Fittingly, Dallas-based trio Catamaran (vocalist/guitarist Stephen Glenn, drummer Tom Theall and guitarist/keyboardist/percussionist Alec Rosales) hit upon its name during a summertime pool party.
That particular vibe — somewhat spaced out, blissfully drifting around in a warm breeze — suffuses every track on this sparkling, five-song debut EP, co-produced by Fort Worth-based sonic wizard Will Hunt. From the gorgeous splashes of pealing guitar fueling All Around to the galloping rhythms of Leper, Catamaran evokes MGMT or Animal Collective by way of the 4AD back catalog — cerebral, a little off-center and capable of luminous, arresting pop craftsmanship.
Weekdays is a masterful debut, and Catamaran may, as it did for me, instantly become your new favorite band in North Texas. Catamaran will perform with Quilt and The Birds of Night Feb. 21 at Dallas’ City Tavern.
Spooky Folk, ‘Youth Is a Notion’
Four long years have passed since Spooky Folk’s magnetic, self-titled debut. The interim hasn’t dimmed enthusiasm for the Denton quintet ( Kaleo Kaualoku, Petra Kelly, Chris Brown, Scarlett Wright and Jesse Clay Perry), but what’s immediately apparent from the opening moments of its sophomore record is a striking new style. (As the band writes on its Bandcamp page, Youth Is a Notion is “a labor of love, an exercise in patience and a shift in sonic temperament.”) Gone are the fluffy, alluring folk textures of 2010’s Spooky Folk, replaced by jagged distortion, restless forward momentum and a more muscular approach, as evidenced by lead-off track Newfast and the clangorous Disheveled. The span of years between albums allowed Spooky Folk to reinvent itself organically, and the sonic overhaul suits them. Currently available only in digital form, the band has launched an Indiegogo campaign to press Notion onto vinyl.
Online: spookyfolk. bandcamp.com
Parallel Play, ‘Take Your Pants Off’
There are moments when it seems Parallel Play is about to careen right off the rails, so full of vigor that its songs just gleefully explode. The Dallas-based folk foursome — Jeremy Drake, Jason Miears, Erin Gayden and Pappy McCall — doesn’t skimp on energy throughout its cheekily titled sophomore record, Take Your Pants Off. Such frantic enthusiasm occasionally obscures the smart lyrics ( She Smiles Upside Down is a particularly sharp take on domestic dramas), but the instrumental hurly-burly is also impossible to ignore with anything but a big grin. Throw in the folked-up cover of Gin Blossoms’ Found Out About You you never knew you wanted, and Take Your Pants Off caps its silly seduction with a flourish. The band celebrates the album’s release Feb. 22 at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, with support from the Venetian Sailors, the Single Issues and Loyal Sally.