New Tunes from Or, The Whale

orthewhaleOr, The Whale reminds me a lot of The Dutchess and the Duke, with a little less stones, and a little more country-pop thrown in the mix.  They have a new, self-titled album coming out on September 22nd, and we’ve got ourselves a hold on one of the new songs.  Enough of the comparisons, let’s hear those tunes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/02-datura-1.mp3]

Download: Or, The Whale – Datura [MP3]

New Tunes from AU

auAU will be hitting the road soon with Why?, and as they are about head out, they’re offering up a sweet new tune to go with their upcoming Versions EP slated for release on October 8th.  This track, “Ida Walk Away” is layered with sound, and it seemingly swirls in a condensed format before rising, and then falling again.  Try this on for size.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ida-walked-away-promo-1.mp3]

Download: AU – Ida Walk Away [MP3]

New Tunes from Desolation Wilderness

desolation-wildernessDesolation Wilderness is prepping for their tour this fall, and as most bands do, they’re releasing an album to promote themselves.  This record will be titled New Universe and is going to be released by our friends over at K Records this week. We’ve got a little sample to throw at you right now!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/desolation-wilderness-boardwalk-theme.mp3]

Download: Desolation Wilderness – Boardwalk Theme [MP3]

Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall

watch

Rating: ★★★★½

Jay Reatard, the supposed bad boy of garage rock, returns this year with his new album, Watch Me Fall. Unlike his last few releases, these are sets of new songs, which show a similarly new side to the band.  While Bloodvisions was fueled by a sense of madness and fury, here we find a more subdued effort; it shows that Jay Reatard is more than just a one trick pony, and the group is destined to go beyond the stereotypical garage sounds.

When the record opens with “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” we meet the same Jay Lindsey we’ve known for years.  Energized and blasting his guitar licks as quickly as he can, speeding furiously towards the end of the song. Oddly, it’s one of the few songs of this set that offers us a glimpse at the garage-punk element of Jay Reatard, as the rest of the record seems to veer into the realms of garage-tinged power-pop.

“Before I Was Caught” is a rime example of the new direction, and let’s say it, the softer side, of the band.  Sure, the guitar is still chugging along, but it’s not done with the same intensity as it’s been done in the past, which isn’t a bad thing in the least bit. Sure, the high-pitched yelp of Lindsey comes into play here, but his delivery outside of the chorus demonstrates a more relaxed approach to songwriting.

Coming across a song like “Can’t Do It Anymore” yet again portrays a poppier world for the group, even with the excruciating feedback in the midst of the song, the overall tone of the song is a bit more uplifting, though the lyrics might not portray the exact same sentiment.  You can pile this on to the chorus of “Faking It,” which again shows a Lindsey who isn’t screaming with force in the face of his listeners.  Finally, we’re presented with a likable attitude, one that is more endearing to a multitude of listeners in contrast to the band as of a short bit ago.

We even find ourselves visiting the land of balladry in this collection of songs.  “I’m Watching You” is a perfect gem of power-pop goodness, and although there is some sonic exploration as guitars meaner mid-song, it still encompasses an overwhelming feeling of a strong ballad. You can place such moments right alongside the album’s closer, “A Whisper (There is No Sun).”  It’s probably one of the most accessible songs in the Jay Reatard collection to this point, and despite partially indecipherable lyrics, you still can gather the emotion from this song.

To sum it all up, we have a new band here, or almost.  There’s a bit of calling out, there’s a bit of remorse, but overall, there is a shift in the direction of the songwriting, ultimately making the album much more rewarding to listeners than anything that has preceded the group.  Watch Me Fall is a gem of power-pop stirred inside a garage smoothie, and surely worthy of accolades and adoration.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/12-there-is-no-sun.mp3]

Download: Jay Reatard – A Whisper (There is No Sun) [MP3]

FT5: Album Closers

0731top5coverIn the current state of the music industry, we’re all overly concerned with singles, rather than the completed album.  But, long ago, people put thought and art into the creation of the ending of an album, the summation of their musical statement.  We all have sat in our rooms, at least I hope, waiting for that last song, that last breath of music, in hopes of the perfect summation to an album.  A brilliant closer almost always warrants a brilliant album, and we’ve compiled a list of our favorite album closers that always guarantee we listen to said album all the way through until the needles hits the vinyl and emits that hiss signaling the end of the record.
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New Tunes from Music Go Music

musicWe got word yesterday that a final street date had been announced for Music Go Music‘s new album Expressions.  Said album comes out via Secretly Canadian on October 6th, and it features the wonderful song “Light of Love.” It absolutely reminds me of some sort of candy-pop from back in the day; the sort that recalls various montages in movies throughout history, particularly the birthday party scene in Problem Child.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/01-light-of-love-1.mp3]

