Our 34 picks for 35 Denton

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Read more: 35 Denton Cleans Up Its Block and Rebrands Itself



The Labb, 11:30 p.m.

San Fernando Valley sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin formed California beach-punk band Bleached after their previous group, Mika Miko, dissolved in 2009. Bleached combine sun-soaked, carefree rock with a tinge of late-'70s punk nostalgia by cranking out upbeat pop hooks and an in-your-face attitude, which can be found on their recent 7-inches.

True Widow

Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 11:30 p.m.

Going on just before chant-gazers Om, True Widow will be on the front end of perhaps the sonically slowest, yet most righteous back-to-back performance of the weekend. The Dallas stone-gaze gurus have long since proven they know how to entrance North Texas fans. If one can be simultaneously lulled and bludgeoned, Dan Wilson and crew certainly know how to apply the hypnotics for such a combo.


Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 12:30 a.m.

Stoner metal, just like 3 a.m. Whataburger, is really best when one doesn't have to be altered by herb in order to fully enjoy the groove being offered. Since splitting from marathon metal sludgers Sleep, Al Cisneros and Chris Hakius have successfully continued the tribal, rhythmic stomp as a bass-and-drum duo since 2003. A new album should be out on Drag City soon. Join the chanting as they close down Rubber Gloves.


Mountain Goats

Main Stage 1, 8 p.m.

Mountain Goats' "The Best Ever Metal Band in Denton" was paid tribute (or desecrated, depending who you ask) last month as part of 35 Denton's cover series, and whether you liked Jessie Frye's cover or not, John Darnielle remains one of this decade's best songwriters. An avid metal fan, Darnielle takes it down several notches with his trio, assuming the folk-singer role and becoming the world's best people-watcher and story-teller. Last year's All Eternals Deck continued the trend. Get there early for Whiskey Folk Ramblers.


Andy's, 10:30 p.m.

Denton's Peopleodian make the music you want your computer to make, but with guitars. The four-piece's 2011 debut LP, It Woke the Moon!, was a wonderfully odd jaunt into a black hole of analog beats, chiming guitar and singer Ally Hoffmann's vaporized melodies. Somewhere between total chaos and pop songs, Peopleodian have found a happy medium.

Class Actress

Hailey's, 11:30 p.m.

Tired of the Lana Del Ray back-and-forth of style over substance? Shift that controversy right over to Class Actress' Elizabeth Harper. Rapprocher, the trio's 2011 release on Carpark Records, is a flirty piece of fluff with enough edge to retain your cool and provide that pop fix.

Julianna Barwick

Banter, 12:30 a.m.

No, Julianna Barwick's 2011 Asthmatic Kitty debut, The Magic Place, was not the soundtrack to Tree of Life, but it is a mirror image. Long, trancelike stretches of looped vocals and angelic harmonies are the Brooklyn singer's signature, and while they often toe the line of what some may call New Age, her Southern upbringing in a church pew gives the music more of a Gothic weight.


Atlas Sound

Main Stage 2, 5 p.m.

Atlas Sound is the solo project of Bradford Cox, the Atlanta-based musician and lead singer of self-described "ambient-punk" act Deerhunter. Although blogger lore regularly notes Cox started recording under the Atlas Sound moniker on a cassette deck as a child, his first official full-length wasn't released until 2008. With Atlas Sound's third LP effort Parallax released on 4AD last year, Cox distills his stream-of-consciousness into the act's finest, most cohesive album to date.

Best Coast

Main Stage 2, 7 p.m.

You've got to hand it to Bethany Cosentino: She knows the basics of a good pop song. L.A. trio Best Coast's 2010 album, Crazy For You, resonated with a new generation of '60s pop fans, though their aesthetic was a bit more '90s. Hey, songs about boyfriends never really go out of style, right?


Denton Square Donuts, 12:30 a.m.

They're only teenagers, but Schmillion have come a long way. The group formed in the Girls Rock Camp Austin back in 2009, and went on to record an EP, play a SXSW showcase with the Bangles and open for Arcade Fire, all in the span of two years. A few lineup changes later, they've just put the finishing touches on a debut LP. There's honestly no better venue to see them in.

R. Stevie Moore

Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 12:30 a.m.

Home recording curiosity R. Stevie Moore has shrugged off labels — both genre-wise and actual label-wise — in favor of doing things the way he wants. Since 1976's Phonography, he's made the kind of bizarre, sweet stare-at-the-bedroom-ceiling pop everyone with a four-track and some cracked software is trying today, though feeling way less authentic than Moore. He finally got a backing band together, Tropical Ooze, and toured for the first time ever last year. See what has become of him.


Dum Dum Girls

Main Stage 1, 6 p.m.

Dum Dum Girls' Ronettes-meet-Ramones take on fuzz-pop started out as the home recording project of Kristin "Dee Dee" Gundred. After assembling a live band, it didn't take long for their visual aesthetic and stoic leather-and-lace performances to attract the eyes and ears of Sub Pop, who scooped up the four-piece and released their latest full-length, Only In Dreams, produced by Richard Gottehrer, (Blondie, The Go-Go's) and the Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner.

