Been quiet on the site lately, I know. But the reason why is because it’s been busy as hell behind the scenes.
This film has been in development for over 2 years now. That’s a long time. In that time, we’ve gotten a script written, taken care of the business side of things by creating the LLC, which we were only able to do with the help of some awesome people who pitched in on a Kickstarter campaign. We’ve created business plans and produced a teaser trailer. We’ve gotten over 20 of the most exciting bands in Dallas involved, and enlisted support from countless venue owners, local celebs, music promoters, arts groups, DJ’s, and other in-the-know people in the area. We’ve gotten help from local producers and attached a Hollywood Producer with strong connections to major talent agencies. We’ve taken the steps to qualify the film for tax-exempt status through the Film Industry Incentive known as Section 181, which required us to actually shoot a scene from the film, which we also did. Which brings us to…
There’s a secret I’ve been sort-of playing cool about for a while now, but under the surface I’m just giddy with excitement. With the release of this video, I guess it becomes semi-official, so I’m ready to let it out. We’ve got Jaret Reddick from Bowling For Soup on board to play Tom, the musician who goes missing in the movie!
Jaret’s a Grammy-nominated artist who’s not only had worldwide success with Bowling for Soup, but is also a founding member of People on Vacation and Jarinus. He’s also a really funny and talented dude who has been unbelievably helpful and supportive of this project. I was able to talk him into coming out to shoot this scene for the film to qualify the film for tax-exempt status before the end of 2011 and he was totally professional and we had a lot of fun doing it. And this is probably the biggest stretch for him in the whole film – a dramatic scene!
Seriously, I try to be cool about this, but I’m really thrilled to have Jaret involved in this movie. Not only do I think he brings a great presence and talent to the project, but he’s got a huge following and he’s a great guy. I’m really looking forward to working with him more.
Again, big thanks to Giovannie Cruz for doing a superb job as Jackie, to Kyle Montgomery and Jason VanSickle for crewing up the shoot, Marc Rouse for his editing, and the folks at The Granada for use of their space. The scene also features music by Trey Johnson.
That’s right, I didn’t say “releases”, I said “unleashes”.
Sometimes these kinds of words matter.
The Boom Boom Box has been fairly quiet since their self-titled EP was released almost 3 years ago, when breakneck songs like “Henry the Skunk” shook the teeth out of our heads. Their stage shows, which often saw the band accompanied by neon light installations, were always fewer and farther between than this music fan would have liked.
But man, nobody had any idea what was coming when they released their new album, “Until Your Eyes Get Used to the Darkness” just a couple of weeks ago on January 17th. From the first pounding beats of the first track, “White Chocolate”, you realize that this album was going to make their EP sound downright ambient.
There are certain “Top This” moments in pop culture. Moments in movies or music that serve as a creative dare to everyone else out there to try to get close to it. Consider the moment in True Lies, at the end where Ahnuld is hovering in a Harrier Jet, clinging to his daughter through the broken cockpit window. The bad guy has slid off the side and now hangs onto a missile by the very fabric of his clothes. Arnold looks through the building he’s hovering next to, which has had an entire floor hollowed out by flying lead, and sees the helicopter full of the bad guy’s minions on the other side. He turns the jet, unlocks the missile, and with an awsomely cheesetastic, “You’re fired,” he launches the missile, bad guy attached, through the cavernous building and into the helicopter on the other side, exploding into an apocalypse of metal, helicopter blades, glass, and body parts.
This album is the musical equivalent of that moment.
Front man Andrew Huffstetler’s voice rarely dips below a manic scream, punctuated by their signature pulsating drums and a Wailing Wall of fuzzy guitars in a punk-infused orgy only hinted at with their previous album. Slightly “tamer” songs (and that’s a relative term) like “Holiday” give you a little room to breathe amid feverish peaks of “City Bus”, “Wooden Sword”, and “Hit the Deck”. Finally finishing off with the heavy pounding pillar of sound that is “Hands,” with a full minute and a half of grinding guitar distortion, clearly with the intention of finishing off your every neuron before they let you go.
It really is a powerhouse record, and one that will set the bar for every other band in 2012.
Now let’s hope we see some more stage shows from these guys in the coming months.
Click the pic for a link to their album on Kirtland Records!
