Nicholas Altobelli continues his reign as one of the most underrated singer-songwriters in North Texas with his latest EP, the brooding Mesocyclone.
Although the title evokes Altobelli’s noted love of meteorological phenomena, it also deftly sums up the prevailing mood of these six songs. The self-produced follow-up to last year’s Without a Home is a bruising piece of work, with allusions to a broken marriage (“If I only understood/You would’ve kept this ring,” he sings in Black or Blue) and a pervasive sense of gloom.
The shadows are slightly leavened by the gorgeous, tasteful instrumentation, provided by long-time Altobelli collaborators Heather Kitzman and Salim Nourallah, as well as Trey Carmichael, Daniel Markham, Tony Whitlock and Rahim Quazi. That Altobelli so ably evokes such pain through such hypnotic, handsome songs only reinforces appreciation for his formidable artistic skills.
Altobelli performs Friday at Dallas’ AllGood Cafe.
Bummer Vacation, ‘Creative Differences’
As the well-worn saying goes, everything old is new again. For Fort Worth foursome Bummer Vacation, a deep and abiding fascination with the murky sonics of mid-’80s shoegaze rock ( My Bloody Valentine; Slowdive, et al) informs every cut on this nine-track, Jordan Richardson (aka Son of Stan)-produced debut. Its members — Paul Hernandez, Ryan Torres-Reyes, Tyler Moore and Ricky Williford — have roots in other, diverse projects with varying levels of activity (among them, War Party, Sealion and Skeleton Coast). But little of what’s come before is evident here. Instead, there’s a tight focus on atmosphere — Candor features some judicious distortion that would bring a smile to Kevin Shields’ face — and an indication by record’s end that Bummer Vacation may just be getting warmed up.
Da Deputy, ‘In Due Time 3’
For those who aren’t paying attention, Fort Worth is home to one of the most impressive rap communities in North Texas, regularly producing records capable of holding their own with any other act in the country. The latest of these, Da Deputy’s In Due Time 3, is a typically diverse, lyrically engaging collection featuring an eclectic array of performers — fellow Fort Worthian Tawaine Hall contributes a cameo — and style to burn. Moving from the macro (the career-to-date survey of lead-off track IDT3) to the micro (the throwback Heart & Soul, reflecting on a life saved by art) with ease, the man born Christopher Brown cements his place among the front ranks of Fort Worth’s oh-so-fertile hip-hop scene.