Local musicians aren't taking the summer off.
While the rest of us ponder vacation or plan weekend getaways to beat the ceaseless heat, musicians across North Texas are keeping noses to the grindstone. Fortunately, we all benefit from their dedication, as the stream of new albums and EPs continues unabated.
Here are five new efforts from some of the area's brightest lights.
Oil Boom, 'Gold Yeller'
Consistency, thy name is Oil Boom. That's far from a criticism, and indeed, if Ryan Taylor, Dugan Connors and new bassist Steve Steward want to crank out variations on this, the follow-up to last year's superb debut, Black Waxy, I know I wouldn't complain. The trio smartly retains what worked best about Waxy -- an engaging, loose-limbed rawness, coupled with airtight musicianship -- and injects infectious melodies, making Gold Yeller the epitome of a sophomore slump-beater. Just try to listen to the opener, Lily Liver, or The Great American Shakedown and stay planted in your seat. Oil Boom will celebrate the EP's release Saturday at Magnolia Motor Lounge with Kentucky Knife Fight and the Longshots. (oilboom.bandcamp.com)
Kevin Aldridge & the Appraisers, 'The Viper Sessions'
The beauty of any Kevin Aldridge song is that if you eliminate the music, it's still a compelling piece of work. With the skill of a novelist, Aldridge sketches lives of little hope, persistent love and grand despair. That he surrounds himself with fantastic musicians, who help turn these short stories into awesome slices of country-fried rock is icing on the cake. The Viper Sessions has been long in coming, as Aldridge tinkered with the material, but as with all great things, the wait was more than worth it. Aldridge and his backing band, the Appraisers, will fete the new album Friday at Magnolia Motor Lounge, with the Quaker City Night Hawks and the Apache 5. (kevinaldridge.com)
KatsüK, 'Zero Point'
In a personal note accompanying his latest album, Daniel Katsük calls the 15-track effort, which took three years to complete, "one of the greatest creative works we have yet to do." While musicians are always most proud of what is most recent, Katsük's pride is justified: Zero Point is a captivating showcase from one of Fort Worth's more underappreciated singer-songwriters. With help from local folks like Matt Skates and Scott Vernon, Katsük spins thoughtful tales of consciousness that never forsake melody for message. Point Zero has something to say, and you'll be happy to hear it, again and again. KatsüK will celebrate Zero Point's release Saturday at the Where House with Goodwin and Neptune Locals. (katsuk.com)
Smile Smile, 'Marry a Stranger'
Does what happens beyond the confines of the recording studio have any bearing on the finished product? It's something to consider with Smile Smile's third full-length CD, following up 2010's Truth on Tape, which got mileage (and great songs) out of bandmates Ryan Hamilton and Jencey Hirunrusme's romantic split. The Salim Nourallah-produced Marry a Stranger sadly doesn't boast anything as immediately irresistible as Tape's Tempo Bledsoe -- Hamilton and Hirunrusme split songwriting duties across 11 tracks; and it feels like it's working overtime to convey intensity. The hushed vocals, mournful melodies and overwrought lyrics ( Burn the Water is a head-scratcher) combine for a dreary listen; perhaps a little pain is necessary. Smile Smile celebrates Stranger's release Saturday at the Granada Theater. (smilesmilemusic.com)
Team Tomb, self-titled
Formerly known as Coves, this Denton super-group of sorts (vocalist-guitarist Caleb Ian Campbell, keyboardist Roy Robertson, bassist Jeremy Buller and drummer-keyboardist Benny Bailey) makes abrasively beautiful music on their self-titled debut LP. The guitars threaten to become atonal, while washes of keys buoy Campbell's distinctive, otherworldly (and frequently heavily treated) voice. Even tracks like Filaments, which feel straightforward, take thrilling left turns into unpredictable territory, marking Team Tomb as a restless spirit worth keeping an eye on. (teamtomb.bandcamp.com)