New Music From Honor System, Joshua Dylan Balis, Brittni Jessie, Rikki Blu, Zane Williams, Erykah Badu, Bowling For Soup and More.
Welcome to Songs of the Week, where we hip you to all the new local releases you should be caring about. By putting them all together here in one place, our hope is that you can spend less time searching for relevant new releases and more time giving each one of these jams the proper shine they so deserve. OK? OK.
Honor System – “Mod U L8er.”
RIYL: Electronic music, but hate bleeps and/or bloops.
What else you should know: Writers in Dallas often get accused of ignoring or otherwise being afraid of electronic music. But when folks in town like Honor System are putting together such intricate and thoughtful mini-epics like this track, which we’re thrilled to premiere above, it’s pretty impossible not to pay attention. Rhythm and patterns are a big part of the equation for most all electronic-based forms of music, sure, but Honor System’s video-ready soundscapes don’t focus so heavily on those areas that they forget to include interesting sounds and compelling vibes. — CG
Drakulas – “Neon Town.”
RIYL: The Dirtnap Records catalog.
What else you should know: A couple weeks ago, Brooklyn Vegan premiered this new Drakulas tune from the band’s upcoming debut full-length. In case you need reminding, Drakulas is Mike Wiebe (Riverboat Gamblers) and Zach Blair (Hagfish, Rise Against) and others. The new Raw Wave LP, due out November 18 via Dirtnap, was recorded by Mark Ryan and Jeff Burke (both of Radioactivity and countless other area punk outfits). — CG
Joshua Dylan Balis — Modern Gospel.
RIYL: Staying hard.
What else you should know: If this last name rings familiar, that’s because Balis is the 24-year-old son of 1310-AM The Ticket afternoon drive-time producer, Twilite Lounge co-owner and Bastards of Soul bassist Danny Balis. There’s a nice little feature on the making of this debut EP, which earned its release today, over at the Observer. Of note, some of the elder Balis’ peers lent their talent to the disc — including Grady Sandlin on guitar, Buffi Jacobs on cello and Chad Stockslager on keyboards — although the Observer is quick to point out that the younger Balis played most of the instruments himself.
Paul Cauthen — My Gospel.
RIYL: Sucking on Lifesavers in church.
What else you should know: The old Sons of Fathers frontman made his solo breakout in a big way when this LP came out via Lightning Rod Records last week. Produced by Beau Bedford and recorded at Modern Electric (meaning there’s also Texas Gentlemen all over it), it’s got the charm and twang of old ‘70s country records with the appeal of modern day folk, all tied together by Cauthen’s big, bassy vocals. — CG
Bowling for Soup — Drunk Dynasty.
RIYL: Weiner jokes.
What else you should know: Blink-182’s new album sounds like vintage Blink-182. NOFX’s new album sounds like vintage NOFX. And Bowling for Soup’s new record sounds like vintage Bowling for Soup. It’s been an amazing year for pop-punk revival, and for folks nostalgic for bands that sounds just like they did when we used to listen to them in high school. “Don’t be a Dick” and their cover of the Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy” stand-out, though it’s a real winner from top to bottom. — CG
Pusha T – “Circles.”.
RIYL: Naked women – and that’s the naked truth.
What else you should know: Not local per se, this one does borrow its “throw that ass in a circle” hook from a Lil Ronny MothaF song of the same name. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because Beyonce has used the hook live, too. Guess he should be flattered? — CG
Fat Pimp – “Moves to Make” (feat. Lil Ronny MothaF).
RIYL: Being continuously fed.
What else you should know: Fat Pimp doesn’t have to steal Lil Ronny hooks or samples. When he wants some of the man’s juice, he just calls him up direct, invites him down to the studio and gets him to drop a verse. It makes things a whole lot fresher that way. How fresh? Well, there’s already an Ezekiel Elliott reference in there, so pretty damn fresh! — CG
Go Yayo — Super Saiyan 2 mixtape.
RIYL: Going boom.
