Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Lucky Thirteen: 1/31/10 - 2/6/10

Standard playlist disclaimer: any artists, record labels, etc. who do not wish to be on the playlist for any reason whatsoever, email me at and I will gladly remove the track. And if you'd actually like to be on the playlist, you can use the same email addy to email me mp3's, and if I like the song then odds are it'll wind up on a playlist.

Now, on with the playlist:

  1. "When Hammer Hits Stone", RTB2
    This Friday, RTB2 will join Cocky Americans and Orange Peel Sunshine onstage at Hailey's. Dallas people, fear not: the same lineup shall be repeated Saturday at Double-Wide. I also believe that both shows are CD

  2. "The Longest Winter's Gone", The Crash That Took Me
    Speaking of CD releases and Double-Wide, The Crash That Took Me will be the opening act at the Hello Lover CD release party. If you've never seen the band perform their "sex rock" music (their words, not mine), Friday would be a great opportunity to do so. I would've added their song "Same Old, Same Old", but alas, I don't have the CD (or an mp3 of the song). That needs to change. Soon.

  3. "I Howl at tha Moon", Morning Elephant
    Morning Elephant performs an all too rare show this Saturday at Barley House, along with Camille Cortinas performing a set of her own songs. If we're lucky, she may even join ME for a few songs.

  4. "The Message", Dem Southernfolkz
    There's a push right now to get the video for this song on one of the MTV stations; I can't recall if it's MTVu or the MTV Hip-Hop station. Whichever station it is, it would be nice to have Dallas represented by such an intelligent hip-hop band as Dem Southernfolkz, a band that avoids the stereotypical rap subjects (thug life, bling, pot, etc.) in favor of thought provoking social commentary. There is a need for more hip-hop bands in this vain. Click here to watch the video.

  5. "Libertine", The Buck Pets
    I was on for the first time in eons, and found that all the track from the band's 1990 album Mercurotones were available for free download. I'm ashamed to say this, but I had not heard the band until then, but I like what I hear, particularly this track. One question: why was this song not in heavy rotation on KDGE at the time?

  6. "Houston", Elkhart
    For people who want a night of beautiful dreamy music, head to City Tavern this Saturday to catch Elkhart, Little Black Dress, and Menkena all in one evening. But please, if you attend, do NOT chatter over the music. These are bands that deserve the undivided attention of the audience, and for those willing to listen, your ears will be richly reward. I know I'm standing on my soapbox, but there is a strong tendency in Dallas to talk during a musician's performance, and it's the quieter bands that pay the heaviest price for the inconsideration of the talkers in the audience. These are three incredible bands that deserve respect, so please, use your ears more than your lips during their sets. That is all.

  7. "Have You Ever Been Down?", THe BAcksliders

  8. "Back Is Broken", Oso Closo

  9. "Write for You", Goodwin
    This is the strongest linest I've seen for a show in Funkytown in a long, long time. I've raved and raved about THe BAcksliders, and I'm becoming a bigger fan of Oso Closo with each passing day. Throw in the fun straight rock of Goodwin, and you've got a winning show.

  10. "Another Day in the Life", Tim Miller
    Mr. Miller recently released an EP with acoustic version of several tunes. This was not one of the songs that received the acoustic treatment, and while it would seem like a less likely choice to perform acoustic, I've heard this song stripped down and it works even better than the original heard here.

  11. "Sleepwalking", Luna Matto
    Until the band releases their first 7" single, you'll have to settle for the songs on their MySpace playlist and this nice track that Ms. Matto was kind enough to share with me.

  12. "The Fine Art of Bleeding", The Slack
    For what reason did I include this song? Isn't the fact that it's The Slack reason enough?

  13. "Along the Seawall", Jayson Bales
    Thanks to Mr. Bales for sending me this unique version of the song. In the email he sent along with the mp3, he told me about this particular recording. Here's what he said: "This recording of the song is a live acoustic version I did in a songswap with Carter several years ago. I performed this song with the wrong string hurriedly strung on my guitar. After breaking a string, I accidentally strung another D string and stretched to a G and so essentially the guitar sounds kind of cool/weird because it has two D strings and no G string on it." Here's what I have to say. Add Mr. Bales' Springsteenesque voice to the bare bone acoustic melody, and it adds up to an emotionally intense and honest performance. This is, in a word, amazing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Lucky Thirteen: 1/24/10 - 1/30/10

  1. "Everything Dies", Nicholas Altobelli
    Ghost of Blind Lemon readers, you should feel extremely special right now. The song you're listening to here is a Ghost of Blind Lemon exclusive. That's right; you will not find this song on his MySpace. He is slowly debuting songs from his upcoming album, The Regulator, on MySpace. This past Friday, he posted "Pretend It's the Sky" on his site, and if these two tracks are any indication, I think this could prove to be his finest album yet.

