With another week comes another round of fresh local albums for public consumption. Lets take a spin through three of this weeks noteworthy releases.
Fox and the Bird, Darkest Hours
When I Was Young, the opening track of Fox and the Birds sophomore record Darkest Hours, is a scant 43 seconds, but it distills the Dallas quintet to its essence. The voices arrive, one by one, until theyre locked together in harmony music being made in its purest form by a band describing itself as a choral collective of rotating songwriters and singers. That tangible joy carries through the self-produced album, which is notably darker than its predecessor, 2011s Floating Feather. Hearts, they break at night, goes one forlorn line in Habit, like the aging and the dimming of our sight. (The downbeat mood even extends to its hometown, as the group works in an affable cover of Jimmie Dale Gilmores mildly caustic Dallas.) Still, there is beauty in the bleakness, as the group ( Dan Bowman, Jacob Metcalf, Petra Kelly, Paul Grass and Sarah Scott) marshals its ample skill in service of sparkling songcraft.
Ronald Shannon Jackson, Live at the Kessler
Just days after what wouldve been his 74th birthday, the late Ronald Shannon Jacksons final North Texas performance (and last live appearance anywhere) was set to be released on iTunes. Live at the Kessler, recorded in July 2012 by the Oak Cliff venues masterful sound engineer Paul Quigg, captures the Fort Worth native working through original material (People We Love; Petals) and covers from the likes of Wayne Shorter, backed by bassist Melvin Gibbs, guitarist Gregg Prickett, trumpeter John Wier and violinist Leonard Hayward. This bittersweet, seven-track offering is the first in what will hopefully become a steady stream of as-yet-unreleased Jackson material the composer/drummers son and executor of his estate, Talkeye Jackson, is working with Britt Robisheaux and Curtis Heath to posthumously release the sonic and visual projects that Jackson was working on at the time of his death.
Online: ronaldshannon jackson.com
Reverend Horton Heat, REV
Like scorching Texas summers or disappointing Dallas Cowboys seasons, you pretty much know what youre going to get when you press play on a new Reverend Horton Heat record, but that doesnt diminish its pleasures in the least. REV, the Dallas psychobilly trios 11th studio effort (in stores Tuesday), doesnt shake up the formula too much theres plenty of hot rods ( Smell of Gasoline), 50s sci-fi kitsch ( Zombie Dumb) and red-blooded animal urges ( Let Me Teach You How to Eat) spread across the 13 tracks here. Adept at goosing up-tempo country-rock with enough attitude and twang for five bands, Reverend Horton Heat proves the old axiom true: If it aint broke, dont fix it.