Fall may be a sad time for some folks. For instance, those who have to go back to school. There are also those who relish the oppressive heat of the summer (we swear, it was milder than normal this year!). But for the rest of us, the fall is something to be excited about. It's especially true for music lovers: the fall is album release season, meaning not only lots of new records to look forward to but also every band and their brothers going on tour.
So with September under way and the prospect of loads of new music to look forward to, we went local with things and rounded up 10 albums from Dallas and the surrounding area that should have us all excited for the next few months.
Bethan - Time Gone By
Bethan's recording output has been sporadic over their four years as a band, but taking a look at its members is like reading through a local all-star lineup. Whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is irrelevant; either way, these guys (and gals) are pretty damn good. Singer Jessi Hall's distinctive vocals, gentle yet shaded with untold wisdom, floats over the avant-pop music provided by husband Daniel and bandmates Jesse Hopkins and Kevin and Becki Howard. The debut single from Time Gone By, teasingly named "Low Expectations," is an understated affair but a perfect encapsulation of what's to come: lush strings, spare drums and a winding guitar line that all weave between heady classical themes and playful pop whimsy. Jeff Gage
Black Dotz - Black Dotz
With Wanz Dover at the helm you can always count on two things: an endlessly renewable source of musical influences, and a love for rhythm-heavy composition. (The guy can make white-noise sound almost funky.) Moving away from his electronic/dance projects for the moment, Dover has positioned himself to re-focus on his rock act the Black Dotz, and with this shift has come a new sound and a new line-up, complete with two guitars and two drummers. The Dotz have slowly moved away from punk and soul toward Afrobeat and Krautrock flourishes, in particular the heady grooves of Can. Following sessions at The Echo Lab studio, The Black Dotz plan to release two records in the coming months. With a fresh approach and engineering duties left in the hands of experienced soundman Matt Barnhart (Pinkish Black, Shellac, Mission of Burma), the Black Dotz upcoming LPs are something to look forward to indeed. Jonathan Patrick
Bludded Head - Reign in Bludd
Bludded Head doesn't fuck around. Just look at the output of the band, effectively the brainchild of frontman Nevada Hill: They've released two EPs in the past, including a self-titled one earlier this year, and now they have a third coming this fall. What's more, "EP" is a bit of misnomer because Bludded Head's songs all tend to hover around the 10-minute mark. Throw in the Slayer reference in the title of the soon-to-be-released Reign in Bludd, which got previewed recently with the amazingly named "Shitsucker Blues," and things get real pretty fast. But even putting all of that aside, Bludded Head's music is lacerating stuff, all hair-raising screams and eviscerating guitar squall carefully calculated to give you nightmares. Odds are nothing else in North Texas this fall will be as punishing, nor as satisfying, as this. JG
Dead Flowers - His Blues
A year after their last album For You, post-modern rock band Dead Flowers are still covered in classic-rock grit and playing around in the Woodstock mud. Their songs, meanwhile, are playing almost daily on local radio. In an even trade, the Dallas band discards past bits of Americana and country flair for a more aggressive punk influence on their sophomore release, His Blues. The new album, written by lead singer Corey Howe, was tracked live, analog-recorded, engineered and mixed in 10 days by local record label Idol Records. The first single, "I'm Leaving," will be released next week. On October 18th Club Dada will host their CD release party. Shortly after, purists rejoice: it will be sold along with a vinyl record. Eva Raggio
Danny Diamonds - Danny Diamonds
Danny Rush is nothing if not massively proficient. The long time Denton artist has put out music at a steady clip since debuting his first project way back in the mid-2000s. Since then Rush started a new group, Danny Rush & the Designated Drivers, which received multiple Dallas Observer Music Award nominations before eventually meeting its demise in late 2013. Rush is back with an all-new project, Danny Diamonds, and a new self-titled record that was produced by by Alex Bhore of This Will Destroy You. Preview materials for the album have been floating around online for about a month, including several short promo videos that show Rush participating in various forms of chaotic activities, and a video that premiered over on CentralTrack that was shot by local filmmaker extraordinaire (and former Observer staffer/sometimes contributor) Daniel Rodrigue. If the previews are anything to go off of the album, which is being released September 12 at J&J's in Denton, will be a poppier output from one of the areas best song writers, and we can't wait for it. Jaime-Paul Falcon
