Top Records for May 2016

So….., May sees the return of my favorite band and one of my favorite young solo artists, and they dropped a couple of the best records of the year thus far, and even after that, there’s several other great records out this month, as well as a few highly anticipated local records. By all means, let’s do this.

1 Radiohead “A Moon Shaped Pool” 9.1
2 James Blake “the Colour in Anything” 8.7
3 Car Seat Headrest “Teens of Denial” 8.6
4 Anohni “Hopelessness” 8.4
5 the Hotelier “Goodness” 8.4
6 Chance the Rapper “Coloring Book” 8.4
7 Modern Baseball “Holy Ghost” 8.3
8 Hard Working Americans “Rest in Chaos” 8.3
9 Karl Blau “Introducing Karl Blau” 8.3
10 Quaker City Night Hawks “El Astronauta” 8.2
11 Jessy Lanza “Oh No” 8.2
12 Trashcan Sinatras “Wild Pendulum” 8.1
13 Daniel Markham “Disintegrator” 8.1
14 Andy Shauf “the Party” 8.1
15 Mudcrutch “2” 8.1
16 Kvelertak “Nattesferd” 8.1
17 Gregory Porter “Take Me to the Alley” 8.1
18 the So So Glos “Kamikaze” 8.1
19 Yak “Alas Salvation” 8.1
20 Big Thief “Masterpiece” 8.1
21 Flume “Skin” 8.1
22 Against the Current “In Our Bones” 8.1
23 Death Grips “Bottomless Pit” 8.1
24 Marissa Nadler “Strangers” 8

25 Kaytranada “99.9%” 8

I’ll see you next month with some more highly anticipated local records, hopefully. Happy listening.

 

 

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Top Records for April 2016

Sticking to the 25 number from last month. Note that I haven’t heard Lemonade because it’s not on Spotify, and I’m not going to pay for another service just to hear one album, so when it shows up on Spotify in a few weeks, it’ll probably occupy a spot towards the top of this list. That being said, here are my top picks for April.

1 Sturgill Simpson “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” 8.6
2 the Gloaming “2” 8.4
3 Parquet Courts “Human Performance” 8.3
4 Lucy Dacus “No Burden” 8.3
5 Andrew Bird “Are You Serious” 8.3
6 Explosions in the Sky “the Wilderness” 8.2
7 Deakin “Sleep Cycle” 8.2
8 PJ Harvey “the Hope Six Demolition Project” 8.2
9 Sam Beam ft Jesca Hoop “Love Letter for Fire” 8.1
10 Robbie Fulks “Upland Stories” 8.1
11 Charles Bradley “Changes” 8.1
12 Black Mountain “IV” 8.1
13 the Jayhawks “Paging Mr Proust” 8
14 Peter Wolf “A Cure for Loneliness” 8
15 King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard “Nonagon Infinity” 8
16 John Doe “the Westerner” 8
17 Teleman “Brilliant Sanity” 7.9
18 Teen Suicide “It’s the Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot” 7.9
19 Woods “City Sun Eater in the River of Light” 7.9
20 Kaitlin Aurelia Smith “EARS” 7.9
21 Niki and the Dove “Everybody’s Heart is Broken Now” 7.9
22 Wire “Nocturnal Koreans” 7.9
23 Bibio “A Mineral Love” 7.8
24 John Congleton and the Nighty Nite “Until the Horror Goes” 7.8
25 Bombino “Azel” 7.8

 

Better Know an Artist (Vol 25): Ronnie Heart

Ronnie Heart has been a fixture in the scene for several years now, having spent some time in the very successful Denton project, Neon Indian, before branching out on his own in 2011 to finish school and pursue a solo career. His passion for danceable grooves is obvious in his music and just lend a general feel-good attitude to the output. Check out his new EP You(r) Mine at the end of the article, and catch him around when you get a chance.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

RH: I started playing music in 2002, when I was close to turning 17. My family had moved to Pueblo, Colorado from Houston. I danced in Houston and imagined that I would continue dancing once I moved to CO, but that wasn’t the case. There was no dance program in that town (ed: like Footloose or something) I became friends with a kid at my high school who would bring his guitar to school almost every day. I asked him to teach me a riff on it and he taught me the opening line to “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. I was hooked after that! A few years after all that, and living back in Texas, I began heavily emerging myself around music and musicians, deeply seeking and consuming all sorts of music. I’ve always wanted to make money from doing something I love. It isn’t so easy making money at being an active musician but I am still pushing forward to do so and succeed at it.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

