What the Hell is a Ragonk-a-Thon, and Why Are We So Excited for It?

Categories: Local Music

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Mike Brooks
Sealion get to make their Trees debut thanks to T.C. Flemming's misfortune
If you look up the word "Ragonk" in the dictionary, well, you won't get very far. That's because Ragonk isn't actually a word. In truth, it's more of a meme. So what the hell is up with Trees hosting a concert this weekend (and one with a pretty damn good local lineup) called "Ragonk-a-Thon?" Well, it's a joke. Kind of. And it all stems back to one fateful miscue by local sports newscaster T.C. Flemming from Sportsradio 1310 FM The Ticket. Local music, you see, is a flat circle.

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Denton's Pansy Moon Bring Classical Chaos to Their Avant Pop

Categories: Local Music

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Jordan Kusel
Pansy Moon's full ensemble, ready to make you feel pleasantly weirded out

Bands with a classically trained composer often add an element of avant-garde flair to the mix. Well, Pansy Moon has four of them, and it's readily apparent in the conceptual and nontraditional pieces of work they generate.

By juggling melodic motifs, contiguous story arcs and thoughtful themes, the group creates a brand of avant-pop that transcends the possibilities of conventional songwriting. They don't just plan out songs, they map out entire albums with reprisals and callbacks. With a six-piece line-up and a bevy of instruments at their disposal, the members use their acumen for composition to the fullest with complex and fulfilling arrangements.


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McKinney's Shaka Plays Crazy, Vomit-Fueled Punky Reggae

Categories: Local Music

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courtesy of Shaka's Facebook page
Shaka atop the roof of Wit's End in Dallas.

Legends come in many forms. For Shaka, it came as a three-round rifle burst of projectile vomit. It's the kind of spectacle that stuns bar patrons and catapults you from a random out-of-town band directly to cult status. That level of infamy that causes a venue to beg you to come back every time you're in town. It may not be a glorious path to success, but damn if they don't have a good time every second of the way.

But more on that later. Hailing from McKinney, Shaka is a three-piece "punky reggae" act that, as you might have already guessed, puts on monstrously outrageous shows. After five years since their last release, the band is putting out four new tracks tomorrow as a step toward a new full-length album. Though they're often careening through the live circuit, they're slated to have one of their best years ever as they press a true EP and head back on the road.

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8 Reasons Dallas Hip-Hop Is Better Than Houston's

Categories: Local Music

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Mike Brooks
Peace, Houston. Blue, the Misfit and Dallas got your ass, son

Dallas and Houston have a bit of a rivalry going on. Montrose vs. Lower Greenville. Texans vs. Cowboys. Bla vs. Bla. Blah Blah. Who Cares vs. *Fart Noise*. Let's get to the real matters of substance, the pressing questions, the logical debates. Simply put: Which city has a better hip-hop scene?

If you're considering the whole span of history, you'd probably have to hand it to the swamp city covered in a layer of smog. But, in 2015, we'll give it to the (sort-of) home of the Dallas Cowboys. We've been slept on for far too long, and even Complex seems to agree, because they named us the most underrated scene not too long ago. So, without further ado, here are 8 reasons why Dallas' hip-hop scene is superior:


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Claire Morales Mines Her Inner Perfectionist on "Prettier"

Categories: Local Music

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Andrea Younes
Claire Morales and her band. Left to right, Ryan Williams, Russ Connell and Claire Morales.

Amid the clatter of diner plates, Claire Morales methodically eviscerates her waffle into equal-sized square morsels, explaining that she's trying to be a "cutting ahead" waffle person instead of a "cut as you go" type. As a graphic designer by trade, it's definitely not the strangest habit she could have adopted as a result. Reluctantly, though, the young singer admits that she might just end up being a figure-it-out-as-you-go type, coming to terms with the perfection in imperfection.

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Bobby Sessions Confronts Police Brutality on "Black America"

Categories: Local Music

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Screenshot of "Passion"
A salute to civil disobedience: Bobby Sessions' "Black America" drops on MLK Day

Google "police kill unarmed black man" and it garners about 3,560,000 results in 0.38 seconds. This is an issue that further divides America. Police are more or less one of the top three most trusted professions in the country. There are those who trust the police force unquestionably and unconditionally, that tend to err in the thought process that these unarmed citizens must have something to earn their deaths, and there are those who recognize the science racial bias and prejudiced rooted in science. What was once bubbling under the surface in America is beginning to boil over. We've reached a tipping point, and Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions is ready to confront that fact head on.


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Old Potion Endured Lineup Changes and Growing Pains to Release Magnetism

Categories: Local Music

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Randy Johnson
The folks of Old Potion have been brewing up something good for a while now. Left to Right, Claire Morales, Philip Gage, Jesse Gage, Dylan Kellam

Old Potion's been on quite an odyssey to get their first record made. The band formed in 2010 under a different line-up, and murmurs of releasing an EP began in 2012. In 2013 the band successfully crowdfunded the money to make the album, but the members of the band at the time all grew distant and the project nearly fizzled into nothingness.

But through the fire and through the flames comes the folk(ish) four-track Magnetism, recorded with new personnel and led by lead guitarist and vocalist Dylan Kellman. The current roster is a quasi-supergroup made up of members of other Denton bands who, god willing, made damn sure this album happened. The album's release show this Saturday will be a cathartic close in the band's current chapter, paving the way for the new songs they've already got drafted.

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Hand Drawn Records Makes It Easier for Bands to Sell Vinyl with New Record-Pressing Service

Categories: Local Music

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courtesy of Brooke Adams
Hand Drawn Records is now pressing their own fresh, local vinyl.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: vinyl is making a comeback. Physical medium, tactile experience? High fidelity? John Cusack? Well, what you haven't heard is that Hand Drawn Records is looking to provide Dallas with a sought-after service: convenient record pressing for local artists.

Dustin Blocker and Alex Cushing have teamed up to create Hand Drawn Pressing, Dallas' premiere record pressing storefront. By providing a no-nonsense interface and personal interaction, Blocker is able to offer competitively priced record pressing to the DFW area so local bands can hear their own albums when the needle drops. As a former musician, Blocker knows the pitfalls of trying to get a record pressed and wants to use Hand Drawn Pressing to put a community spin on local vinyl.

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Dallas Metal Band Wo Fat Get Unlikely NPR Nod for The Conjuring

Categories: Local Music

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Wo Fat on Facebook
Somewhere under all that hair beats the funky heart of Wo Fat

Since 2006, Dallas-based metal band Wo Fat has seared ears around the globe. Make no mistake: This trio, consisting of Kent Stump, Tim Wilson and Michael Walter, isn't offering up simple hard-rock that's just hard enough to be considered metal. According to the group's Facebook page, "Psychedelic Doom" is how it likes to refer to its brand of stoner rock. And we aren't ones to disagree with them. In fact, as 2014 steamrolled to an end, many fans, metalheads and notable media outlets made sure to praise the band and its latest album, The Conjuring, for being something far more epic than a mere metal record.

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Five Dallas Punk Bands to Watch in 2015

Categories: Local Music

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Courtesy the artist
Slimy Member has the "gross band name" category on lockdown

2014 has been a pretty good year for Dallas music. It's a bit of a cliche for the members of any music community to say their scene is "on the rise," but around here it's pretty hard to argue with. Bands have signed to labels, venues have opened, festivals have flourished and, perhaps most importantly, Deep Ellum is the strongest it's been in a decade.

But as the year winds down, it's time to look ahead to 2015 -- and for those plugged into the punk scene in North Texas, there are no shortage of bands to be excited about it. Here are five such artists that we have a good feeling about for next year.


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