Best Of Dallas

The 30 Best North Texas Albums of 2013: Part Two

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Sam Lao -- West Pantego It is a particularly rare occurrence to see an artist's star rise as fast as Sam Lao's has off the strength of one 6-song EP. When the young visual artist dropped her debut project, West Pantego, this summer- Dallas immediately fell in love. From the seductive coos of her lush singing voice on "Haze", to the sultry spoken word ferocity of "Run!", to the tough girl brass she bares on "Pilgrims"- Sam Lao illustrates a depth of range that few artists in this city can execute on one cohesive project. On top of her staggering talent, her boho-angelic beauty and self-proclaimed frizzy haired swag are quickly making her one of Dallas' most adored live performers. VQ

True Widow -- Circumambulation True Widow could've easily been excused for using a new, beloved record label (Relapse) and their position atop a self-appointed realm of Stonegaze to go into a different route with their new album, Circumambulation. Instead, they masterfully continued along the pounding, plodding pace they've marched along with so much prime, hazy doom. D.R. Phillips, Nicole Estill and Slim, TX (drummer Timothy Sparks) hasn't merely cemented their recording skills at a high level, but the trio's live show only grows tighter. No other show in town will ever feature what can only be described as the world's slowest possible display of head-banging. KD

Tunk -- Direct Deposit Tunk's Direct Deposit was easily one of the most self-actualized, personal, and authentic rap releases of 2013. It will likely be remembered for years to come, as a defining moment in the 24 year old rapper's career. Tales of unrelenting drive and determination to provide for his family, maintain his autonomy in a disenfranchising world, and stay on the straight and narrow path shape the main thesis of "Direct Deposit". Throughout the mixtape's fifteen tracks, Tunk continues to cement his reputation as one of the last stalwarts of the traditional Southern rap style, without sounding dated or recycled. For that reason alone, Tunk has proven he has very little competition in the city's rap scene. VQ

Various Artists -- Dreamy Soundz Group Therapy Vol. 1 Compilation Recorded live at the Where House in Fort Worth, the 16 tracks on the Fort Worth-based psyche/garage rock label's inaugural compilation encompass a wide range of young, punk-ish bands from both sides of the Trinity, including Fungi Girls, The Longshots, Uboat, Year of the Bear, and the recently disbanded hardcore band Big Fiction. If you want to know what the kids are up to right now, this is a pretty integral document. Steve Steward

Vulgar Fashion -- S/T "Krystal Tearz" is a glittery goth dance beat that seems to have been reanimated from the dead soundtracks of '80s era horror movies and given fresh new life through an infectious bass line and haunting vocals lent by Julie McKendrick. The song proved this Denton synth/noise/experimental duo was already capturing the perfect dynamic between fuzzy noise and danceable rhythms, and it caught the attention of Pitchfork back in February. And once you've digested "Krystal Tearz," there's still the rest of the album to take in, and each track is an enjoyably uncomfortable sound on the dance floor. AO

See also: -The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List -The Ten Most Badass Band Names in DFW -The Best Bands in DFW: 2012 Edition -Photo Essay: The Tattoos of Dallas' Nightlife Scene

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