I hope you checked out the video above already. If not, go ahead and do it now. You probably won’t even need to read anything below this once you have. It’s a great film made of footage from a CD release show featuring one of the state’s great rising talents. Jessie Frye.

The quality of female talent that has been gracing the stages of North texas in recent years continues to grow. Not that it’s even been a wasteland for the fairer sex, musically speaking. It’s just that people beyond our state’s borders are taking notice too.

Sarah Jaffe and former Dallasite Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) are easily the most notable names to be bandied about these days. But one would be missing a ton if they were to forget about Amber Farris (the powerfully doulful lead singer of Somebody’s Darling) and relative newcomer Madison King, who might be the indie-heir to Miranda Lambert’s tough, Texas country throne.

While the list could continue for a while, for now, we’ll stop with Denton’s Jessie Frye. Having just released her second EP, Fireworks Child, Frye’s sweet voice seems to suit any style, but especially the eclectic indie-pop that her and super-producer John Congleton have dreamed up for this release. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Congleton has produced the much-lauded recent works of two ladies we previously mentioned, St. Vincent and Sarah Jaffe. Either way, the EP is a pleasing listen that impresses with each track.

Male or female, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the way in which you’ll find yourself either leaving the disc in your CD player, or how you’ll likely be smashing the repeat button time after time, once the record ends.

In our second edition of Rockin’ The Lens, David Heidle hit The Granada Theater in Dallas this past Saturday night for a show that certainly tore it up. Denton’s Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward made great use of their time as opening act for one of their musical heroes, while Slobberbone came out and made sure everyone knew why it is people have been so excited about their return. Don’t take my word for it. Let Dave’s pics do the talking!















Rodney Parker & 50 Peso reward impressed with tunes from the last two offerings, including alst year's EP, the Apology, Part I.


The zany punks from Denton are back with a new album, their 11th record, actually. Bowling for Soup’s Fishin’ For Woos, an album that the guys have released on their own after the last few records felt the velvet touch of the major label treatment. Now, don’t assume the method of distribution has had any effect on the overall sound of the band, as it certainly hasn’t. Power-pop-punk is still the order for the day here.

Here’s where it get’s tricky.

After 11 albums, there are more than a few folks who aren’t interested anymore in the tales of these guys hating work, loving the weekends, and getting back at girls that have scorned them with their music. With Fishin’, there’s a lot of ammo for those folks. There is literally not an ounce of any sort of growth evident on this album. But does there need to be? What good is so-called growth if it takes a band away from who they are? If this band “grew”, then “I’ve Never Done Anything Like This,” a catchy and hilarious tale of a party girl who tries to hide her true nature, wouldn’t have made it onto the album, probably. What good what that be?

A tune like “Here’s Your Freaking Song” is what many critics/haters are using as their main object of derision when discussing the band’s percieved lack of artistic evolution. While family-men approaching middle age that have been making cartoon music in recent years dont exactly make convincing, rebellious teenagers, they shouldn’t have to be ”convincing” from a sense of being authentic. Does a band that plays music geared towards people of their own age-group automatically equal evolved, or mature or authentic? Not really.

Fishin’ isn’t anything new, and the band surely isn’t reinventing themselves this time around, but they are making a calculated (does that equal mature?) choice to produce an album that is clearly a play-off of their strengths and a move that keeps them algined with their fan-base that has long supported them (again, 11 albums and a decade or so together isn’t a small feat). Ask BFS lead singer Jaret Reddick, and he’ll tell you that this album represents what it is that this band does, and change for change’s sake is fruitless, let alone needless.

Actually, the record is fun and catchy and packed with the sounds and tales that have made them a band worthy of discussion in the first place. If one requires reinvention with each new album, then this band probably isn’t - hasn’t ever been - for you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We even like to be challeneged fairly regularly in our musical diversions and excursions, from bands that in fact claim or desire to be challenging or constantly evolving. Bowling for Soup doesnt make such claims and shouldnt be required to do anything other than to have fun, drink beers, bug the girls the claim to hate, but really love and to make the music they want to make.

Etsy.Com, an on-line outlet for crafts-people and artists looking for a new-media way of getting in-touch with their customers also likes to help get those same creators in touch with the art-loving public in the old-fashioned way, as well.

On June 4, in Denton at the Denton Arts Council Center for the Performing Arts, the Etsy Denton group will be hosting its first full-on arts & crafts show. Just by taking one look at the main Etsy website, it’s clear to see that we’re not merely talking crocheted doilies that grandmas everywhere seem to adore. We’re talking real art with real vision and true, hand-made distinction. So, get on up there and help support the hand-made, local arts!

From the press release:

This spectacular event in Denton will bring together the best of 100% handmade goods and indie crafters. The Etsy Denton Summer Bazaar will take place on June 4, 2011 at the Greater Denton Arts Council Center for Visual Arts. This is the first Summer bazaar for Etsy Denton, following a quaint, yet well received ‘Barn Sale’ in Fall 2010.

