Tag: Dallas TX

New Video: New York’s Sub Lights Share Breezy “Hell’s Kitchen SInk”

Stephen Duncan is a Dallas/Fort Worth-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and musician. The region informed much of his musical sensibilities at a very early age: Duncan was exposed to an eclectic mix of music genres and styles from rock and indie rock played on the radio, live music at underground music clubs, classical music lessons — and the country music that was always surrounding him. Stephen Duncan explains that although his work never sounds like it but the thing it’s finished, a number of his songs started out as country songs. “I like that it’s a kind of hidden undercurrent; maybe it helps give the songs a bit of soul, despite the electronic production,” Stephen Duncan says.

Meredith Duncan is a New Jersey-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and musician. Duncan grew up in a strict Roman Catholic home, where she was sheltered from the “evils” of pop culture and most of the things her peers were interested in. She was a trained as a classical pianist and has a deep knowledge of musical theory. When she was young, her older brother introduced to underground rock. alternative and indie rock, industrial music, New Wave and psychedelic music. “Anything sad, dark, depressing, or rebellious felt like home to me,” Meredith Duncan explains. “That had a big influence on my songwriting and musical style. Having lived in Texas, I’m sure some country rubbed off on me too.”

After meeting at a party, Meredith and Stephen started their first band The Chemistry Set. The band which included members of The Polyphonic Spree and Calhoun saw some commercial success when “Into the Light” was featured on One Tree Hill. They also made national tours with Yo La Tengo, The M’s and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

Their latest project Sub Lights is a new start for Meredith and Stephen Duncan. The challenge of creating music as a duo inspired them to put together a small studio in their new home here in NYC. That effort went into overdrive during 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns. In October 2020, the duo challenged themselves to write at least one song a week for a year. Last year, they released their Sub Lights debut, Medicine EP — and they played their first Sub Lights shows in Manhattan.

Their recently released sophomore EP Half-Life features songs from that writing experiment and will reportedly be the first of a three-part recording project from the 50+ songs they wrote during pandemic lockdowns. “The idea was to transform traditionally-written songs mostly played on piano or acoustic guitar into our indie electronic style,” Stephen Duncan explains. “Lyrically, we wanted to try to capture the kind of social melancholy coming out of the pandemic and the Trump years, but then express that in a hopeful way. Like, life is tough and can be really sad, but even then people are amazing and able to find joy by connecting with each other. We also wanted to take our music seriously without taking ourselves too seriously—it’s a fine line, but I admire artists who can pull that off. But also I’m a college history professor and fairly politically active, so there’s always an element of the big picture mixed in there too, grand themes of what it means to be human and all that.” 

“Music should be fun, it’s entertainment after all,” Sub Lights’ Stephen Duncan adds. “But it’s also art and part of the purpose of art is to allow listeners to explore different ways of being. That’s our goal: to offer the chance to explore a bit of social consciousness along with the fun.”

“I think some of our songs conceptually resemble protest music,” Meredith Duncan adds. “Common themes are anti-religion, anti-patriarchy, anti-unfettered capitalism, anti-fascism. Think for yourself, question things, wake up, and be kind.”

“’Half-Life’ has multiple meanings as it relates to the album,”Sub Lights’ Meredith Duncan says. “It is one of the key lines in ‘Strange New Breed,’ and it is a way to describe how if you only live in the past or for the future, you miss the present, so essentially it feels like you are only experiencing half of your life at any given moment… It’s also my word for what deep depression feels like. All these missed opportunities, just watching life go by from your bed.

Half-Life EP‘s latest single “Hell’s Kitchen Sink” is a crafted yet breezy bit of pop centered around fluttering synths, skittering beats, a motorik groove, boy-girl harmonies and the duo’s remarkable knack for catchy hooks. While the song sonically seems to draw from Phil Spector-era pop, Death Cab for Cutie and shoegaze, “Hell’s Kitchen Sink” is rooted in a much-needed message to the listener.

