Get To Know Your DOMAXXIII Nominees: Best Experimental/Avant Garde Act, Best Talent Buyer, Best Local Music Advocate

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Welcome to our 2011 Dallas Observer Music Awards breakdown, wherein we'll use the weeks leading up to the DOMA showcases on Saturday, October 15 (which is also when voting ends), to explain the nominees in each category Today, we look at the nominees in the Best Experimental/Avant Garde and Best Talent Buyer, and Best Local Music Advocate categories and see how each of these nominees got to this point. Read up on them, follow the links to hear their music and, if you're impressed, shoot the band some support in the first of a text vote sent to 61721 (see codes for each band below their names).

Best Experimental/Avant Garde Act

Diamond Age
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Why They're Here: Diamond Age's M. Leer can often be seen standing behind a table with keyboards, pedals and wires piled high, with a guitar strapped around his neck. The sound that results is much bigger than one would expect. Keyboards are looped and drums are sampled, creating beautifully melancholy, and often dark, songs.

Nervous Curtains
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Why They're Here: Sean Kirkpatrick, the man behind Nervous Curtains has come a long way since playing piano for The Paper Chase. He formed a three-piece band with a synth player and a drummer, and has been cranking out dark and quirky tunes ever since.

New Fumes
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Why They're Here:
New Fumes is a relatively new act, but Daniel Huffman, the man behind the moniker, has been behind the scenes for years. He has acted as a touring member with the Flaming Lips and Polyphonic Spree, and performed with Day Of The Double Agent. But his new solo project was birthed from performances in the Laptop Deathmatch series. Now, Huffman performs with just a laptop, guitar, and some projected psychedelic images.

New Science Projects
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Why They're Here: New Science Projects' Dale Jones has created an interesting performance art piece with his bluesy, in-your-face solo project. He uses lots of fake blood, invades your personal space (especially at house shows) and basically causes a huge spectacle. It's awesome.

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Why They're Here: Like several of the other nominees in this category, Peopleodian's live shows are heavy on visual effects. In fact, on their Facebook page, they describe themselves as "a rapidly displayed sequence of images with sound accompaniment." But the band incorporates a non-dancy electronic element to the music, chock full of Nintendo DS samples.

Shiny Around The Edges
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Why They're Here: Shiny Around The Edges might be the most high-brow nominee in this category. After all, Michael Seman, part of the band's husband and wife duo, is a PHD candidate at UNT's Center for Economic Development and Research. No big deal. But when he gets bored with all that, he jams in his sparse, often dark, avant garde band.

Best Talent Buyer

DHS Entertainment (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, The Labb)
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Why They're Here: DHS Entertainment oftentimes will book quirky, forgotten or unknown up-and-coming touring acts. But don't underestimate these shows' importance: Without DHS, Jonathan Richman's quirky Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios performance would never stopped in North Texas.

Granada Theater (Granada Theater)
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Why They're Here: It's hard to say anything bad about the booking at Granada Theater. The longstanding Greenville Avenue theater has seen some of the world's top indie rock, country, blues and electronic acts over the last seven years. It would be rare to meet a North Texas music fan who hasn't seen at least one show at this venue.

Parade Of Flesh (Sons of Hermann Hall, Bryan Street Tavern, Dada)
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Why They're Here: Parade of Flesh's John Iskander has already won "Best Concert Promoter" in the 2011 Dallas Observer Best Of Dallas issue, and for good reason. He has a way of bringing buzzworthy indie acts to town -- and, in many cases, he even books them before they're buzzworthy. His eclectic taste in metal and indie rock brings some of the world's most interesting bands to town.

Spune Productions (Dada, Dan's Silverleaf, Lola's Saloon)
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Why They're Here: Spune Productions' Lance Yocom has been one of the area's top talent buyers for years, not only bringing in big national indie rock acts, but cultivating a group of local up-and-coming local acts. His festivals (see: Wall Of Sound Festival) have drawn thousands, and there's a good chance you've been to a show he's put on.

Tactics Productions (The Loft, South Side Music Hall, Prophet Bar)
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Why They're Here: Over the last few years, Kris Youmans, the man behind Tactics Productions, has earned a reputation for booking some pretty massive shows. Since branching out on his own this year, he's booked The Horrors at Prophet Bar, Airborne Toxic Event at South Side Music Hall, Beirut at Prophet, and Peter Murphy at Prophet. And that's just the beginning, really.

Third String Productions (Prophet Bar, Palladium Ballroom, Trees)
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Why They're Here: Third String Productions has booked some of the area's most well-attended concerts you never knew about. That's because, for a long time, the shows were geared to the mall-punk set, who showed up to TSPR's concerts by the thousands. As those kids are getting older, Third String has recently branched out by booking more electronic and indie rock bands.

Best Local Music Advocate

Chelsea Callahan (The Double Wide, Prekindle)
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Why She's Here: Chelsea Callahan does it all. She DJs, programs music for bars, books and attends shows just about every night of the week. And the annual birthday concerts she books for herself always go to benefit the Genesis Women's Shelter.

