Local musicians can sometimes elude easy definition. In Southlake, students (!) at a recording studio have put their studies to the test with a new compilation. Elsewhere, a veteran Fort Worth act continues to be predictably unpredictable. Here are four new North Texas releases worth a spin.
Various artists, ‘Home Grown, Vol. 3’
Southlake’s Hall Music Productions offers music lessons to students of all ages (“from 3 to 79,” says studio owner David Hall). With the help of a few local musicians ( Andrew O’Hearn, Jessie Frye and Kaela Bratcher among them) who double as instructors at HMP, the budding artists put their sonic studies to use on a 25-track compilation featuring work from a slew of HMP scholars. Everything from breezy, kid-friendly pop ( Soleil Singh’s The Chase Chain) to bluesy instrumentals ( Dylan James Bishop’s sizzling Jam 37) is on display, marking these civilians as nothing if not quick studies. (The compilation is available for download via iTunes, or for purchase at the studio, 630 E. Southlake Blvd.)
Here Holy Spain, ‘Under the Undertow’
Ferocious, unrelenting rock songs are more difficult to pull off than you’d suspect. Dallas’ Here Holy Spain — Wes Todd, Erica Guagliardi, Scott Brayfield and Ben Piche — make it sound easy. The foursome’s latest offering, a split vinyl release with Descender, is akin to being socked in the face (five tracks equal five fingers in a fist, right?). The pain’s worth it, though: Way Out One in Five is a ripsnorting opener, and the insistent Even the Bright Ones Burn Out brings the set to a searing close. HHS will celebrate the split LP’s arrival Saturday at Deep Ellum’s Three Links.
Descender, ‘Slow and Gold’
As mentioned above, these five songs are the other half of a new split vinyl LP, released by Idol Records. Descender is no slouch when it comes to loud, heavy music, but there’s something more sinister at work. That said, there’s melody down in the depths, and band members Casey Hess, Zack Busby, Jeff Gruber and Duncan Black mine it without ever sacrificing weight. The quartet wedges a six-minute epic onto its half of the split LP — The Language broods in appealing fashion — and makes this joint effort with Here Holy Spain a must-have for rock fans.
Spoonfed Tribe, ‘Enjoy the Ride’
Trying to pin down Fort Worth octet Spoonfed Tribe is an exercise in futility. (Even the group’s own description — “experimental rock soundscapes with an international percussive feel” — doesn’t quite seem to nail it.) Enjoy the Ride, the band’s first studio effort in six years (following 2007’s Public Service Announcement), doesn’t clarify much, but listeners will probably be too busy dancing to care. Spicing its globe-trotting jazz-funk with scorching sax work from local treasure Jeff Dazey, Spoonfed Tribe has crafted an album tricky to describe but easy to enjoy.