Operation Every Band

AV the Great – “You Should Too”

 

Pairs well with…Talib Kweli, Living Legends, Gang Starr

 

Chris “AV” Avant doesn’t sleep.  Hip hop artist and promoter by day, K104 radio host by night, the dude has a heavy schedule (and probably another day job squeezed in there somewhere).  In sleep-deprived moments, perhaps, is where AV the Great conjures his blossoming voice.  The messages in his music reflect a pensive mind.  The beautiful world, the unforgiving world.  This is the place AV calls home.  Through each verse, AV invites us in as he attempts to sort out the tensions, hopes and complexities of his local and global environment.

Chris “AV” Avant doesn’t whisper.  AV’s “Live from the Struggle” reminds me of a young lion testing out his roar.  Tracks like “Texas” and “9th Grade” are examples of a lyricist testing his range, announcing that listeners ought to acknowledge this voice.  If “Struggle” was an announcement of being here, and being heard, “Poetry” manifests an understanding that a poignant verse does not necessarily gain its power from the volume at which it is uttered.  Produced by Denton artist and beats craftsman, Juicy the Emissary, “Poetry” generates questions and criticisms with elusive responses.  In “Poetry” AV flows across beats previously released on The Emissary’s “Cultural Refugee” and leaves no topic unturned.  AV reminds listeners that the traditional instutions of American power are in no small way encroaching on the progress achieved by previous generations of civil rights leaders.  Whereas Top 40 rap might occasionally allude to generic social problems, AV calls out specific problems, certain perpetrating individuals and larger systems.  The musical and lyrical peak of “Poetry” is “The Conversation,” which involves a call-and-response dialogue between AV and guest A.D. over a melding of two Juc beats.  It’s an exciting track that features stimulating, raw subject matter awakened by the back and forth of two voices.  ”What’chu think about probation…”  For those of you who get squeemish about balancing your checkbook, the running bill is $12,000.

Grab a drink and get ready to learn about a different side of Denton from one of Denton’s own.  AV the Great performs real, no-holds-barred hip hop at 35 Denton, 10:30 PM at Andy’s on the Square, with guests.

Juve – “Arctic”

 

Pairs well with…Jonti, Flosstradamus, Thom Yorke

 

The mysterious beat summoner from Denton, Juve understands that just becasue someone owns and can operate a synthesizer, doesn’t mean one must publish music with the synthesizer (or, god forbid, perform it live).  No, Juve music is rich, and perhaps the offspring of nightmares and moonlit rainforest excursions.  Dwelling Sound, I say.  Juve’s soundcloud includes descriptive captions such as “Found Sound” and “Future Trap” and reasonable people ought to accept those characterizations.

Juve offers a smattering of sounds online, a living, evolving experiment of the artist’s own reach and capabilities.  The top cuts pivot on driving, sustained bass lines and build melodies from vocal and instrumental samples, sound blips, and perhaps a sound machine.  From a distance, Juve music will sound like trunk-blasting hip hop, and up close, it will feel like a hallucination from a damp, 19th century textile factory.  From the appropriate distance, it will feel and sound like an innovative, promising electronic artist that toys with extremes without overkill, thereby holding the listener’s attention and creating a funky, near-danceable vibe.

35 Denton - Electronic Artists:

With 35 Denton in full swing today, hip hop and EDM highlights the main stages and night shows for what should be an epic Saturday in North Texas.  Lucas set up a couple of recommendations for today from some exciting, local artists.  Highlights:

Juve (8) - No, Juve music is rich, and perhaps the offspring of nightmares and moonlit rainforest excursions.  Dwelling Sound, I say.  Juve’s soundcloud includes descriptive captions such as “Found Sound” and “Future Trap” and reasonable people ought to accept those characterizations.
AV The Great (8) - The messages in his music reflect a pensive mind.  The beautiful world, the unforgiving world.  This is the place AV calls home.  Through each verse, AV invites us in as he attempts to sort out the tensions, hopes and complexities of his local and global environment.

35 Denton - Electronic Artists:


With 35 Denton in full swing today, hip hop and EDM highlights the main stages and night shows for what should be an epic Saturday in North Texas.  Lucas set up a couple of recommendations for today from some exciting, local artists.  Highlights:


Juve (8) - No, Juve music is rich, and perhaps the offspring of nightmares and moonlit rainforest excursions.  Dwelling Sound, I say.  Juve’s soundcloud includes descriptive captions such as “Found Sound” and “Future Trap” and reasonable people ought to accept those characterizations.

