The Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase: A User's Guide

We're taking over Deep Ellum on Saturday. Come along, will you?

Mora Collective, 9:40 p.m.

It's curious that the Dallas band Mora Collective — bassist Chris Isaacs, saxophonist Zach Puchkors and drummer Eric Yacula — have yet to find an audience in their hometown. Cowtown listeners remember the heydays of ace fusionists Bertha Coolidge and dub juggernaut Sub Oslo, and the trajectory of Confusatron, which started as a trio, busking downtown in front of the Houston Street Coffee Haus, and wound up a groove-oriented septet that regularly blew the ceiling off the old Black Dog Tavern. Mora Collective's sound, which combines jazz, dub, hip-hop and space-rock, fits easily into this matrix.

Blackstone Rangers, 10:40 p.m.

In the span of about a year, Blackstone Rangers have gone from an electronic duo to what we've come to label as "distorto-pop." The trio's summer release on Dallas Distortion Music, Into the Sea, found a more comfortable home in the woods of bright melodies and clean riffs.

Michael Donner & the Southern Renaissance, 11:40 p.m.

Southern renaissance is right: This Dallas five-piece has put their own spin on country music. They're nominated for Best Country Act, but there's no honky-tonk two-stepping here. Just a knack for harmonies and storytelling, as heard on last fall's No Better Time.

The Colurs, 12:40 a.m.

Multi-instrumentalists Max Townsley and Drew Erickson make up Denton's The Colurs, and they've recently released their self-titled debut EP, on which they play all primary parts. They even composed an accompanying orchestral score.

Trees (Inside), 2709 Elm St.

Summer of Glaciers, 5:40 p.m.

Angelus bassist Ryan Wasterlain went the solo route with project Summer of Glaciers, and released Small Spaces this past spring. Now rounded out by vocalist Miranda Alvarado, the duo make some beautiful elevator music.

Pinkish Black, 6:40 p.m.

To the multitudes that got wind of Pinkish Black's self-titled debut LP via online tastemakers such as Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan and Cvlt Nation, the Fort Worth-based duo's new album must have seemed like a bolt from the blue. Released on Handmade Birds, the imprint of Denton musician R. Loren (Pyramids, White Moss, Sailors With Wax Wings), Pinkish Black is a fully realized piece of work by musicians in command of their materials: dark, brooding, intense and ultimately cathartic. It's also the culmination of more than 20 years of music-making for two of the most prolific musicians the Metromess has produced — a refinement and distillation of all they've done before.

Blixaboy, 7:40 p.m.

Wanz Dover (also nominated for Best DJ) made up his own genre to describe his music as Blixaboy: Futro. An EP, Intro to Futro, was released earlier this year, and Dover keeps refining techno and dubstep. Seeing him do it live is an added bonus.

Mystery Skulls, 8:40 p.m.

Mystery Skulls, the R&B/synth-pop project of Luis Dubuc, rocked Homegrown Festival in May and then Dubuc took off for the West Coast. Here's your chance to catch him after some hardcore touring and recording. Hopefully we'll hear some new tunes from a possible new EP.

Dustin Cavazos, 9:40 p.m.

Who is Dustin Cavazos?

Dustin Cavazos ... a Mexican dude who raps. Just here, rapping. Writing songs. Hanging out with friends. Playing video games. Riding my bike.

How do you define success?

Success is defined on so many levels. Everyone has their own idea of what success is. I think if you look at the root of success, I think anybody, the gist of success for people is being happy. For me, success would be being happy and seeing the people around me as happy. What's the point of being happy if your best friend isn't doing so great? Or the people you grew up with aren't doing so great? There has to be happiness all around.

The Phuss, 10:40 p.m.

This Fort Worth punk trio released their sophomore album, produced by the Toadies' Vaden Todd Lewis, earlier this year. The tempos rarely change, the riffage is the type that raises blood pressure and angst fuels each track. See what the fuss is about.

A.Dd+, 11:40 p.m.

It's hard to think of a local hip-hop act that's raised a higher profile this year, or perfected the art of hip-hop storytelling more than A.Dd+. A long-awaited mixtape, Dive Hi Fly Lo, should be dropping any minute now.

Daniel Hart, 12:40 a.m.

Violinist Daniel Hart has been around. One listen to his 2012 album, The Orientalist, and you get a sense of that instrumental wanderlust. Joyful single "O Sangeeta" will get stuck in your head for days.

Trees (Outside — DJ Stage), 2709 Elm St.

Yeahdef, 6 p.m.

Tape Mastah Steph, 7 p.m.

Track Meet, 8 p.m.

Wanz Dover, 9 p.m.

DJ Sober, 10 p.m.

Dada (Outside), 2720 Elm St.

The Rich Girls, 6 p.m.

I saw these guys at Double Wide on Halloween weekend, and their sax player, who was dressed as the sax player from Lost Boys, had a great ass. What else ... oh, and they did some great covers of Hall & Oates as well.

John Singer Sergeant, 7 p.m.

John Dufilho's alter ego, John Singer Sergeant, is sure good at sharing the spotlight. His self-titled album, out this past spring on Kirtland Records, featured the vocals of Sarah Jaffe, Ben Kweller, Rhett Miller, Apples in Stereo cohort Robert Schneider and others, while Dufilho played the backing music. Who might show up this time?

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