If you've been waiting for a who's-who concert week in local music, this is definitely it. Your concert week kicks off loud and local in Denton with metal band Ballista blowing the roof off Rubber Gloves and punk band Casual Relapse throwing a CD release party across town. Denton will be lending its symphonic brass punk collective, The Wee-Beasties, to Deep Ellum that night for what is sure to be a truly strange show. Friday and Saturday, it's all about that country music sound at The Kessler as Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Dave Alvin kick the weekend off and Billy Law keeps it going. Saturday also sees a small country music festival in Deep Ellum, serving up Cornbread & Country. Early next week, Austin bedroom pop collaborative TC Superstar turns Deep Ellum Art Co. into a performance space, indie pop TikTokers Durry play House of Blues and indie singer Angel Olsen makes audiences swoon at The Studio at the Factory. Ballista 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, Rubber Gloves, 411 E. Sycamore St., Denton. $15+ at eventbrite.com
Somewhere in the Venn diagram of death metal and hardcore sits Dallas metal band Ballista. Vocalist River Elliott has one of the most formidable voices in all of North Texas metal. A Black transgender woman, Elliott has a voice of such intensity and raw power that if you arrive early enough for Ballista's sound check, you can feel it from outside the venue. Since Ballista released its first single in 2017, it has been building a hardcore fanbase on the foundation of a high-energy live show that is as emotional as it is physical. Around this time last year, the band released its first full length album, Ballista Territory, an album whose force will certainly blow your speakers out if you're not careful. The band kicks off a short Southwest tour Thursday night in Denton with friends and tourmates Kurama and deepincision. Casual Relapse 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, Killer's Tacos, 424 Bryan St., Denton. $10 at the door
House shows have been a longstanding tradition in the punk community. When there wasn't a stage available, you could always find a house, a basement, a shed or somewhere to play. The thing about house shows, though, is that they're not exactly legal, so they are also usually an invite-only thing, and to get an invite, you have to know someone in the community. Well, guess what, you're invited to a house show Thursday night. Dallas hardcore punk band Casual Relapse will be celebrating the release of its new album, Death To All Tyrants, at Killer's Tacos, a converted house at the corner of Scripture and Bryan streets in Denton. Killer's Tacos does its best to cultivate a kind of elevated house show vibe. Like a house show, the back room is cleared out to accommodate concertgoers. Unlike a house show, there is a full bar and menu. Fellow North Texas punks Crucial Times, Yatsu and Madaline will be there as well. Steaksauce Mustache 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, Three Links, 2704 Elm St. $15 at seetickets.us
It's hard to describe exactly what you're getting into when you get into Steaksauce Mustache. To call this Medford, Oregon-based group a metal band would be far too generic a term. The band itself describes its sound as mathcore on Bandcamp, but mathcore carries with it a sense of progressive metal precision and complexity that Steaksauce Mustache just doesn't have. Really, any known label that you could put on Steaksauce Mustache would never fully capture the breadth of the band's absurdity. With songs such as "Bad Boy Donkey Island," "Floppy Disk Function" and "Gossip Banshee," Steaksauce Mustache's 2022 album, All Juice, No Noise, may be the band's most serious effort yet. Yes, it's metal, but it's metal that is painfully aware of how serious metal is and therefore refuses to be that. Fans of absurdist theatricality are in for a full night of antics with San Francisco's Big Gorgeous, Milwaukee's Nasty Boys and Denton's Wee-Beasties along for the party. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St. $28+ at prekindle.com
Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore have been friends for 30 years and fellow travelers in root music for even longer. Despite their long friendship, Alvin and Gilmore never really played together until 2017 when the two took to the road for the first time to do song swaps, some storytelling and, most importantly, put on a good show. Though they are both roots musicians, Gilmore has always stayed on the country side of roots music, while Alvin, who played with roots rock band The Blasters, has stuck close to hard-rocking rhythms. What the two share, however, is their appreciation of the country blues and the performing traditions that go along with it. Attendees can expect to hear original compositions from the two singers as well as covers from an array of songwriters and genres from Merle Haggard to Sam Cooke. This will be the second time the two have toured together, and this time they will have a full band accompanying them. Elaina Kay's 5th Annual Cornbread & Country 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St. $45+ at prekindle.com
Back in 2019, country artist Elaina Kay hosted her first Cornbread & Country festival at the Garden Cafe to raise money to record her first single, "Issues." Five years, one album and two singles later, Kay is back with the fifth installment of a festival that has only gotten bigger and better with time. This will be the fourth time Sons of Hermann Hall has hosted the event, and for the third year, Dallas firemen-owned company Smoke Showin' BBQ will be catering the event. Fans opting to pay a little more for the VIP experience will have early access to all the food and drinks, reserved seating and the opportunity to meet all of the festival artists. Speaking of which, along with Elaina Kay & Co., the all-night event will see performances from Granbury Red Dirt country artist Dustin Massey, Austin Americana artist Katrina Cain, Nashville singer-songwriter Mallory Eagle, Fort Worth country music singer Bubba Bellin and Dallas' own Frankie Leonie. Billy Law 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, The Kessler, 1230 W. Davis St. $18+ at prekindle.com
