New Rocker from Radical Dads

Didn’t these guys just put out a record? Well, if you listened to Mega Rama, you might not know what to think when you get this solid little jam.  It reminds me of the furious moments of Les Savy Fav back in the days of Go Forth, but that’s probably wishful thinking.  The band’s Skateboard Bulldog 7″ will be out later this year, but we’ve got the track to rock you right now.  From the minute it kicks off, it’s geared at rocking you right out of your chair.  Quick and to the point, you won’t be able to catch your breath before this number ends. Well played Radical Dads.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/RadicalDads-SkateboardBulldog.mp3]

Download: Radical Dads – Skateboard Bulldog [MP3]

Show Preview: Toro y Moi @ the Mohawk (10/8)

Date Saturday, October 8th
Location Mohawk
Doors 800p
Tickets $14 from Frontgate

I’ve already caught one amazing show over at the Mohawk this week, but even that might not compare to the gloriousness that will be this Toro y Moi show.  Chaz has been putting out effortless pop tunes for some time, and lately he’s been playing with a full-on band, which always entertains.  As if that wasn’t enough to get you there, new indie darlings Unknown Mortal Orchestra will be bringing their quirky pop jams to the stage just before, getting you a chance to see one of the new “best” bands around.  Oh, and did I mention that my favorites, Bass Drum of Death, are going to kick the whole night off?  Well, you gotta be there; there’s not another option.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Toro-Y-Moi-All-Alone.mp3]

Download: Toro Y Moi – All Alone [MP3]

Loney Dear – Hall Music

Rating: ★★★½☆

As the story goes, Emil Svanangen returned to Sweden after his last trip to the US, holing up in the country with various orchestral and chamber groups.  One listen to his new album under the Loney Dear moniker and you’ll see the grand effect the entire venture had on his writing, leading to a record with lush arrangements and careful touches, the like we haven’t quite heard from Emil.

If you’re reading carefully, you can skip beyond album opener, “Name,” as it really is more of a carry-over from early Loney Dear work.  But, “My Heart” gives birth to a fuller sound.  Accompaniment trickles, but as the song continues forward, you can here bits of electronic bass gurgling beneath, waiting to be unleashed.  It never quite jumps out, but the presence in the background adds a greater density to the track, which is much the case for the entirety of Hall Music.

But, with all the attention to detail, would the music really alter that much in the long run?  It’s a simple answer, no.  You see, the highlight of the group has always been Emil’s voice, a very distinct delivery like that of Justin Vernon, where you realize right away you’re listening to a Loney Dear album. “Loney Blues,” for instance, definitely sounds more complete than many of the songs from Dear John.  There’s a general swell in the construction of the song, allowing the melody to sweep you away in a much more powerful manner than in past outings.  Svanangen’s voice truly carries your listen, especially when you come to tracks like “D Major,” which might just be the best song he’s written to date. A gentle guitar opens, serving as ground zero for the whole track, but the vocals have this pitch that just sits perfectly in the foreground of your speakers.  Once the backing vocals join in during the last minute of the track you can’t help but to get emotionally carried away.

Still, the effort put into the craftsmanship on Hall Music shows that Emil’s really reaching to find a larger sound, one that harkens back to his initial return to Sweden.  “Durmoll” uses horns and string accompaniment to create a song that’s both grandiose and simple, but it works.  Or take a listen to “Maria, Is That You,” which appears as more of a spoken word piece set to studio tinkering.  We should all applaud the man for refusing to put out the same record time and time again, moving ahead as his heart desires.

For most of us, we’ll take our melodies and our pop appreciation, enjoying our simple pleasures.  But, it’s clear that Loney Dear won’t willing accept the status quo in pop construction, pushing himself to create songs that go beyond the basics.  You get the feeling that while he’s several albums into his career, Hall Music marks a huge leap forward into the pantheon of great modern songwriters. Congrats Emil.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Loney-Dear-My-Heart.mp3]

Download: Loney Dear – My Heart [MP3]

Fun New Jam from MiniBoone

It’s the middle of the week, and we all could probably use a bit of a pick me up, as that lull begins to creep in.  Well, for those of you with an infatuation for bits of post-punk and old school art rock, you’re going to love this jam from MiniBoone. There’s little intricate moments and there’s all out joyous moments, all which make for a great midweek listen.  You can find this track along with others from the group on November 8th with the release of their MiniBoone Mountain EP, courtesy of the fine folks over at Drug Front Records.