AV The Great (8) - The messages in his music reflect a pensive mind.  The beautiful world, the unforgiving world.  This is the place AV calls home.  Through each verse, AV invites us in as he attempts to sort out the tensions, hopes and complexities of his local and global environment.

The Cannabinoids feat. Sarah Jaffe – “Glorified High” (remix)

 

Pairs Well With…Erykah Badu, Bat For Lashes, Solange

 

A few years back, I was able to catch The Cannabinoids, a hip hop/EDM cooperative that originally formed around Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah records, headlining a night of SXSW.  Besides a grueling delay for the Auditorium Shores headliner (Badu did eventually show up to perform two or three tracks towards the end of the set), the experimental, electronic mix of The Cannabinoids where traditional R&B sounds would normally be not only matched Badu’s original productions, but often times exceed them.  This collaborative spirit will feature the songs and vocals of local breakout, Sarah Jaffe.  Jaffe’s latest record, 2012’s The Body Wins, has a pointed electronic direction, so this is the perfect time to explore these songs way beyond the gentle folk introduction Denton had with Jaffe a half-decade ago.  While I’m sure Jaffe and The Cannabinoids have been collaborating on tracks in preparation for their Main Stage appearance next Saturday, the DJ collaborative focuses on improvising on stage, aka “live remixing”.  All of these elements should inform a sure-to-be 35 Denton highlight, so be sure to catch this unique collaboration before Solange’s headlining Saturday night set.

Fab Deuce – “Put It On” (Pudge)

 

Pairs Well With…People Under The Stairs, Jurassic 5, Rec League Records

 

Fab Deuce.  They’re the fun dudes who live down the street and have your back in a moment’s notice.  You can vibe with them around a bonfire, spit free styles over Bud Lights, or hit up the batting cage.  And if you listen closely, you might hear the sweet echo of someone burping to the beat or the sweet quacklings of feathered friends.  If you don’t get the inside jokes, it’s all good because Fab Deuce is here to share the swag.  Lord knows they have too much of it already.  Fab Deuce has spilled swag all over Denton and DFW, and numerous spots across the West.

Fab Deuce has evolved over time but its leader remains a constant.  Ringleader and frontman “Pudge” Brewer of Denton sets the tone: hip hop that begets head-nodding and break dancing, upbeat themes and inclusive, y’all gather ‘round hooks.  He’s a tireless microphone hustler, tending to the stage and working up those defined kick and snare laden beats in his home studio.  On Saturday at 35 Denton (Andy’s  on the Square @ 9:30pm), he will appear with the current configuration of the group, which will include hip hop local Ernie McCrackin (Junk Food and Dumb & Dumber with Pudge) and teammates Matt P and Juicy the Emissary.  There may be others, Deuce Crew original Blaine and cameo specialist Wild Bill, perhaps, but we’ll just have to wait to see who responds to the rallying quacks.  You can expect energetic, well-delivered flows over thumpy, block-rockin early-90s influenced hip hop tracks (production by Pudge and Juicy the Emissary).

Some years back, I was home for the holidays and found myself at Andy’s on the Square, where, coincidentally, Fab Deuce is playing for 35.  About a half hour into one of the acts, a mob of folks appeared at the front and eventually packed the house for what was one of Fab Deuce’s first public performances.  There were nodding heads, hands waving in unison, bouncing kick drums and lots of interaction between the emcees and the crowd.  It was about as joyful and fun a hip hop show as you can get.  A typical Fab Deuce show, it turns out.  Not in Brooklyn or Chicago.  It happened in Denton, where Fab Deuce and associated acts have carved out a comfortable nest where hip hop heads can flock.

Telegraph Canyon – “Shake Your Fist” (live)

 

Pairs Well With…Freelance Whales, Ra Ra Riot, Dawes

 

If you speak to anyone who follows both the national folk rock scene and local DFW musicians, they’ll most likely share their surprise that Telegraph Canyon hasn’t broken out with a larger audience yet.  That could have something to do with the long break since their last LP The Tide and The Current, a record that deservedly gained a ton of local praise and crowned Telegraph Canyon as 2009’s DFW musical ambassadors of the time.  Four years later, Telegraph is still killing it live (last year’s opening set for Astronautalis at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio was easily the best I’ve seen the band play), so their 35 Denton should appropriately push the band forward as festival highlight in 2013.  Keep your fingers crossed for a generous helping of newer tracks – I can only imagine the band’s years on the road have helped to push their sound even further ahead.

