Lone Star Sounds: New music worth hearing from area artists

Posted 8:58am on Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013

The new music continues pouring, unabated, from area bedrooms, garages and studios. There’s lots to hear, so let’s dive right in.

Daniel Markham, ‘Daniel Markham Ruined My Life’

Denton singer-songwriter Daniel Markham makes his intentions clear on the opening track of his fifth studio album: I Came Here to Rock and Roll. And over the course of the ensuing tracks, Markham, with assists from local luminaries Grady Don Sandlin and Tony Ferraro, indeed punches out some masterful, moody rock songs laced with smart lyrics. Whether he’s bidding a lover farewell (Best of Luck) or sifting through his romantic past (Going Insane), Markham does so with an economy of language and generosity of melody that will leave you feeling dazzled. He’ll celebrate Life on June 20 at Hailey’s. Online: danielmarkham.band camp.com

Killa MC, ‘OGK’

As the man himself writes on his website, “I decided to put together something quick for y’all to … bump throughout these hot summer days we’re gonna have coming up.” The Fort Worth MC (aka Donovan Payne) keeps it relatively chill on these five cuts, but don’t mistake relaxation for laziness. From the shocking opener Convocation, abruptly punctuated with a gunshot, through to Loop 820 (one of two tracks namechecking his hometown; the other is McCart Ave.), Killa MC wrestles with what it means to be an O.G. (original gangster) and the eternal battle of a rapper to stay on top of his game. Tough but engaging, OGK rewards repeated listens. Online: killamc.net

Jordan Higginbotham, ‘Welcome to Cowtown’

Somewhat humbly, Fort Worth native Jordan Higginbotham describes himself as a “19-year-old college kid trying to make it in music.” If this new six-song EP is any indication, the raw materials are certainly there, and if the singer-songwriter, now based in Denton, can find a producer or more seasoned musician to help guide him, Higginbotham could blossom into a genuinely formidable talent. That’s not to suggest that Welcome to Cowtown is an unbearable mess — far from it — but some of the EP’s most gorgeous moments (closer Sir, You’re Gonna Start a War; the sunny A Way of Healing) occasionally don’t feel fully baked. Yet Higginbotham is armed with a genuinely arresting style — his vocal phrasing is shades of Bob Dylan — and a knack for melodies that stick in your head, marking him as a local performer to keep close tabs on. Higginbotham will perform at the Aardvark on June 23. Online: jordanhigginbotham. bandcamp.com

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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