Weekend – Sports

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Slumberland has been fortunate enough to have always stayed true to their original sound aesthetic as a label while still offering up a diverse clientele for their audience.  Enter San Franciscos’ Weekend, another group offering up a noisy debut, fueled by certain sonic and textural elements we’ve all come to recognize.  Their album Sports does have certain touches of diversity when compared to the grand spectrum of things, yet those modifiers that make them relevant often seem to get in the way of the progress they offer as a group.

Listening to the first track, “Coma Summer,” you almost get the idea that this might just be a nice little pop number, as the song’s intro includes a nice pounding drum and jangling guitar.  Still, the echo in the background has a haunting quality, and as the song pushes forward, that quality explodes into buzzsaw guitars that practically obliterate any chance of vocal comprehension.  Underlying melody is all well and good folks, but if you don’t allow room for breathing, then what’s the point?

Clearly, the scope of the record does have some lyrical value, but it often seems to have evolved as an afterthought to the completed musical process for Weekend.  “Youth Haunts” has this brooding bass work that really propels the song forward, but as guitars knife their way discordantly through the song, the vocals appear very distant, as if they were recorded separately, then spliced onto the tape in another session altogether.  Similarly, “Landscape” has that certain appeal one would find in the early days of Manchester, yet part of you probably feels a driving need to connect with the vocals themselves.  That’s probably one of the great difficulties with Sports; you either connect with the noise itself, or you’re spending your time chasing after the lyrical content.  One of the things that made bands like Joy Division so successful was their ability to bring you that connection, offering up vocals that could be discerned, while still piling noise into the whole affair.

One might find themselves extremely frustrated with Weekend by the end of this whole affair, as there are clearly elements that seem successful in their own merit, such as the track “Age Class.” Once again, the rhythm section practically owns the song, giving you this animalistic power that only increases the tension as the song progresses.  Normally, there would be some sort of release, some sort of resolution, but Sports just never offers that sort of cleansing moment.  Perhaps that is where my listening habits have gone wrong; I’m not capable of connecting both the sounds of this record and the vocals in order to decipher the message, song by song, let alone the whole album.  While plenty of elements suggest the conceptual ideas throughout the entire listen, for some reason, the band’s purpose just never seems to fully evolve, leaving listener’s, myself in particular, asking for more from the group. I suppose you can leave this all up to personal tastes, but despite lots of pleasurable listening moments, it just never seemed to complete its journey, leaving me interested, yet entirely unfulfilled.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/01-Coma-Summer-1.mp3]

Download: Weekend – Coma Summer [MP3]

New Tunes from Glass Vaults

Glass Vaults is a little group from New Zealand, and you know how we like our Oceanic jams.  They’ve just released their Glass EP, which you can grab for free, and its something you should definitely get your hands on if you can.  This single, “Forget Me Not,” has a bit more of a collage pop effect than some of the other tracks, which leaves the band with plenty of room for solid growth; no matter which direction they go, according to this EP, it’s bound to be good stuff.  I like some of the mellower, dark burners, like “Set Sail,” so go give this a try, and spread the word about the band.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/05-Forget-Me-Not.mp3]

Download: Glass Vaults – Forget Me Not [MP3]

New Music from Eux Autres

With news that a new record from Eux Autres would be hitting this September, you’d expect to find a bit more press about the band’s latest single, “Go Dancing.”  It’s got a fuzzy little bass line and some vocals that recall recent works by Best Coast, just a lit more straightforward.  The entire album is full of hits that go between a bit of angular pop and downright blistering ditties.  Said album, Broken Bow, is slated to come out on November 23rd, so you only have to wait a few more weeks until you can get your hands on this gem of an album; I promise it won’t let you down in the least bit.  It doesn’t hurt that Jason from Papercuts recorded it either!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/08-Go-Dancing.mp3]

Download: Eux Autres – Go Dancing [MP3]

