New Television Personalities

There is something about British jangle-pop that really hits home with me.  Perhaps it’s the lo-fi quality or the romanticism, but at the forefront of it all has always been Television Personalities. They just recently released a new 7 ” titled The Good Anarchist on Elefant Records, which means we should hopefully have a new full length album coming our way sometime in March.  Check out the title track of said 7″!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/the-good-anarchist.mp3]

Download: TV Personalities – The Good Anarchist [MP3]

A.C. Newman – Get Guilty

Rating: ★★★★ ·

The majority of the listening world will know A.C. Newman by his other gig in New Pornographers. This new effort, released by Matador Records, isn’t far off from the land of his pop-supergroup, especially when one looks back at an album like Challengers.

From the minute “There are Maybe Ten or Twelve” takes off you can tell exactly the direction that this album is going to go.  It’s a subdued number, with high volume interludes, but the focus remains predominantly on Newman’s voice.

An album such as this is blessed by such a voice, as his is one that remains truly unique in this modern age.  He can go higher than most, while he brings it all back again to his normal singing voice.  In all his recordings, this is clearly the best he has sounded, which may owe a lot to remarkable production.

Keeping that in mind, most will settle with this album, knowing that your expectations will be met precisely.  Melodies will rise and fall, being matched at every corner, but, the pace isn’t exactly pushing listeners forward, looking for more from each song.  In fact, the only song that picks up any speed is “The Palace at 4 A.M.” Still, you can sit through this album in it’s entirety with a great deal of enjoyment; it’s just not going to grab you like other tracks A.C. Newman has done in the past, especially those featuring a certain Destroyer. Be sure to get through until the end for “All of my Days & All of my Days Off” is probably one of the best songs he’s written in years.

All in all, you come to the end of the album with one clear realization: A.C. Newman can spit out pop genius no matter where he is in his life.  Each song is interesting, in both melody and structure, as he often uses his voice to carry the songs, which is precisely where the whole album began.  It’s not every day when you come across a musician who can win you over with his voice alone.  And for that, we should all Get Guilty.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/01-there-are-maybe-ten-or-twelve.mp3]

Download: AC Newman – There Are Maybe Ten or Twelve [MP3]

Frantic Clam – Anatomica EP

Rating: ★★★★ ·

This is the second EP from new Austin band Frantic Clam, and this one easily demonstrates that the horizon could be endless. Anatomica screams of a young band progressing, moving beyond their influences in order to discover their own sound.

Opening stomper “We Own the Night” still maintains the roots rock remedy of their first album, but the increased focus on the vocals show the band pushing beyond the boundaries they faced on their previous effort. But, they don’t just rest with their old styling, as they push forward into “Korean Beauty Queen.” Many will see a TV on the Radio vocal similarity, but there is more beneath the vocals. Slick guitars seem to cut through the song, creating space for the rest of the band to fill out the sound with various elements.

Then you encounter a song like “Indiana,” which goes in a completely different direction than the earlier tracks on the EP. It’s a mellow number that shows a band who knows when to hold back, bringing in the listener closer. The chorus gets a little muddy in the middle, but each verse really is able to stand on its own as a perfect piece of modern pop. The title track “Anatomica” is unlike any song on this short collection. It’s a bit like early Kings of Leon, emotionally, but it has it’s own attitude-an attitude altogether Frantic Clam. Throw in a sing-along element, and you have an inspiring song.

Lyrically, you can tell that the band has fallen upon hard times, which is unfortunate, as we wish that upon no one, but perhaps this has led to the focus of this new EP. One thing for sure, is that this band is set upon leaving themselves with varying directions to pursue. You can tell by listening to this effort, along with their last, that they are not eager to be pigeonholed, which is refreshing in and of itself. Congratulations to the band for another positive step forward.

Stop by the Beauty Bar this Wednesday, January 14th, to get your hands on this new EP. Not to mention a slew of other shows they have lined up for your listening pleasure.

The Donkeys @ The Mohawk – 1/13

This Tuesday evening California’s The Donkeys will make their way into Austin. Something about this band begs to be noticed, and perhaps it’s the sunshine of bands like Beulah that make this a show we should all attend as winter dances in and out of our lives. The show goes down at The Mohawk, on the inside stage no less. Our friends over at Transmission Entertainment tell us the show kicks off at 10 PM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/08-nice-train.mp3]

Download: The Donkeys – Nice Train [MP3}

New Jeremy Jay Tune

If you didn’t catch our year end list, you might have missed out on how much we love Jeremy Jay. In our excitement, we almost overlooked the release of his new 12″ on K Records titled Love Everlasting, which will hit stores near you on January 20th. All this is in preparation for the release of his new album, Slow Dance, set to come your way in March. Check out this keyboard infused genius!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/01-love-everlasting.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Jay-Love Everlasting [MP3]

Silent Land Time Machine – & Hope Still

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Occasionally you miss a release of a deserving band, and you spend your time thinking it over, wondering how it escaped you. Luckily, Silent Land Time Machine‘s & Hope Still is here to help you with your troubles. It’s not begging to be accepted by you, it simply carries on patiently, awaiting your listening experience.

