Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Local ear candy: 5 new songs from Earnest Matthew, Pentatonix and more
You have to check out this a cappella mashup Daft Punk songs.
“Ain’t Gonna Let No Stone,” Earnest Matthew
If you’re looking for thoughtfully arranged acoustic tunes to embellish a low-key morning, check out the new release from Dallas singer-songwriter Matthew Bridgman, who performs as Earnest Matthew. His indie album The Knowledge of Good and Evil was released in late October, and it finds Bridgman blending a heady brew of blues, folk and chamber pop. His sometimes gritty, sometimes angelic vocals (think Conor Oberst) grab me in every track, but the one I’m going back to most is the bluesy spiritual “Ain’t Gonna Let No Stone.” No matter where you lie in your beliefs, this one will hit you in the same way that Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” did.
“16 Miles to Empty,” The Venetian Sailors
After building a steady buzz with live shows over the last several months, Dallas’ modern jug band led by Robbie Saunders recently shared three freshly recorded tracks online. “Secular Saint” and “Dazed Daydream” both lean toward radio-friendly pop-rock, but the substantially funkier “16 Miles to Empty” is the one we’d most like to hear at a concert. It’s a five-minute mini jam in which plucky mandolin picking, bow-chicka bass riffs and blues-tinged vocal lines intermingle and somehow avoid disaster. Hear it when the Sailors play November 21 at Adair’s Saloon, 2624 Commerce St., Dallas.
“Songs About Trucks,” Wade Bowen
In its own clever and grounded way, the new single by Waco’s Red Dirt veteran Wade Bowen is the first notable musical statement to address country’s most annoying trend. Have you noticed that many of the top-charting songs these days involve alpha males singing about tailgating, backroading, and getting down and dirty in natural water bodies? Do you agree with Zac Brown and Kacey Musgraves that these songs are at best narrow and at worst eye-rollingly unoriginal? Well, you have a friend in Bowen and the writers of “Songs About Trucks,” respected Nashville up-and-comers Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally. Rather than hurl insults at the singers of backroad anthems, the lyrics slyly compare their subject matter to the classic sad-sack content that once defined the genre. I’m hoping the tune gets a lot of mileage both for its lyrics and its trend-bucking singer. Catch Bowen on December 7 at Billy Bob’s Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth.
Songs About Trucks - Wade Bowen - Official Lyric Video
“Daft Punk,” Pentatonix
Arlington-based singers and Martin High School alums Kirstin Maldonado, Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying joined two others to bring a new level of swagger and professionalism to a cappella music in 2011, winning the third season of NBC’s The Sing-Off. Now based in LA, Pentatonix has just released its second volume of innovative cover tunes, PTX, Vol. II. Now, I understand if those who despise Glee, Pitch Perfect and other flagrant displays of musical positivity want to skip ahead to the next blurb. But these guys excel at arranging instrument-free medleys — especially on “Daft Punk,” with its incorporation of “Technologic,” “One More Time,” and “Get Lucky.”
[Official Video] Daft Punk - Pentatonix
“9th Grade,” AV the Great
The Denton rapper Chris Avant, or AV the Great, gained new fans with a blistering performance at Little D’s recent Rock Lottery event. There, he mixed it up with other musicians on tunes they’d put together that very day. He acted as frontman of their makeshift group, The Trill, spitting verses, singing with the abandon of a punk frontman, and then switching to Temptations-style soul vocals. After seeing video footage of the performance, I’m starting to understand why the word “Great” is in Avant’s stage name. He thinks much bigger than a lot of his peers. For more evidence of that, look to his year-old track “9th Grade,” during which his highly observant biographical raps move from defiant to incensed. AV the Great will play Denton’s Oaktopia festival in downtown on November 16.