By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
We've broken out the short pants a bit earlier this year, which can mean only one thing: Summer, God bless, is already upon us. Either that or we couldn't find any clean jeans. While that's also a likely scenario, there's more evidence to support the first conclusion. People's 1A: If you haven't noticed, it's hotter than a mothertrucker out there. People's 1B: Dude, seriously, it's freaking hot out.
(An aside: Remember when there used to be a time of the year called, uh, what was it--ah, yes, spring? You know, when it was sunny but not sweaty, with clear skies and cool temperatures. Man, that kicked ace.)
The only reason this news is good? Summertime means plenty of nights spent indoors drinking adult beverages (current fave: Malibu rum and pineapple juice) and listening to music. More good albums hit stores; pick up the New Pornographers just-out second disc, Electric Version, for all your summer-sun needs. And more important, plenty of good shows hit town. Sure, there are plenty of outdoor shindigs (Ozzfest, Lollapalooza, Warped Tour and whatnot), but those kinda defeat the purpose unless you're, say, 17. (If you are 17, our bosses will be thrilled to know you're reading our little paper. Tell your friends.) Not talking about those.
We're looking forward, instead, to the bands on the summer club-tour circuit. Which, in the next few months, includes Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Jungle Brothers, Buzzcocks, the Flaming Lips, Liz Phair, the Lilys, Sondre Lerche, Vendetta Red, the Datsuns, Ash, the Dismemberment Plan, X, the Supersuckers, Feeder, Jets to Brazil, John Vanderslice, Tomahawk, Alkaline Trio, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Reggie and the Full Effect, Starlight Mints, Pete Yorn and Grandaddy. That's just a few.
All that said, local music doesn't take a backseat during the summer. On May 20, two of our own--Eisley and South FM--will release their major-label debuts. Eisley's five-song Laughing City EP comes out on Warner Bros.' in-house indie Record Collection, and proves the band can perform as well in the studio as it does onstage, and that the jump to a big label has done nothing but honed what was already there. The songs are tighter and better produced, but nothing else has changed. (And that, obviously, is a good thing.) A pair of upcoming shows will act as an unofficial CD release party: The group performs May 10 at Gypsy Tea Room with Midlake and Radiant*, and the next day at the Tea Room at an early all-ages show with Flying Machine, before hitting the road again with Coldplay.
South FM's MCA bow, Drama Kids, is pretty much the same disc released locally last year on Brando Records, with some remixing by big-shot producers Tim Palmer and Chris Lord-Alge. Nothing was broke, so MCA didn't do too much to fix it. The band will celebrate all this with a get-down at Good Records on May 20.
As for shows, if this weekend is any indication, there won't be enough time to hit everything. Even for some of the bands: Panda performs at the Dallas Museum of Art on May 9 as part of the free show KDGE-FM jock Josh Venable put together (along with the Deathray Davies, 41 Gorgeous Blocks and Cordelane), then heads to Denton to play with the Baptist Generals and Raised by Tigers at Rubber Gloves at a benefit for the Denton Humane Society.
Here's a taste of what we're talking about: Sparrows perform Thursday night at Trees with Milton Mapes and Lo-Fi Chorus, followed by Baboon, Sorta, the Golden Falcons and Heaven is a Hotel. The latter show, incidentally, happens to be Ladies' Night, meaning all women get in for half price. (No one seems to be buying this, but it's true just the same.) Sorta will also perform, sort of, at Club Dada on Saturday afternoon, running through a couple of sets of Bob Dylan covers, with everyone in the band taking a turn at the mike. But wait, there's more: The Deathray Davies and Slowride will be at Club Clearview on May 10, and on May 9 at Sons of Hermann Hall, Satellite Riders will do a secret show. Why secret? Because the Satellite Riders look and sound pretty much exactly like the Old 97's. OK, it is the Old 97's, who are in town for the Wildflower Festival in Richardson and can't play another "real" show while they're here.
Of course, as all of these bands say hello to summer, one band says goodbye completely: Valve plays its last ever gig at Curtain Club on May 9, headlining a bill that features Hi-Fi Drowning, Macavity and Little Grizzly. They will be missed.