Unlike most who create musical landscape music, the remarkable thing is that this project was created by one individual.  There is not a slew of musicians willing to provide input, this is simply a wonderful creation by an individual.  That being said, it also might be the one possible detractor, as occasionally the songs drag on a little bit, repeating patterns.

It’s hard to describe the exact sound of this record, as one would find it difficult to decipher every instrument being used and at which point.  Then throw in some vocal samples bubbling underneath the structure of various songs, and you would be hard pressed to label this band as anything.  One might be able to draw comparisons to M83‘s Before the Dawn Heals Us, but take that allusion, and leave it out in the woods to grow for several years.  That is as close as one can proximate a definition for this band.

Seeing as it dwells in the creation of a soundscape, here is what one might picture as they listen to the album: You jumped in your car, as the day was sunny and clear, intent upon escaping the city, if only for a few hours.  As you drive, the music kicks in, and your thoughts cease to remain relevant.  The music is carrying you along, through densely wooded hills, across grasslands blowing in the breeze.  Suddenly, the mood strikes you to pull over near a struggling stream.  You watch atop an ancient bridge as the water trickles into nothingness.  Seconds, minutes, hours all pass you by, but the only thing you feel, or hear, is the music on this album.  You’ve drifted away, but as the album ends, it’s time to return.

You see, there is something about this album that provides an overwhelming warmth emotionally.  It evokes something that very few albums are able to do, as it asks for nothing but your listening participation.  Through its peaks and into its valleys, if you follow closely, you will be rewarded ultimately, as nothing soothes like the gentle sounds from & Hope Still.

Don’t forget that Silent Land Time Machine will be playing at Emos on January 23rd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/01-everything-goes-to-shit.mp3]

Download: Silent Land Time Machine – Everything Goes To Shit [MP3]

New Tunes from Will Sheff

We all love Will Scheff and his band Okkervil River, but Will recently released a split 7″ with Charles Bissell of The Wrens. Will covers The Wrens “Ex-Girl Collection” while Charles covers Okkervil’s “It Ends With a Fall.” The release is already out in stores, but if you want, you can head straight over to Jagjaguwar Records to purchase your very own copy. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/ex-girl-collection-the-wrens-cover.mp3]

 Download: Will Sheff – Ex-Girl Collection [MP3]

Built by Snow – Mega

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When it comes to the Austin music scene, it’s pretty difficult to break into the scene out of nowhere, as most bands that make it out have spent years winning over audiences in our town. Built by Snow is set to be one of those bands, as they release their album Mega on January 20th.

The first actual track, “Something in 3D” immediately catches any listeners ears, as their angular pop melodies infectiously invade your head. The backing vocals of “whoos” and “whaas” add the perfect compliment to the song’s structure. It’s a song reminiscent of early Rentals material.

Another solid track, “All the Weird Kids Know,” follows with a similar strength, as the band goes all the way back to traditional 80s pop sytlings as they create a number that most bands would kill to create on their own. This is one of those songs that everyone yearns to hear, and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser as they seek to etch out their place in the local Austin market. Besides, who doesn’t love a well-done gang vocal?

They slow it down a little in the middle, allowing space and Nintendo-esque keyboard work to provide the skeletal workings of their gentler numbers. Sure, there are some gaps here that show a necessity for further song exploration, but even the base of a song like “A-Beta” shows a band that is willing to work on all aspects of their album, rather than just settling for the same patterns over and over.

In all actuality, the band has reference points left and right, though they never seem to rest solely on the forefathers of their sound. Hints of The Rentals dash in and out due to the keyboard work, but then they push you in another direction. “Invaders” recalls a less catastrophic version of Los Campesinos, as the band spins you around your room with fists in the air. Once again, they win you over with their willingness to keep it simple and clean, all the while keeping it as catchy as possible.

One of the best things for this band’s album has to revolve around the fact that they don’t misstep once. It’s possible that the infectious hooks might not be for everyone, but for those that adore this genre, they will be pleased to know that it’s solid through and through, which is a great accomplishment for any band, especially such a small fish in a large pond. At the end, we can all be thankful for a new band worthy of our time and adoration here in our home town.

Look for the band around town as they have sets this Thursday at Beauty Bar and their CD release party on January 24th at Club Deville.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/03-all-the-weird-kids-know.mp3]

Download: Built By Snow – All the Weird Kids Know [MP3]

1 809 810 811 812 813 829