Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A short list of end of year lists

Hey folks here's a short list a end of the year lists, by no means all inclusive but it will get you started.

Rollo & Grady

Ultra 8201



Indie Rock Cafe

Austin Town Hall


From here you are bound to find some great new music you have not heard yet.   All the best and have happy and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A great rock album Candidate Waltz Centromatic

  What can you say about an album of solid material done well and played with soul?  Self-described as a meat and potatoes rock and roll record, Candidate Waltz is just song after song of good ol' rock.  You feel that same sort of yearning and earnest desire that rock, from it's R&B and country roots, is built upon.  Nothing pretentious or overly striving here and that is its beauty.  Will Johnson and company have taken the material and sound of rock from the last decade and effortlessly put together a record where song after song keeps you happy.  I find myself humming the hooks and rocking to riffs in my head long after I have listened.  An album making the rounds of best of the year lists, go ahead and get it now because it will only be a matter of months before another musical creation will emanate from the mind of Will Johnson and fight for space in your listening queue.  Centro-matic

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spoon A review in the rear view

"I got nothing to lose but darkness and shadows"

 Brit Daniel is a true musical futurist.  Any fan of Austin's seminal indie rock band can tell you, like wine it is really better with age.  You get the album initially and there are a few songs that will jump out but for some reason you can't quite get into it.  Come back a year later and it sounds fresh and on point.  Their last effort "Transference" is no exception. An album mixed with i pod ear buds in mind.  Sounds from no where invade pop structures, attempting to unsettle you, mirroring the lyrical content.   Wading through the myriad of sound you can get lost in the background.  It mirrors the world in which we find ourselves where screens are within screens and you can receive several emails, texts and phone calls at a given moment.  There is an unsettling feeling running through the album, voices telling you other things underneath, phrases and instruments cut off unexpectedly like a call with bad reception.  The thing is you don't notice it at first, everything seems normal.

The album begin with "Before Destruction" and we are left to wonder if the destruction being spoken of is whole scale or personal. "The Mystery Zone"could be about life after college; "All of the people you used to run into, but never do now," when everyone has retreated into the refuge of suburbia all weird for it's lack of weird.  The frustration in the voice in "Written in Reverse" could be seen as the counter to John Lennon's "Don't Let Me Down"  except the writer has been let down.   From this point things take a slightly different turn, the background noise is turned down and the songs move straight ahead.  "I Saw the Light"  attempts to make sense, at least until end, at which point the instruments goes someplace else.  "Trouble Comes Running" rocks us forward into the quiet reflections of "Good night Laura" and "Out Go the Lights".  All this leads to rock and roll super song "Got Nuffin", an anthem of positiveness to fight off the gloom. We then return back to the disorientation with the discombobulating sonic array of "Nobody Gets Me But You".
         As ever, Spoon is subtle in it's attack and multiple listens are required to really appreciate the understated genius of the work.  In this post-CD age, we are blessed that the music never goes out of stock and we can rediscover what we may have missed the first time around.  Check out their website Spoon for some free downloads and other Spoon related news.
Downloads and video.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Repost The Hear ya Review of Delta Spirit History from Below

In celebration of the new Delta Spirit album coming out this March here is a link to a review from Hear ya.
I did not know that this album was inspired by the Howard Zinn novel "A Peoples History of the United States."  For those that like pictures with their words, there is a graphic novel of the same book.  Makes for some interesting reading, especially if you ever wonder why there is a big gap in US History text books  between the civil war and World War I.  I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Old 97's the best honky tonking garage brit band ever

Coming off the second album in their double album set the Th Grand Theatre, the Old 97s are hitting on all cylinders making the best music of their existence.  No band epitomizes the tradition of Texas rock in the Doug Sahm/Sir Douglas Quintet fashion quite like Old 97s.  Song sramble along loose and fun while singing the about sorrow and a life of loving.  Rhett Miller a lyricist with the heart of a novelist puts a writer's stamp against rollicking backbeats and jangling guitars.  Oohs and ahhs float in and out of pop songs come through the garage.  Fun is the order of the day.  You kind of feel like the Stones were striving for what the the 97s come by honestly and vice versa.  Music  equally comfortable in the home, the bar or the big theatre.
The Old 97s

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Delta Spirit Americana Rock an introduction for those that don't know

