The Old 97's Say 'Fuck It' On Their Next LP, and Michael Briggs Gets Roasted.
Tonight, as the Dallas Observer gets set to honor some of this town's musicians as part of its 25th annual Music Awards, we find ourselves thinking about all the amazing artists this town has produced over the years.
And though a fair contingent of Dallas-based outfits have achieved a decent amount of national acclaim over the years — acts such as the Old 97's, The Polyphonic Spree, Erykah Badu, Reverend Horton Heat immediately come to mind — there's a certain tendency to underrate these acts locally, or at the very least underestimate their esteem to folks living outside the DFW bubble.
Maybe because they've played in the area so many times over the past couple of decades or received tons of (much deserved) press over the years. Regardless, we too find ourselves undervaluing these acts from time to time.
Take Reverend Horton Heat frontman and psychobilly pioneer Jim Heath, whose status as one of the most respected guitarists this town has ever produced is often taken for granted. Fortunately, the rest of the world isn't as guilty in this area: This January, the Rev will have the honor of sitting in with The Les Paul Trio during its longstanding Monday night residency at New York's Iridium Jazz Club. Beginning in 1995, Les Paul and his trio began performing in the club every Monday night, and, since his death in 2009 at age 94, his backing band has continued the gig with different guitar greats filling in to honor Paul's memory. Heath — whose latest album is due out on Victory Records on January 21 — will be joining the likes of Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Steve Miller and Ted Nugent, who've all sat in with the trio previously.
On the other hand, pretty much everybody in town seems to recognize and acknowledge the greatness of The Dividends. That much makes sense: Judging from the snippets we've heard from the twosome's upcoming debut EP, the new collaborative project from Symbolyc One and Sarah Jaffe just seems destined for greatness on a big-time scale. And with today's release of Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 — an album featuring a track called “Bad Guy” that was co-written by the duo — that breakout moment feels more imminent than ever.
Speaking of “Bad Guy,” the group released a video earlier this week in which they give local director Jeff Adair a behind-the-scenes look at how that track came together. Check it out:
It's just overall a big day for releases with local ties, though. In addition to Eminem's new disc, Midlake's long-awaited Antiphon earned its release today as well. Coincidentally, the band will soon embark on a tour with Dividends member Sarah Jaffe in the coming months.
Also? Nonesuch Records decided to release the vinyl version of its Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack today — a full week ahead of its CD and digital counterparts, although NPR began streaming the much-hyped album this week, too. The reason for all that hype? As they did with their 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou, the Coen Brothers's upcoming movie will also boast a soundtrack produced by Fort Worth's T-Bone Burnett. As you might recall, the O Brother soundtrack sold eight million copies on its way to win three Grammy Awards that year. Anyway, the coolest bit about this news circles around the fact that, because Llewyn Davis centers around a folk musician gigging his way around Greenwich Village in the '60s, the vinyl version of the soundtrack comes at the “throwback Sixties” price of $5.98 as a sort of tie-in with the film.
And it looks like there are a couple more big name local releases just ahead as well: In an interview last week with Rolling Stone, Rhett Miller mentioned that a new Old 97's and a solo album were both currently in the works. Speaking on the 97's disc in particular, Miller says it will be “adult-themed,” meaning it will feature “a lot of cursing, a lot of drinking and lots of sex.” And, according to the interview, a guest appearance from The Replacements' Tommy Stinson, too.
Lastly this week comes word that Denton musician, producer, label-owner, blogger, house venue owner and Rock Lottery 12 co-organizer Michael Briggs will be adding yet another title — coffee roaster — to his ever growing collection with his latest venture. According to a website launched for Briggs' new, non-profit coffee-roasting company, Macaroni Island Coffee, his reasoning is as follows: “We enjoy good coffee and like to roast it for our friends and the bands that come play at the house. People seem to enjoy our coffee, so we thought that we'd offer it to the public on a limited basis.” The company's profits will be donated to various local charities on a revolving basis.
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