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Smile Smile, Last Joke, Bad Design, and a hip-hop showcase at Dan's Silverleaf top our list of the best local concerts this weekend.

Weekender: Dallas Area Concerts for January 10-13

THURSDAY 

Oil Boom (Sundown at Granada): Oil Boom had a rough year in 2011, as described in the bio of their website:

Between a mix of personal and professional disappointments, the group at times staggered about like a prizefighter knocked to the canvas – bloody, bruised and waiting for that final bell to signal their unceremonious exit. If I can be permitted an oil metaphor, individually speaking, 2011 was a complete bust.

With lead singer Brian Whitten calling it quits, guitarist Ryan Taylor stepping up as front man, and the addition of bassist (and writer) Steve Steward, it’s safe to say we’re dealing with an entirely new band in 2013 than we were a few years ago.

They went back to a more simplistic approach of 1970s garage rock on last year’s Gold Yeller album, with songs like “Lily Liver” and “The Great American Shakedown,” a sound I much prefer to their previous lineup (Taylor was meant to be the front-person all along, it seems). Drummer Dugan Connors is even optimistic in the bio, explaining, “Fleetwood Mac went through all kinds of lineup changes and shifts in direction and look what they accomplished. Now, I’m not saying we’re Fleetwood Mac, but I’m not saying we’re not either.”

I can respect that simply because Fleetwood Mac is brilliant and there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to be a somewhat like them. — Iris Zubair

Update: Oil Boom has canceled tonight. They will be replaced by Foxtrot Uniform. From the Facebook invite page:

Due to the singer not being able to sing on account of being sick (no voice), we’ve had to cancel our planned performance tonight at Sundown at Granada. Super bummed about this since we’d been really looking forward to it for months.

Thankfully, stand-up dudes and super great band Foxtrot Uniform are filling in for us, which we really appreciate. So if you were planning to go, by all means go and see an awesome band. It’s a free show and you won’t be disappointed!

— Iris Zubair

The Growlers/The Vacant Lots (Club Dada): Anytime someone mentions The Growlers, one thing you’re likely to hear about is how Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys almost produced their Hung at Heart album, before the band decided to go into another direction. By and large, this fact is one of the most popular things about them. Otherwise, I’m left to tell you that their style of “hobo trance surf rock” is everything you want to hear from a band out of Long Beach, California, and they’re an extremely worthwhile indie show (check out “Little Miss Jack” and “Wandering Eyes”). But, is that as obviously attention-grabbing as mentioning The Black Keys? Probably not. I would, however, recommend taking a gander at their Tumblr page, where you’ll find wonderful excerpts like, “During the release of their first album and their ongoing singles releases, they have experimented with recording techniques that have the ability to bend sound in ways only drugs can.” Make what you will of that. — Iris Zubair

Guerilla Toss/The Dreebs/Unconscious Collective/Terminator 2 (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): This is an excellent opportunity to see at least one of the bands (Unconscious Collective) that 2012 made me care about. Though I’m now wondering how Terminator 2 didn’t make that list. Perhaps it’s their nearly inevitable suability. – Christopher Mosley

“Atrocity Exhibition” (Billiard Bar): If you are as sick of hearing second-rate hair metal at Billiard Bar as I am, then this dark evening focusing on coldwave, post-punk, and anarcho punk should provide a rare, or at least monthly, antidote. Featuring DJs, Shadowplay, Death Church, and Decontrol– Christopher Mosley

FRIDAY 

Dustin Cavazos/The Hi-Yahs/Ella Minnow/Mary Walker/Zack Knight (Soap Hope Pop-Up Shop at the Shops at Park Lane): This is not exactly a “launch party” for local startup publication, Austere Magazine, since they are a couple of issues deep already, but it’s still something of a signal of arrival. The magazine, which specializes in “undiscovered talent, intriguing art, music, and a little bit of lovelable sarcasm,” is a slick-looking product that yearns for coffee table status. Visually at least, Austere would look perfectly appropriate resting on a clear, thousand-dollar end table from Anthropolgie. Austerity, indeed.

My point is that the talent of these individuals is undeniable; they have made a professional-looking publication, and their promotional videos are equally well-made. This is so often the case with youth-focused entities, especially those who were editing video in the womb, and Austere Magazine has certainly drawn its line in the sand according to age. From its homepage:

It’s important for us to constantly be in search of the most interesting and intriguing of our youth.

We search far and wide for youthful creators. Entreprenuers [sic] of the rising age. Everyone knows what the the mainstreamers [muggles] are doing, so let’s see what the rest of us are doing.

There is always a noticeable difference between publications and sites focusing on youth made by the young, as opposed to publications and sites who are after the young, yet are made by slightly older individuals. That would be those cynically-minded entities hoping to predatorily feed on the expendable income and fickle attention of the young, but the age gap is always obvious. Youth can not be faked it seems. No amount of trendy fonts slapped on products by unimaginative graphic designers or throwing around cool lingo will fool anyone.

