The 2014 Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase Guide [UPDATE]

It's the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it? No, we're not talking about the holidays, although those are OK too. We're talking about the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards, which kick off with a showcase this Saturday in Deep Ellum followed by the award ceremony and concert Tuesday, December 9, at the Granada Theater.

We're particularly excited about the lineup of bands we have this year. In years past the showcase mixed genres at each venue, but for this edition we've tried to pair similar artists as much as possible. To help you decide which acts you want to see (besides, you know, all of them), here's a rundown of every single one of the more than 60 bands playing the showcase this Saturday.

See also: The Dallas Observer Music Awards Ceremony Will Be Prom-Themed and Also Ridiculous

UPDATE: Here is the final schedule, following some last-minute lineup changes.

Club Dada (inside)

12:40 -- Son of Stan Jordan Richardson, literally the son of Stan, released an EP named after his mother, called Georgia, this year. His music is indie pop, with overt nods to that special time in all of our hearts, the 1980s. It's heavy with synthesizers and grand guitar riffs. Though he splits time between sunny L.A. and Dallas, the music's so good that we're not jealous at all. (Or are we?) H. Drew Blackburn

11:40 -- Ishi One of the most eccentric things you can see in Dallas is an Ishi show. I've been to one where seemingly everyone with a date and/or a blood alcohol content above 0.08 was grinding on one another. It's a grand time. The band's electro-funk-folk sound is sure to send a jolt through you and it can turn a wallflower into the most gifted dancer in the soul train line. H. Drew Blackburn

10:40 -- Sealion Formed in 2011, members Cole Denton, Hunter Moehring, Alex Poulos and Samantha Villavert have been having plenty of fun as Sealion. In the various tribes of the punk subculture, it seems that only the pop-punk kids remember to have fun. Sealion shows are a good time and you can't really argue with a good time, can you? James Khubiar

9:40 -- Panic Fronted by radio legend Josh Venable, this five-piece does a very enjoyable tribute to Morrissey's work with The Smiths and as a solo artist. Backed by an ace band, which features members of Long Sword Spectacular and Chomsky, Venable dons an oversized pompadour wig. And a serious plus: they don't cancel shows at the last second or storm off stage if someone makes a quip about them. Eric Grubbs

8:40 -- War Party Fort Worth-based War Party is the latest in a long tradition of Texas garage rock updated for the indie-rock generation. The big rock hooks often recall early Replacements material, but with enough garage stomp to make The Sonics proud. Their 2013 album Tomorrow's a Drag is filled with horn-laden anthems that embody youth rebellion through three chords, a touch of pop sensibility and a sprinkle of angst. Wanz Dover

7:40 -- Party Static Party Static have been kicking ass all year long. If this is news to you, perhaps you don't go to shows or maybe you are one of those people who refuses to pay a cover. There's no other reason to have missed them at this point. What started out as something fun and different has evolved into five musicians with very different backgrounds coalescing into something wild and great. A true party, in other words. Jeremy Hallock

6:40 -- Lily Taylor The avant-garde singer is an exceptionally intriguing artist. Solid and ethereal, her pure-crystal voice ambulates a pleasantly experimental melodic realm. Along with compelling visuals created by her husband Sean Miller, Taylor's enchanting live act conjures a thousand moods at once. Eva Raggio

Club Dada (outside)

12:20 -- Pinkish Black Pinkish Black's style is so eclectic that it is not fair to assign them to simply one genre. If you like doom metal, you will like Pinkish Black. If you like drone, you will like Pinkish Black. If you like goth metal, you will like Pinkish Black. The band has been campaigning for their latest album, Razed To The Ground, which was released in September 2013 on Century Media Records. James Khubiar

11:20 -- Cutter Alex Velte and Jared Coffey, the duo who go by the nom de guerre Cutter, specialize in blown-out electronic music with slight tinges of punk. Imagine watching an old VHS tape of Blade Runner that was recorded over with The Return of the Living Dead; Cutter would be the perfect soundtrack to this mashup of '80s dystopian sci-fi and punk-centric horror. They're at the forefront of a growing collective of forward-thinking electronic acts within Dallas. Andrew Hawkins

