15 Denton Bands for Your Soundtrack of 2017

15 Denton Bands for Your Soundtrack of 2017

Two months of this year have come and gone already. We love the abundance and quantity of musicians in town, but it can be hard to know where to start looking, whether you've lived here for years or have just transferred to one of our city's universities. While we at The Dentonite encourage you to go out and explore the scene yourself, there are 15 musical acts we think you should be all ears for over the next 10 months and beyond — we definitely will be. 

Kind Beats

Not even a week after the release of Music to Cuddle to Vol. II, Michael C. LaCroix took to Facebook with a 10-second teaser of new music. This guy doesn’t stop, and we aren’t complaining. He has been bringing cuddle funk — his own thoughtful blend of soul-infused, jazzy electronica that comments on the times, society, and the good old days — to Denton since last year. Tune into dentonradio.com for Kind Beats’s interviews with local artists and his Sunday brunch hour slots to see the other side of his music career. — Linda Smith

Cheridan

This pop artist is up-and-coming in the Denton music scene but is no newcomer to the industry. One of three females represented by Gitmo Music, Cheridan's tunes will leave you wanting more. Her latest release, "Love With You" brings it back to those middle school gym dance vibes - you know the one, where the boys are girls are on opposite walls and the DJ is playing the entire Boyz II Men discography? The slow beats of her songs mixed with her live performance is something we haven't seen in Denton before, so be on the look out for her. —Sara Button

I Am Clark Kent

If I could buy stock in I Am Clark Kent, I would. Their jazz-fusion, pop-punk, ska, experimental style just works. The curation of their music is so thoughtful and makes an effort to be its own. The jazz elements keep all their music smooth while juxtaposed with pop-punk vocals and creative lyrics to make for a thing that I personally never knew I wanted so bad. The band is releasing their first full-length album this upcoming summer, according to their Facebook page. I just want to emphasize it is worth waiting for, but for now you can listen to them on their Bandcamp page. The most recent release on the page is "Rinse Cycle," an older song that they revamped and that represents their sound best. Attend some shows, be mesmerized by the talent, and support this thing they got going on. — Tori Falcon

Trey Detroit

Trey Detroit is an R&B artist on Denton the label Cash & Respect. Trey has worked with many different artists - both local and international - since becoming a Dentonite, including J Whoa, Zilla, and D Quan. Effortlessly rapping over any beat, Trey Detroit may be one of Denton's best-kept secrets of 2017. -SB

For Now

One of three projects involving Skyler Hill and Isabel Crespo, For Now is a wonderful embrace of experimental jazz. The group brings a classical lean to their instrumentation, poeticism to their lyrics, and breezy Latin rhythms. Combine all this, and their sets are both easy on the ears and attention-grabbing. The five-piece plays sporadically in town, but their sets are a must-see when you want a quiet night but you don’t want to sacrifice catching great music. — LS

In Spite of Madness

Evolving from a ragtag band into a leather-clad three-piece performing rock-and-roll ballads of heartache and debauchery, In Spite of Madness appeals to both the eyes and ears. Veteran vocalist, guitarist, and frontwoman Lydia Low leads in each tune with her evocative melodies. Bassist Ben Riley and drummer Bree Hill add additional layers of controlled chaos with their audacious rhythms. Releasing their first full-length album Hedonism in October 2016, the trio’s sound and honest lyrics combine passion, anger, and desire, which leaves listeners in awe during their performances. Having seen them live from their early days to the album release party and beyond, I strongly recommend checking them out at their next local gig. — Katie Olson

Elijah Heaps & Nikolai Rya

These two musicians are more than entertainers, they are brothers. Talented brothers, at that. Heaps and Rya ooze the smell of success, and they know it. Although politely humble, both young men know exactly what they want and will not stop until they've achieved their own definition of success. Working together and collaborating with other local artists, the two created Genuine, a collective of incredibly talented young people in Denton. Whenever you see Heaps or Rya's names on a bill, you know it'll be a party. — SB

Kundalini Kids

This rap collective includes current Denton residents J3’s Journal, Lvl. 9, and Lil Durt. While their gravelly voices lend themselves to intelligent rap musings, J3’s tracks are typically marked by underlying sadness and pain, Lil Durt makes seemingly apathetic yet abrasive observations, and Lvl. 9 delivers quick and catchy raps about just about anything. Either way, they bring a fresh take on rap to town. These guys are constantly putting out new material and pushing themselves artistically. The group works as sound engineers, show hosts, lyricists, and collaborators, and we think you should keep an eye on anything and everything that comes from the Kundalini collective. — LS

