Feature Stories

Six Dallas Bands Under 21 to Watch in 2015

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See also: The 2014 Dallas Observer Music Awards Winners 50 Signs You've Been Partying Too Long in Denton

New Science Projects Denton

Fuzz folk gets a bad rap due to the infinite and exhausting discussions revolving around a certain Holocaust-influenced concept album that shall remain nameless. But New Science Projects breathe fresh air into the genre by swapping out "so soft and sweet" for punchy and pulverizing. More fuzz, less folk; after all, this is a band whose members are largely ingrained in Denton's punk scene one way or another.

The enigma known as Dale Jones writes wickedly cunning narratives that get whirled around in keyboards, crunchy acoustic guitar and slinking bass lines. Two-minute eruptions of frenzied emotion whiplash back and forth between thundering and whispering volumes. All of this is to say, these guys absolutely annihilate live shows and level the concert floor, and you'll be yelling along even if you don't know the words. They've even got a few new songs recorded already, so expect a new album to make waves in 2015.

Old Potion Denton

Offering an entirely different sub-genre of folk, Old Potion trade in fuzz for fervor. The group is one of innumerable Denton crossover projects, formed by members of No Touching and the talents of solo artist Claire Morales. The call-and-response between Morales and fellow vocalist Dylan Kellam creates a dynamic that's both catchy and entrancing. These carefully constructed arrangements allow even an element as simple as a harmonica solo to command full attention.

In its history, Old Potion has been treated mostly as the side project and less so the main focus. Most of the musicians have been largely preoccupied, but the stars have aligned and the lineup has been fairly finalized. The band is already primed for success to start the year off: Their debut EP is slated for a mid-January release. Judging from the recently shared single, "Cries & Whispers," we can only expect a superlative folk record.

Cheap Haircuts Plano

If Tom Delonge sang for the Decemberists, you'd have Cheap Haircuts. Lead singer Mitchell McDonough doesn't just match Delonge in timbre, but also in the nostalgic, charmingly juvenile lyrical content. Enveloping a deceptively childish veneer are rich compositions filled with piano interludes and trumpets. It's a complexity that stems far beyond a garage band you would expect from a group of college freshmen.

Cheap Haircuts has carved out a tidy little spot in the pop-folk realm and holds a daring amount of promise. Clever lyrical turns and starkly honest ones ("Mixing drinks with Kool-Aid powder" comes to mind) create an absolutely beguiling breed of storytelling that you forget is coming from a songwriter that's only about 19 years old. It's the kind of raw songwriting talent that, through some inexplicable fate, has found a perfect home in the accompaniment it exists in. They've only just shown what they're capable of, and no matter which direction the band takes, it's clear it will captivate.

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Matt Wood
Contact: Matt Wood