Much of Canvas of Sky, the full-length debut album from Arlington’s Paul Demer, evokes a pleasant afternoon spent daydreaming.
With a sound heavily indebted to Death Cab for Cutie and one-man indie pop band Owl City (although Demer dials back the digital frippery), Canvas of Sky is billed as “a concept album born from the tension between self-reliance and surrender.” It manages to transcend its weighty ambitions, although by the time Run, the final track, arrives, there’s an urgent need to shake up the mostly mid-tempo, anthemic formula upon which Demer leans a little too heavily.
The follow-up to his 2011 debut EP, Barks of Yore, Sky was conceived over two years, and produced by Demer along with Tom Demer. Handsomely mounted and ripe with melody, Sky is a promising start, but a producer who could push Demer beyond pretty platitudes could unearth something truly special. Demer celebrates Canvas of Sky’s release Friday at St. Philip Presbyterian Church, with support from Son of Laughter and the Walla Recovery.
Sam Mason, ‘Give Me a Sign’
Songbird Jones bassist Sam Mason steps to center stage with Give Me a Sign, his solo debut EP. He’s not making the transition without some serious support: Taylor Tatsch produced and engineered these six songs, which feature contributions from his Songbird Jones bandmate Matt Jones, Kenny Hollingsworth, Maren Morris and Sigurdur Birkis (who’s helped Ronnie Fauss lay down tunes, among others). Mason’s laid-back vocals are perfectly matched to Tatsch’s spacious, lap steel-laced soundscapes and his evocative lyrics, particularly on the title track, suggest sideman Mason would fare just fine if he decided to make himself the focus full-time.
Fungi Girls, ‘Old Foamy’ EP
Fort Worth trio Fungi Girls — vocalist/guitarist Jacob Bruce, drummer Skyler Salinas and bassist Deryck Barrera — often seems like one of the city’s hidden secrets. Nothing about the three-track Old Foamy EP, which constitutes the group’s first release of any significance in three years (according to its Bandcamp page, anyway), is particularly groundbreaking, but nevertheless, cuts like the title track and Dark Times exert a hypnotic pull — psychedelic-tinged garage rock that sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a well (in fact, it was captured by Jennifer Rux at Fort Worth’s Dreamy Soundz studio in 2011-12). Sometimes, you just need a little weirdness.