2011 Review: a folk rock band from Fort Worth, TX with an energetic and big sound.  I’ve been lucky enough to catch Telegraph a few times in the past year as they have risen in local popularity on the back of their excellent 2009 release The Tide and The Current.  Their sound is based in folk music, but their sound is much more than that.  They incorporate a great mix of instrumentation, both electric and acoustic, to create a sound that is reminiscent of an Americana version of Arcade Fire.  When they turn on the heat and all the instruments are blaring in unison, the energy created both live and on record is completely infectious while still remaining quite honest and true to their roots.  Everything they do works, moving from soft acoustic ambience to bombastic pop.  Telegraph Canyon are far from traditionalists, willing to take their music into some pretty unique directions constantly.  The band will hopefully drop some new material as they recently have been in the studio working on their 3rd LP expected this year.

Yeahdef – “Change My Mind”

 

Pairs Well With…Diplo, Amon Tobin, 90s House

 

When I’m in the booth, I’m aiming to remind people of something they forgot they loved, while still trying to force that part of their brain that moves their ass around a bit.  

     - Yeahdef, two days ago.


If there’s a good rap, rock or pop track that you enjoyed in the 80s, 90s or 2000s, chances are Yeahdef has spun, unfurled and rewoven it to firecracker form.  Yeahdef (aka Joey Liechty) is a mainstay in the DFW club and electronic scene and he has achieved his present status by serving as a conduit to good times.  His resume includes a Dallas Observer Award and numerous nominations, a handful of residencies in Denton (Hailey’s 90s, Rubber Gloves, Mable’s to name a few), to gamer pied piper (a videogame/DJ event called Barcraft), to expert hip hop DJ (too many sets to list).

There are whispers that Yeahdef’s Saturday Main Stage 1 performance will be a multi-sensory (sensual?) experience.  Literally—if hearing and feeling the various beats rumbling across the Downtown Square isn’t enough, Yeahdef will incorporate some mind-boggling video work of Lars Larsen, local video producer and founder of LZX Industries.  Yeahdef is willing to unleash any number of electronic and bass-related subgenres on a crowd, and Saturday ought to be no different.  Expect nothing more than a Thanksgiving spread of bass-line-filled house and dubstep, synth sizzlers, perhaps a throwback tune of equal parts singalong and grind-with-partner, reconfigured club bangers, and likely some varieties of heavy trap and hip hop.  I won’t be surprised if film scores, recognizable sit-com tunes and Beethoven’s 7th worm their way in.

35 Denton…Thursday!  Music Starts Tonight:

In about an hour, the OEB crew will be heading a few minutes up the road to check out the first day of 35 Denton and the beginning of our personal concert marathon.  On the docket tonight is a couple local artists (Isaac Hoskins, Spooky Folk) and some bands stopping in Denton on their way to SXSW (Jamaican Queens, Sinkane, BRAINSTORM).  All that aside, I have the last set of 35 Denton artists we’d like to highlight:

