Nepotism is alive and well in this town, as the passing of the obligatory torch (read: column) represents. Although my cousin, Miss Riprock is a city slicker type that sips on exotic martinis, calls me and everyone else she knows “darling,” demands weekly manicures, wears heels that she terms “sky high” and dons tunes that are pressed and painted all fancy, I tend to be the exact opposite. Born and raised here in Texas I like my Lone Star, steer away from restaurants who’s names I cannot pronounce, and wear boots for most of the day and often times even while asleep. On a typical Saturday night, I slip on music that’s new to me and blare it from my porch consulting my pup, Dud.
I’m a no nonsense, laid-back type that will give your album a spin and give you my honest opinion (after consulting Dud) rated by how many beers I put back if I like your tracks enough to keep them playing loud enough to annoy my neighbors. My dad calls me boy, my cousin calls me darling , strangers call me Mr. McRiprock and my friends call me Hux or something derogatory that rhymes with it.
Let’s crack one open and see where we go from here. I’ll press play.
Tyler Fortier—Pale Moon Rise—Out of Oregon comes Fortier with an Americana/Folk sound that includes a dominant horn section on some tracks and a finished sound on others. His refreshingly snappy sound finds you humming along quite quickly. The first track “On His Way” harkens a Dave Matthews pop quality, but finds its inner twang and softer lyrical spirit immediately. “Where the Sky Turns Gray” slows things down and is more indicative of the Americana voice with a polished quality and a lyrical head spin that works well. The rest of the album follows suit more like the second track than the first, with a quality that melts the listener a little bit deeper. Fortier is able to throw around different sounds from folk to blues to popish rock yet still keep you listening. 4.5 McRiprock’s.
Dubb Sicks—Mind in the Gutter— From Backyard Recordings Austin’s Dubb Sicks brings his second LP with lyrical humor amongst hard-hitting beats mingling together. It’s slick in its ability to make the lyrics move smoothly within a tough beat and an angry montage. Rapping about everything from politics to rhymes that are pure fun, a mix of dub sounds with poetic flows works well. 4.0 McRiprock’s.
Crosby Loggins and the Light—We All Go Home—If you watched the show, you might recognize the name. Straight from Rock the Cradle, Crosby Loggins breaks into the independent music scene with a pop quality that showcases a soulful stream backing every track. His voice is stunning, but seems to fall flat in the format of the polished pop genre. He’d do better with a Dan Dyer approach. Not to say he doesn’t produce an album that works in elements beyond the pop basics, it’s just been done and heard many times before. 3.0 McRiprock’s.
Gregg Merritt—Dream Through a Leaf— With Merritt’s roots firmly planted in the jam band/psychedelic background he manages to move away from that genre a bit to produce an album with more of a mix of flavors. Merritt started Dream Through a Leaf with an acoustic guitar, wrote all of the songs and then set it to a full rock arrangement. It produced an eclectic mix from earthy/folksy jam band rock to heavy rock to psychedelic funk. 5.0 McRiprock’s
Mitch Jacobs—Jukebox Music—Rural roots country sounds strong in Jacobs’ Jukebox Music. Seemingly channeling Elvis and Johnny Cash, Jacobs’ voice is the strong standout throughout. It’s honky tonk, Texas country rolled neatly into an album that you’ll want to listen to a few times over. Out of Houston, Jacobs was introduced to Freddie Steady an Austin Music hall-of-famer and the album took off from there. 5.0 McRiprock’s