James Tunnell, Staff Writer
The local music scene of Oklahoma City and the surrounding area really doesn’t get enough credit. Sure, there hasn’t been a hugely successful breakout band since The All American Rejects came storming down the plains in the early 2000s, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a bevy of talented bands just itching to be heard. One admitted criticism of music in OKC is that we don’t have a particular “sound.” You can’t point at Oklahoma City and see a common thread between bands like you could with say, Seattle and the Grunge scene in the 90s. But, really, that is part of what makes our local bands so great. There is diversity, and that’s cool.
One of the most talked about local bands of late is a group called Tallows. Their recent release Memory Marrow, has garnered heavy praise from local critics, some touting it as one of the strongest independent debut releases the state has ever seen, and the plaudits are well deserved. It’s even gotten a bit of airtime on smaller indie stations overseas. Memory Marrow is somewhat difficult to assign a genre to. Their bandcamp lists Tallows as “experimental,” and in many ways, that is true. The instrumentation is pretty non-traditional, making use of loops and shimmering reverb, all wrapped around infectious pop melodies and hard hitting choruses. It’s kind of reminiscent of instrumental local greats, The Non, only with more traditional song structures and the inclusion of vocals. Tallows’ recent efforts have earned them a spot at this year’s SXSW in Austin, in which they will surely aim to impress.
Another up and coming local group is the bedroom pop duo of Danny Davis and Wil Norton (of Non fame), called Husbands. Although they haven’t released a proper album yet, they have put out a slew of catchy singles via their bandcamp over the past year. Considering that the production value is kind of limited throughout their catalogue, it’s a credit to Husbands’ musicianship that the lo-fi sound they have managed to create actually works in their favor. There is certainly a dream-like quality to all of their songs, most of which are drenched in reverb. It’s hard to find many criticisms against what Husbands have put out so far. None of their singles feel like wasted efforts; they’re all catchy as heck. If lo-fi dreampop is up your alley, then the smooth vocals of Davis and noodling guitar work of Norton will have you on Cloud 9.
A final band worth giving a listen to are the shoegaze outfit Power Pyramid. Admittedly, shoegaze can be a hard genre to get into, but for people that enjoy bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, or contemporaries like The Horrors or No Joy, Power Pyramid is like a sonic beacon of light in the night of darkest aural clarity. The great thing about Power Pyramid is that in a genre that has been around long enough to really have solidified its sound (wall of distortion, heavy use of tremolo, drum machines, ghostly vocals), they still find a way to sound fresh. Their album The God Drums is available for free download on their bandcamp, so there really is no reason not to give this band a chance.
Obviously, not every good local band is included in this article, but the ones listed here are certainly some of the best our city has to offer. If you like something you hear, don’t be afraid to actually buy one their albums (a shocking concept to most). The more we help these artists, the more our local music scene will thrive, and that is something that we can all get behind.