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These days, there are a good many websites that aim to go beyond the normal boundaries of the standard, mp3 sharing music blog. Popular sites like Daytrotter and HearYa.com are both great examples of sites that find unique ways to create art based upon the musicians they are covering. There’s a close-to-home site on the scene and it covers predominantly Texas-based acts (Sarah Jaffe, Doug Burr) with the occasional national act (Waters, Pterodactyl) thrown in for good measure. Denton based Violitionist.com (aka The Violitionist Sessions) has been great about picking some great acts and getting some great performances out of them. Who can go wrong with getting some (Texas-based act of the year?) True Widow on film?

There’s really not much to say or add to what you see below. If you’re not famililar with the site Daytrotter.Com, then you’ve been missing out n some serious (and free) music by some of the biggest names (Death Cab for Cutie, Social D, Bon Iver) and brightest up and comers (Yuck, Portugal the Man, Dawes) that the musical universe has to offer. Big time. But, there’s good news: It doesn’t really matter if you havent clicked onto the site ever before, as there is gold beyond measure awaiting you from years of not visiting it before.

What’s even better is that many Texas-based acts have visited the Daytrotter studios in Rock Island, Ill and laid down tracks to be listened to and downloaded from the site. There’s always a great write-up and whimsical artwork to go along with the 4-5 songs as well.

Well, let’s get to it. Below are but a sampling of Texans that have Daytrotted before. You’d be crazy to not dig deeper, OK??

Matt the Electrician | Fresh Millions | Dale Watson | Dignan | Doug Burr | Old 97′s | Ben Kweller | Black Angels | Centro-matic | Jesse Dayton | Meat Puppets | Asleep at the Wheel | Monahans | Seryn | Robert Ellis

Oh, man! I love it when I stumble into a veritable gold-mine of sweet, clean video. As with the previous week’s editions of Video Gold, there isn’t much to say, which is kind of the point, I guess. Thanks to Refueled Magazine’s Automatic Buzz Sessions, you’re computer-time is about to get a whole lot more interesting, my friend. You may all remember the Monahans (above video) from a recent post about their fantastically cool project from last year. As for the videos from Austin’s Amy Cook, Tyler’s Eisley and Denton’s Doug Burr, well, those are just flippin’ swell. Enjoy!

Can this "unofficial release" from the Toadies make it into the Top Albums list for our state in 2010?

Don’t look now, everyone, but it’s really freaking close to becoming 2011. One way to know that the calendar will soon be turning is the slow cropping end-of-year lists that have been showing themselves in recent days and weeks.

Some become annoyed with such lists after reading a couple, but me on the other hand, I get downright ravenous. I’ll admit to getting a massive kick out of seeing what other bloggers, writers and publications – ones I trust and ones I don’t so much – have to say about the year in music as they see it and if it matches up with my views in any way, shape or form.

I’ll go ahead and admit it: The title to this post is a bit misleading. Sorry. I’m not actually going to divulge my final list of the best this state has produced musically in 2010. I’m sure you’re all waiting anxiously, however (or not!).

Honestly, I don’t have a problem disclosing a few records that I feel certain will make my list of this year’s best Texas records. I don’t see any need to be so secretive, so I wont. However, for those keeping score at home, please know that this is a random, thinking-out-loud kind of deal here, and nothing definitive. If anything, I hope that this post might direct a few of you to some bands or records that you might have missed earlier. Don’t worry, though. I’m entirely too narcissistic to let the year go by without presenting a more formal listing of what I feel are this years best records, so keep an eye out!

A few of the records that come to mind are ones that I’ve discussed in some form, here on The Squawker, even. The recently discussed Thrift Store Cowboys Light-Fighter album, along with the new Possessed By Paul James record and Austin’s American Graveyard are some rootsy acts that should find their way onto plenty of year end lists.

For records that don’t fit into the country realm; Sarah Jaffe’s much celebrated album, fellow North Texas folk artist Doug Burr’s gorgeous O Ye Devastator and the metal-riffic shredding of The Sword and their excellent album, Warp Riders, will also surely cause a cyber-stir come the end of the year.

Oh, by the way, a few Lone Star heavyweights also released albums that were beyond solid: Austin Kingpin Alejandro Escovedo, The Old 97′s and even The Toadies produced records that absolutely stood out.

So, the end of the year should be good for more than mistletoe-induced desperation and turkey-intensive nightmares, no?

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

O.K., I’m trying to contain my excitement, but it’s useless, I can’t. Doug Burr’s long awaited follow up to his excellent, heartbreaking albums, On Promenade and The Shawl is finally nigh upon us, dear Texans!

Spune/Velvet Blue will be releasing Burr’s O Ye Devastator on May 4.

Along with the announcement, we also get a glimpse of the album artwork (above) and the track-listing (below), but better yet, we get to hear a track from the record. “Red, Red” is a bouncy, banjo-intensive romp that happily reveals that the splendor that was On Promenade wasn’t a fluke, not that anyone thought it was, but this proves it, regardless.

Doug will be out and about over the next few weeks and hopefully will be adding many of the new songs into his set. We’ll find out soon enough if he is injecting any of the new blood into the set-list, as Burr and many of his fellow Spune-mates (Telegraph Canyon, Seryn) will be playing Friday night at the Musink Festival.