What else you should know: Not to be confused with Dallas rapper Lil Ronny is Atlanta producer G$ Lil Ronnie, who produced a bunch of tracks from Go Yayo’s May-released Boom God mixtape. He returns to sprinkle his magic on its follow-up, this brand new mixtape. — CG
Sur Duda — Fort Night.
RIYL: Walking on the slightly less wild side.
What else you should know: When not fronting punky Fort Worth don’t-wop group War Party, Cameron Smith rolls solo, putting out more subdued songs under the name Sur Duda. It’s not a bummer, however, as it not only gives him some space to flex a more Lou Reed-like writing style, but leaves room for lots of flutes, too. And I particularly enjoyed the lyric, “Every asshole’s got a story about how they know Leon.” So true! — CG
Brittni Jessie – “Who I Am.”
RIYL: Being you.
What else you should know: Someone who definitely does know Leon is his longtime backing singer, Brittni Jessie. But standing 20 feet from the spotlight is not the entirety of her being. She’s also a lead singer in her own right, and one that opts to dabble in modern day, electronic-based R&B than in the backward-looking repertoire of her day job. — CG
Kierra Gray – “Summer Fades.”
RIYL: Sending your warm regards.
What else you should know: As the season turns – a welcome thing around these typically pretty hot parts – we say “hello” to our hoodies and “see ya later” to our summer flings. You were inseparable during summer break, frequently pooling it up together and generally never leaving each other’s sights, but that blew out with today’s much-welcomed cool front. Gone, says Kierra Gray, on this summer-y sounding new single, but not forgotten. Pour one out for summer and your boo of yore, but don’t be too sad, because autumn’s here (hopefully) to stay. — CG
D.R.A.M. – “WiFi” (feat. Erykah Badu).
RIYL: Saving your data.
What else you should know: A fitting follow-up to Badu’s But You Cain’t Use My Phone mixtape, D.R.A.M.’s new LP features a duet with the Queen of Neo-Soul about having trouble getting in touch with a loved one because your phone isn’t picking up the WiFi. With lines like, “Forget about your WiFi for a second / Put your phone down please don’t check it,” this would’ve fit in perfectly on Badu’s phone-themed mixtape. Anyway, here’s a clip of D.R.A.M. telling us what it was like collaborating with Badu when he was in town performing at this summer’s Mad Decent Block Party. — CG
Unlikely Candidates – “Ringer.”
RIYL: Getting off the shelf.
What else you should know: TBH, we haven’t seen much in the way of recorded material come from these guys since their signing with Atlantic in 2013. We’re pretty sure that deal is kaput now, though, which is maybe why there’s finally some action in the Unlikely Candidates camp. This song about a ringer (read: a lady whose finger you like so much you decide to put a ring on it) has been added to alternative stations all over the country in recent weeks. It’s not hard to see why. — CG
Camp Anawanna – “Cool Shoes.”
RIYL: The Lemonheads.
What else you should know: This song from Denton America’s Camp Anawanna sounds less like something one of former Camp Anawanna camper Blake Sennett’s bands would have put out in the mid-aughts and more like something Pete & Pete theme writers Polaris would have put out in the early ‘90s. — CG
Kevin England – “Just a Boy.”
RIYL: Being a Toys-R-Us kid.
What else you should know: The entity behind our favorite song about WinStar World Casino is back with another winner about suddenly being forced kicking and screaming into adulthood, be it due to being kicked out of the house or accidentally getting a girl pregnant. It’s something we all begrudgingly do at some point, although musicians are generally some of the last to go unwillingly into that dark night. — CG
Jay Luse – “I’m Trying Trust.”
RIYL: Working harder.
What else you should know: A year after his last full-length project, Jay Luse is another artist dropping a loosie this week. Aptly, the Kris Minor-produced (Wale) single is about staying focused and continuing to work hard — like the kind of hard work where you drop a loosie between projects hard. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. — CG
Coolboy3000 – “Corners.”
RIYL: The patterns on the outside of Dixie Cups.
