What to hear, read, watch, and look at this month to achieve maximum Texas cultural literacy.Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America, Richard Parker (Pegasus, November 4) This book spends too much time in Austin and devotes too many pages to politicians-of-the-moment to nail its subtitle’s premise. But if you like your social and economic analysis chatty and anecdotal, this is where you’ll learn how a centrist-oriented Texas could help turn the U.S. into “the world’s first Hispanic superpower.” MUSIC Dust, I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness (Secretly Canadian, October 28) Eight years have lapsed since this Austin band’s debut album appeared, during which time these gloom rockers didn’t so much redefine their sound as refine it. Now they hit harder when they want to hit hard, dig deeper when they choose darkness, and let in—heresy!—the occasional beam of light,
courtesy of gorgeous, ringing guitar overtones. Built to Break, Ronnie Fauss (Normaltown, November 4) “Eighteen Wheels,” the fourth song on this Dallas songwriter’s sophomore album, is a duet with Rhett Miller, and it’s easy to hear what the two men have in common: Fauss’s supercharged country rock will ring a bell for any Old 97’s fan. But lines like “I got a lot of love inside me / And that’s where it’s gonna stay” prove that he has smarts and attitude all his own. FILM Bad Turn Worse, Directed by Bimon and Zeke Hawkins (November 14) This noirish directorial debut, set in Gulf Coast Texas and filmed in producer Justin X. Duprie’s hometown of Taft, isn’t as clever as it wants to be, and it wants to be much too clever. But the Hawkinses do have the good sense to get out of the way of actress Mackenzie Davis, who’s as good here as she is in the underwatched Dallas-set cable series Halt and Catch Fire. The Homesman, Directed by Tommy Lee Jones (November 14) Well reviewed at Cannes, Jones’s second outing as a director (after 2005’s The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada) boasts an impressive cast, including Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, and three notable Texans—Barry Corbin, Jesse Plemons, and Jones himself, as an Old West claims jumper forced to escort three insane women on a perilous journey from Nebraska to Iowa.