Sure, we've already handed out the DOMA trophies, and we had a hell of a good time in doing so. Just because the showcase and the ceremony have past doesn't mean we're ready to stop celebrating the artists that were worthy of DOMA-love. So, let's tip a hat, a glass or whatever else that's tippable to some bands that are pretty swell, regardless of whether they won a prize or not.
Perhaps more than any other category on the sizable DOMA ballot, Best Rock Act could be the one that most left the interpretation up to the many folks which handled the nominations, and then the voters who chose Quaker City Night Hawks as the eventual winner. As with any of the other categories, five, while a nice round number, is a tough amount to whittle down so much goodness. But alas, we did it, because we're just that brave. Here are the Five Best North Texas Rock Acts.
It is absolutely a fine idea to check out the records released from Fort Worth's Quaker City Night Hawks. The group's 2013 record Honcho could easily be the soundtrack to any party, regardless of the occasion (sure, Bar Mitzvahs and christenings will work. Give it a spin). But live in concert, an already crowded QCNH stage becomes even more packed once the sweat, swagger and stomping commence. There's not a better combo of country, rock and soul to be found in a single band in our area. Listen to "Lavanderia," or "Fox in the Hen House," and you'll feel the thick-ass grooves of a band that eats the Allman's, breathes the Stones, but plays all its own.
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There's absolutely zero middle ground in True Widow's sound. Unlike others on this list, Dan Phillips, Nicole Estill and TX Slim aren't much interested in presenting something that varies wildly in its sonic offering, yet it's still tough to pin them down. Metal fans dig them. Indie-fans dig them. Stoners absolutely dig them. The trio, with a trio of stellar albums to its name, creates mood-magic with tribal pounding, melodic sludge and hazy vocals that act as added instrumentation more than insightful lyrical matter. True Widow's show is about sonic waves bouncing off the walls and floor, not about "the show." Arguably more than any other band in North Texas, True Widow forces the listener to decide where it stands when its music fills the air.
In 2014 Goodnight Ned hosted one of the craziest Album Release parties of the year when they turned Trees into a funky circus. Such a swirl of experiences, sounds and flavors make insanely complete sense for the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink rock sound of the group and its self-titled album. Menacing soul-tinged tunes folded in with scorching southern-boogie, folk-ish storytelling and tight rhythms keep this band from being put into any neatly packaged box. In fact, such a grab-bag of influences is how rock and roll came to be, and why it's still alive and well.
This Joshua Fleming-led trio is the kind of rock act which splits the middle of the punk set with the best of them. A grizzled vet with a Rancid 1997 tour hoodie is likely to dig them as much as the ornately dressed pin-up girl sporting her Social D dancing skeleton ink from 1988 is. Straight-ahead, hard-charging American rock is ultimately what one gets with this band in the best possible sense. Since the release of the band's killer 2014 record, On the Prowl, it's safe to assume that kids packing Three Links and the Doublewide for The Phuss will be schooling punk kids of future generations on what kind of punk-flavored rock comes from this area.
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There's much to be said for a band that believably feels classic while firmly thriving in the here and now. Fresh vibes on time-tested riffs and grooves will always be welcome and explains why the Roomsounds kick so much tail. Lead singer Ryan Michael kind of says it all when he sings that "rock and roll is the only thing I believe in," during the band's forceful 2014 single "Lay My Head Down." The Roomsounds unapologetically, refreshingly wear its FM-rock influences proudly (presumably in sewn-on patch form on its tattered, faded denim jacket). As much as any other band in DFW, the Roomsounds are one where a listener can point to her iPod and say, "OK, now that is rock."
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