New Music: Picnic, Lightning “American Ruin”

Haven’t had time to pop on here much lately, aside to check on stats and what not, but had to take a second to come drop this, because it f***ing rocks and these guys have been big supporters of the blog, so check out Funkytown’s own Picnic, Lightning melting your frickin’ faces off.

Video: Picnic, Lightning “American Ruin”

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Better Know an Artist (Vol 36): Stephen Beatty (of Un Chien)

Un Chien is a Fort Worth band with a sound owing debts to 90’s alt rock (a la Smashing Pumpkins) and modern psych rock (think Black Angels or Tame Impala). Bandleader Stephen Beatty (formerly of Stella Rose) assembled a talented band of respected local musicians (Rachel Gollay, Kris Knight, Jerrett Lyday, and Taylor Craig Mills), and set out to attain a more experimental sound with his music. After a self released EP in early 2013, they signed to Hand Drawn Records and issued an impressive self-titled debut album later that year. Their sophomore effort will be released later in 2016, but Stephen sat down to answer some questions while we wait.

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)?

SB: I first got into music around 4th grade when we could join the school band. I played saxophone. Marty McFly was probably my main reason for wanting to play guitar (I watched Back to the Future at least once a day when I was a kid). Begged my mom to get me a guitar around 11 years old, got one for Christmas, and never stopped playing (or buying) them.

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

SB: I usually just tell people, “Alt Rock” because I hate trying to describe my own music.

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

SB: Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins were my gateway bands which opened me up to bands like Sonic Youth, Pixies, and Jesus Lizard. I love bands that balance chaos and noise with a good melody. I also respect the underground/punk mentality of bands like those. Brian Jonestown Massacre is another huge influence musically.

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

SB: We have a song called “Amarillo” that’s going to be on our new record.  We’ve played it live a few times.  I was in a long-distance relationship (she live in Amarillo) that ended badly.  It’s about that.  Writing that song was my way of coping and closing that chapter of my life

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

SB: Dead: Nirvana, so I could see a Nirvana show
Alive: Queens of the Stone Age

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

SB: Jetta in the Ghost Tree

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

SB: Smashing Pumpkins “Gish”

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

SB: I love that everyone knows each other, I hate that everyone knows each other’s business. It feels like a big dysfunctional family.

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

SB: Lola’s, because I’m OG.

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

SB: umm, Un Chien, *wink wink

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

SB: I’m much, much nerdier than you’d probably think. I’ll leave it at that.

Many thanks to Stephen Beatty of Un Chien. I’m really looking forward to hearing new music from this talented batch of musicians with a pretty unique sound for the area. Check out Un Chien’s debut album below, and look out for the sophomore record later this year.

Photo Credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography

New Music: Joe Savage Band “No Fear”

So, Fort Worth has been producing a lot of great nods to old school country, like the other day’s featured artist, Vincent Neil Emerson. Joe Savage is another young man blending old school country and the blues. I haven’t gotten my hands on the full record yet, but what I’ve heard shows Joe’s fantastic songwriting skills and his hearty baritone will definitely bring you some Johnny Cash feels along with it. So, check out “No Fear” below, and look out for Joe around town.

Image Credit: Rattle Media

DFWd Hype Project: Andy Pickett “It Happens

One of the most recognizable faces in the Fort Worth music scene, Andy Pickett, fought back against stage fright to reveal his musical side to us all last year. His debut record, It Happens Every Night, introduces some natural pop sensibilities that hearken back to folks like Billy Joel, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson. The album’s title track is one of the toe-tappingest, sing-alongiest tracks to drop in town for a while. He’s a  good dude with good things ahead of him. Andy has been running down to Austin every few months this year to work on his sophomore record with James Petralli (of White Denim), so expect to hear some new material (and more buzz) pretty soon, but for now, enjoy this little gem. You can pick up the full album here.

