Dallas indie rock band Cryptolog takes listeners on a “Strange Holiday”

Dallas band Cryptolog performs live

Cryptolog performs live.
Photo: Carol Herriage

There is a sense, as you listen to Cryptolog’s latest single, “Strange Holiday,” of being slightly unmoored in time.

That dislocation — of living in the now, and hearing sounds reminiscent of then — is intentional, according to the Dallas-based band’s co-founder Brian McKay, and partially inspired by the Minnesota indie rock act the Cactus Blossoms.

“I just love what they do,” McKay said during a recent conversation. “I wanted to try to capture what they do — I worked on some chords, and I came up with, originally, what I thought was, like, an Everly Brothers song. Then we played it as a band — we rehearsed it, and we did it as a faster tempo.

“The great thing about being in a band with these guys is they’re like, ‘Hey, why don’t we try to slow it down?’ It became more of this jazz feel … then we were excited to capture it.”

Guitarist-vocalist McKay along with his bandmates, guitarist-vocalist Jerome Brock, drummer Frank Pittenger, guitarist-steel player Kim Herriage and bassist Charlie Begue, also got an assist from Austin singer-songwriter Catho, whose haunting vocals wind through the track like smoke.

“I recently met Catho through [producer] Stuart Sikes, who recorded the song for us,” McKay said. “I’m so excited to get her to sing on it. She’s a Berklee [College of Music] grad — she’s really talented, and she just has a sweet voice.”

Catho will be on hand for the band’s next local performance, set for Saturday at Deep Ellum staple All Good Café. Beyond that gig, McKay said the band, which dropped its debut album Rented Rooms last year, is readying another single for release in April titled “Vertical Hold.”

“It’s more of a pop nugget,” McKay said. “We’re excited for it — it’s almost the closest thing we’ve got to a dance number. We feel like it’s got a lot of energy.”

Cryptolog at All Good Cafe, Dallas. 8 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free, but RSVPs are encouraged.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.