With the 27th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner — in fact, voting is open right now at 2015musicawardspoll.dallasobserver.com — we will spend the next several weeks highlighting some of the nominees for this year’s awards. And when we say these artists are the “Best,” don’t just take our word for it: We polled 200 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.
Dallas has built itself up to become one of the better hardcore scenes in the USA. This has been accomplished despite the sprawling layout of the Metroplex by a group of hungry bands and a passionate fan base. Whether it be at a house show in Denton or Club Dada in Dallas, the hardcore scene in Dallas flourishes, and it is thanks in large part to the quality bands that the city continues to produce. This year's nominees are those who best exemplify the qualities that have helped to make Dallas hardcore so great.
From the hardcore punk stronghold of Denton comes Collick. Featuring three punks with long tenures in the DFW scene, Collick has become a mainstay at 1919 Hemphill and the Denton house show scene over the past few years. In the process the band has earned a respected place within the middle America hardcore punk scene, playing with many of the better touring acts that come to town. This past summer the band released its self-titled LP. In addition to playing shows in the area, the band has become a fixture in the Midwest.
In Memory of Man
In Memory of Man take their cues from the grunge scene of the early '90s. The band choose to use the type of grating riffs that made Alice in Chains popular rather than any d-beat or breakdown. After releasing their self-titled LP last year, the band have had a healthy schedule of playing shows around the DFW area. In September, they released a music video for their song "New Eyes." Only a couple of weeks ago, the band filmed footage for another music video at their Lola's Saloon show. The band have only expanded their reputation in 2015, and that will certainly continue into next year.
Modern Pain has come a long way in the last year. After being nominated for the 2014 DOMAs, the band was signed to the historic Boston hardcore label Bridge 9 Records. After recording their debut full-length, Peace Delusions, with respected producer Arthur Rizk in Philadelphia, the band embarked on a USA tour. On the backs of a surreal live performance and new material, Modern Pain was able to garner a larger fanbase across the nation. Peace Delusions indicated growth in musical nuance and influence. Without a doubt, 2015 was Modern Pain's best year.
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Pissed Grave are another band having a great 2015. In March they released their first album, Humans For Human Annihilation. Pissed Grave feature longtime members of the Dallas scene playing crust punk. The band's growling vocals are reminiscent of bands such as Stormcrow and Hellshock. However, the band's music takes on the more traditional frenetic pace that people have become accustomed to hearing from hardcore punk bands. With the release of Humans, Pissed Grave are poised to assert themselves as one of DFW's premier hardcore bands as opposed to one of the scene's best kept secrets.
There might have been a point when Tolar was bigger in Japan than in Dallas. The band features members of Unit 21, Wild//Tribe and a slew of other great Dallas hardcore punk bands. Tolar has been active since the mid 2000s, playing a style of hardcore similar to Finnish, metal-influenced hardcore. Despite only playing shows sporadically until the last couple of years, Tolar has long been a favorite of locals and touring bands alike. When bands like Forward from Japan have come to Dallas, they have wanted to play with Tolar. In early November, Portland crust punk legends Hellshock will finally play Texas after 10 years, and Tolar will accompany them for all of their dates.