New Music, Good Music
Had a good time at last weekend's North Texas New Music Festival, though we noticed attendance was slightly down. Not so much that you'd see if you weren't looking. The actual numbers probably don't even matter; the festival got more people to come down to Deep Ellum than anything else has in a while, so you'd have to consider that a success. And after a tour of the venues, and more than a few potent potables, we'll admit something: Our faith in local music has, at least in part, been restored. Not that anyone probably cares, but still.
So it figures that the one band we should have seen we ended up missing. We're talking about MossEisley, and plenty of other people were talking about the group after their Friday-night showcase at the Gypsy Tea Room, sandwiched between Single Frame Ashtray and Valve. Generally, we stay away from acts that get their names from Star Wars, but what do we know? We live for Boy Meets World reruns. (We're not even kidding. Unfortunately.) In this case, our hesitance worked against us. By the time we got there, MossEisley was gone but not forgotten. Everyone was talking about them.
Some were comparing the group to the Cardigans. Others name-checked Radiohead. Heard Pink Floyd a couple of times. Just about everyone said that, yeah, they were pretty inexperienced, but still the best new band they'd seen in a long time. And since a lot of those people have a lot to do with who plays in Deep Ellum, expect to see the name MossEisley all over the place very soon. As in now: The group plays The Door on November 22 and November 30 at Liquid Lounge.
It's a good story, whether or not you dig the music: MossEisley, based in Tyler, is made up of three sisters (singer-guitarists Chauntelle and Sherri DuPree and younger sis Stacy on keyboards), their brother Weston on drums and bassist Jonathan Wilson, who is apparently not related. (Think The Corrs, with less mainstream taste.) And they're all young, ranging in age from 20 (Chauntelle) to 14 (Stacy). Actually, come to think of it, the MossEisley tale borders on novelty. But for now, it's still just good color.
So why haven't you heard more about them? Well, for one thing, it seems as if, until recently, the group was mainly playing in Christian clubs and such--though from what we can tell, they keep their faith mostly out of the music. Also, they're from Tyler. Don't think that needs much explanation.
Of course, it's not as though MossEisley caught everyone by surprise: They were, after all, booked into the biggest room at the New Music Festival and were apparently at the top of the list for most of the visiting A&R reps who made it to the shindig.
You can hear for yourself what everyone was talking about at MossEisley's Web site (mosseisley.com), where they have a handful of MP3s available for download. (We'd weigh in, but our computer kept crashing. No, really, it did.) Or you can head to one of their upcoming shows. Just don't be late. We're already kicking ourselves for that.
The Toadies broke up last year, but in December, you can see them again. At least five more times, to be exact. The group will play December 26 at the Ariel Theatre in Houston, followed by gigs at San Antonio's White Rabbit and La Zona Rosa in Austin, culminating in a two-night stand at Deep Ellum Live on December 29 and 30. Why the sudden burst of activity? Who knows, but it more than likely has something to do with the November 19 release of Best of Toadies: Live from Paradise, a single-disc live set recorded May 12 of last year at The Paradise in Boston. The album (which has two unreleased songs, "ATF" and a cover of the Pixies' "Where is My Mind?") is coming out on Aezra Records, a Phoenix-based label run by Eric Cheroske, who helped the group get its deal with Interscope Records back in the day. And while we're not sure if there will be more shows forthcoming, there might be another Aezra release; the group recorded a couple dozen songs for Interscope that were never released. If you're lucky, that will change.
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