RH: To quote the Kindness’ instagram handle… “too damn funky”

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

RH: Jimmy Page, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, David Bowie, ELO, Claude Debussy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Quincy Jones, Timbaland, Pharrell, DJ Premier, Dr Dre, Erik Satie, Kendrick Lamar, Can-I-Bus, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Herbie Hancock, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and many, many more. I love all these musicians because they put passion into their music. They are extremely daring, sensitive, and thoughtful. I celebrate and try to employ those traits whilst creating music or performing it.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

RH: “Tasty Destination” immediately comes to mind. It was the first song I started writing for this project. I was writing “Tasty Destination” and learning how to use the program that I was writing it on, at the same time. That program is Ableton, by the way. Although, all the songs on You(r) Mine are close to my heart, it’s hard to beat a first experience.

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

RH: If I could open for any artist, it would have to be a tie between Michael Jackson or Prince. I’d love to be part of a high level production like theirs.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

RH: Locally, I’m really into Squanto, iill, Sam Lao, -topic, Bobby Sessions. Not so locally: Anderson Paak, Vulfpek, the Stepkids, Shafiq Husayn

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

RH: I’d take the Astrud Gilberto album. It features compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim sung by Astrud.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

RH: I’m having a hard time writing a response to this because I am happy with the people I interact with so I feel nothing negative is going on around me. I fight hard to only allow good things to happen in my life.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

RH: I love the Bomb Factory. I’m a huge fan of huge stages and big crowds. The staff is sweet and professional.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

RH: See above

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

RH: I probably spend as much time listening to podcasts as I listen to music.

Thanks so much to Ronnie Heart for taking the time to sit down with us. Be sure to check out his fire new ep, You(r) Mine, and keep an eye out for tour dates coming soon.

Update: Ronnie will be playing a set at KXT’s annual Summer Cut event at Southside Ballroom on June 3, along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, the Relatives, the Wild Feathers, San Fermin, Bib Bourelly, BKA Alum Claire Morales and Siamese.

Ronnie Heart – You(r) Mine

 

Top Records for March 2016

So, March had some really strong releases, including the surprise return of King Kendrick, the full maturation of one of the country’s top young songwriters, and a few strong returns from some of music’s biggest icons. Oh, and the excellent solo debut of what could be the newest country star. Also, like last month, I listened to a lot of stuff this month, so I think I’m going to expand the normal list to 25 this month.

1 Parker Millsap “the Very Last Day” 8.6
2 Kendrick Lamar “Untitled Unmastered” 8.5
3 Margo Price “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” 8.4
4 Ray Lamontagne “Ouroboros” 8.4
5 Richmond Fontaine “You Can’t Go Back if There’s Nothing to Go Back To” 8.3
6 the Range “Potential” 8.3
7 Iggy Pop “Post Pop Depression” 8.2
8 Loretta Lynn “Full Circle “8.2
9 Esperanza Spalding “Emily’s D+Evolution” 8.2
10 Bob Mould “Patch the Sky” 8.2
11 Damien Jurado “Visions of Us on the Land” 8.1
12 Steven James Adams “Old Magick” 8.1
13 Anna Meredith “Varmints” 8.1
14 Meilyr Jones “2013” 8.0
15 Mmoths “Lunkeworks” 8.0
16 Grant-Lee Phillips “the Narrows” 7.9
17 Thao & the Get Down Stay Down “A Man Alive” 7.9
18 the Coral “Distance Inbetween” 7.9
19 Robert Pollard “Of Course You Are” 7.8
20 Domo Genesis “Genesis” 7.8
21 Matt Corby “Telluric” 7.8
22 Lapsley “Long Way Home” 7.8
23 Sam Lao “SPCTRM” 7.8
24 Hightower “Echo Springs” 7.8
25 Polica “United Crushers” 7.7

 

Top Records for June 2015

So between being busier at work than we have been earlier in the year and just not being able to get into a lot of albums this month, I haven’t gotten to do any review posts, and I definitely didn’t score 20 records to make the usual monthly list. That being said, this month’s top record for June is from the hometown kid, Leon Bridges. I’ll give what scores I’ve got below, and I’m going to try and pump out a mid-year list here soon.

