DAM AWARDS 2018: Best New Act

It’s no secret that the wealth of creativity in town is inspirational, leading to so many people picking up an instrument, polishing up vocals, and forming groups. The five nominees for Best New Act have reinvented themselves or stepped into the spotlight for the first time, giving Denton a new depth of tunes this year. With DAM Award voting extended to February 8, here are the contenders for 2018's Best New Act.

Body English

Body English completely encapsulates a neosoul sound, and then pushes that genre’s boundaries that much more. They are able to sound both stripped down and full, incorporating rich, intimate vocals with disciplined, thoughtful instrumentation. They’ve just released a video of their cover of Flying Lotus’s "Tea Leaf Dancers" in a video well worth as many watches as you can give it. Watch for the full Flying Lotus Reset EP this year.


Madeline Crisman Dowd’s music ranges from lo-fi recordings of her voice coupled with chords to synth-driven indie pop tracks. Crisman came onto the scene last year from Alpharetta, Georgia, and has since brought her intense, personal vocals and guitar playing to town. She has an impressive amount of music up on Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and she’s a regular addition to great bills all around Denton’s music venues, including the Springtime and the Changes album release on February 16 at Andy’s.

Hey Cowboy 

Hey Cowboy rang in January 1, 2018 in the best way possible when they revealed their album The Soft Kind to the world. It is dreamy synth-pop that elevates and remains down-to-earth; a seamless blend of poetic and empowering lyrics; and punchy bass, synth, and percussion, with a harmonious mix of their three voices to top it all off. They’re making their way through the big venues in the Metroplex, so be sure to catch them live.

Lorelei K 

Be the Doll is a tour de force — a raw, stunning ten-song introspection. Whether straight pop, laden with synth, or dark slam poetry-style alt-pop, each track is Dahlia Knowles baring her soul and bringing a heightened expressiveness with each deeply personal ballad. Knowles, who also works as a hair stylist for Aveda and performs occasionally in Glitterbomb, has an impressive eight DAM nominations this year, clearly showing she has cemented her place in the creative sphere of Denton.

Samus David Jr.

Take the fun parts of pop and add grungy instrumentation, and you have the trio Samus David Jr. Their October release of Literal Trash is anything but: a collection of eight plays-on-words for titles — eight catchy songs that stray from the typical pop fare in all the right ways. Each track brings the three different influences and styles of its members full circle, blending effortlessly into their unique sound.

Header image photographed by Tiffany Stenger
Header image layout designed by Christopher Rodgers