Catamaran
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Catamaran

Dallas, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Dallas, Texas, United States
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Indie

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"Local Albums of the Year: 2014"

This is not our first rodeo. We've made quite a few of these albums of the year lists in our time.

So we're painfully aware that we're supposed to start this post with some sort of hyperbole about what a badass year for local music 2014 was.

Tradition aside, though, it really kind of was. Look no further than how well artists like St. Vincent, Old 97's, Parquet Courts, Sarah Jaffe and other locally-sprung artists have fared on numerous "best of" lists in national publications this year as an indication of how rich with talent and creativity the North Texas music scene really has been of late.

Of course, that's exactly the kind of sweeping generalization we were trying to avoid. Whoops, I guess some habits are hard to break.

Oh well. Our full list of our favorite local albums from 2014 is below just the same, along with selected quotes from our coverage throughout the year. -- Cory Graves

SEE ALSO:
• Local Albums of the Year: 2013 // The Official Central Track List.
• The Top 100 Local Songs of 2014.

20. Catamaran
Weekdays
"They don't make songs much more ear-wormy than Catamaran's "All Around." Impressively, the rest of the band's debut is nearly as catchy as that sparkling indie-pop gem. More remarkable, still, is just how closely to the album these guys manage to sound in a live setting." -- CG

19. Buffalo Black
REDPILLwondrland Part I
"Writing, however, is where Kelley's strength truly lies. It's this ability that offers a cohesiveness and fluidity to the disc, for which the artist used beats from some six different producers. Overall, the album's tone is somber -- at times desperate -- and makes repeated use of industrial kicks and snares, most notably on lead single 'Bad Seed.' But his words always stand out: On each track, Kelley's lyrics merit careful listening; they drive the album and are never wasted on banal hooks or typical rap cliches." -- Mikel Galicia

18. Natural Anthem
Thread
"Unlike the folk and country undertones that characterized so much of The Will Callers' 2013, Ray Wylie Hubbard-produced debut LP, Natural Anthem finds Slatton and Murphy shifting towards the world of psych-tinged dream-pop and '60s throwback rock -- so much so that a name change proved itself necessary. Despite the band's lack of skins on the wall, though, we couldn't help but be won over by the laidback atmospherics of lead single, "Paranoid." The reverb-heavy, retro-leaning groove is reminiscent of a more upbeat, less forlorn take on Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." Sure, those missing elements were precisely what makes Isaak's song one of the greatest ever committed to tape -- but, nevertheless, "Paranoid" is an impressive thing in its own right. In any case, it's far and away the standout track from one of the year's best debut albums." -- CG

17. Eat Avery's Bones
T.M.D.U.
"For more than one CT staffer this year, the line in 'Proboner' that begs, 'Turning 30, I could never imagine / Pick up the phone and explain it to me' really hit home. Or maybe it's the unbelievable angular assault the band manages to pack into the song's 59-second blast." -- CG

16. Street Arabs
Bruised Fruit
"Unlike the DIY albums and digital singles the band released previously, Bruised Fruit is the closest thing to a big, glossy full-realized LP that Street Arabs has put out to date. And though there's some slick production and a more unified sound this time around, the band didn't sacrifice any of its lo-fi aesthetic or balls." -- CG

15. Wild Party
Phantom Pop
"The Killers-by-way-of-Strokes charm of that band's debut single, "Take My Advice," was infectious…sure, these guys may be from San Antonio now. But they basically got their starts here in Dallas. Which is worth noting because, based off the strength of these early recordings, it sounds like they're going to be going plenty of places from here." -- Pete Freedman

14. Mystery Skulls
Forever
"Over the course of the past few years, Mystery Skulls has gained some serious traction. For starters, the act signed a major label deal with Warner Bros, which agreed to release his music. And, better yet for Dubuc, Mystery Skulls has found an audience, too: Foreverdebuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Electronic charts, and the official music video for "Ghost," which was created by YouTube animator MysteryBen27, has already garnered over two million views in less than a month." -- MG