Billy Law is a storyteller. On his debut album, Alone Somewhere, Law set out to create a soundtrack for life and all of its wonderful little struggles. Many in the Dallas music scene will recognize Law as the bassist for cowpunk band Ottoman Turks, but like bandmates Nathan Wells and Joshua Ray Walker, Law wanted to branch out into slightly quieter projects. Drawing from diverse influences from the worlds of indie and country, Law is not strictly a country artist, but he plays the kind of music that any country music fan will appreciate. For the show Saturday night in Oak Cliff, Law will be joined by Melissa singer-songwriter and State Fair Records label mate Jackson Scribner. Opening the show will be Odessa singer-songwriter David Forsyth, making his performing debut with a full band. Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St. $12 at prekindle.com
Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol may have a silly name, but the hard rock band from Austin is responsible for some pretty serious music. According to the band's bio, it "taps into a 'genus' of rock styles," which feels like an accurate description when listening to the band's latest album, DOOM-WOP. A portmanteau of doo-wop and doom metal, two genres on opposite ends of rock 'n' roll's emotional spectrum, the music on the album is neither. Instead it manages to be a bit of all that's in between. Heavy, trippy, bluesy and steamy, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol captures a little bit of everything that brings people to the table of rock and serves it up just right. Perhaps a band name reminiscent of a favorite food truck isn't the silliest after all. In celebrating all things rock, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol will have opening support from Los Angeles punk band Sweat and from Dallas indie noise rock band Partaker. TC Superstar 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, Deep Ellum Art Co., 3200 Commerce St. $12+ at prekindle.com
Austin collaborative performance group TC Superstar has a bedroom pop sound with allusions to new wave and disco, but it is much more than a band. Fronted by producer Connor McCampbell, TC Superstar also features high-energy choreography by dancers LB Flett, Emily DiFranco, Francis Rodriguez and Yuriko Roby. From its very beginnings, TC Superstar has been all about output. The band formed in 2017 and released its first album, Masc, later in the year. In 2019, the band released a sprawling concept album, R&D, which explored the nuances of relationships through the lens of characters Ricky and Dana. During the pandemic lockdowns when all of us were probably watching a little too much television, TC Superstar created its newest album, As Seen on TV, which takes a sharp eye to television consumption. TC Superstar will joined by fellow Austin bedroom pop bands Hey Cowboy! and Cloud Companion. Durry 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St. $30 at livenation.com
Back in the early days of the pandemic, when we were all told not to leave the house and many of us actually heeded the warning, quarantined siblings Austin and Taryn Durry began making music together in Burnsville, Minnesota, and posted it on the quarantine era's favorite time sink, TikTok. By the time 2021 rolled around, the duo's career had taken off thanks in large part to their song "Who's Laughing Now" going viral on the platform. Durry's music harkens back to indie's second wave in the mid- to late-2000s when the sound expanded from garage rock revivalists to incorporate the heartfelt rhythms of folk. While Durry has yet to release a proper album, it has released a full album's worth of singles since the summer of 2021. You can catch this brother-sister rock combo Monday night in the Cambridge Room at the House of Blues with local support from Dallas indie rock band The Black Velvets. Angel Olsen 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, The Studio at the Factory, 2727 Canton St. $32.50 at axs.com
Even before Angel Olsen firmly planted her feet in the world of indie music, she was turning heads. In November 2010, Bonnie "Prince" Billy played an unannounced show in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with a group called The Babblers as his backing band. Wearing fleece pajamas, a singer known as Angela Babbler was highlighted in reviews for her blood-curdling screams in the faces of people in the front row. Angela Babbler turned out to be Angel Olsen, so by the time she released her first album, the music world was already waiting. Olsen has been known for her dramatic vocal range and thoughtful wordplay throughout her music career. As haunting as it is sublime, Olsen's voice is the stuff of daydreams and nightmares, sending listeners to the heights of imagination or the darkest depths of introspection. Olsen's latest album, Big Time, is a foray into country music; Nashville folk singer Erin Rae opens the show.
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David Fletcher writes about music, arts and culture for the Dallas Observer. You can usually find him at a show in Deep Ellum whether he's writing about it or not. A punk scholar and local music enthusiast, David focuses his attention on the artists screaming in the margins of Dallas' music scene.