     A subtle excellence and polish pervaids the work of the Delta Spirit.  Smart, soulful songwriting is placed upon a rich sonic tapestry that leaves you wondering if the sound is traditional or modern.  The strong lyrical sense and voice catch your attention first, but after a few listens you are drawn into the artful arrangements that form a profound foundation.  I have been listening to the band for over a year now and still struggle to offer a fitting description, besides this is good music.   Ultimately it falls under the broad cover of rock and roll, like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or The Who, all of who play music blues/roots based and take it in many different directions.   Do they sound like any of those bands? Nope, but they do embody the earnest and stylistic variety associated with artists of the era.    
      The band has two major releases "Ode To Sunshine" and "History from Below" and has just released an EP "The Waits Room".   The recordings are great and to really get a sense of the band check out live recording such as Trash Can  shot at the Parish in Austin,TX.  Passion abounds in song after song such as Bushwick Blues, Children and Strange Vine.    Add to their studio recorded material, live cuts found on sites like Daytrotter you find a band with a wealth of material for your listening pleasure.  It kind of blows my mind when people have not heard of these guys.  Songs that belong on the radio, for those don't yet know, Delta Spirit.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sarah Jaffe: Voice of youth lamented

The melancholy of youth is the reflection all around that this too shall pass creating the balance of our age, making us feel old while we are still young.  An adept putting these reflections to lyrical musical tapestry is Denton artist, Sarah Jaffe.  Songs such as "Clementine"  offer a sonic meditation on realizations we have about ourself, the desire to have been the person we are now.  Sarah Jaffe confidently wears questions and regrets in her own brand of songwriting so we can look back? forward with her.   Creating soundscapes to mirror her lyrical and melodic sense, Sarah's music is a beautiful sadness.  An honesty and in touch with the bottom voice makes me think  Billie Holiday with modern folk alt rock jazz arrangements.  Peaking out through the clouds, the glimmer of triumph and a moving though out which her work underpins a sort of forward progress.  "Even Born Again"  chugs ahead, a train leaving someplace you once liked and don't think you can live again.   "Black Hoax Lie" starts with " You're on your way to the bottom, at least you know where you going", which the vunerability of her voice makes a statement of fact contrasted to a snarky or ironic observation it could be.  Song after song Sarah connects with something deep down inside.  Truly a talent which the number of years under her belt belies, Sarah Jaffe.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Whole R evol ution Wilco

Could be fair to say, the treatment of Wilco by mainstream radio mirrors mainstream media's treatment of presidential aspirations for Texas representative Ron Paul.  Both with ardent devoted supporters, who corporate "mainstream" media say are too far outside the tastes and beliefs of the majority of everyday Americans to be taken seriously.  Even though the numbers of followers and increasing support would say other wise, we are told what you want is what we are being given, while voter turnout and album sales would suggest differently.  Taking a John Stewart like approach to the above observation, I state for the record I am not endorsing a candidate or political viewpoint.  Nor do I have an inkling of the band's individual or collective political leanings. I do, however, offer my whole hearted support  for Wilco's new album "The Whole Love".
     With this album, Wilco has simultaneously delivered  the pop goods of "Summer Teeth" and experimental daring of the seminal "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" for a listening experience that allows you to sit back enjoy the sonic challenges.  Kicking off the experience, opener "Art of Almost"  puts you off balance with a noise beats soup, lulls you into a comfortable groove and then knocks you to the floor with a fiery solo, invoking guitar gods past .The track "Dawned on Me" is pure sugary goodness with a sticky chorus with which you can sing along.  "Standing O" is the Banana Splits after reading Louise Hay after a fist fight.  Calm interludes such as "Black Moon" and "Open Mind: provide moments of reflection and final number "One Sunday Morning" is as quiet as the beginning was loud.
    Lately Wilco's work has been more of a slow burn where I end up enjoying the recordings after a couple of spins.  "The Whole Love" is Wilco's most accessible and "like at first listen" album since "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" with songs that  challenge our assumptions of what can be played on FM radio. Having my two small children dance to songs like "I Might" and "Born Alone" exemplifies a Wilco connecting on more than just the intellectual level usually associated with the band.  While we want to keep our brain happy with music that is not cookie cutter and we say is smart, deep down we need music we can bop our heads to and hum along. Smart and fun, Wilco's  "The Whole Love"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Richie Bates: Good old fashioned modern songwriting