Below is the tracklisting for O Ye Devastator:

. A Black Wave Is Comin’
2. Chief of Police in Chicago
3. At the Public Dance
4. Red, Red
5. You’ve Been a Suspect All Your Life
6. I Got This Fever / O Ye Devastator
7. Topeka
8. Do You Hear Wedding Bells
9. All Our Lives (instrumental)
10. And When We Awoke
11. High Blood and Long Evening Dresses

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

This is one of those cases where I’ll admit to being very late to the party. The fact is, I am thrilled to have finally arrived at all to hear 2007′s The Incurable Want from The Hope Trust, out of Denton. In order to save some face, it seems as though the group – who has been together for several years, actually - will be releasing a new album in 2010, so please consider this a primer for the future of the Hope Trust and not merely a tardy-man’s catch-up session.

The 2007 album is stocked with 11 relatively laid back indie-rock tunes that are flecked with alt-country flourishes, such as some sweet pedal steel work that layers many songs with a lush and ethereal quality. While there are moments where the amps are turned up a bit (“Parting Shot” and “Don’t Want to Fight”), it’s the prominence of both piano and the pedal steel that saves many of these songs from the doldrums of plodding indie-rock monotony. The vocals of lead singer and chief songwriter Kelly Upshaw are warm with  a modest rasp and serve the arrangements well, as they are reminiscent of Cracker’s David Lowery.

In typical and communal Denton fashion, the players that form The Hope Trust have all performed in bands that are well known throughout the North Texas region. Slick 57, The Slack, and the Doug Burr-led The Lonelies are some of the more notable acts that at one point or another called one of these guys a member. The Hope Trust’s drummer, Grady Don Sandlin, has teamed up with Ryan Thomas Becker to melt faces over the last couple of years as a part of RTB2 as well as keeping time for roots-rockers Delmore Pilcrow. The guys have even been helping promote and organize concerts for other artists recently. Bassist Andy Odom produced a well-received folk show at an Episcopal Church in Denton featuring established area stars Sarah Jaffe and Robert Gomez, no less.

As you can see, if you are just getting to know The Hope Trust as I am, the answer to the question, “what have I missed?” is an easy one. A whole heckuva bunch.

Visit The Hope Trust’s Bandcamp Page for a free download of The Incurable Want album in its entirety, for a limited 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.

fireballsmallPerhaps it’s because some folks who usually choose sleeping in over going to church actually attended services at Fellowship Bible Church Arapaho in Richardson on Sunday morning, but something caused some thing to go kablooey in the skies over Texas this morning around 11 a.m.

While I, along with a good portion of some of Dallas’ best local music talent, was attending a special church service featuring Bill Holston as guest minister and the incredible Doug Burr as musical guest, there was fire in the sky, accompanied by what some called ‘sonic booms.’

FAA spokesman Roland Herig claims that the FAA received no reports from pilots in the air of any sightings but the agency received “numerous” calls from people on the ground from Dallas, Texas, south to Austin, Texas. The FAA is claiming that the giant flash in the sky can be attributed to a collision between satellites.

News 8 Austin says that the FAA claims they had notified pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible space debris after a collision Tuesday between U.S. and Russian communication satellites. The chief of Russia’s Mission Control said clouds of debris from the collision will circle Earth for thousands of years and threaten numerous satellites.

Phil Plait of Discover Magazine on the other hand disagrees. After reviewing tape from Austin’s News 8, he’s claiming that he “can now state unequivocally that this is not the result of the satellite collision. The meteor is moving far too quickly for that; satellite collision debris would fall at perhaps 10 km/sec max, while incoming meteoroids are moving at 11km/sec at a minimum, and this thing is screaming across the sky at several dozen km/sec…and what we have here is almost certainly a single object, perhaps a meter or two across, and it came from deep space.”

Whatever it is, radar images showed it enter the Texas skies over the small town of West just north of Waco, so I’m thinking that it might be aliens in search of a good kolache!  I wonder if Zac Crain’s parents saw anyone suspicious at the Czech Stop this morning? Or maybe it has something to do with Dan Akroyd launching his wines in Dallas….

To see the video of the fireball, click here.

Hooray!

I thought this day would never come. But fortunately, Dave Heidle’s Wine Down Wednesdays are back! What’s a Wine Down Wednesday? Well, let me tell you…

Waaaay back in July of 2008, Dave Heidle, member of arguably the world’s tallest band, sneakily started a wine infused music night called, appropriately, Wine Down Wednesday. If you haven’t heard of the event, its probably because Dave isn’t exactly known for bragging on himself. But I on the other hand have absolutely no problem bragging on Dave, so I will.

The backstory: Heidle says that a good friend of his, Matt Thompson, was asked to be a part of a charity event back in June and several people were putting together a happy-hour style event at Times Ten Cellars in the Lakewood neighborhood of Dallas. The benefit was held every Wednesday in June. Fortunately for them, it became a huge success. Read more

Winos and music go hand in hand I do believe. That’s why it makes so much sense to visit Times Ten Cellars every second Wednesday of the month.

Seems that way back in July my friend Dave Heidle, member of arguably the world’s tallest band, quietly (sneakily) started a wine infused music night called, appropriately, Wine Down Wednesday. If you haven’t heard of the event, its probably because Dave isn’t exactly known for bragging on himself. That being said, I sat down with Dave to get the skinny on how Wine Down Wednesdays was conceived. Read more