So, you might have noticed, we've launched a new Dallas Observer music blog, titled DC-9 at Night (named after the line in the Jimmie Dale Gilmore song "Dallas"). Or maybe you didn't; we haven't really made a big deal of it.
When Pegasus News reported that we were starting said blog, the notice's subhead was along the lines of "Just what this town needs—another music blog," which is funny, but in its snarky way, made a good point. It made me ask myself some questions: Do we need another music blog? What can we do that other blogs don't, or don't do as well? What is our raison d'être?
There was also the existential freakout: I'm not a blogger; I'm a writer for a weekly print paper. Blogging off the top of one's head about a multitude of topics, including breaking news, is a very different thing than mulling over a single topic for several days and then writing about it.
Which, you know, is why I hate blogs—or rather, used to hate them. Because I can get my news anywhere. What I can't get is words that require a bit of cerebral exercise, to both produce and consume.
Many people opine that bloggers are not journalists. When it comes to Dallas music blogs, this simply isn't true. BigDlittled, WeShotJR, our own Unfair Park (of course) and a number of other local sites engage in actual reporting (occasionally shoddy, but most of the time pretty accurate)—that is, talking with sources, confirming rumors, gathering information and then putting it all out for readers to see. In fact, these blogs are particularly good at breaking music news, be it about how a club that nobody goes to anymore just closed 14 SECONDS AGO! or how some band decided to change from a D chord to a Dsus chord in one of their songs, or some other band's bass player took a shit at 8:09 a.m. In other words, they act as a daily newspaper, or perhaps more accurately, a minute-by-minute newspaper. That's a good thing, a necessary thing, at least, and I guess people are interested in that type of deal. It makes for good news, but please don't mistake it for deep thought. Of course, now I sound like a 75-year-old Luddite in a lap shawl, rattling off a fiery e-mail to Reader's Digest about how the world is different and how the world would be a better place if we could go back to getting our news via telegraph or, better yet, town crier, by gum.
Be that as it may, my job is not to consistently break stories—though it's something I indeed aim for (you'll note our very first item on DC-9 was breaking news about the fire at the Austin City Limits Festival), it's not a primary focus. The primary focus goes back to that week-long mulling-over of a topic. I have seven days to choose the most interesting things to write about, to research them, to read about them and try to stitch together different pieces of different puzzles to form a cohesive picture (some of the abovementioned blogs do this as well as all that daily stuff).
Let's look at this theoretically: Say Beyoncé gets shot at some fancy club in Uptown, as hundreds of gawking, skinny white people look on in horror. Of course, we would like to break that news, and even if we didn't we'd report it as soon as we confirmed it. As bits and pieces of the story come out—e.g., what kind of gun was used, how the alleged shooter was a crazed fan, what color dress Beyoncé was wearing at the time, and did the blood stain ruin it—we report those too. But in the end, the responsibility of an alt-weekly is to provide a comprehensive look at the story. What does Beyoncé getting shot mean about the music business? How will this affect her career? Does it have bigger social and cultural implications? And looking into these questions takes a different approach than acting like a daily.
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Or, say something less serious but still notable happens, like fisticuffs break out between a rangy pack of hippies and the members of a Denton freak folk band. Dailies would give you the dry run-down; we'd try to present the information in a way that's, you know, alternative. Like, who won. And whether the hippies used their magic patchouli powers to overwhelm the freak folkers, and whether the freak folkers mounted a comeback by assaulting them with pan flutes. And what this means about the music business.
So, how to reconcile these things with DC-9 at Night?
Superior content, baby. DC-9 is going to provide you with tons of slideshows and reviews of everything from metal bands to mellow crooners, Club Dada to What?Bar, Monday Nite Fights to Sunday morning hangovers. Expect exclusive MP3s to coincide with local and national CD releases. Videocasts and pictures will provide the eye candy. And we've got your fun stuff too—"Ask an East Dallas Hipster" will provide advice for those inclined to write in; Haiku Review puts a new twist on an old format; the weekly Good Friday will give you tips for what to see during the upcoming weekend. All of this, mind you, will not be relegated to the same four bands—we're scouring every nook and cranny, every genre and hidden secret. And, finally, don't worry about the news part; we'll act as a clearinghouse for everything you need to know.
Is this shameless self-promotion? Yes, yes it is. But it's worth it, because we plan on being the only blog in town that's timely, all-inclusive, content-heavy and thoughtful. That's your raison d'être right there.