From the Closet: Screeching Weasel

weaselsLet’s not forget that some of us had to start our musical fandom somewhere, and for myself and many of my friends it was in the land of punk rock. This heralded land has been taken down by a lot of things lately, namely any genre wherein you add the word -core as a suffix. But, back for the attack are some of the forefathers, as Screeching Weasel comes to town this Friday at Emos.  Not only that, but Ben will also be playing a Riverdales set Saturday night.  The song below is one of my favorites that comes off Screeching Weasel’s Anthem for a New Tomorrow. Yay, punk rock didn’t completely die!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/18-a-new-tomorrow.mp3]

6/14 – White Rabbits @ Emos

whiterabbits01Fresh off the release of their It’s Frightening, White Rabbits returned to Austin, riding the wave of praise heaped upon them by various media outlets, ATH included. We ventured to Emos salivating at the chance to hear “Percussion Gun” live, as that clearly is one of our songs of the year. Local Austin band The Boxing Lesson opened up the evening, but they were practically done with their space-electronica when we made it into an empty indoor Emos. Follow the jump to read the full review.

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From the Closet – The Exploding Hearts

explodinghearts1Seeing as it’s summertime around these parts, I’ve been creating lots of mixtapes in my head for various trips across the country.  One band that always makes the cut is The Exploding Hearts. Their brilliant punk meets power-pop career was cut short by a tragic accident that took three of the four founding members.  No amount of press would bring the greatness of this band back to us, but we will always have their delightful tunes to put on our mixtapes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/04-youre-black-and-blue.mp3]

Download: The Exploding Hearts – You’re Black and Blue [MP3]

New Tunes from Helvetia

helvetiaSwiss transplant Jason Albertini is now living in the Northwest, and his music with Helvetia is easily influenced by the sounds of the area, not to mention his recordings, since he’s been joined by Scott Plouf of Built to Spill.  His new album, Helvetia’s Junk Shop, will be released this September on Static Cult. This recording sounds a bit muddy, but it the vocals definitely meander through the song as you would expect from a band in this region. Here’s “Leading Towards an End.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/45es-helvetia-leading-towards-an-end.mp3]

Download: Helvetia – Leading Towards an End [MP3]

Liechtenstein – Survival Strategies in a Modern World

liechtensteiner

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Liechtenstein is another band revisiting the musical stylings of the past, and while they claim to take their style from the early 80s, the band seems to owe a lot more to the the days of Motown.  An all girl group with such sweet voices surely can’t stand without looking back into the history of American R&B.  Still, with all debts to the past aside, Survival Strategies in a Modern World succeeds on various levels.

In order to really appreciate this album yourself, you have to realize that the band isn’t holding onto any pretensions; they aren’t claiming to be breaking any new musical ground.  Fun. This is really all the band is aiming to do.  Every piece of this album glistens with droplets of fun and earnestness. Such an attitude carries the album really far for most listeners, when they could have otherwise failed.

Another advantage of the album is it’s brevity.  Before the sugary sounds can wear away the enamel on your teeth, the album is finished.  Not a song goes beyond the 3.5 minute mark, and only nine songs create this work of revisionist art. Sure, you may be looking for more bang for your buck, but you won’t be displeased by this album; it doesn’t give you that chance.

Musically, just imagine listening to the first Concretes record on vinyl, only you decide that you want to speed up the RPMs so that it sounds like the Chipmunks, but instead it sounds precisely like Liechtenstein. Bass lines bubble throughout the album, shaking the speakers.  California guitar chords work together, jangling along the basic skeletal remains of each song.  Stir in some multiple part female harmonies and you have every bit of music you will hear on this album. Each song contains one, if not all, of these elements, with the only song that differs being the closer ‘The End,” only for its odd usage of acoustic guitar. It still kind of jangles.

Listening to this album, you’ll find that there is nothing particular that really jumps out at you.  This isn’t dismissing the band, for the tunes are all quite enjoyable, as you should have gathered, it merely portrays the band in an honest light, just as the band has portrayed themselves.  Their sincerity in creating these tunes surely comes across upon the first listen, which is precisely why you find yourself falling in love with this album, even as you question its merit.  Just give it a chance; thanks to its brevity you have the time!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/01-all-at-once.mp3]

Download: Liechtenstein – All At Once [MP3]

Corto Maltese on Daytrotter

cortoWe love the project over at Daytrotter, especially when they do work with local Austin bands. Corto Maltese is one of the younger bands around town who are making a name for themselves. Their Daytrotter session is full of four unreleased songs recorded during SXSW. Unfortunately, the band have no current shows lined up, but at least we have these new songs.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/corto-maltese-sxsw-session-providence.mp3]

Download: Corto Maltese – Providence (Daytrotter Session) [MP3]

New Tunes from Fiery Furnaces

furnacesIt’s always  been really hard to classify the Fiery Furnaces; just as you have them all figured out they go and record an album with their grandmother. Still, the prolific duo is always pushing themselves, and in doing so, they tend to create a lot of really interesting tunes. This new tune represents the more piano driven side, though somewhat reminiscent of a 70s television theme song. This song, as well as others, will appear on the band’s new album I’m Going Away, which comes out July 21st via Thrill Jockey.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/the-fiery-furnaces-the-end-is-near.mp3]

Download: The Fiery Furnaces – The End is Near [MP3]

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