Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Download: "Cute Band" by the Tah-Dahs
Download: "The Vice and Virtue Ministry" by the Happy Bullets
Dallas, TX is not exactly the town you think of when it comes to the hot indie pop, but they've got something crazy going on over there these days. Austin might get all of the press and we all know about Denton (Centro-matic, Midlake, etc.), but Dallas is really coming along nicely, scene-wise.
For the record, I think that Houston might be the worst music city in America per capita, though I can't think of a single artist of any kind EVER coming from Indianapolis. Prove me wrong, guys!
Anyway, Dallas recently gave birth to the 25-headed feel-good-psych-pop monster that is the Polyphonic Spree. One of the early choir members of that band was one Roy Ivey, who now runs his own outfit, the garage-pop wonders the Tah-Dahs, who just may have the most subtly disturbing album cover of the year. This is great, witty guitar-bass-drums power pop in the vein of the Modern Lovers, early Apples in Stereo, and the Violent Femmes (the good Violent Femmes). Ivey has a keen, slightly cynical observational eye that he uses on the things and people that interact with him. "Cute Band" is a great example of this: a complete demystification of hipster culture and boys-in-bands worship. Oh, and the musicianship on this record is killer. That drummer is a baller!
The Tah-Dahs' labelmates (on upstart Dallas label Undeniable Records) are the Happy Bullets, a psychedelic ensemble that falls in just the right spot on the continuum between serious and whimsical. "The Vice and Virtue Ministry" is a perfect example of what the Bullets at their peak: quality hooks, not entirely rock and roll, and quite varied. On second thought, it's a great song, but not necessarily the best example of the band's ouevre because the album tackles so many styles with aplomb.
The Tah-Dahs' Le Fun and the Happy Bullets' Vice and Virtue Ministry are two of the best pop records of the year and not to be missed. The bands are starting to hit the road more, so look for them in the Midwest and the Southeast soon.
Also, check out Day of the Double Agent, featuring Regina Chellew, formerly of Captain Audio and Chao. Two of Captain Audio's members went on to form the Secret Machines, who were real jerks to me when my band opened for them a year ago. No matter. They are still a great band. Captain Audio put out one of my favorite records of the 00's so far, Luxury or Whether It Is Better to Be Loved Than Feared. That thing was a damned monster and as good as any of the post-Soft Bulletin big drums art-rock records out there. It should have been huge. I have high hopes for this new project of hers.
Pilotdrift, from Dallas as well, ain't too shabby either.
Now is where I make a pun about striking oil or shooting JR or something.