Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
You could hear every foot shuffle resonate last night in the sanctuary of Church of the Holy Cross. An obligatory solemnity managed to overtake the audience and everyone but Doug Burr was wary of breaking the delicate silence. Burr was performing his album The Shawl in its supposed entirety; although, I failed to absolutely confirm this. The Shawl, as I’ve written previously, is the simplest musical collection of Biblical Psalms, unmodified in their meticulous English translation* save for a multiple refrain here and there. Burr has apparently been soliciting area churches for space to perform the album and Father Will Brown, Rector of Church of the Holy Cross, was eager to accommodate.
Church of the Holy Cross is an Episcopalian church; moreover, an "Anglo-Catholic Episcopal Parish" by emphasis, which could explain the accidental quiescence. There are traditions of worship – I am intimately familiar with one – in which clapping is a frightful experience. Anglicanism is frequently one of them and their architecture, along with their cultural heritage of punctiliousness, reinforces propriety, solemnity. The results are often beautifully weighty, as was largely the case last night. Doug Burr was flanked by two accompanying musicians, all three standing just beyond the altar gate. His characteristic white shock of hair stood up, as if he were one peculiarly marked by God. A candle representative of creation’s eternal light, the uninterrupted announcement, flickered behind him.
Burr’s voice is precarious. His song often comes out more a cautious pace than a reckless sprint. The methodical words are not always entirely understood and, if you’re in a crowded din, the experience is frustrating. The case here was different. There are those who are compelled, and I am reasonably sure Burr is similarly compelled, that the words of The Shawl are uniquely efficacious. Christ-haunted, Doug Burr plays something of the ghost himself. Not a note The Shawl is very sharp, but its gravity is already beyond the norm, so all of it is imbued with an ineffable collision. In some ways, The Shawl feels like one long prelude to Burr’s most multiplied and unmistakable refrain: “surely there is a God who judges.” A strange comfort; a bloody grace.
The Psalms are a long tradition, not only in Judaism, but in Christianity too, where they are interpreted in the light of the Christians’ dawn. They’ve gone largely neglected in Christendom, where a troublingly many compose music in the undignified hubris that they have created something sacred. Burr’s approach evokes something, I think, closer to the original. A dusty-footed Palestinian of the first century, standing in the dim light of his or her old synagogue, singing aloud the fifty eighth of an ancient book of songs, bewildered with the newness of every word, strangely and fearfully assured.
*New American Standard
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Do you think I could start a rap war between Daniel T. Hall and Dem Southernfolkz? Hall has made some of the more frivolous plagiarism charges I've ever heard, but I'm desperate for material. Plus, Daniel T. seems like the kind of guy who would bring a log-chain to a gunfight, so I'm game to try.
Friday, September 3, 2010
I was sloshing back Ziegenbock in a plastic tumbler made to look like a legitimate beer glass wondering if the night held some sort of compensating experience. Xry (pron. "cry), the duo from San Antonio, placated me. A warped bass sound and electro squealch and very short shorts. It is at times like those that I regret my staunch, Baptist upbringing. Some twisted kind of nurture has left me with a level of self-consciousness too severe to ever dance when I feel like it.
Muhammad Ali from Houston spoke that neanderthalic rock language in which I am fluent. It is a tonal, confusing, but austere, nearly brutal language. It is nearly unintelligible and practically incommunicable, but vital to me. It is simplistic rock that defies logical measures of art, but somehow surpasses it.
I have heard a lot about Leg Sweeper in the past couple of months. A drums, guitar, vocals duo that follows closely in the vein of other drums, guitar, vocals duos; thankfully so, if you were to ask me. Everybody crowded around the Cavern stage, which is something I haven't seen for a while: the emptiness existing behind the crowd, in the back of the room. "Energy" is bound to come up in all of their reviews, so I mention it here reluctantly. But there was a sufficient hyperactivity to obviate technical deficiencies.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"No, you suck!"
A couple of my own thoughts. Although I appreciate Pete's approach to rebuttal, the very argument is worthless. (To be fair, Freedman somewhat acknowledges this.) I am slowly learning to quit thinking of cities as cultural monoliths. Dallas, in particular, frustrates that approach, but even with other cities, it leads to folly and severely undermines more profitable, humanist perspectives.
Second, why all the hate for Steve Miller? Is Steve Miller really the butt of a cultural joke of which I have, heretofore, been ignorant? His output is much less reprehensible than the Eagles. No movie character has ever complained, "I've had a long day and I hate the fucking Steve Miller Band."
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Spector 45 rocks like a motherfucker, a word whose versatility Frankie fully embraces. He covered "Fulsom Prison Blues" and I've heard him play his own twist on "Deep Ellum Blues." Spector 45 is folk by habit if not by sound.
Fox and the Bird played a packed LaGrange, which is not difficult to pack, but I'm happy for my friends. Walked off the stage and into the crowd for the last number. Most hushed-up and listened and that is like a real miracle.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
It occurred to me last night that I wish I could have rewritten that D Magazine piece on the Family Band to a more deserving length and titled it "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made."
