SXSW just wrapped up, and while we’re barely able to stay awake today, we sort of compiled a quick list from three of our biggest contributors, but feel free to leave us comments so we know how your experience went down. And, check back tomorrow our Top Ten Bands of SXSW.
Don’t you just love it when band’s gather all their old files, polish them up, toss in some new gems and then give it out to the fans? Such is the case with the Halo LP, the newest offering from San Francisco group, Blackbird Blackbird. On first listen, it seems all over the place, but in a good way, as you can see where the band’s vision evolves as they’ve continued to work hard. The album’s opening track, as is often the case, is a great track, using a minimal drum beat to serve as the background for the harmonies that come in and out with the vocals. You’ll love the listening experience here, as the grooves and hooks continue to penetrate your ears. Get hip to this.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Blackbird-Blackbird-Halo-LP-01-Halo.mp3]
Download: Blackbird Blackbird – Halo [MP3]
One of the bands that was on a lot of people’s lips this last week was Mazes, and now that I’ve done my research here, I’m a little bummed I missed the group. They’re preparing for the release of their new album, A Thousand Heys, which will hit stores on April 11th. Giving the record a listen, it sounds a lot like Wavves, if you actually put the band in the studio to give the record a little production value, something I think is a good idea. It’s got quick guitars, solid hooks and everything just screams fun. Spring time is perfect for this sort of energetic pop.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/03-mazes-most_days.mp3]
Download: Mazes – Most Days [MP3]
If you’re looking for the perfect song to help you recover from SXSW, or you just need a good track that kind of rolls along movingly, then Therapies Son have just the right track for you. “Touching Down” is the opening track on the newest Over the Sea EP, just released last week. Personally, the meandering guitar line casually soloing through the hazy stomp in the background really grabbed me. Listening to the EP, you’ll definitely find something special here, and the single track is just a hint at the quiet magic the five song EP holds in store for all interested listeners. Trust me, you’ll love this track, and probably this band.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Therapies-Son-Over-The-Sea-01-Touching-Down.mp3]
Download: Therapies Son – Touching Down [MP3]
Pop-group Ravishers have just finished touching up their album, which is going to be released stateside on May 10th via Timber Carnival Records. Based on what we’ve heard so far, this record is going to be a clever number full of melody and word play, not to mention the occasional female/male vocal exchange. Such is the case with the single they’ve released, which is one of the crowd favorites in their set, so you know you’ll need to take notice. I’ve really been enjoying listening to this track all weekend, so its time I share the goods with you. Buen proveche.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/07-Keep-You-Around.mp3]
Download: Ravishers – Keep You Around [MP3]
A few years ago, we had a huge debate about which Austin festival was the best, Austin City Limits or SXSW. In the interim, other great festivals have gained status in our world, such as the incredible Fun Fun Fun Fest, and although SXSW was our favorite then, I’m just not so sure. Looking back, I should have seen this coming; I should have known that the hey-day of SXSW was slowly in decline. Now, I’m not saying that I’m ungrateful that so many incredible bands flock to Austin once a year, but rather I’m pointing out a few things that, to me, demonstrate just how far things have spun out of control in recent years. Take note that this is just one man’s opinion, and not necessarily the opinion of Austin Town Hall. And, in all likelihood, you’ll probably still see me out about town in my Killin Time Til Dave hat, I just won’t be too happy about it!
One of the band’s we’re most excited to see at SXSW, Violens, has slowly been leaking out demos and mastered versions of their latest tracks for their next LP, the follow up to Amoral. You’ll have to wait a few weeks for the mastered version of their latest track, “Be Still,” but if you go to their site you can get a nice listen of this really sweet new track. I suggest you do so, as this band’s deserving of much more praise than they’ve received. Take a listen right HERE. And, if you like it, you can buy the first MP3 that they put up last month. Here’s an old track from the band to get you in the mood.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/03-Acid-Reign-1.mp3]
Download: Violens – Acid Reign [MP3]
We’ve been super busy with SXSW, so a few things have slipped under the radar, and such is the case with Dizzy Eyes, one of the band’s just signed by our friends over at Hardly Art. The band just released their new Let’s Break Up the Band 7″ last week, and I’ve been loving the lead title track. Vocals remind me of Stellastarr, yet there’s a cutting melody that works beneath the entirety of the song, giving just enough bounce to the song to make it more than your average tune. We’re still happy the guitar is full on this year. Oh, and we included this track on our SXSW Sampler, which you can grab here: SXSW SAMPLER.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/DizzyEyes-LetsBreakUpTheBand.mp3]
Download: Dizzy Eyes – Lets Break Up The Band [MP3]
The great thing about SXSW is getting to see a lot of great bands you haven’t spent a lot of time with, but for me, that’s not the case with all the acts on Dirtnap Records. They’ve been putting a lot of great tunes together, several include local Austin/Texas acts like High Tension Wires or the Mind Spiders. They just put up a little comp HERE, where you can sample their great bands. Be sure to head out to their showcase on Saturday @ the Easy Tiger if you like what you hear.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/04-Dont-Let-Her-Go.mp3]
Download: The Mind Spiders – Dont Let Her Go [MP3]
Gray Waves was such an enjoyable record that it led us to fall for Twin Tigers. We followed them around SXSW last year, secretly of course, so we were happy to sit down and get a few words in with the band before their return.