Wednesday of this week will mark the eleven year anniversary of the blog. Instead of doing the Monday Mixteen, I opted for going older school with a Sunday Spotify 16. Tomorrow, I’ll be highlighting another playlist… you’ll see what I’m talking about then. For today, I’m looking back on some acts that are no more: some have broken up, some are on “indefinite hiatus”, and some just don’t do shows anymore. Either way, every one of these acts has made a mark on The Ghost during the past eleven years. So let’s look back on these memories, that light the corners of my mind. Misty water-colored memories of the way… fine, I’ll drop the Streisand references.
- THe BAcksliders, “Fat Girls”
During the first five years of the blog, THe BAcksliders were probably the most consistently enjoyable live band to watch. At its best, it was everything chaotic and sloppily joyful that rock was meant to be. Yes, the antics got too real from time to time (including a firing of a band member in the middle of their set.) Even with such personal drama, they were on top of the live music game. Then suddenly, the band broke up. No warning. No farewell show. And to this date, no reunion show (which The Ghost has tried to make happen). Still, the impact that THe BAcksliders made upon The Ghost is undeniable.
- The Orange, “Valium”
While I’m not certain that The Orange are totally defunct, it’s also pretty safe to say that they are not performing shows now, nor are there any on the foreseeable horizon. If I’m wrong, then I’d be happy to be wrong. Sharing Vitamins was a great rock record that should have propelled the band to another level. Alas, the only biggest impact it had on the national scene was acting as inspiration for a Cage the Elephant album cover. Oh, never mind, I’m sure the similarities were mere coincidences. After all, you see lots of covers with brunette ladies licking citrus fruits on the cover, right?
- The Timeline Post, “Three”
One of my favorite albums of 2010 was Slow Descent. It was a wild ride of a musical journey, ranging from heavy rock to haunting stripped down tunes (such as “Kill the Girl” and “Three”). Alas, the band seemed to quit performing not too long after the release of this album. It is a regret of mine that I never had the privilege of experiencing the Slow Descent tracks live.
- Iris Leu, “Soft Focus”
My favorite works by Iris Leu are from her Hushaboo album, which is not available for streaming or for purchase anymore. Still, this title track to her final EP gives an insight as to what a complex and compelling performer she was. I’m not certain what she is up to these days, but performing and recording new music does not appear to be part of her current agenda.
- The Chloes, “I Can Change”
You know what’s frustrating? When a band records their best work, and then breaks up immediately afterwards. The I Can Change EP was unarguably the tightest bunch of tracks ever recorded by The Chloes. The Ghost was certain that tracks like “I Can Change” would make them among the most sought after indie bands in the area. Maybe it would have, if only the band hadn’t broken up. Most of the members went on to form Paper Saints, while lead singer April Wenzel went on to form Meanie.
- Lovie, “Mindreader”
The Ghost is continuing on the girl group vibe with Lovie. Not only did they manage some great pop tunes, but lead vocalist Rebecca Dixon is one amazing human being. Her work to raise awareness and money for Cystic Fibrosis, in addition to parenting Violet (who has CF), has earned much respect from me.
- Here Holy Spain, “Like a Charm”
HHS debuted in 2009 with Manic, but it was their 2011 release Division where the band’s dark lyrics and heavy melodies found the band operating on all cylinders.
- Menkena, “With You I’ll Travel”
Menkena made the kind of music that you lose yourself in. It’s like being enveloped in the most peaceful and beautiful dream you can imagine. This is another band that broke up suddenly, and with little notice. Jimmy, if you’re reading this, The Ghost misses you and would love one last show. Can that happen?
- (monkeysphere), “Come Back to the Show”
Rude King opened the mind of The Ghost to ska. (monkeysphere) kicked in the door and swung it off its hinges. The band’s sound, while unarguably rooted deeply in ska, went beyond the confines of that genre. Elements of punk, pop, and even big band can be found within their discography. The band is on “indefinite hiatus”, and frankly, it feels as if the Dallas ska scene took that hiatus with them. Coincidence, or something more?
- The Phuss, “Something to Die For”
For as good as The Phuss were at creating kick ass rock n’ roll, there is one unarguable silver lining to the end of that band. It allowed lead vocalist Joshua Fleming to explore his country leanings with Vandoliers. As Martha Stewart would say, that’s a good thing.
- Macon Greyson, “Black Light”
When I heard that this track was going to be in a Mickey Rourke film, I initially regarded that as a relatively insignificant tidbit. I mean, being featured in a film destined to go straight to video is no huge accomplishment, right? The catch is that this Mickey Rourke film did not go straight to video. The film, The Wrestler, gave Rourke a huge career boost, even earning him an Oscar nomination. It also gave Macon Greyson a must deserved boost in attention. In the end, however, it was not enough to keep the band from disappearing into the woodwork.
- Smile Smile, “Truth on Tape”
The shocker is not that Smile Smile is broken up; the shocker is that the duo stayed together as long as they did. When Ryan and Jencey’s marriage ended, one would have expected that to be the end of the duo. The kicker is that not only did they remain a musical act, but their Truth on Tape album was the soundtrack to their breakup. When listening to the album, it’s as if you’re reading the diaries of the members with their deepest thoughts. The title track remains one of my favorite heartbreak songs to come out of the metroplex.
- Home by Hovercraft, “Lie in Your Bed”
The Ghost ranked this track as the #1 song of 2013. It’s a surprising subtle song compared to the impression it made on me. On a completely separate note, I’m not sure tap dancing has ever been so perfectly incorporated into a track as the conclusion to “Lie in Your Bed.”
- The Cut*off, “Shanghaied”
Yet another favorite of mine during the earlier years of the blog. There are plenty of great tracks on Packaged Up for Beginners, but only “Shanghaied” features the talented Jenn Nabb on backup vocals.
- Dovetail, “The Road”
I did not do a year end countdown in 2012, but if there had been one, “The Road” would have undeniably taken the top spot. Dovetail hit its musical stride with Mount Karma, and the lyrics to this track still hit me in the heart. “Lend me a moment, something that pain cannot erase” is the strongest of many powerful verses in this track. And when the track hits its climax in the final chorus, chill bumps are sure to be had.
- Sorta, “Afraid of the Dark”
Speaking of chill bumps, this track gives chill bumps to my chill bumps. I’ve only seen the band perform this song once: it was at the House of Blues Cambridge Room for the release of the final Sorta album, a little over a year after Carter Albrecht’s death. The band held it together through the performance, even through this emotional album closer. It was only after the close of the song that the band broke down into tears. The song’s final refrain, “Oh, it’s over now,” holds a much deeper meaning than could have been intended when the song was written.