“Hell’s Kitchen Sink,” Meredith Duncan explains is about living in the moment and being fully present, which “is the only time we can experience the full interconnectedness of life, that we are all the same,” she says. “Like Meredith said, [‘Hell’s Kitchen Sink’] is about living in the present, about valuing the only life we’ve got–and the people we share it with–instead of dreaming about some imagined future afterlife,” Stephen Duncan continues. “That has serious social implications, that we have a responsibility to make the world as good as we can both for ourselves and for other people. But we also wanted to say that this includes having fun, enjoying yourself while you can. So the video was our DIY version of that, just us playing, and playing around, shooting it with the help of a couple of our creative friends and having a good time with it.” 

New Video: Brooklyn-Based Jazz Fusion Outfit Kolumbo Shares a Trippy Groove-driven Homage to Imperial Bikers MC

For the Dallas-born, Brooklyn-based composer, arranger, keyboardist and bandleader Frank LoCrasto, beach culture has held a certain, tropical mystique — despite growing somewhere completely landlocked. Family trips documented on camcorder, featuring slinky jazz-fusion soundtracks are etched into LoCrasto’s memory. So it shouldn’t be surprising that in his mind, there will always be a fantasyland with wicker furniture, pristine beaches, swaying palm trees, the smell of vanilla-scented suntan lotion, cerulean blue skies and clean, aqua blue water.

The Dallas-born, Brooklyn-based composer has released four solo albums, recorded music for three feature length plums and has songs appear in 2014’s Obvious Child and the HBO series How to With John Wilson. Additionally, LoCrasto has toured and recorded with Cass McCombs, Grateful Shred, Pat Martino, Jeremy Pelt, James Iha, Parquet Courts, Fruit Bats, Nicholas Payton, Greg Osby, Okkervil River, and Wallace Roney

As the leader of tropical, jazz-fusion outfit Kolumbo, LoCrasto creates dreamy musical locales seemingly inspired by his fond memories and his imagination. Kolumbo’s full-length debut Gung-Ho is slated for a June 29, 2022 release through the Allah-Las‘ label, Calico Discos. The eight-song album reportedly conjures the lush sounds of symphony 1950s and 1960s exotica and jazz-pop orchestral albums recorded in Capitol Records‘ studios. The album’s title speaks to the herculean task of producing an album with songs averaging 11 musicians per track during a pandemic.

Gung-Ho‘s first single, the trippy and strutting “Imperial Bikers MC” is a centered around a staggered and arpeggiated Rhodes, squiggling guitars, spacey synth bursts, tropical percussion, a soulful flute line paired with a sumptuous and funky groove. While evoking memories of lazy, summer days at the beach with a cold beer, sonically the track reminds me of L’Eclair and Mildlife, who also specialize in a similar brand of funk, rooted in mind-bending grooves.

The song is a loving homage to the Imperial Bikers MC motorcycle club, who have proudly called Crown Heights home for the past 40+ years. “About 15 years ago I used to work at a scooter repair shop in Brooklyn and also rode motorcycles around the city. As a result, I befriended many bikers and fell in love with the culture,” LoCrasto explains. “Probably the best celebration of riding I came across is the annual bike blessing, a rally hosted by Imperial Bikers MC, an African American motorcycle club located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. There’s hundreds of bikers from all over the tri state area that get together to show off their bikes and wish one another a safe season. The song is an homage to them and their community service for the past 40+ years.”

The accompanying video by Robin Macmillan begins with features footage of the Imperial Bikers MC motorcycle club riding their bikes and quickly turns into a trippy affair: we see a sunglasses and track suit-clad LoCrasto playing a Roland piano and grooving over 70s and 80s styled computer-generated graphics and through the visual representation of a ‘shroom trip.

