Monday, February 18, 2013

Kickstart Your Workweek: 2/18/13

If you follow a number of local musicians (or any musicians not established on the national level, for that matter), you've no doubt seen your share of Kickstarter campaigns.  The website has become a major tool in helping musicians (among others) get funding for releasing records.  I've decided that every Monday, I will spotlight deserving local artists in need of your financial assistance.  So give these artists a listen, and if you like them and can afford to contribute, do so.  Plus, if you'll notice on their Kickstarter pages, there can be sweet incentives for donating, ranging from copies of the yet to be released CD all the way to private house concerts.  Check each artist's page for their rewards for donating.  Also, if you are in a band that has a Kickstarter campaign, email me at to let me know, and if I like your music, I'll be more than happy to spread the word.

Anna Thomas (Kickstarter page)
The young Ms. Thomas started recording her music at the mere age of twelve.  What makes that so amazing, however, is the incredible level of maturity, both in terms of performance and lyrics, that she possessed as such a young age.  Fast forward about five years later, and Anna is still writing beautiful and intelligent music that needs to be heard by all ages.  Fans of female pianists a la Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, and Fiona Apple should especially take note of her music.  She's already released an impressive EP entitled Break Apart, and is looking to record her first full length with producer Levi Bradford.  Her campaign ends in less than a week, so the time to donate is now.  And yes, there are rewards for donating.  My personal favorite is that for a $500 donation, one gets to co-write a song with Ms. Thomas, and she'll record a video of that song and post it on YouTube.  Pretty cool, huh?  Below is "Hush", the first song of Anna's I ever heard.  Listen and see if you love it as much as I did.

Caterpillars (Kickstarter page)
I first met Caterpillars' lead singer Christopher Robinson during his stint in Menkena.  He had the unenviable job of taking over Nolan Thies' position in the band.  And yet with his skills on the guitar, Mr. Robinson proved that he would not just merely "fill in" those shoes, but prove himself to be a musical equal to Mr. Thies.  That's no easy task.  Caterpillars may share some of the dreamy qualities of Menkena, but also manage to incorporate elements of electronica with slight hints of emo (and while I'm not generally a fan of that genre, Caterpillars make the sound work).  And the time to donate for Caterpillars is urgent, with less than three days left.  Below is my favorite track from their self titled debut EP, ":Lifetime in the Pretense".

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Lucky Thirteen: 2/17/13

I've decided to move the Lucky Thirteen from Monday to Sunday, because starting tomorrow, I begin a new feature called Kickstart Your Workweek. What is that, you ask? Find out tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are thirteen totally awesome songs for you. As you may have noticed, I have moved from Grooveshark to Spotify for my playlists. On one hand, there is the disadvantage of a more limited song selection with Spotify.  What I like, however, is that my understanding is that artists get compensated when their songs are played through the service.  It may not be loads of money, but nevertheless, every penny (or fraction of one) adds up.  I'd encourage any artists who would like their music to be part of the Lucky Thirteen to add their works to the Spotify catalog.

Now, for what you've been waiting for, the music...

  1. "Just One More (Monolith)", These Machines Are Winning
    It's safe to say that if Dylan Silvers is involved in a project, it's gonna be good. Whether he's working with other bands (THe Deathray Davies, The Polyphonic Spree) or his own efforts ([DARYL], The Crash That Took Me), I cannot think of a single exception to this rule. His newest project, These Machines Are Winning, maintains the same level of quality I'd expect from Mr. Silvers. This is more of a return to the electronic music he played in [DARYL], though with a more modern indie dance aesthetic. My only complaint: what's up with these freaky masks on the album cover and in the "Fornication" video? Kinda weird and creepy.

  2. "Supernatural", Rahim Quazi
    Rahim, you said in 2011 you'd release your follow-up to Supernatural. Then last year, you promised that it would REALLY for sure be released by the end of that year. 2013 is here, and still there is no new album from you. If this album doesn't come out soon, I'm going to start shouting out requests for Boston songs at your shows. You stand forewarned.