10:20 -- Dallas Uber Alles Want to enjoy the songs of the Dead Kennedys without debating your friends about what's punk and what isn't? Dallas Uber Alles fills that void by playing Dead Kennedys tunes note for note (and frontman Jacob Serano perfectly recreates the wit and confidence of Jello Biafra). A great band to introduce you to all sorts of avenues the Dead Kennedys went down in their time with Biafra. Eric Grubbs

9:20 -- The Phuss The Phuss are Dallas' answer to Goner Records. For people who swear by Reigning Sound, Oblivians and Ty Segall, The Phuss is your local fix for that brand of garage rock. Formed in 2010 by Joshua Fleming, Trey Alfaro and Forrest Barton, The Phuss have made a name for themselves on the backs of their high-energy performances and catchy songs. James Khubiar

8:20 -- In Memory of Man Following in the footsteps of local legends The Toadies, grunge-influenced In Memory of Man has taken up the mantle of playing alt rock in the metroplex. The band has worked to make sure their music is both authentic and ambitious (the band boasts six members to help with the cause). Their lyrics about sadness and depression should be perfect for a December night. James Khubiar

7:20 -- Bludded Head Spearheaded by guitarist and vocalist Nevada Hill, along with a shifting framework of accompanying musicians, Bludded Head uses mass and volume in the cathartic mode of Sunn 0))), but with a much more condensed (and satisfying) approach to songwriting. Albums like Reign in Bludd are made even more ominous by the disparity between the band's visuals and sonics: It's up to the listener to reconcile the two. Andrew Hawkins

6:20 -- Mothership Brothers Kyle and Kells started the band, along with drummer Judge Smith, as a project to play the brand of psychedelic, space and hard-rock genres that dominated the world in the 1970s. Since then the band has taken off like their namesake, releasing two full-length albums that have placed their name firmly in the discussion of the best metal acts in the area. James Khubiar

The Door

1:00 -- Blue, the Misfit Blue, the Misfit's passion for beat-making bloomed late, and after several self-reinventions. But in a short time, the producer/MC has become, arguably, the most innovative figure in the Dallas hip-hop community. Blue, the Misfit's debut project, Child in the Wild, brought his array of talents center stage, and his credits to date span the international music market, including K-Dot himself. Rodney Blu

12:00 -- A.Dd+ If the category "Most Likened to the Greatest Rap Duo of All Time" existed, A.Dd+ would most certainly be the reigning champions. The group has generated some of Dallas' most consistent and true-to-form rap music. Rodney Blu

11:00 -- Buffalo Black Buffalo Black has fought hard. Hell, he's still fighting. The Oak Cliff-raised MC, born Jamil Kelley, released his first full-length project in 2010, but has only recently begun to reap the benefits of his tireless dedication. Among this year's accomplishments are the debuts of the "Warpaint" and "Bad Seed" music videos, a spot on the soundtrack of Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of Jesus and the celebrated release of REDPILLwondrland. Rodney Blu

10:00 -- Tunk Blue-collar Midlothian rapper, Tunk, is always at work. In preparation for the 2015 release of No Defeatl 2, Tunk created and committed to Beast Mode Tuesday, a weekly installment of newly-released music from the emcee. Every week for a year now, Tunk has contributed quality music to his audience and the Dallas rap community, promising each time that, as dope as each release is, his best is yet to be heard. RB

9:00 -- Sam Lao Sam Lao didn't explode onto the Dallas rap scene; that would assume that there was some sort of physical or at least visible presence that required detonation. Lao materialized out of thin air in an ethereal cloud of deep purple incense smoke and sparkling cosmic dust, bringing forth an equally enigmatic arsenal of lyrical firepower. RB

