Category Archives: 2012

David Dove (Houston, TX) & Damon Smith (Houston, TX)

“From the first meaty whoomph of Damon Smith’s arco bass, one is keenly aware of a strong connection to bassists like Peter Kowald and Buschi Niebergall. There’s a workman-like physicality of horsehair on strings, as well as a muscular and bodily presence that, despite its massiveness; is almost balletic in its motions. Oakland-based Smith readily acknowledges the influence of the German bassists; his first audio experience of freely improvised bass was Kowald’s FMP LP Duos: Europa.”

— Clifford Allen (Paris Transatlantic)

David Dove:

A trombone player, composer, improviser, and educator, David Dove has given performances and workshops across North America (US, Mexico, and Canada), in Europe (Germany, Scotland), and in Vietnam. He has collaborated with some of the top national and international artists in contemporary music. As the Founder of Nameless Sound (a non-profit organization in Houston, Texas), he has presented important concerts of world-class contemporary music and has pioneered an innovative approach to creative music education based on creativity, diversity, and improvisation. In 2003, the critics of the Houston Press named Dove “Best Jazz Artist”. In 2004, he received an artist fellowship from The Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County. In 2011, he and Nameless Sound were presented with The Houston Press’ “Mastermind Award”. Teaching and performing residencies have included events with: NoEstacionarte (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, 2011), UNAM (Mexico City, 2010), The Exploratoium (Berlin, Germany in 2009), Ch’ak’ab Paaxil Festival (Merida, Mexico in 2008), The National Children’s Theater (Hanoi, Vietnam in 2007) and The Greater Easterhouse Arts Company (Glasgow, Scotland in 2006).


Damon Smith:

Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. He has also done considerable research of the ´sonic palette´ of the double bass. This has resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. He is also very influenced by visual art, flim and dance. Work with director Werner Herzog (soundtracks for “Grizzly Man” & “Encounters at the end of the World” and an early perfomance with the Merce Cunningham dance company reflect this. He has collaboratted with a wide range of musicians including Cecil taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra´s Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Birgit Ulher,Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. He worked often in the San Francisco Bay Area Creative Music Community and is now based in Houston, Texas.

Links:

Damon Smith Website

Dennis González Yells at Eels (Dallas, TX)

Dennis González Yells At Eels - Red Blood

Gonzalez’s music – featuring his sons Aaron Gonzalez (bass), and Stefan Gonzalez (drums, percussion) – serves as the antidote to the worn out situation where many jazz musicians are more concerned with rummaging through tricky time signatures and placing compositional form in the backseat. No doubt, Gonzalez’ artistry resides in the upper echelon of the multifaceted jazz vernacular.

— All About Jazz

After recording a series of stunning, stellar dates for Silkheart, Koch,  Konnex, Gowi, Music and Arts, and daagnimRecords in the 80’s and early 90’s – with leaders and sidemen including Charles Brackeen, Andrew Cyrille, Fred Hopkins, Malachi Favors, Carlos Ward, Louis Moholo, Keith Tippett (of King Crimson), Elton Dean (of Soft Machine), Nels Cline, Olu Dara, Nils Petter Molvaer, Roy Hargrove, and Douglas Ewart, avant jazz legend Dennis González left  the world of music for 5 long years.

He returned in 1999 with a new resolve and a new trio, Yells At Eels.  The trio was made up of González on trumpets, keyboards, and samples; his bass-playing son, Aaron; and his younger son, Stefan, on drums.  Aaron and Stefan had worked together in their own duo, Akkolyte, and proposed the trio to their dad.  The eight months that followed were a rehearsal for things to come, playing with special guests poet-laureate Yusef Komunyakaa, New Orleans saxist Tim Green, and Dallas-based pianist Scott Bucklin.  In January of 2000, they began the recording of their first CD, Home, which was released in June of that same year.

The next 10 years, the trio would travel all over the United States, Canada, and Europe playing their new sounds for large and small audiences alike.  Their special guests were truly special:  Oliver Lake, Douglas Ewart, The Micro-East Collective, George Cartwright, Clyde Kerr, Jr., Tim Green, Bill Pohl, James Harvey, Mike Khoury, Travis Laplante, Andrew Lamb, Assif Tsahar, Alvin Fielder, Rodrigo Amado, Sabir Mateen, Mark Taylor, Matt Lavelle, Patrick Holmes, Carl Smith, Ken Filiano, Famoudou Don Moye,  and David Boykin.

Their second CD, a double issue, was recorded live in Minneapolis (Home Away from Home with Douglas Ewart and George Cartwright) and in the studio in Dallas and New Orleans (Pictogram with Tim Green, Scott Bucklin, and Bill Pohl).  International coverage of this trio poured in from Citizen Jazz in Brussels, Echoes in London, Signal to Noise in Vermont, One Final Note in Minneapolis, The Dallas Morning News, Zeitgeist in New Orleans, Paris Transatlantic in Paris, and many other sources.

