Since the demise of concerts, we have been scouring the interwebs for new local tuneage. To our surprise, there’s a lot of it. I guess being stuck inside forever has the advantage of fomenting artists’ creative juices. Fitting all of it inside our shrunken magazine is impossible. All we can do from week to week is select a “now” artist or product and write about it on the spot. We have no time to reflect. Now that we still have no time to reflect, I find myself wanting to go back and at least touch on a few good or interesting items that we missed.
At the top of the heap is Amanda Victoria. Hers is the sound of big, full-bodied techno-flavored dark wave in the spirit of Imogen Heap and Florence + the Machine. Victoria’s latest single, recorded with Portland producer Weber Salz and Emmy winner Michal Towber, is international in style and ready for radio. Over “”’s eerie, clacking beat, the singer-songwriter sings achingly about a groovy kind of love. Could be between a couple, could be among family members or a team. It’s inspirational in the heaviest, most non-corny way. If she’s up for it (and if Spotify permits it), Amanda Victoria will be on the cover of Rolling Stone soon. She’s that world-conquering.
Left-Arm Tan goes in mostly the opposite direction, though the production values on the Americana band’s most recent album are just as pristine. Instead of synthetic dirges, LAT is all about cranking out the good-timey guit-fiddles and conjuring the open road. In ’s songs about equal parts coming together and escaping are lyrical gems and quite a few juicy choruses. The only reason the LAT lads don’t seem to receive the level of attention they deserve is because, well, they don’t seem to play out that often. As adults with adult responsibilities, it’s not easy. I’m just of the opinion that would certain Dallas-centric media outlets take an interest, Left-Arm Tan would be a lot bigger. For whatever that’s worth when your trusty Fort Worth-centric liberal rag is raving.
Right up there with LAT and Victoria, Annie Void is highly recommended, especially for a much-needed Duell fix when Duell isn’t recording or playing out much (and they aren’t). Though not technically desert rock and a lot grittier, the drivin’ and cryin’ trio is still full of meaty riffage and propulsive, cymbal-shattering beats. The band’s most recent album, , is sort of punk but heavier, darker, thicker. I just hope they’re still together, would love to see them at Lola’s or MASS, or the Owl or Shipping & Receiving, or wherever, after the COVID disappears like a miracle. (Right? Right.)
The equally punk-inspired Ting Tang Tina also put out an album a few months ago, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. The young musicians certainly know what they’re doing, but their album is a little one-note. is punk but neat and clean, pop but rowdy, rocking but reserved. The live show, I have to say, is a whole different animal. I was able to catch them at Lola’s before the end of 2019, when the decibel level certainly helped liven up the material. I wish that raw, fun, Shonen Knife-y energy would have been captured on record. That Ting Tang Tina will find its songwriting identity soon is a given. I just hope the COVID goes away before then. — Anthony Mariani
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