13. Daniel Markham
Pretty Bitchin'
"This time around, the band tracked most of its new album at the same time, giving the thing a noisier, more live feel. It's a natural progression, really -- and one that sees the late-'80s-, REM-mining sound of Ruined My Life moving ever-so-slightly towards an early-'90s-, grunge-leaning alt-rock thing this go around. Hell, the album's tenth track, the trudging "Disconnected and Flying," could just as easily be an Alice in Chains B-side." -- CG

12. The Phuss
On the Prowl
"Just behind 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll,' rock music's most enduring mantra has got to be 'live fast, die young.' It's a saying that Josh Fleming, Trey Alfaro and Forrest Barton of Dallas hard-rocking trio, The Phuss, are intimately familiar with, to be sure. Hell, the band's upcoming third long-player, On the Prowl sounds as much like a band of miscreants trying its damndest to live up to that maxim as it does a concept record glorifying that whole 'leave behind a pretty corpse' cliche." -- CG

11. Bummer Vacation
Creative Differences
"Bummer Vacation's somewhat hard-to-pin-down sound bears some passing resemblance to Torres-Reyes' previous outfit, Skeleton Coast, in that it pair's together post-punk and glittery dream-pop in a moderately challenging but completely approachable manner. But the immaculately layered guitar work found on Bummer Vacation's debut eschews Skeleton Coast's neo-psychedelic leanings in favor of something more akin to The Smiths." -- CG

10. A.Dd+
N.A.W.F.
"The release of DiveHiFlyLo left little doubt: In the world of Dallas hip-hop, 2013 was A.Dd+'s year. Funny: 2012 and 2011 were Slim Gravy and Paris Pershun's years, too. But, though not unkind to the twosome, 2014 hasn't been so unchallenged a contest. As contemporaries of the group have gained clout of their own, so too has a whole new crop of emcees risen. Suddenly, the realm once so dominated by this North Dallas duo is crowded. Well, for now. Tonight, as the duo will celebrate the release of its new NAWF EP, A.Dd+ sets to once again stake its claim on the throne that sits atop this heap." -- PF

9. The Paychecks
Honky Tonk Suicide
"After dropping the banjos, these four onetime members of 100 Damned Guns have been kicking around in this much-twangier version of its past self for three years or so now without a studio LP to its name. So this one is a long time coming. And what's especially interesting about the band's Honky Tonk Suicide debut is the fact that it was recorded by Mind Spidersmain man Mark Ryan at his Cool Devices Studio. It's a welcome departure for the noted garage and punk rock producer, who flexed his muscle presiding over a disc that sounds every bit as convincingly old-school as current leader in that clubhouse, Sturgill Simpson." -- CG

8. Howler Jr.
Getting Somewhere
"Throughout the long-player's breezy nine tracks, 19-year-old frontman and recent Booker T. Washington grad Spencer Kenney and his bandmates deftly channel a number of influences, ranging from funk to jangle rock, all filtered through an overly beachy (although not surfy) aesthetic. In this context, Kenney reminds us a good deal of fellow genre-hopper Robert Plant, fully entrenched in his Honeydrippers years. Maybe it's just the similar '80s reverb employed by both -- or how laid back and inescapably summery each of their tunes from these respective periods are." -- CG

7. Son of Stan
Georgia
"Georgia feels very much like a continuation of the vibe put forth by Divorce Pop -- the main difference being the immediate sense that this is now a band with some shows under its belt. The energy of the band's live offerings is something that definitely shines through from the very first spin of the sweaty, dog-days-of-summer pop jam." -- CG

6. Danny Diamonds
s/t
"No matter what genre he's tried his hand at over the years -- and he's tried plenty, from the prolific glut indie-folk gems he released early on his career to the drug-fueled countrified numbers he released under his Danny Rush & the Designated Drivers moniker -- it's always been clear that Daniel Folmer's known how to craft a pop song. More than that, the one consistency tying his varied works together, it seems, is his persistence at penning, oft-morose lyrics regarding some particular bit of despair he's currently undergoing -- well, that or his penchant for self-destructive behaviors. So, no, Folmer's move this year to make yet another sonic shift -- this time into the world of slightly crunchy, mid-'90s-leaning power pop under his new Danny Diamonds persona -- wasn't all that earth-shattering. For that matter, neither was the fact that his first single, "Hot Summer," was full of casually detached references at blowing out his brains or slitting his wrists." -- CG

