Justin's a Fort Worth Uberfan and familiar of drummer/visual artist extraordinaire Clay Stinnett and Waxahachie gallery owner Bruce Webb. His evening was up against the second night of the Fort Worth Rock Assembly (local bands play classic rock toons) across town at the Wherehouse, but he still managed to pull a select roomful of cognoscenti. I dig his style and taste.
Dim Locator led off with a set of digital-age electrified country blues. Will plays a battered hollowbody electric and a set of drum pads programmed for kick drum and hi-hat sounds through a bank of F/X through a PA speaker and good ol' reliable Fender Twin. (When I walked in and saw four, count 'em, four vintage Fender amps onstage, I thought I might have died and gone to gear geek heaven. And Will's drum rig is a work of art in itself, a more industrial-looking version of the jumble sales used by the drummers in Restaurant and Bastardos de Sancho.)
Kapinos sings in a style that's part young Johnny Cash, part crazed hillbilly, and all Texas kid; no affected African-Americanismo or over-the-top vocal F/X a la Jon Spencer or Bob Log III for this boy, to his great credit. He can fingerpick the fire out of that big box, or flatpick it for an effect not unlike a less-flashy, early Johnny Winter. (For proof, hear the cover of R.L. Burnside's "Mattie" on his TXMF 7-inch, with spooky/swampy Clay Stinnett cover art.)
I first saw Dim Locator at the Tommy Atkins benefit at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff last year, when Will invited Daron Beck to sit in on "I Put A Spell On You." Since then, the music's become less John Lee Hooker-derivative and a more organic representation of its creator, even including a song from his old band Jetscreamer, whom I vaguely remember seeing at some long-gone venue in Deep Ellum a decade or so ago. He's up for a "Best Blues Act" award in the Dallas Observer, which I think he deserves if only to piss off the purists. I was happy to hear that he'll be opening for Roky Erickson at the Kessler on September 30th, since I've already got my tickets for thatun.
New Fumes, up next, was an entahrly different kettle of fish. Daniel Huffman, familiar of both the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne (who provides a testimonial on a sticker affixed to the outside of New Fumes' estimable debut vinyl statement Bump and Assassination) and the Polyphonic Spree's Tim DeLaughter, has been making interesting music for longer than the decade of which I'm personally aware, and is just now, with this project, beginning to realize his considerable potential.
It's instructive to remember that Ghostcar was originally Daniel's band, before the more assertive Karl Poetschke and Clay Stinnett hijacked it. Back in those days, Daniel always used to play sitting down, facing away from the audience, often with a cat mask on the back of his head. More recently, I was surprised to see him playing stand-up guitar in Day of the Double Agent with Regina Chellew. I last saw him three years ago, when he sat in with PFFFFT! at the Fairmount.
While one-man-bands are certainly not the novelty they once were (saw Greg Ginn at the Wild Rooster a couple of weeks back; Nathan Brown was in the crowd early last night), New Fumes is more ambitious than most. Bump and Assassination is a full-on, multimedia presentation, with integrated video for each song -- a head-spinning orgy for eyes a la Sub Oslo, but more programmatically linked with the musical goings on, so you can see video Daniel, wearing a cathead and purple lipstick, singing along with his onstage self.
The music's orchestral in scope; fella sure can get a lot of sounds out of a guitar, a laptop, and a pedalboard. The obvious sonic comparison is with the Lips, of course, but there are dance music components at work here as well and the overall effect is positive in the manner of the Spree without ever making you feel like you drank the purple Kool-Aid. This is homemade psychedelia at its best: an evocative, ultimately uplifting sensory overload. I particularly liked the video clips of Billy the owl, whom Daniel found injured in his driveway, nursed back to health, and eventually released.
(Dig New Fumes' cover of the Pretty Things' S.F. Sorrow toon "Trust" via Soundcloud.)
Batting cleanup were the Ugly Beats, who gots a new album Moor! out on Get Hip and are about to embark on a tour of Spain, where their retro sound goes over big. Guitarist Dan Wilcox also plays in the Strange Attractors (whose bassist Jen Tran made it up to Fort Worth to see the Ugly Beats play but sadly was unable to when her own band was playing here last week). The UBs' stage trip works off the dynamic between diminutive frontguy Joe Emery and organ chick Jeanine Attaway, whose presence reminds me of Joe Nick Patoski's squeeze Kris Cummings back when she was in Joe King Carrasco's Crowns (who've recently regrouped for a few shows).
Except for Wilcox, who looked as though Thurston Moore had been transported back in time to 1962, the UBs mainly looked like extras from That Thing You Do, which caused one wag to remark, "I wonder whatever happened to the Oneders?" They played a cover of Roky's Erickson's "Starry Eyes," dedicated to Justin, that served as a reminder that Buddy Holly, Bobby Fuller, and Roky were all Texans.
It'd been a long day, so after my sweetie took some shots of the UBs (some of which she'll post, along with a few of her New Fumes/Dim Locator pics, on her photo blog in just a little bit), we headed out to grab some grub at Taco Heads (not bad, but pricier and not better than Melis Taqueria in our own 'hood) and head home to the cats. Kudos to Justin R. and Lola's for hosting a great night of music. If there were more shows like this, I might have to venture out of mi casa more often.