2004 Dallas Observer Music Awards

You voted. We counted. It's your favorite local acts, amplified.

I can say this with all sincerity because, until then, I had been somewhat unimpressed with the group's work. They'd done only a few songs, were still finding out who they wanted to be as a band. It wasn't even a band yet, just a dynamic duo (singer-guitarist Lewis and drummer-comedian Bentley) with a love-hate relationship with the music industry and a revolving-door lineup of sidemen. "Beautiful Night," the embittered, euphoric counterpoint to U2's "Beautiful Day" that hangs a hammock between Cheap Trick and Black Sabbath, gave the upstart band a focus, not to mention a comfortable cushion on the radio. Now they've also found a home outside Dallas, by way of a record deal with Trauma/Kirtland Records, which released the band's debut, Buried in Your Black Heart, in November.

Though the group has solidified with guitarists Casey Hess and Corey Rozzoni and bassist Casey Orr, it's fitting that the Brothers' two founders are singled out here, because no matter who is filling the supporting roles, Lewis and Bentley are the names above the title that sell the picture. It's fitting as well that they should win for Best Rock/Pop, because despite the outfit's early intentions to build everything with hard edges, they've found a soft spot amid the carnage, one that suits them as much if not more. They keep mining that territory, and there'll be plenty more beautiful nights to come. --Zac Crain

Slow Roosevelt
Metal

For more than a decade, Slow Roosevelt--fondly referred to as Slow Ro--has performed for packed rooms, adoring girls and fist-pounding guys alike. But now, these intellectual heavies and Dallas-music-scene veterans are no more. Don't panic--all members of the now-defunct band are alive and kicking, and thanks to a pickup by Reality Entertainment, so is their final album, Weightless. So why stop now? Why after six, seven, well, we've lost count, and so have they--after so many DOMAs, why quit now?

"We'd been playing together for seven years," says Pete Thomas, the bullhorn-wielding front man and lyricist. "It was just time." But Thomas, drummer Aaron Lyons, guitarist Scott Minyard and bassist Zack Busby aren't giving up on music altogether. Busby, Lyons and Thomas are working on a new project, still heavy, but different from their late and uniquely gritty band. "Dallas has a great music scene, and really, there's no place I'd rather continue to play music with people," Thomas says.

Slow Roosevelt wasn't the first "heavy" or "metal" band in Dallas. After all, we do claim Pantera, but Slow Ro was influential in establishing a heavy scene on a more local, as opposed to Pantera's national, level.

"If there has to be a grandfather metal band in Dallas, that'd be us," Thomas says, and while he says it jokingly (yes, the super-serious stage character jokes), he says it with pride, because remaining influential to the last sold-out show is rare in this city. "We were always waiting for the other shoe to drop and people to get tired of us, but until the end we played to packed houses." And what of the bullhorn's future? Thomas tossed it into a writhing mass of reaching hands, where it was devoured, just like their final show. --Merritt Martin

DJ Merritt
DJ/Electronic

DJ Merritt knows a few things. He knows how to gauge the room, how to bring the kids to their knees. He knows that when he spins the Lee Coombs remix of "Pray for You," people spill onto the floor. He knows that it's his job to read a crowd's mood, like a weatherman placing one wet finger into the breeze to decipher which way the storm is blowing. That's what he's done every Saturday night for a decade now as host of Edge Club on KDGE-FM (102.1), not only the longest-running live mix show in America but also the highest-rated. While the rest of you suckers are sloshing your drinks and falling off barstools, DJ Merritt is hard at work. That's true for most DJs. But Merritt doesn't just play music; he makes it. He has seven different remixes coming out on various labels, like "Imagination," which teams vocals from up-and-comer MC Astro with guitar work from Sorta's Trey Johnson. Or his collaboration between Florida artist Blake Potter and local producer Kelly Reverb. So that means other DJs across the country are spinning DJ Merritt's records. Which is a good thing.

"I've noticed the newer generation of dance-music fans are liking the prepackaged, overproduced pop stuff a little too much," he says. "As far as dance music is concerned, the pop-electronic music is being sold as the 'underground' to a generation of people that grew up on Britney Spears and 'N Sync. Those people tend to have a distorted view as to what underground electronic music is really about." Lucky for those kids, DJ Merritt is around. He knows a few things. --S.H.

Hard Night´s Day
Cover Band

Sometimes, you just want music to be easy. Sometimes, you want to actually sit down in a club. Sometimes--like, say, Friday at 6 p.m., when the week has soured into a surprise visit to Planet Suck--it's nice to know the songs, to know the words. Hell, you might even dance after a few beers. Or 10. Just kidding. (Not really kidding.) This is the patented formula for comfort known as the cover band.

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