  2. "Lush Life", Baboon
    Ah, there's nothing quite like the smooth transition from the simple, beautiful folk melodies of Mr. Altobelli to the relaxing and tranquil sounds of Baboon. Uh, scratch that. How about this? There's nothing quite like the jarring transition from the simple, beautiful folk melodies of Mr. Altobelli to the in your face noise rock of Baboon.

  3. "You Know Nothing", Inner City All-Stars
    For those who want to see good live music and help the victims of the Haitian earthquake, tonight is the perfect opportunity to do both. The Prophet Bar is hosting a unique evening of world music, ranging from hip-hop to latin to polka to reggae to tribal and just about everything in between. Some of the highlights include Brave Combo, Spoonfed Tribe, and one of my favorites to see live, Inner City All-Stars. Their fusion of New Orleans jazz and hip-hop never fails to please. All the money earned through the cover ($5) goes to the Red Cross. And if you can't make it to tonight's show, I would encourage you find another way to donate.

  4. "Jason Bought a Hatchet", Giggle Party
    On the band's website, Party to Death, the band will be debuting a new song each Tuesday which will be free for 24 hours. Don't be like me, who forgot to check the site on Tuesday. As a result, instead of sharing a new track from the band, I offer you this favorite from last year.

  5. "All You Do Is Crazy", Fate Lions
    Happy Birthday to Fate Lions drummer Josh Hoover. By the way, if anyone from KXT is reading this, I like it when you play this song. Feel free to continue playing this song on a very regular basis.

  6. "Bowling Green", The O's
    Speaking of birthday, Taylor Young will be celebrating his b-day this Friday at City Tavern, and yes, the O's will be performing. I don't know who else will be on the lineup, but still, it's a good excuse to go out, here some cool music, and buy Taylor some birthday shots.

  7. "The Royal Me", Les Americains
    I have previously said that this song reminded me of Echo and the Bunnymen. While I still think there is some truth to that statement, upon further listening I think the more accurate comparison would be to The Cult. Either way, I regard both acts as pioneers in 80's music, and while Les Americains is by no means an 80's revival band, the comparisons are meant as high forms of praise. I'll bet they'll play this track Friday night at Prophet Bar, along with the incredible Tonite Tonite and Austinites The Criminal Kind.

  8. "All Yesterday's Parties", Nervous Curtains
    One of my favorite's off of Gutterth's second compilation CD, available for free download at their website.

  9. "Red in the Morning", Menkena
    It's been awhile since I've raved about Mark and The Local Edge. Now that Menkena is playing at The Local Edge showcase this Thursday Night along with Bridges and Blinking Lights and Dovetail at Trees, now might be a good time to resume the raving.

  10. "Autumn Leaves", Danny Balis
    Fans of country, pay close attention. Boys Named Sue and The King Bucks (featuring Mr. Balis) will be battling it out at the "World Championship of Honky Tonk" this Saturday night at Sons of Hermann Hall. Who do I think will win? That's an easy one: the audience that gets to see two of Dallas' finest country bands in one night. Cop out answer? Perhaps, but don't expect me to take sides here. I think both acts exemplify all that country music should be.

  11. "Shiver Me Timbers", Jokersdeck
    I routinely receive CDs in the mail. This week, however, was the first time I ever had someone FedEx a CD to me, and it was courtesy of the fine folks in Jokersdeck. The band obviously wanted to make certain I had the CD in time for this week's playlist, right before their big CD release show Saturday night at LaGrange. It's a short disc, only seven tracks long, and this track smack dab in the middle stood out to me as their best song.

  12. "The Christmas Tree", Stella Rose
    Speaking of CD releases, I somehow missed the fact that Stella Rose recently released a new CD, Drag. The band has had CD release shows in Austin and Fort Worth, and as usual, has no Dallas shows even listed. I don't have the new CD as of yet, but you can listen to tracks on their MySpace page. In the meantime, this is still my favorite track of theirs. And please, Stella Rose, show some love to Dallas!

  13. "So Much Better", Rahim Quazi
    I had already planned to post a song of Rahim's on the website simply because of his show Saturday night at Veritas Wine Bar. Yesterday, I received a text message from Rahim with some worrisome news. It read as follows: "Please pray for my dearest friend, Todd Keller, who is having brain surgery Sunday morning. And please pass this on to anyone that believes in the power of prayer." I do not know the status of the surgery, but my thoughts and prayers are with Todd Keller and his family as well as with his friend Rahim. And to those who believe in the power of prayer (or even positive thought), then your prayers (or thoughts) are both welcomed and encouraged. Here's hoping and praying this Saturday's show will be a celebration of Mr. Keller's recovery!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Lucky Thirteen: 1/17/10 - 1/23/10

I must say that I'm really enjoying creating these Hypster playlists. Sure, there are some inconveniences with the site: the load time for songs isn't exactly fast, and the local selection (at the moment) pales in comparison to MySpace. Still, I'm finding more advantages than disadvantages. One such advantage is the fact that I'm no longer limited to a ten song playlist. I have decided to expand the weekly playlists from ten to thirteen songs, and with that change comes the new name for the playlist: The Lucky Thirteen.

