New Track from Stephen Malkmus

Okay, this song is all over the internet, with focus on that fact that the “senator wants a blowjob,” but what’s wrong with everyone giving a little press to our hero Stephen Malkmus?  His newest record, Mirror Traffic, will be coming out via Matador on August 23rd, and it’s clear that the Beck produced record is going to have a bit of spit and polish to it.  This track below has those Malkmus cascading guitar cuts going through it, but you can definitely feel a bit of the gritty edge removed, or at least pushed down in the overall mix.  At some point, people have to make changes, and I expect this to be a great one for Stephen and his Jicks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/stephen_malkmus_jicks_senator.mp3]

Download: Stehpen Malkmus and the Jicks – Senator [MP3]

New Song from Milagres

The hit making city has struck again! Brooklyn churns out more than its share of music, and Milagres is one of those bands that has slowly been on the rise; they’re ready to go beyond the city though.  They’ve just signed on with Kill Rock Stars who will be releasing their record, Glowing Mouth, at some point in September.  The first single, the album’s title track, has this electronic vibe to it, but what really grabs me, and hopefully you as well, is the way the vocals come across; they seem to be manipulated so carefully, showing perfect control in both pitch and tone.  I’ve just been replaying this all afternoon, so I figured you folks out there would enjoy it as well.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/milagres.mp3]

Download: Milagres – Glowing Mouth [MP3]

New Tune from Cut Off Your Hands

For some reason I passed on this song when MOKB ran it, but I guess that was just a bit of laziness on my part, as I love Cut Off Your Hands.  Official news came today that the band will be releasing their newest record, Hollow, on August 16th via Frenchkiss Records, the label that put out their previous effort.  The press release talks of Nick Johnston sort of hitting a wall, and going back to those records of simple joy, which helped him find his way back to solid footing with his own songwriting. The track below definitely has an Oceania vibe to it, reminiscent of my all time favorite, The Go-Betweens.  It does sound a lot less angular and British, which, in my opinion, is going to make this record incredible.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Cut-Off-Your-Hands-You-Should-Do-Better.mp3]

Download: Cut Off Your Hands – You Should Do Better [MP3]

Country Mice – Twister

Rating: ★★½☆☆

You don’t tend to think of Southern rock when you think of the musical influences of New York City, but that doesn’t seem to affect the kids in Country Mice.  They’ve been building a name for themselves slowly, and Twister has the band poised for bigger horizons.  It’s a little scattered here in there, in regards to over all sound, but don’t let that be a detractor, as there are really special moments inside.

When “Ghost” breaks into its stride to begin the record, those of you who’ve listened to the few singles from the band might be surprised to find a heavier version of what you remembered.  Sure, there’s those sprawling country effects, but it’s definitely a heavy-handed song.  “Festival” takes hold of the same theme, and if anything, it steps up the Southern rock repertoire even more.

Just as you thought you were getting a feeling for the band, they offer up what is easily one of the best songs on Twister, if not one of the best of the year.  The vocals of “Morning Son” seem distant, as if Justin Rueger recorded his vocals from the back of a barn.  Still, there’s this rolling movement to the song, guiding you along, as if following a trail through some wooded land.  And, this is the ground where Country Mice seem to be so comfortable.  “Rabbit on a Leash” follows a similar pattern, though you’ll find this number fueled with various guitars cutting back and forth across the background of the sound.  It’s the simple country approach, and in that, you’ll find joy and comfort for during your listening.

Despite its softer moments, Twister, definitely can’t escape the leaning towards alt-country and like-minded Americana outfits.  “Clover” is an example of a track that seems to wear the influence of My Morning Jacket.  It’s not quite a rocker, but it has the influence of bands that have come before Country Mice.  It’s a good song, but not one that is exceptional, which may weigh on the ears of the listener.  It leads right into a bit of a misstep for the band too, as “Worn Hearts,” a track that seems to venture too far into the pop-country medium for the liking of most.  But, they return with the very pleasant “Bullet of a Gun,” showing that they still have what it takes to win over any listener, crafting another joyous moment that culminates in a rise and fall melody.

So you come to the end of Twister, and my bet is that you’ve found several tracks that really stood out, whether you like your Southern rock or your more country-balanced pop.  That’s the good and the bad about Country Mice, at least up to this point in their career.  They seem to be walking the line between the two, and those two are vastly different, but that’s a decision we can expect to see the band make as they come more into their own.  Let’s label this effort a good starting point, with great moments, and hope there’s more to come in the near future.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/countrymice_morningson.mp3]

Download: Country Mice – Morning Son [MP3]

Show Preview: The Antlers @ Emos (6/7)

Date Tuesday, June 7th
Location Emos
Doors 900p
Tickets $15 from Ticketweb

Well, we all know about the ride of fame that the Antlers have been on for the last few years, and their latest release, Burst Apart, has gotten acclaim all over the place, including from us.  Now, with the summer season upon us, it’s probably pretty important that we get in as many incredible shows before the heat bogs us down, so you need to make it out, ya hear? And, yet another reason to make it out is the opening act, Little Scream.  It’s rare to come across delicately crafted music accompanied by a truly inspiring vocalist, and such is the case with LS, who you must make it out to see. Come on, every one’s going to be there, and we can’t afford to be left out.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/07-Two-1.mp3]

