New Tunes from Adam H Stephens

Those of you who have had your eyes and ears on Two Gallants will be pleased to know that Adam H Stephens will be releasing his solo debut.   He’ll be releasing We Live on Cliffs on September 28th via Saddle Creek Records. The first single is a gentle little ballad, but of course it has that country/punk sound, though quite a bit softer than his work with TG.  I’ve been pressing repeat all day on this one, and I’m sure you’ll be doing the exact same thing once you give this track a listen.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/05-The-Cities-That-Youve-Burned-1.mp3]

Download: Adam Stephens – The Cities That You’ve Burned [MP3]

Admiral Radley – I Heart California

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Odds are you know more about Admiral Radley than you think you do.  Comprised of Grandaddy members (namely Jason Lytle) and Earlimart members, the band has concocted an album titled I Heart California, which has left the Internet hounds wondering precisely what would come of this collaboration.  Well, if you know these artists, then you know precisely what the sound will be, and you’ll either love it or hate it, depending on your attachment to aforementioned parties.

Kicking things off is this Grandaddy-esque “I Heart California.”  It’s laden with pounding piano, blended with textures from electronic land, and it blossoms during the chorus with that trademark wall of euphoria. Odd lyrics, well, for a song about California, such as “fake tits in the symphony” make one wonder about Lytle’s dedication to his homestate, especially after his move to Montana.  Nonetheless, it’s the catchiest number of the collection, and one worthy of so many repeat listens.

But, bubbly software pop is not all that fills the minutes on I Heart California.  Aaron Espinoza takes the lead vocal on several tracks throughout the duration, and his soft touch gives tracks such as “Ghosts of Syllables” a warmer, less-quirky sound.  It’s an interesting dynamic, providing listeners with a substantial bit of deviation between songs, although this might lead some to look at a lack of cohesion, or perhaps a schizophrenia within the writing process. Aaron isn’t the only Earlimart member to share his voice here, as Ariana Murray gets her own number with “The Thread.”  It’s something that seems to fit with her own personal style, using a certain light-hearted approach to the crafting of the melody, which really takes control of the song itself.  However, it seems oddly placed smack in the middle of the record, and it kind of breaks up any momentum the album had.

All their appearances aside, Jason Lytle is really the mainstay, or the big ticket here.  His presence alone provides Admiral Radley with a substantial amount of credibility from the get go, and it pays off with songs like “GNDN.”  Skeletal piano holds the song up, as quiet guitar strumming and light percussion build the landscape of the song itself.  Electronic beeps and blips, a Lytle staple, are largely absent, at least in the final mix, which actually makes a strong argument for Jason as a songwriter.  There’s something in the fragility of his voice here, something unnamed that makes it all extremely affecting.

Most listeners will likely find the last four songs the most enduring in their playtime of I Heart California.  “End of Me” starts the final run, and if you could strip the casio keyboard effects away, it might succeed as the best song on the album.  Beginning quietly, it erupts into a pretty solid rocker.  In fact, the more you listen, the more this might be  your favorite song here.  From there you go to “GNDN” all the way to “I Left U Cuz I Luft U.”  All if makes a strong closing statement, providing some structure and cohesiveness that seemed a little bit scattered from the beginning.

Casual listeners of Admiral Radley will definitely find some really rewarding moments on I Heart California. They’ll find pop gems waiting to make your day brighter; they’ll find the attraction to Jason Lytle many discovered years ago.  Those who fell in love with Grandaddy and Earlimart might be a bit disappointed, however, as you expect these four to knock it out of the park, blasting us all into sunshine.  Instead, they give us a good record, not a great one.  There’s nothing wrong with that in the long run, as good records are often rare nowadays, and, besides, isn’t it just nice to have Lytle still around writing music?  One listen here, and you’ll be sure to agree.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/1-I-Heart-California-1.mp3]

Download: Admiral Radley – I Heart California [MP3]

New Tunes from Bottomless Pit

This band really excites me.  Bottomless Pit received a lot of rave reviews with their last effort, and now the band is set to return with their new album, Blood Under the Bridge, on Comedy Minus One Records.  As someone who is personally tired of all the same old electronic pop music coming our way, I love the fact that this new single just rocks along, using discordant guitars to create a nice little wall of post-punk.  Praise the return of guitars!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/38souls.mp3]

Download: Bottomless Pit – 38 Souls [MP3]

New Tunes from Jaill

It seems like August is shaping up to be a month for guitars, and well, minimal electronic intrusion. One of those bands, Jaill, is ready to prep the release of their new album, That’s How We Burn, with our friends over at Sub Pop.  While their latest single has hints of modern post rock, the rest of the album has a nostalgic sound to it, one that sounds like The Feelies on speed.  Guess that’s my impression. Whatever the sound, you’ll surely fall for this band.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/01-The-Stroller-1.mp3]

Download: Jaill – The Stroller [MP3]

Show Review: Islands @ The Parish (7/6)

Many people were over at La Zona Rosa last night grooving to Edward Sharpe, and I get the attraction–there are some good tunes there.  But, for me, it came down to choosing the guy from the Unicorns, not the guy from IMA ROBOT (Edward).  On top of that, I have to admit that its hard to dislike anything Islands do.  Follow the jump for the full review and fancy photos.

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New Tunes from Two Wounded Birds

Here’s a band you might dig if you’re into the whole surf-pop array of the music world.  Two Wounded Birds hail from the UK, and they’re currently backing The Drums on tour, but don’t let that mislead you in any way, as their sound isn’t quite like that.  It’s got a real beach feel, but with a silky croon over it, that for some reason reminds me of Twin Peaks.  I don’t know though, that’s just me; you be the judge of this track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/01-My-Lonesome.mp3]

Download: Two Wounded Birds – My Lonesome

New Tunes from The Jameses

Late last week, Captured Tracks, one of our favorite labels, let word slip that they would be releasing the full length album by Florida band The Jameses.  No date on that yet, but you can order the band’s self-released 7″ now, which features the track “The Haunted Rider.”  This jam was kicking around my house all weekend; it’s got a bit of that hollow vocal soundtrack, giving a distant feel, but positioned next to the melody, it provide a sublime listening reaction.  Give it a try folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The-Jameses-The-Haunted-Rider.mp3]

Download: The Jameses – The Haunted Rider [MP3]

New Tunes from Dent May

If you read our Best of 09′ albums you might remember that we included Dent May in the Top 25.  Luckily, news has come our way (via GvsB) that there will be new Dent material coming our way soon.  No word on an exact release date, but a 7″ should appear sometime this summer by way of Forest Family Records.  You can’t ever go wrong with new tunes from Dent, no matter what time of year, so enjoy this little number, and we’ll keep you posted on the release date.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/01-That-Feeling.mp3]

Download: Dent May – That Feeling [MP3]

Edward Sharpe @ La Zona Rosa (7/6)

Date Tuesday, July 6th
Location La Zona Rosa
Doors 800p
Tickets SOLD OUT

Man, It seems Edward Shapre and the Magnetic Zeros are way more popular than I expected. That’s no surprise really, as their record, From Below, is really something special.  The band will be coming to Austin on Tuesday night to a sold out crowd, though you know there will be scalpers and what not offering tickets.  I mean, its definitely something worth trying to get into, and maybe he’ll play that one song from the commercial.  As a matter of fact, we’ll offer that song up to you today for your listening pleasure.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/02-Janglin-1.mp3]

Download: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Janglin [MP3]

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