Perhaps it's presumptuous to assume that it's good luck to be on my playlist. Still, I can hope. For any artists who feel it's bad luck, or simply do not wish to be on the playlist for any reason whatsoever, email me at and I will gladly remove the track. And if you'd actually like to be on the playlist, you can use the same email addy to email me mp3's, and if I like the song then odds are it'll wind up on a playlist.

On that note, let's start the playlist.

  1. "Mindreader", Lovie
    I got behind on writing this post. The original purpose of kicking off the playlist with Lovie was to promote tonight's show at Double-Wide to benefit the Second Thought Theater. The Happy Bullets, Here Holy Spain, and Drawn by Jaymz were also on that bill. Alas, the show is probably wrapping up as I type this. So much for promptness.

  2. "I Can't Make You Happy", Ronnie Fauss
    Mr. Fauss also played a show tonight at White Rock Coffee. My understanding is that he'll be playing every Sunday this month there, so while I'm too late to help my readers (and Ronnie) tonight, you can make it all right next Sunday. By the way, this song works surprisingly well on acoustic guitar, as he demonstrated earlier this month at City Tavern.

  3. "Rulers Ruling All Things", Midlake
    After the success of their previous album, Midlake could have deliberately chosen to make a very accessible album that could have given them the opportunity for some level of mainstream success. If the first two tracks are any indication, the band is instead going in a much darker and more introspective direction. This particular track seems to have a certain Nick Drake Pink Moon era quality to it. And yet I have a feeling that the band's fan base will only continue to grow with such beautiful songs.

  4. "Horses", Somebody's Darling
    I think it's a safe bet that the band will be playing this track Saturday night at Jack's Backyard.

  5. "She Hides Golden Apples", Leaving Denton
    I mentioned earlier that if you email me an mp3 and I like it, it might wind up on the playlist. If you don't believe me, though, ask Andrew Autry, lead singer of Leaving Denton. He emailed me after he heard my top 40 countdown and told me about his band. I listened to the songs on the MySpace, and there's a very simple yet sweet charm to the band's tunes. I was thrilled that he sent me this track, and the second I received it, I knew that my readers needed to hear their music.

  6. "Obligatory Cover (for the Kids)", Funland
    I know what you've been wanting. You've been wanting to hear some Air Supply songs. Don't lie, you know you were. Not to worry, Ghost of Blind Lemon is more than happy to satisfy your needs with not one, but two Air Supply songs combined into one medley. Oh, there's no need to thank me. Really, I'm glad to help my readers.

  7. "Shake Your Fist", Telegraph Canyon
    I'm surprised I haven't received any grief for not including TC in my year end countdown. I do like the band, but unfortunately, there were many bands that didn't make it into the top 40 that I really like, and they were one of them. Anyways, the band will be performing this Friday night in the cozy setting of Allgood Cafe.

  8. "Infatuations Never Last", The Slack
    Speaking of Friday night, it'll be a big night at Sons of Hermann Hall with The Slack's CD release party for The Deep End. Chris Holt seems incapable of creating music that isn't intriguing and well composed. This song (and frankly, the entire album) proves my point.

  9. "Your Timin' Just Ain't Right", Bad Sports
    Their set at the Dallas Observer Music Awards last year truly impressed me, and I'm inclined to say they're the best punk band in Dallas. This particular track from Pinball Records' compilation Denton Denton USA! definitely ventures more into 50's rock/boogie territory than punk, but it's an excellent track no matter what.

  10. "Bales of Cocaine", Reverend Horton Heat
    Dallas' own king of psychobilly will return home and play Granada Theater this Saturday.

  11. "This Is Now", Kristy Kruger
    It's been almost four years since Ms. Kruger's last album, Songs from a Dead Man's Couch, was released. At one point, Dan's Silverleaf's website listed Kristy as performing this Friday, but she's no longer listed. So now we have to wait for not only the CD, but for a live show.

  12. "Straight out the Gate", Oso Closo
    Sarah Crisman from Pegasus News has become quite a fan of Hendrick lately, and has often mentioned my name when talking about Hendrick. Well, turnabout is only fair play. Sarah recommended I listen to Oso Closo, and I'm finding myself becoming a bigger fan with each listen. They're playing Saturday at The Prophet Bar, and if finances allow it, I will most definitely be there. I suspect that this is a band that must be heard live to fully appreciate the music.