About the DFWd Hype Project series: Now that AsasRecords is a Hype Machine featured blog, I feel the need to drive some attention to some of the great artists in the metroplex that might be overlooked in the global scene. I decided to start the daily Hype Project series to feature those artists and help me fight the urge to just post a long stream of posts in one day. If you’re not a DFWd local and you dig the track, like it, share it, reblog it, get the word out. We’ve got some great talent here in our area and would love to get them out to your area.

BKA #TBT: Vodeo

TBT Update: Vodeo will be performing Saturday at the 35 Denton festival. You can also catch them later this month: 3/19 at Magnolia Motor Lounge and 3/25 at the Aardvark. They also finally have that stellar self-titled EP in hard copy form now, so grab that up too, while you’re there. Peace.

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A recent discovery of mine, Vodeo, a Fort Worth quartet formerly known as Shake the Moon, have a sound that hearkens back to the Yacht rock sounds of Kenny Loggins and Hall and Oates. Their self-titled EP, produced by Taylor Tatsch, just dropped back in October, and it’s full of radio-ready goodness. It’s probably my favorite local EP of the year. The boys (frontman Jonathan Gehringer, bassist/vocalist Jacob Pullig, keyboardist/vocalist Drew Harakal, and drummer Jason Whorton) sat down to answer a few questions for us about whether or not they’ve invested in that first yacht yet (or maybe just the same old questions I ask everyone).

Author’s Note: Just caught these guys live, and they’re pretty much a must see, if only to hear the sick grooves that Jacob Pullig is laying down while watching the pure satisfaction that Jacob Pullig is feeling at the sick grooves he’s laying down. Pretty entertaining. High five, Jacob!

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)?

JP: We had been in several different bands over the years. Jon, Jason and I all went to the same school, but didn’t play together until later on. We joined as a band a couple years ago. We started off as just Jon, myself, and a drummer. We wrote a couple songs and played out a bit. We eventually picked up a keys/synth player along the way to smooth shit out, Drew Harakal, and my good friend of 10 years Jason Whorton when our Craigslist drummer bailed…good ole Craigslist.

JG: Second part of that question is a little tough. It’s just what we do. I personally love it because it’s a great way to express yourself. If you can connect to one person, that’s all that really matters. From the too-drunk 50-something at the club, to the shy kid in the corner, punkers, frat kids, skeezers… you’ve got to entertain. You’ve got to connect by any means necessary. (Short answer: Hanson “Mmbop”)

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

JP: Boz Skaggs, Ambrosia, Alan Parsons, Kenny Loggins, Darrell Hall and John Oates all boned and had a P-Funk baby, LOL, another thing that’s really hard to explain/describe. The term Yacht Rock keeps on being thrown around town. We don’t quite understand it. We don’t even own dinghies.

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

JW: Todd Rundgren, Curtis Mayfield, Hall and Oates, George Clinton and the P-Funk, to Harry Nilsson, Glen Campbell, Paul McCartney & Wings, could go on for about 2 days on this, really anything that comes across sincere and honest.

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

JP: Tough one, probably “Pillow Talking”. It’s a song I demoed out before conception of the band. It’s kinda one of those “Ugh, I’m fed up with growing up” songs when you look at it. “Trading pens and pencils for bayonets”, dropping out of a rat race and playing war games and being a dirt bag Lord of the Flies style, with a touch of (aye girl, eyebrow raise and wink wink) lust.

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

JW: Foreigner, summer of 1978. Duh…

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

JP: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

JG: Portugal. the Man

DH: Snarky Puppy

JW: Tame Impala

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

JG: Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti

JP: Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy

DH: Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything

JW: the Beatles’ White Album

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

DH: Ha! I really don’t want to answer because I don’t want to make people hate me. My favorite part of the scene is how much support and response we’ve gotten from our peers on how we stand out a bit from the rest of the scene, musically. The least favorite is that the biggest market in DFW still seems to be for cover bands locally, or larger regional/national acts.

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

DH: I’m a huge fan of Magnolia Motor Lounge. They have a bit of a built in crowd, but they are constantly trying new things with different genres other than what they’ve been known for (Americana and Country). I have to give a shout out to Wayside Ballroom as well. It’s definitely one of my new favorites.

