Daniel Hart

The Orientalist

Daniel Hart is a nice looking guy who plays violin and sings great songs. He’s from Emporia, Kansas, but he’s currently playing his music in your very own Dallas, Texas. He has a 12-track album called “The Orientalist” on Bandcamp for $5. If you think that’s too much, you can stream it for free, as alway,s in Mp3 quality. If you listen to it, enjoy it and can’t afford to buy it, I would encourage you to at least send this guy an e-mail. Everyone loves encouragement.

The first track on the album is incredible. It’s called “Achilles Heart (Hanuman Steals The Bow And Arrow)," and it’s got some great string work from beginning to end. It almost reminds me of Patrick Watson for a while, but other songs on the album are much more accessible. In any case, this is an incredibly tasteful song. If you listen to it and aren’t captivated, just head on to the next track and see if you like his pop “O Sangeeta” better. It’s a bit more immediately consumable.

“How Can Love Be Wrong?” is my favorite on the album. This track has lots of interesting production. The arrangement is constantly surprising and fulfilling. The electronic sounds really fit, and the reverb on the vocals is very effective. This is a very strong song both on the surface and once you really dig into the lyrics.

If you’re in Dallas, find this guy and give him some great encouragement! If not, these songs are well worth a listen. 

 

The Sun And The Moon

Shadows

The Sun And The Moon are exactly the kind of music I both like and don't very often find in Texas. I realize how vague that statement was, but this is hard to categorize. There are so many great things going on in this band’s music. You can head to their Bandcamp page and listen to their eight track album “Shadows,” and you can even download it all at the price of your choice! What a deal!

There’s a really cool intro track, and then once you get into the album in full the feel of this band becomes obvious. It’s a sort of calming, soothing effect. The lyrics seem totally sincere, all the tones are soft and healing and the arrangements are perfectly subtle. There’s a mini guitar solo at the end of the second track, “Smile,” that you can hardly pick up on, but things like that add so much.

My favorite track on the album is probably “A Minor Distortion/Coming To Be.” It starts out with a perfect guitar tone and lots of interesting background sounds, then a soft distorted beat comes in and is later joined by a real kit and a harmonica. This is one of the longer tracks on this album, and it really uses it’s time well, slowly building and swelling into various dynamic levels. The vocals don’t come in for a couple minutes, but they hit hard when they do. Every part of this song prepares you for the next part of the song. I love it. 

 

M83 at the Granada Theater

The two long-awaited M83 shows at the Granada Theater are scheduled for this coming Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20. Rumor has it that this was the fastest selling concert in the theater's history. All tickets sold out in a record three minutes. A few thousand people, however, were able to secure coveted entrance passes.

If you were like the rest of the city - myself included - then there is still time to buy tickets for the next M83 concert. Of course, you'll have to travel to Spain to see it.

Since I won't be able to be in the audience next weekend, I'll have to enjoy the band from the comfort of my iPod. It's not the same as a live show, but I will still appreciate their music at home.

M83 came together in France back in 2001. Their sound is described as celestial pop, which is appropriate since they chose their name after the Messier 83 Galaxy.

Last year, the band released Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, their first double album. Band leader Anthony Gonzalez wanted a record that wasn't too long, but still eclectic and diverse. Each song uses different tones, styles and tempos to create a soundtrack-type feel. In the end, the fans were left with an epic musical story.

While M83's previous albums reached moderate success in other countries, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming was the first one to get commercial success in the States. Pitchfork placed the album third on their Top 50 Albums of 2011 list. It's no wonder that their Dallas shows sold out so quickly.

If you were lucky enough to grab a ticket, I envy you. For the rest of us, enjoy this music by M83.

M83 - Midnight City

Seth Slay

Mélange

Seth Slay is a singer/songwriter from Dallas who just put a nine great tracks of ultra catchy, super viable, folk pop songs in an album called Mélange on Bandcamp. If you like repetitive, catchy, well recorded songs with solid reoccurring hooks and traditional instrumentation, check out Seth Slay! Right from the beginning of the album, “Headphones” is sure to get in your head and stay there.