  13. "Begging", Vibrolux
    Before Kim Pendleton joined THe BAcksliders, she was the lead singer of Vibrolux. The styles of the two bands are polar opposites. Whereas THe BAcksliders are straight up no frills rock, Vibrolux had a certain dreamy and ethereal quality to it, almost comparable to an edgier version of Portishead. My one complaint with the band is that they would sometimes drown out Ms. Pendleton's vocals in the mix, which is a mistake of epic proportions. Still, the songs are good, and when the band lets Kim do her thing, the results are amazing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Playlist: 1/10/10 - 1/16/10

If any artists that are on this playlist do not wish to be on the playlist, please email me at and I will gladly remove the song. If, on the other hand, you'd like to be featured on the playlist but I don't have any songs by your band, feel free to email me at the same email and perhaps I'll add you on a future playlist.

Now, onto this week's playlist:

  1. "For Keeps", Iris Leu
    I've searched the names of several local artists on Hypster, and frankly the current selection is underwhelming. Number of songs by The O's? Zero. Number of Chomsky songs? None. How many Midlake songs? Only one. Number of Iris Leu songs? Four. Obviously I'm not the only fan of Ms. Leu's who uses Hypster.

  2. "Acts of Man", Midlake
    Oh, scratch my previous comment about the number of Midlake songs. I've placed this track off their upcoming CD, The Courage of Others, on the site now. You're welcome.

  3. "Pipe Dream", The Slack
    I am officially declaring The Deep End as the first important release of 2010, and Holt and company are starting off the year on the right foot. Don't forget, the CD release show is on the 22nd of this month at Sons of Hermann Hall.

  4. "All Because You're Mine", Air Review
    Their song "Chasing Corporate" ranked number six on my year end countdown, and that's definitely their most immediately accessible track. "All Because You're Mine" is one of the those songs that takes its sweet time to worm its way into your head. Once it's there, it is there and setting up permanent residence. I would probably say that after repeated listens to Landmarks, this is truly their finest track.

  5. "View from the Track", Dust Congress
    The fine folks at Gutterth have created two compilations of tracks that can be downloaded for free on their website. I've been particularly enjoying this track from Compilation: One.

  6. "The Spilling Blood Child", RTB2
    Have you heard about the In*And*Out Tour of 2010? Okay, so "tour" might be too strong of a word. RTB2, new GOBL fave Luna Matto, and PVC Street Gang will be playing at The Cavern this Friday, and taking the show north on 35 when they play Hailey's the next day. Make a point of attending at least one of the shows.

  7. "Flat Black", True Widow
    True Widow will play at Sons of Hermann Hall with the pAper chAse and The Boom Boom Box, and I predict they will steal the show.

  8. "Say Hello", Tim Miller
    According to Opening Bell Coffee's website, Tim Miller & Friends will be performing there this Saturday. As to who those friends are, I have no clue, though I'd love it if one of those friends was Sara Donaldson. I've seen the two perform together, and it's one of those situations where the sum of their performance is greater than the parts of either solo. Oh, and Jayson Bales & The Charmers open the show. For the record, it seems as if Opening Bell has a LOT of good shows booked in the upcoming weeks.
  9. "Paperweight Eyes", Sorta
    While Hypster's selection of local artists is currently limited, I intend to change that. The beauty is that it at least allows me to expand their selection, something that is not available thru MySpace. This is particularly frustrating when a band you love has a very limited selection of tracks available. This is the case with Sorta, where their first two albums are unavailable for playlists. Here's one of my favorites off their first full length, Laugh out Loud.

  10. "Echo and the Pass", Hendrick
    Once again, my congratulations go out to Hendrick, who came in at number one on my year end countdown. It has been a mission of mine to convince people to listen to this track, and I can only hope it impacts my readers the way it did me. Thank you, Hendrick, for creating this masterpiece.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cool Weekend for Shows

The weather is really more cold than merely cool, but don't let that discourage you from seeing at least one of the many good shows happening this weekend. I have fewer comments than usual about this weekend's shows. Actually, it's more a case of not having the time to discuss as many of the shows as I'd like to.

  • Jaimee Harris/David Ramirez/Matthew Bridgman (Opening Bell Coffee)
    When I saw Mr. Bridgman play at The Pearl Cup a few months ago, I was quite impressed on all fronts. He has a strong voice (somewhat similar in tone to Glen Hansard), is good on the guitar, and he is an impressive songwriter that creates stories that will captivate those willing to take the time and energy to listen to the lyrics. He will open for David Ramirez and Jaimee Harris, two of the better Austin musicians I've discovered lately. Now if they'd only relocate to Dallas...

  • The King Bucks (Adair’s Saloon)

  • Fate Lions/My Life on Film/Sloan Automatic (Bandera)

  • Johnny Lloyd Rollins (Jack’s Backyard)

  • The Marfalites/Hatin Slayton (LaGrange)

  • THe BAcksliders/Menkena/Little Black Dress (Sons of Hermann Hall)
    Come to the Sons Saturday for a relaxing evening of dreamy and ethereal music like Little Black Dress, Menkena, and... THe BAcksliders?!?!? I know they're working on material for a new album, but surely the band hasn't given up their rock and roll spirit in order to gaze at their own shoes. So while THe BAcksliders may disrupt the shoegaze flow, this is nevertheless the best lineup of the entire weekend.

