Treasure Fingers/Dubbel Dutch/Yeahdef/Sextape (House Of Blues): These Creme De La Creme events pull some pretty big names in the world of dance music, and it’s all the more attention-grabbing when you consider that the shows are free if you’re over 21. In this case, it’s Treasure Fingers, who you may know from a string of big remixes for the likes of Chromeo and Empire of the Sun.
Now there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). You have to RSVP in order to attend, and as a result, you’ll involuntarily be exposed to whatever product that CDLC is subversively promoting. Perhaps you don’t mind, and I imagine if you’re looking for a free party, then you could probably care less what someone is trying to influence you to buy at a later date. Or maybe you do care. Look, I’m just trying to avoid lumping you into the stuffy category of 90’s activism that was so prevalent when I was growing up and RSVPing to my first free parties. Okay, so what are they selling? In this case it’s “all natural” potato chips called “Pop Chips.” Their motto is “love. without the handles.” Hmm. I lovingly call mine “hate handles,” thank you very much. And with your RSVP, you are automatically eligible to win a one-month supply of Pop Chips, however much that may be. Sounds like a lot of love. Or hate, depending on who you are.
[email protected]/Ynfynyt Scroll/DJ Boatdad/1984/Sgt. Boyfriend (Simone Lounge): I did a little investigative research since I noticed this was on the same day as Whatever Wednesdays at Rubber Gloves, which always features at least one and occasionally another of the DJ’s listed here. I’ll let them keep their respective superhero and super-villain identities because I’m a good sport, but I will say that the alternate DJ name craze is completely out-of-hand.
So what did I discover in my extremely crucial-to-the-community sleuthing of Denton Maymester mid-week nightlife? Another noteworthy fact is that this is also at the Simone Lounge, a relative new player on Hickory street. And what fascinatingly illuminating information did I turn up on Simone Lounge after interviewing one of the DJ’s? “It’s just the newest place with cheap ass drinks in town, so naturally it has that allure.” There you have it.
Blackstone Rangers/Kiwi Sisters/Museum Creatures (Zubar): This is a trio of acts that I picture sharing the little space available on one of the peaks rather than a valley in the always inconsistent musical landscape of Dallas proper. It’s very reassuring since it supports what I believe to be the true nature of what goes on night-to-night in this town. As opposed to the really tired narrative – okay, not a narrative, how about a menu that specializes in nothing else but really unhealthy Southern Recipes, endlessly force-fed to the public whether they like it or not? What’s a college freshman supposed to do with some of this stuff? Just repeatedly get called a hipster and then get stuck with folk acts in Southern Living? Or breathless news of the indie rock version of Fergie leaving the indie rock version of The Black Eyed Peas? Please. Surely we can do better.
And apparently we can, especially in the case of gloomy, yet rhythmic synth-act The Kiwi Sisters, who are releasing their debut album For the Young and Fertile Bearers of Fruit through Czech/British label Amdiscs. The imprint has releases by the likes of national (or international, considering the label’s twin headquarters in Prague and London) acts like Jeremy Jay and Coolrunnings, the latter of which performed at this past 35 Conferette. This is helping the project garner necessary attention through the ever prevalent blog system, which even if it has waned in the past few years, still holds a lot of sway over the undercurrents of music culture.
I contacted main Kiwi Sister, Caleb Flores-Guiterrez, to get some more info about his band, which I’ve heard very little about. He says he started the group in 2008, but didn’t record any music until the following year. He started the self-described “collaborative synth-pop act” by relying on a “constantly alternating line-up,” yet he is “responsible for art direction and composition,” so quality control is always on him.
I told Flores-Guiterrez that I hear a lot of dark and obscure 80’s influences in his music, but I didn’t want to annoy him with the name-dropping, or worse, insult him by being totally off. So I just asked him directly which acts he was actually influenced by.
“Diamanda Galas [80’s], Swans [80’s], Throbbing Gristle [70’s], Bruce Haack [60’s], and Martin Dupont [80’s],” he says. So three out of five predominantly 80’s acts. What I was going to say was that I felt that his music had some of the wonderful melodies found in 80’s French act Asylum Party’s records. There is also a nod, however unintentional, to Subsequent Pleasures-era Clan Of Xymox, which is one of their most cherished periods by their legion of legendarily mopey fans. So, the group is shrewdly influenced and brings to mind some great company, however many of us know that the curse of influence can be overbearing. “I am not afraid to admit my true influences; they’ve changed me and ruined me,” says Caleb.
When an artist has such an obvious debt to music of the past, I try to flip the script and see how much they pay attention to those seemingly unappealing modern sounds that some of us shy away from. “Some of my favorite contemporary acts are XIU XIU, Xeno and Oaklander, and Tearist. Those are the only ones I’ve really been affected by lately.” With the exception of Xeno and Oaklander, Kiwi Sisters doesn’t really sound like these groups, however they do all share a certain morose aesthetic.
When I inquired about how he came to work with Amdiscs, it all sounds pretty simple, and I encourage all local bands to give foreign labels a shot. “[We] were looking for a label that would distribute and they were the only ones that took the risk. They’ve been really helpful and accepting of our lunacy. We just shot them an E-mail and they responded and took us in. They’re all very sweet.” Sounds easy enough.
Kiwi Sisters is currently trying to finish a video, but says Caleb, “We have too big of an idea for our budgets.” Well, that’s perfectly understandable and I will be glad to post the results when the happy medium is reached between financing an idea and the idea itself. The most important part seems to be out of the way, that is, that Kiwi Sisters is a Dallas band that actually has an idea, period.
Stoned Men/Not Half Bad/The Nitch Pickens/Ella Norse/Robbo (1919 Hemphill): Part of 1919’s Monthly “Hump Day Holiday” series, where the only criteria is that all the acts are local (they usually have very little else in common). 1919 quietly hosts as many or more touring acts as most DFW venues, so the distinction is an important one. Though it leads to strange bill-fellows, it’s in the interest of the fleeting symbiosis of entertainment to have the sludge-emanating Stoned Men perform with the polite, yet truly bizarre folk act Ella Norse. If you were looking for Carrollton’s tattoo culture, NORML meet-ups, and raw food enthusiasts, go ahead and click on EN’s link. It’s always surprising what you find if you just dig a little.
The Pine Hill Haints/High Tension Wires/Mind Spiders (Rubber Gloves): In one of the strangest videos I’ve ever seen while researching bands, a live snake is randomly caught and held up to the camera on a candid clip of the Pine Hill Saints (around the 4:18 mark), who are seen performing in the background. They are playing at a festival called Old Boogie 280, a multicultural event celebrating the diversity of various parts of Alabama. The group is imploring people to consume catfish at the start of the clip and it seems an ideal setting for an archaically-obsessed band. They are admittedly in love with various “dead” strains of folk and roots music, and in that case, Denton will also be the perfect place for them.
Image from The Kiwi Sisters’ release, “For The Young and Fertile Bearers of Fruit.”