Fort Worth Music Scene
Fort Worth alt-rock band makes likely candidate for success
Fort Worth alt-rock band the Unlikely Candidates is hitting the decks with a new release and a tour that'll include a return performance to the place where it all started: the annual SXSW music conference in Austin. A six-song EP, called Bed Of Liars, is out on Another Century Records, a division of Sony, on February 17.
The Candidates started out as an acoustic duo, formed in 2008 by childhood friends Kyle Morris and Cole Male. Eventually they expanded to include guitarist Brent Carney, bassist Jared Hornbeek, and drummer Kevin Goddard.
They enjoyed their first wave of success in 2013 when they signed to major-label Atlantic Records and released a debut EP, called Follow My Feet. The title single spent 20 weeks on the Billboard charts; that does not happen to everyone. The last time they played SXSW, they got mentions in the New York Times and Esquire magazine as a band to watch. Famed blogger Perez Hilton said that they sounded like Mumford & Sons "with a bit more fun." You read that right: Perez Hilton.
"Playing at SXSW has always been beneficial for us," says Hornbeek, who does most of the talking to media, along with singer Kyle Morris. "The first year we played there, we got signed by Atlantic. A lot of people say that SXSW is no longer effective in getting a deal with a record label, but it's happened for us twice."
The second time was in 2016, when they signed on with Another Century. "The coolest thing about them is that they want to release as much music as we can make," Morris says.
They've played the big festivals like Bonnaroo and Firefly, and toured with other happening bands such as St. Lucia, Nothing But Thieves, Weathers, and the Moth & the Flame.
They honed their live show thanks to affiliations with Fort Worth bars such as the Chat Room and The Usual; they used to have a residency every Thursday night at Lola's, "but now we space out our shows around Dallas-Fort Worth," Morris says. "We have less time because we need to focus on our national tour."
Their sound has evolved from the folk-driven style of their earlier stuff to bigger, grander sounds. Guitarist Brent does much of the production.
"Lately, we're moving into a Led Zeppelin direction," Morris says. "It's slinky and psychedelic, with a little R&B — more into making you dance."
Bed Of Liars is available on iTunes and Amazon, with an instant download of "Ringer," plus all major music streaming services. The band launches its tour on February 17 at The Vanguard in Tulsa, and hits Club Dada in Deep Ellum on March 30. They'll also perform at the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day parade on March 11 at Energy Square Parking Lot, with Jimmy Eat World and Rooney.