By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The hits keep on coming. Well, depending on your definition of hits. Pleasant Grove is set to release its new album, Auscultation of the Heart, November 26 on Germany's Glitterhouse Records, the same label that issued an expanded version of the group's self-titled debut EP last year. Recorded by Matt Pence at The Echo Lab in Argyle, the 10-song album is the latest great album in a fantastic year for local music, 12 months in which you could name two dozen D-D-FW releases as good as or better than anyone, anywhere. You can get a taste of the new disc via an MP3 of "Ghost," one of the best tracks on Auscultation, at www.lastbeatrecords.com/pleasantgrove.
And for the technologically impaired, you can find another new song on Sunny Teriyaki Hamburger Breakfast, the long-promised Summer Break Records compilation. The disc also features contributions from SB's roster--Prescott Curlywolf, The Happiness Factor, Pennywhistle Park (r.i.p.), Todd Deatherage (by himself and dueting with the Old 97's Rhett Miller), Sorta, The Sparrows--as well as tracks from the 97's, Fury III, Chomsky, The Deathray Davies and others.
Back to Pleasant Grove, Summer Break will release Auscultation of the Heart--and by the way, we hate the band for making us type that more than once--domestically, though we haven't heard an official release date. We've had a CD-R of the record for a couple of weeks, and as good as the group's debut was, Auscultation (ugh) is even better, bolstered by the addition of drummer Jeff Ryan, bassist Tony Hormillosa and pedal steel-organ player Joe Butcher to the lineup. Singer-guitarists Brett Egner and Marcus Striplin's songs sound better, and sadder, than ever; they aren't country songs, not really, but you can hear why people get confused. Rumor is the next PG disc will be a rock record, though it's a little too early to start thinking about the next album just yet. Just be sure and grab a couple of copies of Auscultation...
No matter what you do, someone is going to be ticked off. And for once, it's not our fault. After we extolled the virtues of this year's North Texas New Music Festival lineup in last week's column, a disgruntled band member wrote in, complaining about the plethora of signed bands on the roster. "Did you notice that there are three 'signed' bands playing the North Texas New Music Festival?" the letter begins. "I thought that the festival was for new bands. To steal a quote from their Web site, 'The New Music Festival is North Texas' premier new music showcase dedicated to uncovering the area's best new artists.' Do Sugarbomb, Pimpadelic and Dollybraid qualify? If they do, I guess that Drowning Pool, Flickerstick and Bowling for Soup were not available. If I sound bitter, I am. We were notified that we were a stand-by artist, but I'm still miffed." In the festival's defense, Sugarbomb doesn't really qualify as a "signed" band anymore, after the group was given the thumb by RCA Records a week after Sugarbomb's debut, Bully, hit stores. In the letter writer's defense, well, he/she does have a point, but a fairly minor one. Three bands out of 100 are pretty good odds. Check it out for yourself at www.newmusicfestival.com. There, you can hear songs by each band on the schedule, among other things. The shindig happens November 16 and 17. Free tickets are still available, but if you wait until you show up, admission is eight bones. Still not a bad deal...
This ain't the want ads, but we don't mind helping out a musician who could use it. Del Perez, keyboard player for Crash Vinyl, is looking to start his own group (you might have heard him play a couple of songs on The Adventure Club on KDGE-FM a few weeks ago, backed by Chomksy's Don Cento and Matt Kellum), but he's short a few members. Actually, he's short all of the members. Perez, 25, says playing with Crash Vinyl is "fun, but it's not my music." What is his music? Everything from indie rock to power-pop to alt-country and all the spaces in between; he lists Wilco, Crooked Fingers, Elvis Costello, Guided by Voices, David Garza, Centro-matic and Los Lobos as a recommended-if-you-like starting point. After moving to Dallas a year ago to make a go of it playing music, Perez is looking for a guitarist, bassist and drummer and says he'll take "creativity/style over technique/chops any day." So if that strikes a chord with you, and you certainly have to respect Perez's taste, shoot him an e-mail at email@example.com. OK, then...
If you've always been uncertain about world music, and God knows we have, Jamal Mohamed's new group, Brahma, sounds like a good place to start. The band--featuring Mohamed on Middle Eastern percussion, Ed Smith on vibes and Balinese percussion, Poovalur Srinivassan on South Indian percussion and Fred Hamilton on guitar, banjo and Hindustani slide guitar--will perform with the Meadows Percussion Ensemble on November 14 at 8 p.m. at the Caruth Auditorium on the SMU campus. The concert is free...
Shows what you know: Bushwick Bill of the Geto Boys is at Trees on November 9, and Macavity, Hi-Fi Drowning and South FM play there on November 11 as part of the latest Buzz-Oven showcase; The Juliana Theory and Chomsky play the Galaxy Club on November 10; The Adventures of Jet, Red Animal War and The New Elite (check 'em out) perform at Curtain Club on November 8, followed by Slow Roosevelt's CD release party for their new one, Weightless, the next night.