Check out Texas artists’ covers of Metallica
One of the tiny joys of this summer has been the steady trickle of new music from the absurd, overwhelming project called The Metallica Blacklist, a collection of songs from 53 artists all over the world, working in various genres, covering tracks from Metallica’s 1991 smash hit commonly known as The Black Album (although it’s technically untitled). There are still a number of recordings yet to come (in the next few weeks, we should get to hear Arlington-born country star Mickey Guyton take on “Nothing Else Matters”), but so far, one of my favorites is the industrial take on “Sad But True” by Dallas-raised St. Vincent.
The original song is full of classic nineties guitar crunch and singer James Hetfield’s signature growl. In the St. Vincent version, we get deep synths, a grimy bass line, and Annie Clark delivering the lines about being “your dream,” “your eyes,” “your pain” as a sleazy come-on. She peppers the whole thing with intricate guitar solos that would make Metallica’s Kirk Hammett jealous.
There are seven (!!) different versions of “Sad But True” on The Metallica Blacklist, but it’s hard to imagine that any of the others will sound anything like what St. Vincent does with the song, which is really the fun of the whole project. St. Vincent’s “Sad But True” is the one I’m into this week, but next week it might be Guyton’s track, or Ha*Ash’s norteño-inflected “The Unforgiven.” All of them are giving me a reason to spend more time with a band I never made much time for before, whose music, it turns out, works in a variety of genres, can come from a plethora of voices, and speaks to a diverse audience. —Dan Solomon, senior editor
Enjoy H-E-B’s tres leches cake (or your favorite simple pleasure)
It’s a fact too often forgotten by most: any Texan, at nearly any time, can enter an H-E-B bakery and, without planning on it, exit with a cake. It’s a fact I took for granted until a recent dinner party at which the host served a gigantic tres leches cake for no reason other than our enjoyment.
Growing up, tres leches was a treat reserved for birthdays. At my local Tex-Mex restaurant, the waiter would smoosh the upper layer of cream into the face of the celebrant—another COVID-vanquished tradition. Eating the cake, but without occasion, felt like rediscovering the simple pleasure that must lie at the indulgent, decadent heart of “treating yourself.” It’s been a rough year, but sugar, milk, and cream make it better, at least for a few bites. —Taylor Prewitt, social media editor
Listen to music by upcoming artist Zach Person
At age ten, Zach Person picked up a guitar for the first time. Just five years later, the Houston native was regularly booking shows at the popular House of Blues, where he’d play a mix of traditional blues and covers of hits from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The young star, now 24, has continued to blend American roots music with rock in his first album, Zach Person.
The opening song, “Can’t Stop Running,” is a fun and bold mix of contemporary pop-rock with blues. The album then gives way to songs like “Wanna Fly,” where you can hear hints of a southern twang. “I was inspired by the deserts and ghost towns of West Texas, like Terlingua, where I wrote some of the album and filmed my first music video,” Person told me. It’s a refreshing, new take on classic music that’s perfect for blasting on a long drive. Person released the genre-breaking collection back in April and is now on tour in Europe. But the Texas singer won’t be gone from his beloved home state for long. He’s scheduled to play at Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.
In addition to the tour and album, he’s also the flagship artist and partner of BlackDenim Records, a new Austin-based music label that launched this week. Rock photographer Christopher Durst, who has captured artists like Willie Nelson, started it with local indie artists like Person in mind. With the new label out, big-time tours planned, and a debut album in the bag, it’s clear Person is just getting started and could be a household name in Texas before too long. —Sierra Juarez, assistant editor