8:00 -- Grey Matter Grey Matter have been mixing old- and new-school hip hop masterfully for several years in DFW. DJ Buddha Fingers makes a bold impression with his focus on tempo, inspired arrangement of samples, and a turntable scratching ability that is mind-blowing. With Kilo Artefacto's thought-provoking rhymes, Grey Matter's performances are both intense and accessible. JH

7:00 -- Picnictyme Picnictyme is number of things in the music world, he wears a lot of hats.Perhaps most notably, he's produced for A.Dd+ and is a member of Erykah Badu's all electric band, The Cannabinoids. Being in an eight piece electronic band that backs Badu is a helluva accomplishment. Currently, he's a part of the party starting electronic duo, Booty Fade. HDB

6:00 -- CashMir Cashmir, the former Brain Gang emcee hailing from North Dallas, has something to prove. The opening lines of his newly released mixtape, Prodigy - hell, even the tape's title itself, shows a young man with a hunger for a glory once tasted in the eight-member rap collective he is best remembered alongside. The chip he shoulders through his latest release is not without good cause, as Cashmir primes himself as a formidable candidate for Best New Act. RB

Green Room

12:20 -- Mayta We're a few years away from people moving on from just nominating Mayta for best Latin/Tejano act, and just accepting the fact that Victor Ramich and crew should be in the running for best band in north Texas. The bands obviously Latin influenced on a driving indie rock is addicting, and honestly it's the sound not of a single genre, or region, it's the sound of the world. And the world is Mayta's oyster. Jaime-Paul Falcon

11:20 -- Mariachi Quetzal One of Denton's longest running acts, Mariachi Quetzal draws performers from all walks of life, students, bartenders, random people off the street, etc. And, really, that sort of makes sense when you think of a Mariachi group coming from Denton. Really, would you want a group from the college towns, of college towns to beat all traditional? Nah, you want the chaos that the group brings to it's line-up, it makes you feel more Denton, more like your at home. JPF

10:20 -- Hares on the Mountain For the casual local music fan, it might be easy to dismiss Denton's Hares on the Mountain as "another Denton band with Denton musicians from other Denton bands." But that would be a stupid mistake. Yes, Ryan Thomas Becker, Petra Kelly, Tony Ferraro and George Neal are oft-cited names when it comes to sitting in with musical projects of all stripes, but that's because they're killer musicians, singers and songwriters. KD

9:20 -- The Roomsounds With roots firmly tied to Southern blues rock, Dallas' the Roomsounds are all at once an ode to the past and the south itself. Upbeat guitar riffs and lyrics full of nonchalant melancholy power the band. Their self-titled debut album from 2012 is full of the band's signature catchy hooks and charismatic thunder, which are even more of a delight to witness in the flesh. HDB

8:20 -- Bad Mountain At times, roots act Bad Mountain is a one-man band powered by Jesse Anderson, a former member of the United States Air Force. Other times, a Bad Mountain stage can look like a rowdy front-porch pickin' session. With distorted vocals and some seriously swinging ragtime piano, there's often a true old-timey sense of storytelling that takes center stage. KD

7:20 -- Supersonic Lips SuperSonic Lips have made being versatile and the eclectic their creative endeavor. They can be described as dance, Latin, and guitar rock all rolled into one package. The result is an act that a layman can enjoy listening to and a music expert will love listening and studying. JK

Off the Record

12:20 -- Sober DJ Sober has made a name for himself over the years in Dallas. His resume includes spinning alongside legends like Questlove and Pete Rock, DJing dance parties at clubs like The Party and Big Bang, and being the official DJ for A.Dd+. He's also one half of the electronic act, Booty Fade. HDB

11:20 -- TX Connect Gavin Guthrie aka TX Connect has been out in Dallas making some of the most exciting sounds ever since he first came to fame as a member of the multi-DOMA nominee duo Florene. Now on his own Guthrie is hosting some of the most eclectic DJ nights in the area and continually putting out mixes that are almost addictive when it comes to listening to. He is also the area's most acclaimed Bill Hicks cos-player. JPF