  • Jacob Metcalf/Karen Naomi/Anna Proctor (Opening Bell Coffee)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cutting Idol Records Some Slack

I was so busy yesterday wrapping up my list of top songs from last year that I did not get to share this news with you. Idol Records has now place the Slack's new album, The Deep End, on iTunes. If by some odd chance you're not familiar with the band, its lead singer Chris Holt is arguably the most talented musician in the metroplex area. Don't just take my word on it though. Mr. Holt has repeatedly won the title of Best Musician in the Dallas Observer Music Awards. In the band, he's backed up by an equally respectable group of local musicians: Eric Neal on bass (repeated DOMA nominee himself), Steve Luthye (keyboards), and Tom Bridwell (drums). And there's no shortage of good tracks here: from the opening groove of "Infatuations Never Last" to the beautiful closing ballad "Maybe Heaven", this CD finds Holt and company in fine form.

Do yourself a favor and download the album today. Or, if you prefer a physical CD to MP3's, the album will hit stores January 19. The CD release party will take place January 22 at Sons of Hermann Hall, with Dave Little Meltdown bringing their usual musical insanity to open the show.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Top Songs of 2009 Podcast

Let me begin by saying that it was my original intent to speak in between the songs and offer up some witty commentary, or something resembling witty commentary at least. For some reason, Gcast will not post my voice recordings in the podcast. I'm not sure why this is, but it is. So instead, I offer you one seriously long podcast, complete with my top 40 local tracks of the year. I'm adding comments for the songs below, since Gcast is not allowing me to voice those comments.

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Top 40 Local Tracks of 2009

  1. "Cool Kids", Romp Almighty
    What a nice lo-fi rock way to start out the countdown.

  2. "Change Gon' Come", Dem Southernfolkz
    If you like this track, as you should, go to to download it for free.

  3. "The Vultures Are Circling", Jack with One Eye
    It's nice to see shoegaze making a comeback in Dallas, and Jack with One Eye has one of the first metroplex bands to breathe life back into the format.

  4. "Fooling Vampires", Jayson Bales & The Charmers
    One of the most pleasantly surprising shows I saw all year was when this band played at Opening Bell Coffee in October. This is easily the catchiest song off their latest, Along the Fault Line.

  5. "I'm on Fire", The Farstar
    Keep an eye out for their full length being released this year. In the meantime, enjoy this catchy (and rather radio friendly) track.

  6. "The Queen Himself", Fate Lions
    This is one of many great acts I had the honor of hosting at my series of shows this summer at Lakewood Bar & Grill. The band started as an alt-country outfit, but as this track shows, they work best as a power-pop group.

  7. "Lightbulbs", Something in the Wheel
    Take away the comedic nature of The O's and add a more earnest nature, and it might sound something like this band.

  8. "I Can't Make You Happy", Ronnie Fauss
    By creating such an oversimplistic melody as there is in this song, it creates a "make or break" moment for the songwriter. If the songwriter's lyrical game is even slightly off, it will break the song. Fortunately, Mr. Fauss makes the song, and the only breaking taking place is that of your heart.

  9. "Down That Dusty Road", Nicholas Altobelli
    Nicholas Altobelli is certainly one of the most prolific singer songwriters to emerge from the metroplex area in the past few years. Tracks like this show he doesn't sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity.

  10. "Galaxy", Blue Petal
    Sadly to say, the band broke up this past summer, so this is the last of the Blue Petal CD's. The good news? Lead singer Manya Repnikova is working on her first solo effort.

  11. "Whiskey Talkin'", Boys Named Sue
    The Sues talking about alcohol? Who'd have thunk it?

  12. "Lucy", John Lefler
    When Mr. Lefler first emerged on the local music horizon, he'd always have the phrase "from Dashboard Confessional" attached to his name. After the group of solid pop tunes on Better by Design, he proved he is worthy not only of success independent of Dashboard Confessional, but that his record is far superior to the other band he is in.

  13. "Straight out the Gate", Oso Closo
    My love of this song grew exponentially with each listen. I'm convinced that had I known this song when it came out earlier this year, it might have made the top 10. I need to rewatch this band play live.

  14. "Jimmy is About to Die", Chucky Sly
    This is easily the most intelligent hip-hop track I've heard in a long, long time. Chucky Sly shows that the art of storytelling in the rap world is alive and kicking.

  15. "Mermaid of Virginia", The Naptime Shake
    Proof that Noah W. Bailey is as good of a songwriter as he is a Dallas Observer writer.

  16. "Snow in June", Little Black Dress
    "Robin" may be getting all the airplay on KXT, but it's the title track to LBD's album that best personifies all that is beautiful and dreamy in shoegaze music.

  17. "Girl from the City", The King Bucks
    Dallas' favorite honky tonk band makes its showing here.

