While the majority of my musical focus is centered of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area, I’ve been trying to keep my eye on other areas of talent in Texas. I certainly have not discovered as much good music outside of the area as I’d like to, but I’m still working on it. For those who have music recommendations outside the Dallas/Fort Worth area, feel free to Talk to the Ghost and give a blogger a heads up on what’s good.
In the meantime, I was able to round up seventeen excellent tracks outside of DFW that are worthy of their own countdown. It’s no Top 100, or even Top 40, but I decided to up this week’s Spotify playlist by one. It’s also by no means a comprehensive list of all that’s good in the rest of the state. As stated before, my knowledge of tunes from the rest of the state is limited, as is the selection of tracks on Spotify. I’ll likely share some other Texas favorite not able on Spotify later this week. So enjoy your semi-supersized playlist!
- Sweet Spirit, “Take Me to a Party”
When a song is this catchy and fun sounding, you turn a Top 16 into a Top 17. I’m reluctant to call the song “fun” itself because of the line “I’ve got a broken heart so take me to a party”, but I do think this song could turn a few frowns upside down, you know?
- Broken Gold, “Turning Blue”
Ian McDougall of Riverboat Gamblers shows off a less chaotic side with his other project, Broken Gold. This is a much more straight ahead rock track, sounding like something KDGE would have embraced in either the early or even mid 1990’s. And if any program director from The Edge is reading this right now, it’d certainly be a welcome addition to your station right now.
- Emily Shirley, “Starstruck”
Very early Fiona Apple-esque. That’s a good thing. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
- Kalli Therinae, “Bipolarity”
I discovered this song just last week, and I suspect had this song had more time to grow on me, it might’ve made the Top 5. As it is, I’d say to keep an eye on this young talent who knows how to create a powerful and emotionally raw song.
- Migrant Kids, “Thread”
Fans of the 1980’s revival sound, rejoice! Migrant Kids recorded the perfect Texas tune for you this year!
- Annabelle Chairlegs, “Watermelon Summer”
My thanks to Stephanie Burns (Classic Cult) who posted about Annabelle Chairlegs in her timeline. The whole album is solid, but this slow-simmering psych rock track was easily one of the best summer jams of the year.
- Islands & Tigers, “Monday Night”
Fans of the Dallas act Sealion will most likely really dig San Antonio’s Islands & Tigers. Their music is fun and fast, and I suspect their live show would be the same. Here’s hoping for the chance for me to see them in Dallas next year.
- Quiet Company, “Understand the Problem”
There’s a sweet spot in the music world for those who can successfully straddle the line between indie purity and a radio friendly sound that allows mainstream success. Quiet Company are still successfully walking that fine line.
- Aviateur, “Linear”
I first discovered this song early this year on the group’s ReverbNation page, only to be disappointed that they hadn’t released an album yet. At the end of October, Aviateur released Trends, an album of strong, moody, electronic-influenced rock songs. “Linear”, however, easily remains my favorite track of theirs.
- Shearwater, “Quiet Americans”
Johnathan Meiburg has a voice that never fails to captivate and intrigue me. This song shows the band venturing into a more electronic based sound, but I’m curious to travel the path with the band.
- The Bright Light Social Hour, “Infinite Cities”
A little slice of indie dance heaven.
- Boss Battle, “Ride”
Every song on the band’s Attack Time EP is worth your time, but if forced to choose a favorite, I’d go with “Ride”. This track best exemplifies the band’s ability to create a chaotically catchy hodge-podge of different styles into a cohesive track. Dallas people, keep your eyes peeled for a likely live show from the band this Spring.
- David Ramirez, “Harder to Lie”
I remember watching Mr. Ramirez play at Poor David’s Pub back in 2010, thinking that he was destined for bigger and better things. David’s career has certainly taken off, and he’s managed to stay true to his formula. Actually, the word “formula” is a bad choice, because it suggests being formulaic, which is the antithesis of who he is. David’s “formula” comes from singing genuine, heart felt songs with his beautiful, yet rugged voice.
- The Suffers, “Make Some Room”
The Suffers definitely had a good 2015. The band’s popularity has only grown, and they even managed to play on David Letterman’s show before he retired. There is obviously a market for The Suffers’ brand of retro-soul, and with songs as catchy as “Make Some Room”, it’s obvious why I had to make some room for The Suffers near the top of the charts.
- Carry Illinois, “Quiet the Alarm”
If I were to simply choose the best Texas album of 2015, Alabaster would win hands down. Tracks like “Detroit Snow”, “Smoke and Medicine”, and the title track show off Lizzy Lehman’s penchant for gorgeous pop melodies. For some reason, however, I keep coming back most frequently to “Quiet the Alarm”. I don’t know if it’s the strong percussion line, or the razor sharp lyrics, but this is a great song.
- Three Bones, “Hold on to Ya”
The intro grabs hold of you, and at first listen, it may sound like the verse is a letdown. It’s anything but that. Once you hear the quirky yet soulful vocals of Victoria de Benedicty, you’ll be every bit as captivated as when the guitar grooves are going full blast. And when Victoria’s vocals and the guitars join together, it’s sonic heaven.
- Ali Holder, “Ghost of a Man”
Sometimes a song is so good, it feels like words cannot do it justice. This song is intense, honest, and beautiful, and Ms. Holder has a stunning voice that is a perfect vessel for conveying raw emotions. Beyond that, however, I’m not sure what to say except that this song was repeatedly played by me because of its emotional honesty. If you haven’t listened to this track yet, you MUST. “Ghost of a Man” is so deserving of the #1 slot in this countdown, and any other attention it gets.