It would be a sin for us to keep from making sure that you all know about this weekend’s celebration of north Texas’ best music. The 22nd edition of the Dallas Observer Music Awards are nigh upon us, and a few years ago, that meant a pretty nifty awards ceremony and a great special issue of the free alt-weekly would be awaiting us. But now, so much more is meant when the time for these awards roll around.
For the last few years, a massive majority of the nominated acts get together and jam within a few blocks of each other. Last year, the showcase was held in the historic Deep Ellum district. While there were 50 or so bands playing in several clubs, the highlight was the positively communal vibe that a bustling night of music fostered.
This year, Deep Ellum will once again hold the showcase and a main stage line-up will join the festivities. It’s tough to think of a more appropriate bill for a main stage at a festival full of Dallas, Denton and Ft. Worth’s finest acts. The Toadies, The Old 97s, Centro-matic and Sarah Jaffe will ring in the night that will see nominated bands rocking until 2 am.
Of course, it would also be sinister to forget about the awards show itself, now wouldn’t it? On Tuesday, the 18th at the House of Blues in Dallas, Erykah Badu will headline the festivities as the best of the regions music stars are revealed.
Don’t look now, but yet another annual Texas-based music festival has become quite the dependable attraction. Now in it’s fourth year, the Dia De Los Toadies shin-dig has become perhaps the greatest showcase for Texas rock.
While the line-ups in years past have always focused on Texas talent, the genre lines were crossed with regularity. Previous bills have seen the indie-rock of Ben Kweller mix with the Honky Tonk country of 1100 Springs before the ferocious post-grunge fervor of The Toadies took to the stage. Yeah, a big ol’ mixing bowl of tunes.
That’s great and all, but this year’s line-up is likely it’s strongest and surely the most cohesive of the young festival’s history. Who’s ready to rock out with their Lone Star out?
Joining the Toadies this year are a couple of Austin-based rock kings that we’ve raved about in recent months: Doom metal purveyors The Sword and Psychedelic revivalists The Black Angels. You could stop there wit those three bands and be happy in knowing that you’ve likely been at the best triple Texas rock bill of 2011, but it doesn’t stop there. Joining those three titans are other balls-out bands like Ume, and Ft. Worth’s Whiskey Folk Ramblers.
It all goes down this weekend, Aug 26-27 at the gorgeous White Water Ampitheater in New Braunfels along the Guadalupe. For tickets and further information, just hit the festival’s offical website for the goods.
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