New Tunes from Comet Gain

This band has been one of my favorites for the longest time, and I’m super excited that they have a new 7″ titled I Never Happened.  It features the Comet Gain trademark jangle pop, which just grows on you time and time again.  This 7″ also shows some promising leads as to the new work of the band, as it features two songs that were started by the band, then finished by Love is All and Crystal Stilts.  If this is any indicator of the work to come from the band in the future, then it looks like I might have another incredible record to enjoy for years to come.  You can get the 7″ HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/01-I-Never-Happened.mp3]

Download: Comet Gain – I Never Happened [MP3]

The Lodger – Flashbacks

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Leeds’ band The Lodger have released two albums to date, those being filled with angular guitar knives and steady drum beats.  Not keen to repeat themselves, the band changed it all a bit for their new album Flashbacks.  While it certainly retains a certain sense of familiarity for fans of the group, you’ll find a bit more exploration in regards to the overall sound of the band.

With the band’s first single “Back of My Mind” you get the sense that singer Ben Sidall is, as usual, always contemplating the state of his relationships, or his life as he states “I fall to the ground and say/I’m lost in the back of my mind.”  Thematically, there’s a bit of stasis here, but the song itself is about as dense a song as the group has writtern; it’s as if the song is wearing some sort of grey (not gray since they’re British) sweater.  All in all, it’s a step to the side of minimalist pop, keeping the band’s personas while searching for new ground.

Stylistically, “Have a Little Faith in People” and “Time to Wait” return to hallowed ground, but even then the band is building their sonic palate, adding tiny flourishes that you might not pick up on, but definitely add to the sound.  Horns are used atop the hooky guitar chords in both songs, as are female backing vocals listed only as Sarah and Georgia. All these miniscule moves remove a bit of the energy, creating a layer of warmth that does indeed alter The Lodger on this record.

This album’s title track has quickly become one of my favorite tracks as I’ve listened over and over again.  It’s such an understated quiet number, utilizing the additional string elements in the beginning of the track.  While it does come off as a bit of an elegy to a loved one, the emphatic climax of the song, coming off somewhat like a Jarvis Cocker revelation, seems to show Ben moving on from this loved one.  A gorgeous closing minute and a half of the song is begun by a melancholy trickling piano just before the horns come in, as if to rejoice at life’s progress.

Whoever this girl is surely did a number on Mr. Sidall.  “Lost” tells the story of a narrator nervous about losing his girl, eventually  hoping she’ll let him go, as she’s left him lost in some confused state of mind.  Once again, string arrangements really bring this song home, adding more depth than one would normally except from this band (no offense fellas).  Still, the girl’s memory pushes on in this collection, encouraging Ben to lose himself once again in “Nothing’s Impossible,” which is probably the song that most resembles the band’s previous work.

It’s hard, as a fan, not to be in love with this record entirely, but it really is a solid piece of work.  While the jangling guitar hooks and precision percussion remain, they’ve added more to fill out the sound of Flashbacks.  Using horns, strings and female vocals to add a little contrast has created a gentle album eager to fill your days with innumerable amounts of listening pleasure.  It’s consistently good, listen after listen, making me (and you I hope) fall in love with The Lodger all over again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Lodger-The-Back-Of-My-Mind.mp3]

Download: The Lodger – The Back Of My Mind [MP3]

Hulkthrash!

We’ve come to expect great things from our friends, and we’re pleased to bring you news that our sometimes-writer, and close friend, Corey has started up another killer blog titled Hulkthrash.  The premise is that Corey will be compiling amazing mixtapes every week for you to download.  He’s got great tastes ranging all over the place, from R&B, Soul and Reggae to Punk, Garage Rock and Lo-fi.  So, if you’re looking for an hour of great tunes to get into during your work day, or while you’re cleaning around the house, hit up our friend Corey over at Hulkthrash. You can also download his podcasts over at that iTunes place.