I attended the Dallas Screenwriter’s Association meeting last week that featured a talk with Cynthia Cydre, the head writer and showrunner for the new Dallas TV series that will run on TNT later this year. Hardly anybody in film circles (and in the general public for that matter) is unaware that a new Dallas is on its way, and I’ve been wary of this project since I first heard about it. But I have to say, after hearing her thoughts on the project, I’ll admit I’m a bit curious to see it when it airs. Here’s a sneak peek:
So here’s my impression of this new series…
It’s actually being shot in Dallas! Not only does that mean a lot of good production jobs here in town, but we’ll actually see Dallas scenes on screen, which is pretty cool. Many people don’t know that most of the original series was shot in Burbank. She told stories she’d heard about how the crew spent a lot of time framing palm trees out of the shots.
It’s a continuation of the original story with many of the original cast in place. Patrick Duffy, Larry Hagman, and Linda Gray all return in the roles they made famous, along with a new generation of the family, which is good. I don’t think the series would have worked at all without some tie-in to the past.
The way TNT handles shows is very encouraging. Instead of airing the pilot and a few episodes and then revamping the show according to audience and critic reactions, they shoot the entire season up front before they air them, which means the writers have the ability to craft long story arcs that take place throughout the season.
Camp-be-gone! Many remember the original series for the campiness that took it over toward the end of its run. But you have to remember, the series ran 14 years. Starting from scratch with all new storylines will give it a freshness that should be interesting.
And I like that in the series the family business will not just be Ewing Oil, but Ewing Energy, and they’ll be players in energy sources outside of fossil fuels, reflective of today’s culture.
OKAY, THE BAD:
Cynthia has a long pedigree of running shows and sounds like she really knows what she’s doing, I have no doubt that she can create a compelling and entertaining TV show worthy of viewing. But I do have only one problem with her. And yes, it sounds a little petty…
She’s not from Dallas. In fact, I don’t think any of the writers are from Dallas.
So once again, we find ourselves with a TV series about our city produced by people who don’t know it.
And I’m sorry, but when you cut together scenes of the downtown skyscrapers with shots of oil-soaked roughnecks in a bar drinking champagne and “WOO”-ing in hillbilly accents… It just rubs me the wrong way.
IT’S NOT DALLAS.
Big sweeping shots of Southfork Ranch, men on horseback, cowboy hats, big belt buckles, I’m not going to say all that doesn’t exist in this part of the world.
BUT IT’S NOT DALLAS.
The things that made me cringe when I first heard about the show still make me cringe. It’s a show called Dallas, set in Dallas, shot in Dallas, by people who don’t know Dallas, that will look nothing like Dallas. At least, not the Dallas I live in. The one everybody in pop-cultureland thinks Dallas is, but not the real Dallas.
Having said that, I’ll be tuning in when it starts airing this summer, and I really do wish the show great success.
But I do think someone should make a movie that shows the real Dallas.
Any weekend in Dallas, you’re sure to find a show or two to get excited about. But some shows stand out from the rest. Some shows generate excitement the moment they’re announced, even months in advance.
This Saturday is one of those shows.
Saturday night (that’s the 14th for you calendar-gazers), The Granada is hosting a show sponsored by The Local Edge featuring four of the most buzzed-about bands in Dallas right now: Menkena, Air Review, Mon Julien, and featuring Burning Hotels.
Not only are these some of the best bands around, they also put on some of the best live shows around.
Doors open at 7:00. Tickets are $14, and you can get them HERE.
Here’s a breakdown of the bands:
Menkena is an atmospheric shoegaze band with a film and lights show that will leave you completely without the need for drugs. This is one of the first shows with their new guitarist, David Hickmott. Here’s just a taste of their production:
Air Review has been rising in the scene for the last couple of years, with each new release becoming more confident and assured, and many have hailed them as the next breakout band from DFW. Their single “Low WIshes” is a personal favorite of mine.
Mon Julien is a new group just getting notice on the local scene, but they have garnered a lot of attention as something of a local supergroup, featuring members of such breakout acts as Black Tie Dynasty, Midlake, Tripping Daisy, and Polyphonic Spree. This show is also their CD release party.
Being new still, this is the only video I could find for them:
And finally, Burning Hotels will finish the lineup as the main act. A popular band for the last few years, Burning Hotels recently revamped their sound into a cool 80′s synth-y vibe and have ridden it to the top, ranking high on almost all local year-end lists for 2011.
This is truly the show to see for the month of January. Get out of the house and be ready for a good time.
I do my best to get out and see all the local music I can, and even more so to keep my ear to the proverbial train track to hear the newest and best out there in the local scene, but as it turns out, there are people who do a much better job of this than me, which makes this time of year my favorite for finding new and exciting local artists, as the flood of end-of-year lists hits the internets. This is always my favorite way to find new artists, by listening to what others are listening to. And I love lists.
