Tilly and the Wall @ Emos 7/17

The time has come to throw on your tap shoes and join the ladies of Tilly and the Wall (there are two men too) at Emos this Thursday night. Their folk-pop tap dancing troupe is sure to brighten your evening, or at least give you an excuse to get out of the house for a little bit. And, you’ll be able to catch up with Austinites Belaire and Ringo Deathstarr for this exciting evening of music. 

You can check out our recent review of their latest album O to see what we think and sample some tunes.

Tunes from One Day As a Lion

Maybe this is nostalgia, or maybe I’m sincerely interested – I’ll figure that out later. Zach de la Rocha’s new group, One Day As a Lion has just released a song in hopes of garnering interest before their debut album comes out next Tuesday, July 22nd, on Anti Records. Now, if Zach de la Rocha doesn’t get your attention, then maybe drummer Jon Theodore will. That’s right; he’s the drummer from the original Mars Volta line-up, you know, back when they blew you away instead of jamming you to sleep!  That guy can bang the drums. 

Unfortunately, the only way you can listen to the track is if you visit this social networking site

Fun x 3 Fest News

Through that friendly Internet, we have learned that the dates have been set for Fun Fun Fun Fest 2008. This year the festival will fall on the weekend of November 8 & 9. So far, the only names that have been left out are those beginning with the letter D: Deerhoof, Dan Deacon and Dead Milkmen. I don’t know about you, but a re-united Dead Milkmen sounds pretty good to me. For those of you that missed out last year, be sure to make it out to this festival, for its probably the best one in town–just one man’s opinion. 

You can check out news and updates on the fun fun fun fest here, or you can just keep coming back to us; we’ll keep you up to date. 

Tilly and the Wall – O

Rating: ★★★★ ·

I’ll be honest, on the last release from Tilly and the Wall, I was a little underwhelmed.  Sure, they stepped out of their box for a second to confront the masses, but overall, it just didn’t have the intimate appeal of their debut record.  Now, the opening track, “Tall Tall Grass,” instantly returned me to the days of glory for this band.  Acoustic guitars with an irresistible female vocal.

All of a sudden, “Pot Kettle Black,” just knocks you out of your chair.  It’s a straight rock song, well, as much as a band with tap dancers can rock.  The song appears to be a warning against an unnamed enemy.  Still, this has a certain cleverness to it that makes it enjoyable.

Right after that they whisk me right back into those rhythmic tap-dancing songs.  Clearly, this band is at its best when they stick to their guns.  And this new batch of tunes has a hint of maturity to it, without trying to go too far away from the band’s roots. They continue in this traditional vein for a few more minutes, still mixing it up enough to make this album interesting.

“Chandelier Lake” is one of those songs where they walk that line of trying to push themselves too far.  It’s got a fuzzy guitar swirling around the song, with some decent piano work added to it.  Still, its the kind of song I just don’t really expect from them; actually, I’ll give them credit for that–just not sold yet.

Then they follow that up with what is their closest effort to a dance song with “Dust Me Off.”  The tap dancing gets a bit tedious here, and I almost wish I could trade them in for some synthesized drum beats, or even real ones.  I like it-this is what they do well on this album–they pick up where they left off, and go forward.

The end of the album goes a little too far off for me, until the second to last track, “Blood Flower.”  The vocals here are really being pushed here, which gives it a different feel–once again going further with what I once thought was a really minimal sound.

Another cool tip is that each album comes with special artwork designed by local artists in their town.

Check out the band this Thursday, 7-17, at Emos.  You can pick up your tap shoes and head out to the show; just don’t forget your tickets.

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

Download: pot_kettle_black.mp3

Brothers and Sisters @ Waterloo 7/16

Tomorrow afternoon at Waterloo Records we are fortunate to welcome local folk favorites, Brothers and Sisters, to the stage.  Of course, it’s free! They just had a CD release party for their newest album, The Fortunately LP, and odds are that you might be able to get your hands on it prior to the actual release date of August 19th; if not, then at least you can get your hands on one of those free beers that always comes with a Waterloo Instore performance. So stop by and support local business and local music.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/brothers-and-sisters-one-night.mp3]

Download: Brothers and Sisters – One Night [MP3]