Austere seems a bit all over the place, and I can’t pin down their overall aesthetic just yet. Having an increasingly popular artist like songwriter Dustin Cavazos headline the event makes perfect sense and fits the mission statement. Having a band such as Ella Minnow also perform is a little baffling. This is a group who has been around since the days when Denton Rock City was still a local force, and they weren’t exactly ever that hot, even in 2007. But this unhinged diversity and even lack of focus seems refreshingly organic. This is definitely not a group of 30-something year-old men trying to score the youth vote. For that much, I’m thankful. – Christopher Mosley

“Fever” (Ten Bells Tavern): This 80s-themed night features DJs Mudi and El Macho. The music can often be 80s-themed at Ten Bells anyway, but you may as well get a guarantee on that. Either way, you’re sure to hear some worthwhile selections. – Christopher Mosley

Black Cop/Mace Maniac/Anger House/H Cough Noise/HellWar (1919 Hemphill): Speaking of youth, 1919 Hemphill recently posted a call for new volunteers, which are essential to the operation and longevity of the space:

1919 needs a few more volunteers to help work shows. Our next volunteer meeting is February 4 at 6:00 at 1919. If you are interested in being a volunteer please come to that meeting…mark your calendars!

Attributes of a good 1919 volunteer:
-Availability to work shows at night
-Reliable transportation
-Able to commit to working at least 1 show per month
-Able to attend monthly meeting
-Willing to learn how to open, close, take money, and work the sound at 1919.

Hope to see some new faces on Feb 4!

Now if only I could get a local van rental company to sponsor a documentary where I drive the first round of volunteers to the space, or at least those without adequate “reliable transportation.” That would be TV worth watching, I promise. – Christopher Mosley

DJ Blake Ward (Three Sheets): When DJ Blake Ward says he’ll play “indie dance,” he is not kidding. I was merely expecting an obvious go-to such as Passion Pit, but Ward digs a little deeper than that. I happened to catch him warming up at The Dram earlier this week, and he played everything from a Dr. Dog cover of an Architecture in Helsinki song to Starf*cker . That second track got a group of us discussing Neiman Marcus’s failed diffusion collaboration with Target, but that’s a topic for another day. Hats off to Blake Ward for truth in advertising. – Christopher Mosley

 

SATURDAY

Bad Design/Street Arabs/Lash Outs (Double Wide): Street Arabs painted a pretty colorful picture with this description on their Facebook page: “think the Fab Four if they grew up in the 80s and television re-runs were their babysitter and they did too many mushrooms and were a gang.” Combine that with a humorous cover photo, and they get a gold star.

The Lash Outs blend powerpop and punk seamlessly, bringing a distinctive sound to the local scene. Not to mention, front-person Joey Holbrook is a truly a master guitar shredder. For a preview of what’s to come, check out this agitated performance of “Pain in the Ass” at Double Wide in 2011. — Iris Zubair

Smile Smile/JT Donaldson (The Old Bike Shop): Smile Smile is, in my opinion, one of the better Dallas bands, and though I could probably attempt to explain why that is, I think their music speaks for itself. Check out “Tempo Bledsoe (Woo Hoo Hoo)” or “Beg You To Stay” and see if you agree.

Also on the bill is JT Donaldson, who will be spinning tracks that are somewhat reminiscent of the ambiance during a runway show in Fashion Week. I’m not sure how these two acts are going to find middle ground, but I’m intrigued nonetheless.

Overall, this seems like a good time to me, albeit quite random. My eyes immediately flocked to “have your shoes shined” on the event information. I’ve actually never had my shoes shined ,and I’m not sure if that’s something a lot of women do, but I kind of feel like I’ve been missing out. — Iris Zubair

Frost214/Young Cliff/Savage/Wasted Click Hook & Wasted Click Goo/Ayos Jynx/J Ware (Dan’s Silver Leaf): Chris “AV” Cole will be hosting this hip hop event, and though you may know him as AV The Great, a Southeast Denton-based rapper, he has had a sudden boost in local prominence for something besides his MC abilities: As a K104 host or “radio personality.” That’s a huge step forward for Cole, especially since it’s not always easy for artists who aren’t from the big city proper to garner attention.

Cole has continued his efforts to shed light on some of the less-heard work of his peers through the “Raw & Underground” series of live events, which will include Frost214 this evening. The local rapper currently has a track out entitled, “If I Die 2nite,” which is kind of a Dallas rap version of “My Way.” It also samples “Für Elise,” which continues a classic hip hop tradition of sampling Beethoven composition, as evidenced by everyone from Nas to TruUnsurprisingly, it has been stuck in my head all day. – Christopher Mosley

Shooknite/Air DJ/Ynfynyt Scroll (Zubar): This is Shooknite’s first show back with Track Meet after a long hiatus, and it’s best for the collective that he’s back. As good as the crew can be, it felt a little lopsided in Shook’s absence.

While we’re on the subject, for some reason this week, I’ve been thinking about the true origins of dance music, and whether or not I actually “know anything about techno.” How about you? (H/T to DJ Royal Highnuss for the video.) – Christopher Mosley

SUNDAY

Last Joke/Lord Buffalo/Becoming…/Eccotone (Hailey’s Club): Though I’ve previously expressed my distaste for Hailey’s without a solid reason to be there, this show is actually worth the visit. Last Joke has a mysterious quality to their sound that is so vital and yet, it seems to be somehow lacking from the style of some of their peers. And with songs like “Tom Petty Summer,” they’re clearly a band after my own heart.

Lord Buffalo hails from Austin and incorporates a strangely indigenous aspect to their music, coupled with the gritty vocals of Danny Pruitt. Their genre is hard to define, but I tend to prefer an artist’s description of him or herself anyway. From the Facebook page: “mind bending whisker water.” I have no idea what this, so … see? Much more interesting.

Similarly, on Eccotone’s Facebook page under “About” is this treasure: “I DON’T EVEN KNOW MAN.” The band knows best. — Iris Zubair

 

 

Image: Blake Ward in live performance at Beauty Bar. Photo by Jason Acton.