Staff Trax: Bonjay, Tommy Keene, The Helio Sequence, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Derek and The Dominoes

Bonjay -- "Gimmee Gimmee"

I was fortunate enough to catch these guys, completely at random, this past week at SXSW--and they impressed the heck out of me with their high-energy performance, and an eclectic, beat-heavy, R&B-tinged sound. Bonjay, which calls Toronto home, released an EP last year called GIMMEE GIMMEE. Here is the link to the title track off that EP, have a listen! --Catherine Downes

Tommy Keene - "Turning on Blue"

With the passing of Alex Chilton, it was tempted to make him my choice for this week. But instead, I picked one of Chilton's many disciples: Tommy Keene. Like Chilton, Keene is massively under-appreciated--even more so considering that opportunity for mass success was always just an inch out of Keene's reach. Keene's disastrous time at Geffen Records (his great 1989 album Based on Happy Times is still not on CD) was the singer/songwriter's last stab at the big time. Miraculously, Keene has kept making great records, just on small indie labels. "Turning on Blue" is one of my favorite Keene songs and it's from the fine 1996 album Ten Years After. Last year's In The Late Bright proved Keene's still got a way with that power-pop he learned from listening to all those Big Star records. Keene came to Dallas to promote that record and about 10 people showed up at The Cavern to hear him. Sad but true. --Darryl Smyers

The Helio Sequence - "Can't Say No"

I'm not sure what it is about this Helio Sequence song that I love so much. Maybe it's the indie-pop sound. Maybe it's the barely understandable lyrics. But the way Brandon Summers' vocals weave their way through the music is fantastic. It's hard not to really like this song. You really can't say no to it. --Lance Lester

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Round and Round"

While perusing the blogosphere for new jams, I came across Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti's new single, "Round and Round." I've probably listened to it a good 40 or 50 times, and I'm still itching to hear that huge '80s pop-radio chorus one more time. Maybe I'm nostalgic for the days of riding in my mom's station wagon while she listened to the lite-rock station. It's kind of got me thinking: Maybe it's OK to like Phil Collins as much as I do. Maybe? --Daniel Hopkins

Derek and the Dominos - "Bell Bottom Blues"

I credit Richard Kelly's The Box for introducing me to a song by Derek and the Dominos that wasn't called "Layla." "Bell Bottom Blues" plays in a pretty pivotal scene in the film, and it really stuck out to me. At first, I thought it was a George Harrison song circa the early 1970s. I was close, given the fact that George and Eric Clapton were friends and collaborators at the time. As to why I keep playing this song again and again, well, there's just something about the chorus with "I don't want to fade away" that feels devastating. But in a good way. --Eric Grubbs

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs