LAN party: If you attend Laptop Deathmatch at The Cavern on Sunday, October 9, don't be misled by the title. Anyone who brings joysticks or copies of Counter-Strike to the monthly musical competition will be sorely disappointed. So what exactly is it? Organizer, judge and Mazinga Phaser II member Mwanza Dover calls LD a celebration of "electronic music in all forms," and it pits 16 laptop-equipped musicians in a round-robin tournament. Each player gets three minutes to make whatever music they can with a laptop, audio interface and MIDI controller--remixes, mash-ups, all-out techno or even warped versions of death metal songs--in an attempt to, as Dover puts it, "demolish your opponent." Judges vote through multiple rounds until one musician reaches the top, winning a $100 gift card from Guitar Center (second place gets a $50 gift card).
Dover says the concept, which debuted only a month ago, has quickly taken organizers by surprise. "[The judges] were expecting a lot of half-assed whatever, and they were stumped by how good everybody was," he says. "When I was leaving, some guy in the crowd came up to me and told me, 'This is the most interesting thing I've ever seen in Dallas.'" Works for us, and with musicians like Joe Butcher (Polyphonic Spree, Pleasant Grove, UFOFU) and Daniel Huffman (Comet, Ghostcar, Day of the Double Agent) among the contestant pedigree, we expect nothing short of quality from this Sunday's incarnation.
Say it ain't so: This week, we bid a particularly unfond farewell to two of Dallas' more underappreciated musical acts. At Thursday's NTNMF showcase at Trees, Skin Trade singer-guitarist Mike Melendi announced that the show was the band's last, though when I pestered him at a different concert on Saturday, he made it clear that his brand of furious, guitar-destructive music wasn't over with just yet. "I've been trying to get Ashley Cromeens (Record Hop) to play bass with me, but she's pretty busy," Melendi says. Hey, Ashley! The other guys in your band have side projects, so why can't you? Here's to hoping Denton's Melendi ropes up a new cast soon.
That very Saturday night, John LaMonica, the man behind Tiebreaker and other beauty-rock projects around Dallas, played what he called his final Dallas concert at Trees. By the time you read this, LaMonica will be unpacking his bags in Salt Lake City, though we give the man the benefit of the doubt. After all, he once told us he was giving up on band music "forever" to work on Postal Service-style beats and songs, only to unveil a new full band a few months later. Hey, he's kooky like that, so maybe he'll move back to Dallas in a week and assemble a 30-member prog-rock orchestra. At any rate, his current departure is a shame, because the crowd sure cleared out when LaMonica played on Saturday, and they missed his (presumably) last local set of sweet, heartbreaking songs.
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Scullduggery: With good-byes come a hello, as former 97.1 The Eagle DJ Cindy Scull returns to Dallas' radio airwaves this week. Luckily, the woman behind the mike for years of The Eagle's hard-rock drive-time broadcasts didn't have to settle for a radio gig at a smooth jazz station--in fact, she sounds right at home with the licks of Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bon Jovi as the new 10 a.m.-3 p.m. DJ at 92.5 KZPS. During her classic rock debut on Tuesday, Scull told listeners she'd spent the past year and a half of unemployment "driving the kids around and doing laundry." From the sound of things, she'll be spending the next year and a half lovin' in an elevator and being hot for teacher instead. Welcome back, Cindy.
Handstamps:Former SMU student and freestyle rap genius Astronautilus makes Rubber Gloves his lyrical bitch on Thursday (and Liquid Lounge on Sunday, too)...New Order's Peter Hook DJs at Hailey's on Thursday as part of his recent 24 Hour Party People tour...Our favorite band name of the week is Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza at Red Blood Club on Friday. We have no idea if they're any good, but we love us some stupid band names...The Cavern has a lock on this week's best sleeper concert, with national touring acts Minus the Bear, Headphones and Criteria turning the small Lower Greenville club into a hipster paradise on Friday.