In a Trance

The last time we saw Shawn Francis he was walking around the streets of Austin during South by Southwest wearing a badge around his neck that identified him as "DJ Muppetfucker." (The badge actually belonged to his friend and fellow DJ Noah Lee, who now goes by the moniker DJ Noahphex, after some legal wrangling.) Not too long after that, Francis--who had been living in Denton and spinning records at Lizard Lounge, Red and a few other spots--moved to London for a year or so, before returning to the States (specifically, New York) and picking up where he left off a couple of years earlier. Well, he never really stopped spinning records, picking up guest shots at clubs all over Europe. Hadn't heard from Francis in a while, until he sent us his first mix CD, released on Shadow Records, where he holds down a day job in between club appearances. The disc, Trance Sessions, is a continuous mix of songs by Alphazone, Sentinel and Bluescreen, among others, and it's damn good, if you like such things and even if you don't. It's the first of two discs Francis has planned for 2002; the next, Dublife, should be in stores in early February. Francis is planning on taking the show on the road. Wouldn't be surprised if he turns up somewhere around here, so keep an eye open. Or an ear. Either way...

Austin-based label Emperor Jones is set to re-release Stick Men With Ray Guns' Some People Deserve to Suffer sometime in the first half of this year, probably around May or so. We Don't Have the Time Productions, a little label run out of Lantana, Florida, by Stick Men guitarist Clarke Blacker, previously issued the disc in 2000, a few months before singer Bobby Soxx (born Bobby Calverley) passed away from liver failure. In its initial pressing, the disc collected 16 never-before-released songs (among them, "Grave City," "Buttfuckers (Try to Run My Life!)" and "Pee Pee in the Disco Mommy"), most recorded live at the Hot Klub and the Twilite Room and other clubs around Dallas and Houston. We're not sure exactly what will appear on the Emperor Jones version of Some People Deserve to Suffer, but we're sure the track listing will look similar, though the sound will probably be cleaned up a bit. (It couldn't sound worse: The live recordings already sound as though they were captured on a broken answering machine tossed in the trash outside whatever club the Stick Men were playing.) Not that it matters much whether you can hear what Soxx is saying--more often than not, you probably don't want to. Some People is an interesting document of a place and time--Dallas punk rock in the early '80s--but if you want something you can actually listen to, seek out albums by the Telefones and Nervebreakers, among others. Bobby Soxx was a punk, but many of the other bands that surfaced in the late '70s and early '80s knew that was only half of the equation. Still, plenty of people will finally get to hear what they've only heard about before, so if nothing else, it'll clear up a few things...

On January 24, One Tribe Productions will present the KIVA Showcase/Universal Groove Set, collecting a wide variety of local musicians for a not-for-profit event that benefits the Jubilee Park & Community Center of Dallas. (Jubilee is an after-school facility that provides kids K-12 with academic support as well as activities including art, music, sports and much more. A music education program is expected to start up in February.) Kenjah Nichols, the woman behind One Tribe Productions and KIVA, started the event "to develop a collaborative spirit between artists and businesses, to create a sister/brotherhood amongst performers and to respect our differences by enjoying and supporting high-quality music." (The name is no accident; "kiva" means "unity, harmony and agreement" in Swahili.) To that end, she's put together a lineup that includes pretty much everything on the spectrum--save for a jug band; there's always next year--including N'Dambi, Capoeira of Dallas, Jah Seeds, Kristy Kruger, DJ KP, Nayrok Udab with 7onSoff (featuring Erykah Badu's sister), Jevette, Amy Weaver, Camp Wisdom and many more. The show happens at The Women's Museum (located at 3800 Parry) and starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. And well worth your money. You should pay that just to see N'Dambi, especially if she moves to Philadelphia, as we've heard recently. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Like, in our case, the majority of our teeth. (Long story, or, at least, a boring one.) We'll miss those little guys. They were fighters...

The annual South by Southwest music festival shindig looms on the horizon, and so far only a few local groups have been confirmed by SXSW, including The Polyphonic Spree, Centro-matic, The Deathray Davies, and that's pretty much it. Oh, and erstwhile Dallas singer-pianist Norah Jones, set to release her full-length debut on Blue Note very soon. Expect plenty more to be added each week until March, probably up until the day the fest gets under way (March 13). There are, however, plenty of national and international acts to get excited about: Destroyer, The Promise Ring, Girls Against Boys, Super Furry Animals (though that hasn't been completely locked down), The Glands, Jenny Toomey and many more. Nothing major yet, but there's still plenty of time. Besides, we'll be so liquored up (sorry, Mom) that it probably doesn't really matter...

Show up: Earl Harvin Trio is at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on January 28 and Gypsy Tea Room on January 29; Little Grizzly continues its Sunday-night residency at Muddy Waters on January 26; Slobberbone and Fred Savage Fanclub play Club Clearview on January 25; and there's always something good happening at the Elbow Room on Wednesday nights, where the Dallas Creative Alliance (Flipside, Quartet Out, Ghostcar, etc.) holds court.

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