Music Picks: MellowHigh, Jamey Johnson and More
This week, we get the Dallas debut of Odd Future-affiliated MellowHigh. Country music outlaw Jamey Johnson will play the most famous honky tonk in the world, and The Pharcyde bring vibrant hip-hop storytelling to the Prophet Bar.
Thursday, October 24, at Dada
MellowHigh is a three-piece offshoot of controversial and ragtag West Coast rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain received much critical acclaim when they began recording together under the MellowHype moniker in 2010. Last year, they dominated rap social media with MellowHype week, a widely successful series of Internet single releases. On Halloween, they will debut a self-titled album as the group's latest incarnation, MellowHigh, featuring fellow Odd Future affiliate Domo Genesis. It's easy to roll your eyes at the overall goofiness and jackassery of OFWGKTA. They're talented, but they're kids. Between their music video production, their Adult Swim show Loiter Squad and the creative output from all members of that scene (including the dudes behind Comedy Central's Workaholics and Sacramento punk outfit Trash Talk), you can't deny these kids are as culturally relevant as ever. Vanessa Quilantan
Friday, October 25, at the Prophet Bar
The Pharcyde are one of the most influential hip-hop acts of all time, and they are coming to Dallas. Inventive, hilarious, witty and imaginatively self-deprecating, the group belongs to that exclusive class of those that actually deserve the label "ahead of their time." With the release of their debut, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, in '92, The Pharcyde hit the West Coast scene fully formed. The album still ranks as one of the most discussed artifacts in the history of hip-hop, and rightly so. While national attention was focused on gangsta rap, and the East Coast scene in general, these guys were cooking up some of the most wildly radical music rap would ever see. Their rich and angular productions — all stuttering drum loops, funk atmospherics and disjointed piano lines — remain a blueprint for all conscious, alternative hip-hop. God, and those lyrics, to this day, still ooze with warmth and charisma. This level of songcraft is a real thing of beauty. Don't be fooled Dallas, to have these guys here in town is a real treat. Jonathan Patrick
Saturday, October 26, at Billy Bob's Texas, Fort Worth
Somehow, in a world of skinny jeans and thinner country radio playlists, Jamey Johnson has become arguably the most commercially successful, non-commercial country artist of the past five years. Each of his past three albums has represented great risk for both artist and record label in some form or another. Whether he's singing about "cocaine and a whore" on his gold-selling That Lonesome Song from 2008 or releasing the also gold-selling The Guitar Song in 2010, a double album that barely contained even a hint of radio-friendliness, the Alabama native has little need for the expectations of the suits on Music Row. Indeed, the ballsiest move he's made in his recording career is evident in his last album, 2012's Living For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. Unapologetically old-school and about as far away from grabbing at the money-coated waves of Top 40 radio as one can get, the album is a masterwork in how an artist pays tribute to a legend. The titles of these three albums hint at where Johnson's focus is, as each contains "Song" in the title. For a writer of Johnson's caliber, focusing on the song has plenty of rewards and isn't much of a risk after all. Kelly Dearmore
Tuesday, October 29, at House of Blues
You and your friends can waste an entire night trying to decide what to do with an endless chorus of "I'll do whatever you want to, dude." At least you won't have a problem deciding what kind of concert to go to when the rapper known as Chiddy Bang comes into town. His unique combinations of his rap with DJ samples reaches across all aisles of taste. He borrows sounds from all walks of music life from the sullen alternative tones of Radiohead on his song "Because" or the iconic piano of the Ray Charles for his appropriately named song "Ray Charles." At least you'll have one night that doesn't end with the phrase "Screw it, we're going to a karaoke bar." Danny Gallagher
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