By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
What's crazy about Thanksgiving is that it's like the third hit of your snooze button in the morning—time is running out, and the holiday reminds you of how close we are to sending another year off into the sunset. So, on that note, allow us some cheese to go with this week's holiday wine: Let's thank these five things that have helped keep things not-so-terrible in the Dallas music scene 11/12ths of the way through 2009.
Hell, let's make a list of it.
1. Trees is open again and firing on all cylinders. And that's not even saying anything of the two dates that local hard rock favorites The Toadies are playing there to close out the year. You should've been there last Thursday night for KDGE-102.1 FM The Edge's The Local Show's weekly all-local showcase. This one featured quite the powerhouse triple-bill of The Polycorns (a relatively new pop-rock trio with a polished, confident debut album in tow), Ishi (the local dance music flavor du jour—and for good reason) and The Burning Hotels (Fort Worth's swaggering, ready-for-primetime pop-punk outfit). Place was packed and rightfully so. It was the biggest crowd of the weekly event's existence too, according to its host, The Local Show's Mark Schectman. And it didn't disappoint either: The Polycorns picked up a few new fans; Ishi had the whole room buzzing and bopping along; and The Burning Hotels dutifully kept things exciting till the night came to its end. But, no, local music sucks, I hear ya. Right. (Also: The band hasn't released it as an official single yet, but go ahead and download Ishi's "Pastel Lights," which the band graciously offered to our music blog's readers as a free download. Oh, and check the unofficial video. It's like an instant party—not to mention a serious contender for electro-pop song of the year, which in this town is saying something.)
2. The vibrant underground DJ/dance set has quite the never-say-die spirit. Seemed things were at its peak when the once-exclusively Exposition Park hipsters started branching out and bringing their American Apparel-approved styles to the basement at Uptown nightclub Suite. Hell, DJ Big J's Friday night parties were running so well that the dreaded $30,000 millionaires even started crashing the scene—a win/loss if ever there were one. But then the whole club up and went under, for who-even-cares-what reasons. Either way, the hipsters were without a home—till, that is, a couple other DJ nights around town upped their games. The monthly Hot Flash! event with DJs Genova, Killtron and Schwa (which will celebrate its three-year anniversary on Saturday, December 12) flexed its collective dance muscle, regularly drawing big crowds to the Fallout Lounge; local nightlife blog Helloooooo.com's Wednesday night weekly guest-DJ affair, The Ish, started drawing crowds to Victory Park for its event at Ghostbar (yes, that one, honest to God); and longtime favorite, but long inactive, DJ collective The Party (with DJs Sober, Select and Nature) even returned for a one-off reunion get-together earlier this month for the once-weekly Hands Up! Residency at The Loft. Oh, and did you notice international dubstep advocate Mary Anne Hobbs' appearance in town last week? Or A-Trak and Kid Sister's? Turns out things are doing just fine on this front.
3. More venues are coming, promise. That's what we keep hearing, at least. Expect a few more in Deep Ellum opening up in the next few weeks. First up: Club 2826, with its location at the corner of Elm Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, set for a debut next month.
4. Denton keeps blowing our minds. Really: Go grab a copy of Sleep Whale's Houseboat, a fine full-length debut from the duo formerly known as mom, Bruce Blay and Joel North. It's more than the instrumental heroes' first foray into adding vocals to the mix; it's the band's honest-to-goodness debut as a band hungry for your intelligent listening attention.
5. We've got quite the vibrant scene here in the DF-dub. Honest! And I think the above list proves as much. Plus, I think we deserve some bonus points for going a whole week without mentioning Neon Indian (or VEGA), Dorrough (or any other Dallas rap star), St. Vincent, Norah Jones, Erykah Badu (or her upcoming February-expected release), Midlake (or its February-slated, highly anticipated full-length) or the fast-rising Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights (who last week opened up for AC/DC in El Paso and also have a new album set to come out in early 2009). Oh, wait...