Darkbird perform concert series at Collide ATX
Photos by: Corey Mendez
Swedish recording artist Tove Styrke makes her return in a major way with brand new dance-pop single ‘Say My Name’. The lush, steely track flourishes with confidence and enthusiasm and demonstrates a new direction for the platinum selling artist. “I love this sound and that it’s quite the opposite of what I did last time,” states Styrke. “It’s important for me to always keep reinventing myself and challenging myself creatively. I think that’s important in life in general.”
The single marks a confident re-introduction for Tove Styrke, her first new single since her 2015 U.S. debut, Kiddo. A playful love song at its core, “Say My Name” is about longing to be with someone while nothing else matters. As Styrke describes, “There’s a reason why so much music is about sex and love. It is linked to one’s worst and best experiences. I have not written about love before because I didn’t want to write another love song. But I have changed. I am tired of being angry, right now I just need to make music that makes me feel good.”
Armed with a slick new single, Tove Styrke is poised to take 2017 by storm with the cunning ease of a grown and matured musician. As Styrke proclaims, “The stronger I sing, the less I can affect the song. The more quiet I sing, the greater the differences will be in the tone and texture. A lot of people are afraid to talk loudly, but there is a strength to talking quietly – thus people really have to listen to you. There’s no need to try to be a man in a man’s world.”
Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, otherwise known as Royal Blood, have proven that they have more than one card up their sleeve with the release of their newest single, “Lights Out.” The U.K. rock-duo unveiled their forthcoming album, How Did We Get So Dark? to be released June 16 via Warner Bros. Records, and left fans writhing in anticipation for more as they watched the enthralling video for the album’s lead single. It’s fuzzy, loud, and surpasses every expectation set for the record-breaking pair that is bringing hard-rock back to prominence.
The video for “Lights Out” starts with the calm before the storm, focusing on the two bandmates in an innocent-looking room. As the music tenses up, ripples in the floor begin to deceive our eyes, hinting at the entropy to come. There we are, on the edge of the seat asking what else could they possibly give us, when BAM! All of a sudden bodies explode from the walls in perfect pulse with the unrestrained chorus. Harmonies hit heavy, backing up bassist/vocalist Kerr’s already booming voice, while drummer Thatcher wreaks havoc on the set. In perfect time the pair feeds off of each other’s energy, offering a syncopated and tense anthem. A blood-red filter covers the screen as the bridge hits, marking the climax of the piece. Directed by the Sacred Egg, this is where the song and video finally come together to tell us the cult-like and risque story that’s been forming in the shadows. An unapologetic and deliciously funky bass solo screams out as a faction of harpies devours Kerr. And just as soon as it all started, it’s over, and we find ourselves staring at the same innocuous room, but this time we know the ghosts that hide in the walls.
If this single is any indication of what fans can expect from Royal Blood, then we can expect the familiar tones that we’ve grown used to, but more refined and matured. The sludgy bass, banging drums, and gritty vocals have all come together to form a mighty album. The award-winning band has admitted that although this album is still very much close to their roots, that they have experimented with new sounds and instruments to allow for a greater impact. The ten track album is en route to wow audiences from all musical preferences. Royal Blood is here to stay, and this new single promises an album that will only cement their place in hard rock’s future. Long live rock’n’roll, and long live Royal Blood.
Written by: Sawyer Click
Photos by: Perou
Gary Parks is trying some-thing new – in the form of a brand new neo-psychedelic band called Wall of Orange. Parks a former member of Dallas space rock legends The Tomorrowpeople unveils vulnerable, brilliant lyrics and stunning instrumentation which has been turning heads on Wall of Orange’s newly released self-titled debut. The album has garnered the attention of legendary producer Alan Moulder, (U2/The Foo Fighters/The Killers/Jesus & Mary Chain) who said, “I like the band Wall of Orange. I love the songs and their style. Good production and mix too.”
“Writing this record saved my life,” Gary revealed. “Wall of Orange” and its lyrics follow Parks through the emotional turmoil that losing his newborn daughter put him through. After trying for years to have a baby, something he always wanted, he and his wife turned to In Vitro to help them reproduce. After celebrating their long-awaited but sometimes precarious pregnancy, Parks was left devastated by the premature death of his newborn daughter and nearly losing his wife at the hospital. The loss sparked a long dark downward spiral. Ultimately Parks pulled himself out of his depression by doing one seemingly simple thing: writing songs again. Using his rediscovery of music and songwriting as a cathartic process helped him become whole again. The result: this self-titled debut.
“There’s a reason why the album has a dream-like quality. I experienced hell and stayed there for years. While writing these songs I was swimming through both good and bad memories and became kind of detached from reality. It was escapism and rescue for me. Songs like ‘Monster,’ ‘New Medicine’ and ’Hellogoodbye’ were my cathartic salvation.”
