Last week, The Unlikely Candidates did something pretty unlikely: They got signed by a major label (“Atlantic Records Signs The Unlikely Candidates,” Blotch, April 12). If someone had told you two weeks ago that a Fort Worth band was going to get signed to a big, fat record contract, TUC probably wouldn’t have been in your top five guesses. Maybe not even your top 10.
But while young –– their average age is 22 –– the guys have been around for about five years, gigging locally and regionally and piecing together what will soon amount to their debut album. After listening to six of the tracks, I can say with complete confidence that these cats are the real deal. I know, I know. “You say that about every band, HearSay. And even about lukewarm breakfast tacos and third-string quarterbacks.” But I really mean it this time. The Unlikely Candidates are that good. Are they reinventing the wheel? No. They’re just doing something –– indie-rocking radio-pop –– very well.
The first single, “Follow My Feet,” is a moody rocker with a huge chorus whose melody is established by a repeated lyric –– commercial radio loves repetitive hooks, much more than purely melodic ones or ones with too many words. But “Follow My Feet” is probably the second or third best track off the yet-untitled album. “Life Goes On” is a positivist singalong based primarily on acoustic guitar and piano, and “Hate to Love Me” (replete with banjo!) could end up being as massive as Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” or The Strokes’ “Last Night.” I kid you not. “Hate to Love Me” is super-duper-catchy, and the chorus is serpentine and melodic where “Follow My Feet”’s is straightforward and driving.
The album was recorded in TUC’s home studio and is in limbo now that Atlantic has come a-knockin’. (Labels like to control the sound of their releases. My guess is that Atlantic will either have TUC re-record the album with Atlantic-picked producers in an Atlantic-picked studio or simply remaster the album top to bottom.) TUC also recorded an acoustic performance at The Where House last year. The songs are still there, but they’re just so much better when they’re all bombastic and crisp like on the album. And blowing out your car speakers.
The Unlikely Candidates’ next gig is at 8 p.m. on Friday at The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge (1311 Lipscomb St., 817-926-0968) as part of Paste Untapped Festival’s official pre-party with Air Review, Daniel Hart, and Memphis Dawls. Cover is $10-15.
MAF ’13: First Round of Bands Announced
Sorry, but it’s that time of year when I beat you unmercifully with stories about our annual Music Awards and Music Awards Festival. For this year’s free hootenanny –– Sunday, June 23, at eight venues in the West 7th corridor –– we’ve got early confirms from Burning Hotels, Fungi Girls, Pinkish Black, Calhoun, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, The Hanna Barbarians, The Phuss, KatsüK, Foxtrot Uniform, Year of the Bear, Sonic Buffalo, Dru B Shinin’, Jacob Furr & The Only Road, Stone Machine Electric, and Kyeyote.
Now just 34 more bands to go.
The ballot is near completion and will be published both online and in print on May 15.
As part of Music Awards every year, we also corral a bunch of nominees, ply them with free food and booze, and force each of them to record a live track for us at Eagle Audio Recording on the Near Southside. We then compile the tunes into a CD that we sell for charity. Through the $5-a-pop sale of our comps over the past several years, we’ve raised nearly $5,000 for our charity sponsors: SafeHaven of Tarrant County and the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Our 2013 comp is coming along just swimmingly. Get ready for new or previously unreleased tracks from Big City Folk, The Breakfast Machine, The Diabolical Machines, Dru B Shinin’, Ice Eater, Jacob Furr & The Only Road, Lindby, The Longshots, Missing Sibling, Patriot, Siberian Traps, Sonic Buffalo, Un Chien, We’rewolves, Year of the Bear, and a few more.
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