Black Tie Rising

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Posted December 5, 2007 by Hearsay in Music

Black Tie Dynasty’s Cory Watson is happy with his band’s debut, 2006′s Movements. As he should: It’s been short-listed for five Grammy nods, including pop song (“I Like U”) and album of the year. (We won’t know for another few weeks whether BTD is an official finalist.)

But he believes his band can do better, and in a few months he may have the proof. In February, the Fort Worth quartet will go into the studio with Dallas producer and pAper chAse frontman Jon Congleton (Modest Mouse, The Polyphonic Spree) and lay down tracks for a new record, with a tentative release date of summer ’08.

Instead of a straight-ahead nuevo New-Wave groove, expect something distinctly Black Tie-ish but … different. “We’re going to be maintaining our sound but allowing ourselves the freedom to go in new directions,” Watson said. Time and experience – and a newfound desire to stave off stagnation – informed the artistic shift. The new record, he said, will be more dynamic than the previous one. “Movements was kind of like a flat line – there weren’t enough quieter moments. At the same time, when a [new] song needs to be epic, we can do that too.

We can adjust.” Watson also pointed out that Movements (also produced by Congleton) was recorded in six days. The new record, conversely, will be assembled over the course of 16. “Instead of hit, hit, hit,” Watson said, alluding to Movements’ staccato flow, “the new one will have more of an album feel.” Only classic Black Tie, however, will sashay through Double Wide (3510 Commerce St., Dallas; 214-887-6510), on Thursday, when Watson and company play along with Run Run Run and Soft Environmental Collapse. Visit www.myspace.com/ blacktiedynasty. … Chris Hardee, frontman for art-rockers Alan, has developed a reputation as an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but in his case is almost wholly unwarranted. True, Hardee is intense about his music and is the polar opposite of, say, Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard, who seems to cut a new album every day between breakfast and dinner.

But Hardee is no more or less anal-retentive than any other fiery singer-songwriter – at least according to him. I got to talk to the sweetly theatrical twentysomething last Tuesday night at the Blue Grotto, where instead of performing (as planned), he was tipplin’ with the rest of the rabble and me in the peanut gallery (though he did play an impromptu and literally unplugged set on the patio out front in the frigid December air).

To fans who have been waiting nearly two years for the band’s follow-up to The Universal Answer is Both, Alan’s last outing, Hardee says take heart. All of the production work he’s been doing for his friends and professional acquaintances is nearing its end, leaving him time to finish up his own stuff. I can vouch that he’s neither obsessing nor slacking. He played a new track for me on his car stereo in the parking lot. The sound is real and real heavy though still uniquely Alan-ian: a lot of kaleidoscopic passages, string flourishes – courtesy of Douglas Edward – and Hardee’s signature brand of dynamic vocalismo. Visit www.myspace.com/alanband.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.


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