The vendor list for the Etsy Denton Summer Bazaar includes over 30 of the most creative people in the Denton Area, selling everything from furniture, home goods, jewelry, accessories, ceramics, bags, purses, woodworking, kid and baby items, art and paper goods, yarn, and more, all with a unique twist. The event is indoor, climate controlled, and family friendly.  There will be snacks and drinks. Admission is free.

Etsy Denton is a collection of independent artists, crafters, and designers in the Denton  area who sell their goods on Etsy.com. It was founded in 2010 to collectively promote members’ businesses, spread the word about the benefits of buying local handmade products, and to provide camaraderie amongst the Denton craft community. Their mission is to spread knowledge and increase marketplace participation of handmade goods.

Etsy Denton strives to make this happen by creating an environment where artists and crafters can connect, network, and form friendships around their common handmade interests, as well as hosting community craft fairs to promote artists, crafters, and other creative types.

 When:  Saturday June 4, 2011 – 10AM to 4 PM

Where: Greater Denton Arts Council Center for Visual Arts

400 E. Hickory Street, Denton, Texas 76201

Admission: Free

As we’ve recently noted, we really enjoy the fact that the vinyl format of music enjoyment has made its way back into the popular mainstream. Even cooler, is the fact that this resurrection has also brought back the demand for tricked-up types of vinyl offerings. Special edition 7-inch singles are all the rage, and if a band can trick things up even further by offering their vinyl in a cool color, then even better, as far as we’re concerned.

Dallas-based American Werewolf Academy seems to be as pumped about it as we are, frankly. We recently recieved a sweet little package that contained one of tehir limited edition Electric Blue-colored 7-inch vinyl singles. Lest we let the aesthetic and novelty of the record get the best of us, the music on either side of the two song single is pretty darn sweet, as well.

Side A contains “The Hop,” while Side B has “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” Both tunes recall the spirit of the 1980′s that seems to often be forgotten by people as they remember the sometimes silly extremes of music from the decade that redefined decadence in style, spending and especially, music. Recalling a less drunk, more sentimental Replacements, the guitar-driven pop of this single is infectious, and striaght-forward.

The B-side number boasts a buoyant, bright and slightly ska-tinged guitar part that gives way to a full-on garage-exploding recklessness that never forgets to be insanely melodic while kicking over the amps.

Formed in 2005, American Werewolf Academy has released 5 albums, and this special single is a forerunner to the group’s upcoming full-length album, Everything is Alright, due in June. Interestingly, the two songs featured on the 7 inch disc were recorded in Denton, using a direct-to-tape method, forgoing the aid of any sort of computer technology, giving the overall feel of this single an even more legitimately retro-vibe.

Last week, we detailed the difference between hype and buzz. Another band from the North Texas region that has received a considerable amount of both is Seryn, out of Denton. Quickly after forming in 2009, it seemed as though the folksy chamber pop group signed with area-music power, Spune Productions. Sure, that helped in the hype department, but the bands dramatic, sweeping and even emotional live performances are responsible for creating the buzz that, just like The O’s from Dallas, is well-deserved, as the buzz is the sound that emanates from the folks enjoying themselves as they take it all in.

Thankfully, an album wasnt rushed into the marketplace, and as of last week, This Is Where We Are (Spune/Velvet Blue), the five-pieces debut LP now stands as the opening statement from a band that clearly set out to provide a forceful, soaring opening statement and not just something that would merely grace the merch table for the future gigs that the band will soon play as they tour various parts of the country over the spring. From serene to anthemic while flowing sonorously from one extreme to the other, this record has certainly been worth the wait.

Ukulele, added percussion and multi-layered harmonies give each song beauty and distinction over the course of the album’s ten songs. Don’t only take my word for it. Andy Odom from the Dallas Observer wrote an excellent piece last week about the group and Paste Magazine clearly loves the group as well.

As I said, the band will be out and about for a while. Please make a point to check them out. For a few excellent shows over the next week or so, they’ll be paired with Monahans, the band I wrote about a few weeks ago that was giving away their music to any who cared to have it. Again, go and just try to keep yourself from buzzing.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

On a recent Friday night in Oak Cliff, I arrived early to The Kessler Theater for the Phosphorescent show. I was familiar with two of the three bands on the bill. The headliner and local folk supergroup, The Dallas Family Band, were acts that I have been aware of and a fan of for a while now. Unsuspectingly, it was the evening’s second band, the one I really hadn’t heard anything from before, that actually made the deepest and most jarring impression on me. Don’t get me wrong; I loved the other sets, but wow, apowerful trio from Denton, TX seemed to sonically grab my throat while forcing me to listen. And I liked it.

Oddly, if not unexpectedly, much of the folk-loving room cleared out during Shiny Around The Edge’s mid-bill set. Their brand of eardrum-pummeling shoegaze is more accessible than say, My Bloody Valentine, but sadly, may folks weren’t much in the mood to access it on that night. Picture a group that applies the best, most climactic moments of slowcore and combines them with the inventiveness of shoegaze, and you might have an understanding of what I’m trying to explain, here.