  3. "Ripper", The Roomsounds
    The Orange will finally release their first full length album, and the CD release show happens Saturday at Curtain Club. Unfortunately, the new music is not yet available on Spotify. So instead, I offer up The Roomsounds, who are sharing the bill with The Orange. Consider this another reason why you need to be at Curtain Club Saturday

  4. "Low Wishes", Air Review
    I loved this song when it was first released as a single, and I still love this song, now the title track of their new full-length.

  5. "Old News", Hawk vs. Dove
    Combining elements of prog-rock and sludge into a hypnotic yet thundering sonic landscape, Hawk vs. Dove's self titled debut album is nothing less than amazing and captivating. Fans of everyone ranging from True Widow to straight ahead rock need to check this out. Also, for those who like good drumming, Dallas has no finer drummer at this moment than this band's Joe Hardy.

  6. "Annul", Parallel Play
    You remember last year that Parallel Play's Jeremy Drake put on a pretty folkin' cool lineup at The Prophet Bar. Expect more good times the Big Folkin' Festival 2, happening Saturday, March 30th.

  7. "Four Leaf Clover", Old 97's
    Rhett Miller, why do you hate me so? Last year, you start a tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of Too Far to Care, my favorite album, then put your show up against my 5 year anniversary show at Curtain Club/Liquid Lounge. Now you return with the tour, and put the show on a school night (Thursday at Granada Theater, to be specific). Come on Rhett, help a long time fan out, won't you?

  8. "Like Waking Up From the Longest Dream", Dustin Cavazos
    Had to put this on the Lucky 13 again because I'm just digging this song that hard.

  9. "Bragging Type", Trey Johnson
    Mr. Johnson has a new project, The Family Piano, and the first single "We're Together" is available on iTunes. I'd love to put "We're Together" on the playlist, as it yet another argument in favor of why Mr. Johnson is arguably this town's best songwriter. Alas, the track is not on Spotify yet, so I leave you with this wonderfully fun track from his solo debut, Mount Pelee.

  10. "You Ought to Know", The Phuss
    After years of creating blistering rock anthems, The Phuss have settled down, creating beautifully introspective folk music. Don't worry, fans, I'm just kidding. No, The Phuss rocks as hard as ever. If you doubt that, listen to this track, then see their show Friday at Sundown at Granada. It. Will. Rock. Hard.

  11. "You've Got Your Heart", The O's
    New music from The O's is on the horizon! The band will hold their CD release show for album #3 (not sure of the name of the album yet) Friday, August 19th. Telegraph Canyon and I Love Math open the show. Expect this to be a serious, somber event. Again, I'm just kidding; every O's show is a big old party.

  12. "Bet You Know", Vinyl Pilot
    Typically, hearing that a band opened for Forever the Sickest Kids is not the strongest endorsement in my book. But after both hearing their songs online and seeing them perform live, I can say that this band knows how to bust out some great rock and roll tracks. They'll perform next Sunday at Prophet Bar, and I suspect they'll have copies of their new EP, Beautiful Disaster, available for purchase. And yes, you'll want to make sure to pick it up before leaving.

  13. "Run Run Run", The Chloes
    Simply put, a great song from a great album (Vanish) by a great band. Any questions?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Lucky Thirteen: 2/11/13

Hello, local music fans. Remember me? Your favorite Ghost (I hope)?

Yes, it's been way too long. As someone on my Facebook said, it's as if the Ghost has become a ghost. And I did. For many reasons, my attention was shifted away from local music. Plus, promoting local music can be a grueling and often thankless task, so perhaps a temporary step back was a much needed thing. But now seems to be the right time to start slowly easing back into my job as local music advocate. I hope to start bringing you, the local music fans, more updates on a regular basis.

But for now, let's keep it simple and start with a playlist. Consider this a Cliff Notes version of what I should have been sharing with you over the past few months but haven't. Hope these sounds bring joy to your eardrums.

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.