The Jesus & Mary Chain

Main Stage 1, 8 p.m.

This grab was no doubt 35 Denton's "Rosebud" moment, and a smart one indeed, given the demographic of the fest. The brothers Reid haven't performed live since 2007, and don't have any new material to tour behind, but do longtime JAMC fans really want new stuff? Their five-album run, starting with 1985's Psychocandy and ending with 1994's Stoned and Dethroned (sorry, Munki, I wanted to like you) remains the blueprint for many contemporary bands doing the reverb-on-the-vocals/fuzz-pedal dog and pony show.

Bad Sports

Andy's, 10:30 p.m., Saturday


Andy's, 9:30 p.m., Sunday

In a recent post on 35 Denton's blog, Creative Director Kyle La Valley wrote: "Daniel Fried of Bad Sports is the frontman of Denton's finest punk rock outfit, Video. I do declare he's the best frontman in Denton." And when Fried and Austin's equally talented Orville Neeley (OBN IIIs) share vocal duties as Bad Sports, well, it's a one-two punch of unforgettable, larger-than-life punk rock. Both bands released killer full-length albums in 2011: Video's Leather Leather on Denton's Play Pinball! Records and Bad Sports' Kings of the Weekend on Portland's Dirtnap Records.

Gardens & Villa

The Labb, 12:30 a.m.

This California act knows how to make groovy psychedelics feel more urgent than lackadaisical. The Secretly Canadian quintet is using 35 Denton as a send-off before a whirl of festival stages and opening slots leads them into summer, the perfect season for their music. Last year's self-titled debut, produced by Richard Swift, explores pop, New Wave, psych and the great beyond.

Light Asylum

Hailey's, 12:30 a.m.

Brooklyn's Bruno Coviello and Shannon Funchess capture the androgyny of the '80s through shadowy synth, expressive vocals and a stage presence that channels both Grace Jones and Peter Murphy. Light Asylum is a relatively young band, but Funchess is no music scene rookie: She's been featured on tracks by TV On the Radio, Telepathe, TK Webb and !!!. Look for a follow-up LP to last year's Tension EP on Mexican Summer in May.

Peaking Lights

Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 12:30 a.m.

Moving their home base from the Bay area to Wisconsin, duo Peaking Lights (Aaron Coynes and Indra Dunis) created one of the more critically acclaimed releases of 2011 with their full-length, 936. A spacious, dub-inspired vibe serves as the backbone to their hypnotic sound, punctuated by looped synth, tapes and Dunis' spectral vocals. Peaking Lights bring a unique pop sound to the table, one dripping with mystery yet wearing a familiar scent.

Beat Box

Never fear, hip-hop heads: The 35 Denton lineup has more than enough to whet your whistle. Those who lean more toward the hard-hitting, smoke-filled aura of Southern rap can partake in Houston legend Bun B (8 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage 1) or Huntsville, Alabama, duo G-Side (12:30 a.m. Thursday, Andy's), themselves disciples of UGK. More into the underground sound? Hit up the airy jams of the young Oakland duo Main Attrakionz (11:30 p.m. Saturday, Hailey's). Detroit emcee Danny Brown (12:30 a.m. Saturday, Hailey's) took the rap world by storm last year with his buzzsaw lyrics and trademark frankness, continuing his city's vibrant history of producing seminal hip-hop artists. And some of your favorite locals will also be on stage, including red-hot up-and-comer -topic (9:30 p.m. Saturday, Hailey's). Fresh off the release of their debut EP with a full-band lineup, Sore Losers (4:15 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage 1) will show off the live show that's wowed not only Trees, but also The Sundance Film Festival, which they attended in January. Also, be on the lookout for a rare show from Damaged Good$ (10:30 p.m. Saturday, Hailey's), who've kept things a bit low-key lately. Expect something new from the 2009 DOMA hip-hop winners.

Denton Pride

This year's 35 Denton features arguably the best national lineup to date, but there's a formidable contingent of local talent as well. Check out some of these must-see Denton acts or regret it for at least a few days after:

Dim Locator: Will Kapinos will slide-guitar your ass into oblivion. (11:30 p.m. Thursday, Sweetwater)

Boxcar Bandits: Some of the best virtuosic bluegrass this side of the Pecos. (12:30 a.m. Thursday, Sweetwater)

Dust Congress: Sophisticated and intelligent banjo rock. (11:30 p.m. Sunday, Dan's Silverleaf)

RTB2: Think the bastard children of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, but there's nothing gray about them. (11:30 p.m. Saturday, Dan's Silverleaf)

Shiny Around the Edges: Many parallels to the band Low. Hypno-rock, perhaps. (10:30 p.m. Friday, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios)

The Angelus: They now belong to Dallas, but still one of the best slowcore acts to come out of Denton. (10:30 p.m. Sunday, Dan's Silverleaf)

Old Warhorse: Gruff outlaw country-rock at its finest. (11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sweetwater)

Warren Jackson Hearne and Le Leek Electrique: Fantastic singer-songwriter now armed with a big band. (10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sweetwater)

Cartright: Fist-pumping acoustic guitar that rocks harder than most electric acts. (9:30 p.m. Friday, J&J's)

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