While Wall of Orange is a psychedelic pop group, their sound and lyrics extend into new worlds with a unique sophistication. Heavily influenced by artists such as The Verve, Spiritualized, The Posies, Smashing Pumpkins and late 60s summer headphone psychedelia, Parks set out to capture a sound that encompasses both his love for big, layered, dreamy soundscapes while maintaining accessibility through great pop hooks. But the one thing he focused on was honesty.
Writing this album was no easy task for Gary. “I just hope my music can help others who are feeling the same way. What happened to us took my idea of happiness and shattered it, but songwriting helped me rediscover something I thought I had lost, and gain new perspective on life. I simply told the story of my recovery, with all its ups and downs, and created a soundtrack for it”.
After an extensive demo process, recording for eight songs that would become the debut album began in the spring of 2016 at Pure Evil Studios and continued into the summer. Joined in the studio by longtime musical collaborators Danny Rix on bass and Matt Hunt on drums, Parks spent hundreds of hours perfecting the production. The album dropped in August and now, he is prepared to hit the stage and bring his passionate, epic music to the world.
The band will make their debut on Saturday, April 29 at The Kessler Theater with doors opening at 7 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. Two Dallas-based musicians are joining Wall of Orange onstage: experimental group The Angelus and female vocalist Sudie. Tickets can be purchased here online. TheKessler Theater is located at 1230 W. Davis St., Dallas, Texas 75208.
In a world of derivative rock bands and cookie cutter pop stars Clarence Clarity defies all classification; his 2015 twenty track debut, No Now, conquered subjects as wide ranging as cancer, religion and incest via lush melodies hijacked by walls of sound akin to an excitable child with a Korg Kaossilator. It was exhilarating, ballsy and fucking bonkers with a seasoned weirdness that begged the question of where on earth the London-based instrumentalist would go next. Well, in what might possibly be the worst segue ever, turns out Clarence is going nowhere on this planet, opting instead for interplanetary rhythms on second record LEAVE EARTH, with ‘Fold ‘Em‘ being just a tantalising taste of what’s to come.
The track is a beautiful mess. ‘I’m folding you, like cash in an urn’ Clarence croons delicately over the cacophony of colourful clatters, barely squeezing through the overblown synths like he’s wrestling with a sentient N64 that’s sick of him pushing his buttons. At the forty-second mark the track breaks down with the head massaging cheeps of birds; you can almost feel the sun beating down onto the white sands with palm trees swaying in the warm breeze before BAM! 404 this beach cannot be found. The instrumental kicks you squarely in the crotch sending you flying backwards down a gaudy rabbit hole in which the Mad Hatter lies in a pool of his own blood leaving Clarence Clarity to take his place at the head of the table.
Following a solid verse by Tampa-based rapper SHADI, ‘Fold ‘Em’ concludes with the transcendental echoes of a gospel choir warbling over a lilac sea of Windows 95 logos and Renaissance sculptures. It’s an assault on the eardrums that’s a lot to take in but the sickly sweet melody tickles the pleasure centre so much that you’ll be hitting that ‘play’ button until it becomes so worn you’ll only know where it is due to the placement of the rewind and fast forward.
If post-No Now singles such as ‘Vapid Feels Are Vapid’ and ‘Same’ are anything to go by (the latter of which headlined an EP that purely featured the same track five times) then LEAVE EARTH is set to be an alt-glitch-pop masterpiece. Clarence Clarity is an artist that will divide opinion but Christ, he convinced me.
Written By: Matthew Barbard
Photo by: Dempsey Thomas
Emily Bell & The Talkbacks recently released their EP Kali, three years after their 2014 ‘In Technicolor’ debut. Once, Austin’s secret, Bell’s music is making its way across the country and into the hearts of everybody who hears this five-track album.
“Can’t Talk Back” opens the EP, with an edgy mixture of rhythmic speaking and tones that ring in your ears afterward. This one’s a power ballad with attitude – it’s definitely no Bryan Adams. The Talkbacks hold all the energy of that garage-rock band that’s always ‘waking up the neighbors’, but with all the skill of well-honed professionals. There’s no doubt who’s in charge here and it’s definitely Bell, in this easy to listen to tune, vamped up with synthesizers.
Bell has a message she wants the world to know; empowerment is not something to be afraid of. She is, and she wants every female to be, with all proceeds of her April 29th Official Release Party being donated to The Girls Empowerment Network. Bell believes in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself and her voice will pick you back up from the cold floor after a hard week.
