Best of the Beginning
Who needs to wait until December for a solid "Best of 2013" music list? Not us. The new year has already brought a handful of noteworthy albums from Dallas-Fort Worth, and there are even more albums coming out in the next couple of months — including one from The O's — but we'll get to them soon enough.
Given the high quality of these records, regional recognition may not be where the praise stops by the time the end of 2013 rolls around.
Air Review: Low Wishes
After tweaking the more bombastic sound of a self-released debut album, the Dallas-based act led by lead singer Douglas Hale offered up Low Wishes in January. When listened to as a whole, the record is a perfectly balanced blend of pop, pastoral beauty and thoughtful lyricism. Musically, the group pulls off an interesting mix.
Air Review's latest album is a perfectly balanced blend of pop, pastoral beauty and thoughtful lyricism.
At times, a song can convincingly come off as the love child of Mumford & Sons and Muse. Although that sounds outlandish, the result for Air Review is one of measured majesty.
Given that the band has been a staple in local clubs for years, it's a revelation to listen to a release that wasn't rushed and offers a great deal of thoughtfulness.
These Machines Are Winning: Defender I
The colorfully ambitious project of Dylan Silvers (The Crash that Took Me) and Blake McWhorter (Black Tie Dynasty) is an exciting one, even before you get to the actual music. Employing the comic art of lauded London-based artist Jock and the photography and cinematography help of Ryan Hartsell, this collective wants to tell an audacious story in multiple ways.
With a futuristic and somewhat ominous tone, the hooded, masked figures that make up the main characters don't steal the show from the electro-rock arrangements. Silvers collaborated with McWhorter and a host of Dallas musical all-stars, most notably Taylor Rea from Zhora, who lends her vocals to a number of songs on the album. Videos and evocative imagery are cool, but they are backed by a solid set of tunes that makes the whole package worth your time.
Quaker City Night Hawks: Honcho
Riding high after getting a few songs placed on the gritty hit television show Sons of Anarchy, Fort Worth-based Quaker City Night Hawks are back. And they brought some serious Southern, booty-shaking swagger with them. Honcho, simply put, is a freaking blast to listen to.
Sometimes it's as simple as that. Similar to Air Review, it's also satisfying to hear a band progress and focus on their strengths, which in the case of QCNH, is, well, strength. These tunes are all so damn strong.