In 2005, they played three nights in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the Vancouver Jazz Festival and undertook an East Coast tour, during which they played the prestigious Vision Festival in New York and then took off for their grand European summer tour.  Their third CD was released in May of 2006, and was titled Geografía, and the trio played a great part in the success of the internationally acclaimed CD, A Measure of Vision, by Mississippi jazz drumming legend Alvin Fielder, released on the Portuguese jazz label Clean Feed in 2006.

An augmented line-up including Alvin Fielder, Chris Parker, and Leena Conquest, released a new CD, entitled The Gift of Discernment, in spring of 2008 on the renowned Polish record label, Not Two Records. In conjunction with this, Yells At Eels did a tour of Poland with Portugese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado.  And in 2011 they toured Poland once again with the renowned Polish bass player Wojtek Mazolewski.  A new 7” release has emerged from this tour, Wind Streaks in Syrtis Major.  Ayler Records in France has also released two other Yells At Eels CD’s, Cape of Storms with the legendary South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, and Resurrection and Life, also with drummer Alvin Fielder.  They also released a CD in 2010 called The Hymn Project with Norwegian contrabassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten.

Dennis González has played in the church and on the international jazz stage for many years and is a published poet, language and music teacher, musician – composer, visual artist, and was a well-known on-air personality for KERA Channel 13 and KERA 90.1 FM for 21 years.  Aaron and Stefan continue making music as a duo and in their own groups, as well as being the rhythm section for the Portuguese group. Humanization 4tet.< Yells At Eels (who Ariel Pink chooses to call "Added Pizzazz" when they record with him) has collaborated on 3 projects with Ariel over the past 2 years. The Secret Stages appearance marks the beginning of their 14th year as a group.

Links:

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Robert Ellis (Houston, TX)

Robert Ellis - Westbound Train

“Equally inspired by Jackson Browne and George Jones.” — NY Times

The New York Times recently proclaimed that Houston, Texas native Robert Ellis sounds “equally inspired by Jackson Browne and George Jones.” Not a bad reference point for an artist only twenty-two years old. Ellis cut his teeth performing the songs of similar luminaries around town, most notably at the neighborhood beacon, Fitzgerald’s. His “Whiskey Wednesdays” at that club are regularly packed with punkish newcomers and graying locals sharing a mutual interest in artists ranging from Ray Price to Buck Owens to the Rolling Stones. Ellis has songwriting ability equal to his encyclopedic knowledge of these greats and it shines on his upcoming New West Records debut, Photographs, due this July. The young songwriter’s second release is an impressive and diverse concept album split between five breathtaking folk songs and five soon-to-be country standards. Listening to Photographs, one finds it difficult to pigeonhole Robert Ellis. It’s even harder to remember that he’s barely just begun.

Links:

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Solid Sender (Birmingham, AL)

Solid Sender is a quintet making immediate sounds inspired by late 60s/early 70s Miles and the NYC super-group Sex Mob, with directions in music by Rob Alley. And grooves. Yes, grooves. Lots of them. Deep ones.

The band consists of Alley trumpet, loops/effects, and cue cards; Matthew DeVine – vintage keyboard sounds; Pedro Mayor – vintage keyboard sounds; Aaron Goldberg – electric bass; and Kyle McCarter – drum set. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you’re sure to love the sounds we make. (A quick Google search will yield a plethora of information as to the band member’s prior high jinx. It’d be a waste of your time here.) Hope to see you out there. We’ll be. Out there, that is.

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Marina Orchestra (Knoxville, TN)

Marina Orchestra - Drivin'

Those Appalachian Mountains are old old old, and they reach so high up that they don’t only catch clouds. Way up high in the atmosphere there is music riding on the trade winds; music from all over the world. It pours down the slopes of those mountains with their streams and rivers and straight into the water supply of the people living in the foot hills. The members of Marina Orchestra are drunk on it. Poly-rhythms galore sweat from their pores. Melody is their language and soul. An entire night out dancing with the moonlight and laughing until day break is their job. And those songs from way high up in the sky return to find the next city of people who love to live.

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Dope Body (Baltimore, MD)

Dope Body - LazySlave

“Dope Body pull at the sounds of dude-rock like taffy– tugging guitars out of key, building up big walls of heavy rhythm only to belch in the face of fist-pumping catharsis.”