Pelle Carlberg – 1983

Apparently Sweden is trying to corner the market on pure pop music.  Pelle Carlsberg is no different; he comes off more Belle and Sebastian than Jens Lekman, although neither seem to be in his vein, with the latter comparison coming from his lyrics.  His debut album comes out August 27th on Labrador Records.  Just enjoy the breezy pop this afternoon, as it might cool you off just a bit! Well, probably not, but its a good tune. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/1983.mp3]

Download: Pelle Carlberg – 1983 [MP3]

Lucero, Sleepercar @ Emos 7/16

For those of you who grew up in Texas, or those of you who just like good rock music, you should know the lead singer of Sleepercar; it’s Jim Ward, formerly of At the Drive-In and Sparta.  He’s been a staple in the Texas rock scene for many years, and while his new band is a little more mellow than those previous efforts, it’s still worth seeing.  On top of that, you can see the countryfied post-punk of Lucero.  That sounds like a great bill. 

You can still buy tickets from ticketweb, and here is a Sleepercar song to boot!

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

Download: wasting_my_time

Sebastien Grainger Lets Loose Digital EP

Sebastien Granger is best known for his work as drummer/singer for Death From Above 1979, but he’s recently emerged with a solo career that is sure to be just as solid. You can go and pick up the American Names EP here or you can just sample a bit of the sweet tunes from us.  

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

Download: Sebastien Grainger – Map of the World [MP3]

For more information on Sebastien Grainger click this spot.

Reviewin’ Old Tunes

Well, it’s a bit slow around the music business during these sweltering summer days. So, with little to review, I’ve opted to disclose some of my old favorites.  The first up is The Glands self tilted album from 2000. Hopefully, we will have these reviews popping in and out during the next few weeks as new releases are scattered and scarce. 

The Glands – The Glands

Rating: ★★★★★

The Glands released this album in 2000.  I came across it a little after that via good taste.  This has been an album that consistently comes into my playlist year after year after year.  For me, it’s the perfect album, and one I will listen to for years.

When the alarm bell rings in “Livin Was Easy” you know that you’re in for an awakening.  Here we come across the dirty driving guitar work made famous by Built to Spill on Nothing Wrong with Love. Singing about a time when things were easier, Russ Shapiro wins you over on the opening track.

Then comes “Swim.”  It’s full of a trouncing piano beat that keeps the pace for the entire song.  There’s no choice other than to bob your head with this track.  I often use this on mix tapes for friends, and I’ve never heard a complaint.

Suddenly, the pace is flipped up.  The band offers a slow burner here in “Mayflower,” which resembles a lot of present day dream pop.  The guitar shoots off into the background of the song, as Shapiro slowly soothes you with his voice. Special.

“Lovetown” is up next.  It sounds an awful lot like Dear Catastrophe Waitress-era Belle and Sebastian.  The difference is that The Glands were here first.  Lyrics are kind of sparse here, but the song drives on through, pushing you with the fuzziest of bass lines.

Afterwards, you get the rushing pace of “Straight Down,” which is just a solid rock track.  Everything about this song epitomizes what indie pop was all about in the early days, before it got too bogged down with seven member collectives and such.

If you like a little alt-country in your ears, then you can grab hold of “Fortress.”  The vocals match every inch of this song–almost as if Shapiro is walking you slowly escorting you through his words.  He brings it down just a bit, then blasts straight into “Work It Out.”  Everything about this song sounds extremely modern, yet it precedes its own sound.

“Ground” is a song that brings us back to a lot of the dreaminess in pop music.  You could leave out the lyrics and still find yourself traveling through this song with ease.  I guess a popular way to label this song is to throw out that word ambient. There you go, I did it.

I love “Favorite American.”  It’s an acoustic number accompanied by some interesting reverb on the vocals, which give it that dark bubbling effect that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club seem to have perfected.  It’s got a political undertone, but it’s one that would only become relevant a few years following the release of the album, so decipher the code.

In the closing three minutes, “Breathe Out” kind of lets me out.  It’s not a bad song by any means, it just doesn’t hold up to the rest of the album.  There is some light synthesizer that awkwardly keeps track of time, while the vocals just sort of float in midair.

Fans of Grandaddy, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Flaming Lips, Wilco and The Wrens will all find themselves loving this album.  You can even say that a lot of those bands followed in the steps of The Glands, but their short-lived career makes it hard to assess their lasting effects.

I know it’s hard to take the words of another man on buying something that you’ve never heard of in your life, or perhaps you have, but take my word here.  Go to iTunes and buy this.  You will thank me for it later on, or I hope you do.

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