Since Chaos n’ Tejas is in town this week, it feels a little weak to be talking about pop-punk, but I have a feeling that every kid going out to those punk shows has to own at least one Descendents record, if not all of them, as true fans should. Now, I know they didn’t necessarily create the genre, but in my eyes, no one did it any better than this group. I was recently reminded of their incredible power when listening to guitarists Stephen Egerton‘s solo album, 7 Degrees, which has all kinds of guest appearances, including one from Descendents singer Milo. Not to mention that the group is perfect for driving around windows down. The lyrics are bratty and pubescent, but they did it in a way that wasn’t vulgar, and didn’t come off as a joke; after all, listening to these guys, I was a kid. Still, pop-punk gets a lot of flack nowadays because of the way its been exploited by the corporate industry, but if you want to see a band that did it faster and with more class, then go get yourself some of the Descendents. You’ll be glad you did.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/descendents-im_the_one.mp3]
As the Chaos in Tejas festival comes into Austin this Wednesday, its high time we take a closer look at our heavier, faster brethren. Our first suggestion for your ears is the garage rock wunderkind Ty Segall. He’s having a busy year already, producing the 7″ for Brilliant Colors, then he’s got his own album Melted which hits stores next week. Such a busy schedule might lead one to think of the recently vacated spot left by Jay Reatard (RIP) wherein he dominated (like it or not) the garage rock scene across the web. Ty’s next in line, and in fact, has already sort of taken over. You can check Ty out this Thursday, May 27th at Red 7. Here’s a tune from his new album as well, in case you need more convincing.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Caesar.mp3]
Download: Ty Segall – Caesar
As I prepared to get my rock on for this week at Chaos in Tejas, I was just browsing through labels and looking for new releases by some of my favorites, like Hozac Records. They’ve got several bands coming our way this week, but more on that at another time. I want to talk about this catchy little single by Sleepovers from Chicago. I mean, you throw that old school rock n’ roll sound together with some handclaps and you’re bound to catch my interest. You judge the goodness.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/secret-1.mp3]
Download: Sleepovers – Secret [MP3]
Once again Montreal is giving birth to another new band sure to make waves on our side of the border, Parlovr. The group is releasing their self-titled debut on June 8th here in the States, and it will include this track “Sandwalking.” It has a real loose rock n’ roll feel to it, which means the band is sure to be incredible live, not to mention providing us with an energy-fueled debut LP. Personally, it sounds a lot like The Constantines, and that’s a compliment.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/02-Sandwalking.mp3]
Download: Parlovr – Sandwalking [MP3]
During SXSW we were treated to an amazing live show by Beach Fossils, and we finally have their self-titled debut to back up all that hype. The record is full of surf-infused jangling guitars and simplistic drum beats, all which make this the perfect album to listen to while you’re being active around the house, or just looking for something great to jam out to with your friends.
As soon as “Sometimes” comes in through your stereo you’re introduced to the band’s sound. Guitar chords jangle and snake their way through the song, while the drumming provides a bit of an extra kick to the song, giving it just an extra hint of spring. Vocals wash over the song, while more vocals wash over the vocals. “Youth” doesn’t do too much to distance itself from its predecessor, though you’ll find that the second track does have a bit more sway, mostly due to the pacing of the percussive element.
“Lazy Day” is the first song on the record that takes a different bent, although none of these songs sounds exactly the same. Here, you’ll find a bit more of a hollow sounding vocal, which actually sounds perfect with the way that the guitar seems to ring in the foreground. The echo-y vocal effect is used again on “Daydream,” though a slower delivery affects the listener in a different manner. You’ll have to listen to the battle between the feuding guitar lines, and its only then that the drums will make themselves evident, as they seem so low in the mix here that you almost miss them.
However much this album does seem to run together with its similar sounds, Beach Fossils do just enough to differentiate between the tracks. “Window View” carries on the themes of observation and dreaming that are present throughout the record, but a slower pace entirely seems to actually have the listener looking out the window as this track plays in your house. You can still feel the roots of the band’s sonic pallet here, but it’s just a bit left of that, giving the record a bit of room to breathe. Then you go right back to the band’s bread and butter with “The Horse.” It’s got a ringing guitar, a coated vocal, and a bit of a bounce to it. It would be interesting to see where the band’s sound could go if they had the addition of legitimate percussion. Not saying the drums don’t serve a purpose on Beach Fossils, but the creative notches could be turned up a bit, pushing the band’s sound even further.
