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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: 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

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

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

Milestone Albums: The Toadies – Hell Below/Stars Above


***disclaimer, this is a day late due to St Patrick’s Day and a Deftones concert last night***

Today marks the 15th anniversary of The Toadies defining masterpiece, Hell Below/Stars Above. The world was a strange place back in 2001; “punk” music was basically family-friendly and rap-rock dominated the airwaves with an iron-grip not seen again until Adele popped her head up a decade later. Hell Below/Stars Above was the wrong music for the wrong time, nobody heard the album, and The Toadies never had a chance. For the few of us that did happen to hear the album though, it was a game-changer. Continue reading Milestone Albums: The Toadies – Hell Below/Stars Above

Honeymoon Break…

Hey Everyone! Just a quick update, we are back from the honeymoon and I have the wife all moved in now. In my absence I heard a guy named Kendrick Lamar released an album or something? Seriously though, I’ve got some reviews coming up for Kendrick Lamar, Courtney Barnett, Modest Mouse, and the shows I saw in the 24hrs I was able to pop in at SXSW on the way back home. Talk to you soon!



Album Review: Kid Rock – First Kiss


I listened to it so you don’t have to. Not since Larry The Cable Guy have I seen a performer so blatantly pander to a woefully simple audience as on Kid Rock’s new album First Kiss. Allow me to list some of the words that are peppered throughout the embarrassing lyric sheet – wine, whisky, beer, bourbon, Jim Beam, Jesus, Bocephus, white lines, guns, America, Johnny Cash, highway, Chevy, truck, banjo, cowboy, Tennessee, moonshine, and more that I can’t remember because I’m sure my brain shut off at some point.  Continue reading Album Review: Kid Rock – First Kiss