Oaktopia week is winding down at We Denton Do It and that means that tomorrow is D Day. We're super pumped to get out and see tons of our favorite local bands and quite a few national acts, as well. Below are a few of our picks for bands you should make sure and check out at the festival. Read through 'em and make sure to go to Oaktopia this weekend! We'll see ya there!
Dome Dwellers - 11:45 Friday at Dan's Silverleaf
To be honest, y’all, we had a hard time writing this column this month. Things didn’t come together too easily and we spent easily an hour last night crawling through SoundCloud and Bandcamp, listening to various recent tracks from Denton bands and nothing was sounding good to us (let's leave it at that). We were getting pretty bummed and then we just so happened to stumble across "My Halo" from Dome Dwellers. Everything was immediately right with the world. Seriously, this is great stuff and hopefully a precursor of more that we’ll be seeing from this trio of dudes who have a full length coming in late October. "My Halo," itself, reminds us a bit of the Canadian band, Women, before they imploded a few years back - mathy and disjointed in the best of ways. The guitars are full of 90’s-era chimey-ness and tremolo and the math rock aspect of this tune acts as more of a hook than it does a headache - let’s just say that it’s more Algebra 1 than it is Pre-calculus. Whether they’re aware or not, this slightly epic track harkens back to the days of Denton space rock and we couldn’t be happier to be reminded of that era. Do yourself a favor and give this a listen. Heck, you can even download their entire EP for free from their bandcamp.
Ron Lechler - The Labb on Saturday
We interviewed the nicest jerk in Denton, Ron Lechler, last year. Dude is funny. We recommend checking him out. He'll be more offensive than most of the music you'll hear, but in a very good way. Here's a link to our interview with him. Below is a quote from said interview:
"Jokes never go too far, but they can be poorly done. When people get offended, I never think I went too far. I just know that I did something the wrong way. For me, there’s nothing that’s off limits. Everything can be funny and has to be. Like everyone else, there are things that hit really close to home with me personally like family alcoholism, cancer, or sexuality, but I would never tell someone they couldn’t talk about those things. Humor is how a lot of people cope, and we should be allowed to."
Neon Indian DJ Set - Midnight at Hailey's on Friday
Former Dentonite, Alan Palomo, started Neon Indian way back in the day. Then he took off to New York and incorporated some dudes from an old Denton shoegaze band into Neon Indian and got pretty big. He's playing a DJ set this Friday night at Oaktopia. Below is a video Jordan Smith shot for We Denton Do It way back in 2010 (we're old).
Biographies - 12:30 Friday at Dan's Silverleaf
We dig Biographies sound, y'all. Here's what we had to say about their single, "On Looking Inward," from last May.
Biographies represents what we’re going to call the post-Seryn folk scene in Denton. Large, coed bands with vocals coming from every possible angle, and choruses that build until your eyes bulge. Biographies, however, is a bit different. These young twenty somethings have reached further back than their memories can reach and harken sounds not unlike Sunny Day Real Estate and other mid-90’s emotional hardcore. On Looking Inward is the centerpiece of their recently-released self-titled EP. The track manages to jam pack all of the different themes represented on the album into a quick seven minutes. The song climaxes about three-quarters of the way through with unintelligible screams and a gigantic wall of sound and then saunters it’s way out with a slinky bass line and a haunting female voice that washes away all the screaming. This is very promising for a band so young. Catch these kids live if you get the chance, too. They put on a great show.
Criminal Birds - 10:40 at Dan's Silverleaf on Saturday
Here's what we had to say about Criminal Birds' single, "Chill Out" last January:
We normally like to highlight newer music in this column and this came out in March of last year, but it’s new to us so that counts, right? “Chill Out” is a dynamic song from a group of highly proficient young musicians who play like they’ve been doing so together for decades. Some internet research shows that these dudes get the term “ethereal” thrown at them quite a bit, and while that may be a valid description, it certainly didn't prepare us for the level of rock Criminal Birds attains. Sure, there are plenty of ambient bits to “Chill Out,” but about a third of the way through, it wakes the heck up. Jazzy rhythms, reverb-laden guitar noodling, and vocals that reach some pretty impressive heights abound here. It’s got kind of a Foals thing going on, too, so if you were digging them in 2013, jump on the Criminal Birds train, too.
