Featured Music: Wednesday, April 05, 2006
The Burning Hotels are young, hip, and the secret envy of just about every other local mod-rocker — trés indie!
WOSF headliners Low go from opening for Radiohead to playing the Fort — hella trés indie!
Purveyor of ‘Crisco’ (country and disco), Tim Locke’s Calhoun has a new album on the way.
No Bricks Here

This year’s annual Wall of Sound Festival is big and bad — hear that, SXSW?


Who needs Sixth Street during SXSW? For music fans on the hunt for a festival that devotes prime billing to new, unsigned indie musos from across all genres — rather than old, already-signed “indies” — look no further than the Fort this weekend.

Hot on the heels of SXSW, Spune Productions presents the Wall of Sound Festival at Ridglea Theater. The tale of the tape: Three stages, two days (Saturday and Sunday), and 88 bands. How in the hell Spune and the Ridglea are going to pack that much wholesome rock ’n’ roll entertainment into such a tiny little slice of life may prove to be the engineering feat of the millennium. Whatever. Lovers of smart, progressive music the way that Robert Pollard, Bob Mould, and Paul Westerberg intended it are facing some serious dilemmas: On Saturday, should you see Fort Worth’s fine rococo-pop merchants Sleepy Atlantis at 1 p.m. and risk getting sucked into their dream-pop and missing the first half of The Current Leaves’ show? But what if you do make the Leaves gig? You may end up whiffing on Cordelane’s shimmy-shimmy rock, which starts around the same time. And what about when Fort Worth-based indie-prog rockers Alan hit the main stage at 2? That’s when the equally outré, instrumental quartet Cue will be letting its guitars, tambourines, drums, violins, and other musical tools discuss chaos, dissonance, and atonality juxtaposed with gorgeous, hyper-melodic soundscapes. Decisions, decisions.

In the throes of extreme doubt, concertgoers are advised to remain calm and, in the words of a couple of hippies from way back, just love the one (band) you’re with. You probably won’t be displeased.

Most of the local outfits on the bill seem capable of not embarrassing themselves in such a cooler-than-thou environment. While you’ve likely seen some of ’em live before, you may not have seen any of ’em either recently or in such good musical shape. Like, you may think you know the normally sunshiny boys and girl of Chemistry Set, but once you hear the rough-and-tumble hue their music’s adopted, you might not recognize ’em. Same for Collin Herring. The young alt-country troubadour has a new guitarist, Alan Durham, and he provides the kind of chainsaw bite that’s been missing from Herring’s music since the departure of former backing ax-man Austin Barker (who decamped for Texas Music dude Stephen Pointer’s outfit).

The most eagerly awaited performance from a local band occurs at an ungodly hour, late Sunday evening at 12:30 a.m. With some new backing musicians and a whole new sound, Tim Locke’s Calhoun also plays Friday with Cowboy Mouth at the Aardvark (2905 W. Berry St., 817-926-7814), in case Monday’s a school day for you. Both shows are celebrations of the release of Calhoun’s new c.d., produced by Todd and Toby Pipes at Bass Propulsion Laboratories. What was once contemplative, creaky, ghostly alt-country is now, in the words of Locke, “Crisco,” a generous mix of country and disco.

The show by “that band that every other musician in town wants to stink because its young, cool, hip members haven’t paid any goddamn dues!” would have to be The Burning Hotels’. Even though the four young turks recently arrived on the scene, they’ve managed to assert a monopoly on coolness, groupies, and music envy. Song samples from the band’s brand-spankin’ new e.p., Eighty-Five Mirrors, are available at www.myspace.com/theburninghotels.

Other locals include: The New Year, Black Tie Dynasty, Snowdonnas, A-Hummin’ Acoustical Acupuncture, Red Monroe, Darth Vato, Crushed Stars, Faux Fox, Soft Environmental Collapse, Doug Burr, Fra Pandolf, Ghostcar, Mazinga Phaser II, Mission to the Sea, Midlake, Pleasant Grove, Record Hop, Robert Gomez, Shiny Around the Edges, Man Factory, The Deathray Davies, Smile Smile, Spitfire Tumbleweeds, Stellamaris, Stumptone, Baboon, Radiant, [daryl], Red Animal War, Deadman, Super Love Attack, Sorta, Record Hop, Quien ’es BOOM!, and The Happy Bullets.

From exotic locales as far away as Seattle, Los Angeles, Orlando, Huntington Beach, and Salt Lake City, major indie bands scheduled are David Bazan (from Pedro the Lion), The Lassie Foundation, Okkervil River, Starlight Mints, Octopus Project, Starflyer 59, Single Frame, The Dark Romantics, 8mm, The Czars, Sound Team, The Golden Falcons, and a few others, including former Radiohead opener-uppers and headliners Low.

You gotta love that ever since its inaugural show a couple of years ago, Wall of Sound has remained solely the province of indie purists. Other alleged indie festivals, like SXSW and CMJ Music Marathon, appeal mainly to quasi-indie bands and fans. There’s usually enough mainstream stuff planted among the neo-punks, ’80s throwbacks, and insane Japanese noisicians to make Grandpa feel easy like Sunday morning. In an era in which The Man freely co-opts large-scale get-togethers — no matter how “indie” — Wall of Sound stands as a refreshing alt-alternative. (Full disclosure: Fort Worth Weekly is a proud sponsor.)

Parking is free for the all-ages festival; food and beverages will be available for sale inside. For more information, visit www.WallOfSoundFestival.com or www.myspace.com/wallofsoundfestival. For tickets, go to www.frontgatetickets.com.

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