While the music section is off gallivanting around Austin for South by Southwest (see item above), the rest of us are left to pick up the pieces. There are plenty of good national and regional acts filtering through Dallas this week on their way down to Austin, but eff those guys; I show up for the locals. In last night's case, it was off to the Cavern for Prayer for Animals, who were opening for Red Monroe; the Cold War Kids were also scheduled but had to bow out because of their lead singer's nasty case of laryngitis. Chicago's Locks played in the middle, but they're experimental freak-folk, which in my mind means, "Buy a Stella and two shots and sit your ass down in the back for a half hour," so I can't speak for the quality of their performance.
There's an epidemic going around town right now of bands who are channeling the late '60s-early '70s sounds of the Who and the Beatles and Cream and mashing it up with undying Reagan-baby love for Radiohead; Prayer for Animals and Red Monroe are among them. I think it's fantastic. Who doesn't need just a little too much reverb on the vocals? Not me!
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I may or may not have dated 50 percent of Arlington's Prayer for Animals, but don't think that colors my judgment. The guys write great melodies and have a flamboyant disregard for conventional stage behavior, trading instruments and turns at vocals with almost every song. Plus, the drummer's still in high school (he's in the 50 percent I didn't date). When you check out the band's MySpace page, be sure to download "Paved With Souls."
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On the other hand, Red Monroe likes to filter its melodies through a boatload of echoing, twangy guitars and keyboards. On vocals, Eric Steele sings even the slow ones with a sense of painful urgency, creating a tension that worked especially well on the tiny Cavern stage last night. Download "I See San Bernadino" on the MySpace. —Andrea Grimes