In what seems like very short order, Lo Life Recordings and Dreamy Soundz Records have become de facto signifiers of Fort Worth cool.
The two DIY entities appear to have a hand in and/or serve as mentors for nearly every area buzz band of consequence, separating the wheat from the chaff and offering essential compilations like Group Therapy: Vol. 2, following last year’s initial offering.
Again captured live by Britt Robisheaux and Jennifer and Robby Rux at the Southside hub of artistic cross-pollination, the Where House, this 20-track collection reads like a who’s who of rising stars: Patriot, Vicious Firs, Bummer Vacation and the Road Soda contribute original tracks here, alongside more established area artists like the Cush, Son of Stan and Sealion. Befitting songs recorded live in somewhat ramshackle surroundings, fidelity is secondary to vibe. The smoke and strobe lights are almost tangible during Fogg’s Worship the Family, while the Ape Hangers’ terrific La Muerte te Sigues feels like a dispatch from Ennio Morricone’s vaults by way of Dick Dale.
The bands appearing on Group Therapy, Vol. 2 will return to the scene of the crime (the Where House) at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Wrex Washington, ‘WrexIsh’
For the follow-up to last year’s The Wrex Files, Fort Worth rapper Wrex Washington (born Therron Coleman) reached out — gasp! — to Dallas-based producer Ish D, part of the Brain Gang collective. Washington says the move was designed to incorporate the heavy bass favored in Dallas, but he hasn’t forsaken the 817: Dru B Shinin contributes to opener The Road Again, and EyeJay the Boy produced the finale, Robin Hood Is Black. County line absurdities aside, all that’s left to admire is Washington’s confident rhymes — The Struggle deftly mixes boasts with progressive politics: “Racism/Oppression/Poverty/All these things we deal with/How you gonna take a stand?” he raps — bolstered by sharp production. Washington fetes WrexIsh on Friday at the Cellar.
Online: wrexwash ington.bandcamp.com
Diamond Age, ‘Private Victories’
Diamond Age is the musical moniker of Dallas’ Matthew Leer, and the prismatic name suits his style: elliptical electronics, refracted and reflected through an austere yet experimental sensibility. The eight-track Private Victories is hypnotic throughout, almost scrubbed of personality but nonetheless captivating. Stand-out moments include the percolating Risk, The Ice Storm and the gorgeous opener Tunnel Dream. Diamond Age performs Thursday at Deep Ellum’s Three Links.
Online: diamondage .bandcamp.com