This message is reverberated throughout the EP, with the first song released “Goddess of Destruction” taking a much softer approach. Her accent is prominent as she calls out for ‘Kali’, sweet and honest. But the song turns choppy and turbulent; like gritty coffee beans not quite stirred into your morning coffee, bitter and interesting enough to glue you to it, as the sweetness warms your stomach. “We’ll all be bigger than the dream,” she promises. She’s leading a crowd and we can’t help but follow. This is a protest and I hear what she’s saying; nothing can stop you now.
Known for blazing stages and rock ‘n’ roll style, she’s the epitome of women in contemporary rock. A modern day female Nikki Sixx, but with much more tension and vulnerability. She refuses to lose her femininity and as you make your way through the EP, she shows this with pride, stronger with the stain of her pain.
The final song on this album will leave you craving more. “Crashing Hearts” is vulnerable and soulful, a side to Emily that shows you that it’s okay to be sad sometimes, it makes you feel like you know her. She sings softly “one day together, and the next day alone”, captioning a feeling of heartbreak in this song. She speaks metaphorically, depicting it as a car crash; brutal, violent and fatal, yet oddly so beautiful. She shows that you can be strong and still have fears too.
She captions every doubt and every painful step, exposing her weaknesses, but she doesn’t care and nor will you. Vulnerable or not, she’s empowered and she is in charge.
Emily Bell and The Talkbacks Official Kali Release Party will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 3TEN Austin City Limits Live. All proceeds will be donated to The Girls Empowerment Network. Tickets available here: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1442483
Can’t Talk Back
Girls That Never Die
Goddess of Destruction
Author: Megan Matthews
Yesterday, Dallas-based soul-pop artist Chad Goodson released his debut single ‘Looking Glass’. The track showcases Goodson’s signature brand of acoustic soul-driven indie pop and highlights the artist’s smooth vocal melodies and tasteful guitar licks.
“The ‘Looking Glass’ is symbolic for the future I saw with a love interest of mine,” said Goodson of the single. “She wasn’t ready to move forward due to fear and I was caught in between moving forward, but not scaring her away. It’s an emotional track.”
Fans of Ben Howard, Allen Stone and Stevie Wonder, should be pleased with this lightweight yet heavy-hearted melody.
Goodson’s debut single isn’t his first step into the spotlight as an indie artist. He’s known for collaborating with YouTube sensation Haley Klinkhammer. The duo has received an incredible amount of attention online from YouTube music fans with its cover of Shawn Mendes’ ‘Stitches,’ racking up over 130,000 views. Klinkhammer and Goodson also collaborated on a cover of Tori Kelly’s ‘Should’ve Been Us,’ a video that now has over 90,000 views on the online video platform.
Goodson reconnected with two regular collaborators from his YouTube cover videos for the ‘Looking Glass’ music video, creative director Ryan Jacobson and production manager Michael Bradley. The music video will be out this spring.
For more information visit Chad Goodson’s YouTube page here.
Photo: Conner Mckibbin
Los Angeles-based collective Salt Petal is invigorating audiences and critics alike with a tropical surf-dance sound in a category all its own. A cross-border combination of Argentinian folk, Brazilian tropicalia, cumbia and up tempo surf rock blurs ethnic and musical boundaries, bringing to mind Blondie, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, and 60′s rock and roll. The band’s sound is one of the freshest to come out of Los Angeles, showcasing deep South American rhythms with vibrant indie pop harmonies and textures.
Salt Petal’s latest release, Rare Hearts, set to release on April 28, was recorded at the famed London Bridge Studios in Seattle with producer Eric Lilavois (Saint Motel, Atlas Genius) and mixed and mastered by Raymond Richards (Local Natives, Avid Dancer). The album aims to be a constant reminder for humanity to have faith and love in ourselves, in order to continue to get through difficult moments. The central theme is “exploring the fight everyday against yourself to be able to see what you have around you” reveals vocalist Autumn Harrison.
Their sound is heavily influenced by the adventuresome explorations of South America’s music revolutions in the 60s and 70s, such as Tropicalia, Gonzalez confides,”Tropicalia had such a great philosophy of taking things on, consuming and devouring what was available and experimenting with it in a boundary-less way, in the search of a new identity.” Salt Petal aspires to do the same, with their new release Rare Hearts. They write from loving a variety of sounds found in California, with rhythms and sounds from across the Americas considered on equal footing with rock, soul, and blues. The musical collective describes their sound as subconscious and a natural extension of who they are and hope that Rare Hearts will inspire people to be passionate, courageous and of course to dance!
The band’s latest funky single ‘Disco Rats‘ is an engaging joyride filled with lavish electronics and bold Latin horns. One listen and you’ll understand why Salt Petal is in such high demand for festivals around the world.