The Cannabinoids feat. Sarah Jaffe (10) - This collaborative spirit will feature the songs and vocals of local breakout, Sarah Jaffe.  Jaffe’s latest record, 2012’s The Body Wins, has a pointed electronic direction, so this is the perfect time to explore these songs way beyond the gentle folk introduction Denton had with Jaffe a half-decade ago.  While I’m sure Jaffe and The Cannabinoids have been collaborating on tracks in preparation for their Main Stage appearance next Saturday, the DJ collaborative focuses on improvising on stage, aka “live remixing”.
Fab Deuce (9) - If you don’t get the inside jokes, it’s all good because Fab Deuce is here to share the swag.  Lord knows they have too much of it already.  Fab Deuce has spilled swag all over Denton and DFW, and numerous spots across the West.
Telegraph Canyon (9) - That could have something to do with the long break since their last LP The Tide and The Current, a record that deservedly gained a ton of local praise and crowned Telegraph Canyon as 2009’s DFW musical ambassadors of the time.  Four years later, Telegraph is still killing it live (last year’s opening set for Astronautalis at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio was easily the best I’ve seen the band play), so their 35 Denton should appropriately push the band forward as festival highlight in 2013. 
Yeahdef (9) - Expect nothing more than a Thanksgiving spread of bass-line-filled house and dubstep, synth sizzlers, perhaps a throwback tune of equal parts singalong and grind-with-partner, reconfigured club bangers, and likely some varieties of heavy trap and hip hop.  I won’t be surprised if film scores, recognizable sit-com tunes and Beethoven’s 7th worm their way in.
True Widow (6) – Dallas breakouts True Widow return to 35 Denton this year as the band continues their move towards atmospheric post rock.  Sure, there are punk and alternative rock elements that carry a good deal of the drive of True Widow’s catalog, but it is the dynamic drones that really push this music forward, like an earthquake at a funeral.
Whiskey Folk Ramblers (5) – The other folk ‘ramblers’ on the 35 Denton roster, Whiskey Folk Ramblers take much of the influence from the school of Ennio Morricone, applying Spaghetti Western melodies to an Americana/alt country blend.  The Fort Worth outfit has really honed their sound over the years, which speaks well for their upcoming 2013 release to follow up 2010’s And There Are Devils.

35 Denton…Thursday!  Music Starts Tonight:


In about an hour, the OEB crew will be heading a few minutes up the road to check out the first day of 35 Denton and the beginning of our personal concert marathon.  On the docket tonight is a couple local artists (Isaac Hoskins, Spooky Folk) and some bands stopping in Denton on their way to SXSW (Jamaican Queens, Sinkane, BRAINSTORM).  All that aside, I have the last set of 35 Denton artists we’d like to highlight:


The Cannabinoids feat. Sarah Jaffe (10) - This collaborative spirit will feature the songs and vocals of local breakout, Sarah Jaffe.  Jaffe’s latest record, 2012’s The Body Wins, has a pointed electronic direction, so this is the perfect time to explore these songs way beyond the gentle folk introduction Denton had with Jaffe a half-decade ago.  While I’m sure Jaffe and The Cannabinoids have been collaborating on tracks in preparation for their Main Stage appearance next Saturday, the DJ collaborative focuses on improvising on stage, aka “live remixing”.

Fab Deuce (9) - If you don’t get the inside jokes, it’s all good because Fab Deuce is here to share the swag.  Lord knows they have too much of it already.  Fab Deuce has spilled swag all over Denton and DFW, and numerous spots across the West.

Telegraph Canyon (9) - That could have something to do with the long break since their last LP The Tide and The Current, a record that deservedly gained a ton of local praise and crowned Telegraph Canyon as 2009’s DFW musical ambassadors of the time.  Four years later, Telegraph is still killing it live (last year’s opening set for Astronautalis at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio was easily the best I’ve seen the band play), so their 35 Denton should appropriately push the band forward as festival highlight in 2013. 

Yeahdef (9) - Expect nothing more than a Thanksgiving spread of bass-line-filled house and dubstep, synth sizzlers, perhaps a throwback tune of equal parts singalong and grind-with-partner, reconfigured club bangers, and likely some varieties of heavy trap and hip hop.  I won’t be surprised if film scores, recognizable sit-com tunes and Beethoven’s 7th worm their way in.

True Widow (6) – Dallas breakouts True Widow return to 35 Denton this year as the band continues their move towards atmospheric post rock.  Sure, there are punk and alternative rock elements that carry a good deal of the drive of True Widow’s catalog, but it is the dynamic drones that really push this music forward, like an earthquake at a funeral.

Whiskey Folk Ramblers (5) – The other folk ‘ramblers’ on the 35 Denton roster, Whiskey Folk Ramblers take much of the influence from the school of Ennio Morricone, applying Spaghetti Western melodies to an Americana/alt country blend.  The Fort Worth outfit has really honed their sound over the years, which speaks well for their upcoming 2013 release to follow up 2010’s And There Are Devils.

Astronautalis – “Contrails (feat. Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara)”

 

Pairs Well With…Sims, P.O.S, Tom Waits

 

Astronautalis has called a few cities around the country home over the years and most recently he has settled in the indie hip hop rich Minnesota. Denton considers Astronautalis a local artist from his years in Dallas and each show in the area feels like a special homecoming show. It’s great that 35 Denton got Astronautalis on the bill this year. If you haven’t caught a live show from Astronautalis make sure you’re out at the main stage two Saturday at three.

