New Tunes from Fresh & Onlys

freshFresh & Onlys have already released one album this year, and their ready to release more tunes for you on September 15th when Woodsist puts out their Grey-Eyed Girls record. It should be full of brooding rock with that deeply haunting voice that you’ll hear in the song “Invisible Forces,” which we’ll happily toss your way. 


Download: Fresh & Onlys – Invisible Forces [MP3]

YACHT – See Mystery Lights


Rating: ★★ · · ·

When Jona Bechtolt left B.L.O.W all these years back now, no one knew what direction he would pursue, as his music seemed perfectly fitting for the duo.  He wowed many with his clever YACHT debut, I Believe in You…, but could he proceed in a similar direction while achieving similar success when he added Claire Evans to the mix? See Mystery Lights is the answer to that question, though not necessarily the answer many were seeking.

The predominant factor on this set of ten songs is the usual inclusion of various blips and bleeps fused with clever pop elements throughout, much the same recipe used on the debut.  This round, the beats don’t really sound as progressive and interesting as they once did.  Perhaps this is due to the similarities of recent releases by other electronic based groups such as Animal Collective. Electronic collages are gradually wearing listeners down, and themselves, becoming watered down.

Redundancy seems to be one of the factors that contributes to the decline in creativity on See Mystery Lights. “It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere You Want” carries on for entirely too long, and never really seems to break into any new territory throughout the eight minutes of the song.  “Psychic City” opens with beats that seem reminiscent of The Knife, but then there is an utterly annoying water drop sound that continues to drip for the entirety of the song while Evans imitates early Debbie Harry.

“Summer Song” has easily one of the more enjoyable beats on the album; it’s probably one of the songs you would pick to play at a party, but even still, the promising beats don’t seem to really take off and go anywhere. It’s as if the whole record seems to be treading water, in danger of drowning itself in monotonous beats and repetitive lyrics.  What once garnered interest and enjoyment now seems tired and basic. One can go through the whole album without feeling as if any time has passed at all; musically, the album has stayed in the same place, as have you, the listener.

And in the end, you find two renditions of songs that were already presented on the album, which don’t particularly add anything to the originals, if you are to say that they don’t detract from those songs.  It seems that See Mystery Lights just didn’t quite come together for YACHT, and one might possibly say that the group suffered to come up with new material for an entire album, as clearly they ran out of songs.  It’s not a horrible offering, but it’s one that won’t really add much to your listening experience on this Earth.

Magnolia Electric Co @ The Mohawk (7/25)

magJason Molina brings his band, Magnolia Electric Co to the Mohawk this Saturday night in just one of the many shows about town. Not only do you get to see his band for the measly price of $8 (or $10 at the door), but you also get to see the likes of Monahans, and our personal favorites The Donkeys. It might be a mellow affair, but it will definitely be one you’ll enjoy thoroughly as you celebrate the end of the week. Here is an old MEC tune to get you in the mood.


The Bronx @ Red Seven – 7/25

thebronx2Let’s face it, we all need a little hard rock in our lives from time to time, and no one is going to do a better job than The Bronx. Whether it be their high fueled live show or just the ballsy rock you dig, you’ll want to find yourself at this show on Saturday evening.  The evening’s set will take place at Red Seven and the doors are set to open at 8 PM.  Be sure to get plenty of fluids and rest, as you’ll need it for this show.


Download: The Bronx – Past Lives [MP3]

New Tunes from Awesome New Republic

awesomenewrepublicKnowing very little about Awesome New Republic, I have to admit, I’m going to be scouring the Internet for all the latest on this group.  Their song, “Florida,” an homage of sorts to their home state has been kicking around in my head all day long, so I figured I should share it with you. According to the kids over at Stereogum, the EP from which this song comes, Rational Geographic II, is up for free on the group’s web site. 


Download: Awesome New Republic – Florida [MP3]

New Tunes from The Cave Singers

cavesingersWe’ve mentioned The Cave Singers before, and we loved their set a few years back at Fun Fun Fun Fest, so when news came about concerning a new album, we were excited. This new album, Welcome Joy comes out via Matador on August 18th, and we’re sure it will be nothing short of delicious. On the new song, there is a bit of an edge to it, which isn’t surprising considering the past of the trio.


Download: The Cave Singers – At The Cut [MP3]

Tiny Vipers – Life on Earth


Rating: ★★½ · ·

Tiny Vipers is the project of Seattle’s Jesy Fortino; she is the possessor of one incredible voice, wavering between high notes, and those from the depths of her diaphragm. Her new album, Life on Earth, checks in precisely where she left us the last time around, filled with careful guitar strumming, soft-spoken piano chords, and, of course, her astonishing vocals.

