Generals Knowledge

A few months ago, we got an e-mail from a publicist at Sub Pop Records, a guy we've known for three or four years. He was reminding us that one of the bands on the label was coming to town and were we going to cover it and, oh, by the way, what did we think of the Baptist Generals? He wanted to know, he said later, because the label was thinking of signing the Denton band led by Chris Flemmons. We don't get this question very often, mainly because, as experience has shown, no one really cares what we think about anything. Friends may humor us, the wife may tolerate us, but no one is too concerned with what we have to say. More than likely, no one at Sub Pop cared either. Certainly, our opinion would not change the label's thoughts re: signing or not signing the Baptist Generals.

A couple of months after that, Sub Pop sent us a record by Iron & Wine, the name Miami-based singer-songwriter Sam Beam hides behind. Now, judging from what we heard on The Creek Drank the Cradle, Iron & Wine isn't the Baptist Generals' twin brother, but both groups tend to plow the same fields, flip through the same sepia-tinted photographs. We figured Iron & Wine's presence on Sub Pop meant the label had decided against adding the Baptist Generals to its roster.

Which, we guess, is one of the many reasons why people fail to take much of anything we say too seriously. Because, as it turns out, Sub Pop is planning to release the Generals' No Silver/No Gold album later this year or early next. (The disc is already out in Europe, thanks to Munich Records, the Dutch home to the Gourds, the Damnations and Centro-matic, among others.) It's the end of a trying stretch for Flemmons and the Generals, exemplified by the virtual disappearance of one planned release when Absalom Recordings went belly-up without so much as a word to anyone, including the bands affiliated with the label. But, hey, the past is the past. The group is just back from a two-week trek through Europe; back slaps and hand claps are in order if you see them out and about...

My Spacecoaster has broken up a handful of times. At least that's the way it's seemed from the outside. But every time the group appears to be flat-lining, singer-guitarist John LaMonica cobbles together a new lineup, and the music changes a bit in the process. And, generally, the band is better for it. The latest version of My Spacecoaster--LaMonica, with guitarist Matthew Bergeland, bassist Bradley Hensarling and drummer Patrick Gathings--might be the best yet, snatching life from the death of Jawbox. You can hear it on My Spacecoaster's latest five-song set, simply titled EP 2, which the quartet released in July; it's already won over many booking agents, not to mention listeners. The band will play a couple of local shows (October 18 at Gypsy Tea Room, with James Hall and Pleasure Club; October 19 at the Ridglea Theater, with [DARYL] and Kissing Chaos) before heading back out on tour, including a string of dates with [DARYL]. With any luck, the current manifestation of My Spacecoaster will hang around for a while. And if not, it'll be even better next time...

Aden Holt's Buzz-Oven project is getting bigger with each outing: The group distributed 10,000 copies of its latest free disc (Volume 6, featuring Bowling for Soup, A Foot Ahead and Atention Deficit--whose misspelled name seems to be truth in advertising) and enlisted 275 "buzzers" to help get the word out to D-FW area high schools. (In comparison, they only passed out around 3,000 of Volume 5.) All three bands will perform at all-ages shows on November 1 (at the Ridglea Theater) and November 2 (at The Door) to hopefully capitalize on those freebies. Holt says he has The Rocket Summer lined up for Volume 7, which should appeal to the young audience Holt is trying to cultivate: Bryce Avary, The Rocket Summer's singer-guitarist-songwriter, is only a year out of high school himself.

Jim Suhler was looking forward to November 2. It was the day he was going to release a new album, Dirt Road, and celebrate with a show at Sons of Hermann Hall. Dirt Road was a special record for him, because it featured the photography of his daughter Brittany, a photo communications major at Austin's St. Edward's University.

November 2 has a different sort of significance to Suhler now. A few weeks ago, Brittany died in a car crash, so Suhler is using that day to kick-start the charity foundation he's started in her name. The show will still happen at Sons of Hermann, and he'll still be playing songs from Dirt Road, but all of the proceeds are going to the Brittany Suhler Foundation. Now you have another reason to come out.

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Zac Crain
Contact: Zac Crain