The Most Anticipated Local Albums For The Rest of 2013.
We've only just passed the midway point of the year, and, already, this sucker's been a good one for local album releases.
I mean, take The Baptist Generals' Jackleg Devotional to the Heart alone. One gets the feeling locals will still be humming that one a decade from now.
And, far as we can tell, the second half of the year seems just as promising as the first. Bands like True Widow, Midlake and Polyphonic Spree are all set to reach national audiences with their upcoming releases. Still others seem destined to ingrain themselves firmly into the local scene for years to come with their 2013 efforts.
With that in mind, we've put together here a list of the album releases we're most looking forward to throughout the rest of the year — and the ones that should be on your radar, too.
True Widow (July 23)
After their signing to seminal metal label Relapse Records earlier this year, the Dallas stonegaze trio seems all but destined for some national spotlight later this summer. Like their last two releases, the band once again opted to record their effort with Centro-matic's Matt Pence at Argyle's Echo Lab studio. So look forward to nothing less than the kind of epic, sludging riffs you've grown to expect from a True Widow release. Only, this time around, the rest of the world is finally set to discover what us North Texas folks have known all long.
Calhoun (Late Summer)
Based on the sneak preview Calhoun passed along to us of their upcoming Paperweights EP a while back, we can safely say their soon-to-be-released short-player will change every thought you've ever had about the band. To call it a departure from 2011's Heavy Sugar is a gross understatement — and that's definitely not a bad thing. Still present are Tim Locke's recognizable vocals and songwriting prowess, of course. Now, though, it's fused with a cross-section of Blondie's dance-pop sensibilities and The Flaming Lips' electronic know-how.
The Gritz (Late Summer)
When not serving as Erykah Badu's music director, Grammy-nominated producer RC Williams leads his own critically-hailed outfit, The Gritz. The resident band at the Prophet Bar's weekly Wednesday night jam session's long-in-the-works debut album even features guest appearances from the likes of folks like Snoop Dogg. So there's that.
Oh Whitney (Late Summer)
A chance meeting in their current hometown of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, last year led to this once-Fort Worth-based outfit to recording their upcoming album with Donald Fagen of the legendary jazz-rock band Steely Dan sitting in the producer's chair. Recorded locally in part at Eagle Audio, the disc will be mark one of the few times Fagen's produced an album for a band he wasn't in.
Son of Stan (Late Summer)
Fort Worth native and longtime Ben Harper drummer Jordan Richardson has been crafting his solo debut for what seems like an eternity. We called the now-impending album's “Corsica” one of the best local songs of 2012, and if his cover of Al B. Sure's “Nite and Day” makes the album's final tracklist, we can easily see his batch of divorce-pop tunes making it onto our year-end “Best Albums of 2013” list.
Polyphonic Spree (August 6)
Half of this album has already appeared online or in the background of primetime television shows, so it's not like Yes, It's True's impending release is going to come totally out of left field or anything. But there's just so much that someone like Tim DeLaughter can do with a band this size — especially when given several years to write and arrange the tunes — that we can't help but be a little eager to see what the other half of the disc brings.
Spooky Folk (Late Summer/Early Fall)
There are many reasons to really look forward to this Denton outfit's longtime-coming sophomore LP. For starters, it's been over three years since the band released their flawless debut, and, for our money, that album ranks among the very best local releases we've seen in the past decade. Plus, an album release show will give their now-Denver-residing frontman to an excuse to come back to town for at least one more local show.
War Party (Late Summer/Early Fall)
Between the time that the doo-wop-punks released a handful of EPs last year and began working on their first proper full-length at Eagle Audio, they've added a trombone to their already heavily trumpet-infused sound. Piano and organ overdubs this time through should help make their debut LP at huge, polished-sounding effort — though not at the expense of their rough edges.
Bludded Head (Late Summer/Early Fall)
The band's next record features production work from Pinkish Black's Daron Beck and engineering by Drug Mountain's Britt Robisheaux. Oh, and some pedal steel work from Eleven Hundred Springs' Burton Lee on top of the band's already experimental sound. This one's got all the makings of being one of the most challenging — and rewarding — disc any local band puts out all year.
Spookeasy (Late Summer/Early Fall)
We were already pretty big fans of this Stephanie Burns-fronted Dallas quartet's last album — and, given that the band is once again recording at Tomcast Studios with Spoon multi-instrumentalist Eric Harvey at the helm, we figure we can even expect to hear some improvement this time around. Look for bigger, fuzzier bass lines and more full-honed material, though not at the expense of the band's Spoon-meets-Black-Angels sound.
Blackstone Rangers (Late Summer/Early Fall)
Every time these guys come back from tour, they sound more and more like a band that's destined to break into the national scene sooner than later. Expect their new record to reflect this newly expanded and polished feel.
Senor Fin (Late Summer/Early Fall)
Their last effort was sadly one of the most overlooked albums of last year. Let's not make that same mistake again: This Denton band's progressive brand of coffee shop-friendly indie-rock isn't to be missed.
Black Milk (Early Fall)
Back on Record Store Day, the Detroit native and current Dallas resident released a critically-hailed full-length instrumental album. Now, though, the Dilla disciple is planning a new solo LP — the first release on the new Dallas-based label he's launching. If the rest of the album is anything like the single Black teased back in March, you expect this one to pop up on many a national year-end list.
Telegraph Canyon (October 15)
Like a few other bands on this list, it's been a while since this plus-sized folk outfit put out a proper studio recording. But it's not like Telegraph Canyon ever really went away. Sure, 2009's The Tide and the Current came out a full four years ago — crazy, right? — but their recently released “Wheel to the Garden” single is already earning plenty of spins on KXT these days. So don't expect their popularity to wane.
If this band's May-released “All Around” single is any indication, we can fully expect this glittery indie-pop outfit to take this town by storm when they eventually get around to releasing their debut full-length. They might just be your new favorite band.
Considering how popular this electro-dance outfit has become across the region over these past few years, it's somewhat incredible to think that this band's only recorded output to date is a somewhat rushed, four-track EP released prior to the band's first official live show in 2011. Expect a more fully developed sound this time around.
These days, waiting three-plus years between albums is more the norm than the exception for a band such as Midlake. But the profound perfectionists in this soft-rockin' outfit have certainly proved at least this much over the course of their catalog: Whether you actually enjoy the band's aesthetic doesn't matter; musically, pretty much everything this group does is flawless.
War Party cover photo by Pete Freedman.