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


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