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The one about The Dallas Family Band
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
2. "But there's something more hellish about the Maverick's suffering. The Knicks don't have somebody pinning them down and pulling off their wings with tweezers, unless there is such a thing as self-induced wing-pulling. The Mavericks have the Spurs.
"All Mavericks fans have to do is look at Popovich's severe face for their source of pain. Or they can just look 277 miles south to San Antonio. The Spurs have won 4 NBA Championships since acquiring the franchise from Dallas.
"The Mavericks consistently have had better teams than the Knicks, so the question becomes: What hurts more--sustained mediocrity or falling short over and over to the same team? Again, it doesn't seem to be a contest."
Two very, very apt quotes, made even more intriguing by the fact that neither one was written about the Mavericks, but rather about the Boston Red Sox. The first is from the movie Game 6, set in the midst of the 1986 World Series on the day leading up to Bill Buckner's hope-killing error. The second is from a 2004 article written just after A-Rod arrived in New York. I merely substituted "Knicks" for "Mets," in the first quote, "Cubs" in the second. "Steinbrenner" became "Popovich" and, predictably, the "Yankees" made their easy transformation into the "Spurs." From there, the 210 miles between Boston and New York, the multiple Yankee Series Championships, and the acquisition of Babe Ruth chillingly and accurately morph into our Texas plot.
Why the Knicks? Maybe because they are an established, storied franchise with a still loyal fan base. But you could pick any team currently laboring in sustained mediocrity: Clippers, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Nets. I don't care which perennially awful team it is; it pails in comparison to the fly-high, crash-and-burn Mavericks.
You've got to be at the top of the Mountain before you break your neck on the fall. A run through the Spurs and Suns to the '06 finals. A 67 win, MVP-making season. These are top of the mountain moments. Only the Mavericks seem to know how to toy with their fans in a truly soul-crushing way.
And the thing is that, even in 1986, even in 2004, being a Red Sox fan was significantly better than being a Mavericks fan now. Five World Series Championships, even if they were 68 years ago lend a legendary status to your team. The Mavericks are nothing now except legendarily disappointing.
One more modified quote from Game 6: "I coulda been happy. I coulda been a Spurs fan." I could've had a brother that moved from Arizona to San Antonio. I could've spent a few summers there. I could've watched my team win four titles. I could've been a Spurs fan. But I wasn''t and I won't. If you don't understand that; you don't understand being a fan. I am a Mavs fan for life. When they fail, it's going to hurt me. When they climb the mountain again, I'm going to get my hopes up. Indifference is no longer an option and disloyalty is definitely not an option. Unlike casual Mavericks fans who are really Cowboys fans, I can't abandon my team. I'm in too deep.
Like a Red Sox fan of 1986, I've come to expect epic failure from the team I love. I don't know if it was just last night, but I think I've become fully jaded. They may win tomorrow night and they might just win three in a row to surprise the Spurs. After all, like it's been for the past ten years, they have the roster to be great. But I'm no longer counting on it. Having won the World Series twice since their 86 year drought, Boston Red Sox fans have no right to be brooding. That disposition now belongs wholesale to Dallas Mavericks Fans. Somebody get me a drink. It's going to be a long several decades.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
"Safe as Milk is the album that you give to people who don't know about Captain Beefheart, Trout Mask Replica is the one that you talk about at parties to show you know what is up."-We Shot JR
Monday, January 25, 2010
Raymond Cade, Sean Foster, Arthur Yoria, Happy Bullets, Slow Burners, American Werewolf Academy, RTB2, lalagray, The Republic of Texas, Little Birds,
and The Beaten Sea
Some day I'll talk: how my friends are turning me into a folkie and why Ryan Becker is my rabbi.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I'm thinking on the nature and activity of a blog, considering the possibility that I can throw little, rolled-up anecdotes your direction instead of attempting short-of-breath essays. It is a blog after all. I could tell you that Friday night I saw Boom Boom Box and The Paperchase at Sons of Hermann and that Saturday I saw Fox & The Bird and Doug Burr at AllGood Cafe. And you can say, "I know those places." And that would be ok for both of us.
Boom Boom Box, by the way, ingratiated themselves to me based only on me remembering the singer to be a Mavericks fan. Strangely, the irrelevant pull to attend the show was vindicated by their music, which was probably something from the mid '90s that time wants me to forget, but I won't. Fox & the Bird and Doug Burr, by the way, had to labor in a noisy restaurant. It is offensive to me that people show up to shows in a disengenuous show of appreciation only to talk through the show while music sails, unappreciated, over their heads. I think Doug Burr sang several really important things, but I couldn't hear, so I'm not sure.
Currently enjoying Ryan Thomas Becker's new unescorted effort Neighborhoof, courtesy of the best friend anyone could have. I'm on track 2, already considering how this album perfectly illustrates the stupidity behind album reviews and their failure to approximate what happens when a good disc is spinning, so I'll leave you with pretty much nothing. If you've seen Ryan ply a six-string in person, you know to expect greatness and greatness is what's hitting my ears--track 3 now.