Texan-born and-raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist James Cole Burnett can trace the origins of his own music career to when he was 14: he had aspirations to play in his older brother Chase Burnett’s band. So, he began taking piano lessons and started writing songs. Soon after, he began playing shows with his brother and a drummer, Matthew O’Connor.

James played in the trio and also fronted Dallas-based outfit Mankind Forever into his early 20s. When he turned 22, Burnett relocated to Los Angeles to join his brother and O’Conor in UNCLES. UNCLES played for about a year-and-a-half before breaking up just before they were about to record an album with Sean O’Brien, Burnett took up the opportunity to work with O’Brien on there singles as a solo artist, before returning to Texas. Upon his return to Texas, Burnett recored his debut album as GOD OF LOVE, Casino Dream with Will Hooper, which the Texan-born and-based artist supported with a string of local shows.

Just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Burnett worked with Alex Bhore, who recorded and produced the Texan’s second GOD OF LOVE album. Much like countless other albums, the pandemic forced the delay of the album’s release for over a year. Burnett’s sophomore GOD OF LOVE album Do You Worst is slated for a December 3, 2021 release through Red Zeppelin Records.

“Green Eyes Black Night” Do Your Worst‘s third and latest single is a noir-ish strut centered around buzzing guitars, thumping boom bap-like drumming, a propulsive bass line and whirring electronics paired — and serves as a tense and uneasy bed for Burnett’s crooning. The song manages to evoke a desperate, gnawing loneliness, of love and affection gone unrequited for far too long, of anxious, booze and regret-fueled nights.

Emerging Dallas-based synth pop quartet Luna Luna initially began in 2007 as the solo recording project of its Colombian-born, Dallas-based frontperson and founding member Kavvi. The then-14 year old Kavvi began experimenting and tinkering with GarageBand on his iPhone, which lead to the project’s earliest material. After meeting Danny Bonilla at an open-mic night, where they shared the bill, Luna Luna quickly expanded into a duo. Kaylin Martinez (drums) and Ryan “Gordo” Gordon (drums) were recruited to join the band, after meeting and playing Texas’ house show scene.

The Dallas-based quartet recently announced the forthcoming release of their full-length debut Flower Moon, an effort that will feature, the attention grabbing and critically applauded single “One Thing,” which features a guest spot from The Undercover Dream Lovers‘ Matt Koenig. Building upon a growing profile, Luna Luna released Flower Moon‘s third and latest single “Early Morning.” Centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a propulsive yet sultry groove and Kavvi’s plaintive vocals the summery banger reminds me — to my ears, at least — of Currents-era Tame Impala. And while expressing a desperate, and lustful longing for that special someone, the song reveals an act that has quickly developed an unerring knack for crafting an infectious, dance floor friendly hook.

“‘Early Morning’ is about wanting to physically be with someone,” Luna Luna’s frontman Kavvi explains. “You know sometimes you can Facetime and text all day with someone but at some point that’s not enough and you need to be physically there with them. It’s definitely the most lustful song on the project. I’ve fallen in love with bass recently and that’s what started this song. I think this song is perfect for a night time drive on the highway. That’s when I listen to it the most.”

Along with the new single, the Dallas-based act announced a 19 date tour. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR:

(W/ BOYO and Alex Sigel and Estereomance on selected dates)

Wednesday 11.10: Santa Ana, CA @ Locker Room +

Thursday 11.11: Los Angeles, CA @ Teregram +

Friday 11.12: San Diego, CA @ House of Blues (Voodoo) +

Saturday 11.13: Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst (Atrium)

Sunday 11.14: San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop + localized 

Monday 11.15: Sacramento, CA @ The Starlet Room

Tuesday 11.16: Reno, NV @ Holland Project

Thursday 11.18: Portland, OR @ Honey Latte Cafe

Friday 11.19: Seattle, WA @ Crocodile 

Saturday 11.20: Boise, ID @ Shredder

Sunday 11.21: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

Tuesday 11.23: Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive

Tuesday 12.7: Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress #

Wednesday 12.8: Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge #

Friday 12.10: El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace #

Saturday 12.11: San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger #

Sunday 12.12: Austin, TX @ The Parish #

Monday 12.13: Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live (Studio) #

