Tag: Denton TX

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Neon Indian Releases an Absurdist and Politically- Charged Single and Visual

Alan Palomo is a Mexican-born, Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and film maker, who’s best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed recording project Neon Indian. I’ve written quite a bit about Palomo and Neon Indian over the years, and as you may recall, with the release of four albums and an EP, 2009’s Psychic Chasms, 2013’s Era Extraña and  Errata Anex EP and 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, Palomo firmly established a slickly produced synth pop sound indebted to Prince, Michael Jackson and others. 

Last year, Palomo released his first narrative short, 86’d, “a love letter to New York cinema and in a way, a final recapitulation of the Night School universe,” the JOVM mainstay explained in press notes at the time. “Shot on 16mm over the course of three nights, it was an ambitious undertaking for all parties involved but honestly making it was such a blast that at times felt like just that, a party. I’m eternally grateful to all the wonderful people that came together to realize this kooky project and proud to finally be able to share it with music and movie goers alike.”

Directed by Palomo, written by Palomo and Kai Flanders, edited by Pete Ohs and Dustin Reid, the film stars Buddy Duress (Good Time, Heaven Knows What), Lindsay Burdge (Easy, Thirst Street, The Midnight Swim), Seaton Smith (Top Five, Mulaney), Chase Williamson (John Dies at The End), Mitzi Akaha (Lowlives, Dark Side of The Moon) and musician Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost) as well as Palomo. Set in Ed Koch-era NYC, Max takes a mouthful of mescaline and desperately tries to make it home before it kicks in. On his way, he decided to stop at an all-night deli for a quick, late night meal. After numerous order delays and full-on trip stampeding into his psyche, he is made to pay witness to the colorful cast of Lower East Side weirdos, visualizing their stories through his newly altered lens: A Times Square dominatrix meets up with one of her regulars to reveal an answering message left by his wife. Two punks discuss an ultimatum as one reveals his connection to a pistol found in a drug bust. A recording engineer convinces an aspiring singer to re-record a destroyed vocal take from a canonic 80s group and attempts to pass it off as the original. Visually speaking, the short would remind a lot of viewers of Martin Scorcese’s After Hours as its centered round a New York and peculiarly New York characters that are sadly long gone — and situations that can’t possibly happen in a sanitized, suburban mall version of New York. 

Along with the film, Palomo wrote and recorded the short’s theme song “Heaven’s Basement,” an 80s inspired, synth pop, club banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, scorching, distorted guitar solo and Palomo’s dreamy falsetto. And while continuing on the slickly produced club friendly sound of his previously released work, the song managed to possesses a lysergic buzz. 

Interestingly, Palomo’s first single of 2019 “Toyota Man” is a decided left turn for him and for Neon Indian, as the song is the first song written and sung in his native Spanish — and perhaps more important, finds the project leaning towards a seamless mesh of synth pop and psychedelic cumbia. Interestingly, “Toyota Man” may arguably be the most politically charged song, Palomo has even written and released, as he sings in Spanish “We came here to study, we want to work” as a protest, which is followed by mischievously dueling riffs of “La Cucaracha” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” In some way, it points out that the experience of the Mexican, Central American and South American migrants and immigrants are equally as American and as valid as yours or mine. 

Directed by Alan Palomo and starring Palomo Brian DeRan, Chris Silcox and Veronica Sanders, the recently released video is part a proud and defiant view of the border culture that Palomo grew up in and an absurdist comedy inspired by a wild melange of things that features a proud and defiant view of the culture of his people and a possessed Trump piñata that gets its deserved comeuppance. 

“’Toyota Man’ was filmed along the road map of what essentially was my path to American citizenship: Monterrey, the Nuevo Laredo border, San Antonio, and finally Austin. The process is a multiple decade commute known by many Latinos and other Americans,” Palomo says of the video. “Though my music has always been generally apolitical, I realized when recording this song that it was impossible to write biographically (in the rhetorical context of the Trump administration) without being entirely that: political. The story of my family, which before felt commonly American, was suddenly politicized. Recognizing the absurdity of it all, I thought it would be refreshing to address the social narrative around immigration through comedy – nods to Benny Hill, misremembered San Antonio car commercials, and School House Rock. My family and I had a ton of fun making this and I hope it’s equally as fun to watch. Enjoy!”

