If you haven’t listened to Sunny Day Real Estate, or at least heard of the much heralded band, then you must have been hiding under a huge rock. Not only was the band one of the most influential early emo bands, but they put out a few records that were nearly perfect, before parting ways. But, the band is back, and they will be playing at La Zona Rosa on October 7th. Sure, it will be an older crowd, but this is definitely a must see show for all indie fans. Dare I say it’s more important to me than My Bloody Valentine earlier this year? I do. Go buy Diary.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/02-in-circles.mp3]
Stellastarr has flown under the radar since their debut album, seemingly swept aside by the move past the nostalgic 80s rehash revival. But, the band has stayed strong, and they are about to self-release their third album, Civilized, on July 7th. We’ve got a song to toss your way in preparation for the release of said album. You’re sure to find it a pleasing little number.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/1-05-graffiti-eyes-1.mp3]
Download: Stellastarr – Graffiti Eyes [MP3]
As the lull in summer music news gently takes hold of us here at ATH, we hear via our friend Chris at GvsB that our local Transmission Entertainment has begun to slowly unleash the list of bands hitting the stage at the 4th Annual Fun Fun Fun Fest. The bands so far released are reunited Jesus Lizard, Broadcast, Atlas Sound and King Khan and the BBQ Show. We’re already stoked, so lets see if they can pull the Descendents together.
Devonte Hynes is the former Test Icicle who has now gone on to fame of his own accord with Lightspeed Champion, and he now has some new tunes for us to listen to whilst he puts the finishing touches on his new LP. But, he has opted to release this piece of tunes under the Blood Orange moniker, which is probably due to the fact that it doesn’t sound quite like his other works, but definitely wears the influence of his new home in Brooklyn. Enjoy this track from Blood Orange (not Lightspeed Champion).[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/1said-no-demo-1.mp3]
Download: Blood Orange – Said No [MP3]
Philly group Cold Cave are releasing their latest LP, Love Comes Close, on Heartworm. Since it just rained here in Austin, we figured you need some dark synth-pop to get you moving through the rest of the day, which is why we bring you “Life Magazine.” There’s nothing like the electronic pulse of a song such as this to get you going.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/cold-cave-life-magazine.mp3]
Download: Cold Cave – Life Magazine [MP3]
It’s been awhile since Spoon threw Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga our way, but unexpectedly the band has released the new Got Nuffin EP. It’s a three song excursion, but will mostly be known as a single to tide you over while the band works on their newest album.
“Got Nuffin” is hands down the best track on this EP. It’s brooding bass line meets guitar hook beats the song into your brain. Britt’s vocals sound solid, and you find him with a bit of an edge, as his voice occasionally reached the realms of a guttural growl. It’s a lot less like the Van Morrison stylings of Ga Ga Ga… and it reminds you of the work that came about on Gimme Fiction.
“Tweakers” is a track you can skip as soon as you get your hands on it. Not trying to be rude or judgmental, but it sounds like someone just decided to go into the studio and see how far they could get with tampering with a drum sample. Unfortunately, they tampered away for 3 minutes and 39 seconds, which is only good for those listeners who are actually tweakers.
“Stroke Their Brains” is something that might just grow on you. It begins with guitar work that sounds like Daniels is just flexing his musicianship before it bounds into the song with a steady drum beat. Once again, you find his vocals straining a bit, which might be disconcerting for some. The song fills out the empty space much better than you initially suspect, but it doesn’t go much further than that. Still, it’s not a bad piece of work.
In the end, this seems to taunt the listener a bit. “Got Nuffin” reminds you of how incredible Spoon can be when they want to do so, but other pieces such as “Tweakers” are things that band might want to ask forgiveness for when they head into church. Surely it’s worth the $5 you’ll spend on it.
I still can’t get enough of the Glasgow band The Twilight Sad. There new album is slated to hit US shores this September, but in the meantime, they are preparing the release of a 7 inch titled I Became a Prostitute. The title track is available for listening if you head out to their myspace page, and you can get your hands on the 7 inch August 3rd.
The new album Forget the Night Ahead comes out on 9/22/09.
Sondre Lerche has been at it a long time, and he never really misses his mark when he goes into the studio. He’s got a new album titled Heartbeat Radio coming out this September, and we’re sure you will all love it. We’ve got the title track right here for you to sample. And as always, it’s really about the wonderful vocals of Sondre, which continue to warm us over.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/05-heartbeat-radio.mp3]
Download: Sondre Lerche – Heartbeat Radio [MP3]
Everyone always has Wilco on the mind. No matter where you go, you find someone you know that adores Wilco, which is acceptable, as they’ve managed to put out some phenomenal records. The question on everyone’s lips will be whether or not Wilco (The Album) will be one of those feats of greatness, or something along the lines of Sky Blue Sky. More than likely, once everyone has listened for an ample amount of time, it will lean more on the side of their later work rather than their earlier strengths. Alas, such is the life for a band of such stature.
One of the strengths of this album is that Jeff Tweedy has his voice way up in the mix, which provides die-hard fans with a chance to get more acquainted with him. He seems quite a bit more assured here, as if he finally has come to realize that his voice is truly the backbone of the band, and without him they fail. In all honesty, his voice is the best thing that runs throughout the album; it seems as if he would succeed to greater lengths if he just went it on his own.
This is where the album seemingly misses its mark. Nels Cline has taken the reigns from Tweedy, and he now has control over the group. It’s much like the presence of Jim O’ Rourke; he has the ability to add greatness to a song, but the power to destroy it in various moments. His guitar work meanders through the songs, but haphazardly, which decreases his strengths, and that of the band. Nels, and the band, travel into territory that seemingly adds little to the progression of the songs as a whole, bringing the listener to a point of indifference.
“You and I,” however, is one of the best songs the group has ever written. Sure, the presence of Feist doesn’t ever hurt anyone, aside from being played on various iTunes commercials, but the song itself exemplifies the gifts Tweedy possesses as a songwriter. It’s on of the more straightforward songs, and it demonstrates Tweedy at his best, without the tampering of Nels Cline. “Solitaire” is another such song where Tweedy seems to go it alone. You can’t deny the power of his voice in such a song, and you can’t deny the intimacy with which he sings.
But, at the end of the day, the band lacks much of the interesting moments they’ve maintained on previous releases. Their formulaic styling as of late leaves much to be desired, and it seems as if its rendered the band rather mundane. While they once peaked your interest with various approaches to Americana, they seem to have dwindled far away from those moments, instead settling for the most basic song elements. So you find the band traversing such territory, dancing with tried and true strategies, while fading away with their modern twists on the genre. Sadly, it just doesn’t garner much interest for listeners, which is a place Wilco fans never thought the band would go.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/05-you-and-i.mp3]
Dowload: WIlco – You and I [MP3]
We’re right in the beginning of summer, as we can all tell by the ridiculous heat has been beating down upon us. For us, we just sit around all day listening to sweet tunes, hoping that we can create the perfect playlists for our long drives to nowhere. As per usual, we think we’ve provided you with a list of songs that are destined to have you turning up your stereo as you drive through the hill country or maybe you just want to throw them on during your barbecue. Regardless, these are our jams of the summer.