By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
When we were at South by Southwest a couple of weeks ago, we ran into a few people who told us they'd had trouble getting electronic acts booked into the Dallas-Fort Worth area. While that may be true for some, as far as we can tell, there doesn't seem to be a general bias against electronic music around here; we asked a few folks, and they seemed surprised that issue still comes up these days. In fact, in the last year or so, it appears the opposite is true. Clubs that usually book bands with guitars and such (Trees and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, among them) have opened their doors to bands with turntables and laptops and whatnot. Rubber Gloves had Bullfrog (a.k.a. Kid Koala) in Denton on March 13, and Trees will host a show featuring the Planet of the Drums crew (Dara, Dieselboy, AK1200 and MC J Messinian) on May 8, and both venues include electronic outfits on a fairly regular basis. In addition, The Red Jacket has redoubled its efforts to bring the best DJs to town, whether it's a set by Carl Cox at the club or helping put together the recent Fatboy Slim shindig at the Bronco Bowl Theatre.
But it isn't just the out-of-towners: A quick trip to dallasraves.org (the hub of much of the dance and electronic music activity in North Texas) shows the wealth of talent in the area, with a handful of spots worth checking out every night of the week, some obvious (Liquid Lounge) and others not so much (say, The Sandbar, for instance). Whatever it is--drum 'n' bass, tribal, house, progressive, IDM, whatever--it's here if you want it. So maybe people are having trouble getting booked here just because there's no more room on the schedule. We hope so, anyway...
Doosu has wrapped up recording for its new album, Feng Shui, the follow-up to 1999's Aqua Vita. The band--singer-guitarists Eric Shutt and Casey Hess, bassist Chad DeAtley and drummer Todd Harwell--traveled to, of all places, Tolono, Illinois, to track Feng Shui with Shiner's Paul Malinowski engineering and co-producing. Why Tolono? It's where Great Western Record Recorders, owned by Hum's Matt Talbot, is located, and the members of the group are big fans of Talbot's erstwhile band. So it makes sense. (Besides, most people probably wonder why anyone would record an album in Argyle, Texas--home of Matt Pence and Matt Barnhart's The Echo Lab--too.) The boys are self-releasing Feng Shui (release date: May 7), a first for Doosu, following the demise of their former label, One Ton Records, which went out of business last year. Plans call for a CD-release shindig on May 4 at Curtain Club, with a yet-to-be-determined lineup joining Doosu onstage. In the meantime, look for one of the songs from Feng Shui ("War Plan Orange") to appear on Voice This Sound, a compilation assembled by Inverse Records, the label started by Austin's Pop Unknown; songs by Red Animal War, Valve, Ultimate Fakebook and Schatzi, among many others, also appear on Voice This Sound, set for release on April 5. Head to www.inverserecords.com if you can't find a copy. Or even if you can. Get a taste of the new Doosu when the band performs April 4 at Club Clearview...
While we're on the subject, sort of, 41 Gorgeous Blocks also has a new disc hitting stores in early May. Titled Swallow the Sandwich, the eight-song effort includes seven new 41GB originals as well as a cover of the Gin Blossoms' "Hey Jealousy." Yeah, yeah, we know--no one really wanted to encounter that particular song again, much less a cover. Still, we hear the band's version is worth a listen or three, and based on what we've heard on 41 Gorgeous Blocks' two albums, 2000's An Emotional Young Person Just Like Yourself and last year's It Isn't Supposed to Be This Way, we'd have to agree. If nothing else, you have to applaud the group's work ethic: three records in three years, with another one in the works. It helps that guitarist Deedle LaCour owns and operates Deedle's Room Recording in Arlington, and bassist Matt Pittman works there as an engineer. Makes you wish more bands owned studios...
Maybe we're doing something wrong. Must be, because, lately, people treat us like an IRS auditor standing on a sack of kittens. Huh. We champion bands that are good (our opinion) but relatively unpopular (actual fact), ignore the ones that are able to draw 500 or so to their shows but, well, sound like an IRS auditor standing on a sack of kittens. Solid strategy, we thought. And it is. So. If you want a pat on the back for spending your six bucks, look somewhere else. That said, we suppose it is time to shine a bit of our meager spotlight on some of these bands. First up, in no particular order: Edgewater. Looks like? The ad hoc cast of MTV's Becoming, if it ever featured our pals Drowning Pool. Sounds like? The ad hoc cast of MTV's Becoming actually trying to play Drowning Pool songs but falling a little short, stepping on the toes of half-hit-wonders like Default or Hoobastank or The Calling instead. Typical breathless quote from the fans? "If you've ever wondered how a person can sing with their eyes, Matt [Moseman] can do it." Where can you find them? Headlining at The Curtain Club and various venues in Amarillo and Lubbock; touring with similarly sub-par groups (Alabama's own Course of Nature); driving us out of a room. Approximate number of kittens in the bag they're currently standing on? Two or three, but give them time. Stay tuned; this is a new feature for Scene, Heard (think we're gonna call it Sack of Kittens in case you haven't picked up what we're laying down). Next week: Alligator Dave and the Couch Band. Probably.