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

DH: Criminal Birds from Denton, TX. I know they’re gearing up to go record again, but they’ve got 2 EP’s already out that are some of the best from the DFW scene that I’ve seen in the past few years.

JP: the Hendersons from Fort Worth, TX. Nolan Robertson’s song smithing and voice are something that kinda blew me back first time I heard it. I hear (shh shh) they are working up some stuff with a prominent producer/artist out of state. You’ll def be hearing some stuff from them in the future.

JW: Leon Bridges….duh.

JG: Trái Bơ from Fort Worth, TX. They are truly one of the most interesting and melodic bands in the hometown. Their first album is full of earworms.

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

JG: I clock in about 30 hrs on average a week in Madden.

DH: I’m an ordained minister, and have officiated weddings before.

JW: I’ve recently started a podcast for fun with a buddy, called the “Primal Vision Podcast”. We talk mostly around music and entertainment.

JP: I binge watched all 11 seasons of Cheers

A big thanks to Vodeo for taking time out to give us the first full band interview in this feature. Check them out at a gig near you when you get the chance, and I guess if you’re getting married and need an officiant, give Drew a call. Check out Vodeo’s new self-titled EP below.

BKA #TBT: Matt Tedder

#TBT Update: Local boy Matt Tedder will be a contestant on this season of the Voice. His Blind Audition should air this coming Monday or Tuesday. Be sure to tune in and support one of the most talented cats on the scene.

I first found out about Matt Tedder when I used to work with his sister. She’d tell me about her little brother being a musician, but then I finally got around to checking him out, and he’s a regular blues dynamo. His sound invokes all of the masters, and while he’s taken his guitar with him to Nashville to chase his dreams, he’s still born and raised in DFW and he’s currently in residency at Magnolia Motor Lounge. Here’s what Matt had to say.

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)?

MT: My dad was really into guys like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. He used to sing a lot of songs like that around the house with an acoustic guitar. I remember being interested in music, but it wasn’t until I found an electric guitar that I became addicted. The first genre I attached to was the blues, because of guys like Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Winter. The way they played and sang sounded so real and heartfelt, which gave me something to aspire towards. And I was set on being a musician when I first picked up the electric guitar when I was 7. It was all I wanted to do. Once high school came around, the option of college came up and I turned it down. I figured the earlier I start at this stuff full time, the better.

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

MT: Rootsy Rock N roll. Like putting blues, folk, soul and country in a blender.

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

MT: B.B. King has to be well up there. He was the only idol of mine that I ever got to meet. It always makes me get so much more into an artist’s music when they are nice people, and he was the nicest to me. Musically, what a master? He puts so much raw emotion into every lyric and every note. Ray Charles is a huge influence because of his versatility. He put unique interpretations on all of my favorite genres of music and I always thought that was so cool. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, because of everything: simplicity, tasteful musicianship, authentic songwriting, and their longevity. They put out another record last year that I thought was golden, after 40 years of being together. And lastly, for this condensed list, the Rolling Stones, my favorite Rock N Roll band.

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

MT: “Down the Road” means a lot to me. The song itself is pretty straight forward about a restless feeling and an ambition I still feel to travel. It seems like the crowd always enjoy it when I play out too, and when that happens with a song, there’s no forgetting that one.

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

MT: I would love to open for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or the Rolling Stones, because they are some of my favorite classic rock acts still around putting on killer shows.

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

MT: I found the London Souls online not too long ago, a rock band out of Brooklyn, and they are nothing short of amazing. Locally, I think Rise & Shine, Jonathan Tyler, and the Texas Gentleman are solid artists really keeping Rock N Roll alive on the scene.

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

MT: The first Crosby, Stills & Nash record. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, that record is flawless.

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

MT: My favorite thing about the scene is the people. They’ve always been really supportive to me and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. My least favorite thing is that it could be so much more. This city is steeped in musical tradition, from Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dallas & Fort Worth sits on a gold mine of musical history, and yet we don’t attract as many music lovers as somewhere like Nashville does. I think more people need to know about this place!