Voxtrot Call It Quits

Sad news today in the Internet land as word has broken that much-loved Austin band Voxtrot have decided to call it quits.  You can read about it HERE from the man behind it all, Ramesh. There doesn’t seem to be a huge response yet from the Austin scene, but rest assured that this is a band that will be sorely missed.  Personally, the last time I saw them was a few years back at a show over at Emos.  I remember being really impressed by opening band Beirut, but it was all forgotten as Voxtrot took to the stage.  Their live shows were always a blast, while the whole band sang along and smiled.  Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite memory of the band.  Farewell friends, you leave a hole in our scene.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/02-Kid-Gloves.mp3]

Download: Voxtrot – Kid Gloves [MP3]

Austin Psych Fest Preview

In 2008, Austin Psych Fest was just a one day event meant to display the collision between the visual and musical.  Two years later, the fest has grown into a three day ordeal.  It still holds to its mission of gathering bands that are pushing the envelop of expanding your mind on various levels, which makes it more than just a festival of great music.  It will take place this Friday thru Sunday, and it features some incredible bands we know you’ll love.

Friday features great acts such as The Raveonettes, Warpaint (so good live) and Indian Jewelry.  Saturday you want to get there to see local favorites The Black Angels.  Sunday’s line-up is ridiculous: The Black Angels, The Dutchess and the Duke, Warlocks and Yellow Fever.

Be Sure to go and grab your tickets and spend your weekend at the always enjoyable Mohawk.  Keep it local, keep it rocking.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/01-reservoir-park.mp3]

Download: Dutchess & The Duke – Reservoir Park [MP3]

Roky Erickson w/ Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil

Rating: ★★★★ ·

The troubled history of Roky Erickson has been well-documented in the past, especially in the touching You’re Going to Miss Me documentary. However, the last few years have seen a resurgence for the famed singer, and he returns now accompanied by another local act, Okkervil River.  But, you can put all that business aside right now, and turn your focus to what a phenomenal listening experience you will have listeninig to True Love Cast Out All Evil.

We get a brief glimpse into the history of Roky as the album opens with “Devotional Number One,” which is a field recording from his time spent at Rusk State Hospital.  There’s an eeriness to the recording, but his voice is so warm, yet so fragile that you can’t help yourself from falling into this song.

Listening to this record over and over again, the first track that really hits you is “Goodbye Sweet Dreams.”  There are flourishes of orchestral work in the background, which you can leave at the foot of Will Sheff who manned production.  But, when Roky says “don’t leave me now/my love does not too bright burn” you get a hint at the soul of a man who no longer wants to be left on his own.  You can’t look away from him now, or I suppose turn a deaf ear.

As the record progresses you’ll notice that no longer is this a man delving into psychadelic rock; he’s gone completely country, and it’s so heart-felt that he’s bound to receive accolades left and right.  “Be and Bring Me Home” has that countryfied warble to it, and light touches of piano only emphasize the voice that much more.  “Please, Judge” is a wonderfully soft-spoken ballad that relies more upon the imagery of Erikson, and while the lyrics aren’t first person, you can’t help but feel a litlte bit of the singer inside.  You can even hear a few squalls of noise throughout, making it all more than just a mere country ballad.

What’s great about this record is that even though it stays in one place (the country) you still get some rockers out of True Love Cast Out All Evil. “Bring Back the Past” is a pretty upbeat number, even when supplied with a bit of a Nashville stomp.  It fits perfectly with “John Lawman,” though the latter has a much more devilish undertone.  Feedback lies beneath the lyrics “I kill people all day long,” chasing the lyrics throughout the entirety of the song.  It’s one of the most spectacluar live numbers too, as you can hear the scratchiness and emotion of Roky behind the mic.

Closing the record, we return to the intimate setting of Mr. Erickson.  “Birds’d Crash” is a slow burner using vocals and a ringing guitar line to really flesh out the song.  For me, I just love his approach to writing lyrics, and the clarity of his voice is incredible throughout the whole of the album.  To bookend it all, we find ourselves with another field recording.  Listen closely to this one, as its an awful bit quieter than the album’s opener, but in putting your ear close to the speaker, you get to end the album in Roky’s world.

