By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Since we've heard that some of you have grown tired of our recent fascination with Kelan Luker, Submursed and other bands on Wind-Up Records, we thought we'd take a few moments to clear out our inbox and cleanse the palate, dropping the needle on a handful of new local releases, some big, some small, some better than others:
Dunno why Bowling for Soup didn't break bigger when Jive Records released Let's Do It for Johnny a couple of years ago. Not necessarily our thing, but you'd figure blink-182 would've made enough room for Bowling for Soup's dick-and-fart shtick and pop-punk singalongs. Maybe they'll do better this time with Drunk Enough to Dance, released a week or so ago and produced by former Marvelous 3 front man Butch Walker. Wouldn't think that'd help much, but Drunk Enough to Dance sounds like it benefited from Walker's guidance. At the very least, Jive will have no one to blame if it can't get the kids into this one...
Looking back, we apparently thought so little of Hi Fi Drowning's previous effort, 1999's Narci Darvish, that we didn't even bother to get the name right when we reviewed it, referring to the disc over and over as Nanci Darvish. Then again, that was in the middle of our extended hangover, so who knows if we hated the record or just hated ourselves. (Smart money's on a little from column A and a bit from column B.) Listened to some of Narci Darvish again the other day, after receiving the band's latest, Rounds the Rosa, and while we stick by our guns, we'll admit we should have taken better aim, or at least stopped firing long before we did. Produced by the Pipes brothers (that would be Todd and Toby, of Deep Blue Something fame), Rounds the Rosa is less concerned with being a full-length tribute to effects pedals, as Narci Darvish was, pulling the curtain aside long enough so the songs can come out front and take a bow. And they deserve it. Good thing, because around the time Narci Darvish was released, Hi Fi Drowning and Flickerstick might as well have been the same band. To us, at least. Won't make that mistake anymore...
If you miss the old Old 97's, the original version, the one that was just this side of country, then you're not alone. (Chances are, you'll miss the new Old 97's soon enough, if Rhett Miller's solo career takes off, and judging by a few listens to his forthcoming The Instigator, it just might.) Slick 57 clearly misses them, too; their latest, The Ghost of Bonnie Parker, released on Australia's Laughing Outlaw Records, could just as well have been titled The Ghost of Hitchhike to Rhome. That said, the 11 tracks on Slick 57's third outing don't come off as thinly veiled cover versions (except for their take on Killbilly's "Cheatin' Side of Town," which isn't veiled at all), because they merely remind listeners of songs the 97's might have written, not tunes they already did. The result is a disc that already feels familiar 30 seconds in, but in the best way possible. Helps that Todd Deatherage, Eleven Hundred Springs' Aaron Wynne and Sparrows' Carter Albrecht are along for the ride...
Heard a few people say that Soviet Space could be the next band to break out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and they might be onto something. Maybe. We're not saying it, but we've heard others mention it. And given the fact that The Get Up Kids' Something to Write Home About--which Soviet Space's Whenever is Wonderful sounds exactly like--sold more than 200,000 copies, we can't fault the logic. Can't fault Soviet Space much for their play-acting either, since they're still young and impressionable. Still, you hope that they grow into their own band eventually, hopefully before people outside of their 817 area code start paying attention...
"South FM: Zac Crain's Favorite Dallas Band." That's what the stickers on bathroom walls and tip jars and telephone poles all over Deep Ellum say, and if you couldn't guess, the members of South FM were being ironic when they made them. Yes, we've had fun at their expense in the past, and honestly, we won't say our opinion has swung all the way around after listening to their new Drama Kids. We will say that we didn't give them enough credit before, judging the book before the first chapter was finished. Like the Deftones' Chino Moreno, South FM singer Paco Estrada actually sings instead of screaming, and the band actually plays its instruments instead of banging away tunelessly. (You'd think you wouldn't have to make the distinction, but listen to KEGL-FM sometime and you'll see what we mean.) They're not our favorite band, and they probably never will be, but the stickers are less ironic now.