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

MT: Magnolia Motor Lounge. It has great sound and atmosphere.

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

MT: Rise & Shine, those guys rock.

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

MT: I would love to be able to dance like James Brown…

Matt Tedder is yet another young player with a passion for the history of the music he plays. He wants to follow in the footsteps of some pretty big ghosts, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to think he can’t. He’s a fabulous player who’s still quite young, so expect a long career doing what he loves. You can catch Matt every Tuesday until the end of the year at Magnolia Motor Lounge in Fort Worth.

 

BKA #TBT: Zach Mayo (of the Hendersons)

#TBT Update: Zach and the Hendersons will be playing at the Grotto on Saturday night in support of Daniel and Matt Mabe’s band (with Anthony Sosa), Jefferson Colby (to celebrate Daniel’s birthday), and the return of Bomb Atomic. Should be a pretty kick a– show, so go check it out.

The Hendersons 10:00
Bomb Atomic 11:00
Jefferson Colby 12:00

Fort Worth’s the Hendersons are probably my favorite local band right now. There’s just something different about what they’re doing, but they’re definitely onto something. I think this band is headed for some big things in the near future, so I sent the usual questions over to drummer Zach Mayo to find out what’s going on over there. He had a lot to say. See for yourself. BTW’s, that’s him staring a hole into my soul in that photo above.

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)?

ZM: I’ve always had music in my life. My mother was the Cantor every Sunday at church and can sing like an angel. My father played guitar, and my grandmother was also the Cantor at her church that we would sometimes visit. So, I always had music around me growing up. My older brothers (I’m the youngest of 3 boys) both were in band and played percussion and the French horn. I, however, decided not to follow in their footsteps and joined the orchestra program in the 5th grade to play the bass. Truly, I joined orchestra because I hated singing those lame-ass songs we were forced to sing in “music” class. But, I immediately fell in love with the bass. I was always a big kid growing up, and the bass just fit me perfectly. I started studying theory and performance, and my chops grew leaps-and bounds over the years. I continued playing bass in orchestra throughout my middle, junior, and high school years. All the while, I taught myself how to play guitar drums and the piano.

When I was in the 7th grade, my very good friend, Justin Elliott, started asking me if I wanted to “jam.” At that point, I had never really played “rock” music. I was only used to orchestra and church song arrangements. However, when i started playing with Justin, my entire outlook on music changed. I started playing drums more often, and Justin would play guitar. He was a madman when it came to the six-string, and I felt obligated to be just as much a madman on the drums. We had our two-man band, the Sugarmen, which was a very blues-heavy, garage rock vibe, much like the Black Keys or White Stripes. At the time, Justin was playing lead guitar with the Josh Weathers band and they needed an opening act. Josh was sick, and he didn’t have the will or energy to play for their full 3-hour bar set, so he enlisted me and J to fill in as an opening act. We played our first show at the Moon Bar to a crowd of people that were NOT there to see these two guys – they wanted to see Josh. By the end of our 1-hour set, we had the crowd in our hands. They loved it. After shaking hands with people and having compliments thrown at me left and right, it was then I knew I wanted to do this for a living.

Over the years, I’ve played in tons of different bands with different roles. I can honestly say that there’s nothing out there better than music – playing it, listening to it, practicing it. Every aspect of music plays a huge role in my life, and I wouldn’t want to change it for anything.

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

ZM: The Hendersons are kind of hard to pinpoint and describe. Lots of people have told us that they remind them of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. There are also shades of Harry Nilsson and the Kinks. Nolan is the principle songwriter. He’s been influenced by all of the aforementioned bands, as well as a heavy influence of classical music. If you listen to Indian Summer, you might pick up on all of those. Kind of like a throw-back Harry-Nilsson-meets-Brian-Wilson-with-a-dash-of-Beethoven-and-a-sprig-of-Beatles.

Gun to my head, if I had to give the Hendersons a “genre”, I would say it’s Vintage Baroque Pop-rock.