Tuesday 12.14: Dallas, TX @ Trees #

+ Alex Siegel #Estereomance

New Video: Dallas’ Nicole Marxen Releases a Feverish Loss-Fueled Visual for Cathartic “Tether”

Nicole Marxen is a Dallas-based musician and visual artist, best known for being a member of the acclaimed, avant-garde pop act Midnight Opera, an act that has been featured by outlets like BrooklynVegan, Impose Magazine, Tiny Mix Tapes, Daytrotter and The Observer — and QVC, who highlighted the act in an original docs-series on beauty and glamour. Additionally, the band was awarded “Best Group Act” by The Dallas Observer for their mesmerizing live show, which melds opulent set design, choreography and costumes.

Marxen steps out into the limelight as a solo artist with her forthcoming solo debut Tether EP. Recored at John Congleton’s Elmwood Studio with Alex Bhore, Tether is a meditation on grieving and loss, influenced and informed by the sudden death of Marxen’s mother — and the EP’s material may arguably be the most personal effort of the Dallas- based musician and visual artist’s career to date. “I used to think that my life wasn’t worth writing about,” says Marxen. “I hid behind the characters I created, the haven of the stage, the armor of costume. My art was elaborate escapism.”

Fittingly, “Tether,” the EP’s first single and title track is a dark and brooding goth-like track featuring layers of wobbling and arpeggiated synths, skittering beats, industrial clang and clatter, scorching guitars and Marxen’s achingly vulnerable, soaring vocals that evokes a brewing storm of uneasy and complicated emotions coming to the surface in ways that the song’s narrator can’t completely comprehend or predict.

“In many ways, it was a crucial first step in my own grieving process and self-discovery as a songwriter. Being so rooted in showmanship, I hadn’t explored such vulnerability in my work before,” Marxen explains. “When I began to shift my efforts inward, I found that my truth very much needed to be expressed. The song serves as a reminder to hold space for myself.”

Directed by Judd Myers, the recently released video for “Tether” is lustrously shot black and white fever dream of nostalgia, heartache and loss featuring old home videos, lonely black top and Marxen underwater. Each frame is much like a surrealistic painting full of intense cathartic emotion.

Tracing their origins to a chance meeting at DIY show in 2015, the Brooklyn-based post rock electronic band and experimental performance art Reliant Tom is centered around its core creative duo, Western Massachusetts-born, Brooklyn-based composer Monte Weber and Dallas, TX-born, Brooklyn-based choreographer and vocalist Claire Cuny. The duo’s collaboration is a seamless synthesis of their individual talents and interests – sound design, wearable technology, modern dance and hook-driven, yet genre-defying songwriting.

“Reliant Tom gives me the outlet to explore both pulse driven works while maintaining the other musical elements which I find fascinating — timbre, aleatoric processes, and interactive technologies,” Weber explains. Adds Cuny, “Our ultimate goal with Reliant Tom is to be a multi-media performance experience that straddles the line between pop and experimental music — and philosophizing about what that even means, and is that even possible as ‘experimental pop’?”

Thematically, the duo’s two previous releases, 2016’s self-released, self-titled EP and 2018’s critically applauded, full-length debut effort Bad Orange, touch upon the pitfalls of digital communication and the generally blasé nature of modern social interaction – through the guise of avant-pop and avant-punk influenced musical devices and arrangements featuring electric guitar, vocals, a hybrid electro-acoustic drum kit, synthesizers and Weber’s Kontrol Instrument, which he developed while studying at the Paris-based Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music as a way to make electronic music more tactile and immersive in its performance.

