By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
So after a banner year for the Dynasty, what's on the horizon? Well, the usual next album, though Watson says BTD wants to take a different avenue this time around. "We are already working on the next album and have half of the material for it already. We're changing direction with the sound," he says, "and we want to constantly evolve. This album will be a lot darker and more dynamic."
Now that's a bold statement to the dancing fans they accumulated with the energetic Movements. Tee-hee. —Rich LopezGranada Theater
A tight loose ship is the best way to describe the Granada. Tight, as in owner Mike Schoder runs things well. Bands start on time for the most part, the staff is friendly and briskly efficient, the beer cold and, with four bar areas, plentiful. Loose, because Schoder and his partner, Julie Garton, are friendly laid-back folks who truly care about music—be it local or national, jam band or experimental freak-out jazz—and their cool vibe can be felt throughout the venue's charmingly fading walls, ornate ceiling and chill-out balcony. The pair made perhaps the best move of any venue in town this year by hiring local music man Kris Youmans to book and promote shows there. Youmans' touch has raised the quality level of the acts that agree to play the venerable old theater on Lower Greenville, despite the constant struggle of battling big-name promoters of the Charles Attal variety. This year alone we've seen shows ranging from storied '60s legends to hipster faves to local heroes, all run through a top-notch sound system and stellar light effects. And, since Schoder scraped up enough dough to buy the joint, we don't have to worry: No one's gonna tear this sucker down and turn it into a bunch of condos. Not on his watch. —J.W.
Gorilla vs. Bear (gorillavsbear.blogspot.com)
Best Web site/Blog
Chris Cantalini's competitors in this category are as local as a 214 prefix—no daily Sarah Jaffe, Doug Burr, Faux Fox, Nouns Group and J.D. Whittenburg updates here, alas. Which doesn't mean Cantalini lacks a sizable local presence: He was the first to champion homegrown heroine Annie Clark (St. Vincent, natch) more than a year before she turned into an Entertainment Weekly/Spin/New York Times pick-to-click; he pimps Ghosthustler like he's got money invested in the band; and his regularly scheduled shows at the Cavern and the Loft at Palladium are must-attend shindigs amongst hipsters with indie-tuned eardrums. And he wasn't above dismissing the Dallas Observer Music Awards as "pretty much a huge joke," which ain't stopping us now.
It's a testament to Cantalini's taste and influence that we refuse to take offense at such comments. (He was, after all, the only person with whom we consulted before launching our own blog, Unfair Park.) Cantalini wisely recognizes that provincialism's a dead end for the adventurous music fan, for whom local music can serve as the gateway drug to faraway pleasures. He's a Sirius man, part of the satellite radio network's MP3 blog show, and he's given us far too much for us to bemoan the occasional beat-down: When we need to hear (and download to our iPods!) the latest from The Go! Team, M.I.A., White Denim, Madlib, Devendra Banhart or any other Pitchfork faves earlier than anyone else on the block, we dial up GvB. But most important, he's as much fan as tastemaker, seldom prone to the snark attacks that make the music blogosphere a dangerous place for the accidental tourist who wants to hear something new, like, now. —Robert WilonskyIdol Records
"It's not financially viable running an independent label," says Erv Karwelis, founder of Idol Records. "I get by, but not very well."
For more than 14 years, Karwelis has managed Idol Records, putting out seminal releases from local semi-legends Old 97's, Hagfish, Funland and Brutal Juice as well as CDs by bands from as far off as Birmingham, England. Somehow, he has managed to keep things in the black while staying in the good graces of bands and fans alike.
"No one understands how difficult it is," Karwelis says. "They think the reason I've been remotely successful is that I don't promise anything that I can't deliver."
Karwelis has delivered more than 80 releases, pressing as few as 2,000 to as many as 10,000 discs per album. The next Idol release will be Orchestrated Kaleidoscope by The Crash That Took Me, a local conglomeration of folks from [DARYL], the Earlies and Black Tie Dynasty.
Karwelis seems content just making ends meet, steadfastly navigating through 200-plus emails a day along with an additional 250 solicitations from bands with MySpace pages.
"Too many people put out music now," Karwelis says. "Perhaps that has diminished the quality of music."
"But I've been lucky in Dallas," he adds. "I think I can stay afloat." —Darryl SmyersAdventure Club
Josh Venable has hosted the Adventure Club radio program on KDGE-102.1 FM The Edge for nearly 15 years, and the follicularly challenged, golden-throated DJ is not shy about asserting the show's significance.