By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Five to Look Forward To
(with full disclosures)
Full disclosure: I'm in a band that played a show with Tha Bracelets not too long ago, and I've been a big fan ever since. The Denton quartet offers up sweet soundin' boy/girl harmonies atop punchy jangle-punk numbers that recall some of the Judys' or the Vaselines' best stuff. Any given song by Tha Bracelets makes a perfect addition to your next "hopeless crush" playlist. They need to put something out. Pronto. They've lain low as of late, but as we speak the band is diving headlong into recording their first record. Until further notice, you can keep up with them on MySpace or listen to their stuff at purevolume.com.
Sharing a similar penchant for those "sweet soundin' boy/girl harmonies," Man Factory comes straight outta Arlington-slash-Grand Prairie and is perhaps the area's finest distributor of melodious lo-fi acoustic disco. (Full disclosure: We have a significant amount of money invested in the "acoustic disco" craze becoming the next big thing in 2007. Look for our six-part exposé, "Acoustic Disco: Everybody Shake Something," beginning next week.) In a few short years, the Man Factory miscreants have successfully mastered a quirky combination of playful melody, organic instruments and Casio keyboard drumbeats and synth leads. Kinda like the Elephant 6 collective jamming out Prince and the Revolution covers. Seriously. Acoustic disco. Big in '07.
Metro Muzik: The Union
And you thought that government infrastructures and corporate hierarchies were unnecessarily complicated. According to their Web site, Dallas hip-hop collective Metro Muzik: The Union (itself an independent subsidiary of CWC Records under the umbrella of the CWC Entertainment Group) hosts local showcases called, well, "The Union" every Sunday night at Tom Cats in Deep Ellum, not to mention their regular "Operation: Phoenix" Ladies' Nights at Club Nairobi, both of which tend to focus on local hip-hop and R&B performers with a dance club lean. (Full disclosure: We've never been to either of those clubs, because when we try to dance, we embarrass ourselves and many of those around us.) When they're not rocking the party that rocks the body, artists such as Cri$ Cra$h, Cutta C, Dae Dae and a bunch of other dudes we're not really all that familiar with (yet), attend seminars discussing and dissecting the Dallas scene. But this operation's not just a loose collection of dance parties and hip-hop summits. CWC is also planning 2008's 1st Annual High School Hip-Hop Showcase, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a vehicle for kids between the ages of 14 and 18 to compete in areas of song, rhyme and dance, "showcasing [their] talents to [their] peers, family, friends, and record label executives." Ha, ha! Take that, peers!
Full disclosure: Awhile back we used to work at the Borders on Lovers Lane and Greenville Avenue with Jason Hensel, who until recently was the sole driving force behind mope-folk band Ashburne Glen. He swears up and down that it's not a solo or singer-songwriter project, but that gloomy blend of Joy Division and Elliott Smith (with requisite minor-chord atmosphere and faux Brit accenting to match, natch) is pure Hensel. For years Ashburne Glen struggled with varying lineups and juggled various players, until a core unit finally materialized in 2006. Roommate/drummer Eric Grubbs and bassist Joshua Warr (Blackheart Society) brought fistfuls of thunder to accompany the blistering fretwork of Lance Pilgrim, singer-songwriter/guitarist for the Shapes and longtime OG ("Original Glenster"). Hensel may have had to relinquish some of the Glen's more frail and dainty qualities, but in return he gets to front a pretty slammin' rock outfit that's starting to build some substantial steam.
Maybe it was the baby. Maybe it was the break-up. Maybe it was the betrothing. Maybe it was the band's uncanny and frequent knack for destroying guitars and amps wherever they went with errant beer and sputtering, momentary fits of rock 'n' roll passion. Whatever the reason, the TD's Web site doesn't look like it's been updated in almost a year, and the follow-up to their 2005 debut Le Fun has yet to be released onto the masses. That's not to say they're totally inactive. To keep their chops shipshape. the band performs in and around town on a pretty regular basis, so you can usually catch 'em while the gettin's good. As for studio progress, sources close to the band (full disclosure: that, unfortunately, would be us) report that they are "in the midst of the process of preparing to get ready to fixin' to almost finish" the near-complete album they've been carefully crafting with producer Stuart Sikes for about two or three years now. The rough mixes are promising, and the record overall seems to capture a far more accurate and raucous representation of the band than its predecessor. Sources also report that singer Roy Ivy is sick and tired of people citing his uncanny resemblance to Dwight from The Office. Voicemail messages and e-mails inquiring if this was better or worse than having your likeness compared to that of a slightly younger Kelsey Grammer were not returned.