Gavin Guthrie aka TX Connect - Xanadu and Trixxter EPs
Gavin Guthrie has been on a run for the past two years building up a discography of vinyl releases on a wide variety of mostly overseas labels. This fall he continues his run with the Xanadu and The Trixxter EP's on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, an EP on Toronto based Deep North Records and a track on a compilation for Run Out Run (a label run by U.K. Techno innovator Tom Diccio). According to Guthrie, "The Dixon Ave releases will focus on the darker side of house and acid." The Deep North EP came about as a result of a live set he was playing out last year. Guthrie says, "It's really like one singular piece of music that was broken down into four tracks." That same EP will have a remix by London-based Posthuman. Wanz Dover
Daniel Hart- The Girlfriend Game
Fronted by violinist and singer Daniel Hart, Dark Rooms is unequivocally one of the most sonically intriguing groups in Dallas -- like an early Radiohead with a stronger case of chronic melancholia. Isolating himself to create an obscure and synthy soundtrack to the L.A. short-film thriller "The Girlfriend Game", his new solo album, expanding on the film's score, will be comprised of full-fledged, stand-alone songs. Something between Dark Rooms and an atmospheric orchestra inspired by Jan Hammer's compositions for Miami Vice, Hart promises a "Dark '80s" album that includes a woman reciting a French poem, electronica and classical instrumentation. Satiating fans until Dark Rooms' new album drops in early 2015, Hart's solo album/soundtrack will be released in October simultaneously with the short film. ER
Orgullo Primitivo - Textures of Falling Out
Does Stefan Gonzalez ever sleep? Curations, tours, releases, shows, concerts, collaborations, obviously some sort of bicep workout routine; they all reveal a man who clearly has no interest in downtime. Fortunately, Dallas music is all the better for it. His one-man percussive mushroom cloud, Orgullo Primitivo, is set to deliver an EP this winter, via cassette label Punk Alive Records. If you've ever caught Gonzalez's solo act, then you know what a treat this release represents. The teaser clips online reveal that putting these sounds to tape has in no way diminished their effect; on the contrary, the process has seemed to emphasize the project's strongest elements, namely Gonzalez' rare ability to draw unusual textures from his instruments. (In this case, drumsticks, coils and bass drums only.) For all its explicit intensity, Orgullo Primitivo's brilliance lies not in its visceral surface, but in its delicate use of silence and space. Which makes these tracks not so much an ode to industrial music as a sly deconstruction of it. JP
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Pageantry - Spine
The gentlemen in Pageantry have approached the idea of being a band from Denton in a very un-Denton way. Instead of constantly playing locally, the group has hit the road at every opportunity, including endlessly touring through the US and making stops at SXSW, the UMS Festival in Denver, the Universe Fest in Tulsa, and stopping by Daytrotter to record a session. Currently the group is hard at work on their first full-length LP, a follow-up to their highly acclaimed 2013 EP, Friends of the Year, and have teased the release of a single this October before heading back out on the road. If the release comes even remotely close to the excellence of Friends of the Year, we might have an early leader for the Best Local Song race. JPF
The Phuss - On the Prowl
Recent events in the lives of the Phuss' band members have somewhat obscured what should (still) be a big fall season for this three-piece. The band's drummer, Trey Alfaro, was seriously hurt in a hit-and-run bike accident last month, incurring some nasty facial injuries and serious medical bills. Happily, friends and fellow musicians have rallied around Alfaro and helped raise money for his cause; meanwhile, still only weeks removed from the accident, he's already back behind the kit. And just in time, too: the Phuss are preparing to release On the Prowl, a collection of howling punk songs, on New York label Magnetic Eye Records before hitting the road. Once that happens, we'll probably forget all about the accident. JG