Based on stories in this exquisite newspaper and perhaps elsewhere, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Near Southside, specifically the historic Fairmount district, has the monopoly on loud psychedelic rock. In addition to the bands (Slumberbuzz, Fungi Girls, The Fibs, Year of the Bear, Fou, Jack Thunder & The Road Soda), many of whose members live, work, and play in the neighborhood, two production teams –– Jennifer and Robby Rux at Dreamy Soundz and Britt Robisheaux at Eagle Audio Recording –– regularly pump out trippy-dippy lo-fi sounds from here and beyond (sounds that are also being sold over the counter, courtesy of Dreamy Life Records & Music on East Broadway Street).
Sure, The Fairmount, as it’s commonly, cheekily referred to –– as in “The Donald” –– is fertile ground for young, maybe slightly disenfranchised creative types. The stark lack of chain stores and Dallas-based businesses reflects the artistic residents’ DIY ethos. (Or the fact that Dallas hasn’t come calling yet.)
But young, maybe slightly disenfranchised creative types are everywhere, including family-fun-filled Arlington, home to one of the most sonically ambitious and interesting psyche groups in all of the great 817.
The horribly named Mammal Virus is not nearly as ragged and experimental as your average Near Southside mind-fuck but is just as apt to build walls of sound and pen lyrics about life on the wrong side of the ledger. A songwriting vehicle for cousins Lance Sanders (guitar, vocals) and Jesse Brady (bass), TMV (rounded out by guitarist Deven Kampenhout and drummer Ray Villarreal) put out its debut recording earlier this year, and it’s fantastic: driving but dreamy, catchy but unpredictable, and expectedly bombastic. Recorded at EMP in Arlington with producer Ty Whaley, the EP The Vax could have come from Dreamy Soundz or Robisheaux. It’s that taut, that rich, that surprising.
“We are really proud of it,” Sanders said. “It’s a statement to us that says, ‘Here we are, a very versatile psychedelic indie-rock band looking to show people who we really are.’ ”
Along with playing more frequently, here and out of town, Sanders said, The Mammal Virus is working on its second recording, a full-length. The band’s next show is Friday at The Grotto with Stereo Control, Public Love Affair, and Invisible Signal, a side project of Sanders and Brady’s. The show is a benefit for Southern Train Gypsy bassist Duane Smith, who’s undergoing intense cancer treatment. (Smith said that his tumor has shrunk by half, but his medical bills are still mounting. Several benefit shows over the past few weeks have helped him immeasurably, he said: “I seriously cannot thank everyone enough for all the support. … I’m very humbled by all the Fort Worth support that continues to pour in. This is a very special place to live.”)
“Hopefully, we can get some help for Duane,” Sanders said. “That’s what Friday’s event is all about.”
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