2011 Review: Astronautalis is one of the most intense performers in indie hip hop. Being in DFW, I was able to catch him at the Homegrown Festival in Dallas prior to the release of “This is Our Science,” and again at his sold out set at the Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio after fans had a chance to get familiar with the record. While both shows were very different each ranked among the best I caught in 2011. The Homegrown show was in the late afternoon in May and he was playing primarily unreleased material at the time and the crowd listened quietly, enjoying the new tracks. The Rubber Gloves show in October was the polar opposite atmosphere; a small crowded room filled with the electricity of devoted fans singing along to the songs from “This is Our Science.” Astronautalis continues to grow as a musician and his transition from rapping over laptop beats to being able to perform with a live band has added depth and organic musicality to his performances. Regardless of the bill he’s on at SXSW and the listener’s familiarity with Astronautalis, he will steal the set with his polished performance style and a stage show he’s perfected to a science.

Doug Burr – “High Blood and Long Evening Dresses” (live)


Pairs Well With…Joe Pug, The Barr Brothers, Ryan Adams


If I’m doing my math right, Doug Burr has been a yearly performer at 35 Denton since the inception of the mini-conference, then known as NX35.  For my money, Burr is the strongest songwriter to come out of Denton since the boys from Midlake broke out, layering his songs with grace, honesty and spirituality.  His performances are often mesmerizing, hushing the crowd with his emotional vocal tones only armed with minimal acoustic instrumentation.  It’s been a few years since the release of Burr’s excellent LP O Ye Devastator, so hopefully he has some new tunes in tow for 35 Denton to see what’s next for this promising artist.

2012 Review: When I was introduced to the Denton music scene a couple years back, after hearing the name “Sarah Jaffe” you could expect to “Doug Burr” right following.  Burr is a folk singer-songwriter with a powerful delivery and great songwriting chops.  His songs are reflective and contemplative, bridging pop and folk mentalities into an accessible and heartbreaking tone.  I’ve caught Doug Burr a few times over the years in support roles and have always walked away more impressed than the time before.  He has a way of drawing a crowd to a hush, with all eyes and ears focused on simple guitar melodies and Burr’s mature and cavernous vocals.  Burr’s last album, O Ye Devastator, was released a couple years back, so expect some new material and old favorites at Doug Burr’s set at Dan’s Silverleaf opening up for John Vanderslice.

35 Denton Friday - Hip Hop, Etc.

The 35 Denton hip hop and R&B acts this year are some of the best the festival has had since its inception. The headliner for this set and a big draw for the Denton crowd is rapper Astronautalis, joining him is Killer Mike who had an amazing 2012. The group is filled out by indie electro R&B star Solange, 35 Denton favorite A.DD+, and poetic rapper –Topic. (Kevin’s Note: I added a grab bag of artists to round this one out) Highlights:

