While setting up on the floor at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on Saturday night, Denton's New Science Projects began to attract a pretty substantial crowd. With people lined up on all sides of them—some even standing on chairs—frontman and songwriter Dale Jones began belting out half-screamed words in his guttural, Glenn Danzig-meets-Isaac Brock voice, which he refers to sarcastically as "the sound of angel wings brushing together."
Having all the trappings of a punk show, with a dash of folk in there somewhere, the band, which included Jones on acoustic guitar, Scarlett Wright on drums, Donovan Ford on bass and Victor Monterosso on guitar and organ, was somehow able to get a nice and rambunctious pit going sans kick drum and including a harmonica.
The night, which also featured performances by Delmore Pilcrow, Two Knights, Dust Congress and Real Live Tigers, was organized by Gutterth Records as a CD release show for Bikini Salute, the New Science Projects' latest album released on the local label.
Michael Briggs, one of the gentlemen responsible for running the Gutterth empire, records all of New Science Projects' albums himself, and is referred to by Jones as being part of the band. It's a claim Briggs is quick to deny.
"I don't do any of the songwriting," Briggs says. "Dale just likes to put my name on there."
"Of course he's part of the band!" Jones contends. "He's not involved in the creation of the music, but he's my sounding wall—my filter. He'll show me if it sucks or if I should keep working on it."
Jones' songs typically begin as an idea played on an acoustic guitar, with some vocals to accompany it. Once the idea is recorded, Jones goes through and adds each instrument's part, multitracking until the song is complete. The finished results are typically short bursts that get to the point quickly and choose not to linger—which is about as close, Jones admits, as he comes to having some sort of aesthetic purpose.
"The overarching theme is to play really fast and not mess around," he says. "I don't like big solos and crazy bridges that go nowhere."
Still, Bikini Salute has what Jones calls an accidental theme, despite his efforts, he says, to keep things as devoid of meaning as possible.
"All the songs on the album are about killing yourself, for varyingly valid reasons," he says. "It was sort of an accident, but a happy one."
The one song included on the album that didn't go with the theme, Jones says, couldn't be recorded.
"Our keyboard exploded—shot sparks and everything," Jones says. "The only song with piano."