Our panel this week includes pop music critic Hunter Hauk, FD’s digital editor Christopher Mosley, the News’ writer and editor Dawn Burkes, and Briefing’s Erin Booke. Agree? Disagree? Share and weigh in on Facebook or Twitter.
The Outfit, TX ft. Devy Stonez, “All Bills Paid”
The hip-hop group’s new single from the EP, Deep Ellum, is a collaboration with Dallas’ Devy Stonez.
HH: There’s a purposeful disconnect between the laid-back arrangement and the aggressive lyrics. And while the video’s plenty effective, I’d rather just see all these dudes walking toward me in defiant slow motion a la Tarantino.
CM: Production on hip-hop tracks continues to get foggier and foggier; this reminds me of the work of the equally vague producer Snugsworth. Although I wish this would kick in a little more at times, I think the withdrawn approach gives the live version a chance to breathe. Not quite as solid as “Hittin the Curb” but there’s enough intrigue here to pull you back in for repeated listens.
DB: “Fast lane ... we ain’t worrying about crashing.” More, please (but don’t tell anyone). I love the the beat behind the beat. It might have been more interesting to just leave it at that, but whatever man. Ish “off the leash.”
EB: Now this is a summer song. Time to chill, mane. I need a Lone Star.
Pinkish Black, “Brown Rainbow”
This tune is from the Fort Worth duo’s upcoming full-length album Bottom of the Morning, out Oct. 30.
HH: Unexpectedly, this track provides the perfect follow-up to the Outfit’s song. The slow, ominous build gives me the part-thrilling, part-terrifying feeling of driving faster and faster down a poorly lit highway.
CM: Pinkish Black have become experts at adding melody to treacherously dark music, which makes them an all-around threat. The lingering synths countered with the hyper-classic rock kickdrum footwork is very effective. The group is fresh off a successful opening spot for Oakland avant-metal legends, Neurosis.
DB: It’s atmospheric movie from a horror B-movie, probably Dracula and his ilk or scenes from a post-apocalyptic wasteland or some drug-addled existence. I almost turned it off before the vocals kicked in, though.
EB: A little Pink Floyd, a little Depeche Mode: This is what my dreams sound like. I just wish it wasn’t titled “Brown Rainbow.” Gross.
The Hundred Inevitables, “Give it All Away”
The veteran-rich Dallas rock band just released its new album, Decade of Downtime.
HH: This is technically proficient, confidently delivered '90s-style pop rock. I’m not sure it’s going to set itself apart from countless other songs made by skilled players in every part of the country. That’s what makes me think it might be too perfectly executed, if that makes sense.
CM: A soundtrack highlight to a 90s rom-com that was never released. This is actually better than anything I’ve heard from any of the related bands, so I would consider that a success. I’m not sure how a grown man can sing the word “Kate” in a chorus with a straight face, but there’s something I can respect about that.
DB: I think I’ve heard 100 of these, too. It’s inevitable that I would hear another one. It doesn’t offend, but it doesn’t really move you, either.
EB: This is pleasant and unobtrusive. I’d probably put it on as background music during a party.
Vandoliers, “Don’t Tell Me What to Do”
Joshua Fleming’s twangy Dallas band will put out its debut album, Ameri-kinda, on Aug. 28.
HH: When the singer tosses off the line about working all day and drinking all night, his shredded vocals make me believe him. Still, this is the kind of song that’s much more satisfying live than recorded. The studio version tends to talk bigger than it walks at moments.
CM: This is the kind of band I accidentally see when I take my mom to Love and War in Texas for Mother’s Day. I’m not sure why you would listen to cartoon country when the real thing is all around you in Texas. Why pet a Chick-fil-A cow when the real thing is mooing down the road? I don’t like being told what to like, so I can relate to the group on that at least.
DB: This song had me at “don’t.” It’s made for singing along, and motivating the troops. Hell, yeah.
EB: Any kind of hell-raisin’ Texan anthem will win me over right now, especially with vocals from someone who sounds like they smoke and drink a lot. I need more Lone Star.
Zach Balch, “I Never Loved You”
The song is from the Dallas singer-songwriter’s upcoming LP, Good Gets Better.
HH: The piano-and-voice opening borders on treacly, but once that waltz rhythm and harmonized chorus kick in, I’m sold. And I do adore a cold-hearted titular statement, especially one that turns out mask some heartbreak.
CM: The ballad rhythm slows this already-lumbering track down further still, as do the guitars and backing vocals. Strip it down to just piano, and the nakedness would help this sting more.
DB: This song is so earnest that I want him to stay, at least for dinner. It’s very affecting, and almost too sweet a song to be so danged truthful. Ouch. And yet, I still wanted to hit play again.
EB: This is sweet and soothing. I may play it for my toddler to help get him to sleep. Although the lyrics are kind of sad. Never mind.