5. Booty Fade
Booty Fade EP
" It doesn't really matter when or where Booty Fade shows up to perform. When they do, a party is bound to break out. Loads of dancing, too. That much is pretty much guaranteed. And somehow DJ Sober and Picnic's debut EP is almost as fun to listen to at home or in the car as it is to see the duo performing the tracks live at a club. A deceptively impressive feat, to be sure." -- CG

4. Spooky Folk
Youth is a Notion
"As well received as Spooky Folk's 2010 debut LP was, the band's long-coming follow-up finds the Denton outfit branching out into harder, alt-rock territory -- and doing it well at that. And after four years of waiting for the band to finally release new material, Spooky Folk was able to deliver an LP that somehow lived up to the kind of scrutiny an extended between-album buildup often brings. Even better, they did it with a batch of tunes that boldly pushed forward, relying little on the formula that once helped make them one of Denton's favorite bands." -- CG

3. Sealion
Heavy Fizz
"Over the course of the past four years, Sealion's put out three different releases, each one featuring a different bassist. And while each successive replacement member has wound up shaping the band's sound in noticeable ways, never has the band been so drastically impacted as it was when Samantha Villavert joined last year. Since then, she's not only added an extra dimension to the band's sound through her rock-steady backing vocals, but she even personally crafted songs such as "Automobile" for the band's July-released Heavy Fizz LP -- tracks that stand out even alongside Sealion's best batch of material to date." -- CG

2. Blue, The Misfit
Child in the Wild
"There's no denying Blue's resume: From his earliest days in Sore Losers to his production work for national artists and, more recently, his cultivation of an impressive hip-hop collective to call his own, the guy's accomplished plenty. Child In the Wild, however, is his greatest accomplishment to date." -- MG

1. Old 97's
Most Messed Up
"After a handful of so-so LPs, these alt-country heroes now find themselves responsible for not just the ballsiest local album of the year, but maybe of their 20-year career. You probably want to be careful who you listen to this one around -- not everyone will be as appreciative of the band's newfound embrace of the f-bomb as we are -- and, let's face it, you're probably going to want to drink more than a few adult beverages as you take this disc in, too." -- CG - Central Track


"The Top Local Songs of 2014"