1 Leon Bridges “Coming Home” 8.5
2 Jamie XX “In Colour” 8.5

3 Wolf Alice “My Love is Cool” 8.4
4 Bully “Feels Like” 8.3
5 Active Child “Mercy” 8.3
6 Girlpool “Before the World Was Big” 8.1
7 Kacey Musgraves “Pageant Material” 7.9

How I Would Plan It: Glastonbury Festivals 2015

Ahhh, the big one. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure Glastonbury is the largest Music Festival in the world. It doesn’t have an easy to view schedule on the web, so I was like, eh, I’ll print it out so I can see it as a whole a little easier. Uh, wrong, it’s 44 pages long. You need a program for this thing. Have no fear though. With this schedule, and some really good jogging shoes, you’ll catch a little of everything. I’m not go into details on artists here. It’s mostly split sets, so there’s so many acts here. I guess I’ll go ahead and highlight the ones I wouldn’t want to miss. Sorry, I didn’t get one up for Firefly last week. I had it typed up and ready to go, just never got around to putting it into a post. Anyways, lace up, you’re gonna be busy.

Glastonbury Festivals 2015
Friday, Jun 26
11:00-11:30 Rhodes (Park Stage)
11:30-12:00 Cambodian Space Project (West Holts)
12:00-12:30 Chronixx (Pyramid Stage)
12:30-1:00 the Cribs (Other Stage)
1:00-2:00 James Bay (Pyramid Stage)
2:00-2:40 Leon Bridges (John Peel Stage)
2:40-3:30 Alabama Shakes (Pyramid Stage)
3:30-4:00 Catfish and the Bottlemen (Other Stage)
4:00-4:30 Chet Faker (John Peel Stage)
4:30-5:00 Mary J Blige (Pyramid Stage)
5:00-5:30 Wolf Alice (the Park Stage)
5:30-6:00 JD McPherson (Acoustic Stage)
6:00-6:30 Motorhead (Pyramid Stage)
6:30-7:00 Benjamin Booker (the Park Stage)
7:00-7:45 Run the Jewels (West Holts)
7:45-8:25 Florence and the Machine (Pyramid Stage)
8:30-9:00 Django Django (William’s Green)
9:00-9:30 Mark Ronson (Other Stage)
9:30-10:15 Jamie XX (the Park Stage)
10:15-11:45 Foo Fighters (Pyramid Stage)
11:45-12:15 Super Furry Animals (the Park Stage)

Saturday, Jun 27
11:00-11:45 Flo Morrissey (the Park Stage)
11:45-12:10 Nadine Shah (William’s Green)
12:10-1:00 Courtney Barnett (Pyramid Stage)
1:00-1:30 Ibeyi (the Park Stage)
1:30-2:15 Izzy Bizu (La Pussy Parlure)
2:45-3:15 Young Fathers (Other Stage)
3:15-4:00 George Ezra (Pyramid Stage)
4:05-4:35 Ella Eyre (Other Stage)
4:35-5:00 Tuff Love (BBC Introducing)
5:00-5:45 Years and Years (John Peel Stage)
5:45-6:05 Clean Bandit (Other Stage)
6:05-6:30 Will Joseph Cook (BBC Introducing)
6:30-7:30 Father John Misty (the Park Stage)
7:35-8:05 Death From Above 1979 (John Peel Stage)
8:05-8:40 Mavis Staples (the Park Stage)
8:40-9:15 Pharrell Williams (Pyramid Stage)
9:15-9:45 Ben Howard (Other Stage)
9:45-10:45 George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (West Holts)
10:45-11:45 Kanye West (Pyramid Stage)
11:45-12:15 Jon Hopkins (the Park Stage)
12:15-2:30 Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Pilton Palais Cinema)
1:30-3:00 Fatboy Slim (the Blues)
3:00-4:30 Four Tet (Genosys)

Sunday, Jun 28
11:00-11:40 Rival Sons (Other Stage)

