St. Vincent Named Best Album of 2014 By The Guardian

Categories: News

Rhombi Survivor
St. Vincent starred at Austin City Limits in October
We know what you're thinking: "Stop writing about St. Vincent." "She doesn't live in Dallas." She's not even from here." Well blah, blah, blah. Annie Clark cut her teeth as a musician here in North Texas, she identifies as being from here and even still splits her time between here and New York, where she lives these days and where her band is based. And we couldn't be prouder of everything she's done -- especially in 2014.

With the year drawing to the close, there's suddenly plenty to say about St. Vincent all over again. That's because the annual onslaught of high-falutin' end-of-year honors are being rolled out, and not surprisingly the one-time Polyphonic Spree member has featured prominently all over the place.

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Fishboy Will Act Out An Elephant This Weekend with Costumes at a Book Store

Categories: Local Music

Dave Koen
Fishboy should be pulling out all the props for the "An Elephant" release party this Sunday
How's this for an album release party? A band records a concept album about an elephant that was killed by Thomas Edison, and releases an accompanying "wordless graphic novel" that helps fill out the poor creature's story. The band then decides to celebrate the release not at, you know, a concert venue, but inside of a bookstore. Certain scenes will be acted out from the story. And there will be costumes involved.

The first thing you'd probably say would be, "It must be happening in Denton." And you would be right. More specifically, it's happening at Recycled Books and Records this Sunday, and the band behind it all is Fishboy. It may just be the funnest thing happening in North Texas all weekend.

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The Best North Texas Blues Acts

Categories: Best Of

Andrew Shepherd
Jonathan Tyler leads the pack in the Best North Texas Blues Acts

Well, shucks. The Dallas Observer Music Awards are over. It was fun while they lasted, and now, a few days removed, we're still recovering. We spent the past couple months highlighting some of the awesome North Texas artists that were nominated for this year's awards in the run-up to the ceremony, which took place this past Tuesday at Granada Theater.

But even thought the DOMAs are over, we haven't forgotten about the nominees. So we're forging ahead and continuing to highlight all the nominees. This morning: the Best North Texas Blues Acts. This fine state is steeped in the blues, so the talent pool is bound to be a deep one.

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For Rip Rowan, the Old 97's Hitchhike to Rhome Survives Because It's All About North Texas

Categories: Columns

Jeff Scroggins
A little older, a little wiser, but still all about North Texas: the Old 97's in the studio in 2013

By Rip Rowan

Rip Rowan is a Dallas producer and engineer whose credits include artists like the Old 97s, the Deathray Davies, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Fate Lions and Dovetail. He also performs on keyboards and drums (sometimes at the same time) with his indie singer-songwriter wife, Vanessa Peters and other local Dallas artists. This year, Rowan oversaw the remastering for Old 97's debut Hitchhike to Rhome for its 20th anniversary.

"Old bands know it's impossible to make a perfect album. But young bands have enough naivety to think they just might pull it off."

So wrote Old 97's guitarist Ken Bethea on September 11, 2014 for the Dallas Observer. Ken was speaking, of course, about the Toadies. But his quote applies equally well to the Old 97's debut album, Hitchhike to Rhome.

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The Best Concerts In Dallas This Weekend, 12/12-12/14

Categories: Previews

Courtesy the artist
Hot damn! Fleetwood Mac is back and they're bringing Christine McVie with them

FACT: Thunder only happens when it's raining; players only love you when they're playing. These are very true words from none other than Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac. You can see them this weekend at the American Airlines Center. there are a few other cool shows in Dallas this weekend as well. RL Grime does South Side Music Hall and TOKiMONSTA heads over to Trees. Kanye's frequent collaborator and cousin, The World Famous Tony Williams has a set at Epocha and Elle Varner has a show at the House of Blues. Snot plays an ultra rare show at Trees and Three Links hosts a show with a handful of legendary local punk bands.

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The Biggest Dallas Concert Shitshows of 2014

Categories: Best Of

Mike Brooks
Perfect Pussy got all worked up at Three Links over the summer

It's that time of the season: Time to stop and stock of all the great things we've accomplished in the past year, all the fun we've had and all the great shows we've seen. You know, end-of-the-year listicle season. But enough with all the cuddly bullshit. The end of the year more often a good reason to stop and consider everything we've fucked up lately, which can be a good and cathartic thing to do. It's also an excuse to have some fun.