Download: Music Go Music – Light of Love [MP3]

New Tunes from Mountain Goats

mountainI’m not sure how many songs John D. has under The Mountain Goats moniker, but I’m always thirsty for more.  His witty lyrics and gentle guitar strumming never cease to please.  He’s got a new album coming out titled The Life of the World to Come on 4AD on October 6th.  Apparently all the songs have biblical references, but he swears it’s not some newfound devotion.  Here’s the new track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/02-genesis-3_23-1.mp3]

Download: Mountain Goats – Genesis 3:23 [MP3]

The Most Serene Republic – And the Ever Expanding Universe

serene

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Canada’s The Most Serene Republic have spent the majority of their career flying just below the radar of most indie music fans, but at their newest album, And the Ever Expanding Universe, demonstrates, this young group has continued to mature in more ways than mere age, honing their craft of compiling mini-suites of pop.   Such a progression alone warrant accolades, but the fact that the band has continued to form into a tightly knit group with songs to back it up is an entirely different achievement in and of itself.

“Heavens to Purgatory” is the second track on the album, opening with gentle guitar strumming and Adrian Jewett’s vocals sweeping highly.  Enter drums and female vocals from stage left.  Then the vocals of Emma Ditchburn take over, leading you towards the chorus and insurmountable joy.  Dripping off is a gentle usage of horns a la Broken Social Scene.

Up to bat next is “Vessels of a Donor Look,” a song with a certain amount of swing to it.  It’s as if the band combined their own touch of multi-instrumental indie rock with lounge tropicalia.  You’ll find that this song is one that demands repeat listens, begging for you to grab a cocktail and enjoy the rest of the show that is And the Ever Expanding Universe.

The longest song on the album, “Patternicity,” again seems to be constructed of multiple arrangements within the arrangements themselves.  It’s as if the band approached the writing here with a touch of a composer’s attitude, which makes sense since rumor has it that band constructs their songs around piano pieces.  Although instrumental, this song ultimately rewards in its ability to shift from one perspective to another. Uplifting.

And for their third album, the band begins to wear some of their influences by fellow Canadians a bit more openly.  “Four Humours” sounds oddly like an outtake from an early Stars record, but make no mistake, the band owns this song. Their moderate flourishes of musicianship appear in the middle of the song as the bass takes a short walk just before the song returns to the fold.

Two things are amiss on this record.  First, Jewett doesn’t take nearly as prominent a role as he has in the past, which seems odd considering his live showmanship.  Second, there appear to be a lot of electronic flourishes throughout the album, which isn’t bad as a whole, just a continued departure from where the band began in the early years.

All said and done, And the Ever Expanding Universe is perhaps the most complete album the group has produced to date, leading most to assume that the group will only continue to climb further as they grow.  We’ll surely be hearing from The Most Serene Republic again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/03-vessels-of-a-donor-look.mp3]

Download: The Most Serene Republic – Vessels of a Donor Look [MP3]

New Tunes from Princeton

princetonPrinceton is a group out of California, which explains a lot about the warm-bred pop they are offering on their latest track “Calypso Gold.”  This song is going to be included on the group’s debut, Cocoon of Love; the album is going to be released by Kanine Records.  If this song is any indicator, then there’s lots to look forward to with the release on September 29th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/princeton_calypsogold.mp3]

Download: Princeton – Calypso Gold [MP3]

The band will also be playing at Emo’s on September 24th with some band named Ra Ra Riot. Never heard of em.

New Tunes from Division Day

divisiondayYet another group hailing from Los Angeles, Division Day, have matured since the release of their first album Beartrap Island. This song, “Chalk Lines,” is a dense little number, surely indicative of what is to come on their newest album, Visitation, which comes out August 18th on Dangerbird Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/division-day-chalk-lines.mp3]

Download: Division Day – Chalk Lines [MP3]

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