100. Blank-Men -- "Mole-Man Therapy" 99. Snow tha Product -- "1 Time" 98. Goodnight Ned -- "50,000 Years" 97. Pageantry -- "Spine" 96. Lou Charle$ -- "RiCH KiD$" 95. iill -- "Surface Friend" 94. Ghost Image -- "The Way" 93. County Lines -- "City Between Two Cities" 92. B. Anderson -- "Peer Pressure" 91. Wesley Geiger -- "As the Crow Flies" 90. Somebody's Darling -- "Bad Bad" 89. Radioactivity -- "Danger" 88. Bobby Sessions -- "Buckle Up" 87. This Will Destroy You -- "Invitation" 86. Final Club -- "No Regrets (M.U.R.P.H.Y.)" 85. Vincent Neil Emerson -- "Hesitation Blues" 84. Lecrae -- "Say I Won't" 83. Luke Wade -- "The Runaround" 82. Convoy & the Cattlemen -- "My Window Faces South" 81. Centro-matic -- "Salty Disciple" 80. Bad Mountain -- "Union Hill" 79. Dorrough -- "Beat Up The Block " 78. The Longshots -- "Me or California" 77. The Paychecks -- "Prison Bars" 76. Dead Flowers -- "I'm Leaving" 75. Birdflower -- "Bish at the Beach" 74. Bad Beats -- "Floor of Love" 73. Rigor Mortis -- "Flesh For Flies" 72. Yung Nation -- "Molly on My Chest" 71. Black Milk -- "What It's Worth" 70. Fishboy -- "Bury My Body" 69. Sugarfoote & Co. -- "Long Gone Daddy" 68. Sexual Jeremy -- "Square Eyes" 67. Blessin' -- "Green Song" 66. Mink Coats -- "Another Notch in the Bible Belt" 65. -topic -- "Pocket Dialed the Queen" 64. Unconscious Collective -- "Kotsoteka" 63. Hot Coffins -- "I H8 Black Magic" 62. Cashmir -- "Numbers" 61. Fever Dreamer -- "A Month of Sunshine" 60. The Fox & the Bird -- "No Man's Land" 59. Street Arabs -- "Maltese Falcon" 58. Power Trip -- "This World (2014)" 57. Zach Witness -- "Amen Love" 56. Terrence Spectacle -- "Futon" 55. Nighty Nite -- "Temporary Custodian" 54. Bethan -- "Low Expectations" 53. Baring Teeth -- "Mountain" 52. Sealion -- "Heavy Fizz" 51. Various Artists -- "Dallas vs. Everybody" 50. Bummer Vacation -- "Aye Mas Tiempo Que Vida" 49. Moonbather -- "Stars From Planes" 48. Kacey Musgraves -- "The Trailer Song" 47. Catamaran -- "Weekdays" 46. Buffalo Black -- "Bad Seed" 45. Mountain of Smoke -- "Wise Owl" 44. Chambers -- "Inner Room" 43. The Phuss -- "Straight Line Impala" 42.Dripping Wet -- "Yearbook" 41. Sarah Jaffe -- "Defense" 40. Madison King -- "Saved By a Son of a Gun" 39. Ish D -- "Keep Moving" 38. Wild Party -- "Chasin' Honey" 37. Gollay -- "Fight or Flight" 36. Blue, the Misfit -- "Trillionaire" 35. Old 97's -- "Nashville" 34. Party Static -- "Poor Baby" 33. TEAM* -- "I Like It" 32. Nayah -- "Let it Go" 31. Oil Boom -- "The Sneak Tip" 30. Spooky Folk -- "Disheveled" 29. Parquet Courts -- "Instant Disassembly" 28. Blackstone Rangers -- "Frozen Echo" 27. Cozy Hawks -- "L.A. Girl" 26. Brandon Fxrd - "Everything On Me" 25. Daniel Markham - "Disconnected and Flying" 24. ????? 23. ????? 22. ????? 21. ????? 20. ????? 19. ????? 18. ????? 17. ????? 16. ????? 15. ????? 14. ????? 13. ????? 12. ????? 11. ????? 10. ????? 9. ????? 8. ????? 7. ????? 6. ????? 5. ????? 4. ????? 3. ????? 2. ????? 1. ????? - Central Track


"Passing Through: Catamaran"