New Video: Follow Bad Sports’ Orville Neely on a Drunken and Lonely Spree in Video for “Don’t Deserve Love”

The Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports, comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass) featured some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of the acclaimed OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Now, as you may recall, the band released their fourth album Constant Stimulation through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records last October, and the album which marks the band’s tenth anniversary, also found the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction. centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration, tension, and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” further cements the trio’s reputation for crafting power chord-based punk but there’s a decided power pop bent, as the song reveals a deliberate and thoughtful attention to rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest emotion. Sonically, the song manages a contemporary take on a familiar sound without being soulless mimicry. But interestingly enough, the song may arguably be the most personal song they’ve written and released as it’s fueled the crippling self-doubt and insecurity of a vulnerable adult, who has openly and freely admitted that while life has made them a survivor, they’re lonely, desperate, broken, fucked up, confused, and afraid — of connecting with others and getting heartbroken and having to start again; of being a failure and a fraud; of a world that’s going up in flames and not caring or not knowing what to do. 

Directed by Z.W.Sprague and written by Orville Neely, the recently released video for “Don’t Deserve Love” stars Neely as a self-conscious, lonely, and somewhat awkward man, who acts in an out of control fashion — drinking way too much, doing way too much coke, smoking too many cigarettes and takes jokes way too far. And as a result, the video’s protagonist winds up frustrating and annoying everyone around him. After being discovered vomiting in a bar bathroom, Neely gets tossed out of the bar, stumbles off to a convenience store for more booze, vomits once again and ends the night drunkenly passed out, disappointed and alone. While being profoundly sad, the video illustrates a much bigger point — that for many of us, we’ve been that lonely, drunken slob, lost in their sadness, self-flagellation and inability to do anything about it. 

 

86’d from Neon Indian on Vimeo.

Alan Palomo is a Mexican-born, Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and film maker, best known for his acclaimed solo recording project Neon Indian. And with the release of four full-length albums and an EP — 2009’s Psychic Chasms, 2013’s Era Extraña, the Errata Anex EP and 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, Palomo established a reputation for crafting a slickly produced synth pop sound that sounds indebted to PrinceThrillerBad and Dangerous-era Michael Jackson and the synth funk/synth R&B sounds of the late 70s and early 80s – in particular think of The Whispers  Heatwave Evelyn “Champagne” King’, Cherelle and an even lengthier list of others.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve written about Palomo and Neon Indian and as it turns out that Palomo had spent the past couple of years working on 86’d, his first narrative short. As Palomo says in press notes, 86’d is “a love letter to New York cinema and in a way, a final recapitulation of the Night School universe. Shot on 16mm over the course of three nights, it was an ambitious undertaking for all parties involved but honestly making it was such a blast that at times felt like just that, a party. I’m eternally grateful to all the wonderful people that came together to realize this kooky project and proud to finally be able to share it with music and movie goers alike.

Directed by Palomo, written by Palomo and Kai Flanders, edited by Pete Ohs and Dustin Reid, the film stars Buddy Duress (Good Time, Heaven Knows What), Lindsay Burdge (Easy, Thirst Street, The Midnight Swim), Seaton Smith (Top Five, Mulaney), Chase Williamson (John Dies at The End), Mitzi Akaha (Lowlives, Dark Side of The Moon) and musician Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost) as well as Palomo. Set in Ed Koch-era NYC, Max takes a mouthful of mescaline and desperately tries to make it home before it kicks in. On his way, he decided to stop at an all-night deli for a quick, late night meal. After numerous order delays and full-on trip stampeding into his psyche, he is made to pay witness to the colorful cast of lower east side weirdos, visualizing their stories through his newly altered lens: A Times Square dominatrix meets up with one of her regulars to reveal an answering message left by his wife. Two punks discuss an ultimatum as one reveals his connection to a pistol found in a drug bust. A recording engineer convinces an aspiring singer to re-record a destroyed vocal take from a canonic 80s group and attempts to pass it off as the original. Visually speaking, the short reminds me quite a bit of Martin Scorcese’s After Hours as it describes a New York and New York characters that are sadly long gone.

Along with the film, Palomo wrote and recorded the short’s theme song “Heaven’s Basement,” a fittingly 80s inspired, dance floor friendly track, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, a scorching distortion pedal effect-drenched guitar solo paired with Palomo’s dreamy falsetto. Interestingly, while the new track will further cement Palomo’s reputation for crafting slickly produced, dance floor friendly synth pop, it possesses a lysergic, mind-altering air.