Slated for a Spring 2020 release through Chicago-based Diversion Records, Reliant Tom’s sophomore effort Rewind & Play is a decidedly bold and self-assured step forward: Cuny’s sultry and expressive vocals while being prominently placed front and center, effortlessly glide over lush yet spacious arrangements of shimmering acoustic guitars, atmospheric electronics and twinkling keys with the material possessing a cinematic air that recalls Dummy-era Portishead, Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp, Radiohead circa OK Computer and others. And while continuing to be tech heavy in their means of sonic production, their thematic exploration of communication and interaction in the digital age takes a back seat. This time taking a more human approach, the material may arguably be the most mature yet accessible, most emotionally honest and vulnerable of their growing catalog, as the album’s central theme is a documentation of Cuny’s descent into grief and depression after her father suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in front of her — on the release of day of Reliant Tom’s debut album.

“Nevermind the Garbage,” Rewind & Play‘s aching and brooding first single is centered around a cyclical arrangement of shimmering and wobbly guitars, twinkling piano and atmospheric synths that makes the song swoon from the dark and overwhelming weight  of loss and grief — and the knowledge that while you will find some way to push forward, that deep down you’ll recognize that your life will never quite be the same. “The song is about trying to return to a semi-normal routine by learning to manage the grief and anxiety that overcame me after the sudden loss of my father,” the band’s Claire Cuny explains. “My state was complex and somewhat guilt ridden because all I could feel was sadness. Even though I was at a good point in my life, with a loving partner, and reminded daily how fortunate I was when seeing the more severe hardships of other people such as chronic health issues and homelessness… all I could feel was despair, not the love or gratitude – but when you’re in the depth of your darkness it’s hard to feel much else.”

As a recently published Harvard Business Review article has suggested, we’re collectively experiencing a universal sense of overwhelming grief and uncertainty. Let’s be honest here, things are pretty bleak: on a daily basis, we’re hearing about hundreds upon hundreds of people dying from a communicable disease that any one of us could catch — and could possibly be carrying unknowingly. In New York, my home borough of Queens has been hit the hardest with the most cases and most deaths. Most of those poor souls have been heading to Elmhurst Hospital, and it means that the victims of COVID-19 live and/or work in (all or parts of) the neighborhoods of Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Woodhaven, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park and Forest Hills. We’re talking about neighbors, coworkers, associates, the grocer, your bodega guy, your FedEx guy and so on. And there’s this sense among us that things will never quite be the same once this is over. How will we move forward? I don’t know. But what I can say is that the song’s creators never would have thought that such an achingly personal song would have such a deeper, universal meaning.

Tiger Darrow is a Dallas-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, perhaps best known for her roles in the Spy Kids franchise and Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Since the release of those movies, Darrow has grown up and pursued a career in music — first behind the scenes writing for other artists and then eventually as a solo artist, influenced by St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, Bulow, and Lana Del Rey.

Darrow has opened for the likes of Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians, The Eagles, and Erykah Badu and she’s also played as a sideperson for Durand Jones and The Indications, Zack Villere, Camille Trust and Wakey! Wakey! Her latest single “Brother’s Girl” is a atmospheric yet slickly produced, radio friendly bop centered around Darrow’s sultry crooning and skittering trap beats — and while evoking an unfulfilled longing, the song features an ironic plot twist: the song’s narrator describes falling for her brother’s girl. Sounds like an episode of Jerry Springer, indeed!

With the release of 2017’s breakthrough album Nightmare Logic, the Dallas, TX-based metal act Power Trip — Riley Gale (vocals), Blake Ibanez (guitar), Chris Ulsh (drums), Nick Stewart (guitar) and Chris Whetzel (bass) — exploded into the national scene the album received breathless praise from The New Yorker and Pitchfork‘s Best New Music and NPR and landed number 1s on the best of/year-end lists of Rolling StoneBillboard, Stereogum, AV Club, BandcampLA WeeklySpin, Vinyl Me PleaseDallas Observer and countless others. Adding to a huge year for the band, they were featured on the cover of Revolver and Decibelreceived Best Metal Album of the Year from Loudwire and received song placement with the WWE.

