As some of you know, I recently made a heinous road trip to Dallas to get married. On the way back we took it slow and soaked up the Colorado/Utah/Nevada/California sunshine before hitting the gray and moist NW. A total of about eight full days in the car gives a girl a lot of time to think… about our impending nuptials as well as the little pieces of my home state that I've gotten so used to missing. The music scene in my beloved college town, Denton, is still thriving and the first annual NX35 music festival was going on during our visit. So for all of you northwesterners craving some new music, here are some Texas bands for you to graze and chew on.
Mara Lee Miller attended the University of North Texas (as I did) in Denton. She handed off a demo to Seattle songwriter Damien Jurado hoping for a break, and got one. She recorded the 2005 EP Bosque Brown Plays Mara Lee Miller in Seattle with producer Eric Fisher and Dave Bazan. Her newest release, Baby, was just released this month. Simplistic, whiskey-soaked and laden with an eery energy, Mara Lee has become a cult favorite in Texas and it's easy to see why. Listen
Hailing from Denton and comprised of an impressive roster (Nick of Pinebox Serenade, Ryan of the Baptist Generals and Jandek, Jeff of Pinebox Serenade, Tara of Shearwater), Dust Congress recorded an unedited home recorded EP in 2007 called Egg Tooth which probably isn't available anywhere, but they're trying to remedy that. Regurgitate Sunshine State, their first vinyl release, will drop in May on Paper Stain and they have plans for a full length following that. Dust Congress is an apt name for this indie-folk band awash with marimba, bassoon and peppered with sharp trumpet.
(Full disclosure: I'm a friend and former classmate of the awesome songstress, Ashley) Together since 2002, Record Hop bases their sound on the underground noise rock that poured out of the late 80s and the 90s. Ashley, the enigmatic frontwoman, sometimes sounds like a cross between Shannon Wright and Kim Gordon. Unlike my previous suggestions, there really isn't anything soft or country about this band. They play rock with their hair swinging in their eyes and guitars lolling about. They recently recorded with Steve Albini in Chicago and that release is available at TXMF. They're one of my favorite Denton/Dallas area bands and they ALWAYS put on a loud sweaty show.
I've got a whole slew of other bands awaiting your eager inquiry. There is no shortage of indie rock in the great state of Texas. And I'm happy to spread the news.