 

Comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass), the Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports features some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Interestingly, the trio’s fourth full-length album Constant Stimulation is slated for an October 29, 2018 release through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records, and the album, which finds the trio celebrating their tenth anniversary together, also reportedly finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction, centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” continues in the power chord-based punk vein that won the trio attention across the blogosphere but there’s a decided power pop leaning with their deliberate and thoughtful attention to crafting crowd pleasing hooks — but where their previously released material was the sort of stuff you’d shotgun beers to in your favorite dive bar, there’s a subtle acknowledgement of the fact that a world and civilization inching towards its annihilation will force you to put down the childish concerns of one’s youth and grow up a bit, all while still knocking you on your ass. Interestingly, the track may be the most personal one they’ve written in quite some time, as its fueled by a crippling self-doubt and insecurity that hide an adult vulnerability; the sort of vulnerability in which you’d freely admit that life can make you a broken and fucked up person — but a survivor all the time.

 

 

 

 

Born into a family of artists and musicians, the Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Claire Morales began to play music and make visual art at a very young age. Family gatherings were frequently interrupted by a three year-old Morales insisting on singing a mix of Beatles and Disney songs on a makeshift, fireplace stage. The Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began playing her first solo shows as a middle school at local coffee shops, armed with her father’s 1960s Gibson and an arresting voice that has had many well-meaning people throughout  at her life would deal “more powerful than I thought it would be, looking you.”

Morales’ 2015 full-length debut Amaranthine saw her work translation from folksy and rootsy solo singer/songwriter to fully fleshed out band with at sound that many have described as melodic, hazy, 70s inspired rock centered around a nostalgic meditation on childhood — from the perspective of someone, in the early throes of adulthood. However, All That Wanting, Morales’ sophomore effort, is the much-anticipated follow-up to her debut, and the album, which is slated for a June 29, 2018 release reportedly explores the vast freedom, possibility and existential terror of young, adult life; in fact, the album revolves around the human tendency to endlessly crave more, asking how we can stave off and tame that feeling and instead take in the beauty before you. Desire is ultimately viewed as a mythic force capable of compelling one forward or consuming one wholly.

Recorded by Matt Pence and Jeremy Buller at the Denton-based Echo Lab, Morales and her backing band of Alex Hastings, Ryan Williams and Russ Connell spent six days recording the album’s ten tracks mostly live together in the studio’s cavernous main room, which gives the album and its material the raw energy of a group of musicians who have collaborated together for a long time, and hinges on mutual respect and open communication between everyone involved. The album finds Morales and company fearlessly and fluidly passing through a vast sonic palette including intense dramatic moments, shoegazer-like psychedelia, profound introspection, rumbling unease and cathartic release.

All That Wanting‘s latests ingle, the album title track “All That Wanting” centers around fuzzy, pedal effected guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring, arena rock friendly hook, Morales’ powerhouse vocals and a trembling, unfulfilled longing that sonically and thematically reminds me quite a bit of PJ Harvey and Shana Falana, complete with a distinctly feminine strength and resiliency.

 

 

 

 

 

Last month, I wrote about  Denton, TX-based psych rock/prog rock quartet Pearl Earl, an act that can trace its origins to 2014, when its founding members Ariel Hartley, Bailey K. Chapman and Stefanie Lazcano started the band as a way to jam, party and fuck around — that is until, the the band became a serious project; and in fact, by the following year, the Denton-based band began touring regionally and nationally to support their debut EP Karaoke Superstar, a wild, kaleidoscopic meshing of psych rock, glam rock, prog rock, punk rock and synth pop.

Building upon their rapidly growing profile, the band’s founding trio spent last year writing and then recording their self-titled debut effort at Dallas’ Elmwood Recording — with the band recruiting Chelsey Danielle, after the album’s completion. And although Hartley may be the band’s principle songwriting, reportedly each song is its own living, breathing animal. Album single “Star in the Sky” featured tribal-inspired percussion, shimmering and futuristic synths and bombastic power chords in a mind-bending and ambitious song structure that bears an uncanny resemblance to 2112-era Rush, thanks to a retro-futuristic vibe. The album’s latest single “Captain Howdy” continues the lysergic vibe, as it features shimmering, arpeggio synths, a propulsive rhythm section and heavily pedal effected guitars in an prog rock-leaning song structure that quickly switches from trippy synths to a lengthy, power chord guitar driven coda — and the amazing thing about the song is that they manage to do that within a 3 minute and change runtime.

