The Best Drummers in North Texas

Categories: Best Of

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Brent Elrod
Stefan González contributes to drumming talents to bands like Unconscious Collective and Orgullo Primitivo

With the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner -- in fact, voting is open right now at musicawardspoll.dallasobserver.com -- we're looking to spend the next several weeks taking the opportunity to highlight some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say that these artists are the "Best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 150 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.

The first DOMA class that we're highlighting includes some of the most respected talent in North Texas: the Best Drummer category. This year's list of nominees for Best Drummer could well teach a masterclass of the instrument. Whatever you're looking for in a drummer, be it the weight of a solid backbeat or a flurry of Animal-esque textural chops, you'll find it with this year's list. Every one of this year's nominees is a force within the local music scene and deserving of their esteemed status within it.


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50 Signs You've Been Partying Too Long in Denton

Categories: Best Of

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Ed Steele
We're not telling you to grow up. We're just saying.

By H. Drew Blackburn, Jaime-Paul Falcon and James Rambin

There ain't much to do in Denton, Texas except party. We're talking about the quintessential college town, a place where the highest percentage of residents are between the ages of 20 and 29. A place where if you didn't end up there because of college, there's a good chance you were born and bred there. We're talking about a place where seven bars are within a literal stone's throw from the major university.

So it's only natural that Dentonites party quite a bit. But how much partying in Denton is too much, and how do you know when you've crossed that line? The first sign is that you partake in seances on the Square murmuring Denton is the greatest city on Earth. But, there are other signs too. 50 of them, by our count.


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The Best North Texas Music Venue Beer Selections

Categories: Best Of

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Jennifer Brandon Elliot
Go to Dan's to see Sarah Jaffe, and get the perk of a great beer list. It's a win-win proposition

Let's face it: Going out to catch live can be about a lot more than just the music. A lot of the time, it can also be about spending time with friends. Or it can be about having a quality drink. (Oftentimes, both.) There is of course a time and a place to have whatever sort of cheap swill to drunk on, but on those nights where you where you really want to have a good beer then there's a certain art to finding the right venue. Fortunately, there are a growing number of music venues -- not just proper clubs, but also bars and restaurants that host frequent shows -- in Dallas and throughout North Texas that have top-notch beer selections. Here are 10 of the best.


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The Best Punk Venues in North Texas

Categories: Best Of

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Mike Brooks
Club Dada, consistently one of the best places to see punk shows in North Texas

Punk venues are a little like snowflakes: Each one is different and they're all uniquely special. Well, okay, maybe that comparison will be lost in this part of the country, but the point remains the same. Which is to say, as far as music venues go punk venues are a special breed, meant more often than not to be temples of a rock-meets-do-it-yourself ethos. The only rule for what makes a good one is that there are no rules.

North Texas is chock full of outstanding punk venues of all different shapes, sizes and levels of inhabitability. Here, then, is our ode to 10 of the best ones.


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The Best North Texas Music Festivals

Categories: Best Of

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Ed Steele
Oaktopia is one of several exciting festivals to happen in North Texas in recent months

Festival season has really gotten into full swing of late in Texas. Those peak summer months have finally given way to (slightly more) seasonable weather, and suddenly the big music events have been coming seemingly every weekend: Oaktopia was two weeks ago, then came Index, and now Austin City Limits will run for two weekends straight down in the capitol city. (And Fun Fun Fun Fest isn't too far off, either.)

So in honor of this glorious time of the year, we've pulled together a list of the best music festivals that North Texas has to offer. From big outdoor stages to overflowing clubs, these our favorites.


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The Best Places in Dallas to Go When You're Stoned

Categories: Best Of

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Robert Hensley via Flickr
The State Fair is coming. Better get baked.

Texas may not be Colorado, but hell, that's never stopped us from being awesome. That's just kind of a rule of thumb for life in general, but it's particularly appropriate when it comes to, you know, marijuana. Getting high. Baked. Stoned. Keyed. Whatever the hell lingo you happen to prefer, point is, there are all sorts of ways to maximize a good high. It may mean sitting around in parents' basement, but it almost certainly means finding some munchies.

In the spirit of brotherhood that binds all noble tokers, we've gone to the trouble of picking out 10 of our favorite spots around Dallas to go while we're high.


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The Best Bar Staffs in Dallas

Categories: Best Of

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Dallas Observer
The Dram made our list of the best bar staffs in Dallas
When it comes to live music venues, Dallas has polychromatic shades of bar staffs, from its draft-pouring, quietly rustic bartenders to the sophisticated mixologists with novel ways of concocting a drink. When you frequent a venue often enough, it's nice to be remembered. This could very well mean you need to take 12 urgent steps out of the bar and onto sobriety, but either way, you're memorable.

This is a city that prides itself in its great service and southern hospitality, so narrowing down the best bar staff is not easy. Nobody wants to spend half of a show in line at a bar, especially when just trying to close out, so efficiency is key. The innate quality of friendliness, overall knowledge, at least partial patience, and the strength to be unbiased in the face of patrons' hotness or spending potential, have all been taken into account.

Excluding theaters and arenas -- because you just get your overpriced drink and rush back from intermission -- the best bar staff in live music venues in Dallas are:

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7 North Texas Bands Shaping American Hardcore Music

Categories: Best Of

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Gray Muncy
Vulgar Display are a North Texas hardcore band whose influence is felt across the country

With all of the space given by the local press to the nationwide impact of North Texas musicians on a variety of genres, it's shocking that so little has been written about the area's influence on the American hardcore scene. For a musical style that's all too often written off as one-dimensional, it's undeniable that North Texas has one of the most diverse and influential hardcore scenes in the nation.

The past few years have seen area bands releasing highly respected recordings and touring all over the world on a scale largely unmatched by any other local subgenre. Here are seven just such bands that are leading the pack of North Texas' hardcore surge.

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10 North Texas Albums You Should Be Excited About This Fall

Categories: Best Of

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Jimmy Alford
Pageantry are prepping the release of their new album, "Spine," for the fall of 2014
Fall may be a sad time for some folks. For instance, those who have to go back to school. There are also those who relish the oppressive heat of the summer (we swear, it was milder than normal this year!). But for the rest of us, the fall is something to be excited about. It's especially true for music lovers: the fall is album release season, meaning not only lots of new records to look forward to but also every band and their brothers going on tour.

So with September under way and the prospect of loads of new music to look forward to, we went local with things and rounded up 10 albums from Dallas and the surrounding area that should have us all excited for the next few months.

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The Best Sunday Fun Days in Dallas

Categories: Best Of

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Catherine Downes
If you're not sitting in the bed of a pickup, it's probably not a Fun Day

And on the seventh day, God created Fun Day. Well, okay, maybe not, but really that should have been the case. After all, what better way is there to give the workweek ahead a defiant middle finger than to spend all of Sunday drinking irresponsibly? Damn be the consequences, we say; our temple of worship bows to the unholy trinity of beer, shots and karaoke.

Like any red-blooded Americans, we start planning our weekend drinking on Wednesdays (at least), and this weekend is a special one for those who love the Sunday Fun Day: it's Labor Day weekend, meaning Monday is a vacation day. So in honor of this glorious occasion, here are the 10 best places in Dallas to celebrate the Day of Fun.


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