Anyone with a shred of sanity remaining is practically doing cartwheels putting this past strange and anxiety-riddled year in their rear view. Despite the apropos kill-it-with-fire reaction many hold for 2017, a consistent bright spot was the damn good local music that almost made the barrage of chaos and craziness thrown at us in the previous 365 days bearable. Believe it or not, 2018 looks like it will be even better. From veteran favorites releasing anticipated new material to up-and-comers piecing together debuts, this year has a ton of great local music in store.
For lovers of swampy Texas-inspired blues, there are plenty of muddy waters on the horizon. Rootsy blues banditos Chucho have finally set a release date for their first full-length, Becky & Me. There’s a chance you’ve heard their single “Grandaddy” if you have 95.5 The Ranch punched into your presets. Their album release show is at Lola’s Saloon on Sat, Feb 17. In addition, their brothers-in-long-haired-outlaw-arms Royal Sons also have a debut slated for late February or early March. Americana balladeer Jake Paleschic has new work due out in the spring as well. The Quaker City Nighthawks just finished recording at Electric Berryland with Jordan Richardson (Oil Boom, Squanto), though the higher dudes haven’t set a release date yet.
If you prefer more of a rusty edge to your blade, garage-punkers War Party are planning an April release for Pure Destroyer, the band’s third LP. You can scope the forthcoming album’s namesake single on their Bandcamp page. Going from Back to Drunk to back to the studio, wall-of-sound monsters Duell are currently tracking the follow-up to their 2015 homage to alcoholism. Heavy shoegazers Huffer have added a second guitar player to layer on top of singer-guitarist Chea Cuevas’ already thick and cloudy riffage, and the band is set to release its sophomore effort in March.
If music that breaks the standard rock mold is more your poison, a slew of bands that stretch the four-on-the-floor formula will also soon have new music to share. Lyrically literary indie elder statesmen Tame… Tame and Quiet head into Cloudland Studio early next month to cut an EP with producer Robby Rux (Fungi Girls, Antirad). Oil Boom guitar player Zachary Edwards has been working on an experimental electro-noise side project called All Clean with a record in the pipeline. Young math-rock trio Pax Romana has been in the studio as well, serving up its schizophrenic sonic stylings.
Want some music you can take home to Mama? Favorite native son Leon Bridges is set to drop his highly awaited sequel to 2015’s Coming Home. Abraham Alexander, the man behind the graceful “America” –– Fort Worth Weekly music writers’ pick for song of the year –– is slated to release the rest of his record in the early part of this year.
Some brand new bands are also ready to drop records. A recently formed indie pop outfit featuring Amanda Hand (Crystal Furs) and Jesse Gage (Robot Therapy, Sur Duda) called Big Heaven is currently tracking with Britt Robisheaux (Jandek, B.J. Thomas) and should wrap in the next few weeks. ’90s ska revivalists I Am Clark Kent should soon be serving up an album of their own as well. Fresh out of a time machine from late ’80s Olympia, Washington, Ting Tang Tina will have an album release party at Lola’s on Sat, Mar 3. Finally, shoegazers Mañana Cowboy will showcase their somber songcraft in late spring.
For music fans, this young year already feels like the wait before Christmas. This cataloguing is by no means comprehensive. There are no doubt countless other artists with unforeseen tricks up their sleeves and as-of-yet unheard (by us) bands that will most certainly take us by surprise.
I hope you will take a moment to check out Sonar Lights. We definitely have something up our sleeve in 2018. In addition to the website given below, you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SonarLights.