The other day, we highlighted our favorite Dallas concerts from throughout 2014. Needless to say, we think there were some pretty amazing shows on the list. But there are plenty that we'll be remembering from this year for all the wrong reasons: the meltdowns, the cancelations, the bro country. So let's do this thing: the biggest shitshows of 2014.

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Ms. Lauryn Hill Killed it Last Night at South Side Ballroom

Categories: Last Night

Erik Hess
Lauryn Hill, pictured in Minneapolis earlier this year, didn't disappoint in Dallas Wednesday night
Ms. Lauryn Hill
South Side Ballroom, Dallas
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Going into last night's show at South Side Ballroom, no one had any clue what to expect from Ms. Lauryn Hill. There's no denying HIll's place as one of the most formative female R&B and hip-hop artists in history, but she's got a spotty past as a performer. Sometimes, she's absolutely flawless. Others, she refuses to perform or unenthusiastically slogs through the set. Earlier legs of Hill's current tour were panned by critics across the globe, especially one disastrous performance in London earlier this year.

Hill had abruptly postponed this very same show once before, it having originally been scheduled for November 14, without apology. When the show rescheduled, the news was almost universally met with some version of, "Here's hoping she shows up on time." The doors to South Side opened at 8:30, and by 10 p.m. people in the audience were clearly wondering where the hell she was.

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The Black Dotz Draw on Years of Experience for a Burst of Inspiration on Hallucination Station

Categories: Interviews

Brent Frishman
The Black Dotz bringing their five-piece rhythmic assault to the Double Wide recently

Rungs of records balance on every flat surface, coils of electronic cables stretch every which way, threatening to snatch at your ankles. A studio's worth of musical gadgetry frames the room, flirting with certain free fall. But I'm more concerned with what hangs on the wall. I try to shake them but I can't. Those eyes, they track you like magnets, then latch on with the weight of an anchor. There he is, rock-god Big Brother, the ever present Nick Cave. The weathered poster of the icon acts like a motivational placard here in Wanz Dover's bedroom. It might as well read "Hang in There!"

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Cashmir Wants to Own the Dallas Rap Game in 2015

Categories: Interviews

Cashmir on Facebook
Cashmir is stepping out from the shadow of Brain Gang with "Prodigy"
Brain Gang, Dallas' premier rap collective, has received a lot of press for their rowdy presence, charisma and ambition. Boasting eight members, its ranks were loaded with talent and the drive to make a real impact in the music world. 2014 has been a banner year for members of the collective at the solo level. Enough has already been written about Blue, the Misfit and his rise to prominence both locally and nationally. While Blue came away with two Dallas Observer Music Awards trophies last night, one of his Brain Gang compatriots received his first DOMA nomination and may well make 2015 his year.

23-year-old Cashmir is ready to step out into his own. Despite not having an official release out until recently, he was up for the Best New Act at the DOMAs on Tuesday night. I say until "recently" because Cashmir just celebrated the release of his debut mixtape, Prodigy, on November 24. On Prodigy, Cashmir has carved out his own identity on no uncertain terms.

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Mark Abuzzahab is Helping KXT Grow Up

Categories: Columns

Will Von Bolton
Somebody's Darling join the festivities at KXT's fifth anniversary party tonight
Since debuting five years ago, 91.7 FM KKXT has been one of the city's most contentious radio stations. For in-the-know music snobs, the station wasn't "indie" enough. For middle-of-the-road music listeners, KXT was playing too much weird shit. But then we all remembered what our garbage commercial radio alternatives were, and appreciated KXT for its quirky, if imperfect, selection of rock, indie and local music.

Gradually, the station started to get better, due in large part to the hiring of program manager Mark Abuzzahab. Abuzzahab is a veteran of this type of radio, having worked at Austin's KSGR and a ClearChannel station in Boulder, Colorado. When Abuzzahab was hired in 2011, he viewed the criticism of KXT as an encouraging sign of the station's success. In an interview with former Observer music editor Pete Freedman, Abuzzahab said "I think the best sign there is the fact that people feel so much ownership over it."

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