Second Chance

Chomsky set to release third album

This is what ESPN.com Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons wrote about Sunday's Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles skirmish: "This is the game where all those pseudo-Cowboys fans--and you know who you are--come out of the woodwork and start supporting the team again. Most Cowboys fans are like those missing fathers of NBA players that we always read about, aren't they, the ones who surface right after their son signs a $50 million contract?"

Yeah, that just about sums us up. That's how we felt, anyway, watching the Cowboys' 23-21 W from the comfy confines of one of Texas Stadium's luxury suites, five fingers wrapped around four fingers of Jack Daniel's. But we knew that going in. On the way to Irving, we figured that if we stayed for the entire game, and we did, it would be more Cowboys football than we'd watched in the previous two seasons combined. Maybe three. We prefer the Mavericks, whether or not the Cowboys are winning. That's just us.

Don't get the wrong idea. John Gonzalez didn't help us write this week's column. We actually have a reason for bringing up the game, and our attendance at it, other than giving Simmons (a.k.a. The Sports Guy) a shout-out. See, we were in the aforementioned suite courtesy of Aezra Records, the Phoenix-based label that's set to release Chomsky's third album, Let's Get to Second, in February.

Aezra flew in a handful of radio program and music directors and such from around the Southwest to check out Chomsky's gig at Club Clearview the night before. The Cowboys game was a thank-you gift, something that would hopefully stick in their heads when it comes time to add "Fine," the first single from Let's Get to Second, to their playlists. And it'll probably work. As far as gestures go, it's quite a bit better than getting an XL T-shirt with Let's Get to Second's album artwork on the front or a poster or some such. That's what plenty of labels do. Some don't even go that far.

But Aezra is a smaller label, so they can pay attention to these kinds of details. Of course, that wasn't the only reason for the trip to Texas Stadium; it was also a celebration for Chomsky and Aezra. Not long before, news arrived that the Cowboys' marketing department had decided to use the group's songs in its telecasts, as well as playing them at games. We didn't hear any on Sunday (and how perfect would "00:15:00"--better known as "15 Minutes to Rock"--be for the start of those 15-minute quarters?), but apparently, quite a few made their way into Babe Laufenberg's pregame show.

For Chomsky, the news gets better. The band has also landed on a month-long tour sponsored by CMJ New Music Monthly that will feature up-and-comers Hey Mercedes as well as (possibly) Verbena and the Bronx. After sitting on the sidelines for the better part of a year, trying to find a label and working on the album, the group is finally starting to get some playing time.

They certainly did their part at Club Clearview. Playing mostly songs from Let's Get to Second, Chomsky was tighter than the next afternoon's game, confidently muscling through each tune. Those radio folks wouldn't have needed a Cowboys game to remember Chomsky after that show. It was the best we've seen them in a while, and we're counting a few pretty great shows in that number.

The way it's going, expect to see Aezra employees in the area quite a bit in the next year or so: At dinner before the Clearview gig, Aezra's president, Eric Cheroske, gave us enough info about the label's local ties to fill up this column without even mentioning anything else. Cheroske, who brought in the Toadies when he was working for Interscope, is planning to release Feeler, the album Interscope rejected in 1999. (Toadies front man Todd Lewis' new band, the Burden Brothers, just inked a deal with Trauma Records, by the way.) And Aezra has also added Fort Worth singer-songwriter John Price to its roster.

At least one label is paying attention to Dallas. So we've got that going for us. Which is nice. If someone wanted to send us to another Cowboys game, it would be nicer. Not looking for a handout. Just putting it out there.


Hand stamps: Flickerstick and Radiant* perform October 17 at Gypsy Tea Room, and the Faceless Werewolves open for the Electric Six and Junior Senior there on October 22; Darlington and 41 Gorgeous Blocks are at Club Clearview on October 16, followed by Speedealer the next night; The Baptist Generals play Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on October 22.
 
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