The Best Albums In Dallas Music, 2008: Matthew And The Arrogant Sea Comes In Humble At No. 2

Editor's Note: Over the next 10 days, I'll be presenting my favorite local records of the year, counting down from No. 10 to No. 1, one album a day. Keep checking back to see how the list pans out, and, in the meantime, click after the jump to see albums No. 20-11 in the Top 20 list that will update as the it grows...

No. 2: Matthew and The Arrogant Sea -
Family Family Family Meets The Magic Christian

It's an oddball formula--invite all your relatives and friends to join you in a band, pretend you earned a six-figure record deal from a major, admit that you were lying about said deal, wait till the heat from that lie dies down and, when it finally does, finally release an album that shuts up any doubters--but, man, has it ever worked for Matthew and the Arrogant Sea...

On the band's formal full-length debut, Family Family Family Meets The Magic Christian, Mathew Gray has proven himself more than just some sort of zany Denton nutjob who can strum a few chords on an acoustic guitar. The songwriting here is damn near impeccable, both in its instrumentation and vocal harmonization.

Bonus mp3:

Matthew and The Arrogant Sea -- "Mock Oragami"

Matthew and The Arrogant Sea -- "Mock Oragami"

Yes, it sounds like the Beach Boys and Fleet Foxes and maybe a little My Morning Jacket, but it also sounds, well, uniquely Matthew and The Arrogant Sea. And You can audibly hear how much the band enjoys creating songs through this gorgeous record of dense, lush psychedelic folk landscapes--and, really, there isn't a bad track in the bunch.

And given how much shine Denton's received in '08, this record stands as important for other reasons, too: This is a young group of talented musicians, who are proudly representing Denton's folk-heavy past while also managing to infuse their sound with a heavy dose of progression, too; Consider Family Family Family Meets The Magic Christian the first hallmark record in the discography of Denton's next generation of greats, a record against which all future Denton folk records should be judged.

So, no, it's not too bad for a debut. Not bad at all. Great, in fact. --Pete Freedman

The Top 20 Local Releases Of 2008
20. Collin Herring - Past Life Crashing
19. Stumptone - Gravity Suddenly Released
18. Dove Hunter - The Southern Unknown
17. Febrifuge - A Short Instance Of Separation
16. Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights - Hot Trottin'
15. Toadies - No Deliverance
14. Record Hop - Record Hop
13. The New Frontiers - Mending
12. Fight Bite - Emerald Eyes
11. Lil Wil - Dolla$, TX
10. Dem Southernfolkz - The Message
9. True Widow - True Widow
8. The Theater Fire - Matter and Light
7. Centro-matic/South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks
6. Sarah Jaffe - Even Born Again EP
5. Mount Righteous - When The Music Starts
4. Calhoun - Falter. Waver. Cultivate
3. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Pt 1: 4th World War
2. Matthew and The Arrogant Sea -- Family Family Family Meets The Magic Christian
1. ??????

...and keep checking back, as this list will update daily.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman