NX35 2009: Four Bands You Must See

In view of the more than 130 bands setting up in downtown Denton today through Sunday, we're giving you a mere sample of the action with our picks for each night of the inaugural NX35 fest. See nx35.com for the full schedule and ticket information.


Madeline at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 8pm

A songbird from the indie-rock mecca of Athens, Georgia, Madeline's vulnerable folk is a like a more mature alternative to Kimya Dawson. Instead of the Saturday morning cartoon references and descriptions of bodily functions, Madeline regales us with stories of unrequited love and personal discovery in a way that's childlike but not childish. We felt chills while watching her play at a Fort Worth park to a bunch of punks sitting cross-legged on pavement hot with summer, and once at a house show in Oklahoma hosted by about a hundred admiring teenagers with whom she talked all night. Here she is at Flicker in Athens.


Grassfight at Hailey's, 8pm

This Denton foursome recently supported the Starlight Mints -- they'll keep contending with bigger-name indie-pop bands as their sound further polishes itself. If you still adore Interpol, Grassfight's hypnotic bass lines and crowd-friendly hooks -- a study of Joy Division and the Cure as much as the work of the New York band -- will carve the Denton band's name into your head in some slick, sans-serif font. Watch the video for Grassfight's "Under Your Hands".


Matthew and the Arrogant Sea at Hailey's, 8pm

We've got a close compadre who constantly yells "Matthew and the Arrogant Sea ROCKS!" at showman Matthew Dear when their paths cross on the Square. Dear never looks up. He obviously knows his band is awesome -- dude swings the mic stand and beams at shows like he's Wayne Coyne -- but we're not quite sure how aware he is that MATAS stands with the lauded Midlake in the realm of cinematic imagination. Maybe his whimsical thoughts are just too loud for him to hear anything else. (This show also boasts Sarah Jaffe and Bosque Brown -- if you somehow miss everything else this weekend, see this.) Watch the video for "Spider Sunday" here.


Shiny Around the Edges at banter, 8pm

The veritable Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Denton, Shiny Around the Edges' Mike and Jenny Seman are a think tank for experimentation and sophisticated art-rock aesthetic. Paste magazine agreed -- sort of -- in its homage to the Denton music scene last year, pinning Shiny's merit on its loudness and weirdness. We're taken with the pair's ability to conjure tumbleweeds and desert space with distortion and velvety vocals on the just-released Holy Roller. And, well, they're pretty to look at -- you can't tell in this video, but it's worth it to play and hear them live.

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