As an album, it’s remarkable how seamlessly True Love Cast Out All Evil really is.  You have to credit Will Sheff for not really putting his stamp on the album, instead choosing to let Roky Erickson do all the work on his own, with just a little help from his friends.  It all points to one thing: Roky is back, and with a record like this, we’re all entirely grateful to have him here again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Roky-Erickson-Okkervil-River-Goodbye-Sweet-Dreams.mp3]

Download: Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – Goodbye Sweet Dreams [MP3]

Contest: Local Natives 7″ and Secrets!

This should be a show post about the killer evening of tunes over at Antones Friday featuring Local Natives and Suckers (2 of our favorites this year).  But, instead, we’ve got something for you.  We’re running a little contest to win a free Local Natives “Sun Hands” 7″.  All you have to do is leave us a comment telling us what your favorite album of the year is, besides Local Natives (as that should be near the top), and don’t forget to leave a valid email address in the email portion of your comment.  We’ll pick the winner by tomorrow morning and take care of the rest.

Oh, and our top secret spies tell us that the first person to buy Gorilla Manor starting today at Waterloo Records wins two free tickets.  Get over their now.  And be sure to show up early as you’ll love the Suckers too!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/02-Airplanes-1.mp3]

Download: Local Natives – Airplanes [MP3]

Inlets – Inter Arbiter

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Sebastian Krueger has a lot of creative friends, but it’s his own talents as the creator for the Inlets project that really make the listening experience completely worthwhile.  Inter Arbiter is the newest album from the group, the first since the Vestibule EP.  While it has many traces of the last outing, it’s clear that the whole construction has only gotten more detailed, building layer upon layer of instrumentation to craft an ornately beautiful album.

“Canteen” is the first real track to demonstrate the process of Inlets, with that odd time signature guitar playing, and minimal percussive accompaniment.  While many people see the minimalism as a nod to Steve Reich, there is a much more pop-oriented structure to the writing of this record, as evidenced on “In Which, I, Robert.”  This track is by far the most accessible of the ten, with the hook being brought into play by the vocal performance, and the call-and-response vocals that jump out in the background.  It’s probably one of the shortest numbers, but it’s the one many people will go back to as their favorite.

“Bright Orange Air” was the band’s first single off Inter Arbiter, and while it carefully walks you along the cusp of Krueger’s falsetto, the musicianship is what will stick with you long afterwards.  As much as you don’t want to draw comparisons to Grizzly Bear, you can definitely sense the relationship between the two bands here, from the rim shots on the drum that keep pace to the vocal melody, all accompanied by what is surely a clarinet (or another woodwind).   It’s this interesting approach that perhaps draws people to make the Reich comparison, but really just needs to simply go in the books as superb craftsmanship.  Interestingly, it’s often the vocal performances on the most diverse songs that really grabs at the listener.  This is precisely the case on “Bells and Whistles,” which does have all that the title suggests, but I found myself holding onto the vocals, and the way they seem to rise and fall in the middle of notes.  Just beautiful.

Near the end of the album, “Famous Looks” offers more of the same, though with a bit of a faster pace. It leaves room for the next album to show continued progression, as one can’t stand in place for too long in this genre without appearing too redundant.  Perhaps it is the much more pronounced percussion breaking through, but this song is one of the more exciting, if you can even call it that.  Oddly, that’s not what Inter Arbiter is about at all.

The new album from Inlets delves into extreme craftsmanship that remains soft and gentle throughout, despite the ebbs and flows in the mood of Inter Arbiter.  For those looking for a more experimental approach to modern pop construction, this is a brilliant place to land, while others can simply bask in the warmth created by Sebastian Krueger and friends.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/inletsrobert.mp3]

Download: Inlets – In Which I, Robert [MP3]

New Tunes from Pernice Brothers

I’ve been following Joe Pernice for a long time.  His voice always seems to fit into my life at some point or another, so I’m glad to welcome a new tune from Pernice Brothers.  This tune comes from their upcoming record Goodbye, Killer, which will be out June 15th via Ashmont.  First listen sees the band a bit more upbeat than their last go round, but I know old Joe will fill this album with pitch-perfect pop ditties to keep me humming along for some time to come.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/pernice-brothers-jac.mp3]

Download: Pernice Brothers – Jacqueline Susann [MP3]

1 752 753 754 755 756 828