We dig Will Wiesenfeld's project, Baths, quite a bit. We spoke with the dude on the phone last weekend and asked him some questions. You can read the entire interview here, but here's a quote from our question about his live show:
"[having a good live show is] extremely important and it’s something that a lot of electronic musicians care a little less about or at it’s not part of their M.O. For me it’s really important because if you’re going to a show and to just play the track, that’s a different vibe for meI don’t go to clubs - I’m not a club person. I don’t go just to see a DJ play. I just completely don’t care about that. It’s much more fun to put money down and see a performance. In my own head, with my own stuff, that’s what it was - trying to put on a show. It exists like that for me, but I totally get it, some people do that. And some of my favorite shows were my favorite just because I love the music even if the show wasn’t that good."
Us on Mink Coats when they played our Free Week show at Rubber Gloves last month:
Some of the best psychedelic surf-pop in Denton - if you've seen Ft. Worth's Space Beach, this is on the same field of existence. We're pretty happy there's a local psychedelic surf rock scene going on. "Sun Daze" is dripping in syrupy summer sludge and this tune will make you wipe the mushrooms from your eyes and dream of panda bears on tropical islands if you aren't careful. That's right, suck it up kids, this is the best pack of already-been-chewed bubbalicious around. Shoving every piece in your mouth and half drooling half chewing the explosion of flavor until it's a wet gray mass of spent underwear balled-up inside of your mouth. It's kind of an awful feeling, but there's no doubt you love it and aren't gonna stop chewing anytime soon.
And on the opposite side of the spectrum, we also have a song from Denton mainstays Terminator 2 this month. Terminator 2 is one of the more masculine and aggressive bands currently operating out of Denton. The only thing this particular song has in common with the Chambers song above it is the acquired taste aspect. If you're not familiar with much doom or sludge metal, this might not be up your alley. Terminator 2 is hot off of having been deemed as having one of the "Top 10 Most Badass Band Names" in DFW. Denton has it's fair share of metal, but only a little bit of it is worth a damn. This is. I Am God sounds as if it was recorded deep underground in a portion of the earth with tectonic plates converging, causing earthquakes on the service. Heck, the bass-lines and barks here were probably the cause of those little earthquakes DFW has been experiencing over the past year or so. While we're on the subject, make sure you see these men live if you ever get the chance. Even if you hate this, it'll be a good talking point for you in the future. Terminator 2 just released a self-titled full length on Handmade Birds. You can purchase their cassette here or stream it via Decibel Magazine for the time being. Also, they have plenty of upcoming dates on their Facebook page, and you can stream their namesake via Netflix at the moment, too.
AV The Great
AV The Great is one of our favorite Denton "doers." We spoke with him for a Lyric Leak Column last year.
AV the Great is a man with a plan. His recent track record of success – he was one of the highlights of this year’s Rock Lottery, and his video for “9th Grade” racked up over 20,000 views in the first week – suggests his master plan has a damn good shot at becoming reality. Don’t sleep on this one, Dentonites. Get out to the club, and watch AV the Great blow the doors off the joint. You’re next chance isn't far off. AV is playing all the time - keep an eye on the Den10 for his next local show.
The Infamists are in on it, y'all. Hopefully, you are, too. We talked about their single, "Miss Misdemeanor" this past January.
The riff lives strong in The Infamists. This is snotty, overtly-male guitar rock that we were surprised to find hiding out in Denton. While the lyrics may be a bit superficial - “She’s a Miss Demeanor and an evil teenager” is chanted throughout the single “Miss Misdemeanor” embedded above - but are deep, meaningful lyrics really what you’re looking for a in riff rock band? We sure hope not. Just get caught up in the riffage and see where it takes ya. We're excited to see what comes next from these fellas and we bet they put on a fun show.