— Pitchfork

Dope Body, Baltimore, MD’s four-headed beast, fire their second salvo, Natural History, on May 22nd. Borne in 2008 from the dance-friendly confines of the city’s Wham City scene, this unclassifiable heavy ventured out into the night to find more like-minds, but came back empty-handed – i.e., they stand alone. Evolving from blasting three-piece to blistering four-piece, they enjoy writing their own songs, touring endlessly, having fun and pummeling basement parties with a gleeful, wide-eyed fanaticism that the more reasonable among us might mistake for insanity (it ain’t entirely so). Dope Body writhe under their own influences and experiments, swinging from gutterish sludge-punk to snake charmer-on-fire within the confines of a single tune. Rather than compare their ferocity to another contender, just know that Dope Body is punk spelled other-wards and standing on its hands, with riffs descending like blood rushing from your feet to your head, then trickling down the drain.

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Future Virgins (Chattanooga, TN)

Future Virgins - Patron Saints

“While it’s the band’s first full-length, it has the feel of veterans. The songs are concise, the tone is clear, and the production is confident. It’s both catchy and unique, and this easily would have placed within my 2011 best of lists, had I gotten around to hearing it before Christmas. The lyrics themselves aren’t all that positive, but the music itself never lets up. Recommended for fans of garage punk and pop punk alike.”

— SCENE POINT BLANK

Members of Jack Palance Band, ADD/C, Big Kitty, and Sexy; Future Virgins formed in 2004. They have released a trilogy of self-recorded 7 inches, a split with the Onion Flavored Rings on 1234-go records, and the LP “Western Problems” on Starcleaner/ Plan it X south Records. Their new LP will be recorded in Chattanooga by Mike Pack at TINY BUZZ recording.

River City Tanlines (Memphis, TN)

River City Tanlines - Black Knight

“[A] rad band from Memphis that features the songwriting, singing, and shred-fest, riff-heavy, tasteful-but-wicked-solos guitar playing of Alicja Trout. I bopped my head and felt elated. After the band finished, I didn’t want to see anything else. I wanted to go home with The River City Tanlines’ songs ringing in my ears. That’s when you know it’s been a good night.”

— Carrie Brownstein (NPR)

The River City Tanlines (the name being a play on the concept of a “farmer tan”) is a three-piece rock band from Memphis, TN.
Alicja Trout, the principle songwriter, is a veteran of countless noteworthy punk/indie bands over the years, including The Clears (Smells Like Records), The Lost Sounds (In the Red Records, Fat Possum) and her other current projects, Alicja-pop, MouseRocket and Black Sunday. Likewise, the powerful rhythm section of Terrence Bishop and John Bonds are no strangers to success, having played together behind such names as Jack Oblivian, R.L. Burnside, Jim Dandy & Black Oak Arkansas, and Monsieur Jeffrey Evans.

In 2009 the Tanlines appeared in Craig Brewer’s (Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan) web-series (and soundtrack) for MTV, Five Dollar Cover, and performed “I’m Your Negative” in a rollerderby fight scene. They also have a song (“Black Knight,” a crowd favorite at live shows) featured in the EA Sports video game Skate.

Together since late 2004, the band has toured extensively in North America and Europe playing clubs and festivals, and has ten releases on various record labels around the world. Their album I’m Your Negative was released in 2006 by Dirtnap Records out of Portland, OR.
A new album is due this July on Big Legal Mess. The band has been recording at Bruce Watson’s Dial Back Sound Studios in Water Valley, MS with engineer Lynn Bridges. They will tour Europe again this October, 2012.

Links:

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The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt (Murfreesboro, TN)

The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt - iotdwykiyhtbr


”It used to be that Moby was the artist people thought of when the words innovative and hip were applied to a musician who had sprung from the corridors of SUNY Purchase. But Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! — a revolving band of musical party-throwers signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop record label — are racking up a string of much-hyped shows around Manhattan and Brooklyn.”

The New York Times

THE TERROR PIGEON DANCE REVOLT is dance party meets group therapy meets gym class: an extremely audience-engulfing spectacle complete with massive DIY light show, costumes for everyone, sing alongs, slides, and the occasional light saber battle. An opportunity to prove to people that life is wonderful. WE ARE THE WORLD’S SWEATIEST BAND!

Links:

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Arablak (Atlanta, GA)

Arablak - Social Light Shit (prod Arablak)

“Arablak delivers verse after verse of clever rhyme patterns and creative braggadocio lines…”

— Trav Glave (URB.com)

Atlanta-based, central Massachusetts bred emcee Arablak is prepping to take his place atop the list of artists to look out for. A student of Hip Hop culture, Arablak stands out not only for his impressive music, but the way it takes listeners back to a time when music was a simple feel-good experience, no gimmicks required.

Not a newcomer to the music scene, Arablak has been developing his skills for years. Rhyming since his youth, he’s since fine tuned his skills and is not only a fierce lyrical emcee, but also an incredible songwriter who can paint stories, draw emotions and sketch out revolutions with his rhymes. In addition to the emceeing, Arablak has been putting in work behind the boards as a producer and has developed a sound that is just as much true school as it is innovative.

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Reverb Nation