By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Last week, a certain local music blog—one which will remain anonymous here so long as its proprietors insist on being anonymous themselves (however pointlessly)—took issue with the house party theme surrounding this year's Dallas Observer Music Awards, implying that it's a calculated move on our part. No worries, though, 'cause the funny thing is they're exactly right on that front. Of course, it's calculated.
Silly bloggers. Uninformed rants are for kids!
To look around the local music scene at this point and not see the power of the house party/DIY outfits would be incredibly naïve. Hell, one of the most thriving tenants of the local scene—specifically, the Denton punk scene—exists almost solely in that realm. We're just trying, per our duties, to capture the scene in a snapshot.
And right at the forefront of that scene? Teenage Cool Kids, who'll be performing on the second stage at our Music Awards Ceremony along with four of their fellow Best Punk Act nominees (Bad Sports, Drink to Victory, The Lash Outs and Spector 45). The band just released its phenomenal sophomore full-length, the Foreign Lands LP, already an early contender for next year's Best Album awards. Boasting oh-so-catchy riffs and choruses you can't help but keep humming in your head days after listening to them, the lo-fi indie pop-punk album is a true gem—and a perfect example of the great things currently happening in that realm.
Among the other acts blossoming in that scene: Bad Sports, The Wax Museums, Uptown Bums and many, many more (a number of which share members), all offering slightly different variations on the lo-fi punk front and providing modern updates to a now-classic sound. And that's saying nothing of Teenage Cool Kids frontman Andrew Savage's other exciting project, Fergus & Geronimo, in which he and The Wax Museum's Jason Kelly take the bare bones of their other projects and infuse them with a serious injection of Motown and '70s R&B. They're getting love from beyond North Texas' boundaries, getting name-dropped adoringly.
It's all a stark contrast to the Dallas punk scene, whose players are still without a home in the wake of the Red Blood Club and the Bar of Soap's closings and are being forced to fake their way to a scene through infrequent gigs at July Alley, Reno's Chop Shop Saloon and, when it'll have them, The Lounge on Elm Street. It's not that these bands don't merit a home; it's just that, as things stand, there isn't one.
Perhaps they'd be best served by following the Denton punk acts' lead, bringing the shows to their own homes and inviting the crowds to come to them instead of the other way around. Who knows?
At least this much is sure: The punk scene in the entire region deserves some shine—in some cases, because it merits it, in others because it needs it. And, either way, we're gonna give it to them on Tuesday night when our awards ceremony takes place at the Granada Theater and in the (OK, in this case, simulated) house party setting in which they're best witnessed.
There, along with Best Band nominees RTB2 and Telegraph Canyon, Best New Act nominees True Widow (also up for Best Album and Best Song), Best Hip-Hop Act Nominee Dem Southernfolkz, and Best Indie Act nominee Matthew and The Arrogant Sea (also up for Best Album and Best Song), all of whom will grace the Granada's main stage, we hope not to just celebrate the best that the music scenes of Dallas, Denton, Fort Worth and all points in between have to offer, but also to help some deserving acts that don't yet get the attention they deserve. True Widow (themselves a regular on the Dallas house party circuit), Telegraph Canyon and Dem Southernfolkz, though up for awards, are some of the best acts this town has to offer and should be acknowledged as such.
It's the one time of year in which we're allowed, as journalists and critics, to directly meddle in the scene. And, dammit, this is how we're gonna do it—in an all-out celebration, free and open to the public, on Tuesday night.
Because, Denton punk scene aside, when you're 21 years old, as our Music Awards turn this year, that's how you celebrate: You invite some friends over, have a few beers and listen to some great music.
Hell, if I could fit the 500 or so people already on the guest list for next week's show into my loft, I'd have you all over there and we'd do this sucker right. Problem is, we wouldn't all fit.
Plus, to be perfectly honest, there's a pair of bloggers up for an award that I still don't exactly trust just yet. And I'd rather not lose my TV remote.