Listening to Beach Fossils over and over again might get a little bit tiresome, but they’ve lived up to the promise they created this year with their live shows. They’ve crafted an album full of charm and melody, presented in their own distinctive fashion, which inevitably will find their way into your daily listening rotation. A few key ingredients missing keep this album from being incredible, but don’t hold that against Beach Fossils, as it’s a record worthy of your summer listening parties.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/beachfossilsyouth.mp3]
Download: Beach Fossils – Youth [MP3]
I”ve been a fan of Adam Franklin since early on in Swervedriver‘s career, and he just keeps coming up with new ideas and new albums that I always find myself fawning over. His latest endeavor is called Adam Franklin and the Bolts of Melody. The group has a new album titled I Could Sleep For a Thousand Years, which comes out on June 29th. The first single “Yesterday Has Gone Forever” is coated in Franklins smooth vocals, and recalls the pristine power pop of the 90s. If this song doesn’t get you in the mood for relaxing in the shade while you’re trying to avoid the heat, then I don’t know what will.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/01-Yesterday-Has-Gone-Forever-1.mp3]
Download: dAdam Franklin and the Bolts of Melody – Yesterday Has Gone Forever [MP3]
We’re sure you’re probably tired of hearing about Suckers from us, as we’ve been fawning over the group for what seems like ages, but we can’t help ourselves. As the June 8th release date of their album Wild Smiles draws near, the anticipation can only build. This is going to be a contender for album of the year, we can promise you that, and luckily there is a new single for you to take a listen to today. “A Mind I Knew” shows their versatility, as it’s not the adrenaline fueled punch you got from “Black Sheep,” but the emphatic breakdown over the track’s last minute just goes to show you why we love this band so much. You should too.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/05-A-Mind-I-Knew.mp3]
Download: Suckers – A Mind I Knew [MP3]
There’s a new band coming out of Georgia these days, and with their blend of melody and electronics, Sunglasses are sure to be making waves with the crowds soon. At first listen, it has a lot of the flavor that Animal Collective has, but their beats have a bit more of American nostalgia to them. For instance, this single, off their self-titled Sunglasses EP, feels like you’re walking into a Leave it to Beaver show, and the vocal delivery has a bit more of a flow, as opposed to a chant, like many of the chill-wave bands. If you like it, you can hear more from the group when the EP comes on on June 15th.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/05-sunglassesstandfast.mp3]
Download: Sunglasses – Stand Fast [MP3]
2010 is going to be a busy year for Jeremy Jay. His first album of the year, Splash, is just being released, while there is another album slated for release later in the year, not to mention his work on the movie Belle Epine. Will all the work distract his natural knack for writing amazingly introspective pop numbers? By the sounds of this album, Jeremy is still going strong, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
JJ begins the album with “As You Look Over the City,” which one can assume is his own personal narrative about his recent move to London, demonstrating his ability to approach the subject matter from third-person. His guitar never seems over-bearing, and the accompaniment by his band always seems perfectly fitting to his deep croon.
While many will accuse Jeremy of staying in the same vein as his last two albums, there are definitely differences. Point of evidence one: “It Happened Before Our Time.” This is the first time he’s really messing with his vocal delivery, changing the pitch and the tone, both going a long way to evoke the mood of the song. When his voice lightly echos in the background of the song, you can tell that he’s really pushing the boundaries of what he can do. Then you have the second piece of evidence, ” Splash,” which has a quicker paced guitar line, sort of reminiscent of a more nostalgic version of The Thermals. All the while his voice lands quietly atop his music, as it always seems to do.
One of the best things about Jeremy Jay is that while he sounds so familiar, he definitely has a taste all his own. You can see his constant form of wondering, especially in the way that he writes his lyrics. Take, for example, “Someday Somewhere,” where the chorus itself evokes that sense of search, or that sense of longing for something. He’s often in his own world, dancing around, using that speak-sing approach that was made known by his mentor of sorts, Calvin Johnson. You combine that approach with his lyrics and you are left wondering, but in an involved sort of way, as listeners should be.
Everything about Splash really does sound familiar, but as the album takes a turn near the end, starting with “Why is This Feeling So Strong,” you get the feeling that Jeremy Jay is about to make his move; at times it almost feels as if he’s about to let loose a power chord to just blow you away, yet as always, he refrains. He’s got one more album coming out this year, and the way he’s pushing his sound, who knows exactly where that record will end up, but we can only hope that he continues to put out consistently enjoyable collections of songs such as this.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/01-As-You-Look-Over-The-City.mp3]
Download: Jeremy Jay – As You Look Over The City [MP3]
Listening to this new track from Television Personalities has really made my week. While I’ll admit that Dan Treacy’s vocals don’t sound as sharp as they once did, you can still see how they evoke the purest emotion. Perhaps it is this reason that has made the group one of the best cult bands, often missing mass popularity by mere minutes. But, just take one listen to this song, wait until the rest of the instrumentation really takes hold of the song, and tell me that you don’t like it. Well, lucky for you (and me!) there will be many more songs coming out on the groups next album A Memory is Better Than Nothing, which is supposed to come out in June. Get into it; they could’ve been bigger than the Beatles.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/05-television_personalities-funny_he_never_married.mp3]
Download: Television Personalities – Funny He Never Married [MP3]