Astronautalis (10) – Astronautalis is first a storyteller and second a rapper, a fucking excellent rapper at that. He’s constantly touring and moving as an artist, at each show he performs a freestyle based on topics, with a few rules to keep it unpredictable, suggested by the audience. 
Doug Burr (10) - For my money, Burr is the strongest songwriter to come out of Denton since the boys from Midlake broke out, layering his songs with grace, honesty and spirituality.  His performances are often mesmerizing, hushing the crowd with his emotional vocal tones only armed with minimal acoustic instrumentation.  
Killer Mike (7) – Atlanta rapper Killer Mike has a brash in your face style and spits socially conscious bars that never alienate hardcore aggressive rap fans for fly by night fans. He paired with indie pioneer producer El-P for his newest album, R.A.P. Music, which finds Mike at the top of his game.
-Topic (6) – -Topic is a rapper from Dallas who writes poetic bars and he’s front and center on his tracks with jazzy backing beats that never drown out his intricate wordplay.     
A.DD+ (6) – A.DD+ are a Dallas hip hop duo who are creating a buzz around the DFW metroplex for their high energy live shows and contrasting styles. Paris Pershun raps with a deep voiced slow flow, stretching words, while Slim Gravy raps faster packing bars with words or sings the group’s hooks.
Solange (6) – Solange is an R&B singer from a musical family in Houston, her newest release an EP titled True is a quirky mix of electronic indie pop songs that feature her charismatic warm vocals and danceable beats.
Chambers (6) – While Denton’s Chambers lives mostly within quiet and windless rooms on their initial tracks, the chamber pop band has an interesting way of layering sound with an eye towards complex and challenging harmonies.  This is a nice break-off from expected minimalism, so hopefully this full sound will inform Chambers’ directions in the future.
Madisons (6) – Austin folk rock band Madisons has a well-formed sound, heavy on handclaps and down-home Americana roots.  While these songs come across as relatively minimal and straightforward on their record Desgraciados, the band can expand to 12+ members live, so hopefully they bring plenty of friends to their 35 Denton showcase a week from tonight.  The song “Sweetwater” should hold some special significance that weekend, as the title not only reflects songwriter Dominic Solis’ hometown, it is also the name of the venue Madisons will be gigging at.
A.M. Ramblers (5) – Local Denton bluegrass/Americana band A.M. Ramblers have a rootsy and loose sound, the kind of music friends make around the campfire.  Musically, A.M. Ramblers have a strong sound, focused on laid back solos and traditional harmonies.
Daniel Francis Doyle (5) – Singer-songwriter Daniel Francis Doyle takes a minimal approach to pop music, though his sound ranges from terse, acoustic ballads to eclectic fuzz rock at different times.  Of note are Doyle’s off-kilter rhythmic elements, allowing his songs to dip into disparate breaks that break Doyle’s music from the expected.

35 Denton Friday - Hip Hop, Etc.


The 35 Denton hip hop and R&B acts this year are some of the best the festival has had since its inception. The headliner for this set and a big draw for the Denton crowd is rapper Astronautalis, joining him is Killer Mike who had an amazing 2012. The group is filled out by indie electro R&B star Solange, 35 Denton favorite A.DD+, and poetic rapper –Topic. (Kevin’s Note: I added a grab bag of artists to round this one out) Highlights:


Astronautalis (10) – Astronautalis is first a storyteller and second a rapper, a fucking excellent rapper at that. He’s constantly touring and moving as an artist, at each show he performs a freestyle based on topics, with a few rules to keep it unpredictable, suggested by the audience. 

Doug Burr (10) - For my money, Burr is the strongest songwriter to come out of Denton since the boys from Midlake broke out, layering his songs with grace, honesty and spirituality.  His performances are often mesmerizing, hushing the crowd with his emotional vocal tones only armed with minimal acoustic instrumentation. 

Killer Mike (7) – Atlanta rapper Killer Mike has a brash in your face style and spits socially conscious bars that never alienate hardcore aggressive rap fans for fly by night fans. He paired with indie pioneer producer El-P for his newest album, R.A.P. Music, which finds Mike at the top of his game.

-Topic (6) – -Topic is a rapper from Dallas who writes poetic bars and he’s front and center on his tracks with jazzy backing beats that never drown out his intricate wordplay.     

A.DD+ (6) – A.DD+ are a Dallas hip hop duo who are creating a buzz around the DFW metroplex for their high energy live shows and contrasting styles. Paris Pershun raps with a deep voiced slow flow, stretching words, while Slim Gravy raps faster packing bars with words or sings the group’s hooks.

Solange (6) – Solange is an R&B singer from a musical family in Houston, her newest release an EP titled True is a quirky mix of electronic indie pop songs that feature her charismatic warm vocals and danceable beats.

Chambers (6) – While Denton’s Chambers lives mostly within quiet and windless rooms on their initial tracks, the chamber pop band has an interesting way of layering sound with an eye towards complex and challenging harmonies.  This is a nice break-off from expected minimalism, so hopefully this full sound will inform Chambers’ directions in the future.

Madisons (6) – Austin folk rock band Madisons has a well-formed sound, heavy on handclaps and down-home Americana roots.  While these songs come across as relatively minimal and straightforward on their record Desgraciados, the band can expand to 12+ members live, so hopefully they bring plenty of friends to their 35 Denton showcase a week from tonight.  The song “Sweetwater” should hold some special significance that weekend, as the title not only reflects songwriter Dominic Solis’ hometown, it is also the name of the venue Madisons will be gigging at.

