ATH A2W: International Waters

interAustin’s International Waters have been surfing around my list of bands to check out for quite some time, and it’s time we open your eyes to the band as well. Suffice it say, their list of influences such as Comet Gain, Felt and Beat Happening are enough to win me over, but the band has the songs to back it up as well. Sure, they’re steeped in that sound of ancient 80s dance suave, but you can’t help but get drawn into their songs. They currently are giving away three songs for free on their Myspace page, and they’re rumored to have a 7″ on its way. Also, you can catch them this Thursday at Elysium for Brit Pop Dance Night.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-salt-and-sea.mp3]

Download: International Waters – Salt and Sea [MP3]

New Tunes from Soviet

sovietSome people just want to listen to dance music. Today, I am playing a song for those in the world of dance music.  Soviet is a band from NYC who won me over years back at SXSW, and they are just now releasing the follow-up to to their debut; the new album is titled Spies in the House of Love. Apparently it was recorded long ago, but is just now seeing the light of day. Take a listen and move those feet.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/03-photographs-1.mp3]

Download: Soviet – Photographs [MP3]

New Tunes from The Sounds

soundSweden’s The Sounds are definitely one of my guilty pleasures, and I am not going to shy away from their catchy new-wave influenced pop-rock. Not to mention the fact that singer Maja is one hell of a front-woman. Now, the band have a new album coming out in June, and here is the first single off said album.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/thesounds-noonesleepwhenimawake.mp3]

Download: The Sounds – No One Sleeps When I’m Awake [MP3]

New Tunes from Future of the Left

future-of-the-leftDo you need a little morning pick me up? Check out the new tune from Future of the Left, the UK band that formed out of the ashes of Mclusky. This new single, off their forthcoming album for 4AD Records, is sure to kick start your day, and have you looking forward to the release of their new album.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/future-of-the-left-arming-eritrea.mp3]

Download: Future of the Left – Arming Eritrea [MP3]

ACL Lineup Announced

acl_lineup_adIt’s finally here.  You’ve been waiting all Spring; you’ve even bought your tickets, and now the 2009 ACL lineup is here.  I won’t lie, the headliners aren’t really doing anything for me, esepecially because of my extreme hatred for Dave Mathews Band.  But, there are some killer bands that will be gracing smaller stages that you’ll definitely want to check out such as Sonic Youth, Phoenix, Grizzly Bear, The Dodos, Passion Pit and the Walkmen.  You can still buy tickets for a measly $185 here.

New Tunes from Lewis & Clarke

lewis Sometimes you can’t go wrong with a quiet tune that reminds you of sitting creek-side with your favorite companion, and that’s just what Lewis & Clarke provide. The featured track comes on the brink of a new EP.  Listen carefully, as the song is so quiet you  might miss it if you don’t pay attention.  For more tunes check out the group’s Blasts of Holy Birth; here is “Petrified Forest.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-petrified-forest-1.mp3]

Download: Lewis & Clarke – Petrified Forest [MP3]

New Tunes from Blank Dogs

blankdogsBlank Dogs has steadily released lo-fi bedroom recordings for the past couple of years, garnering interest from fans and bloggers alike. As he prepares for the release of Under and Under, which is set to come out on In the Red, we get a hint of what the new album will sound like. This track is a little bit more straight forward, though still coated in fuzz and mystery, like the man himself.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/x53r-blank-dogs-tin-birds.mp3]

Download: Blank Dogs – Tin Birds [MP3]

The Veils – Sun Gangs

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

Let it be said; this album is full of amazing songs.  Sure, that’s a weird way to start off a review, but one would have to listen to this album to understand why it receives a less than stellar rating.  Sun Gangs, the new album from London’s The Veils, is a vibrant affair, switching at every change of song. It drags influences from all across the globe; it does this without sounding overtly banal. Yet, something is amiss here.

