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Showing posts from February, 2012

Play You Out

During my interview with Mark Ryan from Mind Spiders, he asked why his music was now receiving all this national attention. As in, more attention than the Marked Men and more than when Mind Spiders' first record came out. I explained to him about the nature of how music critics don't want to be the dreaded last to cover a buzzed-about act. This happens every year, and it always creates this sense of something bigger than it really is. With my exposure to Mind Spiders, it started last fall when fellow writer Darryl Smyers raved about them to me. Claiming that Mark Ryan was a crazy frontman, I was curious. Fast forward to January and Audra and I kicked around ideas for upcoming features. I expressed an interest in writing one on Nervous Curtains, as I've seen the band develop over the years. Audra wanted to write a story on them, so she asked if I wanted to write a story on Mind Spiders. I said I was game, but I needed a crash course on them. I listened to Meltdown and had s

Angular blues

I mention towards the end of my review of the "final" Annex House show that I play in a band with a member of one of the acts that night. Conflict of interest on the journalistic ethic end? Not to me, because Ben's band sounds much different than what we've cooked up with Sean. My review, like every review I write, is what I truly feel about a band's performance. Besides, when you play in bands around the area, the scene is small enough and you run into people as you meet new people and develop contacts. There's one band like Rocketarm for every thirty cover bands. So yes, I have a new band going. And I've recorded some new solo material for the first time in ten years. These are some of the most positive new developments in my life since I was laid off. My hope is that I can continue to make more positive developments in the months to come.


I love Mind Spiders. I hate driving on ice. I hope this comes through in my feature on the band. And as a bonus, I did another edition of My First Show with frontman Mark Ryan.

"This needed an editor . . ."

One kind of literary criticism that still irks me is this line: "This needed an editor." I received that comment when Post came out, and I'm sure I'll hear it again with When We Were the Kids . Why it irks me is because I spend many weeks/months getting things ironed out with an editor. To make this claim is like saying the author wrote the book without any thought or organizational skills, and published it without reading it. What I must remind myself is how everyone gets that remark. Substitute "editor" with the "Everyone's a critic" phrase and you get the picture. But the Internet is a great place to be an armchair critic. Lampooning, ridiculing, and/or blasting someone's work is much, much easier than committing yourself to the writing/editing process. The thought of actually writing a book is beyond them. Ever since I co-edited Post , I tend to think like an editor when I read a book. This is especially true when I read Stephen King&


How's this for a curveball: I saw Chris Botti last night and gave a summary of things I overheard and saw. It was a great show, albeit much different than the kind of show I usually go to.

My first show

This week's edition is with a Dallas legend, Patrick "Taz" Bentley. I briefly met him in passing a few years ago at Bishop Manor, but I didn't introduce myself. When I saw him play as a solo act last year, I did, and this what came of putting out my hand to shake and talking with him.

Seconds Out

I never thought I'd see the day when I looked at the vinyl section more than the CDs when going to a record store. Alas, that's what it has become. Plus, I never imagined vinyl making a "comeback" in terms of preferred physical purchase. LPs were what my parents had and they dubbed their favorites onto cassette. I had punk rock 7-inches so I could have rarities that never surfaced on CD. That was it for me until a few years ago. In that time, and despite what you've heard about the industry "crumbling," there are plenty of options with finding old records. I'm thankful there are many record stores around the DFW metroplex. In terms of used vinyl, the best quality I've found is at Good Records and Mad World Records. Half Price Books has the best selection, bar none, but sometimes the vinyl's condition greatly varies. I have yet to venture back into Forever Young or visit Doc's for the first time. So, here's a list of artists I always f

Light the candles

I'm 33 today. I definitely don't feel 33, but I don't feel 23. In between family get-togethers and other things, I saw a couple of shows this weekend. Saw Mind Spiders tear up Rubber Gloves and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra sweep into Sons.

A Gentle Reminder

Get the new @thejealoussound record today. Mid-life heartbreak, bleary-eyed optimism, and the power of palm muting. A hands down classic. So went a tweet by my friend Trevor on January 31st. I knew who the Jealous Sound was, especially since I had seen them play before, once with Spitalfield and the other with Sunny Day Real Estate. In those prior encounters, the band was not my focus of attention. But there were part of important moments for me, like meeting Adam Wade for the first time and finally seeing the original Sunny Day Real Estate lineup. Keeping Trevor's suggestion in mind, I decided to check out A Gentle Reminder . Deeply taken by a handful of its songs, especially with lyrics like "We all can change when it's time to change," "I can't do this on my own," and "You're breaking your back to be alone." And while that might sound like simple break-up prose, Blair Shehan's vocals make these lyrics incredibly personal without soun

Finding new pavement

In all my years growing up in New Orleans and suburban Houston, I can count on one hand how many people I knew who lost their jobs. Since I was in college, it seems like everyone I've met has either lost a job themselves or is close with someone who has. I distinctly recall a classmate in elementary school whose father couldn't hold down a job. Driving around in an expensive car and sending his children to a private school weren't the best budgetary decisions, but that's what he chose. There was plenty of dysfunction within the family and him, so I thought only the unstable and wasteful had employment issues. I had a lot of friends who had parents that survived the Great Depression. The kinds of tactics they took to scrape by stayed with them (like, don't leave the back door open because cold air was getting out), even if they owned a lakehouse and a couple of boats later in life. College was when I heard about friends' parents losing jobs. In my ten years after

Stay Positive

Normally I never ask for an autograph or picture with a band, but there are times when I can't resist. And the days leading up to this picture were pretty whirlwind. At the end of last week, some of the most promising full-time job leads I had all fell through. This took the wind out of my sails and wondered what to do next. It's not like I have the option to quit the job search, but there are definitely highs and lows. As I've maintained in this time, productivity with positivity is better than no productivity with negativity. On Monday, my editor Audra sent out an e-mail to the writers asking what we're covering this week. Aside from this week's edition of My First Show with Bad Design, I pondered seeing Deleted Scenes play in Denton on Tuesday. I ended up going to that and reviewing . Since the show was in Denton, I knew I had a while to go before I went to sleep. When I covered the Life and Times show, I didn't get into bed until 4. With this show, I hit th