A.M. Ramblers (5) – Local Denton bluegrass/Americana band A.M. Ramblers have a rootsy and loose sound, the kind of music friends make around the campfire.  Musically, A.M. Ramblers have a strong sound, focused on laid back solos and traditional harmonies.

Daniel Francis Doyle (5) – Singer-songwriter Daniel Francis Doyle takes a minimal approach to pop music, though his sound ranges from terse, acoustic ballads to eclectic fuzz rock at different times.  Of note are Doyle’s off-kilter rhythmic elements, allowing his songs to dip into disparate breaks that break Doyle’s music from the expected.

Killer Mike – “Reagan’”


Pairs Well With…Bun B, DOOM, KRS-One


Killer Mike’s 2012 album R.A.P. Music is one of those perfect pairings of producer and rapper. El-P’s nasty grimy beats serve as the perfect backdrop to Killer Mike’s sharp biting flow. The album has doesn’t have a weak track, each perfectly captures Mike’s analytic worldview. No targets are off limits when he raps and his live shows capture him at his best, connecting with the community. For all the vitriol Mike raps with, he comes across as a down to Earth artist that truly loves hip hop, he joins Saturday’s stacked main stage lineup. 

BRAINSTORM – “Flat Earth”


Pairs Well With…Vampire Weekend, Local Natives, Dirty Projectors


Portland’s BRAINSTORM is back on 35 Denton’s lineup for a return performance from their buzzing set in 2011.  While there is still a fair amount of experimentation on their latest record, 2012’s Heat Waves, BRAINSTORM seems to fully embrace their indie pop influences more than ever, coming up with catchy and danceable rhythms to play their melodies on top of.  This upbeat direction is an excellent next step for the art rock band, allowing for a true sense of accessibility while not sacrificing the band’s musical ingenuity.   

2011 Review: an experimental indie pop/art rock band from Portland, OR with an eclectic and diverse sound.  Brainstorm music has quite the manic edge, moving to and from seemingly disconnected musical genres throughout their song.  They’ll follow up light indie pop immediately with metal-inspired garage rock and then back again, sometimes within a matter of seconds.  I love how Brainstorm is willing to really experiment, a trait that stands out in a conference or festival setting.  They do sound like a young band, almost one with more of a smattering of ideas rather than one cohesive direction.  They closest resemble The Dirty Projectors, especially with the complex melodies both vocally and on guitar.  Brainstorm has a whopping 11 shows in Texas focused around SXSW, so expect a band running on adrenaline if you can them in Denton, Austin, or in between.

Man Man – “Piranhas Club”


Pairs Well With…Portugal. The Man, Frank Zappa, The Eels


It’s been over a year since Man Man’s latest record Life Fantastic, but it seems like the band’s concentration this year will continue to focus on touring behind the eclectic pop record.  While Man Man falls more on the experimental side than what would normally constitute pop music, the songs on Life Fantastic are pleasantly catch, beaming with dissonant, twee melodies.  Under Man Man’s guidance, these tracks will most like be deconstructed and built up again by the time Man Man rolls through 35 Denton, the final scheduled stop on their current national tour.

2011 Review: an experimental indie rock band from Philadelphia with an upbeat and eclectic style.  Man Man are one of those band that are truly doing their own thing.  Their songs are based off of fairly straightforward guitar or piano melodies and catchy hooks, but then they completely deconstruct the sound to create an entirely different monster.  There is a lot of focus on percussion, often playing as the lead instrument.  Influences range from all over the world, which creates a gypsy rock vibe throughout.  Their Latin and Eastern European-inspired and material has hints of Gogol Bordello, but in a more disjointed way.  The key to Man Man’s sound is energy.  Sure, it’s pretty strange music at times, but they deliver it with such passion and excitement, that  I’m sure crowds can be moved listening to their music.  Man Man will likely be displaying new material at SXSW; their 4th LP Life Fantastic is due later this year.

