Don't let the recent national attention paid to melodic, songwriting-focused acts such as Doug Burr and Midlake fool you: Denton bands can be aggressive and dark. Really. Doubt that for a minute and Last Men will be on your ass like Henry Rollins in a slightly bad mood. Well, not really, because it turns out Last Men are actually pretty nice guys. But you get the idea. Their opening set for Record Hop's CD release party at Dan's Silverleaf on Thursday, March 27, was an impressive display of tightly-controlled, Fugazi-influenced hard-core, eliciting comments such as "revelation" from Record Hop's Scott Porter. Record Hop's own performance was a jaw-dropping sonic and visual synthesis, aided by Martin Iles and his how'd-he-do-that, musically-synced video montages, mixed in real time. Think: Exploding Plastic Inevitable meets Clockwork Orange.
In other album-related news, it turns out Bella Union labelmates Eric Pulido (of Midlake) and Robert Gomez are starting a new record label: Nova Posta. It already has a record scheduled to come out late this summer, Matthew and the Arrogant Sea's debut full-length, Family Family and the Magic Christian. The two also have plans for an anthology of Denton music in the mold of Quality Park Record's 2000 compilation Band-kits. Pulido and Gomez have high hopes for the label, which will work with Georgia-based Team Clermont (Flaming Lips, Death Cab, White Stripes) for public relations, and North Carolina-based Redeye (Bjork, Widespread Panic, Liam Finn) for distribution.
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Speaking of collaborations, Pinebox Serenade banjoist/vocalist Nick Foreman has reconstituted his one-man solo act, Dust Congress, with marimba, oboe, trumpet and the omnipresent Ryan Williams from The Baptist Generals on upright bass—and the unplugged immediacy of the band's new digs suits Foreman's Harry Smith-soaked chamber folk like a capo on a Gibson Hummingbird. Dust Congress' Saturday, March 29, set at Rubber Gloves was a bracing contrast to Shiny Around the Edges' follow-up set of jagged, emancipated dissonance, but just as mesmerizing. In addition to the full-length record Foreman plans on releasing sometime this year, he's currently working on a 7-inch release for Paper Stain records and a possible shared 7-inch project with The Angelus' golden-throated Emil Rapstine. Plus, he plans to tour the southeast in May. Who says Dentonites don't travel?