Since the release of Nightmare Logic, the Dallas-based metal quintet have been touring relentlessly, headlining shows across North America, the European Union and Japan. The band recently announced the date and lineup for their second annual metal festival, Evil Beat and the festival, which will be held at South Side Ballroom on January 11, 2020 will feature Carcass, Vio-lence, Razor, Deafheaven, Sheer Mag, Drab Majesty, Prurient, Warthog, Torche, Wiccans, Red Death, True Widow, Special Interest, Mil Spec, Dress Code  — and of course, the night’s local heroes, the aforementioned Power Trip. This year will also a feature a kick-off the night before (details to come). Along with that “Hornet’s Nest,” which originally debuted as part of Adult Swim’s Single Series and has since become a fan favorite will finally see a digital and vinyl release. As for the single, it’s a headbanger’s delight — furiously howled vocals, scorching guitar riffs, thunderous drumming and mosh pit friendly hooks. And while sonically being indebted to Slayer and Metallica, Power Trip’s latest single catches them at their most ornery and explosive.

The members of Power Trip will be embarking on a fall co-headlining tour with High on Fire that includes a two night stay at Elsewhere — November 21, 2019 and November 2019. After their Evil Beat festival, the band will go on a lengthy spring UK and European run with Lamb of God and Kreator. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour  Dates: 

2019

10/12: Manchester, TN – Exit 111

11/03: Yogyakarta, ID – Jogjarockarta Festival

11/07: Austin, TX – Levitation at Mohawk #

11/09: San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger #

11/10: Houston, TX – Foamhenge #

11/11: Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall

11/12: Tampa, FL – The Orpheum #

11/14: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade #

11/15: Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend #

11/16: Richmond, VA – The Broadberry #

11/17: Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Sound Stage #

11/19: Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer #

11/20: Asbury Park, NJ – Asbury Lanes #

11/21: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere #

11/22: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere #

11/23: Hartford, CT – Webster Theatre #

11/24: Montreal, QC – Club Soda #

11/25: Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall #

11/26: Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre #

11/27: Chicago, IL – Metro #

11/29: Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater #

11/30: Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall #

12/02: Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre #

120/3: Seattle, WA – Neumos #

12/04: Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom #

12/06: Berkeley, CA – The UC Theatre #

12/07: Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater #

12/08: Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory #
# w/ High on Fire, Devil Master, Creeping Death

2020

01/11: Dallas, TX – Evil Beat Vol 2 at South Side Ballroom

02/02: Tokyo, JP – Liquid Room

03/27: Stockholm, SE – Fryshuset Arenan ^

03/28: Copenhagen, DK – Forum Black Box ^

03/30: Oulu, FI – Teatria ^

03/31: Helsinki, FI – Ice Hall Black Box ^

04/02: Kraków, PL – Tauron Arena ^

04/03: Berlin, DE – Columbiahalle ^

04/04: Oberhausen, DE – Turbinenhalle ^

04/05: Wiesbaden, DE – Schlachthof ^

04/07: Zurich, CH – Samsung Hall ^

04/08: Munich, DE – Zenith ^

04/09: Ludwigsburg, DE – MHP Arena ^

04/11: Hamburg, DE – Sporthalle ^

04/14: Barcelona, ES – Razzmatazz ^

04/15: Madrid, ES – La Riviera ^

04/17: Paris, FR – L’Olympia ^

04/18: Saarbrücken, DE – Saarlandhalle ^

04/19: Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique ^

04/21: Bristol, UK – O2 Academy Bristol ^

04/22: Manchester, UK- Manchester Academy ^

04/23: Glasgow, UK – O2 Academy Glasgow ^

04/24: Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy Birmingham ^

^ w/ Lamb of God and Kreator