Album Review: Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams

Surprise is a rare and wonderful thing, especially in the music world. The formula for songwriting success was perfected decades ago. Since the existence of managers, musicians have had someone hovering over their shoulder whispering suggestions about fanbase expectations and brand and image. How a band should sound and look and act is all part of the “perfection” of the music machine. But, every now and then, maybe once in a generation, a band comes along and says no. Artists like Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Gang of Four, Pixies, Deftones, Sigur Ros, The Polyphonic Spree, all knew the game, they knew the stakes, and they chose to forge their own paths. Toronto’s Fucked Up has been toying with the boundaries of punk music since 2001 but with their latest release, Dose Your Dreams, they stretch further and force us to ask what it even means to be a band. Continue reading Album Review: Fucked Up – Dose Your Dreams

The Top 10 Albums of 2017

The Currency Of Cool’s Top Ten Albums of 2017
(click the album cover for a link to Spotify)



10. Anything Could Happen – Bash And Pop

Rock and Roll is expected to be raucous and rowdy but every now and again, when it’s done right, it is completely endearing. Tommy Stinson is an honest-to-goodness rock and roll legend in his own right so it’s fascinating to hear him fuse Rolling Stones type swagger with Butch Walker-esque songwriting to create an album that is essentially a love letter to the “bash and pop,” aspects of rock and roll. Anything Could Happen is hooky and energetic and feels completely earnest in its efforts. Yes, there is no new ground being broken here but in a modern music landscape that values perfection over heart, having the confidence to release an album like Anything Could Happen is admirable, and, yes, completely endearing. Continue reading The Top 10 Albums of 2017

The Polyphonic Spree

It is May of 2016. The wings of the stage at Levitt Pavilion are lined with friends and loved ones and Dallas-based rock band, The Polyphonic Spree, will begin their set in less than ten minutes. Babies with protective headphones are held up and displayed by proud members of the band. As some of the players are sound checking in plainclothes, it becomes clear that the magic and mystic of The Polyphonic Spree is not contained in the notes they play or the robes they wear but in their ability to create a sense of family and community everywhere they go. Continue reading The Polyphonic Spree

Album Review: in*ter a*li*a – At The Drive-In

In the year of our Lord, 2000, my junior year of high school, I saw The Who perform in Dallas, TX. It had been 27 years since their last album of any relevance. I went to the concert with my Dad. Seeing The Who with my Dad was special because they had been an important band in his life when he was in high school. It was an incredible memory that I’ll cherish forever; seeing a band from decades earlier because it meant something to my Dad.

At The Drive-In just released a new album, in*ter a*li*a, in 2017. For those keeping score, that’s 17 years since their last album, Relationship Of Command, in 2000. In the year 2000, I was catching oldies concerts with Dad, while the most vital new band from my state was releasing their most recognizable album. Now, 17 years later, they’re back on the scene and just released an album that spits in the face of the idea of being a nostalgia act or merely a marketing ploy to see a reunion tour with your kids. Take a high school kid to an At The Drive-In concert and see if they come away feeling nostalgic or energized to take on the world. Continue reading Album Review: in*ter a*li*a – At The Drive-In

The Best Albums of 2016

Life is rarely fair; missteps are magnified and, too often, subtle victories go unnoticed. When the World can, nearly instantaneously, absorb and forget splashes of glory, the question that lingers is, “Where do I go from here?” The answer, is only ever one of three options – Quit, Refine, or Change. In the context of music, the Quitters are the panderers – the brands formerly known as artists – and they aren’t worth the ink that will never be written about them. Those who refine, those who change, are Heroes. Continue reading The Best Albums of 2016

Appeal To Reason


Remember the feeling of pride you had the first time you voted? Even after many trips to the election booth, people are still proud of their “I Voted” stickers. Maybe some of you have a childhood memory of a parent taking you with them to vote. My dad took me with him to vote in 1992 and I thought it was so cool; we could pick who would be President. He wouldn’t tell me who he voted for…he said, “It isn’t anyone’s business who you vote for.” Continue reading Appeal To Reason

Album Review: Modern Gospel – Joshua Dylan Balis

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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

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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


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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

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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