J. Rhodes/Khleo Thomas/B. Hardy (House of Blues): Dick Sullivan wrote a stellar review of J. Rhodes’ album, Oak Cliff Huxtable, a few months back and pretty much sums up everything great about this local rapper.
Meanwhile, Khleo Thomas has one of those familiar faces that you can’t quite put a name to at first. That is, until you remember that you saw him star opposite Shia Labeouf in the Disney movie Holes as the adorable and illiterate Zero. Cut to 2012, where Thomas is releasing songs like “So Many Girls” and “Lights Out” and he reminds us “It’s time to get grown and sexy.” I’ve especially enjoyed reading the comments to his YouTube videos, my favorite being, “Dayuum puberty hit u hard last time i saw you was in holes good movie 0_o.”
Speaking of throwbacks, B. Hardy’s sound is reminiscent of the Houstonians Paul Wall and Mike Jones. But, this local MC is all about Dallas and commands the stage as his alter-ego Rap-Bot 5000. I wish somebody in his publicity team would recognize the genius of that name as opposed to B. Hardy, but I digress. — Iris Zubair
“A Spune Christmas” with The Cush/The Eastern Sea/Bethan/Eric Harvey of Spoon (The Loft): Married duo Burette and Gabrielle Douglas once fronted DFW’s Buck Jones, a “noise pop” band, back in the mid-to-late ’90s, before moving all the way to Vermont and creating The Cush. Ultimately, they ended up right back in Fort Worth, proving you can take the the Texan to Vermont, but you can’t make Vermontonian Texan. Austin favorites The Eastern Sea bring holiday indie folk rock from The Eastern Sea’s First Christmas and former Dentonite Bethan has some melodramatic winter music to share from her Bethan Presents Christmas effort. I’ll mostly be looking forward to Eric Harvey’s set, especially since his Lake Disappointment album ended up being one of my favorite listens of 2012. This is surprising, considering I could really care less if his other project Spoon ever made another record. — Iris Zubair
The Octopus Project/A.M.P./Daniel Hart (Trees): The true Octopus Project fan could probably make a convincing argument that the group’s effort is more substance than spectacle, and I would be glad to hear that out. What I know of the group is that their live show is more compelling than their records, and that’s not a bad position to be in considering how bands make money in 2012. After initially hearing the group when they first started playing out, I ignored them as festival filler for a number of years following. But when I happened upon their set in Austin this past November, it was surprisingly more interesting than I expected. They are worth seeing once, and they should get a little credit for incorporating electronics into their music far ahead of most pedestrian indie rock acts. – Christopher Mosley
Low Times/New Science Projects/Eets Feats/Atomic Tanlines (Macaroni Island): I’m happy to report (just kidding, I’m never happy to report anything) that I made it out to Macaroni Island last weekend and it’s everything a house venue should not be: Clean, organized, well-maintained, and with available water for all. Since the sensible head of Gutterth Records and Violitionist lives there, I blamed him. A “Briggs-ian sterility,” I’ve been calling it. At least we know the macaroni will be fresh and unspoiled. Hopefully the very convincing punk of the Atomic Tanlines can knock some of that straight-lacedness off-balance. – Christopher Mosley
Discipline (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): Note: An image from Natural Born Killers was used as the flier art for this tagteam DJ night. Take what you will from that. – Christopher Mosley
Bill Converse/Rick Simpson/Ynfynyt Scroll/Air Deejay (Zubar): At one time Zubar was the hub for any significant dance-related event in Dallas, but the booking has been inconsistent there since the late ’00s. So it’s encouraging to see a strong lineup here again, especially with an “all vinyl” theme. I’m no purist, but that just changes the nature of the selecting. It has much more of an arms race feel.