In this instance, the artwork on the cover pretty much seems to some up the album as a whole.  There is a girl in the middle of a dense shadowy hillside; we’ll let the girl play the role of Fortino.  Off in the distance, you can barely make out the band name and record title.  Rising flames play the role of Jesy’s voice.  For the most part, the album has a lot of absent space musically, which really ties in the statement of the artwork and the music.

No one will take away Fortino’s voice, and its clear quality.  The way she wavers between pitch and tone with songs like “Development” is something very few other musicians can imitate, though recent folk movements have seen many try their best.  It’s soothing quality is clearly something many listeners will find appealing, though perhaps more in the midnight hour than the morning drive to work as they prepare for the day.  Overall, it has a cleansing quality for one’s ear, removing beats and shuddering guitars in trade for a naked guitar and vocal approach.  Therein lies the drawback to such an album.  Placing the beauty of voice aside, there is no real pacing to the effort here, which allows for a lot of the songs to slowly drift into one another, making for one collage of extreme vocal exploration with very little else.

If in your search for music you seek out minimal instrumentation, slow pacing and a strong vocal presence, then this is precisely the album you have been looking for in all these years.  No one will be able to mimic this effort, as Tiny Vipers has few peers that can rise to meet her in this place.  Still, a lack of pacing makes for a drawn out listening affair, which may be just what some of us need at the end of the day.

Tiny Vipers will be playing with Castanets at Mohawk on Friday, July 24th.

New Tunes from Julian Plenti

jpJulian Plenti is the new name for Interpol frontman Paul Banks. He is set to debut his new album Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper on August 4th via Matador Records. I wonder if it will be in the realm of people like Albert Hammond Jr and be an Interpol lite album?  Based on this track, it seems JP is going off on his own a bit, which is a good thing in our book.


Download: Julian Plenti – Games for Days [MP3]

Men @ The Beauty Bar – 7/22

menMen is two parts Le Tigre, and they will be making their way to Austin this Wednesday night at the Beauty Bar. It seems that the group is predominantly the work of JD Samson, but there are other contributions from her former band-mates. Men will be hitting the stage with Gretchen Phillips. Sounds like a danceable way to spend your hump day.


Download: Men – Off Our Backs [MP3]

Generationals – Con Law


Rating: ★★★★ ·

New Orleans duo, Generationals, seem to have flown beneath the radar for quite some time, that is until Park the Van Records, home to Dr. Dog, decided to release their album Con Law.  The record crosses various rivers of genre, yet always staying familiar in the listener’s ear.  Here we have a complete album of pop celebration that will surely tide us over for the rest of the summer.

When “Nobody Could Change Your Mind” begins, the tinkering of electronic keyboard makes it seem like just any other neo-electroni-pop album, but then the horns kick in, stepping the album out of a purely cliche realm of music. Vocals here have a bit of an echo, which may give them a lo-fi title, but the band is nowhere near that mark.

“Angry Charlie” switches gears, and recalls the best moments of MGMT, although if you listen to this on repeat several times you will see that the usage of the organ and bounding percussion give it an entirely different light, moving the band beyond their peers.  Yet, this group immediately allows for the staleness of such styles to veer in different directions.  The half-hearted stomp of  “Faces in the Dark” demonstrate that the band is far more than a one trick pony; they have a barrage of approaches in the writing of Con Law, allowing for the album to take on a more long-standing importance for fans.

By the time you meet the mid-section of this record, you start to wonder exactly why you hadn’t heard anything about this band up until this point in time.  “”When they Fight, They Fight,” and “Our Time (2 Shine)” are both solid tracks that exemplify just how special a listening experience this will be.  Both songs hold tightly to some really great hooks, while still paying homage to classic beach sounds.  They might take a slight misstep from here with “Wildlife Sculpture,” as it’s one of the very few songs that doesn’t immediately make you want to press repeat on your player, whatever format.

Just as the album seems as if it will stay with electronic flourishes, “Exterior Street Date” sweeps in with ringing guitars.  The vocals will take the key role for the majority of the song here, but the subtlety of the chorus somehow manages to stick inside your head.  This duo is the key of under-spoken pop gems, accessible and discernible, only for those with careful ears.  Following this comes “It Keeps You Up” with its bouncing piano work and vocals that appear to be sung by a mass group of fans, though it’s just one voice.  Such care went into the patchwork of these songs that it’s no wonder you find yourself listening to them again and again.  And such is the story of the album, you find yourself rushing back and forth to play that track over and over, wondering to yourself if it really was that good.  The answer for the songs, and the album is yes!

Generationals play at Stubbs Indoors on August 6th.


Download: Generationals – Angry Charlie [MP3]

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