eye (2006-01)

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Local Album Review

Not Your Grandmother’s Dance Floor

Greek To Us

Beginnings and Endings

Local Album Review

A mere six tracks make for a tantalizing appetizer, prompting listeners to lust for more and wonder which musical territories the Tenderhooks have conquered since this EP was recorded seven or eight months ago. Punctuality issues aside, the group is to be commended for creating a strong body of songs that firmly establishes a singular musical identity without straying too far off the mark, biting off more than it can chew, or (even worse) allowing the demons of self-indulgence to enter the picture. Actually, the EP format is a great way to get to know a new band.

Praise be the rock ‘n’ roll gods, the Tenderhooks’ poppy rock songs avoid saccharine clichés and have enough grit to give the whole affair an edge. I have no idea what the group was shooting for, but the EP reminds me most of Television, Neil Young or the twangy, proto-Britpop sounds of groups like Orange Juice and The Wedding Present . All adept musicians, the band delivers tightly woven instrumental interplay that sounds effortless. Sure, when you think about it some of the parts really are tricky. But the mark of a good band is making songs, not flashy riffs and licks.

Although melodic elements certainly take the forefront, don’t expect twee pop from this EP. Vocalist Ben Oyler leads the group through some crunchy material that fears neither the sonic boom of the powerchord nor the sugary delights of harmony. Just think of the edgy pop sensibilities of the Velvet Underground ’s Loaded album, and you’ll have some idea where these guys (and gal) are coming from, maybe.

If you can’t find the EP in local music stores, you can order it direct from the source at thenewbeat.net. You can also download the free MP3 of “Reconcile These Things” at the site.  

Not Your Grandmother’s Dance Floor

But starting Jan. 6, Fairbanks’ former in-house big band The Streamliners has a new home: the World Grotto on Market Square. A far cry from the prim ‘n’ proper atmosphere they’re used to, the Grotto’s sparkle-encrusted, new age swank should prove an interesting contrast to the 15-set ensemble’s moth-eaten cache. But a dance floor is a dance floor, after all, and Streamliners’ co-founder Thomas Heflin says the band is thrilled for an opportunity to scuff one up on a regular basis (the band will play on the first Friday of each month). “We’re glad to be playing downtown again and to have something steady again so dancers know where to go,” he says, referring to the legion of Knoxville Swing Dance Association devotees. Newcomers are welcome as well; the association will host swing dance lessons from 8 to 9 p.m. before the show, with The Streamliners taking the stage at 9:30.

Greek To Us

Beginnings and Endings

Over in the Old City, the most happening place to be was at Barley’s, where the Tenderhooks started the show with a rollicking set. Folks really started piling in when Todd Steed took the stage, clad in a Krispy Kreme hat and as bashfully hilarious as ever. When Steed called Dixie Dirt’s lead singer Kat Brock up onstage, the two had a strangely appealing chemistry akin to the class-cutting punk rock girl who started dating the captain of the chess team in high school. But the reason most of us put on our boots and party hats that night was to see Dixie Dirt’s last show. And it truly was a show for the fans. They played the favorite sing-alongs—“Boulevards,” “Lipstick,” “Small Town Crisis”—as well as some that we only knew half of the words. The first few rows of people were pretty emotional; crying, kissing, dancing and cheers-ing. It was a memorable show, but something tells us it won’t be the last.

© 2006 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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