One of my fondest memories of last year’s South by Southwest was standing inside a nearly empty Sixth Street bar and watching the Longshots level the place, in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) there being roughly 12 people inside.
The Fort Worth quintet — Joey Gorman, Alex Zobel, Kris Luther, Parker Donaldson and Brady Hamilton — displayed a diffident ferocity that was absolutely transfixing. That same raucous energy has survived the transition from stage to studio, as the group’s impressive, self-titled debut album demonstrates.
Produced by Jordan Richardson (who recently shared in a Grammy for his work on Ben Harper’s Get Up!) and distributed on Mock Records, a subsidiary of hip indie label Frenchkiss, The Longshots is a snarling, frenetic slice of what the band describes as “junk rock,” a sly way of saying this is rock music stained with punk, blues and beer.
It hits like a Mack truck — sadly, Too High for West 7th won’t be soundtracking any Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce ads any time soon — and despite its brevity (nine songs in 31 minutes), leaves one heckuva bruise. The Longshots celebrate the release of their self-titled debut, as well as the kickoff of a monthlong U.S. tour, on Friday at the Where House, with support from Fungi Girls and War Party.
Last year was, in Daniel Hunter’s own words, “almost a completely lost year for me due to mental health issues,” as he told fans on Twitter in December. The Aledo singer, songwriter and producer, who performs as Analog Rebellion, had intended to launch his last record, Full Frontal, with a documentary detailing its creation ( How to Be Lo-Fi With Friends was quietly released online in 2012; you can watch it here) and touring, but those plans ended up falling through. Hunter has rebounded, though, with Ill’e Grande, an album that blends the aggressiveness of his more recent work (single Hot [Expletive] is an edgy, danceable delight) with the digital sophistication of his early, PlayRadioPlay! days. Analog Rebellion plans to tour, and will perform a hometown-ish show March 13 at Dallas’ Prophet Bar, before heading to Austin to perform at this year’s South by Southwest music festival.
The music made by Fort Worth duo Signals & Alibis ( Rebecca Jozwiak and Brian Carter) is deceptively spare. Upon repeated listens, the carefully assembled layers begin to reveal themselves, fleshing out these austere compositions that defy simple categorization (indeed, the band’s Bandcamp page tags these tracks as “post-punk,” “shoegaze” and “alternative”). Jozwiak, who sings and plays drums and melodica, has a haunting vocal quality that lays against Carter’s languid guitar playing in a way that makes a listener lean closer to the speakers. From chilly opener Eastern Parallel through to the sinister Blue, Signals & Alibis commands attention and makes its marks as a local act worth keeping tabs on. Signals & Alibis performs Friday at the Grotto, along with the Red Admirals and Little Ghost.
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