Mainstream rock bands tend to get the lion’s share of attention on the local music scene, but there are plenty of worthy acts percolating in other genres. This week, I spin three recent releases from North Texas-based acts, two of which swim in the deeper end of rock and metal.
Power Trip, ‘Manifest Decimation’
For a half-hour or so this past March, Dallas thrash quintet Power Trip made South by Southwest feel truly dangerous. On a rooftop patio in downtown Austin, vocalist Riley Gale led the small crowd in a profane chant aimed at another band and another audience across the street. That was just the warm-up — once Power Trip tore into its music, things really went berserk, and venue security was breaking up violent slam-dancers as quickly as they started. All that’s to say, Manifest Decimation, the band’s debut on Southern Lord Records, is an intense piece of work — eight songs that hit like cinder blocks, and whip by in a breakneck 35 minutes. Loud, dark and merciless, Power Trip is one of the toughest North Texas bands in some time.
Animal Spirit, self-titled
There’s a fascinating potential for creative tension in Fort Worth foursome Animal Spirit: Andrew Stroheker and Sam Wuehrmann share lead vocal duties, his nasal quaver pierced by her high, anxious wail. In practice, however, Animal Spirit’s nine-song debut is messy to the point of frustration, with the co-leads weaving in and out of sprawling, faintly psychedelic songs lacking a clear focus. ( Parker Anderson and Joe Cannariato round out the group.) There are glimmers of hope — Hey Girl rides a catchy guitar lick, while Hooray for the Sun smolders nicely — but too much of Animal Spirit sounds like what it is: a band less than a year old trying to figure out exactly what it wants to be. Animal Spirit celebrates the release of its debut album Saturday at Lola’s Saloon in Fort Worth.
True Widow, ‘Circumambulation’
Self-described Dallas “stonegaze” trio True Widow continues to brood in exquisite fashion on its third full-length album, the follow-up to 2011’s magnificently titled As High as the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth. The Matt Pence-produced Circumambulation, in stores Tuesday, marks Dan Phillips, Timothy Starks and Nicole Estill’s debut on Relapse Records, but the band maintains its flair for sludgy atmospherics. Circumambulation is an album to sink into and get lost with, a record made for low lights and a solid pair of headphones.