Whether it’s a veteran pop-rock outfit from Fort Worth, a fresh-faced foursome from up Denton way or one of Cowtown’s more forward-thinking MCs, there’s no shortage of worthwhile local albums seeing the light of day. Here are three well worth your time and money.
Green River Ordinance, ‘Chasing Down the Wind’
After more than a decade together and a brief major-label flirtation, Fort Worth quintet Green River Ordinance is undoubtedly in the market for something fresh. The band’s follow-up to last year’s full-length Under Fire provides just that — after years of polished pop-rock, Josh Jenkins and his bandmates are infusing their melodic tunes with folk and country touches (fiddle, mandolin and banjo) that push the group in a fascinating new direction. It’s not quite a total rejection of what came before, but these seven songs — like the exuberant anthem Flying — don’t really sound like much else in the GRO catalog, suggesting that the future for these tireless musicians is wide open.
Brave Young Lion, ‘Same Old Game’
It seems like lately, every time I press play on a new album from Denton, I end up falling hard. Brave Young Lion is no exception: Same Old Game is some of the sharpest local rock I’ve heard recently. Drummer/guitarist Hunter Cannon (who also logs time in another terrific Denton act, Death in the West), vocalist/guitarist Rico Turrubiarte, guitarist/drummer Spencer Turrubiarte and bassist Brian Shovlin roar out of the gate with the fantastic 122A, and proceed to maintain a breakneck pace over the next four tracks. It’s fabulous, kinetic stuff, and will have you itching to see the band live.
A-Roy, ‘The Unseen Man’
The tireless Sphere Music Group team is back at it, with the sophomore release from A-Roy. Expansive at 15 tracks, The Unseen Man is a fine showcase for A-Roy’s deceptively casual approach — his surface interest in familiar rap tropes masks deeper aims. As he observes on Victory: “Whoever said rap can’t be hard and smart is probably stupid.” After a strong early run, including the Dru B Shinin’-augmented Checklist and the infectious Just Move (which, in a just world, would be a massive radio hit), The Unseen Man downshifts into a mellow backstretch (typified by the late gem Good Life) that leaves you floating.