  1. "Like Waking Up From the Longest Dream", Dustin Cavazos
    It's taken me more than a little while to get into Mr. Cavazos' music, but his newest effort In and Out of Sleep is a gorgeous and thought provoking album that is one of the more unique local albums in recent memory. This is also the type of album that I suspect will grow on me more with continued listens. An early contender for a Top 10 album of the year.

  2. "Bonnie & Clyde", Goodnight Ned
    Played the earlier recording of this quite a bit on my Deep Ellum Radio show and liked it. But this new recording brings new life and energy into this already excellent track. Catch them Saturday at The Magnolia Motor Lounge with Foxtrot Uniform (more on that band later).

  3. "Plug-N-Play", Sunward
    I haven't heard much from the band since their CD release for A Magical Display of Lights and Rays (which also brought about the awesome reunions of Chemistry Set and Tabula Rasa). It's a really catchy collection of quirky indie pop songs, and I'd welcome more performances on behalf of this band.

  4. "Rocket", Home by Hovercraft
    The song sounds really good on CD, but it pales in comparison to their energetic and tight live performances. There's a similar energy to The Happy Bullets onstage, but with even better songs than the already impressive Bullets. Can't wait to see what the band can do for their CD release of Are We Chameleons? March 2nd at Dada.

  5. "Drunk Love", Snow tha Product
    When I look back at last year's Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase, the performance that will be remembered the most by me is that of Snow tha Product. Although her set of about 20 minutes was way shorter than I would have liked, in those 20 minutes she bowled me over with her excellent beats and razor sharp skills in terms of both flow and lyrics. I predict this will be a huge year for Snow, so I would encourage everyone to take note of her music, or as she would say, get "Woke Up".

  6. "Arise", Sol Tax
    If my memory serves correct, I saw Sol Tax's lead singer, Sydney Wright, perform solo about six years ago at Opening Bell Coffee. As I recall, I was quite impressed by her singing ability and songwriting skills, but didn't get the opportunity to get to know her music better since she soon thereafter moved away. Now Ms. Wright is back with a new band, which will perform this Saturday at Hailey's along with GOBL favorites The Virgin Wolves.

  7. "Animal", Air Review
    Probably my favorite track off the band's second full length, Low Wishes.

  8. "Black Licorice", Daniel Hart
    Mark of the Local Edge ranked Mr. Hart's "O Sangeeta" as his favorite local music jam of 2012. Although I chose a different favorite track for 2012 (revealed later), I must disagree with Mark as to Mr. Hart's best track. "Black Licorice" is his strongest track as far as I'm concerned, although some of the lyrics could present a problem being played uncensored on the air.

  9. "Cold Hands", Somebody's Darling
    Although I liked the bands self titled debut full length album, I missed the more bluesy influences that the band possessed earlier in their career. So I'm quite happy to say that the blues influence can be found throughout their second album, Jank City Shakedown, and particularly in the album's strong opening track, "Cold Hands". Nice work, guys.

  10. "Edge of the World", Foxtrot Uniform
    This band seemed to come out of nowhere to enjoy a large amount of critical success and even airplay on KXT. Songs like "Edge of the World", with its laid back groove, clearly demonstrate the band's appeal. As mentioned earlier, they'll be at Magnolia Motor Company Saturday with Goodnight Ned. Quite a nice lineup for those needing a good Fort Worth show.

  11. "Oh, Warden", The Hanna Barbarians
    Speaking of good FW shows, The Hanna Barbarians open for Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights Friday night at the Live Oak.

  12. "With Love", Ronnie Fauss
    My congratulations go out to Mr. Fauss. He's finally getting some well deserved attention since being singed to New West Records imprint Normaltown Records. His debut for the label, I Am the Man You Know I'm Not, shows off his songwriting skill, and this track here, the album's closer, is a gorgeous heartbreaker. Check him out live Friday at Sundown at Granada.

  13. "The Road", Dovetail
    The song starts slow yet lovely and captivating, and by the end turns into an almost epic style conclusion. Throw in some lyrics that appeal equally to the head and heart ("Lend me a moment/Something that pain cannot erase"), and a gorgeous blend of southern rock with modern elements, what does that leave you with? The best local song of 2012, hands down. That's what.