One Sunday in November, The Where House on the Near Southside opened its doors to some of the best bands in North Texas’ underground scene. War Party, Doom Ghost, Mailman, SpiderFriends, Siberian Traps, and several other punk-spirited or flat-out punk bands laid down tracks for a compilation album. Released last week, Group Therapy Vol. 1 was initiated and overseen by two entities: Lo-Life Recordings, an energetic DIY label founded by War Party frontman Cameron Smith; and studio/label Dreamy Soundz, whose inaugural release was Skeleton Coast’s recent eponymous debut album. Group Therapy was co-produced by underground force Britt Robisheaux and Jennifer Rux, who co-owns the Dreamy Soundz mini-empire with husband Robby Rux and plays in both Year of the Bear (with Robby) and in Bitch Bricks. Smith came up with the idea but needed a studio and producers to realize his vision. Enter: Dreamy Soundz and Robisheaux. Smith handpicked most of the bands, though the Ruxes got to choose some. A couple are from Dallas or Denton. “We wanted to feature a lot of newer bands and show what’s brewing in the local music scene,” Robby said. Time constraints limited the number of participating artists to 16, “which was hard, given the amount of good bands in the area,” he said. Along with the live recordings, Group Therapy includes tracks recorded at Dreamy Soundz (Fungi Girls, The Longshots) and pre-recorded tracks (Big Fiction, Fou). The album will soon be released digitally but is out now on cassette tape –– Lo-Life and Dreamy Soundz chose the format to preserve the sound fidelity of analog recording and as a compromise for not being able to afford vinyl at the time. Hard copies of the tape will be included in the price of admission to a forthcoming release party whose date and location are still up in the air (copies limited to 100). Tapes also will be available (at $5 per) at dreamysoundz.com, loliferecordings.bigcartel.com, Doc’s Records & Vintage, Record Town, and Good Records. Downloads are free. Some songs are already up on Lo-Life’s Bandcamp page (loliferecordings.bandcamp.com). “Our goal in making the comp is to highlight some of the newer bands and to help unify the local DIY scene,” Robby said. And, yes, “Vol. 1” means there’s more to come. “We plan on making the comp an annual event,” Robby said, “adding different bands on each additional release.”
In continuation of last week’s column (“What’s Local in No-Man’s Land?”) and “Albums of the Year” (Dec. 19), I’ve got to tip my hat to a couple killer albums that are only sorta local. My first honorable mention goes to Gold Yeller, the ear-tingling debut by Oil Boom, a trio that’s two-thirds Dallasites, one-third Fort Worthian. Though there was nothing wrong with the Boom’s pre-Gold Yeller trad-blues stomp, the band now covers a little more stylistic ground, ranging from colorful White Stripes-ian pop to pure indie-rock. My second honorable mention goes to the untitled full-length debut by Son of Stan, a.k.a. drummer/producer Jordan Richardson, who lives in L.A. but is from the Fort and spends a lot of time working and playing here. Dreamy, wispy, and melodic, the songs throw back to early-’80s Brit-pop minus the funk. Congrats to all.
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