Felt & Fur

As creative as Denton acts get with their self-proclaimed genres, funeral pop doom disco has got to be one of my favorites. Alizsha Pennington’s voice is ethereal and moving; seriously, if you’re from East Texas or wherever and have never heard noise before your own Denton days, you might have no clue that you could hear such a beautiful voice from an experimental group like Felt & Fur. Randall Minick and Jarrod Estes add space-rock vibes aplenty with synthesizers and drum machines. Mark your calendars for April 14th, when Mable Peabody’s will host their Aftertouch Album Release and Art Show. — LS

Pearl Earl

What's not to love about Pearl Earl? Four beyond talented female musicians from Denton, constantly making new music (thank god, please don't ever stop), playing local shows, and touring around the United States. Newest Pearl Earlian, Chesley Danielle, rounds out the ensemble on keys while her fellow band mates continue rocking as they had been. Their unique, funky surf-rock melodies and guitar riffs are enough for any fan to fall in love. — SB

SeaFire

Book a show first and then put together the band later. That’s how Tia Culbreth assembled the three-piece prog/math rock outfit known as SeaFire. What was a music project born in South Texas is now a full-fledged Denton band with Alonso Contreras and Lawrence Lazenby filling out the rest of the roster. SeaFire only has a demo available online, but if you skip a show they’re on the bill for, then you’re missing out on a guitarist that can shred like no other in Culbreth. Imagine Dome Dwellers without vocals. Also goes well with Tera Melos and Maps & Atlases. — Mateo Granados

OG Garden

These six uber-talented guys have taken their separate influences from their hometowns across the country and molded them into a full R&B/jazz fusion effort that is uniquely theirs. Lead vocalist Troy Garrick is the only member of the band not in the jazz program at UNT, but his smooth vocals fit in effortlessly with their technical yet improvisational brilliance in each instrument. Their EP Revive Me came out on Valentine’s Day, and a story-driven album is in the works. They’re also booking a ton of shows in the meantime, so be sure to check them out as often as you can. — LS

Matt Grigsby

Grigsby’s crystal-clear voice is the driving force behind his folksy bluegrass and Americana output, though his stripped-down banjo and guitar playing provides a delightful complement. A co-director of the Denton Songwriter’s Guild, his output from that has increased by at least one song a month, in addition to his already impressive EP and full-length album releases. Grigsby will be performing a set at the upcoming Denton Folk Festival, the first annual event from the DSG. In addition to his own music, Grigsby’s career also focuses on bringing folk music back to a place of prominence in Denton. Check out the acoustic showcase he hosts at Andy’s Bar Thursday nights, where you can witness the talents of local singer-songwriters from all kinds of musical backgrounds throughout the community. — LS

Nakamara

The product of college jam sessions, local Denton band Nakamara is made up of current and former UNT students Wiley Reid on drums, Samuel Decker on guitar, keys, and vocals, and Azael Martinez on bass. The band’s self-titled debut album is perfect for a late-night drive or a chill night in with friends, and won the group a DAM award for Best Debut Album. Whether they’re playing a house show at Jagoe or a gig at Taps & Caps, people are starting to notice their sound, delightfully dubbed on their website as “the best post-apocalyptic Japanese surf rock bebop.” Though you may not know what that is yet, check them out. Because it fits, and you do need it going into 2017. — Gaby Perez

MNKR

Formerly Moniker, this band underwent a makeover last year with the additions of Ryan Gordon on bass and backing vocals and Hagen Hauschild on drums to what was previously Jackson Russo’s solo project. Since then, their sound has become louder, stronger, and at times more angsty and bitter. However, the group still inclines toward the upbeat that gets every kind of fan at their shows dancing unreservedly along. These guys always seem to be playing somewhere in town or in the Metroplex, so you have got to see them in action. — LS

Header image design by Brittany Keeton

Photo Set: Music Theatre of Denton Presents Sister Act

Photo Set: Music Theatre of Denton Presents Sister Act

Photo Set: Sunrise Pilots, Glasir and I, The Ghost at Andy's

Photo Set: Sunrise Pilots, Glasir and I, The Ghost at Andy's