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

Download: MiniBoone – Brand New Thing [MP3]

New Jam from Lyonnais

I got this Lyonnais record in the mail a few weeks ago, and I’ve been waiting to share the first single from the band with you.  It’s a bit noisy and gaze-y, if you will, but the melodious moments bring out this internal music that really holds the entire record together.  Speaking of said record, you can pick up Want For Wish For Nowhere on October 18th via Hoss Records.  I promise you that this little gem of a mini-album is not going to let you down.  Please, allow me to introduce you to the wonderful Lyonnais.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02_The_Fatalist.mp3]

Download: Lyonnais – The Fatalist [MP3]

New Music from Guineafowl

If you haven’t heard of Guineafowl until now, we’ll forgive you, as we’re just catching onto the band ourselves.  The Australian group is coming to the States to support the release of their Guineafowl EP. The feel of their first US single totally epitomizes my need for high-fueled energy on Wednesday; it’s got bits of stomping, yet I can sort of hear that blissful swoon of the Dears hiding beneath their guitar work lines.  Just sort of imagine blending pieces of eclectic elements with bits of electronic rock, add some swinging chorus lines, and you’ve got this group summed up. Damned if that doesn’t sound like a great bit of fun to me.  Their EP is out now on Dangerbird.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02-Little-Fingers.mp3]

Download: Guineafowl – Little Fingers [MP3]

Show Preview: Gang Gang Dance @ the Mohawk (10/3)

Date Monday, October 3rd
Location Mohawk
Doors 630p
Tickets $11 from Frontgate

I know, I know, Taking Back Sunday is playing Monday night, but this show over at the Mohawk is going to be far better, I promise. Some of the most creative indie music being made is coming to our town tonight courtesy of Gang Gang Dance.  They’re fresh off the summer release of their album, Eye Contact.  Their known for extravagant shows, and lets hope this is no exception.  But, you get twice as lucky if you come early, as opening band Prince Rama are a force to be reckoned with in their own right.  From what I know, PR brings one of the best live acts to town, so you couple that with Gang Gang Dance and you’re left with one brilliant show that’s a can’t miss. Pretty killer way to start off October with our friends at the Mohawk.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Rest-In-Peace.mp3]

Download: Prince Rama – Rest In Peace [MP3]


New Track from Body Language

Looking for a fun way to kick off your Monday?  You might have just stumbled to the right place, as this constructionist jam from Body Language has really been doing wonders on my spirits.  It’s got a trickling little melody, with a bit of crafty pep that sort of lurks in and out of your speakers.  This is the sort of thing that gets under your skin/soul, bringing about welcome changes in mood.  If you dig what you’re hearing you can grab this tune, and others, off the band’s upcoming LP, Social Studies, which hits the stores on October 18th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/05-Seeds-of-Sight.mp3]

Download: Body Language – Seeds of Sight [MP3]

Zola Jesus – Conatus

Rating: ★★★½☆

Say what you will about Nika Roza Danilova, her newest album under the Zola Jesus moniker is far from anything associated with goth.  If anything, Conatus is coated in her operatic vocals, touched off by electronic glitches and made beautiful by moving rhythms.

“Swords” begins our foray into the world of Conatus with bleak glitches and Danilova’s haunt drifting far off in the distance.  It’s not the most affecting opener, but it sets up the entrance to “Avalanche” perfectly.  The electronics are altered from their edgy glitch into moving beats.  Nika’s voice takes the forefront here, and it’s exactly as a Zola Jesus record should be, allowing her voice to conquer the hearts and ears of listeners.

“Hikikomori” is the first track on effort where the beats kicks in just a little bit more, and the vocals meet them effectively.  This track is the sort that stands out, both for its minimal approach and its beauty.  You’ll be hard pressed to find something so moving, yet so simple. It’s similar to its successor, “Ixode.” Rhythmically, the song could easily be placed in some dingy bar off the beaten path, but the vocals do well to make the song a bit more artful, rather than letting it slide into kitsch club music. All this is aided by the backing vocals that echo in the distance, giving a softer edge to the track.

But, there are some tracks that could easily be seen as more club friendly hits, if clubs were willing to spin less generic music. “In Your Nature” utilizes a more emphatic dance groove as the skeleton before Danilova completely lets her vocals take over.  Such tracks are meant to be enjoyed while sipping a heady brew, and Conatus, is frankly full of them, demonstrating that Zola Jesus is truly beginning to push the limits set upon Danilova since her first effort.

While the entirety of the album can get a bit thick, making the record difficult to listen to for prolonged periods of time. However, Nika’s voice is so spectacular that she’s allowed a bit of misstep with redundant backing music.  For instance, one listen to “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake” and you, too, will be assured of the strength of her vocals.  If you’re not convinced, you can also see the ballad, “Skin,” another remarkable performance. With a voice like hers, she can pretty much do anything she wants with the corresponding music, so who knows where she’ll go next.

For now, Zola Jesus continues to grow, slightly altering the sound, crafting music that perfectly fits the vocal genius of Nika Danilova.  Conatus might way you down at times, but every track on here is filled with careful touches to emphasize the power of the vocals.  You’ll find yourself playing this on cold days, on rainy days and all those days in between; such is the power of the latest effort Zola Jesus.

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