The band is currently in the middle of an extensive Midwest and Southwest tour. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

 

Summer Tour Dates
07.04•High Dive (Milwaukee, WI)
07.08•Trees w/ Spoonfed Tribe (Dallas, TX)
07.15•Dan’s Silverleaf w/ Mother Tongues (Denton, TX —- Album Release)
07.18•Club Dada w/ Post Animal (Dallas, TX)
07.22•Mass (Ft. Worth, TX —- Album Release)
07.29•Taps N Caps w/ MyDolls (Denton, TX)
08.07•Andy’s Bar w/ Sailor Poon, Sunbuzzed, Thin Skin, Flesh Narc (Denton, TX)

 

Comprised of founding members Ariel Hartley, Bailey K. Chapman and Stefanie Lazcano with newest member, Chelsey Danielle, the Denton, TX-based psych rock/prog rock quartet Pearl Earl can trace its origins to when its founding members started the band in 2014 as a way to jam, party and fuck around, but quickly became a serious band; in fact, by the following year, the Denton-based band began touring both regionally and nationally to support their debut EP Karaoke Superstar, an effort which revealed their sound to be a wild and psychedelic and kaleidoscopic mix of glam rock, prog rock, punk and synth pop.

Building on their rapidly growing regional and national profile, the band’s founding trio spent the better part of 2016 writing and then recording their self-titled debut effort at DallasElmwood Recording by Alex Bhore and Brack Cantrell. The band expanded into a quartet with the addition of Danielle, who joined the band after the album’s completion. And while Hartley may be the band’s principle songwriter, each song reportedly is its own animal; in fact the band’s latest single “Star in the Sky” features tribal-inspired percussion, shimmering and futuristic synths, and bombastic power chords in an mind-meltingly expansive and ambitious song structure with explosive, twist and turns that seem excitingly sudden and unexpected. On some level, the song bears an uncanny resemblance to 2112-era Rush, thanks in part to forcefully anthemic hooks, and a retro-futuristic feel; however, if it wasn’t for the subtly yet modern production sheen, you’d be fooled into thinking the song was a lysergic-fueled vision of the future, directly from 1967.

The band will be embarking on a Midwest and Southwest tour throughout June, July and August of this year. Check out tour dates below.

Summer Tour Dates

06.16•The Electric Church w/ Big Bill (Austin, TX)
06.17•The Yeti (Barnacle Banger Fest) (Tulsa, OK)
06.17•Spinster Records (Tulsa, OK)
06.18•Club Dada w/ Girl Pool and Snail Mail (Dallas, TX)
06.28•The Deli w/ Helen Kelter Skelter (Norman, OK)
06.29•Outland Ballroom w/ The Coax (Springfield, MO)
06.30•The Sinkhole w/ Babe Loards (St. Louis, MO)
07.02•The Empty Bottle w/ The Winstons (Chicago, IL)
07.04•High Dive (Milwaukee, WI)
07.08•Trees w/ Spoonfed Tribe (Dallas, TX)
07.15•Dan’s Silverleaf w/ Mother Tongues (Denton, TX —- Album Release)
07.18•Club Dada w/ Post Animal (Dallas, TX)
07.22•Mass (Ft. Worth, TX —- Album Release)
07.29•Taps N Caps w/ MyDolls (Denton, TX)
08.07•Andy’s Bar w/ Sailor Poon, Sunbuzzed, Thin Skin, Flesh Narc (Denton, TX)

Bonnie Whitmore (vocals, bass) is a Denton, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, who can trace the origins of her musical career to when she started playing in her family’s band, Daddy and the Divas. Shortly after that, a teenaged Whitmore picked up gigs playing in several Dallas-Ft. Worth area bands; however, her first professional band The Brent Mitchell Band lead to studio work with an impressive array of artists including Susan Gibson, Shelley King, Mando Saenz, Justin Townes Earle, Hayes Carll, Colin Gilmore and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Sunny Sweeney. As a solo artist, Whitmore’s work is influenced by Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, Roy Orbison and The Replacements while drawing from deeply personal experiences — although her her third and latest album Fuck With Sad Girls, which features a backing band comprised of Scott Davis (guitar), who has worked with Band of Heathens and Hayes Carll; Craig Bagby (drums), who has worked with Sherman Colin Herman; and Jared Hall (keys), who has worked with Velvet Underground and Colin Gilmore, the album thematically focuses on the social and cultural stigmas placed on “imperfect” women.

 

Fuck With Sad Girls‘ latest single is “Fighter,” and the gorgeous song has Whitemore, Davis, Bagby and Hall pairing twinkling keys, accordion, lap steel guitar, gentle pads of percussion and Whitmore’s expressive and plaintive vocals in a song that manages to be psychologically revealing, vulnerable and honest as the song’s narrator admits to living a full, complicated and messy life, a life full of joy, mistakes, regrets, difficult and uneasy decisions and compromises, and throughout the song’s narrator reveals herself to be a resilient, modern woman — the sort of woman you’d likely known and encountered in your own life.

 

 

 

 

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