As the one-sheet accompanying Bludded Head’s sophomore effort, the cassette-only Bludded Death, explains, this Denton trio specializes in what it calls “heavy bummer jams.”
The weight arrives early, as thick tendrils of bass thread through an unearthly, scarcely intelligible howl and melts into serrated, distorted guitar work on the 11-and-a-half minute My Ice Cream Fell on the Ground and Someone Ate It. It’s unsurprising, then, to discover that Pinkish Black’s Daron Beck, a fellow purveyor of uncompromising, intense rock with an emphasis on long, dark shadows, not only performs on Bludded Death, but produced it at Fort Worth’s Eagle Audio.
Some of the raw, harrowing feeling on display throughout the 35-minute, four-track collection stems from a line-up change. What was once a quartet — guitarist/vocalist Nevada Hill, bassist Ryan Williams, cellist Darcy Neal and drummer Beth Doods — became a trio after the Death sessions (Neal and Doods have left, and David Saylor now mans the drums). But even without the back story, Bludded Death exerts an unsettling, furious power, a mesmerizing study in pushing music to extremes. Bludded Head plays Deep Ellum’s Three Links May 13.
Lazy Summer, ‘Sleepy Porches’
Strike while the iron’s hot, the saying goes — and Arlington’s Lazy Summer excels at doing just that. Its latest album, Sleepy Porches, was recorded in less time than it takes to drive to Marfa (a whopping five hours at Eagle Audio, with Britt Robisheaux again overseeing the recording, mixing and mastering). But this trio — guitarist Jeremiah Kirby, trumpeter Justin Weisenborn and bassist Deryck Barrera — doesn’t conflate speed and sloppiness. These nine tunes, the longest of which, Ceremony, stretches just over five minutes, are crisply performed, and full of appealing textures (Kirby pulls double duty with a ukelele, most notably on the record’s title track) befitting an album released just as spring, an ideal season for porch-lounging, gives way to sizzling summer.
Lou Charles, ‘Who is Lou?, Vol. 1’
Three years have passed since Fort Worth-based rapper Lou Charles (born Lu Wilson) last released a solo project (2011’s Fish Out of Water EP, if you’re keeping score), but he hasn’t been sitting idly by. As part of the duo Midway, formed with fellow Texas Christian University alum Kev Nolan, Charles has stayed involved with the city’s vibrant hip-hop scene, releasing a series of remixes and last year’s terrific FunEmployment, Vol. 1. With his latest effort, the rapper aims to reacquaint listeners with his singular solo style. Charles, already working on his next LP, The New School (due this summer), wastes little time grabbing attention: the crunching, too-brief No Days Off is one of the best rap tracks I’ve heard in 2014, local or otherwise. He might have momentarily slipped from the spotlight, but Lou Charles retakes it with authority.