10:20 -- Wanz Dover North Texas music vet Wanz Dover continues to excite audiences with his encyclopedic knowledge of music. From soul, to punk, to post-core, to hip hop, no matter what you need from a DJ Wanz Dover can give it to you. Really, if only every musician/DJ was as knowledgeable, and well versed as Wanz, we'd have to shut down this whole award system, and institute a Thunderdome system. JPF

9:20 -- Inzo Inzo is a part of the Dallas music community's DNA. He has worked for all of the city's premier pop stations as well as being a highly regarded DJ by the Dallas Observer. Inzo recognizes that the DJ is the party at the club. To this point, Inzo has made it his craft to make sure the parties he DJs are the best. JK

8:20 -- Trillwave Trillwave has been pushing bass frequencies to rattle the brain and move the feet since September 2012. Resident DJ's Dubble A and Trailer Swift hold down the support slots every week, but have hosted a wide variety of the regions top bass producers during their tenure. They stated out at Boiler Room, but found their feet when they moved to Beauty Bar on wednesdays and have been growing their audience ever since. Trillwave has become the defacto home for bass music of all genres and a much loved mainstay in the Dallas DJ scene. WD

Prophet Bar

1:20 -- Shelly Carroll Shelly Carroll has been a constant in the jazz category for almost two decades going back to his landmark releases on the now deceased Dallas label leaning House Jazz. With a resume that name checks Duke Ellington Orchestra, Roger Waters, Tony Bennett and One O'clock lab band he has had had an outstanding run and a much sought after session man. Lucky for Dallas he can still often be spotted at Amsterdam Bar for their monday night jazz fairly often amongst other local appearances. WD

12:20 -- Street Arabs The Street Arabs are nothing if not snotty. Emulating the sneering persona of their heroes, thet play a style of garage punk that conveys an evolved understanding of music: The Street Arabs' vocals incorporate a great deal of range with the band going so far as to declare that they have a soul influence. To this point, the band does well to make sure that the audience is treated to something different when they catch the Street Arabs. JK

11:20 -- Dovetail This self-described "American roots rock meets British invasion" band couldn't have been more accurate in choosing their tagline. Fans of both genres will find bits and pieces of their favorite Beatles and Queen tracks blended with something a little more modern, and it's almost impossible to deny that frontman Philip Creamer has a very Freddie Mercury-esque quality to his voice. Amy McCarthy

10:20 -- Nervous Curtains Former Paper Chase member Sean Kirkpatrick's Nervous Curtains continues the tradition of moody Dallas rock that's screaming to be featured on a HBO series. Atmospheric, challenging, and catchy qs hell, Nervous Curtain takes the listener prisoner, and doesn't let them go till the last cord dies in a sea of cheers. JPF

9:20 -- Whiskey Folk Ramblers Whether or not this group's being named Whiskey Folk or Whiskey Folk Ramblers is inconsequential, its brand of eclectic folk-rock has been as fine of an example of the genre as we have in Dallas for years now. Indeed, they can bust out some globally flavored tunes, or they can offer up some classic, fist-pumping roots rock. KD

8:20 -- Lance Lopez The Lance Lopez Band play balls-out anthemic blues. This is music to shout along to, a fusion of blues rock and hard rock. The songs that rock less are not slow so much as surprisingly funky. But Lopez's ferocious guitar is what really turns heads. He has been a professional musician since he was 14-years-old and it really shows. JH

7:20 -- Steve James Trio The Stevie James Trio keeps the blues as viscerally moving as it should be. No, there's not a bunch of that bass (word to that annoying song by that person who is on the radio) or knob twiddling going on, but hell, this has soul. Long and smoldering hot solos will be had. They are undoubtedly gonna happen and that's the way we like it. HDB

6:20 -- Miss Marcy Miss Marcy & Her Texas SugarDaddy's play a brand of smarmy blues that could only come from Texas. Armed with a wit that would make most blush, Miss Marcy's music riffs on the woes of relationships in her own sarcastic way. Style is everything and Miss Marcy's style has helped to make them one of the best blues acts going in Dallas. JK