What else you should know: Here, we get our first new blast of nostalgic bedroom synth-pop from Coolboy3000 since we found some of his previous material on a Geocities-like website back in April. It’s just as fun and throw backy as we remember. — CG
Slow Seers – “Run” and “Creatures.”
RIYL: Cats that go on forever.
What else you should know: This past Friday, Slow Seers made its live debut at Double Wide, and then followed that up with a Tuesday show at Trees. The two-piece is fronted by Three Links engineer Blake Pichon, and it rides that same middle ground of psych and garage as bands like JEFF the Brotherhood and Ty Segall. — CG
Mike Ryan Band – “New Hometown.”
RIYL: Running away.
What else you should know: Fort Worth-based Texas country outfit the Mike Ryan Band are currently working on a third record. It currently doesn’t have a release date, but it does have a fancy new lead single. “New Hometown,” a song about leaving town because everywhere you look reminds you of your ex, was co-written with Chris DuBois and Brent Anderson, who were also behind Chris Janson‘s No. 1 single, “Buy Me A Boat.” And that song was massive this summer. — CG
Dezi 5 – “3:00am.”
RIYL: Dancing on light-up floors.
What else you should know: I was listening to the new Maroon 5/Kendrick Lamar single recently, when I was thrown off by the decision to put a little AutoTune on Adam Levine’s vocals. He’s one of the best singers on the planet; he simply doesn’t need the gimmick. It adds nothing to that song, and only distracts from his real talent and how great the song might have been otherwise. This dance number is similarly pretty great as is, and the longer it goes on, the more its beat becomes undeniable. But I can’t help but wish at times that Dezi would ditch some of the vocal effects and let his gifted vocals carry the track more. Dude is a great, if underrated, singer. — CG
Fooley Faime — s/t EP.
RIYL: Yung Nation.
What else you should know: Yung Nation’s Fooley Faime just released seven very Yung Nation-sounding solo tracks with help from Adrian Swish, but we wonder how long he’s been sitting on them. Right out the gate, he rhymes Jeremy Shockey with chicken teriyaki, and we haven’t thought about the the former NFL tight end since he retired in 2011. Hell, he wasn’t good after, like, 2007 come to think of it. Right? — CG
Danny Cainco – “659.”
What else you should know: The IRAS-affiliated Cainco released his latest project back in the spring. This one didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason, but it was too good to shelve permanently. Grab it as a free download above. — CG
Rikku Blu – “Up.”
What else you should know: Not all of -topic’s future output resided in that stolen knapsack, turns out. Fortunately, this one was one someone else’s hard drive. Rikki Blu’s stunning new single not only features -topic, but other Team From Nowhere squad members like HEVY BENS, OG Muse, Donny Domino and KoolQuise. — CG
Zane Williams — Bringin’ Country Back.
RIYL: The good old days.
What else you should know: A common theme in old-sounding new country is getting back to the good old days before douche nuggets like Luke Bryan “stole” country, or otherwise made it go away somehow. It’s kind of the theme of Williams’ new record, which you’ll definitely love if you favor the “real” country from better days gone by. Another favorite of mine in this genre is Dale Watson’s “Country My Ass.”
Vandoliers – “Simon Says” (Bluegrass Mix) [feat. Amber Farris].
RIYL: Somebody’s Darling.
What else you should know: OK, pinch-hitter time. Cory can’t write this one because he’s in the Vandos, and to have him do so would be wholly unethical, so I’m gonna step up to the plate here in his stead and tell you about this non-album alternative take of a track from them boys’ Ameri-Kinda LP, which was re-released today via State Fair Records and has been racking up all sorts of positive press from twang-inclined music pubs all across the land. Premiered on DFW.com earlier today, this one features Somebody’s Darling singer Amber Farris sitting in for lead Vando Josh Fleming on vox, as well as a more bluegrass-oriented vibe. It’s been a minute since we heard from the Somebody’s Darling camp, which is now based out of Nashville, so it’s a welcome appearance. Also, real talk, those Vandoliers are one of the better live bands around these days, so be sure to catch them when you get the chance — like, say, on November 4, out Fort Worth way. — Pete Freedman