A few months ago, two of Christian music’s weirdest teamed up for a Steve Albini produced EP. This new work from Steve Taylor and Daniel Smith may be a one-off, but it offers a chance to stop and appreciate two genius outcasts of a historically buttoned-down industry.
For the past four years, Daniel Markham has been establishing himself as a serious artist in DFW. Disintegrator is the third of a trio of albums in that span and another stone Markham has laid in a musical career that continues to impress. It validates Markham’s status as an excellent songwriter and serves as a marker of a promising trajectory.
After a decade hiatus, the locally beloved Pleasant Grove has returned with a new album, The Heart Contortionists. It is their first in 12 years. Fans of the group have enjoyed the recent reunions and one-off shows. But can an album so far removed from its predecessors recapture the allure once generated by a band from the early aughts? Continue reading
Hank Williams, Jr. has been drawing lines in the sand for a long time. His more recent history of political cable TV ad hominem has gained him the wrong kind of visibility, but the fact is Bocephus (his lifelong nickname) has been going down swinging for the last 25 years. His latest effort, It’s About Time, is just one more cantankerous tirade from a man standing bewildered in a rapidly shifting America.
For the better part of a decade, Jacob Metcalf has been hovering below the Dallas radar. You probably know him as one of the members of the very likable folk act The Fox and the Bird, for whom he has sung and played banjo, guitar, spoons, really anything that can make a noise. You may have also seen him busking the streets with that augmented crew under the name of the Dallas Family Band, bolstering a clodhopper chorus of heartfelt voices. To most, that is what Jacob is: one of the hirsute faces in a crowd of howlers and musicians.
Yet for a select few close friends and watchful fans, Metcalf’s larger ambitions have always been apparent. Those who have seen Metcalf play solo, perhaps during his lengthy residency at the Kessler Theater, understand that premonition. His songs had reach and he had a clear vision of what he ultimately wanted from them. Expectations for his debut album, if one should materialize, were lofty. Continue reading
There is one sense in which Kanye West’s latest album, Yeezus, resembles the story of Jesus. Within its tracks, West makes bold claims about his primacy and lineage. And while many critics accepted those claims almost a priori, Yeezus is far less stalwart when examined apart from its celebrity creator. Continue reading
It is tough to watch people age, particularly if they are very close to you. It is common for one to watch his or her unreasonable expectations run, nose-first, into the brick wall of reality. To watch the strong father you thought would never diminish struggle to tie his shoes. To watch men and women of great virtue succumb to baser impulses. While less grave by many orders, this has been the case with The Smashing Pumpkins and me for well over a decade. Continue reading