It would be difficult to argue there’s a more influential band in Austin right now ahead of Riders Against the Storm. The husband and wife duo of Chaka and Qi Dada are at the forefront of Austin’s progressive movement helping lead the city’s music industry into the future. Music, art, fashion, you name it…the three-time AMA Band of the Year does it all. Last Friday, RAS dropped their most provocative video yet…I know, I know…that’s a bold statement for this thought-provoking group. ‘Mali‘ gives homage to the forces/spirits bringing us back, and resurrecting us from the ‘dead,’ explains Qi Dada. ‘Mali follows two souls trapped in torture and humiliation tactics used on enslaved Blacks. The song and video is a statement about being recognized in the world beyond your trauma, and walking with a healthy arrogance, confidence, and self-realized power in the world.’
I have no idea how I’ve slept on Portugal. The Man for so long. But, I’m woke now. A few months back the ‘Lords of Portland’ dropped a fresh video for ‘Noise Pollution’ off of their upcoming album Gloomin + Doomin. Filmed in Alaska with director Michael Ragen, the psychedelic video features Zoe Manville and Mary Elizabeth Winstead along with an unconventional ‘chest day’ routine. The video was posted with the following message from the band:
“It’s been a rough month y’all.
Not to be dramatic and shit, but there’s a flood of noise right now that feels like it might drown us all. And it’s harder and harder to tell what’s fact, what’s opinion, and what’s just straight up bullshit.We’re not able to make sense of it, much less tell you how to make sense of it. Thank God there’s music for that. We’ve been working on a new record with your boy Michael Diamond for awhile, but we made a quick stop in Alaska with filmmaker Michael Ragen to shoot this video. Seemed like the right time to show it to you. We’re in this together.”
You can’t talk about Houston hip-hop without mentioning Lil Keke. The legend that gave Houston its ‘Southside’ anthem has been putting it down for the 713 since 96’. Twenty-one years after he pimped the pen on 3 N The Mornin’, Don Ke is still one of the most versatile lyricists in the game. He proves with just two versus on ‘After The Laughter’ that his flow hasn’t lost a step and he can still wreck a track. The video keeps it simple with the Herschelwood Hardhead front-and-center framed by the Houston skyline. That’s it. No fluff, no fillers, just Lil Keke and two scorching versus.
So, I just watched War Dogs this past weekend and although it proved to be a fairly entertaining way to kill two hours it was the closing credits that left the greatest impression. As Miles Teller’s character David Packouz finds himself alone in a Miami hotel room with a briefcase full of cash the screen goes black with Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ ushering in the credits. This 1988 classic from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is hauntingly prophetic as the baritone vocals covers topics from AIDS, social problems, and relationship and religious issues.
Photo of Portugal. The Man by Phillip Leach
Fast, hard, and in your face, Dallas rock trio From Parts Unknown is set to release Trucker Speed on Friday, April 28. The band is hosting a co-record release show the night before (April 27) at Three Links in Deep Ellum with dark psych-rockers Drawer Devils. Self-proclaimed space vampires Bullet Machine and punk supergroup Blood Letters will also perform. Exuberating all things rock, the Trucker Speed delves into a variety of topics from substance abuse, relationships, life as a musician, all the way to poverty.
Bleeding energy and chaos, the three track EP grabs hold and never let’s go. The indefatigable vocals on “Rad Pitt” are backed by a ska-like jump in the rhythm section, which eventually gives way to a screaming guitar solo that cascades to black at the end of the song. Although only just over a minute long, “Mendoza” is the instrumental southern-punk theme song to everyday life and features lightning fast drums, a wailing guitar, and a hammering bass line. Though the title track “Trucker Speed” focuses on singer/guitarist Ben McCracken’s wicked melodic voice, the song still holds the band’s signature maelstrom-yet-catchy sound close to heart.
These tracks contain the perfect amount of adrenaline that would provide anyone with enough energy to run around the world and back before any of the boisterous guitar solos have met their end. This EP is for people who always seem to hit every red light on the way to work, those that just need to let out pent-up emotions, and those daring enough to tackle trying to air-drum along. It’s more than just music, it’s a feeling of connectedness; that you’re not the only one going through rough times. Punk is a community, and From Parts Unknown has just introduced themselves to the family.
Trucker Speed Release Party April 27 at Three Links in Deep Ellum. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here in advance. The show is ages 18 and up. Three Links is located in Deep Ellum at 2704 Elm St., Dallas, Texas 75226.
From Parts Unknown’s EP “Trucker Speed” will be available for purchase on Friday, April 28 via iTunes and the group’s Bandcamp at https://frompartsunknowntx.bandcamp.com or for streaming on Spotify.
Written by: Sawyer Click