Natalie Davila (35 Denton, Majestic Dwelling Of Doom)
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Why She's Here: Natalie Davila is one of Denton's top music advocates thanks to the work she's done with the massive festival to our immediate north, 35 Denton. But she wouldn't have gotten there without the legendary house shows she once booked at the Majestic Dwelling of Doom in Denton.

Josh Florence (City Tavern, Dada, Homegrown Festival)
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Why He's Here: Josh Florence has a knack for finding struggling bars and turning them around with a solid music program, giving local bands a new, respectable place to play in the process. Before him, City Tavern was never considered a place worth playing. Now, Dada is a better place to see a show than ever before. It's all thanks to Florence.

Gutterth Productions (Violitionist Sessions)
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Why They're Here: Denton's Gutterth Productions focuses a lot of attention on Denton acts with both its record label and with its Violitionist video site. The passion that goes into the bands it backs is evident in the detailed and well thought-out videos, and in the company's thorough show and record promotions.

Jeff Liles (Kessler Theater)
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Why He's Here: Jeff Liles is essentially the unofficial historian of all things Dallas music. He's been an advocate in the scene for decades, breathing life to Deep Ellum in the '80s and '90s, and now bringing top acts (including some who would've never played North Texas otherwise) to Oak Cliff's Kessler Theater.

Mark Schectman (The Local Edge)
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Why He's Here: Mark Schectman has breathed new life into The Edge's once-flat local show. Before he was on the air, the Sunday night local slot was just a parade of local nu-metal acts. Schectman sheds light on some of the best local indie, rock and punk talent, and helps make the scene a little more fun in the process.

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Alan Ayo
Alan Ayo

I have zero regrets for the way I programmed the local show back then. I dont think the repeated criticism stings so much as the constant lack of facts in the reporting.Its obvious the D.O. gave the early version of the show one quick listen and never returned, basing all this judgement likely off of their famous inter-office chatter.

I wish I had hung on to the old playlists to show you all! Im pretty sure I left them behind.The core songs of the playlists back then (and Mark knows this as well Im sure) contained just as much Old 97s, Polyphonic, Chomsky, RB Gamblers (played their whole new album one night), BFS, Red Monroe, Centro, Orange, FTM, Backsliders, Forever The Sickest Kids, Boys Named Sue , RADIANT (no less than FOUR Radiant cuts were loaded in, hello Daniel..) as they did the new Drowning Pool, Razorblade Dolls, Harkonnen (long before the Observer wised up to them) and all those other harder-rock acts which take unfair jabs from the D.O.

Ya see, at the time, the show had just migrated from the Eagle, which had shut down and flipped to EZL. My local show directive, as was KDGE's at the time, was to try and provide a mix of rock for both audiences. 

On top of that, my own personal directive was to pick music for the show based only on the submissions that people had bothered to send in, which were in the hundreds per month, and ironically, then pick -some- bands based on who were in the show listings in YOUR pub. Guess I'm just a retarded metalhead who only thought he was providing above-and-beyond support by at least doing that, because the bands were only sometimes reaching out to me to tell me they had gigs coming up.

What Mark did for the show was perfect..for the current times...and went loosely with the sound the Edge tried to shape (after relegating the hard rock audience back over to the re-birthed KEGL). Another reason he deserves to be rewarded: it's obvious he at least spent some time in the beginning of his run chasing down more indie-fied music, because there were so many that I would have gladly played, had they bothered to submit music! And no, I did not take the time to chase those artists down and ask them for music...I was holding down four positions at Clear Channel and raising a son, alone. No regrets, but I applaud Mark's efforts for sure.

A "parade of nu-metal".  Haha. What totally unfair and innaccurate horsepuckey.Been biting my tongue over this issue for almost three years now...what tipped me over was not the shitty, mean jabs that D.O. indie-critics are famous for (im used to it), but rather the I was never asked about in over 2 years of writing for this pub!

That, in itself, is gross negligence in the name of trying to unify the -entire metroplex- local scene. It's sad, and ironic, just how responsible the D.O. seems to be for the fragmented state of the --entire metroplex's-- local music scene by making such a large part of that scene feel unwelcome and injected with passive-aggressive negativity.

No hard feelings. But, just the same, I'm done. I just want to hang out somewhere nicer pastures with happier people.Seems so crazy to think that the metal scene is actually more hospitable than the hipster one, but its true! Haha. Yeah, I know the indie-fied don't believe that for a second. Well, maybe if they actually spent some TIME....nevermind. I'm exhausted on the issue.

Thank you for having me, Observer-elite.

The LMA column was so much fun. (I have two more of them Ill submit, if theyll run them)I'm sure you'll hand it off to someone who's totes hip, for realz.

Special thanks to those who were grown up enough not to treat the scene's 'plex-encompassing populous like a 4th grade playground: Jesse, Merritt, Mark (whom I love and am so proud of), Kelly, Nick, Lance and Eric.


I'm gonna revive the dead horse so I can beat it again. No offense to any of the other deserving nominees, but why Mike Snider is not on the list of best local music advocate remains a mystery. Okay, the horsey is gonna say night-night.

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