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

ZM: I’m influenced by heavy-hitting drummer, Buddy Miles. The man was a beast. He could sing and play drums like a madman! I’m also heavily influenced (drum-wise, that is) by a man named Steven Kleisath. He played drums for a hardcore band called Armstrong, as well as the more-poppy Further Seems Forever. The way he moves around the drum kit showed me that there was much more to playing than just “keeping the beat.”

Nowadays, I find myself watching drum solos all day. Benny Greb, Thomas Pridgen, Mike Johnson, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa – watching those guys has shown me that drums can also have a melody. I know that sounds weird, but that’s the way I hear it.

My favorite bands span tons of different genres: Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine, Ray Lamontagne, AIR, Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, Ween, G. Love & Special Sauce, Otis Redding, James Brown, Menahan Street Band.

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

ZM: I always love playing “Skid Row.” It usually gets everyone dancing and singing along, and I enjoy that very much.

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

ZM: The Hendersons don’t necessarily fit a perfect bill these days (especially in rock-heavy Ft. Worth), so I’d have to say that I would have LOVED to have been one of the acts at the Monterey Pop Festival back in 1967. But, only as long as we weren’t the ones following Otis Redding. That fucker brought the house down.

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

ZM: I’m a big fan of Vodeo (formerly Shake the Moon). Those guys are super talented and have great hooks. I’m also digging what the fellas in Arenda Light bring to the table. They’re super tight and well-practiced, that’s for sure. And even though, they’re not “new” at all, I spend lots of my time in the car cycling through Wilco records.

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

ZM: Tough call. I’d have to say it’s either between Ray Lamontagne’s Trouble or the Beach Boys’ Friends

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

ZM: I’m a big fin of how tight-knit a lot of the bands in FW are. Lots of us party together, share the same bills, and sometimes even share the same band members. It’s nice to feel like part of the “crew.” We’re all working together, doing the thing that we all love to do, and supporting each other along the way. There’s also the opposite side of the spectrum, where it can be difficult to crack into that “circle and be considered an outcast – especially if you’re new to the area and you’re trying to find the right group of people to play music with.

Dallas has always been a tough place to get your exposure to the masses. Every time I’ve played Dallas, it’s been for very few people. So, I guess the way to be known in Dallas is just say “Fuck it” and play for the small crowds as often as possible. Who knows? You may just gain a few more fans along the way.

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

ZM: The Grotto. Hands down. It’s kind of like our “home bar.” We usually can pack the house, even on short notice. We also like that we’re allowed to bring in our homemade Frito-pies or Beef Stew for our fans to munch on during dreary, cold evenings. However I really enjoyed playing on the new outdoor stage at Lola’s/Trailer Park. That place is going to be a mainstay for outdoor shows for years to come.

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

ZM: Some cat named Leon Bridges is doing pretty well for himself – or so I’ve heard. And Oil Boom is pretty solid. Chingalotus is another band that’s incredible. Cosmic Trigger makes my ears bleed (in the good way). Secret Ghost Champion has a record called Electric Neck and the Mercy Skull that I think EVERYONE should listen to. Jake Paleschic is amazing every single time I see him (and I’m super-jealous of his drummer Peter Wierenga’s snare sound.)

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

ZM: I’ve been taking ballroom dance lessons with my girlfriend, Sarah Jane, for almost 2 years now. That shit is amazing, and does wonders for relationships.

A big thanks to Zach Mayo for taking the time. I think this is the longest post yet. If you haven’t had a chance to catch a Hendersons show, you’re going to want to do that. I have a feeling they’re about to blow up. You can check out their last record, Indian Summer, below, and keep an eye out for new material due next year. On a more somber note, Zach’s old band mate, Justin Elliott, passed away in a household accident last year. His family has established a scholarship fund to benefit local children in their musical and academic endeavors. If you’d like to donate to the fund, you can do so here. The Hendersons will be performing with Jacob Furr at the Grotto this Thursday, the 14th, if you need to catch a great show.

Photo Credit: Moi (yeah, I’m pretty awesome)