Dallas/Oklahoma City-based indie label Hand Drawn Records has said its second compilation is the result of a worldwide open call for submissions. (The first compilation focused largely on HDR roster artists like Exit 380 and Secret Ghost Champion.) Yet make no mistake –– all but two of the 14 tracks on this second volume are from Texas, and most of that dozen are from established artists. Intriguingly, though, provincialism doesn’t seem to have narrowed the range of sonic stylings on display –– genres are gleefully combined and smashed in this sophisticated little grab-bag from late 2012.
“Oh, warden, won’t you let me in / I been foolish with my freedom again” rasps lead vocalist Blake Parish onThe Hanna Barbarians’ “Oh Warden,” a drunkenly swaying Johnny Cash-style jailhouse lament with torrid harmonica and skipping percussion. Lubbock singer-songwriter Kelsey Schneider channels the wry, brainy pop meditations of Suzanne Vega and Tracy Thorn in the lean, melodic “You Got Away.” Fort Worth’s Swindle Boys celebrate their home state of Arkansas with “The Most Natural of States,” toning down their signature arena-rocking bombast for a haunting bit of regional pride marked by moody, echoing guitar and touching harmonies. The raucous, hallucinatory “Roller Coaster Mobile Saloon” allows Jefferson Colby to flaunt its disciplined yet ferocious percussion and raging electronic fretwork. The album opens with Denton singer-songwriter and ex-Polyphonic Spree member Andrew Tinker’s “I Don’t Mind,” a peppy but lovely little pop ditty full of billowing keyboards and jaunty acoustic guitar strumming.
The comp ends with San Marcos pop act Grey Sky Symphony, a.k.a. Dillon Hutrya, serving a jaunty slice of ’60s-style Donovan ear candy with “You’re My Favorite Color,” featuring shiny happy instrumentation and a killer stick-in-your-brain melody. –– Jimmy Fowler