To say that the male and female leads shared an immense chemistry on stage is as big of an understatement as it is understandable. Michael and Jennifer Seman are not only band mates, but each other’s spouse. Heavy, menacing percussion and guitars that simply shredded the stage perfectly accented the lyrics that refused to be sweet and were far from innocent. This wasn’t a set for fans o easy-breezy listening.  Some might call this “noise”, but I call it “noise-rock”. Again, I really liked it.

Most of the set featured tracks from the trio’s upcoming Denton’s Dreaming LP. This release will mark their second album release and the first one on their own label, Paperstain Recordings.  Their last album, Holy Roller, also featured much of the same dynamic, unrelenting noise rock that Denton’s Dreaming possesses, to excellent effect, I might add.

For those that weren’t prepared for the shredding of the Kessler that night. You missed out. Don’t be so scared, next time.

Kelly Dearmore is a freelance writer, mean pot of chili maker and opinionated music lover. To read more about what Kelly is listening to, visit him here on The Squawker weekly or daily on his personal music blog, The Gobblers Knob

denton1Before you even set eyes on this restaurant, the fried beef perfume let’s you know you’re in for a treat. It’s not tobacco smoke that permeates the antique lined walls of this cozy restaurant – it’s the smell of these huge succulent burgers, dripping with rendered goodness. The fluffy buns readily sponge up any hint of drippings. The accompaniments are just as yummy as the burgers – the chili is beefy with just the right amount of spice, the hickory smoke sauce is rich and has the right amount of kick, crunchy fresh iceberg lettuce, ruby red ripe tomatoes, grilled or sliced onion and crisp pickles. And, the hand cut skin on fries are to die for and seasoned just right. Other side items include baked beans, green beans, and tangy coleslaw. Stand in line, cafeteria style, to order your lunch carried on trays like you used in the school cafeteria. Sit at the small tables with Italian red and white checked plastic tablecloths – with a big roll of paper towels to wipe any residue from your smiling face on every table – check your ladylike or gentlemanly manners and your diet at the door, please.

The cast of characters in this joint and the hundred some odd signs from yesteryear with the wall barely peeking through keep the eye entertained – the good ‘ol boys yammering about the latest game keep their straw cowboy hats on. The bankers in suits in the corner and the office workers chatter away. Moms are busy keeping their kids from squirming in their chairs. Watch the world go by on Denton’s downtown square from the big picture window in front. And, if you dare, you can always check yourself on the love meter or weigh yourself on the old fashioned step-up scale.

Denton County Independent Hamburger Company
113 West Hickory Street
715 Sunset Street
Denton, Texas
Mon – Sat 11a – 3p

Mazatlan Restaurant

mazatlanMazatlan Restaurant  in Denton is my favorite Tex-Mex place north of the Metroplex.

It is clean and offers a variety of combination platters that will be familiar to Tex-Mex aficionados. The servers are polite and knowledgeable and the turnaround on the order is timely. The food is not meant to be perfectly authentic, but rather authentic to Tex-Mex, with an emphasis on the “Tex”. When you go, I can highly recommend the jalapeno cheese enchiladas. The rest of the combo platters are equally good, so it’s difficult to go wrong when you order. As far as the ambiance, it’s not meant to be extravagant or overly impressive. It’s a lunch place at heart, and what it does simply, it also does well.

Check out Mazatlan the next time you’re craving Tex-Mex in Denton. It will not disappoint.

So though there are just a few of us, we’ve dutifully scoured the state of Texas to find stuff for you to do this weekend. You’re welcome…


B scene: Gods and Goddesses Art Party
Blanton Museum of Art / 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM

The Blanton wants to turn your attention to the world of Gods and Goddesses. Docent tours will showcase the museum’s works that are associated with Grecian and Roman myths. Golden Bear, an indie music fave in both Austin and Dallas, will play at 9 with DJ Jennifer spinning tunes to peruse by. There will be free cocktail snacks and a cash bar. Noms, tunes, booze and art – you can’t go wrong! It’s a steal with the cover being $5 for members and $10 non-members

Saxon Pub / 8:00PM – 10:00PM

For a duo who started their music careers busking in the Porter Square and Davis Square subway stations of Boston, Porterdavis has come a long way. When slide electric and acoustic guitarist Dan Barrett and Mike Meadows, a percussionist with a matchless collection of percussion instruments, moved to Austin in 2004, the duo became a trio with the addition of heartthrob Englishman Simon Wallace, who can do more with a harmonica than you will ever be able to reasonably fathom. The boys will be playing a belated birthday show for bandmate Mike at The Saxon Pub in Austin this Saturday from 8-10p.m. If you’ve not yet to have the Porterdavis experience, I highly recommend getting thee to the Saxon Pub. If you do go, request Read more