Sunday, September 27, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 9/27/09

I'll probably be posting something of greater substance tomorrow, but for today, I figured an updated playlist was more than overdue.

  1. "All Inside", The Felons

  2. "Just Wanna Try", Luna Matto
    For those who like to go out on Sunday nights, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend going to Jack's Backyard. Long time GOBL faves The Felons are playing there tonight, as well as brand new GOBL fave Luna Matto. There's no cover at Jack's, and even if there was a cover, it'd be worth the price of admission.

  3. "Shake Your Fist", Telegraph Canyon
    Telegraph Canyon has always been a critical favorite in the metroplex area, but their latest album, The Tide and the Current, has brought the band a level of attention that through me by surprise. Actually, the sound of the new album through me by surprise as well. The band's layered sound remains, but the newer songs have an energy and sense of urgency that their previous effort lacked. The band is garnering comparisons to My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and Band of Horses based on the way they have fused together dreamy melodies with their Americana and alt-country stylings. The band celebrates their CD release party this Friday at Lola's 6th Street, and I feel safe in saying that this will be a major event rather than a mere show.

  4. "Chasing Corporate", Air Review
    I ran into John Solis at the Dovetail CD release show, and I asked him if he had any new local bands I should be listening to. His answer? Air Review. A matter of minutes later, I start talking with Pete Freedman from the Dallas Observer, and ask him the exact same question. To my surprise, I get the exact same answer. I wondered if John told Pete to say that, but then I listened to their music. If their live show is even half as good as the songs posted on their MySpace, then the hype is completely warranted.

  5. "Wicked Game", Sara Donaldson
    For the past three or so years, I have impatiently waited for Ms. Donaldson to record her follow up to The Beginning. For those not familiar with Ms. Donaldson or first album, she is one of the premier cellists in the area, with a voice reminiscent of Kate Bush at her finest hour, and her melodies incorporate influences ranging from Tori Amos to Enya to Sarah McLachlan. Ms. Donaldson is continuing that tradition on her newest effort, Leaving Winter, featuring her cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game". It's true what they say: good things come to those who wait.

  6. "Pushing Strings", Macon Greyson
    Have you downloaded This Machine Kills Hypocrisy yet? Macon Greyson's new EP can be downloaded for free, as in zero dollars. Do it. Now.

  7. "Suenos", Chasing the Muse
    John from Lakewood Bar & Grill recommended this act to me on the strength of their lead vocalist, Aleah Dillard. This is very dreamy music with well written complex melodies. I'm intrigued to hear more from the band.

  8. "Evil on the Highway", Dove Hunter
    They'll be playing Saturday at Lee Harvey's.

  9. "15 Minutes to Rock", Chomsky
    Why is this on the playlist? Sometimes I just like to kick it old school. Actually, they're one of my favorite bands of all time. That helps too.

  10. "Red in the Morning", Menkena
    Good news: Menkena has posted three new songs on their MySpace page. The band maintains its dreamy shoegaze melodies paired with Jimmy Menkena's ability to write a song. The melodies of the new songs are among the strongest that Jimmy has ever written. He says the CD should be out by the end of the year. It is the CD that I am most eagerly anticipating.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Happening Night... for a Wednesday

Usually, I don't give recommendations for Wednesday nights because, well, Wednesdays aren't exactly the most happening evenings. It's a rarity to have a good show on a Wednesday night. Tonight, I have not one, but two recommendations.

The first act I would recommend is Emmeline at Lakewood Bar & Grill. She plays there each Wednesday this month, and having seen her several times, I must say that her shows are always a pleasant treat. My friend John Keener compares her sound to Laura Nyro. I can't comment on that comparison as I am not familiar with Ms. Nyro's work, though to me she sounds like a piano-centered version of Joni Mitchell. I believe she goes on at 8 tonight, so it'd be an early evening for those worried about going to work the next day.

The second act playing tonight is Luna Matto, who will perform at Opening Bell Coffee. My original intent was to write a full length article on the band before the show, but alas, time didn't allow for that. So I'm going to give this brief comment here: the set by Luna Matto and her band not only blew me away, but I think that this is an act that has more potential to break out of Dallas than any band I've seen in the past few years. Yes, they are THAT good. Go check them out tonight, and thank me later.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

MySpace Playlist: 9/6/09

  1. "The Fall Fashions", The Deathray Davies
    Easily my favorite of all the songs in the DRD catalog, and now that the band has an actual trombone player, the live version comes closer to sounding like the version on The Kick and the Snare. I suspect this is one of the songs the band will be playing tonight at The Old Monk. I was disappointed that the turnout to their last show was not as overwhelming as I would have expected. After over a year sans Deathray Davies shows, you'd think Sons of Hermann Hall would have been packed. Hopefully there'll be a good crowd at tonight's show. Did I mention there's no cover, and $2 PBR's?

  2. "Same Old, Same Old", Hello Lover
    If you didn't go to Lakewood Bar & Grill Friday night, you missed a wonderful performance by this band. It was actually a wonderful lineup overall, and I plan on discussing the performance by opening act Luna Matto in greater detail later this week. In the meantime, let me focus on Hello Lover. The band takes elements of early new wave material (the band even covers New Order's "Ceremony") but infuses the style with a hard rocking style that reminds me of early Iggy Pop. Also, the band's drummer, Joe Hardy, is one of my current favorite drummers in Dallas. And the song "Same Old, Same Old" is anything but what the title suggests: it is a fresh and energetic take on the new wave sound that begs for repeated listens.

