A steady number of new albums from area artists are dropping with the frequency of fall foliage, and we've rounded up a few you should become well acquainted with.
Vanessa Peters, 'The Burn The Truth The Lies'
A Dallas-based singer-songwriter who struck out on her own in 2009 has fashioned one of the most disarming local records I've heard this year. Strongly reminiscent of Aimee Mann, Peters crafts deceptively compelling tunes -- the one-two punch of opener The Good Judge and Bright Red have been lodged in my head for days now -- and conveys her inner turmoil without stooping to melodrama. It's the gritty stuff of life wrapped in an appealing, slightly poppy, slightly countrified package, produced by Rip Rowan and featuring musical contributions from John Dufilho, Jason Garner and Joe Reyes. An artist to keep close tabs on. (vanessapeters.com)
Foxtrot Uniform, 'Huj! Huj! Hajrah!'
There's just something ever so slightly off about Fort Worth's Foxtrot Uniform -- and I mean that as a compliment. The core duo -- Kelly Test and Kenny Uptain (Robbie Saunders recently came aboard to beef up live gigs and future albums) -- allows itself to ramble freely across any number of genres on its pleasing debut effort, whether it's the vintage shuffle of She Ain't Got a Care Now or the runaway freight train opener Getting to You. Echoes of acts like the Black Keys or even fellow locals Oil Boom are evident throughout, but Foxtrot Uniform's willingness to stir together some unexpected sounds give Hajrah! a flavor all its own. (foxtrotuniform.bandcamp.com)
Somebody's Darling, 'Jank City Shakedown'
The first thing you hear on Jank City Shakedown, the sophomore effort of Somebody's Darling, is the searing vocals of Amber Farris, wailing in the long, proud tradition of dynamic female rockers. She is unquestionably the biggest weapon in the Dallas quintet's arsenal, but far from the only one. Farris anchors the proudly messy blend of rock and country with her singular pipes, but her bandmates are air-tight behind her, deploying keys, bass and drums to create a roiling rhythm section that makes tracks like Wedding Clothes or Back to the Bottle rip out of the speakers like a wild night on the town. (somebodysdarling.com)
Los Noviembres, 'The Great Iridescent Glory'
In a city overrun with guitar groups and ambitions pried directly from the Texan tradition, it's startling -- and refreshing -- to hear what a group like Los Noviembres has wrought on its debut album, The Great Iridescent Glory. Vocalist Angie Cassada, guitarist Paul Boll, bassist Paul Unger and drummer Dennis Durick have crafted a cosmopolitan collection of pop ( Sunday in the City (Bom Bom) is a delirious keeper), unafraid of straying into atmospheric jazz or full-on guitar rave-ups (Odiame). It's unlike anything else I've heard emanating from North Texas -- transporting, inventive and addictive. (soundcloud.com/losnoviembres)
Eric Harvey, 'Lake Disappointment'
For many music fans, Eric Harvey is probably best known as a member of Spoon. But the now Dallas-based musician is no slouch on his own -- apart from producing local acts like Spook Easy, Harvey also found time this year to reveal his solo debut, Lake Disappointment. These 10 songs are a world away from Britt Daniel's angular art-rock, and are infused with a humility and synth-tinged prairie sprawl that establishes some interesting tensions. Tracks like Year of the Rat and Poor Jude will leave listeners hoping Harvey takes another detour from his day job sooner rather than later. (ericharvey.com)
Ronnie Fauss, 'I Am the Man You Know I'm Not'
The latest local to make good beyond the state's borders, Dallas singer-songwriter Ronnie Fauss was signed earlier this year to Normaltown Records, an imprint of respected Americana label New West. What's changed about his approach, now that he's earned a little more visibility? Not one blessed thing -- I Am the Man You Know I'm Not is full of the very same rough-hewn country-rock that filled his handful of locally released EPs and likely attracted label attention in the first place. Working with producer Sigurdur Birkis, Fauss fashions one late night, last call gem after another, from I Don't See You to Good Enough. (ronniefauss.com)