The Unlikely Candidates will celebrate the release of their long-awaited debut album Thu, May 19, at MASS. Courtesy The Unlikely Candidates

The Unlikely Candidates are celebrating their debut album with a show that further illustrates how I totally forget how they are a pretty huge band until they do something like go on tour supporting an even huger band like 311, which they did in March and April. But I also forget that they have been a band for a really long time — their Wikipedia page pins the band’s genesis to 2008, when frontman Kyle Morris and guitarist Cole Male were still in high school — as well as the peculiarity that, in those 14 years, they had yet to drop a full-length album.

I think I have a vague “They got boned by a major label” idea of why their discography and widespread fanbase are built on a handful of EPs instead of that vaunted relic of a previous music industry era, the Debut LP. But rather than get the details wrong about the why, I’d rather just play it safe and announce that The Unlikely Candidates’ first full-length is finally here. Or it will be next week, anyway, on Thu, May 19, at MASS (1002 S Main, 817-707-7774), when the band will headline a bill that also features openers Loyal Sally, The Infamists, and Bobby Dade.

Called Panther Island, the 11-track album is almost a decade in the making, though much of it seems to have come together during 2020. I’m snatching a quote from here, but in March, when the band released Panther Island’s first single, “Sunshine,” Morris said, “Thematically, it’s just as varied, shifting from songs about the chaos on the streets and loneliness behind the phone screens of America during the pandemic, to humorous tales of twentysomething malaise and the many ways the heart breaks. … At the heart of this album is the ethos of taking a bad situation and making something of it. It was written during the pandemic while the world was shut down, by a band who has hit enough roadblocks to delay a debut album nine years.”


Nine years??? Kudos to TUC for sticking it out and getting this record into fans’ hands. Hopefully, all those hassles and obstacles to putting Panther Island out have been moved to the side of the road. — Steve Steward


Cool Jacket’s fresh debut has arrived.
Courtesy Facebook

Cool Jacket Hangs Nine

And since we’re on the topic of new albums, one of my favorite local bands, the Dallas-based trio Cool Jacket, is also releasing its first full-length, a nine-track collection of jangly, hooky, post-punk bangers called Pipeline. Sonically, Cool Jacket fits in a Venn diagram about bands like Bad Sports, the Buzzcocks, and Dinosaur Jr., and on Pipeline, I think that description is most apt on “Survivor Syndrome,” the record’s third song. Two tracks later, “Over It” gave me the impression that Cool Jacket might have been on a bill 20 years ago that was headlined by The Deathray Davies, and if that sounds appealing, you’ll really like “Happy Sad 2,” because that one makes me think this hypothetical concert from the year 2000 might have also included Chomsky. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but the band makes music that reminds me of end-of-the-millennium college rock, and I am here for it. Cool Jacket’s Pipeline release party is Friday, also at MASS, with Crooked Bones and Wayne Floyd & His Full Band opening the show. Paddle out, drop in! — S.S.


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