alcohol club--The Door, located at the tail end of Deep Ellum, a place where liquor always helps--has done well enough that a second location (in Fort Worth, across the street from Billy Bob's Texas in the Stockyards) will open May 25. The new venue will open its doors with a lineup of By The Tree, Blisse and Elihu, all of whom apparently support The Door's stated goal: "To gather and showcase inspired, sincere artists who are unafraid to deal with the realities of life, death, God and love." If our vague directions don't help much, head to www.TheDoorClubs.com for more information. Or just try to figure out what Jesus would do. You make the call...
Seems The Deathray Davies have a busy few months ahead of them. Beginning May 21 at Houston's Rudyard's, the band hits the road with L.A.-based Arlo, whose Sub Pop debut, Up High in the Night, is simple rock and roll played simply great. The two-fer hits Curtain Club on May 24 and winds up its run together at the Viper Room on June 7. But the group's crowded schedule has more to do with when the band isn't on tour. Singer-guitarist John Dufilho says Deathray has booked time with producers Matt Pence (at The Echo Lab in Argyle) and Barry Poynter (at Poynter's Palace in Little Rock), and both of those sessions could produce separate albums. That's in addition to the recording the band has been doing over the past few months at Aaron Kelley's End of the World Studios in Dallas, which, yes, could also end up as another new disc.
On top of all that, Dufilho, bassist Jason Garner and drummer Bill Shupp (and God knows who else) have scheduled time at Last Beat's studio for yet another record, this one by their low-key DRD offshoot, I Love Math, which has regular, rambling Sunday-night gigs at the Barley House. They certainly have enough material; Dufilho says he recorded demos for about 40 new songs. Before you get all warm and fuzzy, remember this: No one said any of these projects are coming out any time soon, or even if some of them are definitely coming out. Don't start marking your calendars just yet. Plenty of time for that later...
Andrew Hime's been getting better and better lineups for his yearly celebration of local music/birthday shindig since he started the event in 1998, and this year might be his best yet. (If you don't know who Hime is, check out the merch booth the next time you see one of the bands listed below play. He'll probably be there, and he'll probably be cranky.) Scheduled to happen May 18 and 19 at Mable Peabody's in Denton--yeah, we've never heard of it either--Hime's cosuardstockapaloozathon 2001 fest includes some of the best groups in the D-D-FW area. And it's free. On May 18, the lineup is Motor Skills, Fluoroscopic Kid, One Piece, Little Grizzly, Seansky (Chomsky's Sean Halleck) and Legendary Crystal Chandelier; night two features Frame-Set, FXC vs. Ozwald, Proem, Pleasant Grove and The Deathray Davies. If you don't know where Mable Peabody's is, head to www.sonictherapy.com. Or just drive around Denton aimlessly...
Our favorite Dallas expatriate Ben Kweller is no longer signed to Island Def Jam, but Kweller may have wound up with an even better deal. The former Radish front man recently signed up with ATO Records, the label started by Dave Matthews. (Yes, that Dave Matthews.) ATO has also gotten plenty of mileage out of inexplicably popular songwriter David Gray and his safe-rock-for-boring-adults (read: regular listeners of Merge 93.3 FM). Although Gray's album is distributed by ATO in the states, Kweller is the label's first official signing, and he should probably get plenty of attention. Kweller is set to begin recording his ATO debut in the extremely near future, once he returns to New York from a short tour with Creeper Lagoon. We'd say we can't wait to hear it, but we've already been waiting so long, we're obviously used to it.