The Best Songs in Dallas Music, 2010: Lalagray Offers A Confident Introduction, But Leaves Out The Hard Part, at No. 16

[Over the next few weeks, we'll be presenting our favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1, one track a day. Today, we take an in-depth look at song No. 16 on the list -- and, please, feel free to click after the jump to hear a stream of the track. Also after the jump, check out songs No. 50-17 in the Top 50 list that will update as it grows...]

lalagraywoods.jpg
Ashley Myrick, aka Lalagray

If the year of local music in 2010 is remembered for one thing above all others, it might as well be recalled as the year in which Dallas cemented itself as a town of incredibly talented performers.

Sure, we already knew about the late '80s and early '90s likes of Edie Brickell and Lisa Loeb. Then, over the last 15 years, two others, a couple of women you may have heard of named Erykah Badu and Norah Jones, laid down their case. More recently, a former Polyphonic Spree member named Annie Clark would go on to earn just acclaim for her work under the St. Vincent moniker.

In 2010, a whole new crop of females made a case for Dallas being a female-dominated music scene. This was the year, surely, that Sarah Jaffe became a bona fide tour de force -- even outside the region. Same goes for Sachse chanteuse Dondria, who similarly saw her hype come to fruition this year. Not discounting the contributions female vocalists made to some favorite local acts in 2010 (see: Jencey Hirunrusme in Smile Smile and Taylor Rea in Ishi), the year was also a big one for local females largely unknown in the local scene, such as Katie Carroll, whose "Paper Girl" landed her on this year-end list at No. 32, and a self-taught pianist named Ashley Myrick.

Strident local music fans may recognize Myrick as the backup vocalist for The Beaten Sea, another act that blew up in 2010. But after The Beaten Sea blew up in the early part of the year, the second half of 2010 belonged to Myrick's own musical output, via her project called Lalagray.

Stream: Lalagray -- "The Hard Part"


With her September-released debut, Devil's Nest, lalagray quickly established itself as a must-listen around town. A tasteful blend mostly consisting of piano-driven indie pop and emboldened by alt-country garnishing, the disc surprises at first listen -- in part because of its confident presentation, but also because of the way it showcases the broad talents of its mastermind.

With just a few shows to her name and only a MySpace page to show for it before the year started, Myrick was largely an unknown entity heading into 2010. But with songs like "The Hard Part" from Devil's Nest, that much seems destined to change in 2011.

Unlike other offerings on this strong-from-front-to-back release, "The Hard Part" scores because it isn't trying to be anything beyond what it is -- a carefree jaunt about life's misgivings. Much of Devil's Nest finds Myrick grappling with a gravitas that sometimes feels forced; on this track -- which just seems destined for prominent primetime drama or romantic comedy placement should the right musical adviser stumble across it -- she discards that much completely, instead bouncing along and listing her troubles with a refreshingly real nonchalance.

And, considering its place on a debut disc without any real weaknesses, a song that brushes off weaknesses entirely sems especially fitting/

The Top 50 Local Songs of 2010 (Links to music videos and free song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where neither a download nor video exists.)
50. Dear Human - "Waiting"
49.
Nervous Curtains - "All Yesterday's Parties"
48.
Spector 45 - "Try Try Try"
47.
Smile Smile - "Beg You To Stay"
46.
Robert Gomez - "A Natural State"
45. Florene - "Parc Bitch"
44. Mount Righteous - "Eat Your Wife and Kiss The Barbecue"
43. The Strange Boys - "Be Brave"
42.
Soft Environmental Collapse - "A Horse & Buggy Complex"
41. Deepspace5 - "Killing With Kindness"
40.
Sextape -- "Lubricated Intimacy"
39.
Museum Creatures - "Song ABC"
38. Ocelot - "Beating Hears"
37. Sir Silky - "The Squeeze (The Answer)"
36.
Bone - "Homegurl"
35. Ishi - "Come Closer"
34. Hoyotoho - "Born Black"
33. Dorrough - "Get Big"
32.
Katie Carroll - "Paper Girl"
31. Final Club - "Ruded"
30. Treal Lee & Prince Rick - "Throwed Off (Fuck Errbody)"
29.
South San Gabriel - "All Night Long"
28.
The Rocket Summer - "Walls"
27.
Darktown Strutters - "Lucifer Rising"
26.
School of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"
25.
Damaged Good$ - "WEHATEDAMAGEDGOOD$TOO"
24. The Burning Hotels - "Austin's Birthday"
23.
Doug Burr - "At The Public Dance"
22. The Flowers of God feat. Sarah Jaffe - "Tunnelvisionary"
21. Dondria -- "You're The One"
20. Sundress -- "Locust"
19. Blixaboy -- "Lion Eyes (featuring Emil Rapstine)"
18. A.Dd+ feat. Brown of Sore Losers -- "Likeamug"
17. The Secret Handshake -- "Every Single Time"
16. Lalagray -- "The Hard Part"
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