What jumps out to me about Richie Bates is the strength of his voice.  It recalls troubadours of an era where smoothness and strength went hand in hand.  Think Lyle Lovett and John Doe from LA punk band X have a vocal baby, boom, you get Richie Bates.  Listening, I was so enthralled with the sounds, simple while broad arrangements, it took me a few times through to notice the lyrics.  Great music draws you in and then rewards you for paying attention.  Upon further inspection, a writer doing his best to make sense of a world around him,  searching for his peace reveals himself.  The comforting sounds strike a contrast to the storm brewing within the words.  Song titles like " We are the Rage" and "Seek and Destroy" would seem to imply songs left over from the angst of youth. Instead we are presented with an adult dealing with realities in a world that must be lived in, all the while acknowledging the very same world is what we make of it.  What I love about these songs is you don't have to get bogged down in or even have to think about these existential turning points to press play, repeat and enjoy Richie Bates

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Richard Gilbert song writing excellence

Richard Gilbert is music and songwriting distilled down to its most no nonsense, make no bones about it, essence.  Starkly beautiful, easy and fluid songs flow one into the other.  Stories told by a man who a seen a thing or two while retaining a tender view of life.  Richard shares sonic snapshots reminding you of the last days of fall when the air is still sweet, summer long gone and the first hints of winter creep into your peripheral vision.  Best with a glass of wine or high quality brew, pick a quiet evening, sit back and savor RichardGilbert

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Before they are big time, The Banter Cafe DVD

Get your time capsules ready, a moment has been captured but get an extra copy for right now because we got ourselves some good music here.  Apparent to anyone involved, Denton is primed for an explosion of music and art that will make waves outside the metroplex, the true extent of its influence of which will not be known for time to come.  Of the places where this fomentation is taking place, Banter Cafe, with its eclectic mix of music, art and cuisine takes the foreground introducing new sounds and artists to a knowledgeable clientele.  Those in the know go Thursday nights to Banter, the meeting spot for local musician looking to hone their craft and make connections with others in the pursuit of musical excellence.  Many ideas have come forth as a result of this silently agreed upon forum, one of the results is a collection of music and photography capturing a moment in time while entertaining with songs from many of Denton's up and coming talents.  The photographic slideshow, shot by Bob Ralph, captures the energy and joy of artists and audience, a regular occurrence Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Banter Cafe.  Set phasers to impressed by the variety artists including Bone Doggie, 11:40, Ashley Gatta, Richard Gilbert, Matt Grigsby and others in this one hour collection.  You'll find yourself entranced by this photo collection set to some of the best local music any city has to offer.  To learn more about Banter Cafe check out
Proceeds from the DVD go to support

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rawwwwrk; The Virgin Wolves

God damn, sometimes you just got an itch for some balls out rock and F-ing roll.  The Virgin Wolves keep you scatching until you're bleeding.  Fuzz and attitude abound, you'll picking dirt from your your teeth and happy about the scapes on your elbows.   A full fledged sonic assault and battery, The Virgin Wolves knock you to the canvas making you want to get back up, so they can knock you down again.  Take off the gloves and get dirty with The Virgin Wolves

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For those that want a little smart with their rock: The Demigs

You crave it, you need it, rock songs with interesting structures and smart lyrics.  You want someone to give you clever pop songs and then rip your face off with a rocker in the next breath.  You desire something to hit you below the belt and between the ears at the same time, you want The Demigs. Able to shift moods song to song with the dexterity of a spider monkey through trees, The Demigs give you a little bit of everything you want to hear.  Soundscapes that would have worked in the 60's, 90's and today, there is no need for a radio when playing a Demigs album gives you all the rock and roll vitamins and minerals you need.  Now take your vitamins and listen to The Demigs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hobo: Reverened Irreverrent

Ah, to make the profane sacred and the sacred profane.  The Reverend Alan Cook and his band of merry men tells you tales that in the hands of a lesser men might make your hair curl.  Hobo spins yarns of real life characters perceived through a kindly lense.  Ranging far and wide in Americana music styles with a definite south Texas flavor, Hobo will have you clinking beer mugs together in camaraderie, crying in your beer or hoisting pints of beer to the sky for joy.  A good time will be had for sure and we wouldn't have it any other way. Crack open a cold one with HOBO

