Turn Up the Volume

Best new band we've come across in a while: Robot Monster Weekend. Performing here and there since late last year, Robot Monster Weekend recently released its debut EP, the six-song Turn Down Your Sorrow It's...Robot Monster Weekend, recorded at The Echo Lab with Matt Barnhart. Singer-guitarists Mike Gargiulo and Aaron Thedford met while working at DNA, the local animation studio responsible for last year's Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. Soon enough, Gargiulo and Thedford's mutual musical interests (The Replacements, XTC, Guided by Voices and Robyn Hitchcock, as well as 1960s proto-punk and bubblegum bands) led to a group of their own, after recruiting bassist Carl Schembri (another co-worker) and drummer Franko Covington. The result: songs as short and fun as a perfect punch line, music that makes a point and quickly moves to another one. You can hear bits and lifts of all the bands Gargiulo and Thedford used to talk about at work, but Turn Down Your Sorrow doesn't use any of them as a crutch, skipping along on its own two feet. (Favorite so far: the obligatory theme song, "It's Robot Monster Weekend Time!"--which is probably the best place to introduce yourselves to the band.) Hear for yourself when Robot Monster Weekend performs May 15 at Galaxy Club. Of course, since we like them, apparently that means they won't draw very well. That's what we've been told, anyway. So good luck, fellas, and if it helps, we can always take it all back...

Dan's Bar is back--sort of. Dan Mojica, who decided to pull the plug on his Denton bar November 14, will try again with a new club, which has a soft opening on May 9. The new place, called Dan's Silverleaf, is situated at 103 Industrial, just a few blocks from the old location. Judging by the lineup he's booked for the first few days, Mojica isn't changing much else either: Pops Carter kicks things off on Thursday, followed by The Gourds on Friday and Norte de Havana on Saturday. After that, the club will shut down for a bit to make final preparations for its real opening later this month. Stop by and wish him luck...

Hand stamps: Ghostcar performs at the Ridglea Theater on May 10, followed by Slow Roosevelt the next night; El Gato, Single Frame Ashtray and Failure Plus are at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on May 10, and The Riverboat Gamblers play there on May 12; OHNO is at Club Clearview on May 9, with Speedealer and Viva Maxitone taking the stage the next night; The Chemistry Set, The Shining Time and The Tah-Dahs play Liquid Lounge on May 9; also on May 9, Curtain Club hosts Star Wars Party II: Attack of the Rock, with performances by Weener, Soviet Space and Lucy Loves Schroeder and plenty of Star Wars-related giveaways. Side note No. 1: Word is, this could be the last Weener shindig. Unless, of course, they decide to do another one. Side note No. 2: We are not banned from the Curtain Club or Liquid Lounge. We still don't plan to go there anytime soon--something about knowing where you're not wanted--but we could if we wanted to. But we don't. Although we could. Side note No. 3: One day, we'll all have a sense of humor. Really, it could happen. Swear. We've seen scientific evidence of just such a phenomenon. So, hey, fingers crossed. Side note No. 4: When writing hate mail, try not to use all caps. You can still vent, and we can actually read it without going blind; it's really a win-win all around. Of course, if your e-mail address is phuck_migood@yahoo.com, you probably don't need our help...

This week in Sack of Kittens, because sometimes you're too drunk to know any better: Fair to Midland. Looks like? Turn on MTV2, pick out any band at random and it might be Fair to Midland. Or, the hell-yes answer to the question, "Do all mall-metal bands have to include at least one member with dreadlocks?" Sounds like? An attempt to re-create P.O.D. ASAP, or you know, just turn on MTV2, pick out any band at random and it might be Fair to Midland. How do they describe themselves? "Sullen alternative" or "gut-wrenching emo," depending on when you ask them, we suppose, although they helpfully point out that their sound also includes elements of hard rock and world beat. (Huh.) Sample lyrics? "Please don't decide to roll your eyes/I'm speaking from my heart/She bought a book and now she's reading much more into things," from "Gaining One," off the band's recent The Carbon Copy Silver Lining. (Carbon copy? Yes. Silver lining? Not so much.) Singer Andrew Sudderth's poor-me, high school poetry doesn't sound too bad, unless you take into account the fact that it's paired with the kind of awkward wankery rarely heard outside of a Guitar Center. (Guitarist Cliff Campbell might as well be wearing oven mitts. Who knows? He probably is.) Where can you find them? Headlining Galaxy Club on occasion and playing regional dates; hanging out at various Hot Topic locations in the area; doing their best to turn the whole of modern rock and roll into an OzzFest side stage. Number of kittens in the sack they're currently standing on? Four, but that's only because they saw someone else--say, System of a Down, maybe--standing on that many.


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