 

“Flight Of The Barn Owl” is probably my favorite on the album. It starts out with just vocals and rhythm mandolin. It’s a traditional story song, complete with full bodied vocal harmonies and eventually walking bass lines and swing drums. This song is great!

You can download all these albums on Bandcamp for five dollars or stream it all for free. Being from Appalachia, I feel suited to say that these songs really deserve to be called “Folk” in the sense that it means over here in the Smoky Mountains. Excellent work, Dallas, keep it up. Texas and Tennessee have strong roots.

“Love Is Not Safe” is another great track on the album. It’s got some interesting harmonica. They water themes in the lyrics are very appropriate to the theme, and everything seems to be working out. I’m a big fan of empty intros that break into nice full jams, and this song does that perfectly.

I feel confident that I would love to see Seth Slay live. I know a lot of other people here in Tennessee would as well, and I hope he comes here eventually. In the meantime, I’m going to keep listening to these great songs on Bandcamp. 

 

Dreamweapons

Soundscaping

Dreamweapon’s Bandcamp page is about as dark as the music. These are ambient tracks for that part of night when you can’t remember why you’re still awake, and you just want to sit on the couch and forget about everything. Dreamweapon has four tracks on Bandcamp under an album called “Exorcises,” and if you appreciate ambient music, these are really effective.

The first track, “Journey Through A Refriend Cerebral Cortex” is just over 21 minutes long, and it’s much better played loudly. This track, and the other three on the album for that matter, are downright scary. It’s an ambient kind of scary though, and it’s not likely to give you any negative feelings. It’ll just zone you out really well. It kind of reminds me of an ambient album Black Rebel Motorcycle Club did called “The Effects Of 333” but even less melodic.

If you’ve had a rough or particularly stressful day, put on some good headphones, lay down on your bed and listen to these songs. I find music like this very relaxing because of its ability to fully immerse you into a world that you are absolutely unfamiliar with. We can’t relate directly to sounds, but there’s still always this strong sense of connection when we listen to music.

I think that’s the reason that we are able to enjoy everything from symphonies to ambient electronica, and each has it’s worth. Dreamweapons tracks on Bandcamp are a good example of modern ambient electronic soundscaping done well, and you can get all four tracks for free on Bandcamp.

 

Celebrate Record Store Day at Good Records in Dallas

Good Records of Dallas continues with their annual store birthday celebration this year on Record Store Day, April 21.

The locally owned music store, which has been in business for 12 years, was founded from within the inner circle of beloved Dallas band Tripping Daisy. Ever since its opening, the shop has become a popular hangout for music enthusiasts across the Metroplex.Good Records started with a cozy, intimate retail store on Good-Latimer Expressway near Deep Ellum. It recently relocated to a much larger location in Lower Greenville that has ample space to display new releases, as well as host concerts from local groups.

Good Records has a great history of featuring local and world talent at its in-store events. On April 21, Good Records will party with a line-up of bands to complement all the vinyl releases of World Record Store Day. This celebration has been around for five years and puts the spotlight back on vinyl records in the digital age.

Record Store Day is celebrated around the world at various music shops. Bands and labels from all around the world will release special and limited edition vinyl albums and singles for the occasion. Good Records will celebrate with their own limited edition vinyl release of Preteen Zenith's Rubble Guts & BB Eye album on their own Good Records Recordings imprint.

Preteen Zenith is the brainchild of ex-Tripping Daisy members Tim Delaughter and Phil Karnats. In recent times, Delaughter is most known known for his charismatic leading of the Polyphonic Spree tribe. Karnats is popular for working with the Secret Machines.

Good Records 12th Anniversary and 5th Annual Record Store Day  co-celebration will feature local and regional acts, including Skeleton Coast, Yells At Eeels, Sealion, New Fumes, Diamond Age and Star Death & White Dwarfs. This free event starts at 8 a.m. and will continue until the last band, Star Death & White Dwarfs, performs at 11 p.m.

Riddle & Cole

Beautiful Folk Duets

Riddle & Cole have a very tight sound on their tracks on Bandcamp. What I like most about this Bandcamp page is that even though they only have three songs on it, they have them listed separately with descriptions of each song. Check them out for great acoustic duets!