I’m just simple like that.
So, for your convenience, I’m presenting to you my list of the top lists of 2011. I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of bands on here that I’m not familiar with, but I will definitely be checking out soon. And of course, I have to call out my friends and Debut supporters Calhoun, Bravo, Max!, Burning Hotels, The O’s, The Blurries, Menkena, and THe BAcksliders for their multiple mentions on this list.
Check out some of the artists below and find a new favorite band!
Randall Brown of The Synaptic, a fantastic local music website, composed this list in apparently no particular order:
Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels
Maleveller – Maleveller
The Great Tyrant – There Is A Man In The House
Bravo, Max! – Dog’s Light
Calhoun – Heavy Sugar
The Nighty Nite – Dimples
Sarah Jaffe – The Way Sound Leaves A Room
Here Holy Spain – Division
Descender – Dark Water
Find more of Randall’s lists over at thesynaptic.com.
Daniel Hopkins, an awesome music reviewer of The Observer assembled this list:
10. The Strange Boys – Live Music
On The Strange Boys’ third album, they’ve put their pop sensibility at the forefront, trading in the gritty sound of their previous efforts for a more listenable, warmer record.
9. Sundress – Sundress EP
The self-titled EP from Sundress represents a fresh start from a band that spent the last few years searching for its musical identity. Tight drum grooves, sunburned guitars and overwhelming psychedelia look to a bright future from this Denton act.
8. Seryn – This Is Where We Are
Seryn’s passionate performances translate nearly perfectly to tape on their full length debut. The album surges with musical swells, emotionally sung four-part harmonies and interesting poly-rhythms, making it a sort of prog-folk gem.
7. The O’s – Between The Two
On The O’s second full length record, the country/folk duo made up of John Pedigo and Taylor Young took a different approach to songwriting than they had in the past. The resulting record is the band’s best yet.
6. Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels
On their self-titled record, Burning Hotels were smart not to traipse back through the post-punk territory of their previous records. Instead, they’ve matured with a slower sound (even on the dancy first single “Beard”) and added more electronic elements
5. Old Snack - Everything Is Happening So Fast
The best song titles to come from a North Texas act are on Old Snack’s debut album Everything Is Happening So Fast. “The Man With The Golden Snack,” “Burt Reynolds IV” and “Sally Field’s Butt” are choice cuts on this energetic punk record.
4. Sailors With Wax Wings – Sailors With Wax Wings
Technically, this shouldn’t be on my list seeing as it came out in 2010, but I don’t really care. I came across it after reading an interview with singer R. Loren in a Frontrow piece just a few months ago. It reminds me of Slowdive’s Just For A Day, only much darker. Makes sense: Slowdive’s Simon Scott actually collaborated on this album.
3. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
It’s hard to deny Annie Clark’s brilliance. With each album she outdoes the previous one, and on her third record, Strange Mercy, the guitar performance and pop sensibility have never been better.
2. The Blurries – Paper Cuts
Out of nowhere this year, The Blurries went from being an OK band called Slider Pines to releasing this piece of gritty rock. The album is full of incredible hooks (the chorus of “Little Marie” is impossible to shake), beautiful melodies and precise and energetic musicianship.
1. Centro-Matic – Candidate Waltz
If someone asked me to choose the best band North Texas has to offer, I would choose Centro-Matic in a second. From the prolific mind of singer Will Johnson comes yet another brilliant work, one of the band’s best. Everything you could want in an album is here: top musicianship, great melody and energy, and Johnson narrates each song like a miniature novel. Not to mention that “Only In My Double Mind” is the band’s best single since 2004′s “Flashes And Cables.”
Mark Schectman of The Local Edge With Mark on 102.1 is a friend of The Debut and the winner of this year’s Observer Music Award for Best Local Music Advocate. So when he makes a list, I listen. And here is his list (with sample songs to listen to on his website):
10. True Widow – As High As the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
9. Old Snack – Everything Is Happening So Fast
8. Fox and the Bird – Floating Feather
7. Sealion – Keep the Camera Rolling
6. Quaker City Night Hawks – Torquila, Torquila!
5. Bravo, Max! – Dog’s Light
4. Soviet – Doom
3. Seryn – This is Where We Are
2. Calhoun – Heavy Sugar
1. Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels
It’s that time of year again. Everywhere you go, it’s the same old Christmas Carols you’ve heard your whole life. Sure, it can be comforting, but I don’t know about you, but I need a break from Bing Crosby after a while.
