Light for Fire – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

At this point in time, there probably aren’t too many people familiar with the Portland outfit, Light for Fire.  Honestly, that’s probably the biggest tragedy we’ll come across, as their self-titled debut is chocked full of brilliant pop moments, fusing moments of great indie-pop with arrangements created by a singer-songwriter format.  It’s just flat out golden.

You’re going to struggle to find as good a one-two punch as the opening tracks on Light for Fire this year.  “The Huckster” appeals to those interested in the craftsmanship of a singer/songwriter, with the majority of the song revolving around strummed guitar and J. Nicholas Allard’s great vocal performance. From here the band joins Allard with the stomper, “NY (By the Hand),” which is in the running for one of the greater tracks of the year.  There’s a hint of a scratch to Allard’s voice, but with the banging piano and his storytelling, there’s not much that sounds better coming through your stereo speakers.

If you’re looking for some sort of generic marker to throw at Light for Fire, you’ll easily find comparisons to Spoon.  But, that being said, the band has cleaned up some of the noisy meandering that’s been associated with Spoon, instead allowing the poppier side to push on through.  Take “The Letters,” and you’ll have that semi-stomp, with Allard doing his best to give that scratchy croon perfected by Britt Daniels.  Even “Green Life” seems to take a bit from the comparison, using hints of piano to craft their tune, reminiscent of some of the singles off GaGaGaGaGaGa.  This isn’t a bad comparison, as few people write great pop numbers in the vein of Spoon. But, I suppose someone’s bound to get caught up in the similarities.

But, the more you listen to these eleven tracks, the more you see the band has definitely attached themselves to the songwriting of Allard, and rightfully so. “Where I Was Born” is a track for storytellers, with the narrator giving a brief summation of his life.  There’s restraint in the guitar playing, that is until the band jumps in, making it a passionate Americana rocker. And with “4th of July,” you get a quiet number that evokes other songwriters from the Portland area.  Allard’s voice takes on a more gentle quality, and the guitar lines barely trickle into your ear.

One of the best things you can do for your day is to get your hands on this wonderful effort by Light For Fire.  Yes, there’s touchstones of modern indie stars, but beneath those allusions lives great songwriting.  It’s executed to perfection, providing listeners with eleven tracks, not one of which begs to be skipped. For a band seemingly coming out of nowhere, this is the perfect place to start.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/nybythehand.mp3]

Download: Light for Fire – NY (By the Hand) [MP3]

Free EP from Netherfriends

You want something creative and tasty? Try listening to Netherfriends.  After the 50 Songs 50 States project, the group has now constructed an entire EP based around Harry Nilsson samples.  While it might push some buttons as sort of kitsch pop, it’s definitely pushing the envelope in regards to the music we can create with electronics pushing us into the future.  Just go to the group’s BANDCAMP page and search around; you’ll surely find something interesting, and the odds are it’s going to be something good.  If you’re looking for something that challenges your opinion of traditional pop, look no further, Netherfriends is here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Netherfriends-Netherfriends-Does-Nilsson-01-Full-of-it.mp3]

Download: Netherfriends – Full of it [MP3]

New Music from Black Box Revelation

This isn’t what one expects to come out of Belgium, at least not what comes to my mind.  But, as I’ve jammed to the latest EP from Black Box Revelation, I’m not going to complain.  They’ve got hints of American blues and soul, but the slightest hint of garage-iness provides the band with exactly the right amount of grit to make them more than memorable.  The band’s got their Shiver of Joy EP out now, and they’ve got plans for a full-length soon after.  Oh, and if you Austinites dig their sound, you can catch them when they stop on by on October 1st over at the ND.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/01-Shiver-Of-Joy.mp3]

Download: Black Box Revelation – Shiver Of Joy [MP3]

More New Music from Pujol

How much more can we really tell you about Nashville’s Pujol?  Nothing much reall, other than you need to be jamming to this kid. He’s signed on with stalwart label, Saddle Creek Records, who will be releasing his EP, Nasty, Brutish and Short on October 18th. It’s gritty, but it’s not something you can immediately pass of as some sort of garage re-hash.  Yea, there’s touches of that, but the overwhelming quality seems rooted in far more than some lo-fi phenomenon. So, if you didn’t listen to us the first time, maybe now you’ll get into Pujol. You’ll also find the band tearing it up at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year, so yet another reason to get your ears ready.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/pujol_mayday.mp3]

Download: Pujol – Mayday [MP3]

New Track from CoverGirl

You know that if something sounds good, the odds are that it is probably going to end up in the hands of Captured Tracks.  They’re at it again, grabbing onto new UK up-and-comers, CoverGirl.  Listening to their first single, you can tell that the band’s got a few things to figure out, but even if they don’t, there’s a great quality to their introduction to the masses.  At first, there’s a bit of indie haunting, but as the pace begins to pick up, you can hear some audible chaos.  It’s definitely got a foggy dynamic, and only time will tell where these guys will end up, sound-wise. For now, just sit back and enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/01-Paris-Burns.mp3]

Download: CoverGirl – Paris Burns [MP3]

Great Dream Pop from The Notes

It seems we get a lot of surf-pop and dream-pop nowadays with male singers, and I’m definitely okay with that, but I don’t mind having a swinging female voice maneuver in and out of these tracks as well. The Notes, like Seapony, do a great job of doing just that, and this British bunch has just put out their brand new album, Fearless, which you can grab for FREE, if you so choose. The title track’s got a little bit of haze, a little bit of noise, and a slew of pop bubbling beneath it all. Give these guys a chance to win you over this Friday.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/the-notes-Fearless-02-Fearless.mp3]

Download: The Notes – Fearless [MP3]

More New Music from Blouse

Portland-based Blouse have been making their way around the Interwebs with a slew of recent 7″ releases, the most recent coming on Sub Pop. As it stands now, the band’s signed up with Captured Tracks for the release of their self-titled debut, which will be released on November 1st.  This latest single begins with the quality of a warped recording, but if you can withstand that, there’s some blissful pop moments surfing thoughout the song, making for an elegany little listen.  Game, Blouse(s).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/05_Videotapes.mp3]

Download: Blouse – Videotapes [MP3]

More New Music from Twerps

If you’ve been following us, you surely know about my love for Twerps, a band who I’ve fallen in love with ever since the great folks over at Chapter Music introduced us to them. Their sound has definitely grown, coming across with that warm Oceanic pop feel, and even cleaning up the production a bit.  There’s a quality that seemingly gives their songs the feeling of floating music from afar, as if you’re hearing their music dance across the Pacific.  You can grab this song, as well as the rest off their self-titled record on October 18th here in the States via Underwater Peoples.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/The_Twerps_-_Dreamin.mp3]

Download: The Twerps – Dreamin [MP3]

New Oddball Jam from Prussia

Detroit’s Prussia are one of those bands that you’ve got to give a chance in order to fully sink your teeth into their catalogue.  They combine odd shifts in mood and tempo, utilizing all their instruments to craft genuinely interesting chamber pop masterpieces.  The group is in the middle of releasing a set of 10″ singles, and we’ve got a premiere of one of the tracks of the second 10″ from the Poor English collection.  You can grab the first single now, but the second one, with the song below, won’t be available until September 13th.  I’m extremely stoked by the music these guys are crafting right now, and you should be too.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/prussia-sleeper.mp3]

Download: Prussia – Sleeper [MP3]

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