The Heartstring Stranglers, apparent wonder band of Denton’s only indie record store/cheap cement-floor venue Strawberry Fields, puts on too good a show to sell for $1 to a BYOB crowd of half-listeners and those too devoted to smoke outside than listen inside.
Hey, hey wait.
I love Strawberry Fields. Forever. (Last one, promise). It has books on anarchy, new and old vinyl. It has cassette tapes, actual fucking cassette tapes. New ones. It has documentaries and a curtained-off adult section.
I also love BYOB, tall boy style. I love cement floors, shows for a buck. (I saw Darlington for a buck in a record store in the suburbs once and it was, perhaps, one of those ten transformative moments in my life.) The Stranglers had one working mic, and there was no door guy. The same guy selling you records took your cover and gave you an armband. It’s a raw place, for real music. I can’t say it’s free of Denton’s own brand of pretension: unlike Dallas’s, Denton’s version involves admonishing those who look like they might be from Dallas.
What I’m saying about The Heartstring Stranglers isn’t that they are too good for the store, the smokers, the chatters in the back. I’m saying they’re too grand, too large. Their four members filled that room with sound, with energy, with genuine this-is-what-it-means-to-rock-in-Denton-ness.
The Stranglers need a stage. They need more than one mic. When they use their foot stomps as instruments (which they skillfully and selectively do) they need the boom. They are worthy of commanding attention, not haphazardly gaining it.
The band’s MySpace classifies them as Folk, Italian Pop and French Pop. They sing in several languages (though usually and most often in English–the French and Italian are highlights rather than stand-bys) mostly about sex, love and murder. In a delightful, detached, meaningful way.
They play again, for better or perhaps not, at Strawberry Fields, Saturday March 15.
Their MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theheartstringstranglers