From Pitchfork to the New York Times, 5 Local (or Formerly Local) Bands Earning Big Buzz

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a second to mention some of the high-profile places that some of our local musicians have been appearing lately, or in one case, a high profile person who appeared with them. This will include both current acts, as well as bands who were savvy enough to skidaddle on out of here. You’ll notice a theme, and it’s that a lot of the folks from these various projects were playing heavily in the North Texas underground circuit several years ago.  This activity often took place at house parties and the like. Some criticized these musicians for playing with the same acts every weekend and not expanding outside of their social circles or venues in which they felt most comfortable. Most of these events took place in Denton or Fort Worth, as opposed to Dallas proper. In light of some of these recent events, that kind of criticism now seems especially hollow, suggesting that some local music commentators don’t entirely understand how music scenes can thrive outside of designated areas where bands were “supposed” to make their name. In the end, it appears as if these musicians all ended up landing just fine.

Parquet Courts

First off, Parquet Courts includes several former area musicians, such as Andrew Savage and Austin Brown. The group continues to garner shockingly mainstream praise from such hoary publications as the New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine. Both pieces are extremely thoughtful, though they seem more preoccupied with the writer’s unanswered feelings regarding the nineties than the work at hand. The New York Times piece even went so far as to include a giant image of the cover art to Pavement’s “Summer Babe” single. They even threw in the Fall for good measure. I think a quick mention is good enough, but what do I know?

I think the comparisons are a bit overblown. Having seen all three bands live multiple times since 1997 or so, Parquet Courts seem far more concerned with being a well-rehearsed live act than the other two ever did. You can hear the group’s new EP, entitled Tally All the Things That You Broke, here.

Tiger Hatchery

Next up is the incredible news that a local saxophonist and former Denton bassist will actually be releasing an album on the enormously influential jazz label ESP-DiskMike Forbes (sax) is often seen performing with Shiny Around the Edges, and Andrew Scott Young (bass) joins him in the Chicago-based free jazz trio called Tiger Hatchery. Drummer Ben Billington rounds out the group, and their extremely fierce style might convert a music fan or two to come around to the most extreme fringes of jazz.

Forbes moved back to North Texas after a fruitful stint in Chicago, while his rhythm section still resides in Illinois. Tiger Hatchery’s debut for ESP is called Sun Worship and will be released on November 19th. ESP-Disk has served as a home to such towering jazz figures as Fort Worth’s Ornette ColemanAlbert Ayler, and Sun Ra. The label was also key to the development of especially unconventional rock acts, such as the Fugs, the Godz, and the Holy Modal Rounders, who each made a unique and lasting impact on the way music sounds today.


Next week’s CMJ festival in New York will see the live debut of Ejecta, who will perform at the Dallas-based Gorilla vs Bear’sunofficial showcase.” Ejecta is the most recent project from former Denton and Oak Cliff-resident, Leanne Macomber, of Fight Bite, Neon Indian, and Christian! Teenage Runaway. Now based in New York, she is joined by producer and musician, Joel Ford, of Tiger City and Airbird, and who has done studio time and/or played with Oneohtrix Point Never, Autre Ne Veut, and Ford & Lopatin.

Ejecta’s music is probably the most produced sound for which Macomber has strived thus far and the accompanying album art is proportionately the least safe for work, which stands in contrast to the accessibility of the music. A few singles have already been released, but the duo’s first full-length will be out November 4th on Driftless Recordings. Happy Death, a label run by 4AD’s Peter Darlington, will release the record overseas. Full disclosure: Like some of the musicians listed above, I know Macomber some and helped write Ejecta’s bio. I was neither paid nor credited. I’m just a really nice person.

Dirty Rotten Skoundrelz

Speaking of not safe for work, Dallas rap act Dirty Rotten Skoundrelz released a video for their track “Jordans Under Dickies.” The great Bun B of UGK is featured in the clip as well as on the recording. It’s a piece of music that finds DRS reveling in their Southern hip hop lineage, which the always with-it, Too Fresh Productions blog pointed out yesterday. The Dallas-centric video especially spotlights Centre, a boutique located in Mockingbird Station. I bought my favorite garment displaying my civic pride in a booth in front of the shop at last year’s “Locals: Homegrown Apparel & Accessory Show.” That’s all I’m going to say, because I’m tired of people trying to wear the same dress to the dance.

Pinkish Black

Finally, Pinkish Black received another positive review from Pitchfork earlier this month, though I still take issue with the genre-related confusion over the band’s work:

Keyboardist and vocalist Daron Beck and drummer Jon Teague flip the idea of what metal can be by employing aggression and tense space without guitars, “riffs” in the traditional sense, or anything in the traditional metal sense, really.

Perhaps they are “flipping the idea of what metal can be,” because they are not a metal act. They must also be flipping the idea of what RnB can be by the same token. Though it has served the band well, it must be a little bit frustrating.

Photo: Parquet Courts performing on the pedestrian bridge in Austin, SXSW 2013. Credit: Andi Harman.