12:00-12:40 Soak (Other Stage)
12:40-1:10 Mini Mansions (John Peel Stage)
1:10-1:45 Hozier (Pyramid Stage)
1:45-2:15 Saint Raymond (John Peel Stage)
2:15-3:15 Patti Smith (Pyramid Stage)
3:45-4:20 Alvvays (John Peel Stage)
4:20-5:15 Lionel Richie (Pyramid Stage)
5:15-5:45 Future Islands (Other Stage)
5:45-6:45 Alt-J (Pyramid Stage)

6:45-7:30 Belle & Sebastian (Other Stage)
7:30-8:00 Lianne La Havas (John Peel Stage)
8:00-8:30 Paul Weller (Pyramid Stage)
8:30-9:00 FKA Twigs (West Holt)
9:00-9:45 Buzzcocks (Left Field)
9:45-11:15 the Who (Pyramid Stage)
11:15-11:45 Ryan Adams (the Park Stage)
Hope this helps.

Anyways, if you’re going, have a good one.

How I Would Plan It: Bonnaroo 2015

You know festival season is in full swing when this one comes around. Bonnaroo, along with Coachella, is always one of the big guns amongst American festivals. It takes place over 4 days at Great Stage Park on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee. Seeing as my wife doesn’t camp, and we don’t do drugs, and thus probably can’t stay up and get our money’s worth at a festival that runs until 3 in the morning, we’ll probably never get to this one. That being said, the lineup always gets my festival juices flowing. I appreciate the festival’s fun stage names, and while strange stage time staggering creates several options for my 30 minute taste approach to festivals, it also deters me from choosing those splits to catch certain songs. The festival also features a comedy stage, a film screening tent, and a silent disco, but I’m just sticking to the music. Anyways, here goes:

Bonnaroo 2015
Thursday, Jun 11
5:45-6:30 Unlocking the Truth (This Tent)

This teenage metal band from Brooklyn has gotten a lot of attention in the media in the last few years, and are featured in the documentary, Breaking a Monster
7:00-7:30 Strand of Oaks (This Tent)
This show should chill you back out after rocking your face off
7:30-8:00 Ryn Weaver (the Other Tent)
and then go get your indie pop fix with emerging pop princess, Ryn Weaver
8:15-8:45 Iceage (This Tent)
Then more rocking your face off
8:45-9:15 Temples (The Other Tent)
British psych rock band has a great throwback sound.
9:15-10:00 Houndmouth (That Tent)
Houndmouth released one of my favorite blues-tinged rock records of the year.
10:00-10:30 Glass Animals (the Other Tent)
British indie rockers have been getting a lot of buzz of late
10:45-11:15 Courtney Barnett (This Tent)
Again, one of my favorite singer-songwriters going right now, sad I missed her last week, but I had to see the Stones.
11:15-11:45 Benjamin Booker (The Other Tent)
an artist that blew up the festival scene at the end of last season, now he’s making the rounds of the early festival season this year.
12:00-12:30 Jungle (That Tent)
Here’s where the staggering messes up my schedule, don’t think you’ll be catching “Busy Earning” in this portion of their set.
12:30-1:00 Mac DeMarco (This Tent)
but you don’t want to miss all of Mac’s set, right?

Fri, Jun 12
1:15-2:00 the Districts (the Other Tent)

indie rockers should put on a lively show.
2:00-3:00 Brownout presents Brown Sabbath (Which Stage)
Austin metal outfit Brownout perform the works of Black Sabbath. I’m in.
3:00-3:45 King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (The Other Stage)
Don’t get me lying, the only thing going at the time. I don’t know, maybe grab a snack or check out some shops. 🙂
3:45-4:45 Royal Blood (Which Stage)
British rock band has already blown up in Europe and the UK, trying to do the same stateside.
4:45-5:45 Unknown Mortal Orchestra (the Other Tent)
the indie rock group play in support of the excellent (if sometimes weird) Multi-Love.
5:45-6:15 Mini Mansions (Who Stage)
I wasn’t impressed with their performance opening for Arctic Monkeys, but they did put out one of the better records of 2015 so far.
6:30-7:15 Sylvan Esso (the Other Tent)
Still out in support of their excellent self titled debut (already a part of Asa’s Record Collection)
7:15-7:45 Kacey Musgraves (That Tent)
I guess I’d sacrifice a few minutes of the Shakes to catch a little of Kacey.
7:45-8:45 Alabama Shakes (What Stage)
But dammit, I’m catching the rest.
8:45-9:45 Tears for Fears (This Tent)
Ummm, 80’s, y’all. Obviously, this is the perfect lead-in to what comes next.
9:45-11:00 Kendrick Lamar (What Stage)
The current King of Hip Hop (Shut your face, Kanye).
11:15-12:00 Run the Jewels (This Tent)
Killer Mike and El-P had one of the biggest albums of the year in 2014 and have more coming.
12:00-12:45 Earth, Wind and Fire (That Tent)
Man, we are just all over the place here.
12:45-1:15 Deadmau5 (What Stage)
the man with the mask
1:15-1:45 Flying Lotus (the Other Tent)
Should be another good dance set. You still awake over there?
1:45-3:30 STS9 (That Tent)
These guys are pretty fun, and they’ll take you into the wee hours of the morning