On opening number “Sit Down by the Fire” singer Finn Andrews comes off like a cross between the hallowed voices of Win Butler and Will Scheff, though the music definitely lends itself to a more Arcade Fire styling as pounding piano work is maxed out with accompanying percussion and guitar strumming. You’re ready for an album full of such tunes, such great tunes, but then they put a bag over your head; you’ve awoken in a completely different place.

Title track “Sun Gangs” is a wonderful tune. It is the second track on the album, but it doesn’t have a lot of relation to the place where your journey began. Melancholy moments like this make one remember the sweetness of Spirtualized, and Spaceman’s ability to pull at your heartstrings with his voice alone; Andrews does the same, even with his lyrics. So maybe we’re in for a solemn album, and the opener was just a bit off.  Wrong again.

All of a sudden we’re thrust into a space-rocker of sorts with “The Letter”, in a somewhat Muse meets Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sort of way.  Sure, it sounds like quite an awkward affair, but it’s a striking song nonetheless, one worth listening to on repeat, at least a couple of times through.  The next song is sort of a rocker, with definite leanings toward Muse. Then we’re back again to the mellower moments as the band goes into “It Hits Deep.” Once again, this song tugs at you emotionally, and that really has a lot to do with the spectacular voice of Andrews.

Still, this is the variety of songs that you are presented with in the first moments of this album, and you still have another half of the album to go, which follows the same pattern more or less. This is precisely the issue that many listeners will find when listening to the album from start to finish.  The songs do not seem to connect to one another there is not a fluid movement from one place to the very next.  The schizophrenic nature of the album detracts from the overall quality; this record needs some cohesiveness. Individually, there are some ridiculously good songs, but they don’t work together as a whole.  Otherwise, The Veils constructed a solid effort of tunes worthy for any mix tape.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/07-the-house-she-lived-in.mp3]

Download: The Veils – The House She Lived In [MP3]

Art Brut – Art Brut vs. Satan

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Art Brut burst onto the music scene a few years back wtih their stellar Bang Bang Rock N Roll.  The band was energized, and Eddie Argos self-deprecating wit came out swinging.  Now, three years down the road, Art Brut are preparing to take on the devil himiself for their third full length, Art Brut vs. Satan.

Round three has the band coming out with a barrage of tightly wound rock fury; the flare is back again, and you can feel the power in the chords.  Interestingly, the driving force does not appear to be the music, however, as singer Eddie Argos is pushed way up front in the final mix.  For some artists, this might not be a bad decision, but I don’t think Argos dead-pan delivery warrants such a focus, despite the cleverness of his lyrics. Often, the band brings a tour de force like Les Savy Fav pummeling our ears with a frenetic pace.  Angular guitars cut through thin air with sharp turns of melodious guitar chugging around each corner. Still, the focus has been, and always will be, on Eddie Argos.

Opening the album, Eddie tries to rehash his evening of drinking in “Alcoholics Unanimous” by sending out a group text, as he is sure he was up “all night making mistakes.”  Clearly he has no problem with calling himself out, as he continues to do so on “The Replacements” where he admits he hasn’t heard of The Replacements at this point in his life; this is a bit sad, or at least it seems like some egregious error. Even so, you’re left to question whether or not he trying to good you into buying into everything he has to say.  Perhaps this is his point.  Argos wants us to question the way we listen, or why we listen, or even who we listen to these days.

Altogether, the album comes together quite nicely; it’s as consistent as their debut album.  One will always wonder what would come of the band if they ever had a full-fledged singer at the mic stand, but even now, without such a person, they band sound as brash and enjoyable as ever.  This is an album that will hold your attention through to the end.

New Tunes from Shugo Tokumaru

shugOkay, admittedly I have no idea what on Earth Shugo Tokumaru is singing about, but I do know that every time he creates his grandiose gems I fall in love.  Shugo has a new EP coming out, though you’ll probably need a translator to get your hands on it.  But, you can check out this cool site to listen to more tracks.  Here is “Rum Hee.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-rum-hee.mp3]

Download: Shugo Tokumaru – Rum Hee [MP3]

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