Odds & Ends

Word to your motha: TexasGigs.com has been hosting some very cool local music content lately; in particular, ever since we pleaded with site founder Cindy Chaffin to hook her portable recording rig directly into concert soundboards, her bootlegs are sounding dramatically better. (Yes, we're taking credit for it, even if we don't deserve it.) But on Monday, the site really took its multimedia content to the next level by hosting its first-ever TexasGigs Rap Battle.

Six local rappers were told to look at a photo of a celebrity and come up with a 90-second attack against that celebrity on the spot. The photo? Vanilla Ice. Talk about a perfect target! A few stupid singles, the Cool as Ice movie, his famous encounter with Suge Knight, his Carrollton connections...you'd think six dudes from Dallas would skewer Robbie Van Winkle with ease, right?

Unfortunately, TexasGigs' open call for talent didn't produce much in the way of battle power--all but one of the contestants choked, wasting time with self-referential raps that had very little to do with the big V. In the worst of the meltdowns, otherwise smooth Moon Criket failed to say a single thing--not even the phrase "Ice Ice Baby"--that referred to his contest opponent. Granted, great MCs often don't bother with battling, so the style isn't always a fair way to judge a rapper, but if you willingly sign up for the contest, you shouldn't act like a damn fool.

Who's Got the Juice? competitor Ekzile was the best, if only by default, rhyming phrases like "jumping hurdles" with "kick it with Ninja Turtles" and a few others. Really, the bar was set so low that we could've nabbed second place without much trouble. Here's our tardy submission:

Hey, Robbie Van Winkle/You should write to Kris Kringle/and ask for some rhyme skills that don't stink-le...OK, OK, we're done. These guys aren't, unfortunately, as the winners of an online vote will move on to a second-round battle which will be filmed this Monday. Log onto TexasGigs.com to watch the entries and cast your battle ballot.

Utter embarrassment: As long as we're on the subject of this "Internet" fad we keep hearing so much about, we must admit to a serious lapse in judgment. The guys at dconstruction.org begged us for months to be a guest on their Dallas-music-centric podcast, and last month, we grudgingly accepted, if only because hosts Robert Jenkins and Lindsay Graham promised that we could play songs by Bosque Brown, the Theater Fire, Versatile and Baboon for their extremely large audience (which, we later found out, was only seven people, and six of them are part of TexasGigs, anyway). The interview finally went online this week. Visit the site to hear some high-pitched laughter...and good music.

And before you log off your computer, direct your browser to www.dallasobserver.com/blogs; there, you'll find our daily reports from SXSW along with our review of last weekend's Greenville Ave. St. Patrick's Day concert with the Toadies' reunion. Blood is shed, bottles are thrown, meatheads are...moshed. Check it out.

Not sorry: Congratulations to Black Tie Dynasty, who charted on Billboard's local (Dallas) singles chart this week with their new Idol Records three-song disc for "Tender. " The '80s-loving pop-rock song landed in second place, beating Beyoncé's "Check on It" but trailing behind Madonna's "Sorry." Normally, we'd say that second place is a disappointment, but dudes, that's a pretty sexy sandwich you're wedged into. Just pray that Prince's "Black Sweat," at No. 4, doesn't creep into that top three sandwich next week. Nasty.

Handstamps: Between Thursday and Sunday, most of DFW's indie-rock clubs are packed to the gills with SXSW visitors, so if you feel left out of the Austin hubbub, quit sulking and go experiment. A few random suggestions: The Dirty Projectors is a one-man freak show that you will not forget. See him/them at Rubber Gloves on Sunday...The Cavern's weird Saturday showcase is headed by British electro-folkers Tunng... Bosque Brown's No. 1 fan, Seattle resident Damien Jurado, visits Hailey's on Monday night.

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sam Machkovech