Back in the days when Dallas Observer used to have music editors, people would often suggest that I apply for the position. They would say that my perspective on the music scene and my writing skills would be just what the DO needed. And without fail, I would accept the compliment, but never tried for the position. Why is that? It’s really quite simple: I hate deadlines. There was a time when I would thrive on squeaking in under a deadline, but those days have long since passed me by. As The Ghost, I make my own deadlines. So if, hypothetically speaking, a Ten for Your Attention This Tuesday doesn’t get published until Thursday, no big deal. What am I going to do? Fire myself? I think not. But I digress. On with some new music…
At this point last year, I felt like Austin was on the verge of outdoing Dallas music in terms of quality. It feels like deja vu all over again in 2017, with so many favorites coming out of the ATX. Actually, Beth // James (shown above) is only half Austin, as Mikaela Kahn began her musical journey as a solo Denton act. Geography discussion aside, the duo of Kahn and Jordan Burchill have recorded a beautifully simmering track with “Bring Your Fire to Me.” The track feels like something The Civil Wars would have once done, except that Beth // James fans the flames of soul even stronger. Give it a listen, and see what it sparks inside you.
If you’re wanting me to make another argument supporting the strength of Austin music, then let’s consider Bone Pilots exhibit #2. The band describes themselves as “an indie rock band… [who] likes Radiohead and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and unicorns and video games.” The truth is, I hear as much blues influence in their song “Little Pieces” as indie. Either way, I find Bone Pilots an interesting band worth keeping an eye on. And who knows, maybe they’ll start incorporating unicorns in their live show. One can hope…
Need more evidence of how awesome Austin music is? Well, Marcus Striplin (Pleasant Grove) decided to abandon the DFW for the ATX. He’s releasing his first solo album under the alias of Margaret Chavez. It’s every bit as beautifully melancholic as one might expect from a release by Striplin. The album’s last track, “Missing People”, is a simple yet heartfelt ode to a woman named Margaret (presumably the inspiration behind Striplin’s pseudonym) that he lost forever. The clips of people speaking at the end only intensify the sadness, feeling as if it’s memories of happier times shared with Margaret. Listen, but prepare to feel a little tear in your heart.
Alright, time to talk Dallas again. I received an email recently from a local singer-songwriter named Mike Donahue. To be clear, it takes more than an email to have your song wind up on the blog. When you email me and you write clever piano pop songs that suggest a certain inclination towards a Ben Folds influence, then your odds up being featured grow much stronger. See if it’s just me, or if you hear the Ben Folds influence in “Tattoo.”
If you missed my post about Paisley Maze, take a moment to read the article. Then take another moment to check out “To Feel New”, a new track from Native Fox, one of the acts who will play the aforementioned music festival. The band consistently puts out catchy psychedelic influenced pop nuggets, and “To Feel New” is just one of the treats off their latest EP, Floor Model.
In case you missed it, Nicholas Altobelli posted a new track on his Soundcloud page. “I Don’t Want to Hear You Say” was originally supposed to be the B-side to “Exit Polls.” Altobelli even suggested that he considered recording an EP of doo-wop influenced songs in a similar vein to this track, but he did not follow through on the idea. Perhaps if enough people email him, he’ll actually take the time to record his doo-wop EP. If not, the next step is to bribe Altobelli with Dunkin’ Donuts and Guitar Center gift cards. Because if there are two things Nicholas loves, it would be doughnuts and shredding on the guitar.
I was introduced to Jeff Stachowski of Propeller about a year ago, and I was really excited by what bits I had heard. There had been a long silence out of the band, but this new track “It’s Not Love” reminds me of why I quickly became a fan. The song feels like it would have felt right at home on KDGE circa 1990. Anyone who loves the quirky alternative pop of that era are bound to really enjoy “It’s Not Love.”
…And we’re back to talking Austin area. Quiet Company is one of the bigger indie rock bands out of that city, and the group is back in action with the interestingly titled EP It’s Not Attractive and It Changes Nothing. Those familiar with the band’s sound will find little surpising in the EP’s opener, “Celebrity Teeth Poacher”. If for some reason there are any GOBL readers unfamiliar with Quiet Company and are anxiously awaiting new music from Air Review, this will probably tide those people over quite nicely.
The area is full with rappers looking to make it big. Smokey Flores is a name that hasn’t received much attention… yet. That may change once people take note of Flores’ sharp lyrical skills. Plus, it’s refreshing to hear a rapper that rhymes over strong melodic hooks as opposed to generic, paint-by-number beats. “Overtime” gives but a hint of what I predict this rapper is capable of, and I’d recommend keeping an eye on this young rapper.
Finally, I bring you a track isn’t new. At all. For those not familiar with Sunny and the Sunliners, take a minute to read the short bio on their Bandcamp page. Then listen to this lovely single from the early 1960’s, “Should I Take You Home.”