Austin’s Bill Converse is a respected Texas DJ with ties to Michigan’s especially important early 90s techno culture. You can listen to a complete set from Converse at the sadly defunct Backspin Records in Austin, by going here. The mix has improved a rather dull morning and includes artists such as Derrick Carter and the lesser known Suburban Knight. – Christopher Mosley
Turbo Fruits/PVC Street Gang/Sealion/Savage and the Big Beat (Club Dada): To find out a list of “things” that Turbo Fruits apparently likes, check this out. Highlights include “5. turkey hunting, 12. joints, and 20. turnin’ it up really loud.” There are others I found amusing, but for the sake of modesty, I won’t quote those. Savage the Big Beat brings … the beat, Sealion attempts to bring the melodic punk, and PVC Street Gang brings the self-proclaimed “face-rock.” Not sure what that is, but it sounds heavy. — Iris Zubair
“A Spune Christmas” with Strange Towers/Air Review/Chambers/Robert Gomez/Biographies/Mary Walker (Dan’s Silver Leaf): Something smells fishy about this show. Let’s see. Former Record Hop-guitarist Scott Porter performs in Strange Towers and was on the committee for Rock Lottery 11 with myself, 35D’s Natalie Davila, and Glen Farris, who works for Spune. As a group, we were the most corrupt mafia of a charity-organizing committee that Denton has ever seen. We got all our drinks comped. We aggressively hit on everyone at every bar, regardless of gender, age, or any other factors. We slipped cash into Kevin Roden’s pocket at every chance we got. Absolute monsters. So, now Porter’s Strange Towers is headlining a Spune event. I see. Guess I missed out on whispering into Farris’s ear about how my DJ set would have “totally killed” at his Christmas show. Merry Christmas, jerks. – Christopher Mosley
Wreckamic/Renzo/Dewun Music (Blue Moon Bar and Grill in Lewisville): North Texas rapper Wreckamic returns with a followup to his 2010 release, Wreck-A-Mic Is…Grizzly Bear Adams, with an equally ursusi-an themed mixtape, Return of the Grizzly. You can get all the details on the chops, breaks, and edits here, which include everything from Trina to Malcolm Mclaren. I look forward to blindly picking this release apart reference-by-reference, though this still might be the all-time undisputed leader of bear-themed rap art. – Christopher Mosley
Ralph White/D.H. Phillips/Warren Jackson Hearne (Smoke and Mirrors Gallery): It appears that at least one artist will be bringing it down a little bit for this special show, which features a trio of singer-songwriters who have also played with full bands in genres as diverse as eclectic bluegrass and sludge rock. For those unfamiliar with the somewhat introverted singer, D.H. Phillips leads True Widow and I would not want a single fan to overlook this rare solo performance. – Christopher Mosley
Charlie Robison/Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward/Statesboro Revue (Granada): Charlie Robison got divorced from the lead singer of The Dixie Chicks and most of us haven’t been able to think of a single interesting thing to say about him since. Or maybe that’s just me. Statesboro Revue add some soul to the night in one of their many, many tour stops. According to their site, they average more than 250 a year “across the country while traveling in a nasty van, these guys epidomize what rock n roll is all about… Real, rowdy, and raw.” Sic. It’s also apparently rock n’ roll to skip out on Autocorrect. — Iris Zubair
Lollipop Shoppe (Double Wide): Featuring DJs Joey Glitz, Gabriel, and Tigerbee, with a live performance by Sir Name and the Janes. The invite says, “DRESS TO DEPRESS.” Noted. – Christopher Mosley
Ian Moore/Ronnie Fauss (Kessler): Acoustic shows can be quite hit or miss, so you never really know what you’re going to get. Luckily, Ian Moore has pretty much made a living going acoustic so he excels in this environment. That being said, I have a bone to pick with Moore’s version of “You’re A Big Girl Now,” which just so happens to be my favorite Dylan song of all time. Compare it to the original and judge for yourself. I’m not exactly sold. In my search, I also found My Morning Jacket’s cover and thought it was brilliant, so see? I’m not even being biased. — Iris Zubair
Innards/New Lands/Woozy/Greyscale/Father Figure (1919 Hemphill): One of these acts (Father Figure) was described as “Kind of like if a Bob Ross painting became a band,” which is unfair to Bob Ross and the band itself because that sets astronomical expectations and gives me absolutely no idea of what this group actually sounds like. Help me out, guys. Do you know how hard it is to describe music? So I checked out their Bandcamp page and I see the following tags:
punk hardcore scrap metal screamo stupid Denton
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. I recommend the forty-second song, “Dreams.” It’s hilarious. The group’s cover art includes a picture of Gumby, because apparently ruining only one of my childhood heroes with this show wasn’t enough. – Christopher Mosley
O’Death, The World/Inferno Friendship Society (Club Dada): Brooklyn natives O’Death were forced to take a hiatus in 2009 after drummer David Rogers-Berry underwent chemotherapy for Osteosarcoma. They came back last year with Outside, a sound that reflects their new outlook on life post Rogers-Berry’s actual death scare. I can’t say I’m a huge fan, but “Bugs” is a decent track if I have to choose. — Iris Zubair
Image: The ever-present label-head and show-attendee, Michael Briggs, front and center at Dan’s Silver Leaf, in Fall of 2012. Photo by Andi Harman.