Our own Liz Johnstone already mentioned the Will Johnson and Menomena shows on FrontBurner, but I did want to give a second reminder of those events, along with one more personal favorite, here on our arts blog.
The Will Johnson event starts at 8 pm and takes place at the Texas Theatre this evening. As Liz mentioned, do check out Dick Sullivan’s review of Johnson’s newest record, Scorpion. In it, Sullivan discusses the troublesome quality of lazy genre nomenclature, specifically “alt-country,” and turns in this profound line:
Yet, in 2012, the margins have moved, and Centro-matic lands somewhere closer to the center of what discerning folk simply call popular music.
This lands nicely under the broad umbrella of FrontRow’s approach to classification, whether it’s trap music or grindcore. Sullivan goes on to say the album is “not remarkable,” but “notable.” You have to love that nuance.
Next up is Menomena at the Granada, which was also mentioned on FrontBurner and is in conjunction with the theatre’s eighth anniversary in its current and second incarnation as a music venue. Show up early for Team Tomb, a local group formerly known as Coves. Somewhat confusing, but the band is on the better end of upbeat and accessible North Texas acts.
Finally, there is Merchandise at Rubber Gloves, who will be joined by the semi-local hardcore act, Wiccans. Wiccans now has at least two members living in Austin, singer Adam Cahoon and bassist Harpal Assi, so I hesitate to call them a local act. Wondering how the band geographically views itself now, I contacted Cahoon by phone. Unsurprisingly, he was stuck in traffic with Assi on 35E, traveling north from Austin:
FrontRow: Do you consider yourself an Austin act now? Or still a Denton act?
Adam Cahoon: Denton. Three-out-of-five tips the scale. Denton is home for this band; I can tell.
FR: That sucks.
AC: Is that a riddle? Most of the time people just put “Austin” on the flier anyway.
FR: Why do you think that is?
AC: That’s the only place in Texas people notice.
FR: What if someone calls you a “poser” for not being where you say you’re from? What if they throw a beer can at you?
AC: That happens every show.
Wiccans just released a new album last month on Brooklyn’s Katorga Works label entitled Field II. The imprint actually gives away the entire record for free if you don’t feel like ordering the limited-edition vinyl, and you can find that link on the page.
The last time Merchandise performed in Denton, it was at the slightly more exclusive Lion’s Den, and as much as I love house shows, I’m glad to see them in a proper venue this time around. I had high praise for the band at the time, calling their songs “a bare and attractive exercise in melodrama.” Nothing has changed, so go see them. The Young also perform.
One thing that is different about this Merchandise show is that Vulgar Fashion won’t be performing this time around. Take some time to watch that group’s Violitionist Session if you have yet to do so. The included videos are a rare chance to hear the details that are sometimes delightfully blown out in the live show, and there is also an entertaining interview with the group, conducted by New Science Projects’ Dale Jones. He slips on a banana peel right away by asking the group the following question:
“How did you develop your retro sound?”
They respond appropriately. In various public comments over the years, Jones has not appeared to be the most sympathetic character towards music writers, and so it’s encouraging to see him try his hand at it. Looked easy, huh, Dale? I also find it intriguing that a man who has often played a modern take on acoustic folk and blues music is calling Vulgar Fashion “retro,” but that’s another discussion entirely. Enjoy your evening.