Sat, Jun 13
2:00-2:30 Catfish and the Bottlemen (This Tent)
These guys have a long, weird name, that doesn’t exactly lend itself to twitter, but the music’s pretty solid.
2:30-3:15 Phox (the Other Tent)
Another one I recently couldn’t cram into my busy concert schedule.
3:15-4:00 Kevin Garrett (New Music on Tap Lounge)
Kevin is worth going to this space once during the weekend
4:00-5:00 Rhiannon Giddens (Which Stage)
If she’s half as entertaining solo as she is with her group (Carolina Chocolate Drops), this should be a good one.
5:15-5:45 Bleachers (This Tent)
the solo project of Fun.’s Jack Antonoff. About to kick off a tour with Charli XCX.
5:45-6:45 the War on Drugs (Which Stage)
One of 2014’s best albums, worth missing Hozier for.
6:45-7:30 Jamie XX (the Other Tent)
Jamie (of the XX) just dropped one of the top records of 2015 last week.
7:30-8:30 Gary Clark Jr (Which Stage)
The Austinite is one of the top guitarists going today.
8:30-9:30 My Morning Jacket (What Stage)
Always a fun live show, I plotted you right in the middle of it
9:30-10:30 Childish Gambino (Which Stage)
TROY!!!!!! Donald Glover is actually a pretty legit rapper.
10:30-11:00 Slayer (This Tent)
Raining blood all over this place
11:00-1:00 Mumford and Sons (What Stage)
And from Slayer to 2 hours of Mumford and Sons. That’ll kill your buzz. 🙂
1:00-2:00 D’Angelo & the Vanguard (This Tent)
This one will give your lady a whole different kind of buzz
2:00-3:15 Flume (That Tent)
hot Australian DJ will drive you into the night.
Sun, Jun 14
12:15-12:45 Pokey LaFarge (Which Stage)
Haven’t actually heard these guys, but hear they put on a good show.
12:45-1:15 Shakey Graves (That Tent)
Austin musician has been drumming up a lot of attention lately.
1:15-1:45 Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas (the Other Tent)
I hadn’t heard of her, but the write-ups sound promising, might have to pretend I’m going to Bonnaroo and check them out.
1:45-2:15 Hurray for the Riff Raff (That Tent)
the excellent American outfit put out a superb record last year.
2:15-3:00 Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear (Which Stage)
the engaging mother/son duo put out one of better records last month.
3:00-3:45 Twenty One Pilots (What Stage)
These guys did too
3:45-4:15 AWOLNATION (Which Stage)
Sail on over to this one when you get a chance
4:15-4:45 MØ (the Other Tent)
Danish hit-slinger is gunning for the mainstream.
4:45-5:45 Spoon (What Stage)
This Austin band is one of the few mid-day sets that got a full hour, I think.
5:45-6:15 Brandi Carlile (Which Stage)
But I’m still skipping out early to catch a little of this set.
6:15-7:00 Punch Brothers (That Tent)
Chris Thile and the boys have a long set, but I’ve got to go see….
7:00-8:00 Florence and the Machine (What Stage)
Florence Welch and the gang were better that I expected when I saw them at ACL a few years back.
8:00-9:00 Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters (Which Stage)
You’ve got to take the chance to catch one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time when you get it, I suppose.
9:00-11:30 Billy Joel (What Stage)
the Piano Man closes out your weekend, which is kinda weird, but I guess it works.
Hope this helps.

Anyways, if you’re going, have a good one.