35 Denton Friday - National Artists:

The OEB crew sealed up their 35 Denton plans this week and we’ll be providing complete coverage of SXSW’s northern neighbor from the field.  Running the weekend before SXSW, 35 Denton has their schedule completed and it is gearing up to be a great four nights.  This afternoon, I have a well rounded set of national acts with over half of the artists hailing from the West Coast.  Highlights:

BRAINSTORM (8) - While there is still a fair amount of experimentation on their latest record, 2012’s Heat Waves, BRAINSTORM seems to fully embrace their indie pop influences more than ever, coming up with catchy and danceable rhythms to play their melodies on top of.  This upbeat direction is an excellent next step for the art rock band, allowing for a true sense of accessibility while not sacrificing the band’s musical ingenuity.
Man Man (8) - While Man Man falls more on the experimental side than what would normally constitute pop music, the songs on Life Fantastic are pleasantly catch, beaming with dissonant, twee melodies.  Under Man Man’s guidance, these tracks will most like be deconstructed and built up again by the time Man Man rolls through 35 Denton, the final scheduled stop on their current national tour.
Los Vigilantes (6) – While there certainly isn’t a shortage of psychedelic, garage pop outfits showcasing at 35 Denton this year, Los Vigilantes stands out from the crowd with their hook-heavy approach to songwriting.  In fact, much of the Puerto Rican band’s songs draw heavily from 50s and 60s pop music, a nice twist to their loose, punk-infused style.
Summer Twins (6) - Breezy female duo Summer Twins could be from nowhere else but California.  The band’s pop-infused take on surf rock makes for a relaxing listen through their 2012 debut LP.  Unsurprisingly, the tracks do tend to meld together as Summer Twins establish their base sound on this introduction, so it’ll be interesting to see what detours are in store for their next set of songs in 2013.
White Fang (5) – Lo fi rock band White Fang is another Portland outfit swinging through SXSW this year and their fuzzy, experimental bedroom rock songs are somehow both driving and calmly psychedelic.  The band is working off their fourth record, so look for a mix of tracks from throughout their eclectic catalog at 35 Denton.
King Automatic (5) – Inventive one-man-band King Automatic has quite a heady live setup, encircling himself with all sorts of instrumentation.  This toy set brings a loose nature to King Automatic’s jams, which are based in rock and pop structures, but he has a true punk mentality to his songwriting and delivery.

35 Denton Friday - National Artists:


The OEB crew sealed up their 35 Denton plans this week and we’ll be providing complete coverage of SXSW’s northern neighbor from the field.  Running the weekend before SXSW, 35 Denton has their schedule completed and it is gearing up to be a great four nights.  This afternoon, I have a well rounded set of national acts with over half of the artists hailing from the West Coast.  Highlights:


BRAINSTORM (8) - While there is still a fair amount of experimentation on their latest record, 2012’s Heat Waves, BRAINSTORM seems to fully embrace their indie pop influences more than ever, coming up with catchy and danceable rhythms to play their melodies on top of.  This upbeat direction is an excellent next step for the art rock band, allowing for a true sense of accessibility while not sacrificing the band’s musical ingenuity.

Man Man (8) - While Man Man falls more on the experimental side than what would normally constitute pop music, the songs on Life Fantastic are pleasantly catch, beaming with dissonant, twee melodies.  Under Man Man’s guidance, these tracks will most like be deconstructed and built up again by the time Man Man rolls through 35 Denton, the final scheduled stop on their current national tour.

Los Vigilantes (6) – While there certainly isn’t a shortage of psychedelic, garage pop outfits showcasing at 35 Denton this year, Los Vigilantes stands out from the crowd with their hook-heavy approach to songwriting.  In fact, much of the Puerto Rican band’s songs draw heavily from 50s and 60s pop music, a nice twist to their loose, punk-infused style.

Summer Twins (6) - Breezy female duo Summer Twins could be from nowhere else but California.  The band’s pop-infused take on surf rock makes for a relaxing listen through their 2012 debut LP.  Unsurprisingly, the tracks do tend to meld together as Summer Twins establish their base sound on this introduction, so it’ll be interesting to see what detours are in store for their next set of songs in 2013.

White Fang (5) – Lo fi rock band White Fang is another Portland outfit swinging through SXSW this year and their fuzzy, experimental bedroom rock songs are somehow both driving and calmly psychedelic.  The band is working off their fourth record, so look for a mix of tracks from throughout their eclectic catalog at 35 Denton.

King Automatic (5) – Inventive one-man-band King Automatic has quite a heady live setup, encircling himself with all sorts of instrumentation.  This toy set brings a loose nature to King Automatic’s jams, which are based in rock and pop structures, but he has a true punk mentality to his songwriting and delivery.