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beautiful train wreck: John Grant

Have you ever been around someone so talented and wondered, "Why?" and knew the answer.  Crazy lyrical sense, melodies, catchy songs, great arrangements, all the ingredients are there with a take on life if is just a little.... I just can't even come up with an adequate turn of phrase to describe it, but it might be someone you know.   A beautiful train wreck you won't be able to take your eyes or in this case ears off of, John Grant is there to give you a earful.  Take a listen, you won't be able to avert your gaze. John Grant

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strings ablazing, the Boxcar Bandits

Well grab your partners and here we go, self proclaimed SkunkGrass provacateurs can set it a-blaze in a hurry with the fury of strings like nobody's business.   Long for days long on picking, then I have got the answer for you.  Boxcar Bandits will have your reaching for your bindle, providing you a soundtrack for jumping into the back of trains and making off across this land.  Want to relax and the back porch and while away the days with a little homemade or homegrown, well just take off your shoes kick back and breathe it in.  You're gonna have yourself a hell of a time listening to Boxcar Bandits.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Immigrant Punk

Slithering, the beautiful and deadly viper lures you in with seductive hypnotizing undulations to strike with deadly accuracy.  Stalking, the panther gracefully moves through the bush and then, ---  without warning,  --- pounces; claws unfurled leaving you wondering what just happened.  Alternately beautiful and abrasive, Immigrant Punk is on a mission.  Back and forth between singing and spoken word, English and Spanish, a music attempting to bring two worlds together, Immigrant Punk is an apropos expression of our times, resonating back to us our cordial and uneasy relationships.    Feel the raw refined power of Immigrant Punk

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Young Master Grigsby: Townes' long lost son

Texas produces legendary songwriters one after another like they pump oil out of the ground.  Individuals that tell tales between the words, where sometimes hard living ultimately may or may not be the key to redemption.  I introduce with intent to delight, Young Master Grigsby AKA Mathew Grigsby, smith of song and craftsman of the finest caliber.  Comic and subtly profound song carried by a voice and guitar, Mathew can leave you lowsome and laughing all in the same song.  Love up your earholes and spend some time with Mathew Grigsby.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hot Time on the Town: Bone Doggie and The Hickory Street Hellraisers

The current boiling pot we find ourselves at this time in history musical styles mesh and coalesce to form concoctions totally new and tasty.  No band brings the heat quite like Bone Doggie and the Hickory Street Hellraisers. Bone Doggie knows the ingredients: Americana, jazz, ragtime, rock, blues, blue grass, gospel, even tough gong reggae and throws them  into the HSH kitchen to create one tasty dish after another.   Come see what's cooking Bone Doggie and the Hickory Street Hellraisers

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independent and United: Denton

       All over Denton great music is made, great venues exist, great local businesses serve the community, video production teams work, food services provide better sustenance, artists create and artisans abound.  While each of these entities is doing its own thing, it is becoming evident that there exists opportunity to bring  these individual entities together so that the greater sum of these parts becomes self-evident.  The manner which this cohesion has been achieved throughout much of history is the media used as a forum and local for ideas prevalent in a local community.   It is the current situation in which we find ourselves our immediate past, TV, newspapers and radio, is predominantly run by large companies searching for broad appeal in order to place advertising, all the while cost and manpower to operate in the these media has become prohibitive and impractical for a local presence to maintain. Yet television programming is being rendered obsolete by the internet, and by the time broadband connections are established in the majority of vehicles the influence of traditional radio as taste-maker will be diminished even further than it's current dwindling state.  Past, still being sometimes present, we move through the present the future unfolding before us, where access to a voice is as easy as any time in recorded history.  If isn't already apparent, it will soon become glaringly obvious, the internet will shape the next era of media.
       Each age that has seen vast improvements in modes of  mass communication has also seen vast improvements in the conditions surrounding them.  Beginning with cave drawings, the idea that information shared improves the lives of those around them is one major step forward in human evolution.  It is no surprise the great developments of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution coincide and are quite pragmatically impossible without a profusion of reading materials and a pursuant class of self-educated populace resultant from it.  Revolutionary ideas like our own Declaration of Independence are made real by the propagation of these ideas through media.  In our age, the internet has provided the unprecedented opportunity to give a voice to ideas inane, provocative or revolutionary.  For each of these ideas there is  space and the chance to gain audience so that those ideas may take root.  
        And we do hear the voices, infinite blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. exist for our edification or amusements, the best achieve both.  Yet for those seeking to be heard with so many voices shouting, attempting to shout louder ultimately achieves a sore throat.  It is for this reason that people come together to speak in one voice.  An avenue available to us now so that the collective voice of this artistic community may be heard is an internet based community radio station.   A public forum for Denton, independent of the major outlets and united together to give  opportunity for the varied and related artistic and business interests of our community.
     One group laying the ground work for this opportunity is  A project still in its infancy; ideas, support and just good old money are required to get this off and running.  For ways that you can be part of this change in the way that radio and community interact go to


