Anyone who has attended the first night of any of the Dia de Los Toadies events since 2008 won’t be caught by surprise by the Toadies’ latest studio album, Heretics. After all, Mark Reznicek told me two years ago the band was interested in creating “a studio version of a Friday night at Dia de Los Toadies,” which is precisely what these dozen tracks are.
Produced by Rob Schnapf and featuring a couple high-profile cameos — Sarah Jaffe contributes backing vocals to Beside You and Jigsaw Girl, while Willie Nelson’s harmonica ace Mickey Raphael graces Send You to Heaven — Heretics is the equivalent of Vaden Todd Lewis pulling out an acoustic guitar and re-casting beloved Toadies sides like Tyler in more subdued, but no less sinister, shades. It’s a trip to hear the band tackle covers like Blondie’s Heart of Glass, but their take fits snugly alongside tried-and-true originals, revealing unsettling new depths for a band with two decades under its belt.
This weekend’s Dia de Los Toadies, which kicks off Friday at Panther Island Pavilion and continues through Saturday, serves as the release party for Heretics.
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Although Joshua Fleming enjoyed success with rowdy Fort Worth rockers The Phuss, he had an itch to turn down the amps and turn up the pedal steel. The result is a loose, faintly rustic supergroup called Vandoliers, in which Fleming is joined by a host of area talents: John Pedigo, Jack Russell, Cory Graves, Dustin Fleming, Guyton Sanders and Travis Curry. Ameri-Kinda, the title of their debut LP, also functions as a succinct description of Vandoliers’ sound — country is, by definition here, a hazy destination, with Simon Says firmly in yee-haw territory, but equally compelling tracks like Wild Flower wandering further afield. Vandoliers’ release party for Ameri-Kinda, set for Friday at Lola’s Saloon with Dead Flowers and Chucho on the bill, will also double as the official Dia de Los Toadies after-party (admission is free with a Dia ticket).
Tall, ‘Somewhere in Between’
Dallas trio Tall, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Eric Barron, skims the surface of a half-dozen different genres over the course of its debut LP, Somewhere in Between. From greasy garage rock to sun-blasted alt-country, Tall’s disparate influences just barely hang together — the punky The Change spills into the distinctly psyched-out Back and Forth, for example — suggesting promise, but also a need to pare back impulses and allow the songs to breathe. Tall will celebrate Between’s release, with Uneasy Pilgrims, Cool Jacket and the Grand Damns, Sept. 19 at the Underpass in Dallas.