Luckily, the Dallas music scene – and many contributing artists to The Debut – have stepped up this year and offered some awesome alternatives to the old standards.
Idol Records has released their Idol Christmas album, featuring artists such as El Cento, Calhoun, Trey Johnson, Here Holy Spain, Chris Holt, and Little Black Dress. It’s available from their website and iTunes.
Here’s a taste:
Kirtland Record’s Christmas compliation, The LIght Connected, features standards and originals from Kirtland’s roster of talent, including Bob Schneider from Austin, Smile Smile, The Backsliders, Eleven Hundred Springs, Sara Hickman, an appearance from Deep Blue Something, and People On Vacation, the new band featuring Jaret Reddick from Bowling for Soup.
You can find it at the Kirtland online store.
Speaking of Bowling for Soup, they’ve released their Christmas album, Merry Flippin’ Christmas, which is a combination of two EPs, Volume 1, which was released a few years ago, and Volume 2, which was just finished. They attack Christmas with their typical brand of humor and irreverence, sure to put a smile on your face and a bang in your head.
Posting some news from the set of The Debut, where we…
Wait a second… The SET of The Debut? Are you shooting?
Well… Not exactly.
Last Tuesday, we assembled a small cast and crew and shot one scene from the film.
The reason, in short, is because there’s a tax incentive that sunsets at the end of the year, and the only way to guarantee the film will be covered is if we shoot one scene with dialogue (along with lots of legal and paperwork stuff, which we already covered).
So with the help of The Granada Theater and my friends in the Film Conspiracy Group, we got together with Giovannie Cruz, who portrayed the role of Jackie in the teaser trailer, and Jaret Reddick from Bowling for Soup, whom we’ve been talking to for a while about playing Tom, the musician that goes missing in the movie.
Gio and Jaret did a fantastic job and the scene is being edited as we speak. I’ll post it when it’s up for everyone to see.
Big thanks to Jaret and Gio, Mike at The Granada, Marc Rouse, Jason VanSickle, and Kyle Montgomery for their crew work and Ray Valadez for providing lights and other equipment.
And here are some pics from the shoot:
I’ll post the scene when it’s finished!
The Observer Music Awards Showcase was this last weekend in Deep Ellum and it was a real hootenany. The actual awards show was on Tuesday and Seryn was the big winner, coming out with awards for Best Group, Best Album, Best Song, Best Male Vocalist and Best Instrumentalist.
We’d like to congratulate our friends at The Granada for winning Best Venue and Mark Schectman for winning Best Local Music Advocate and Best Radio Show for his Local Edge with Mark.
Congrats to everybody involved and all the nominees. Keep doing what you do!
Best Solo Act
Sarah Jaffe (winner!)
Ryan Thomas Becker
Seryn — This Is Where We Are (winner!)
The O’s — Between The Two
Centro-matic — Candidate Waltz
A.Dd+ — When Pigs Fly
True Widow — As High As The Highest Heavens and From The Center to the Circumference of the Earth
Calhoun — Heavy Sugar
Seryn — “We Will All Be Changed” (winner!)
True Widow — “Skull Eyes”
Calhoun — “Knife Fight”
Air Review — “America’s Son”
Soviet — “Forever Today”
Treal Lee & Prince Rick — “Throwed Off”
Best New Act
The Nighty Nite
Best Blues Act
The Red 100′s (winner!)
R..L Griffin and the Blues Palace Show Band
Best Hard Rock Act
The House Harkonnen (winner!)
Fair to Midland
This Will Destroy You
Best Country Act
Eleven Hundred Springs (winner!)
Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward
The King Bucks
Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos
John David Kent & The Dumb Angels
Best Alt-Country/Roots Act
Whiskey Folk Ramblers (winner!)
The Naptime Shake
Best Electronic/Dance Act
Best Experimental/Avant Garde Act
Diamond Age (winner!)
Shiny Around The Edges
New Science Projects
Best Punk Act
Mind Spiders (winner!)
Best Metal Act
White Arms of Athena
Kill The Client
Best Indie Act
Burning Hotels (winner!)
Best Folk Act
Sarah Jaffe (winner!)
Fox & The Bird
The Beaten Sea
Best Funk/R&B Act
Ducado Vega (winner!)
Emotion Brown & The Cosmos
Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act
The Mohicans (winner!)