12:40 -- George Quartz Quartz is a persona; his shows are movies he stars in or a program he hosts. In May, Quartz and artist/curator Art Pena paired for a performance art triptych. Among many other things, these shows had themes of pop-culture and cultism with blood-bathed women in bikinis on display; not bad for a five dollar cover. JH

11:40 -- Yells at Eels Even if you're not a huge fan of avant garde or jazz, Yells at Eels are the closest thing to original that local music gets. The band consists of a father and sons - with Dennis Gonzales on trumpet, Aaron on bass and Stefan on drums. At their shows, the proficient trio creates layers of sonic funk which equates to a stew of instrumental mindfuck that's sure to keep you wondering for years after the fact. Pablo Arauz

10:40 -- HEX CULT HEX CULT is a case study for the argument that punk is supposed to be abstract, abrasive and different. HEX CULT is not your ordinary punk band. They incorporate a heavy industrial influence and use it to their advantage as they take the fight to the audience during performances. Tesh Cwalino puts his experience to good use during the band's shows, launching himself into the crowd more often than not. JK

9:40 -- Blackstone Rangers Formed back in 2011, this ethereal dream pop trio drenches their music in distortion and effects. Blackstone Rangers released an EP called Descendent back in February, that features a lovely sampling of their ability to bring together elements of shoegaze and pop. Catch them for a show full of calming vocals and sound that could swell up a room. HDB

8:40 -- Def Rain Def Rain is adept at commingling the ethereal and grimy, the aural equivalent of dragging a halo through a field of mud. And the band's adventurousness is what makes Def Rain such an engaging listen. The group paints a picture with every tone in the color spectrum, creating a prismatic and vibrant sonic landscape. AH

7:40 -- Unconscious Collective Don't let Unconscious Collective's striking visual style trick you into thinking that their rich, ritualistic aesthetic comes at the cost of musical substance. Simply put, there's no better display of awe-inspiring musicianship and sophisticated songwriting in Dallas than Unconscious Collective. Take Miles Davis' '70s-era output, move the setting from the inner city of New York to the remote jungle of Conrad's Heart of Darkness and that might begin to describe the band's twisted yet organic take on experimental jazz-rock. AH

6:40 -- Gorehounds The Gorehounds do a great impression of The Cramps, and that is a wonderful thing. Howard Kelley has the leather pants, sunglasses and swagger we came to expect from Lux Interior while JT Dayton performs in drag as Poison Ivy. A freak show with bikini dancers onstage, The Gorehounds sound great, proving that imitation is the highest form of flattery. JH

Three Links

12:00 -- Taylor McFerrin (touring) Don't worry, be happy, because your dad's excellent music career, and brief pop success allows you to do whatever you want in music. Ok, that might be too harsh, but it would be unfair to Taylor McFerrin to not at least acknowledge his father Bobby. That being said, Taylor has done all he can to carve his own niche in the music world, exploring an itch for electronicica that's led the son of the one hit wonder to high praise for his eclectic ear, and stylish approach to the music game. JPF

11:00 -- DVS (touring) Before you dismiss DVS as just another producer realize that he's played various instruments while on tour with DJ Logic, Devotchka, The Boulder Philharmonic. While also touring with the likes of Lotus, Beats Antique, Emancipator, and Big Gigantic. In other words, yeah the dude makes beats, but unlike dudes behind a comp mixing, and matching, the dude has some real chops, and he works that into his work. JPF

10:00 -- Dark Rooms Dark Rooms is fronted by Daniel Hart, a violinist and vocalist. They're an indie rock outfit that incorporates that violin, electro sounds to create a sensual noir sound. Their self-titled album from last year find itself being as overtly mysterious at times and groovy the next. What's consistent is the production that's generally warm and full. HDB

