Bright New Pop from Imperial Teen

Much like the beginning of 2011, stalwart label Merge Records is going to kick off 2012 with another excellent gem; they’ll be releasing the new release from Imperial Teen titled Feel the Sound.  The record is going to hit stores on January 31st, and it figures to hit all the spots you’ve come to expect from the band, including gang vocal sing-a-longs full of bright harmonies.  Every time I go back and listen to an Imperial Teen record I just get this feeling of giddiness that’s only accomplished by listening to the best pop out there.  Surely after listening to this track we can expect that same feeling when this new release hits early next year.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01-Imperial-Teen-Feel-the-Sound-Runaway.mp3]

Download: Imperial Teen – Runaway [MP3]

Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream

Rating: ★★★½☆

If you already found yourself enjoying this year’s Castlemania, you might want to preview the newest release from Thee Oh Sees, as it’s not quite the same animal, but equally as important in the band’s catalogue.  Carrion Crawler/The Dream is really comprised of two EPs, and while their most recent work focused on short psych sprints, this one definitely has a distinguished jamming quality, akin to their live setting.

“Carrion Crawler” begins this affair with a brief exercise in strutting about, musically, before the band moves into their psychedelic wiggle, with chords being strummed rapidly as Thee Oh Sees find themselves getting into their groove.  While previous efforts, at least in 2011, placed emphasis on the vocals, this time around they just come off as part of the mix.  It might not be the most convincing recording, but it definitely gives you the image of the band’s phenomenal live show.  You’re pretty much going to find Carrion Crawler/The Dream revolving around this realm for the first few tracks of the album, that is until you get into the night-tinged instrumental, “Chem Farmer.”  From here, you’ll find yourself getting into the classic sound, if we could call it that, of the band.

“Opposition” is a furious bit of jangle pop, with a catchy vocal delivery, similar to the works on Castlemania, though there’s a bit more grit to this one.  Still, you can’t help but hear the influence such songs have on the group’s live performance, with bits of guitar meandering in contrast to the rest of the group, providing that ramshackle joy Thee Oh Sees bring to the stage. Similarly, “Wrong Idea” has a stomping rhythm that seems to bounce the listener in the right direction, before the rest of the track sort of goes into a sort of psychedelic haunting.  But, what’s important is imagining the band banging this one out, as those guitar lines are clearly made for audio destruction.

Personally, I find the latter half of the record to be the most appealing, at least when putting this record on repeat for continuous spins.  Songs like “Crushed Grass” display the band’s vibrance, with John Dwyer’s enthusiastic yelps blasting through the speakers.  Even as the feedback fills your ears and the chugging guitars cut through on the back side of the track, you can still hear what makes this band so enjoyable, on record or at the local club. They’re dark, yet playful, which owes to what we must be led to believe is an exceptional amount of work  honing their skills.

Carrion Crawler/The Dream definitely provides listeners with an entirely different view point than what was offered up earlier in the year with Castlemania. That being said, it seems to fill the gaps between studio album and live show, bringing those with careful ears the knowledge that Thee Oh Sees are on the track to surpassing all their peers.  Just another step in the right direction for one of my favorite groups.

Show Preview: Gold Leaves, AA Bondy @ the Parish (11/13)

Date Sunday, Nov. 13th
Location The Parish
Doors 800 pm
Tickets $15 from Frontgate

One of the shows I’ve been anticipating since it was announced is this show featuring two of my favorite bands, AA Bondy and Gold Leaves.  AA Bondy is touring behind his new record Believers, but more importantly is the appearance of Gold Leaves.  Their record, The Ornament, has been playing around my house since it was released in August on Hardly Art, and it is still going strong.  It’s comprised of beautifully ornate pop tunes, which I’m sure will sound remarkable inside the Parish.  It’s got great sound, and with these great bands, you won’t want to miss this show.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/GL_TheOrnament.mp3]

Download: Gold Leaves – The Ornament [MP3]


Beautiful Pop from Treefight for Sunlight

It’s sort of sad, in my mind, that there’s this vast sea separating us from some incredible music, most of which seems to come from places other than England.  A few months back, I first heard this exquisite piece of folk-pop from Treefight for Sunlight, but I had completely forgotten about it, that is until it resurfaced in my daily search for great music.  This particular track comes from the bands self-titled album, not to mention the fact that you can take a jump HERE to see the interesting short that was composed to accompany the track itself.  While you might see this as a beautiful piece of pop, there’s still definitely a bit of haunting to it, which always appeals to me.  Who knows, if this drought in Texas spreads, maybe we’ll no longer be separated from such great music by the Atlantic.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/10-Time-Stretcher.mp3]

Download: Treefight for Sunlight – Time Stretcher [MP3]

Introducing Harouki Zombi

If you’ve been a follower of the Elephant Six work and the Saddle Creek Records family, then perhaps your introduction to Harouki Zombi might be a bit of a surprise.  The duo is comprised of Orenda Fink, who led Azure Ray, not to mention her own solo outings, and also Nina Barnes, wife of Kevin Barnes.  Together they’ve combined to create an interesting piece of art pop, using theatrics (primarily designed by Barnes) and electronic influenced tracks in their performance pieces.  Clearly the duo are in this for a great bit of fun, but the music, not to mention the project itself, seems tinted with oddities, but also grace.  While it might just be hedonistic DJ music, you can’t help but be drawn to the collaboration.  Keep a look out for these two in the near future.  Here’s a preview of their work together.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Harouki-Zombie-Swamp-Theme.mp3]

Download: Harouki Zombi – Harouki Zombie Swamp Theme [MP3]

Special Pop Goodness from Electric Guests

You figure that if Danger Mouse can back it, then it has got to have something to it, right? Well, such is the case with the debut record coming out from Electric Guest sometime in the Spring of 2012.  However, in the meantime we can satisfy our craving by picking up their new 7″ on Decmber 13th.  It’s got the track below, which sort of has smooth little feeling to it, like a more floating R&B track.  It’s definitely getting me to tap my toes quite a bit, and hopefully it helps round out your day in a positive light. Can you spot the Danger Mouse touch?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Electric-Guest-American-Daydream.mp3]

Download: Electric Guest – American Daydream [MP3]

Peppy New Jam from League

Man, this track’s really making my Tuesday so much better. League is an LA based outfit who are putting out their How Do I Know EP, which is a blistering three song pop masterpiece–just saying. For me, I feel like there’s a little bit of MGMT hiding in their sound, but in a more progressive way, with a hint more of the rock n’ roll.  Regardless, the title track definitely will hook you in just a few short seconds, so if you’ve got the time, come get lost in this song with me.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/HOW-DO-I-KNOW.mp3]

Download: League – How Do I Know [MP3]

Song of the Year Battle

First, we’d really like to apologize for the site being down for a few days.  Clearly we had some issues, but we were enjoying Fun x 3 Fest, so we got to it as soon as we could.

Second, I feel like the guy in this picture today, so I wanted to toss something your way.  Aside from our post-grunge a-capella group during Danzig, we spent a lot of time talking about albums of the year, song of the year, and of course, the festival.  But, we can’t seem to agree on our favorite song of the year, so here’s where you can help. We’re putting up both the songs we feel are in contention, and we need you to give us your vote. Leave a comment and tell us which you like more. Or, if you hate us and completely disagree, tell us in the comments what your favorite is. Here we go:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/05-Let-Me-In.mp3]

Download: Snowmine – Let Me In [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/04-Who-Are-You.mp3]

Download: Twerps – Who Are You [MP3]

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