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Lindales, music for both sides of your brain

Well planned and spontaneous, bursting with energy and feeling while highly intelligent,  The Lindales accomplish a great task, they sound exactly like themselves.  Instruments swell in and out, vocals croon then howl, complete with smart lyrics and complex arrangements that feel natural as falling out of bed in the morning.  Is it organized chaos or chaos organized?  Music you don't have to think about to enjoy, but are rewarded for if you do.  Do your brain a favor and listen to The Lindales.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Driving down the lonely plain: Mi Prospero

Picture youself driving the vast expanses of the American plain,----------- what does it sound like?  I present for your listening pleasure, Mi Prospero, author of grand sonic landscapes conveying you to where sky is big and seas of grass roll on into infinity.  Richie Bates voice is a lone wood house on a wind swept hill.  Minimalist musical cinema at its best, spend some time with Mi Prospero.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Into the Tiger's Den: Tiger Darrow

A warning before entering: the ever present danger of girl pop is the facility with which too much girl or too much sex renders the music a toothless afterthought. Have no fear, Tiger avoids these traps with an ease and grace that is as suprising as her youth.  Confident without trying, Tiger performs a fresh and vibrant brand of music that you secretly hope your daughter listens to so you don't have to pretend to like it (if that's how you roll).   The good news, you don't have to wait to have a daughter to enjoy Tiger Darrow

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wanna get happy? Mount Righteous

You will half expect to see juggler's, acrobats and daredevils leaping from your speakers as you listen to the jubilant music of Mount Righteous.  Songs that are your best memories of children's programming, the kind of songs you are not ashamed to sing obsenely loud even when you are comfortabley in your 30's/40's. Down right, propagandaish in it's positive message.  Want to get happy?  I present to you Mount Righteous

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kick back and enjoy: The Sun Downers

Music for a hazy Sunday morning, the Sun Downers loose easy style induces a peaceful state of mind. It goes down smooth after that Saturday night that went on for too long.   Recorded live and raw, the vocals are far away and soothing while the arangements move like a country stream.  For whenever you need to take the time, do it, kickback and enjoy The Sun Downers.

Admit it you, you love this stuff: Tim Robbins

All the best you love from 80's and 90's alt pop rock, Tim Robbins brings it, with music tuneful and fresh.  Think the satisfaction of sitting at the bonfire after a day at the beach, dreaming up possibitlies of greatness ahead.  Okay, admit you love the poppier side of alt rock and embrace music made to make you feel good. Tim Robbins

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In the Spider's Web

Haunting and spare, the music of Spider Minshew evokes a bygone era.  Simple arrangements and instrumentation place Spider squarely in the past at the same time embracing a present craving simplicity.   A well crafted response to a world careening ahead at break neck speed, the sound and aesthetic is well worn while the songs are fresh like vegetables from the garden.   Check it out Spider Minshew.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Novaak; What pop music can be

Novak creates lush soundscapes that you can sit in.  The moniker of dream pop fits the bill as you will experience a different sense of what pop music can be when you take the limitations away.  The duo is active in Texas and should not be missed.  Check them out at Novaak

RTB2: North Texas Wind storm

Carreening between cool control and heated abandon, RTB2 comes on like a North Texas windstorm.  Finding balance between measured craftmanship and wild sponteneity, the band lulls you in a groove to knock you down with pure rock fury.  Known for an unpredictable live show, this two man force of nature will blow you away.  Check them out at RTB2