Trying new things can be terrifying — and liberating.
Much of a career in music is built upon thinking outside the box, and being unafraid to take risks when the situation calls for it. There is no shortage of adventurous souls in the North Texas scene, and these three records are ample proof of that.
Much has been made of Antiphon, Midlake’s fourth studio album and its first since 2010’s The Courage of Others, because it’s the Denton sextet’s maiden voyage without singer Tim Smith, who departed the band last year. While it’s true that some bands can’t survive such a transition — Eric Pulido now handles vocalist duties — what’s most impressive about Antiphon is how it catapults Midlake out of the misty forests and into the stars. Its last two records have been dreary, cult-folk excursions — bleakly beautiful, but lacking the potent psychedelic charge pulsing beneath the 10 tracks found here. In a year when the Baptist Generals also made a strong showing, Midlake makes a good case for Denton’s past feeling like the most essential thing about its present.
Various artists, ‘Dreamy Soundz:
A bittersweet experience in light of Fort Worth avant-garde legend Ronald Shannon Jackson’s recent passing, this new, 14-track compilation from near-south-side indie label Dreamy Soundz is a timely reminder of just how deep Fort Worth’s jazz roots run. Featured performers include Mora Collective, Flipside, Yells at Eels, Lazy Summer and Los Noviembres. “I kept seeing a lot of the artists that are on this compilation at shows around town and was amazed at what I heard, as well as saddened by the fact that there were not more people at these shows,” says label co-owner Robby Rux via email. “I thought it would be cool to do an eclectic compilation that featured these bands and maybe shine a local light on their music.” Call it some far-out sounds from just down the street. The release party for Jazz Confusion is Saturday at the Grotto.
Singer-songwriter Tiger Darrow hangs her hat out east these days — she’s studying music composition at New York University — but she’s still making records like the skilled Booker T. Washington grad she is. Aqua Vitae, Darrow’s follow-up to 2011’s sophomore effort, You Know Who You Are, is full of lush, carefully embroidered soundscapes, such as the luminous Introduction, that make shrewd use of her unique voice and ethereal sensibility.