Music Picks: Pure X, Yells at Eels, Jeff Bridges and More
Jeff Bridges will play the role of moody country-folk singer at the Granada on Sunday.
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Thursday, April 10, at City Tavern
Austin's Pure X play dreamy, droning music that floats by like a polluted cloud. Over the course of three albums, the band has gone from sounding remotely like Sonic Youth to something more akin to '70s soft rock with a slight psychedelic edge. Angel, the band's recently released effort, is by far the prettiest set of songs Pure X have ever created. It's perhaps a bit too soft, though, as the spiraling dissonance of earlier releases is sadly missed this time around. Onstage, however, Pure X are capable of transforming even the mellowest of tuneful songs into a raging beast of echo and sustain. Fans of Television would do well to check out the atmospheric buzz of Pure X as this foursome continues to expand a genre they have all to themselves. Darryl Smyers
Yells at Eels
Thursday, April 10, at AT&T Performing Arts Center
While the threads of jazz's countless offshoots can be difficult to follow, musical authenticity is something you can smell 100 yards away. Authenticity — that moral, emotional and universally transmutable element in jazz — well, Yells at Eels have this in droves. This family trio (father Dennis Gonzalez on trumpet, sons Stefan and Aaron on drums and bass, respectively) display an inexplicable appetite for their craft. Couple this with the trio's creative and technical skill set, and you have one of the most consistently rewarding live acts in all of DFW. No strain of music is more resistant to explanation and critical authority than jazz; direct experience is the form's only true witness. Which is to say, you need to see Yells at Eels live to experience local jazz at its finest. Jonathan Patrick
Sunday, April 13, at the Granada Theater
The Hollywood Walk of Shame is littered with legitimate A-list film types who've brazenly and incoherently stumbled into the highly self-indulgent act of releasing music as a supposedly serious musician. Don Johnson, Bruce Willis and Eddie Murphy gave the 1980s some of the lamest videos and worst music, eliciting laughter still today. In recent years, some thespians have found actual success, even critically, because there's an actual bit of musical talent underneath the more visible acting chops. Jared Leto and even Billy Bob Thornton are each well into recording careers that are far from cringe-worthy. After his Oscar-winning role as an outlaw country singer, the down-and-out Bad Blake, in 2009's Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges easily slid into the dual role of revered actor and musician. Not only were his vocal contributions to that film's superb soundtrack of high quality, but the 64-year-old's self-titled 2011 album is a solid and earnestly enjoyable set of tunes mixing folk, country and heartland-rock flavors. See and hear for yourself, doubters of Dallas. Listen to Sonny Crockett's "Heartbeat," and then give Bridges' "What a Little Bit of Love Can Do." The Country Singer abides. KELLY DEARMORE
Monday, April 14, at Lola's Saloon in Fort Worth
Nearly everyone once knew a Mac DeMarco in their youth. The jokester who sat at the back of the classroom cracking wise, or the college burnout who was the drunken, birthday suit-donning life of the keg party. DeMarco has somewhat solidified himself as the clown prince of indie rock, and is often regarded as not taking himself too seriously. Therein lies his charm. But after a few years of nonstop touring, a few YouTube video debaucheries and two albums that regard songwriting as haphazardly goofball, has DeMarco unintentionally boxed himself into an almost refined adolescent image that burgeoning cult fame and critical acclaim can only help perpetuate? He seems to take his reputation in stride. In other words, fans and critics may care more about his shenanigans than he does.
With his new album, Salad Days, DeMarco further hones his craft in the same vein of carefree explorations of slacker-rock eccentricity, yet reveals hints of sophistication and introspective growth in his lyricism, albeit in a DeMarco sort of way. Despite the maturity in his newest recording, one can safely bet that on Monday night at Lola's, DeMarco will toss self-development aside in favor of a few hours of lovable juvenility and breezy tunes. Aaron Ortega
Tuesday, April 15, at Trees
There are a ton of rock and hip-hop bands that love to bathe themselves in a veneer of toughness that screams "Don't fuck with us," even if they are just giant puppy dogs in a pile of custom-cut leather and chains. The hip-hop supergroup of Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joel Ortiz and Royce da 5'9" basically spent their careers pissing off and getting into squabbles with major record labels like Def Jam and Death Row Records. Despite their self-destructive behavior, they soon joined forces with self referential songs like "Move On" and collaborations with Eminem that turned them into a giant, successful symbolic middle finger to the hip-hop industry. You can catch them at Trees as part of their oh-so-appropriately named "Glass House Tour." Danny Gallagher
Wednesday, April 16, at House of Blues
Longtime DJ Mustard collaborator and Compton rapper YG has been riding a solid momentum of buzz since the release of his signature 2011 hit, "Toot It and Boot It." That momentum has surged since the release of his Mustard-produced single, "My Nigga," featuring Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan. The song was placed on a plethora of 2013 best-of lists and continues to get tons of radio play since its release last September. Though YG's lyrical prowess and skill aren't as well showcased on "My Nigga" compared with his deeper cuts, the single has brought him to a much broader audience. This week, his My Krazy Life Tour stops at House of Blues Dallas. Vanessa Quilantan
Wednesday, April 16, at Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
If fame and success were the guaranteed results of hard work and dedication, the members of Anvil would have fantastic mansions in a tropical paradise, swim in vaults full of gold coins and have their visages carved on Mount Rushmore, or whatever Mount Rushmore's Canadian equivalent is. Of course, this being reality and all, the band toiled in obscurity for almost three decades until they became the subject of a heartwarming 2008 documentary, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which showed the Canadian heavy metal relics going about their blue-collar, endearingly Canadian lives, delivering lunches, playing shows and gallivanting from one increasingly disappointing Eastern European club date to the next. Since then, the band has gotten its dues, earning slots opening for bands like Saxon and AC/DC, as well as various music festivals. Anvil's tale proves that living the metal life isn't easy, but it can bring you to places you've never been before, like sleeping in a Prague train station, a metal festival in Japan and the Gas Monkey on April 17. Steve Steward
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