The Crown and Harp Pushes Forward, Paperstain Folds and Liz Larsen Inspires.

Leading off, we'd like to offer up something of a correction to last week's column, in which we inadvertently made it seem that the recent uptick in the quality of shows currently being booked at The Crown and Harp was due to the club's decision to bring former Bryan Street Tavern general manager Moody Fuqua aboard to help in that capacity. To be sure, Moody isn't completely taking over booking the venue so much as joining The Artist Collective's Charlsie Grace, who has been most responsible for the current upswing of talent performing at the venue of late.

Aside with making improvements to The Crown and Harp's stage, lighting, and relocating the sound board to the back of the room, Grace did agree with us on at least one point: The addition of Moody to the team “guarantees that what we are building can surpass The Cavern's glory days.”

Yes, we're certain good times are ahead there. Elsewhere, too.

This Friday night, should be an example of that, as recent Denton upstarts Strange Towers will be making their first-ever Dallas appearance when they take part in “a night of strange electronic explorations” at The Double Wide along with New Fumes and Blixaboy. Notably, the show will also be one of the band's first since vocalist Lars Larsen made the Tom Gable-like decision to publicly disclose her gender dysphoria and her plans to begin living as a woman with a lengthy, uplifting post recently on Facebook.

Wrote Larsen: “I have a few things to say to everyone. I am transgender and I am in the process of male to female transition. I have the great fortune of love, acceptance and support from my wife, children, parents, in-laws, siblings, bandmates, bosses, business partner and many close friends. I am in my second week of hormone replacement therapy and feel much healthier and happier. For the time being you may call me Lars or Liz, and you may use whatever pronouns make you most comfortable. Before the end of this year I hope to be ready to present as myself full time. Please do not treat me any differently than you always have or worry about saying something wrong around me. The person you know is not a lie or facade. I will still love what I love and do what I do. If this news in any way concerns, disturbs or confounds you, please use online resources to educate yourself on Gender Dysphoria/transgender issues and/or remove me from your friends list. I love you all very much and will happily answer any questions unrelated to surgical procedures. It's gonna be a weird year.”

From the outpouring of support Larsen received following the post, it appears as if local music fans will be ready to show Strange Towers the same type of encouragement and enthusiasm that fans at the Prophet Bar extended to Against Me! back in November. One can only hope; an act as courageous and inspiring as Larsen's deserves nothing less.

Another Denton-based entity making a surprising announcement last week was Paperstain Records, which made public their plans to call things quits. After 13 years of booking showcases and releasing albums from Denton outfits like Drink to Victory, Shiny Around the Edges, Geistheistler, and Dust Congress, the label wrote in a statement that its heads “have become old, and like all things old, it is time for us to stop.” For the time being, albums from the label's back catalog can be downloaded for free from their site, which the label has threatened to take down sooner than later.

Still going strong, though, is another of Denton's other favorite labels, Dirtnap Records which, all joking aside, is actually based in Portland. That's a fact that's understandably hard to distinguish at times, though, considering the number of North Texas acts the label has worked with in the past. For instance, take the label's New Mexico-based Low Culture outfit, which just released a video for their song “I Feel Your Ghost” off their three-week-old debut LP Screens. That album was produced in Fort Worth by Mind Spiders lynchpin Mark Ryan (who himself has appeared on at least a half-dozen Dirtnap releases), and features his Marked Men bandmate Joe Ayoub standing in as the band's bass player.

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