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Northern ParadoxSelf-Titled EP: Self-described as audio art with a progressive and energetic sound, this Austin quartet captures its audience with influences from ambient punk, folk, blues and dark, indie rock. Beginning in 2005, the band took full shape after moving to Austin and inhabiting its bassist. The new self-titled EP is one that they call a mini album with a release date later in the year. The three dynamic tracks set forth pulsing with odd time signatures, strange changes in rhythm and a vocal hallmark. Emotive sounds accompany lyrics that evoke political and poetic renderings that are often brooding. Pairing the guitar and piano with driving bass and drums rounds out the band’s sound quite nicely.

4.0 McRiprock’s

www.myspace.com/northernparadox

Somebody’s Darling-Self-Titled LP: Dallas, TX is no slouch in producing bands that garner attention. This band is no different. In fact, they’ve put quite a few notches in their proverbial musical belt in the last few years—one of which provided them the opportunity to secure a recording contract with Shiner Records. The four-piece rock band has country sensibilities and a sense of themselves to boot making them a local favorite and gathering a large, diverse fan base in the making. Forming in 2007, they quickly began to make a name for themselves. They have supported artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry, Lucero, Corb Lund, Stoney LaRue, Walt Wilkins, Same Roberts Band, Sleepercar and more.  Each member is fully capable of holding their own—lyrically, vocally and instrumentally. Their self-title LP is a magical blend of country, roots rock and plain ol’ good times.  They intertwine their musical talents beautifully and without much fodder. They play out authentic effortlessly.

5.0 McRiprock’s

www.somebodysdarling.com

Tennis SystemThe Future of Our History: To best describe this band it’s important to know just what happened during this year’s SXSW. They were shut down. Twice. Due to noise complaints. Not only do they do loud, they apparently do it quite flawlessly. Even though loud as hell, they manage to tuck in songs that are precious and pop tunes that are catchy throughout. They are able to mix high energy with a chill, ethereal temperament.  Together since 2008, they’ve opened for bands like Japandroids, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Harlem.  They power the album with their thundering drums, bass, and two guitars full of distortion-like antics that play out well. Exported out of Washington D.C. they are apt to follow well in their predecessors footsteps (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and My Bloody Valentine) as their sound is both on par with powerful instrumentation and extremism.

4.5 McRiprock’s

www.myspace.com/tennissystem

The FiguradosLesson Two:  Two men, Timothy Abbott and Gregg Kirk come together again to define their version of alternative classic rock with “Lesson Two” their follow-up to their debut album “Divine Spirits, Holy Smoke.” They pull songs throughout the album that have a broad range which sometimes leaves the listener a bit focusless dabbling in everything from ‘80s power pop, gospel, traditional rock and blues of the Texas persuasion. They came together after various individual efforts with other outfits and use their vast experiences to express angst, urban depravity and pure Texas. They state that their albums are “meant to be played at maximum volume and savored… like a fine figurado… preferably with a glass of absinthe or a choice Belgian beer.”

3.5 McRiprock’s

www.25smokingfigurados.com

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