Awhile back I talked about Idiot Glee and singer James Friley, claiming him as one of the artists you needed to check out for SXSW. His popularity continues to grow with his careful bedroom craftsmanship. His voice has a distant feel, yet the music is completely relatable. He’ll be releasing his latest record Paddywhack on Moshi Moshi on June 7th, and the song below is just another slow-burning gem that will carry you away quietly. This is the kind of weekend we all need when times require a little bit of rest and relaxation.
Download: Idiot Glee – Trouble At The Dacehall [MP3]
It’s weird, Austin’s not really known for having a lot of duos. But, one duo that has recently come to our attention has been Not in the Face. This Austin act is scheduled to release their album, Bikini, on June 7th via Electric Factory Records. This first single does have a little bit of a Bruce hint to it, but Jonathan Terrell’s vocals seem to have the feeling of a more hardened Pete Yorn. Yea, it’s just good old fashioned rock n’ roll with chugging guitars, banging drums and some solid hooks. You can catch the band on June 10th in Austin at 501 Studios (formerly the ND) for their CD release.
Download: Not in the Face – Downtown Girl [MP3]
Long the darlings of the Austin music scene, White Denim are now on their fifth full-length studio release since their debut, and have adopted the chameleon-esque style since their origin, changing ever so slightly based on what works for the band and as well as for the live setting. Notorious for their excellent live performances, this band looks to project their skills into the bedrooms of their listeners, becoming more than just a great live band. On D, it seems like they have got a handle on this task.
Things get rolling on “It’s Him!” and they certainly start they way that you would expect: in the jamming, cymbals crashing, bass throbbing and those psychedelic guitars wailing. As always, White Denim brings that explosive energy to their craft, but this time, it’s with a distinct change for the better in vocal clarity. James Petralli’s odd yet endearingly high-pitched voice serves as the glue factor to piece together the explosive instrumentation. On this first track, it serves its purpose quite well; with the swirling beats, Petralli’s voice keeps the song from whirling out of control.
“Burnished” keeps things going in terms of the psychedelic guitar parts, which welcome you into this second track. On this number, you can definitely tell that this would be a treat to listen to live because the second half of the song is a break down from the band, filled with riffs and head bob-inducing sound. It’s also a pretty good song on this recording in that the cut to just instrumentation didn’t turn into a takeover of self-indulgence. Sure, the same jam continues all through the next song “At the Farm,” but nowhere does it turn boring and banal. It retains those intriguing qualities and you are left with a solid five minutes of pure instrumentation that doesn’t fall flat when played through your bedroom speakers.
But White Denim isn’t just about the jamming, as they slow things down on numbers like “Street Joy” and mildly on “Drug.” These numbers show their diversity and competence to craft deeper set songs. That being said, these two tracks are the extent on their diversity, which makes for a pretty straight set album. D gets a tad monotonous towards its end; you can only take so much fast paced and furious guitar shredding and rolling drums before things begin to sound repetitive.
Regardless, this is still a good direction for this band to strike into. They keep making those vital changes so that their studio music can match what they play live and D is certainly a pretty decent effort.
I think we avoided the heat here in Austin for long enough, but it’s about time we succumb to the truth; summertime is here, temperature wise at least. So, with that in mind, I’ve gotta get my poolside set list together, and I’m definitely including this jam from Toronto group, Art Imperial. The new EP from these guys, Suburban Surf is chock full of hazy little summer jams with a bit of sway to them. It’s almost like bedroom pop, if your bedroom just happened to be a little hut in some remote beach area. Get ready for the heat, and get ready for Art Imperial. And, if you like it enough, the band is offering their EP for a name your own price fee HERE.
Download: Art Imperial – The Inbetweener [MP3]
It’s hard to believe that after 13 years, Graditude for the Sniper is only the 3rd record for Fan Modine. That being said, you’re not going to find a lot of pop music that has been crafted wtih such care. Whether it be the soaring melodies, or the bits of string placed behind the songs, it all generates a tingling feeling from within, knowing you have stumbled upon something worthy of greatness. Personally, there’s a lot of good pop out there, and a lot of it fails in comparison to the work you’ll find here. If you seek out orchestral pop with sweeping movements and careful craftsmanship, then put this tune on today!
Download: Fan Modine – Through the Valley [MP3]
The Patrick Wolf in this picture is a far cry from the man that seems to be writing lately, though I love both equally as much. His last few efforts were dominated with synths, and almost felt industrial, but he seems to have found some sort of, well, inner peace. His Lupercalia record is set to hit next week, and based on the video for “House,” he seems to have quieted himself a bit, going for softer tones. Regardless of where his head or heart is at, he always has that angelic voice, and incredible production, so we’re excited any time we get a chance to enjoy more of his work. Take a listen to “House” below for a sample of the upcoming grandiosity.
Download: Patrick Wolf – House [MP3]
||Wednesday, May 25th
||$11 from Frontgate
Honestly, I feel sort of like Here We Go Magic are becoming a local band; those kids play here all the time. That being said, we’ll gladly have them back any time, as long as they continue to give us great liver performances, and killer music like the recent January EP. They’ll be sweeping through town on Wednesday with another Brooklyn act in tow, giving us all a pretty solid reason to head out to the Parish midweek. Caveman and Shells (up-and-coming Austin band) will both open the evening, just before we get to the nitty-gritty jam-core of HWGM. You in? You better be.
Download: Here We Go Magic – Hands in the Sky [MP3]
Long have I adored Stephin Merritt, in pretty much any capacity. So, today Merge Records announced they’d be selling Obscurities, a collection of Merritt rarities, not just those with his work with the Magnetic Fields. Some of these would stem from his work on the science-fiction he did with Lemony Snicket, while others would be culled from those hard to get releases man MF fans swoon over. Merritt even commented on the songs, telling Sterogum that he thought this might have been the best song he’d ever penned that was meant for a wedding. While I’ll admit, it has its beauty, in my mind the winner will always be “It’s Only Time” from the album, i. Regardless, the world’s always a better place with Merritt’s writing.
Download: Stephin Merritt – Forever And A Day [MP3]
Occasionally you let things slip, forgetting to check in on your favorite labels or sites, but when go back, you always find a gem waiting for you. Such is the case with this latest single from Slumberland Records by Terry Malts, who love to be hidden behind a dense fog of mystery. But, luckily, my imaginary best friend over at Finest Kiss hints that the band is a side-project of Magic Bullets, making the “I’m Neurotic” single even closer to my heart. Apparently the group are aligning themselves with the likes of the Ramones or even the Descendents, but really it’s hard to hear that. For me, it has a feel of the lighter side of Creation Records, yet another reason for my adoration. The single is out now, so get ahold of it while you can.
Downlaod: TerryMalts-Distracted [MP3]
||Tuesday, May 24th
||$20 from FrontGate
White Lies are a British group who’ve grown up over the last several years, bringing their release of Ritual to the forefront of media all over the globe. While they tend to get a little bit of association with bands like Joy Division, they really have more of a Killers feel, as it’s definitely not as dark as Curtis and crew. You’ll want to get there early too, as Asobi Seksu are a band on the rise. This year they released Fluorescence, and we’ve enjoyed our time with that album; we look forward to their opening slot at one of Austin’s most historic little venues. See you guys there!
Download: Asobi Seksu – Trails [MP3]