March 31, 2002

Various Artists "Buzz-Oven Volume Five"

Someone in Dallas is a genius.

Some wise spark realized that Dallas is a city with many talented, unheard artists--and decided to do something to rectify this situation. That "something" is called Buzz-Oven, and their goal is most simple: find talented artist and then create a buzz about them. The liner notes are pure propaganda about how to do so, but it's utterly brilliant. The method is simple: find cool, hard-working high-school kids with similar musical tastes, and have them spread the word via flyers, giveaways, events. There's a unique little note about their "goal:" to have one "buzzer" in every Dallas area high school.

Anyway, volume five of this series has two tracks from four local bands: Burden Brothers, The Deathray Davies, [DARYL], and Bee. Going from keyboard driven new-wave emo, math rock, indie rock, and balls out, no-frills ROCK music, it's interesting to hear such a diverse range of musical styles on one place.

Bee is the newcomer of this compilation, and is a mathy-indie-rocky band of witty jazz students from the University of North Texas. "Commodore 64" is a slow, Touchy-and-Going style number, with some Beck-like witty lyrics. It sounds good, but I'm a little *eh* about it. The next song, "The End of Everything," continues the trend; not bad, but not knocking me out, either. Being a baby band, it's hard to judge what'll happen after more time's passed, but they could do well with what they're going for.

[DARYL] is a new wave band from Denton, Texas, and it's not the new wave of the Faint that they're making. They're a little darker, and a little more alternative-rock minded; they've been around a while, it seems. They've had a few records out, though the records I've heard, I've either really loved (their two-song 7" on Quality Park Records) or really, really hated (their 5-song CD-EP debut). Suffice to say, I'm still mixed about [DARYL], and these songs don't warm me up, either. They're good musically, but I'm just not digging the lead singer's vocals. I do wonder about their live show; I'm thinking, from my experience, that they may be a band whose live performance releases the constraints that are found in studio recordings. I really wanna like [DARYL], because they are an interesting band musically.

The Deathray Davies are one of those bands I'd always heard about, and their two songs are a nice little introduction to one of those quietly brilliant bands that Dallas has a tendency to produce. They're the veterans of the series, having already released three records and toured the country a number of times. Though they probably get lumped in with (ewwwww) "emo," they are far from it---if anything, they're a new generation of power pop, which, oddly, seems to be a genre that the emo scene refuses to acknowledge. Both songs, "The Aztec God" and "She Can Play Me Like a Drum Machine" are examples of this phenomenon; I've heard the "emo" tag on these boys, but I don't hear it at all. Dum emo kids...

What makes this sampler worth every penny of its value are the two songs by the Burden Brothers, the new band by former Toadies frontman Todd Lewis and ex-Reverend Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley. Though the Toadies went out with a bang on their second album, the sadly DOA Hell Below/Stars Above, Burden Brothers is a good indication that the excellent music Lewis had made on that album was not a mere fluke. "Your Fault" is a mid-paced ballad, kind of bluesy, made more powerful by Lewis' gruff singing voice. "Hang Your Head" is the real killer though. Lewis taps into the rock and roll power that he had in the Toadies to deliver this loud, screamin' number of a number, and easily surpasses their best work. "Your Fault" really shows that Lewis has a lot of good music in his soul, and no record label's ever gonna stand in his way again.

Buzz-Oven Volume Five is a diverse little record, full of music that all kinds of kids should love, and though some of the songs aren't necessarily my cup of tea, I wouldn't say that they're bad, either. An interesting little collection of music that's free if you're in Dallas, or free if you wanna download them. Check out the action at for more.

--Joseph Kyle

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