Treal Lee & Prince Rick
Best Jazz Act
Paul Slavens (winner!)
The Singapore Slingers
Hentai Improvising Orchestra
Yells at Eels
Damon K. Clark
Wanz Dover (winner!)
Best Latin/Tejano Act
Mariachi Queztal (winner!)
Best Male Vocalist
Trenton Wheeler of Seryn (winner!)
Ryan Thomas Becker
Tim Locke of Calhoun
Sam Anderson of Quaker City Night Hawks
Nick Foreman of Dust Congrss
Best Female Vocalist
Sarah Jaffe (winner!)
Mara Lee Miller of Bosque Brown
Ashley Myrick of lalagray
Chris Semmelbeck of Seryn (winner!)
Ryan Thomas Becker
Scott Danbom of Centro-matic
Sean Kirkpatrick of Nervous Curtains
Don Cento of El Cento
Chris Mayes of The Naptime Shake
Best Cover/Tribute Act
The Gorehounds (winner!)
Hard Night’s Day
The King Bucks
Rhymin’ & Stealin’
Spune Records (winner!)
Good Records Recordings
Salim Nourallah (winner!)
House of Blues (winner!)
Sons of Hermann Hall
Best Record Store
Good Records (winner!)
Bill’s Records & Tapes
Mad World Records
Forever Young Records
Best Talent Buyer
Granada Theater (winner!)
Third String Productions
Parade of Flesh
Best Local Music Advocate
Mark Schectman (winner!)
Best Radio Show
“The Local Edge” (winner!)
“The Paul Slavens Show”
“The Adventure Club”
“The Good Show”
Gorilla Vs. Bear (winner!)
But I Just Like Music
Weekly Tape Deck
It’s that time of year again, The Dallas Observer Music Awards (or DOMA to the cool kids) is back and I’m happy to say that several artists and bands involved in The Debut are nominated for big awards, including…
Calhoun – Best Group Act, Best Album (Heavy Sugar), Best Song (Knife Fight), Best Indie Act
Tim Locke from Calhoun -Best Male Vocalist
The Orbans – Best Alt-Country/Roots Act
The O’s -Best Album (Between the Two), Best Alt-Country/Roots Act
Bravo, Max! – Best Alt-Country/Roots Act
The Burning Hotels – Best Indie Act
Salim Nourallah – Best Producer
And friends of the movie:
Kirtland Records and Idol Records for Best Label
Chelsea Callahan – Best Local Music Advocate (defending her title, if I’m remembering correctly)
And Mark Schectman from The Local Edge with Mark is nominated for Best Local Music Advocate and Best Radio Show.
And the Granada, who was cool enough to let us shoot the trailer at their house (and where we will likely shoot part of the film) was nominated for Best Venue.
Congrats to all our friends and nominees.
Everyone go here to check out the ballot and vote!
And one last thing, music awards shows are awesome opportunities to find a new favorite band, either by seeing them live at the show or simply looking down the ballot and checking out new bands you haven’t heard before. There are a lot of insanely talented people on this ballot that I didn’t list because they’re not involved with the movie, but they’re totally worth checking out, so scroll down the list and check out anybody you don’t know. They all have Facebook and MySpace pages with sample music on there. They were nominated for a reason. Go find out why.
And while you’re at it, vote!
Brace yourselves, everyone.
The whole world is now privy to yet another ridiculous portrayal of Dallas on TV.
This week, Most Eligible: Dallas started slithering its way into homes across the country on Bravo. It is yet another in a long line of programs that show Dallas as a backwater for self-involved, big-haired, entitled douchebags and douchebagettes with nothing to contribute to the world.
As Sarah Blaskovich from Pegasus News pointed out:
If Most Eligible Dallas is any indication, Dallas women are about big hair and fake boobs; Dallas men are about washboard abs and non-committal relationships.
It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
No, it’s not.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d never in a million years try to say that that element doesn’t exist in Dallas. Sure it does. It’s a sub-culture. And you can find it in ANY metropolitan city. But for some reason, it’s all you seem to see about Dallas. Douchebags and rednecks.
We just hosted the Super Bowl and our basketball team just grabbed the national championship. Dallas is on the map more than ever before (except for maybe one day in 1963). And yet THIS is still what is being put out there to define us.
There are a lot of reasons why I want to make the Debut, but this may be right up at the very top. I want to reshape the conversation, if nothing else just show people there’s another side to this town. Something cool that we can be proud of.
It’s time to take back our image.