9:00 -- Booty Fade The name pays homage to one of the most ugly hair cuts of all time, what is pretty much the rat tail for black folks. But it represents Dallas. The band's sound pays a little bit of homage to Dallas boogie as well. But, only in spirit and maybe with a thin veneer. Booty Fade brings fresh cuts that wrap hip-hop, house, electronica, and disco all into one. HDB

8:00 -- Sudie Sudie took her vocal training at Southern Methodist University and created a sound that is an amalgam of jazz, electro-pop, funk, jazz and more. Here's the part where I'm by trade supposed to compare this to other solo female musicians, but neither you nor I will get off that easy. What you have here is a unique artist with a powerful voice and production that's fascinatingly embellished in all the right places. HDB

7:00 -- Fresh 45's Dallas has no shortage of DJ nights, but Fresh 45s is one of the best. Every week, badass DJs like Spinderella (yes, THAT Spinderella) and Jay Clipp come together to dig their favorite 45s out of the old crates and play an evening of their own Motown, funk, and soul favorites. What's not to love about that? AM


12:40 -- Goodnight Ned For the past few years, Goodnight Ned has been growing up before our very eyes. The band's first soft and boppy acoustic record sounds nothing like this year's harder, psych-ier, more-rock influenced release, and critics almost unanimously agree that it is the band's best. Goodnight Ned is one of those groups that we'll be saying "we knew them way back when" in about five years. AM

11:40 -- Quaker City Night Hawks Dear rock is dead prophets, Quaker City Nighthawks are a fantastic rock band brimming with masculine energy, lathered in the finest barbecue sauce and chased with cheap whiskey straight out the bottle. Go to one of their shows and three songs in, somehow you're wearing bell bottoms, Chelsea boots and an extra shmedium vintage Black Sabbath world tour t­shirt. HDB

10:40 -- Madison King One can make the sound argument that there wasn't a more appropriately titled local album in 2014 than Madison King's Onward and Upward. Though we loved her 2012 debut, Darlin', Here's to You, this particular set of tunes boasts a more pointed urgency and catchiness while retaining the grit and charisma that King showed us the first time around. KD

9:40 -- Dezi 5 Solo artist Dezi 5, of the massively popular cover band Emerald City, is a master of high entertainment. With innate magnetism and uncanny versatility ranging from original pop to classic R&B with every bit of funk in between, Dezi 5 delivers arena-worthy performances no matter the size of the crowd, making him Dallas' greatest undiscovered legend. ER

8:40 -- J. Charles and the Trainrobbers We still think "Mercy Killing" from J. Charles and the Trainrobbers 2012 album Upon Leaving is as gut-wrenching of a song as one will be able to find from the past few years of North Texas Country songs. Of course, it's not as though the J. Charles Saenz-fronted outfit has been twiddling their drumsticks for the past couple of years. Few acts in our area can share the stage with a diverse array of bands such as Deer Tick and JD McPherson as as capably as they can. KD

7:40 -- Ryan Thomas Becker Jack of all trades, master of most RTB(no 2) is on of North Texas most versatile musicians, but it's his work as a guitarist for RTB2, etc. that sees him getting the most acclaim. The Denton mainstay can be found all throughout the are shredding away on his guitar for his own projects, his friends projects, and random super groups that are formed to cover The Band, and bands of their ilk. He also gives great hugs. JPF

6:40 -- Roomsounds With roots firmly tied to Southern blues rock, Dallas' the Roomsounds are all at once an ode to the past and the south itself. Upbeat guitar riffs and lyrics full of nonchalant melancholy power the band. Their self-titled debut album from 2012 is full of the band's signature catchy hooks and charismatic thunder, which are even more of a delight to witness in the flesh. HDB

5:40 -- Rich Girls Daryl Hall and John Oates and are considered Yacht Rock these days. But, that doesn't make it bad. Far from it as Hall & Oates is a great duo. Thankfully, Cheyenne, Justin, Tony, Kevin, Karen, John have no care in the world what the "cool kids" who read Vice may think. They've thrown a six piece together that captures all that's genuinely delightful about Hall & Oates. This cover band makes anybody's dream come true. HDB


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