Dallas-based psychedelic surf pop band Catamaran is sailing through town on the first stop of their fall tour for a show at Yeti with local country-tinged garage rockers Hey Judy and ukulele-based psych freaks Cucumber & The Suntans on October 10. Here, Aaron Webb, guitarist and co-front person (with his wife and band namesake, Judy) of Hey Judy talks to Catamaran guitarist and singer Stephen Glenn about their upcoming show together, as well as artistic influence and inspiration, Halloween plans, and the music, food, and State Fair of our neighboring state to the south. Aaron Webb: What made you decide to play in Tulsa? Stephen Glenn: I’ve been talking to local bands and touring bands for a while now, trying to figure out where we should go. Everyone kept saying we should play Tulsa. We’ve never played outside of Texas, so we’re very excited about that in general, and we’re looking forward to Tulsa in particular because we’ve heard such good things. AW: What are some of your musical influences that you think listeners might recognize in your music? SG: You might be able to hear little pieces from a variety of artists including Real Estate, The Drums, The French Kicks, Surfer Blood, Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Dr. Dog, Fleet Foxes, Peter Bjorn and John, Beach Boys, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and Death Cab for Cutie. AW: Can you give us some insight into your songwriting process? How does that usually work? SG: A lot of the songs were created by just jamming on them for forever. The structures kind of arose naturally that way. As soon as I got bored of a part I’d change it up and the band would adjust. We’d record almost every jam and then we’d go back and listen to them and pick out the things that were working and what wasn’t. The vocal would start as mumbles as I searched for a melody. After a while some words would start to come out of the mumbles and I’d try to make sense of them and the underlying emotion, sort of like interpreting a dream. AW: The thought-provoking lyrics on your Weekdays EP indicate that you are literate. What are some of your favorite authors, poets, or books? SG: Animal Farm by George Orwell is one of my favorite books. It is just so effective at communicating its point, and I feel like I learned a lot about the world by reading it. Plus, I get a kick out of extended metaphors that work on multiple levels. AW: What are you currently listening to in your touring vehicle? SG: I’m big on shuffling my starred songs on Spotify. It’s all the stuff I love but haven’t worn out yet. It’ll jump from Aretha Franklin to Thee Oh Sees, then go to some reggae with King Tubby and back to Deerhoof. Somehow it still flows, and even weirder still is how perfectly a song matches with what’s going on and then ends right when I pull up to the parking spot. AW: What are some of your favorite eateries in the DFW area? Any specific dishes you’d recommend? SG: I definitely recommend Velvet Taco. Pretty much any taco there is fantastic, but try the Crips Tikka Chicken. It’s basically Indian-style chicken and rice wrapped in a tortilla. So good! AW: Been to the Texas State Fair this year? SG: Yes! Actually my family came into town to visit and we went to the State Fair yesterday. It was awesome! Huge, crowded, and zero vegetables in sight. The fried Oreos and the funnel-cake-flavored beer were the best! I think the fair has really started to come back lately. AW: What are some of your favorite bands from the Dallas/North Texas music scene? SG: Sealion does surf punk and is just absolutely killer. Dead Mockingbirds is a garage rock trio and they put on a frenetic show that you’ve got to see. As far as indie pop, I really dig Brave Young Lion. And the latest band I’ve been obsessed with is Blessin’, from Denton. They make really beautiful bedroom dream pop that I just listen to on repeat sometimes. AW: Artistic inspiration can come from various sources. Can you tell us about a moment when the inspiration to make music came from an unlikely or unexpected place? SG: Some of my inspiration comes from news articles, talk radio, and movies. The year I wrote “Leper,” I was reading a lot about the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, and I watched The Motorcycle Diaries for the first time. AW: What are your Halloween plans? SG: We’ve got two Halloween shows booked. One is in Denton a week after we get back from the road and another is in Dallas the week after that. We’ll all be playing in costume and we’re playing with bands we love, so it should be an amazing homecoming. I’m going to be a carrot. Catamaran, Hey Judy, and Cucumber & The Suntans play at Yeti, 417 N Main St, Friday, October 10. - The Tulsa Voice


"Meet the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Showcase Lineup"

Catamaran make rhythmically enrapturing, heady surf rock. The quartet use tremolo-ed guitars and syrupy melodies to craft songs that marry the Beach Boys' warmth to Vampire Weekend's highbrow East Coast pop. On the back of their new single, "All Around" and a flurry of shows, the boys have made big ripples here in Dallas. National exposure is in their future. - Dallas Observer


"#DOMA25 Showcase [REVIEW]"

The 25th Annual Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase went down on Saturday, November 2nd 2013. For one night a year, Deep Ellum is transformed into a live music paradise with over 50 local bands on 8 stages.

The scene was just right for Dallas born and raised Catamaran at Reno’s Saturday night. A sprawling outdoor wooden patio, matching wooden costal seating and exotic flora set the vibe for this psychedelic surf rock quartet. Stephen Glenn, Tom Theall, Alec Rosales , and Chris Escarfullery make up this up-and-coming indie rock four piece.



Catamaran is known for creating catchy foot-tapping tunes with a summery, beach-y feel that blends several genres while anchoring in surf rock. Despite the sunny tunes and good vibes the cold weather initially had a hold on the crowd, but with the fluttering guitars and shimmering synths it didn’t take long for the audience to warm up.



