Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lone Star sounds: Dallas' Daniel Hart crafts a bold debut, 'The Orientalist' - Fort Worth Star Telegram

Cerebral alt-pop prominently featuring the violin? In Daniel Hart's hands, it's sheer magic. The Orientalist, the Dallas-based Hart's debut solo effort, comes after years of the singer-songwriter-violinist performing with plenty of big indie stars, like Broken Social Scene and homegrown heroes St. Vincent and the Polyphonic Spree.

The dozen tracks of The Orientalist are bold, expansive and intelligent ("I want to take her to the sculpture garden," Hart croons during Van Gogh Sher Gil) in a way too few releases are anymore. Watching that sort of ambition unfold live should be a rare treat, as Hart takes the stage Friday at the Where House, with support from the buzzy Brenna Manzare and the Proper Husbands. Ten bucks gets you in, and the music starts after 9 p.m.Fort Worth singer-songwriter Clint Niosi's sophomore album, For Pleasure and Spite, is so powerful as to make you catch your breath. The folk-tinged songs, laced with pain and the purifying feel of unburdening one's soul, are raw-nerved knockouts produced by James Talambas. Niosi has played a handful of release shows to celebrate the new effort, and he'll take the subterranean stage at Denton's J&J's Pizza at 8 p.m. Saturday. This free show also features Hares on the Mountain and Eyes, Wings and Many Other Things.Fort Worth native JT Hodges has a self-titled debut album hitting stores Tuesday on Toby Keith's label, Show Dog-Universal Music. The singer-songwriter penned eight of the album's 10 tracks, and will perform a couple local gigs to celebrate its release. Hodges will play a 45-minute acoustic set at 7 p.m. Monday at Joe T. Garcia's, and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, another, shorter (20-30 minute) acoustic set at the Best Buy off Loop 820 (5604 Southwest Loop 820, to be exact).Speaking of hometown heroes, pop-rock quintet Green River Ordinance, which continues to tour heavily behind this year's Under Fire, has scheduled a two-night stand at The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge for Sept. 15-16. Tickets are on sale now, via the Live Oak's website (theliveoak.com).And while it might seem a bit early to start thinking about Christmas, the Polyphonic Spree is already in a Yuletide state of mind. This week, the Dallas-based symphonic pop band, led by Tim DeLaughter, announced it will release its inaugural volume of holiday-themed songs, titled (appropriately enough) Holidaydream, on Kirtland Records and Good Records Recordings on Oct. 23.The 13-song set, which will be offered on CD, vinyl and digitally, will feature 10 standards, two new songs and a cover of Happy Xmas (War Is Over). "We wanted to make a record that has the sentiment of the holidays without the melodic connotation telegraphing the obvious," said DeLaughter in a statement. "We took many of the standards that we all knew and loved as kids and rewrote the music and melody to give them a 'new' life while leaving others somewhat true to form."Preston Jones is the Star-Telegram pop music critic, 817-390-7713Twitter: @prestonjones

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