New Music Monday Picks For December 5

Your New Music Monday picks for December 5 celebrate garage-soul, the new Strand Of Oaks and superb local offerings:

Becky Middleton has been a figure on the Dallas scene for a number of years now, with a resume boasting a 2009 Salim Nourallah-helmed album, No Trouble; a stint with Ishi; a 2015 Christmas EP; and cameos on projects from her fellow local artists. On her spring 2017 release, Break The Fever, Middleton’s writing chops and sucker-punch of a voice are on full display once again, and nothing showcases the two better than “I’m Still Here,” a sensual slow-burn that has her making the transition from rootsy to soulful. With Beau Bedford’s guiding hand and the new direction in her sound, 2017 will undoubtedly be Becky’s year to show us how it’s done.

With the abundance of stellar North Texas talent helping to put our region on the musical map, there’s never a shortage of New Music Monday tracks to call attention to, and one of our favorite picks for today comes from Dallas’ Sarah Sellers. Co-written with the New York-based songwriter Jay Stolar and produced by Noise Club, “Gone Through Hell” is an impassioned reflection on rising from rock bottom, fighting the wars within, and staying faithful to your desires and dreams.

For “Corsicana,” Denim Wonder’s chief songwriter Daniel Hopkins went back in time to honor the memory of his late grandfather, whose love of bluegrass kept him company on the road during his final years. It’s one of the many gems on the band’s debut Carnation that illustrate Hopkins’ genuine gift for lyricism, and also features a lovely touch of pedal steel from Hank Early, on loan from the Texas Troubadours.

Imagine an amped-up Otis Redding backed by a garage band, and you’ve got the number of one of Austin’s most beloved outfits. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears are back in their original form and ready to start up the party again with their February 10 release Backlash. In this follow-up to 2013’s Electric Slave, there’s tons to love, and lead single “PTP” has the band’s signature raging riffs, Stax-flavored aesthetic, and ecstatic reverie that make both their albums and live shows a near-religious experience.

Back in the day before Spotify and Pandora, the radio dial was the place where one could fall in love with music – and through the years, songs celebrating the tried-and-true magic of terrestrial have provided the soundtrack for the cause: The Ravyns’ “Raised On The Radio,” “Rock And Roll” from the Velvet Underground, and most recently, Sylvan Esso’s “Radio.” Naturally, we couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with the latest one – “Radio Kids” from Strand Of Oaks, the Philadelphia-based outfit fronted by singer and songwriter Timothy Showalter, who put Strand of Oaks on the map with the 2014 debut album, Heal.  February 17 marks the release of his sophomore album, Hard Love, and April 3 brings him back to Dallas, to Three Links in Deep Ellum.

Happy listening!