New Tunes from Roman Photos

Atlanta seems to have a lot of unnoticed talent, and that being the case, I was fortunate enough to find an email including some sweet bedroom dance tunes from Roman Photos, who have a killer design aesthetic to go with their killer tuneage.  They’ve got a few 7″s coming out in the next few months, one on Double Phantom Records.  The track hear has some soft vocal traits, but don’t think of this as some sort of downtrodden affair; there’s an underlying beauty incorporated beneath layers of synth haze.  If you’re into the band, you can also head to the band’s BANDCAMP, and hook yourself up with a free digital Into the Night EP of more tasty treats. Keep your eyes on this prize in the coming months.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/RomanPhotos-Decline.mp3]

Download: Roman Photos – Decline [MP3]

Show Preview: John Wesley Coleman @ Trailer Space (11/12)

Date Friday, November 12th
Location Trailer Space
Doors 700p
Tickets ???

John Wesley Coleman is one of our local boys, so already you’ve got to head out to support the guy.  He’s just released his new record Bad Lady Goes to Jail on Goner Records, so you will surely get plenty of new tunes, blending elements of garage and country and down-home cooking.  Sure, there are some other shows going on around town, but will you also get to see The Crack Pipes, James Arthur’s Manhunt and The Beta Rhythm?  Exactly, so now you have more reason to enjoy yourself. See you at Trailer Space kids.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/01-John-Wesley-Coleman-Track01.mp3]

Download: John Wesley Coleman – Bad Lady Goes to Jail [MP3]


New Tunes from Cloud Nothings

After re-issuing some work earlier this year, Cloud Nothings are prepping us all for the release of their new record on January 25th, which is going to be self-titled.  We know the single came out earlier this week, but we had to give you a taste.  It’s pretty noisy and boisterous, until you find the hook lying deep beneath the chorus.   If anything, the song only grows with power and accessibilty as it goes along.  Look for the record in 2011 on Carpark.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Cloud-Nothings-Understand-At-All.mp3]

Download: Cloud Nothings – Understand At All [MP3]

New Tunes from Spokes

I’ve always got to follow the happenings in Manchester, but that’s mostly due to my adoration for MUFC, but here I have another chance to rejoice, as I’ve just run across up-and-comer Spokes.  They’re releasing their new album Everyone I Ever Met on Counter Records next February, and it’s full of these grandiose ideas of combining all sorts of musical elements, including folk, shoegaze, etc. Those into the sound of Local Natives might notice a similar swelling of up multiple melodic voices, but let’s not call them imitators.  One listen here and you’ll realize that such lofty combinations can be successful, and when they work like this, we’ve all got reasons to rejoice.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/02-We-Can-Make-It-Out-1.mp3]

Download: Spokes – We Can Make It Out [MP3]

New Music from The Parties

It should be no surprise that The Parties hail from San Francisco.  They’ve got that psychedelic pop sound, with those angular guitars that seem to emit the sunshine of California.  Their new album Coast Garde is just now hitting the streets, and if you’re just looking for something with a classic pop spin, then you’ve come to the right place.  The entire album is full of non-chalant pop goodness, sure to keep your toes tapping, though not too forcefully.  Enjoy a little sunshine today folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/01-Lets-Call-it-Love.mp3]

Download: The Parties – Let’s Call it Love [MP3]

New Music from The Limes

If you’re looking for news on that transcontinental outfit, then you’re looking for the wrong group.  If, however, you’re a fan of bands like Sonny and the Sunsets you’ve definitely stumbled across some deliciousness. The Limes recently released their latest album Rhinestone River on Goner Records.  For some reason, they’re not getting a lot of love, perhaps because of the name confusion.  Still, one listen to this track here, and you’ll probably see all sorts of similarities with the modern world.  Come on, give these guys a chance, and get down with me and my imaginary Memphis friends.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/06-Bottom-of-the-Hole.mp3]

Download: The Limes – Bottom of the Hole [MP3]

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