  3. "Luckier Man", John Lefler
    Mr. Lefler seems to be poised to be one of the reigning kings of pop music in the metroplex. This particular track in slower and less over the top in its pop nature, but the arrangements in the song are nothing less than gorgeous. My friend Amy ranks this as her favorite song, and while "Lucy" is still my number one, this track is growing on me quickly.

  4. "Tell Me", Young Indian Outlaw
    This is a fairly young band, and the majority of their material lies within a White Stripes/Jet/Hives vein. This particular track, however, comes off more like a slower, more alt-country version of early Kings of Leon. Frankly, I think this is their most interesting track, and although I like all of the material I've heard by Young Indian Outlaw, I'd love to see the band further mine this particular musical vein.

  5. "Horses", Somebody's Darling
    This Saturday night marks the CD release of the band's first full-length effort, released on Shiner Records. The CD release show will be held at the Granada Theater, and everyone who attends the event shall receive a copy of the new CD. "Horses" is the first single off the album, and it is classic Somebody's Darling, complete with their trademark southern sound and Amber Farris' passionate vocals.

  6. "Crazy Bullshit Detector", Bad Sports
    It's harder for me to find punk bands that I like. For a long time, the list consisted solely of Spector 45. After seeing Bad Sports perform at the Dallas Observer Awards ceremony, I instantly became a fan of this band. I was hoping that "All The Time" would be available on their MySpace page, but this song works well too. Plus, it has a far more memorable title.

  7. "In This Life", Rahim Quazi
    For as much as I love the music of Rahim Quazi, I seem to have this incredible knack for missing his shows lately. If I didn't book him for one of my Lakewood Bar & Grill shows this summer, I would have missed out on seeing him play this year altogether. He's written some new material which shows great promise, and he'll probably be playing it this Saturday night at Veritas Wine Bar, off of Henderson Avenue. I'm going to try and break my unlucky streak here and see my second Rahim show of the year.

  8. "Pushing Strings", Macon Greyson
    Macon Greyson is a band that understands the rough economic times we are in. At their shows, the band takes the "pay what you can afford" approach when selling their most recent full length CD, 20th Century Accidents. Now the guys in Macon Greyson have posted their new EP, This Machine Kills Hypocrisy, as a free download on their website. Frankly, I'd be willing to pay the standard $5 for an EP of this quality, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? Macon Greyson lowered the price of their music to nothing, all the while maintaining the same level of strong alt-country tunes as they've always created. We may be in a financial recession, but at least their songs help avoid sinking into a musical depression.

  9. "You Every Time", Emmeline
    Sometimes less is more. This track consists only of Emmeline's beautiful voice, great piano playing, and a story of a woman with a broken heart. If any more was added to the track, it would only take away from the simple beauty of this song. You can hear her play this and other songs each Wednesay for the rest of this month at Lakewood Bar & Grill.

  10. "Whiskey Talkin'", Boys Named Sue
    There will be plenty of whiskey talking, shiner bocking, and other forms of drinking this Friday night at Sons of Hermann Hall, as the Boys Named Sue celebrate the release of their follow up to The Hits: Volume One. The new CD is called The Hits: Volume Sue. Original, huh? Musically, however, the band is branching out, experimenting with elements of hip-hop and electronica in their sound, while lyrically the band ponders the deeper meaning of life as well as their own mortality. NOT!!! Boys Named Sue obviously subscribe to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, and as a result, the album is filled with their trademark country party music filled with plenty of alcohol references. While BNS aren't breaking new musical territory, they're having a whole lot of fun doing what they've always done.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Tale of Two Sorta Members

Two years ago on this day, I came home from work, and as I do most days, the first thing I did was get on the internet and see what's going on with my friends and in the local music scene. I saw a bulletin post on MySpace from Fred Holston, titled "OMG! I can't believe this happened." My initial response was to ignore the post, figuring that it might have just been a phishing scam. Curiosity got the best of me, and I read Fred's post. I was totally unprepared for what the message said.

That was the way I learned about Carter Albrecht's death. I sat in front of the computer for probably close to half an hour, simply in shock over the news. Carter was not just one of the best musicians I ever had the privilege to see perform, but he was also an all-around good human being. I've had a hard time writing about both Carter's life and his death. Words cannot seem to do justice to Carter's legacy, whether it be on or off the stage. Even two years after his death, the loss is still felt both in the music community, and for me on a personal level.

My original intent was to simply write about Carter. That was before I received an email from Danny Balis. He had some rather surprising news to share today, but this time I can report the news with joy instead of sadness. Mr. Balis' debut solo album, Too Much Living, has earned a slot in the top 10 of Amazon's Hot New Country Releases. To see a musician of Mr. Balis' caliber receive such a level of attention on a national level does my heart good. I would even go as far as to say that it gives me hope for both the local and even the national music scene.

It seems fitting on so many levels that on today, the second anniversary of Carter's death, that this news should break. Danny and Carter were not just band mates in Sorta and Sparrows; they were best friends. In fact, it was Carter who suggested that Danny venture into country music, stating that his voice was perfectly suited for the material. Also, many of the songs off of the CD feature quite obvious references to Carter. In "Tethered", the first single off the CD, Danny sings that "if the sparrow dies, I'll be alright if you feel the way I do." And the album's title track is a touching farewell to a friend: "You dusted off your wings and decided that you'd sing the saddest song that we'd ever hear."

My congratulations go out to Mr. Balis on this well deserve success. For this success to come on this day seems like a perfect tribute to Carter's musical legacy.