Veteran ATX rocker Adrian Conner dropping “the Sickness” from her marquee might sound like a pop star trip, but her new disc, Be Your Own Saviour, packs so many head-banging grooves into 11 songs that perhaps she just needed more room for her own bad self. A tight 31 minutes, it’s like a woman who’s said everything she needs to say and slams the door in your face. She whose dreads fly as Angus Young in all-girl AC/DC tribute Hell’s Belles doesn’t disappoint.– Nina Hernandez
Nashville’s Bobby Bare Jr. calls eighth LP Undefeated his “dumped” disc, as opposed to a breakup album.
In song, he turns phrases in ways that are clever, yet quickly cut to the truth. In another twist, he’s been known to claim he doesn’t find the songs. The songs find him.
“I think most great songs are waiting around to be written,” explains Bare. “Like the song on Undefeated, ‘My Baby Took My Baby Away.’ That was just sitting there for a long time. If I didn’t jump on it, somebody else may have in five or 10 years or whatever.
“I think I have a talent for recognizing, ‘Okay, that might be a good idea.’ A lot of the good ideas are just waiting to be stumbled upon. The craft comes in what you do next with it. It’s fun to be clever, but that’s the easy part.”
The Bares, Junior and Senior, counted the late Shel Silverstein, a genius at songwriting if there ever was one, as a family friend. Some of Silverstein’s smarts rubbed off onto Bobby Jr.
“He taught me to take the song as far as it would go,” states BBJ. “Then really push it over the edge and do something that most songwriters would cross out. I take a crazy idea and go with it. I know most songwriters aren’t comfortable with that, but that’s the only thing that sticks out – the courage to push an idea further than anybody else would.
“I’ll overwrite. A lot of my songs have lyrics that I don’t keep, that I’ll edit out. The lyrics to ‘Rock & Roll Halloween’ are three pages. It’s like being a stripper. Nobody wants to see a stripper that isn’t going to show you the ugly parts.”– Jim Caligiuri
Ole Miss songcore heartthrob.
Return to the scene of the rhyme with Shoulders, who paraded their Tom Waits carnival barker sound at the Hole in the Wall circus in the early Nineties. Scoring with 2013’s Another Round, frontmen Michael Slattery and Todd Kassens still pack a punch with the exquisitely macabre “Trashman Shoes” as their bass drum tolls for thee. More ringmasters than sideshow, Churchwood is steadily encroaching on arty blues territory like snake oil salesmen peddling the real deal. Their smoky, sinewy shuffles and skull crunchers bring a touch of dirty Delta nights to the Drag. For madmen only.– Margaret Moser
This six-act local bill, marking the 14th anniversary of promoter Jennifer Marchand’s 30th birthday, could almost be a Psych Fest afterparty. Surly Gates’ acid rock mines Texan fry, while Love tribute band Forever Changes, whose frontman Jake Garcia was spotted in APF’s Levitation Tent last weekend, flashes back to Sixties activism and proto-punk psych. Cycle in drama rockers Sideshow Tragedy, the Britpop of Nic Armstrong & the Thieves, and more, and you’ve got an Eastside sit-in of ATX freakadelica.– Raoul Hernandez
Of Montreal sideman K Ishibashi fiddles while globe burns.
Vaudeville on the hill.