The set glistened with influences from the likes of Real Estate and Surfer Blood, incorporating fuzzy, distant vocals laid over steady beats. “All Around” is the first and only single released from the group, and was the undisputed favored track of the night, with ringing melodies, and catchy harmonies that conjured up the image of a warm summer day.

Catamaran is currently working on their debut EP, and you can catch them gigging around the DFW area. - Good BAMM Show


"2013 Dallas Observer Music Awards"

Best Pop Act Nominee - Dallas Observer


"House of Plates kills it with color at Hari Mari & The Factory Show"

As post-show drinks flowed, scenesters clustered in corners and soaked in the sounds of Catamaran. - Culture Map Dallas


"35 Denton Dallas Bands"

Catamaran is a relatively new act out of Dallas that only has a set of demos to share at this point. Though you have to listen through the quality, the band has nice mix of breezy pop and experimental indie rock in the vein of Surfer Blood or Local Natives. - Operation Every Band


"Can’t Miss: Hari Mari & The Factory Show"

All kinds of good stuff is going down this Saturday: music by DJ Chriis at 8 pm, a fashion show at 9 pm, and live tunes by Dallas-based Catamaran at 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm. Plus, the Hari Mari sandal collection will be out in full force and on display. - D Magazine


"Catamaran Will Be "All Around" This Summer"

"Sometimes you need an escape. This is music that takes you to a better place, a sunny retreat. Catamaran should be the vessel of choice for navigating the choppy waters of life this year." - The Majestic Show


Discography

All Around (Single) (2013, Self-Released Online)

Photos

Bio

After much anticipation since the release of its self-recorded 2012 demo online, Dallas-based indie rock group Catamaran released its first single, "All Around," co-produced with Will Hunt of Spaceway Productions earlier this year.

Catamaran has quickly launched into the spotlight in Dallas/Fort Worth. The band was nominated for a 2013 Dallas Observer Music Award for Best Pop Act and finds itself in the rotation on DFW's popular public radio station KKXT. Catamaran made its radio debut on the acclaimed KDGE Local Show.

Catamaran has earned fans the hard way, playing at venues around the metroplex such as Lola's, Double Wide, Prophet Bar, Club Dada, and even opening for Brett Dennan at Granada Theater. At 35 Denton last year, an energetic crowd danced along with the band, still with just its demo in hand. Recently, Catamaran played at House of Plates' Hari Mari Factory Show to a full house of Dallas' fashion-conscious scenesters.

Stephen Glenn (vocals, guitar) has a masters in mechanical engineering and feels his graduate school experience informed the band's creative process. "In graduate research, you spend a lot of time on literature review before you actually conduct your experiment. In music, this translates as the process of digging into your influences and picking out what you like or whats interesting about them," Glenn said. "When you dig further, into influences of influences, you'll inevitably come across a lot of common links such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd, which would be analogous to the most highly cited papers in the technical world. And the point of all this is to build on the hard work of others to find new ideas, to stand on the shoulders of giants, as Newton put it."

Glenn and Tom Theall (drums) became friends after moving to Dallas in 2010. They soon found a mutual enthusiasm for fresh, creative, heartfelt music. After several months of jamming, sharing, and discussing their favorite artists and their bag of musical tricks, it became apparent that a band would need to be formed. A few songs were sketched out and recorded, and a grooving acoustic surf sound began to emerge. After several weeks of searching for the right name to capture the vibe in just a few syllables, "Catamaran" finally came to them during a late-night summer pool party. The name proved to be a durable vehicle for their sound, able to transmit the awe, joy, and loneliness of the outdoors with a deeply inward narrative that examines personal relationships in the context of social sea change. Tremolo'd guitars convey shimmering mirages rising above the sand, a rocking rhythm section keeps your head moving, and psychedelic flourishes tickle the brain stem into a joyous trance. Each song explores yin and yang, whether it's a balance between rhythm and melody, pop and rock, or between solid structures and ethereal spaces.

After many long months of searching on Craigslist for new members, Catamaran added Alec Rosales (lead guitar, keys, percussion) to the group in mid-2012, bringing a guitar sound that ranges from pristine to colorfully mangled.

Band Members