  18. "5000 Miles to London", Winslow Bright
    I must admit I was caught off guard by Winslow's performance at her CD release show. This young lady is not only a great vocalist, but she knows how to work a crowd. This particular track about long distance love has stuck in my head with its 60's Dusty Springfield influenced sound.

  19. "Young & Reckless", The Roomsounds
    From the first few seconds of the intro, I was instantly hooked. If Roomsounds can continue to create songs this catchy, they could own this town.

  20. "Come Closer", Shiny Around the Edges
    Start with one throbbing bass line, mix one part killer drum beat and one part ominous vocal performance, and put in a low-fi indie blender, and you have one delicious musical concoction.

  21. "Horses", Somebody's Darling
    The band made their debut on Shiner Records, and this track contains everything that SD fans have come to know and love in this band.

  22. "Five Minutes", Binary Sunrise
    This band walk the tightrope between 80's dance music and rock, and created an album filled with songs perfect for any party. This track, however, stands out as their catchiest track of all.

  23. "Manic", Here Holy Spain
    If I had to select a hard rock anthem for 2009, the title track to Here Holy Spain's CD would be the champion, hands down.

  24. "For Ages", Sara Donaldson
    I've been waiting for Ms. Donaldson's second CD, Leaving Winter, for two years. I was starting to question if this CD would ever see the light of day, but fortunately my wait ended this fall. Ms. Donaldson is one of the most underappreciated and overlooked gems in the metroplex, and this track showcases her beautiful vocals and instrumental talents.

  25. "Leave Me Out", The Felons
    I think my blog set a record for most hits in a day after reviewing the band's album At Sea. The band has developed a loyal following, due in large part to a strong live set and some great songs. Much of the album is quite dark, and while this may be the "happiest" track from the CD, to call it happy would be a stretch. What it is, instead, is more of a declaration of independence from letting someone else drag him down. The melody helps accentuate the defiantly celebratory nature of the song.

  26. "Pushing Strings", Macon Greyson
    Macon Greyson songs can usually be enjoyed on two different levels. On the surface, the songs are alt-country rock anthems, the kind that Son Volt use to make once upon a time. Yet if you dig deeper, you'll discover highly intelligent lyrics and stories courtesy of lead singer Buddy Huffman. If you like this track, go to and download his Machine Kills Hypocrisy free of cost. Call it their way of helping you thru these tough economic times.

  27. "Tethered", Danny Balis
    I first discovered Mr. Balis when he played bass with Sorta. Here, he steps into the spotlight, and the spotlight thanks him. You will not find a more genuine bunch of country tunes this year than those on Too Much Living. And lyrically, Danny Balis has become quite the honky tonk poet; I could easily select half a dozen lines from this song to prove my point.

  28. "Which We Have Heard and Known", Doug Burr
    When Mr. Burr released The Shawl, the reaction to the album was quite mixed, more than likely because of the lyrical content of the album (lifted from the Psalms). Personally, I think that the beauty of the melody and Doug Burr's hauntingly beautiful vocal performance should be enough to lure in any listener, regardless if their religious beliefs (or even lack thereof).

  29. "When Hammer Hits Stone", RTB2
    How is it that Ryan Thomas Becker and Grady Sandlin were able to create a rock anthem, a miniature epic of sorts, that sounds more grand than most bands that have the more traditional four to six member lineups? Perhaps it's the fact that both Mr. Becker and Mr. Sandlin possess more talent than your average three musicians combined. When watching Becker live, one wonders where the sounds come from, as one lone individual such not be capable of creating such a beautiful noise. And let's not forget Grady, one of the area's finest drummers. If you don't like this song, then you don't like rock. It's that simple.

  30. "Unfavorable Way", Trey Johnson
    Former Sorta frontman Trey Johnson releases his first solo album, Mount Pelee, and many of the tracks, such as this one, stray from the traditional Sorta sound. What has not changed, however, is Mr. Johnson's ability to tell a great story. This song, like the album, grows on you with each listen.

  31. "Were Her", The Orbans
    This band is mere inches away from being ready for the big time. This particular track is as perfect of a blend of alt-country and radio friendly pop that has emerged from Dallas since Fight Songs period Old 97's. Oh, and check out the video to the song, which is easily the best video by any local band this year.

  32. "Hollowville", Iris Leu
    At the beginning of the year, I had not even heard of Ms. Leu. She sent me a copy of Hushaboo, and it was love at first listen. Her piano based tunes a la Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Paula Cole, and the like fill a void in the local music scene that has been left vacant for way too long. Her voice ranges from tender and beautiful (as is the case in "Hollowville") to fierce and angry, but no matter what, Ms. Leu commands the attention and respect of the listener.

  33. "Pictures Collected", Salim Nourallah
    More than any other artist, I had a hard time selecting which song of Mr. Nourallah's to include in the countdown. Would it be the angry rocker "It's Not Enough", the easily to sing along with "Saint Georges", the touching tribute to Carter Albrecht "In the Blink of an Eye", or one of the many other great tunes? In the end, I selected "Pictures Collected", with its poignant lyrics and catchy beat. It's the track off of Constellation that I find myself returning to most often.

