Another Brick in the Wall of Sound Preview

Red Monroe (Dallas): After I first saw Red Monroe in concert more than a year ago, I begged then-music editor Sarah Hepola to lemme say something--anything--about the impressive show. Her section was already filled up for the week, she said, but she had room for a short blurb (scroll to bottom). It was one of those less-than-perfect writeups, one that was optimistic about the young Dallas band's future but wary that its blatant love for Radiohead (Eric Steele's perfect imitation of Thom Yorke, the guitarists' desire to build as much feedback as possible rather than develop melody) could sink the shining ship. At a second concert weeks later, my pessimism flared up--the sextet was clearly talented, but Steele's huge pipes were the only standouts in a band that mined its inspirations until they nearly turned to dust.

I don't know if my worry resulted in some miraculous telepathy or if the band simply decided to challenge itself, but about half a year later, they sounded like a whole new group at a marvelous Club Clearview gig (a phrase I don't use too often as of late). Andrew Snow was no longer content to simply bitchslap his guitar like another Thurston Moore wannabe; the lead guitarist built melody and texture with a helluva lot more subtlety, and as a result, Steele's howl sounded a lot more like Steele and a lot less like The Bends. The group is still figuring out its '00s rock identity, but by avoiding the trappings of Brit-pop kids waiting in line for a hollow, empty chance at fame, these guys just might pull off a career they can proudly call their own. -Sam Machkovech

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