Change is the life’s blood of any vital music scene.
As young bands ascend to prominence, established acts must continue to find ways to reinvigorate their sound.
Here are three new releases, one from a veteran band and two more from musicians just beginning to make a name for themselves.
It’s a time of transition for Fort Worth mainstays Calhoun — these days, guitarist Jordan Roberts hangs his hat in San Francisco, and the digital-only Paperweights, the band’s first release since 2011’s Heavy Sugar LP, finds Tim Locke and his bandmates ( Toby Pipes, Danny Balis and Josh Hoover) pushing their cerebral pop in fascinating new directions. Not unlike the stylistic shift undertaken by Burning Hotels, Calhoun embraces a synth-pop aesthetic that doesn’t diminish its sharp songs in the least. The gleaming, glittering tracks, including standouts like Reap/Sow, Fatal Flaws and the jaw-dropping Songs on Songs, demand repeat listens to soak in all that Calhoun has wrought. As reinventions go, it’s pretty close to flawless.
Big Joe Walker, ‘I Am Big Joe Walker’
“I’m Big Joe Walker,” rumbles the Dallas native on the opening track of his debut EP, “You don’t wanna cross me/I’ll tell you why.” Turns out his bark is worse than his bite — it’s not long before Walker, who has competed in KSCS’s Battle of the Bands and been featured on the TV series Troubadour, TX, is singing longingly of a Friday Night in Texas and Heartache. His approach to country music falls squarely in the modern tradition of rock attitude adorned with Nashville-appropriate flourishes, but Walker’s bold voice stands out in a field populated with milquetoast singers wielding guitars. While gloss gets his foot in the door, it would be even more interesting if the 30-year-old Walker stripped down his sound and let his emotive baritone truly shine. Walker performs at Arlington’s World of Beer on Nov. 15.
Lazy Summer, ‘Fall Creeping In’
The descriptor “whimsical” can sometimes be wielded like an epithet, but in the case of Arlington trio Lazy Summer ( Jeremiah Kirby, Justin Weisenborn and Deryck Barrera), it’s a near-perfect fit. Folding jazz, folk and pop together to create something quite unlike any other band in North Texas, Fall Creeping In is a luminous debut, overseen by Britt Robisheaux at Fort Worth’s Eagle Audio. These 10 instrumentals, which the band’s Bandcamp page says were recorded in just five hours, sway like reeds between upbeat (album opener El Indio; Paste) and melancholy ( Know Any Ideas). Arresting and engaging, not to mention creatively limitless, this threesome is one of the most exciting to emerge from the fertile local musical scene in recent memory.