  34. "Have You Ever Been Down?", THe BAcksliders
    THe BAcksliders said Thank You to Dallas by releasing an album that can be downloaded for free at their website. It is us, the music fans, however, that should be thanking the band. No other band in Dallas plays rock music as down and dirty as they do, and I mean that as a high form of praise. Their live shows are a fierce and unforgettable experience because of the energetic tunes and the full power performances given by all in the band. This particular track manages to capture a short but powerful snapshot of everything that is right in the band, acting as a sort of Cliff Notes of what the band is all about.

  35. "Chasing Corporate", Air Review
    The band declares that "this could be our only chance" in this very radio friendly hit about, well, wanting to be radio stars. In the process, the band has created a sound that is easily accessible to a wide audience without ever dumbing down either the lyrics or melodies. And with songs like this, corporate should be chasing Air Review, not the other way around.

  36. "Patricia Lynn", The Crash That Took Me
    Dylan Silvers has been playing in bands for over a decade now, but he has finally perfected his craft with his most recent effort with TCTTM. Chlorine Colored Eyes is an experimental and trippy record, yet it never comes off as sloppy or indulgent. Instead, it is the right mixture of ambition and strong melodies. Also, check out the killer drum intro provided by Eddie Thomas, who now rivals Quincy Holloway (Dove Hunter) as my favorite local drummer.

  37. "Red in the Morning", Menkena
    I confess, I sort of cheated by slipping this song into the countdown, as Menkena's CD is not available yet. I did, however, allow readers to download the track on my website. Plus, Menkena was one of the bands that best defined the year for me. The band's blend of unique shoegaze melodies combined with lead vocalist Jimmy Menkena's strength for storytelling in his lyrics make the band one of the freshet and most unique bands to emerge from our area in a long, long time.

  38. "When You're Younger", Carter Albrecht
    I don't think there was a more anticipated local release this year than Mr. Albrceht's solo CD. This hauntingly beautiful and simple track reminds us of the void left by his death, a void that cannot be filled.

  39. "You've Got Your Heart", The O's
    Simply put, The O's conquered the metroplex area this year. Between constantly performing in the area, their onstage shenanigans, and pure bluegrass melodies, audiences fell in love with the band. And with songs like "You've Got Your Heart", the band got our hearts in return.

  40. "Echo and the Pass", Hendrick
    By my second listen of the song, I knew this was the track to beat for best song of the year. The song starts slowly, yet the simple guitar intro provided by Hans Grumbein sucks in the listener. As the song progresses and the guitars get more intense, so does the emotional impact of the song. Lead vocalist Josh Hendrick provides such an intense vocal performance of the song that the emotions felt are conveyed so beautifully I'm convinced that I'd understand the song even if I didn't speak English. By the time the song reaches its climax, the song has taken your breath away, and it taps into something so primal that it defies explanation. Words cannot do this song justice, and yes, the song really is that amazing. Bravo to Hendrick, who have created the ultimate masterpiece of 2009.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Playlist: 1/3/10 - 1/9/10

Welcome to the first Hypster powered playlist on Ghost of Blind Lemon. Before I start with the playlist, let me begin with a disclaimer of sorts. If any artists or record companies do not wish for their songs to be included in the playlist, contact me at and the song will be removed. Having said that, I'm hoping no one takes me up on the offer.

Anyways, it's time for the playlist, and it's a pretty darn special playlist. You see, I'm counting down by top ten favorite local CD's of the past decade from #10 to #1, and I am including a track from each CD in the playlist. Enjoy!

