All of which means: Yes, South FM has some kind of relationship with MCA. Maybe just a development deal, maybe a full-blown contract. And also: We really need to watch our mouths if we want anyone to help us out on even a semi-regular basis. (Like that'll happen.) Whatever the story with MCA is, South FM deserves a chance to step up to the national stage. We underestimated the band (singer Paco Estrada, guitarists G.I. Sanders and Chad Abbott, bassist Doug McGrath and drummer Spencer Estep) when we first heard it, back when two South FM songs appeared on one of the Buzz-Oven compilations. We pretty much dismissed them out of hand (as we tend to do), which led to those sarcastic stickers--"South FM: Zac Crain's Favorite Band"--that remain on display on the walls of some of your finer rest rooms in Deep Ellum, among various other flat surfaces.
Those stickers earned our respect if nothing else, because most bands just sit and take our verbal abuse, responding with a poorly spelled e-mail at best. ("You're a shitty write," and so on.) But when we listened to the group's debut--Drama Kids, released last year on Brando Records--we had to admit they were much better than we gave them credit for. And we did. But, hey, it bears repeating: Estrada can do more with a microphone than just scream into it (though he's pretty good at that, too), and the band makes more music than noise (though they're quite capable in that respect, if that's what you're after). We take back whatever we said before, unless you thought it was funny, in which case, just replace "South FM" with, say, "Nipps Brown" or whomever, and everything should be square.
We can't say we pop Drama Kids into the stereo all the time (or even very often), but listening to it again just now, well, if the group has indeed joined the MCA roster, it earned it. There are a few tunes--"My Sanity" and "Dear Claudia," most notably--that you can't really deny, the kind of songs that are made for rock radio. So if not MCA, then someone. Press the band for more information when it plays January 25 at the Galaxy Club.
The Buzz-Oven alumni newsletter continues: Red Animal War (Volume 1) plays Galaxy Club on January 24 and Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on February 1, gearing up for the month-long Too Young To Die Tour that kicks off in March, featuring a ton of RAW's fellow Deep Elm Records bands, with all proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (Check www.deepelm.com/tytd/tytd.html for more information.) The group also has a split 7-inch single on the way in February with Berlin's Losone, and possibly a new record in the works for later this fall, following last year's fantastic The Black Phantom Crusades. The Rocket Summer (Volume 7) just wrapped up its first video (for "Skies So Blue," which is in rotation on KDGE-FM), directed by Darren Doane, who's done the same for the likes of Jimmy Eat World, blink-182 and The Promise Ring. The band headlines the latest pair of Buzz-Oven all-ages gigs, February 14 at The Door and February 22 at the Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth, with Shiloh and Dhandi also on the bill. And Chomsky (Volume 2) is in Miami with producer Greg Katz (Steely Dan), recording its debut for Aezra Records. The disc will mix new songs with an assortment of cuts from their first two discs, A Few Possible Selections for the Soundtrack of Your Life and Onward Quirky Soldiers. Chomsky previewed some of its new material at the Barley House on January 12 before hitting the road. What we heard, we liked. Maybe you will, too.