Album Review: Modern Gospel – Joshua Dylan Balis


Sometimes opening acts are amazing. Sometimes they don’t immediately grab you by the ears, so you go the bar the get a drink. And, sometimes, while you’re at the bar, you hear something that you didn’t hear at first and find yourself drawn back to the front of the stage. Modern Gospel, the debut album by Joshua Dylan Balis, is like that slow-burning, unassuming opening act. Continue reading Album Review: Modern Gospel – Joshua Dylan Balis

Restaurant Review: Here


When Austin, TX became one of the trendiest places on the planet, the city had a moral duty to relinquish its mantra of, “Keep Austin Weird.” Obviously, the weirdest place in Texas is Marfa, a desert town known for its unique art installations and unexplained light phenomena, but if there were a more accessible part of Texas that could claim heir-apparent to the “Keep Austin Weird,” mantra, it would be the East Dallas neighborhood of Lakewood. From the eclectic shops, eateries, random zoning, and fraternal organizations dedicated to the upkeep of swimming pools,, Lakewood is a social detective’s dream come true. Tucked away between Margie’s Wig Salon and The Kitchen Recording Studio, Here, the new Lakewood lounge/restaurant, is maybe the most Lakewood-y place around. Here officially opened its doors for business this past Saturday and my wife and I and a few friends stopped in to try it out. Continue reading Restaurant Review: Here

Album Review: American Band – Drive-By Truckers


Art doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it hovers above you, resting in some foreign astral plane that you can’t wrap your head around. Sometimes its ambition exceeds its grasp and the concept ends up merely a lost idea among the fiery wreckage. And sometimes it doesn’t make sense because it is so completely disjointed, alternating between excellence and rubbish, that the work as a whole hardly seems possible to have been created by the same artist. Continue reading Album Review: American Band – Drive-By Truckers

Album Review: Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown


When Outkast released Aquemini in 1998, they announced to the world that rap was every bit as musically rich and freely weird as any other genre. That album created a blueprint that was only followed by a small number of artists after them. There has been a small handful of significant albums that could claim to be the artistic descendants of AqueminiBlazing Arrow by Blackalicious, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West, and To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar – and after today’s surprise release of Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown, there is a new album to add to that list. Continue reading Album Review: Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown

Album Review: Sunlit Youth – Local Natives


Think about a U2 album. Which album did you think about? We may have all mentally selected different albums but we all heard the exact same sound in our heads. U2 has crystallized a set of sonic qualities, which are uniquely theirs, that may be flavoured with different spices from album to album but are all unmistakably part of the U2 recipe. In this same fashion, Local Natives has created a sound of their own and on their new album, Sunlit Youth, they again play true to form while adding in new elements not present before. Continue reading Album Review: Sunlit Youth – Local Natives

Book Review: Hot Sauce Nation by Denver Nicks


I used to be a reader. In home school there was little else to do. By the time I started public school in 8th grade, I had read everything I would be assigned to read through senior year AP English, with the exception of The Handmaid’s Tale. After high school, I became so engrossed in playing/listening to/seeing music that books were largely a thing of the past. I can sum up the books I have read, post-2001, in a few simple categories: music biographies, books about dragons, clever books by fashionably eccentric hit-or-miss authors (Palahniuk/Vonnegut/BEE), and books by Denver Nicks. I knew Denver from college and he introduced me to Fugazi via a decently played riff on his acoustic guitar, so any time he writes a book, I make a point to read it. Continue reading Book Review: Hot Sauce Nation by Denver Nicks

Live Review: Brand New at Verizon Field, 7/22/16


Complacency is the killer of brilliance. Too many bands of have exchanged their golden ages of creativity for steady paychecks collected by touring a greatest hits package. You know the bands I’m talking about; the ones who play decently and create an illusion of variety by simply making one or two slight adjustments to a setlist night after night. This last Friday at Verizon Field, Brand New gave a master course in how to remain vital even in the face of a creative lull. Continue reading Live Review: Brand New at Verizon Field, 7/22/16

Album Review: Diarrhea Planet – Turn To Gold

goldish front cursive

There are people who will swear that Badmotorfinger is a better album than Superunknown – those people are wrong. On Badmotorfinger there may be some moments that are better, or even a song that is better, but as a cohesive, digestible piece of art, Superunknown is simply a superior album. When Diarrhea Planet releases Turn To Gold next week, fans of the I-like-their-old-stuff-ilk are sure to come scurrying out of the woodwork but the fact of the matter is that Turn To Gold is the best album Diarrhea Planet has released…so far. Continue reading Album Review: Diarrhea Planet – Turn To Gold

Album Review: John Congleton and The Nighty Nites – Until The Horror Goes


At its core, John Congleton’s, Until The Horror Goes, is a meditation on dissonance.
This record, more than most, is impossible to accurately separate into its components, words and music. Taken alone, the music is frequently off-putting. Taken alone, the melodies are incredibly catchy. Taken alone, the lyrics could read like the prose of a young writer who just discovered Nietzsche. But together, together they tear down the facade each individual part component creates and reveals the true nature of the artist. Continue reading Album Review: John Congleton and The Nighty Nites – Until The Horror Goes