 

“Love Me” is a based on real life break-up song. They do not list the names of the parties involved, but it sounds like this was a very emotional situation. I suppose break-ups usually are, and almost all people should be able to relate to this feeling.

“Better Than The Last” is about love, as Riddle & Cole put it, “when it works!” This is my favorite of the three tracks. It’s totally appropriate, musically. It’s a soft, but positive sort of sound. The harmonies are more harmonious than just musically. These folks voices really blend together in an emotional way. I don’t know if this song is about themselves, but they’re doing a convincing job of singing it.

The third track, “With You,” is without a description, but it’s absolutely worth listening to. It’s a bit different than the others. These musicians are doing great on creating variety with limited instrumentation. All three of these songs are very simple, but somehow they have totally distinct sounds.

Head over to Riddle & Cole’s Bandcamp page to hear these three beauties! You can get them on to your own hard drive for $1 each. They’re certainly worth a listen-and a dollar!

Eddie Vedder Ukulele Songs Tour postponed

You might remember how excited I was to post about Eddie Vedder's solo tour this spring. If you are one of the Dallas fans that was able to secure a good seat, you may be disappointed to learn that the Ukulele Songs Tour has been postponed. Instead of happening on April 30, Vedder is planning on coming to Dallas on November 15 of this year.

Unfortunately, Eddie Vedder is dealing with some health problems that are interfering with his ability to perform. He is confident that the doctors will have him ready to play in no time, but he needs the next few months to nurse his way back to health.

Vedder recently injured his back, which resulted in nerve damage to his right arm. He has been working extensively with doctors for the last eight weeks, with the hopes of recovering before the tour started this month. Unfortunately, his extensive injury needs a lot more time to heal. Nerve damage tends to repair very slowly, and it can be quite painful during this time. Unable to play his ukulele without the use of his right arm, Vedder decided it was in the best interest of his fans to start the show later this year.

Sure, many critics are going to boo Vedder for this decision, but I'm sure they wouldn't even type their criticisms if they were dealing with the same pain. As someone who knows what nerve damage feels like, Vedder has my deepest sympathies.

Fans, while this may seem like bad news, just think how much better the show will be in November. Eddie Vedder has never let down his fans before, so I'm sure that he will rock the house on his ukulele - only he knows how to rock out on that instrument. I know that I'll still be there.

Want some good news? There are still tickets available for the rescheduled November 15 concert. You can purchase them at Front Gate Tickets. Previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new show date. Doors at the Music Hall at Fair Park open at 6:30 p.m.

Can't make the new show date? If you already bought tickets, you are eligible for a refund through the point-of-purchase. But hey, you really have enough notice to ask off from work!

Enjoy this video while you wait.

Eddie Vedder Longing to Belong

Get well soon, Eddie Vedder!

Zombie Western

A Dallas band

If you name your band Zombie Western, you’d better be awesome. Those are two of the coolest words. Yet another cool word! One of their songs is called “Wasteland." It’s on their seven-song album “The Great Migration,” and it is indeed awesome. It’s creepy enough to justify the use of all those ultra cool words. Check out Waco’s Zombie Western if you’re into instrumental rock and cool moods!

Coincidentally, I think “Wasteland” is probably my favorite track on this album. It’s got so many great sounds in it. From the beginning there’s this high frequency that sounds like incredibly controlled guitar feedback. Then the snare and bass come in and with just three sounds the mood is already set. The song continues for six minutes and never loses the strength of that feeling. It’s totally a wasteland kind of song.

This album came out just over a month ago on February 21, so it’s totally new and the hype is still building. You can get it on Bandcamp for seven dollars or stream it for free. These guys are doing a great job with the instrumental genre, and that’s not easy at all. Too many instrumental bands are too boring, but these guys keep your attention the whole time.

Be sure to also check out Zombie Western’s 2010 Album, “The End.. And The Aftermath” or, if you are fortunate enough to get an opportunity, go see them play live! Instrumental musicians are usually tone freaks, so I’m sure this will sound even better in person.

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