Three volumes in and A Blackwatch Christmasyet again nabs a spot on the nice list, showcasing a smattering of Oklahoma artists with charming new holiday standards. This year shakes up the status quo with two themed halves — serving up dusty, countrified Christmas ditties on the Holly-Tonk side and soulful hip-hop carols with Jingle Beats, both with joyful returns.
It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
It’s obvious The Wurly Birds want to take you back, way back. The
affection for The Beatles’ perfect pop-rock ballads couldn’t be more
clear, and in “Turns,” the Oklahoma City five-piece does that golden
Its self-titled debut did much of the same, but with more subtle production and a hazy, psychedelic tone, “Turns” does it all the better.
It acts like a connect-the dots between the best and brightest of that era of rock ’n’ roll, linking The Velvet Underground (“No Disguise”) to The Zombies (“We Can’t Always Agree”) and The Kinks (“It’s Love”) to Sam Cooke (“I Should Have Been Better”). One would assume some tacky monstrosity of peace signs, free love and tie-dye, but instead, “Turns” feels plucked from some humble rock club of the ’60s rather than pieced together using some “Woodstock for Dummies” guide.
Only with musicianship so honest and outstanding could an act pull off such a feat.
Singer/guitarists Taylor Johnson and Chris Anderson take turns delivering understated lines in a sonically lush tone over impeccably tight rhythm and hooks from the rest of the gang. All in all, it’s remarkably authentic, with ne’er even a moment feeling out-of-place. “Turns” is as much a time warp as it is an album — one hatched on vinyl, of course. —Joshua Boydston