Prophets and Outlaws throw a curveball at the outset of its latest EP, V.
The surprise comes from, admittedly, somewhat judging this Dallas quintet (vocalist/guitarist Matt Boggs, lead guitarist Stevie G, drummer James Guckenheimer, keyboardist Jamie Ringholm and bassist CJ Thompson) by its decidedly rustic-sounding name, but what Prophets and Outlaws has in mind on its follow-up to last year’s Texas Home EP is far more soulful than merely by-the-numbers country music.
Led by Boggs’ truly striking voice — it’s a true showstopper, rich and full and a little reminiscent of another soulful Texas star, Josh Weathers — Prophets and Outlaws breezily moves between Muscle Shoals (opener Show Me is a fantastic slow burn) and the Broken Spoke (Party Like This proves the band can hang with its fellow Texas country compatriots) without breaking a sweat.
You can hear the results of the band’s relentless road schedule in the crisp performances, and feel the determination in every syllable, particularly when Boggs intones “we’re gonna make it in this town” at the end of the impressive, 19-minute offering. Prophets and Outlaws will celebrate V’s release Friday, with support from Abbey Cone, at Dallas’ House of Blues.
-Topic, ‘My Favorite Sweaters!’
You are unlikely to find a better, more succinct description of Dallas rapper -Topic’s latest release than the one he offers on his Bandcamp page: “18 tracks of pure cotton blend fire flames, totals out at about 43 mins.” Clever, yes, but a summation that, in somewhat self-deprecating fashion, undersells just how sharp this mixtape, arriving two years after -Topic’s impressive Be Good & Do Well LP, really is.
Reiterating yet again how profoundly diverse and phenomenally talented so much of the DFW hip-hop community is seems foolish, but My Favorite Sweaters! is merely the latest reminder. Working with a platoon of producers (Flying Lotus and Taylor McFerrin turn up, with -topic rhyming over a J Dilla beat as well), -topic conjures a faintly surreal atmosphere, grounded by gritty details. “These other rappers never had a chance,” he raps at one point during Remember Me. Sweaters! makes it tough to argue otherwise.
Mind Spiders, ‘Prosthesis’
It takes Fort Worth-formed synth-punk foursome Mind Spiders less than 30 minutes to thoroughly throttle your senses on its latest long-player, Prosthesis. The Mark Ryan-led outfit, fresh from performing at this year’s South by Southwest and returning for its fourth outing in five years after 2013’s Inhumanistic, excels at sustaining an air of cool menace throughout these eight tracks — No Filter gets considerable mileage out of an insistent synthesizer line, given striking counterpoint by an equally propulsive guitar riff. (The sinister, streamlined Rip It Out also stands as one of the sharper local tracks I’ve heard thus far this year.) The album marks something of a creative homecoming, having been recorded at Cool Devices, the Fort Worth studio Ryan co-owns with his Marked Men bandmate Jeff Burke.