Jul 25 2013

Review: Daniel Markham – Ruined My Life

daniel markham ruined my life

I’m a bit late to the show, but like all of Markham’s output, this one’s a grower. It might be the one you’ll have to spend the most time with out of all of the Markham albums. And that’s because, underneath the twang, the West Texas melodies, the semblance of loneliness, that dirgy Deadsy guitar, that brilliant album title, and that head-scratching album cover, Ruined My Life is a new side of Daniel Markham he’s merely hinted at in the past. With this, the first post-Lubbock proper full-length, and the first proper solo album, his eyes are turned outward, his head is held higher, and frankly, the mood’s a bit brighter.

The highlight here is “New Blood.” Uptempo and upbeat, Markham signals early this album represents a change in life, attitude, and perspective. And I can’t think of a single song he’s ever done that sounds anything like it. Throughout the album, a theme of “moving on” and “well wishes” are given as opposed to past Markham mantras of lost love and confused direction. Pronouns have shifted in his lyrics, giving advice to broken hearts rather than lamenting his own. One Wolf’s material produced an image of internal battle and identity struggle. Ruined My Life (with a title that’s simultaneously humorous, unfortunate, guilty, and, maybe for an ex, downright accurate) contains songs that signify that internal battle, at least for now, has been won.

The death of R.E.M. likely put a heavy weight on the songwriter’s psyche. I’m merely speculating, but I’d be willing to bet money that’s who the “favorite band” is in Ruined My Life. Regardless, the influence has never been more prevalent in Markham’s music than here. “Drag Up Some Dead” sounds like it could belong deep on New Adventures In Hi-Fi and “Killers They Will Creep” makes the younger Markham of Waiting to Derail fame sound like a guy wasting away in Margaritaville. We’ve certainly come a long way from “Wish,” haven’t we?

But mostly, it’s an amalgamate of good ol’ Markham. Combining elements of pretty much everything he’s ever done, from the lovelorn alt-country of Waiting to Derail to the pop laden with sadness throughout the first One Wolf album, to the cacophony of guitar and emotional torment in the second One Wolf album, there’s signature sounds here that immediately make me think of Lubbock, Texas, even though I haven’t been there in years, and I’ve never heard this new music there.

But this is not Lubbock music. Lubbock is a wonderful place to live….for a while. But anyone who’s felt stuck there likely would put a few One Wolf tracks on their mixtape dedicated to a future away from the eerie desolation, the unending boredom, the strange loneliness in a town of 300,000 people. The Markham Sound is inherently Lubbock – it was born there, it still remains in his music; you never really wash off that red dirt. But lyrically, thematically, this is the soundtrack of Lubbock behind you. The melodies are more positive (“No Mosquitos,” which could be about leaving the 806), the thoughts are optimistic (“Best of Luck,” one of the strongest tracks on the album), and the humor, always hinted at in the past, is more apparent here. Less about love lost and more about change, traveling, touring, living life, Ruined My Life is a more mature Markham, a refocused, repurposed, relocated, and recalculated Texas musician Denton should be proud to call a resident.

Buy it on iTunes.

Jan 23 2012

Currently Digging: Daniel Markham – Hexagons

Daniel Markham’s solo ventures have been significantly darker and Deadsy-er than his alt-country leanings in One Wolf material. We first heard this turning point in the band’s second album, and then last March in Markham’s Demonstrations album. And now, in the six-song Hexagons, Markham, now residing in Denton, has turned the knob up on the sustaining, thunderous guitar sound. Still, those trademark Markham traits remain – lyrics signifying love and loss, alienation, and pensive lamentation. And let us not forget about the strong affinity for crafting an infectious melody. All in all, it’s refreshing to hear that familiar voice delivering new creations. Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for the next batch.

Apr 2 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 4/2/11

Every Saturday, I post a 15-20 minute podcast featuring some tracks I’ve been jamming the previous week, as well as some commentary and random musings from yours truly. Enjoy!

Microphone’s not working properly this week, so it’s just tunes this time around. It’s all good stuff, though, so crank it!


The Grenadines – Reservations
Cloud Nothings – Local Joke (Neon Indian cover)
The Weeknd – Wicked Games
Pusha T – Touch It (feat. Kanye West)
Daniel Markham – The Devil

Mar 30 2011

Currently Digging: Daniel Markham – Demonstrations

What a great week it’s been for music and mixtapes out of the blue. One Wolf’s Daniel Markham has dropped a new surprise LP for the masses, a collection of songs written in Athens, GA. You can stream and download the sucker above via Bandcamp.

The recording quality is more of a lo-fi, DIY endeavor than previous One Wolf undertakings, but the songs are all Markham, introspective, melodic, occasionally foreboding, and always with specific direction. Live favorite “Across the Water” is resurrected, and new tracks “The Devil” and “It’s All Downhill From Here” reveal Markham’s growth in songwriting.

Jan 29 2011

Culture Greyhound Podcast 1/29/11

Every Saturday, I post a 15-20 minute podcast featuring some tracks I’ve been jamming the previous week, as well as some commentary and random musings from yours truly. Enjoy!


Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz – Six Foot Seven Foot
Daniel Markham – Across the Water
The Go! Team – Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix)
Mind Spiders – Don’t Let Her Go
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em (Diplo Remix)

Apr 5 2010

My Friends Blog Too

My Internet is really spotty today, so nothing elaborate for your Monday.  Instead, I invite you to check out some pretty spectacular blogs done by people I know (all of which can be found to the right, along with many others).

Adult Acid – music-related blog by my good friend Burgers, specializing in the weird/post-rock stuff that sometimes isn’t accessible, but always cutting-edge.

The Numerators – highly entertaining as of late, since these boys are currently on tour promoting their new EP

Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno – my good buddy Alan and his lady friend Kelly are contributors to this fairly high-traffic site (as well as Kelly’s sister, I’m told), which is a pretty cool read in terms of fashion, photography, music, and pretty much whatever else these peeps feel like sharing.

So Let the Horror Flow – my buddy Daniel Markham’s horror blog.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

Rad Works – Rachel Daily’s creative mind laid out for all to see.  Always an interesting read.

Media Mirage – my partner in crime Laura’s blog – she’s a journalism nut, and I’m always educated when I make the trip to her corner of the Web.

This is just a sample – check the links to the right for more awesome blogs by awesome people.  And if you want your blog listed, let me know in the comments.  Just be sure and return the favor, cool kids.

Mar 30 2010

Review: One Wolf – One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf

One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf by One Wolf (unsigned, 2010)

Two years ago, when Daniel Markham split from Waiting to Derail, he changed direction completely.  He formed One Wolf, making a remarkable transformation from Whiskeytown alt-country to REM-influenced, Western-tinged rock.  Much like the local peers in Thrift Store Cowboys, Markham had come into his own, producing what could only be described as the sound of Lubbock.  Markham’s skill in pop craftsmanship was honed, but the lyrics were more introspective, the songs slower, sadder, and slightly more rock and roll than country.  It was an audible representation of West Texas; Buddy Holly would’ve been proud.

And now, with One Wolf’s sophomore release, Markham and the boys have done a 180…..again.

I spoke with Markham many months ago during a podcast interview for the now-defunct KTXT-FM.  Some favorite influences of his at the time were Nirvana, REM, Deadsy, and Starflyer 59.  So what’s the new One Wolf record sound like?  All of the above, and more.  In a word, it’s a lot LOUDER.

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