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Of champions, scholars, and aliens.

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Taylor Loftin

Welcome Young Champions

Pizza Tape Records

Recorded late last year, Welcome Young Champions is the first solo album by Taylor Loftin, a member of the local punk band Gimp Teeth. Whereas Gimp Teeth crank out songs that barely reach the two-minute mark, seething with aggression and immediacy, Loftin croons, plays acoustic guitar, and even plays piano on Welcome Young Champions, techniques you will not find on a modern hardcore punk record. The 17 songs on Welcome Young Champions were written and recorded by Loftin when he was visiting family in Slovenia, and it's a safe bet that Loftin was the only Memphian who made a record near the Adriatic Sea last year. Welcome Young Champions is definitely an album engineered for the summer, but Loftin released it through Pizza Tape Records in November of 2014. Pizza Tape Records is also the home to locals like Loser Vision, the Leave Me Be's, and Ugly Girls. Welcome Young Champions might be the first solo effort from Loftin, but he sure sounds like someone who's been crafting acoustic pop songs for years. The uniqueness of tracks like "Kafka on the Shore" and "Burn it Up" show a songwriter who's already developed his own style, and the lo-fi recording makes this collection of songs more intriguing to listen to. A great debut from a local musician to watch in 2015.

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Dawn Patrol

Police State EP

Kunaki Distribution

Dawn Patrol is a local metal band made up of brothers Tommy and Kyle Gonzales, along with bassist Stephen Bean. Championed by the local metal scene and media outlets like

Rock 103, Dawn Patrol seems to have hit the ground running since forming in 2012. Police State features artwork by Andrei Bouzikov, a twisted individual responsible for the gruesome cover art on the albums of high-profile crossover metal acts like Municipal Waste, Skeleton Which, and Toxic Holocaust. But Police State just doesn't just look like a premier metal album; it rocks like one, too. Recorded last summer by Alan Burcham at Ardent Studios, Police State rides the line between hardcore and speed metal, with enough blast beats, double bass, and squealing guitar solos to make any metal purist satisfied.

Guitarist Tommy has been on the go since finishing school, joining New Jersey metal band Condition Critical on an extensive European tour last summer when he was only 18 years old. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Dawn Patrol is how experienced they sound despite their young age. Kyle already has drum endorsements even though he's still in high school, and Tommy is Berklee College of Music-trained. Does Berklee offer a metal program? If so, Dawn Patrol would be at the top of the class.

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John Wesley Coleman and the Gaylords

"Radio" b/w "Aliens" 7"

(Spacecase Records)

John Wesley Coleman might be from Austin, but his ties to the Memphis music scene run deep. As a member of the Golden Boys, Coleman played Murphy's and the Buccaneer regularly, and the band also earned a spot at Goner Fest Nine. Not one to be tied to a single project, Coleman has released solo albums for numerous indie labels, including the Greg Ashley-produced Last Donkey Show for Goner Records in 2012. The self-proclaimed "Trash Poet" has numerous side projects, and Coleman has even released poetry and movie scripts in addition to offering a dirt cheap songwriting service in which he will write any paying customer a song about whatever they want for less than what an album costs these days.

It's important to have all of that understood before listening to Coleman's latest single "Radio," the first with the Gaylords backing him. Both songs on the Spacecase single are stripped down and to the point, with Coleman repeating phrases like "I gotta radio" and "messin' with my brain" over and over. While "Radio" builds to a climatic ending with swirling synthesizers and blown out guitars, "Aliens" is over in less than two minutes, leaving the listener to wonder if Coleman and company got abducted at the end of this recording session. If this brand of weird, fried psych punk is what the Gaylords are capable of getting out of Coleman, an LP would definitely be worth checking out. For now, this great single will have to do. Recorded by Dean Beadles, "Radio" b/w "Aliens" is available at Goner Records and Shangri-La or direct from www.spacecaserecords.com.

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