  1. Toadies - Hell Below/Stars Above
    Rubberneck made them famous across the nation and No Deliverance was hailed as their "return to form", but this album rarely gets the respect that it deserves. There may not be a song as immediately catchy as "Possum Kingdom", but this is as consistently good of a hard rock album as one will ever find. From the opening scream in "Plane Crash", you're reeled into Vaden Lewis' dark world of rock. The album's title track is the band's piece de resistance, a track that is epic in nature in spite of being a mere four minutes long.
    Favorite track: "Hell Below/Stars Above"
  2. Salim Nourallah - Snowing in My Heart
    Mr. Nourallah, more than any other local artist this decade, has maintained a steady high level of quality in every album he releases. It's hard to choose a favorite, but Snowing in My Heart edges out, melding together the pop sensibility in Polaroids with the heavier lyrical content of Beautiful Noise.
    Favorite track: "Hang On"
  3. Sparrows - 5nowflake5
    I must confess that I did not purchase this album until after the death of Carter Albrecht. As a result, certain tracks (most notably "My Beautiful Life") may hold a deeper personal meaning to me than they would have beforehand. Still, Carter's musicianship is something I have always respected. His piano solo in "Moonlight" is so impressive one might think that there was overdub in the recording process (there wasn't). Whether he's playing classical piano ("Moonlight"), rocking out ("All My Dreams Come True" and the title track) or playing a slower introspective song ("I Need to Hear a Quiter Song", "My Beautiful Life"), the album never feels disjointed. Instead, each track flows into the next seamlessly, blending together both variety in style with cohesiveness.
    Favorite track: "My Beautiful Life"
  4. The Deathray Davies - The Day of the Ray
    This may not be the most ambitious album, but sometimes fun wins out. This is one album that works all the way through. Pop nuggets like "Is This On?", "She Can Play Me Like a Drum Machine", and "The Medication's Gone" are infectious tunes that will linger in your head. Also, tracks like "She Can Play Me Like a Drum Machine" and "There's Too Much Ulterior in Your Motive" (hidden track) show that John Dufilho is as good a lyricist as a writer of melodies.
    Favorite track: "The Medication's Gone"
  5. Legendary Crystal Chandelier - Beyond Indifference
    Even if Peter Schmidt never releases his solo album (looking very likely at this point), at least he can say he ended things on top of his game. Yes, the album has plenty of catchy rockers ("People I Know", "A Plan") and gorgeous slower tracks ("Cut from the Same Cloth", "Temporary Words"). What sets Peter Schmidt's effort apart is his razor sharp lyrics, both intelligent and brutally honest.
    Favorite track: "Cut from the Same Cloth""
  6. Doug Burr- On Promenade
    The album was released shortly after I began Ghost of Blind Lemon, almost as if the purpose of the blog was to praise this release. Okay, so perhaps that's an exaggeration, but On Promenade is a hauntingly beautiful collection of nearly perfect tracks, cementing Mr. Burr's reputation as one of the metroplex's finest singer/songwriters.
    Favorite track: "Slow Southern Home"
  7. Rahim Quazi - Supernatural
    I'm not sure what there is to say that wasn't said in my 2008 review of the album, other than to say that I stand behind every word that I said.
    Favorite track: "Supernatural"
  8. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
    I confess, I was one of the last to jump on the Midlake bandwagon. I had heard the critical buzz, but I'm often quite skeptical of such buzz. My prediction was that it would be overly quirky, to the point that the band sacrificed melody in order to be "avant-garde". I could not have been more wrong if I had tried. There is nothing pretentious about the CD, unless if you think of 70's radio pop as pretentious. Yes, one can hear traces of America and Bread in the CD, yet this is not a band looking just to copy styles, but infuse the best parts of the period into something fresh and modern.
    Favorite track: "We Gathered in Spring"
  9. Pleasant Grove - The Art of Leaving
    Interestingly enough, my top two favorite local albums were both released in 2004. Because of that fact, The Art of Leaving never had the full spotlight shone on it like it so richly deserved. It's a shame, because in any other year, this album would have annihilated the rest of the competition to be the year's best CD. Props to Marcus Striplin, not only for writing some of the most beautifully heartbreaking songs to ever emerge from the metroplex, but for a vocal delivery that amplifies the emotional intensity of every line.
    Favorite track: "Commander Whatever"
  10. Sorta - Little Bay
    This is easily the finest album released this decade, local or otherwise. What makes this CD so great? Is it Trey Johnson's straight forward, honest vocal performance? That's obviously part of it; his delivery of "Sink or Swim" never ceases to give me goosebumps. Is it the songs? There's not a loser in the bunch, whether it be the honky tonk sounding "Laugh Out Loud (Georgie), the Pink Floyd sounding "Fallinlove" which bleeds into the beautiful "To Jenny" or the deceptively happy sounding "Bridges", these songs will linger in your head for not days or weeks, but years. Does the credit go to the instrumentalists backing up Mr. Johnson? With musicians like Danny Balis, Ward Williams, Trey Carmichael, and Carter Albrecht, that goes without saying. Still, if you're looking for a singular reason for why this album is great, you won't find a simple answer. There is a quality to this album that defies simple explanation. All I can say is that these songs don't just make a home in your head, but in your heart.
    Favorite track: "Bridges"

Honorable Mentions: The Chemistry Set - Blue Monsters, Chomsky - Onward Quirky Soldiers, The Crash That Took Me - Chlorine Colored Eyes, Flickerstick - Welcoming Home the Astronauts, Macon Greyson - Translate

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Bonafide!

First of all, I want to wish all of my readers a happy new year! I'm hoping that 2010 proves to be a better year than last year did.

I'd normally provide you a list of worthy weekend shows, but there's only one problem. I have only discovered one show of note for this weekend. Don't worry, it's a good one. Lance Lester, who runs the Bonafide Darling blog, is celebrating the two year anniversary of the blog, and is celebrating with a show at City Tavern. Bosque Brown, Elkhart, and Ronnie Fauss will be performing. So come out tonight, listen to some good music, and give thanks to Mr. Lester and his blog which showcases his excellent taste in both local and national music.