As I mention in yesterday’s Monday Mixteen, this week marks the twelfth anniversary of the start of the Ghost of Blind Lemon blog. This week’s episode of Ghost of Blind Lemon Radio will largely be a look back at some of my favorite tracks over those years. While there will be a few newer tracks thrown in the mix, it will not be strongly focused on new releases as most of the radio shows are. There’s been a plethora of solid new releases lately, so as opposed to waiting a full week to highlight them on the radio show, The Ghost figured he’d bring back 10 for Your Attention this Tuesday.
I’ll kick off the 10 with the most recognized name of the bunch, Relick. Their first EP, Twin House, was consider power-pop, but their newer singles venture more into psychedelic pop. Their latest single, “Powder Pink”, throws in a healthy serving of rock with its psychedelia. In fact, The Ghost can’t help but wonder if the song title comes from an obvious Pink Floyd influence in the track. Listening to the intro, you can even hear echoes of “Echoes”. Make no mistake, however, that Relick is still as adept with pop hooks as ever. The Pink Floyd influences are there, sure, but it’s more like what it would sound like if Pink Floyd played an indie rock dance party.
The Ghost first met Alex Hastings during his time with The Demigs, but now he takes center stage with his new band, The Fresh Ghosts. Yes, there’s a slightly ominous tone to “Devil’s Slide”, as one might expect from the title. Instead of evil overtones, however, the song stirs up feelings of bittersweet nostalgia through its tale of love that didn’t endure. The slow but steady pacing of the beat makes this song the type that will slowly worm its way into the eardrums and psyche. If the rest of The Fresh Ghosts’ catalog proves to be as strong, there’s more than a ghost of a chance that they’ll carve out a strong fan base.
Here’s another Denton band for you For Now. No, really, the name of the band is For Now. The band just released their album The Turning, which meshes elements of jazz and classical together. And yet that simple description comes nowhere close to appropriately describing the band’s sound. In fact, it would be more appropriate to say that For Now wants to push the boundaries of what jazz and classical music can do. Listening to their songs feels like you’re taking a journey with the band that the members are almost not certain of the destination. But it’s a wonderful journey to take, as evidence by the album’s title track.
I’ve been playing McAllen singer-songwriter Ally Martinez on my last few radio shows. The only things I know of Ms. Martinez is what’s shared on her Bandcamp page, which isn’t much. I will say that the sound quality of her recordings could use improvement. But if you’ll turn your volume up while listening, what you’ll hear is a performer with a powerful voice and lyrics that are worth listening to. In fact, under the right producer/mixer/etc., her EP Sorry, I Fell Asleep, is the kind of release that could mark the beginning of a strong career. Give her a listen, and I’m sure you’ll be “Hungry” to hear more from her.
Jared Shanklin has been a busy man as of late. He’s working with Mikey Branton, formerly of (monkeysphere), on a new project called End of Orbit. He’s also continuing to release new songs with his backup band, The Lineage. And if that still isn’t enough, he’s contributed vocals to this new single of Memwars called “Song for the People”. The CD Baby page for the single says the genre is “Electronic: Chill Out”, though to my ears, it sounds more like moody pop with a slight hint of electronic. However you choose to describe the sound, there’s a certain quality to the song that makes it, for lack of a better phrase, go down really smoothly. You’d think I was talking about a whiskey instead of a song, but oh well…
There was a time when I thought $kaduf (now known as $kaduf Francais) was bound to be one of the biggest rappers in the area. In fact, I’m not quite certain how his music hasn’t gotten more attention. His sharp verses and smooth beasts, in my book, make him a stronger performer than some other hip-hop acts that have garnered more attention. Fortunately, $kaduf is still making beasts, and “Selfies” still show his ability to tell a story with emotion.
If there’s an award for best local band name, Manifest Destiny’s Child would be a top contender for that award. The all-girl band recently released its Rio Discotheque EP, which neither sounds like Duran Duran’s “Rio” nor what one would hear at a Discotheque. The guitar lines from Carol Gonzalez, however, are among the most interesting and cool sounding I’ve heard in a bit. While the band’s name is bound to bring notice to the band, it’s their talent that will help manifest this band’s destiny.
The new single from Justin Tipton caught me off guard. Mr. Tipton is a rising star within the local music country scene, so I expected his new song, “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” to sound, well, country. It doesn’t. Well, not unless you count The Byrds as country music. And I’m not talking Sweetheart of the Rodeo era Byrds, I’m talking “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Byrds. So no, Tipton’s new song isn’t all that country. It is, however, seriously catchy.
Austin indie-rock band Duncan Fellows just released a new EP, Eyelids Shut. I’ll keep it simple here: indie rock, catchy, good. That, and “Deathwish Fish” is a unique song title.
Finally, I leave you with something a little heavier than usual. Alright, a lot heavier. In fact, it’s rare for me to enjoy anything as heavy as Denton band NOSK. Their EP, LOCOTUS, is loud. fierce, chaotic, and to my surprise, a very captivating listen. NOSK won’t be for everyone but for anyone who’s willing to try a metal band that doesn’t sound quite so stereotypically metal, NOSK may prove to be a pleasant surprise for you. I leave you with “The Continuum”, a song that you should crank loud, if you so dare.