Download: The Antlers – Two [MP3]


New Tunes from Beirut

We’ve all heard for quite some time about new work from Zach and Beirut, especially considering the young man is out and about across the country this summer. Well, his first single will hit stores this Tuesday, and this track is the perfect culmination of both Condon’s past and, well, present it would seem. There’s definitely less of a nomadic troubadour trying to find his place in the global musical world, instead replacing it with touches of his previous works, while continuing to focus on his remarkable vocals. One listen to the below track will surely have anyone interested in all the future works that are sure to come our way this year.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Beirut-New-Harlem.mp3]

Download: Beirut – East Harlem [MP3]

Chaos in Tejas Highlight: The Beets

With so many acts in town this weekend, it’s not easy picking out the best, but for Saturday night, I had it easy, as The Beets are going to be here, playing over at Beerland.  If you haven’t heard of the band, you’ll probably find that their recent album, Stay Home, off of Captured Tracks is as good a place to start as any.  If you’re looking for that lo-fi spirit with a bit of humor, then you’re going to have to be out there having fun with these guys.  In my mind, it has a softer spin on what the Dead Milkmen seem to have perfected during their hey-day.  There’s twanging guitars, simple hooks, and the band always poke fun at themselves.  It’s definitely something that can win people over, and careful listening will probably leave you and your friends to each have your own favorite song, arguing through the night about which was best.  It’s simple, they all are, so we’ll see you at Beerland Saturday.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/02-Dead.mp3]

Download: The Beets – Dead [MP3]

New Track from So Many Wizards

When So Many Wizards began, it was merely a bedroom pop project, which seems like the story of the last few years for many a musician.  Like those others, one can only do so much on their own in the bedroom, so the band expanded to a three-piece, and have since put out several recordings, all of which require your immediate attention.  Their latest work is going to be a 7″ for Seven Inch Project, slated to be out on June 28th.  Unlike many bedroom to full band releases, it’s hard to see their work as something of the bedroom sort; the sound is just too full.   That soaring melody of “I don’t care” that goes through the entire song, amidst the rolling drumbeat in the background just can’t be created solo, and if so, I doubt it has an incredible pull such as this track. You be the judge.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/BestFriends.mp3]

Download: So Many Wizards – Best Friends [MP3]

Seapony – Go With Me

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Jen Weidl and her posse in Seapony definitely have something wonderful going on in their debut for Hardly Art, Go With Me.  After lots of critical acclaim on the net, it would be easy to throw this band aside as just another band making bedroom pop, which they do for the most part.  But, if you can discard similarities to various other bands, you’ll find that lay in wait, waiting to carry you off.

“Dreaming” begins the entire affair with what is probably the most energetic you’ll find the band, and at times, the guitars emulate Mike Sniper and Blank Dogs.  Those pounding drums, twanging guitars, well, they’re all nice and clean, but what will really get you is the pop sensation.  You can forget about comparisons, as Weidl’s voice definitely gives a new spin on things here.

There are easily a lot of tracks on this record that one might identify as ripping off various other acts, or at least being easily influenced, but a special song is a special song, regardless of whether it was made by Seapony or various other bands out there.  “Into the Sea” is one such track, with guitars maneuvering along the sunny coastal region, and the hazy Jen warmly singing atop it all. In all honesty, Weidl is the savior of Go With Me.  She does it again on “Go Away,” which sort of sounds like a cross between Best Coast and Girls Names, but her girl-group approach to vocal delivery, not to mention the nod to such things with her lyrics, makes tracks standout beyond the masses.

There’s tons of comparisons that can be made all over the place when listening to Go With Me.  You might find a Best Coast reference here, or even a Wild Nothing allusion, but what probably sticks out the most is how similar Seapony comes to sounding like a happier version of Blank Dogs.  The recording of the angular guitars in songs like “Always” or “Where We Go” almost plays like a Sniper remix, but perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to dig this record.  Everything sounds familiar, and yet it doesn’t sound familiar at all. Lyrics aren’t typically this adorably put together, and girls usually don’t work well, at least not as of yet/late, in this genre.

Even with all these noticeable nods to the indie landscape of today laced across this album, I’ve found myself spinning it again and again.  Part of me has a soft spot for any music of the ilk, part of me finds some odd connection between Camera Obscura and bedroom pop of the now.  It’s precisely the kind of record you can listen to while swinging your significant other around the living room instead of hitting up the bars. For that alone, Seapony and Go With Me deserve a nice little spot in your collection, not to mention the fact that you can include any number of tracks all across your summer mixes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SP_BlueStar.mp3]

Download: Seapony – Blue Star [MP3]

Chaos in Tejas Highlight: Lower Dens

Of all the bands playing at Chaos in Tejas, this is one that I recommend for pretty much everyone, not just those that are looking for punk rock goodness.  Lower Dens features Austin’s own Jana Hunter, and a solid backing band.  It’d be easy to focus on Hunter’s vocals as something beautiful to focus on this Friday at Emos, but the band is so much more than just that.  There’s this dense sound filled with guitars, often a bit fuzzy, and minimal drumming; it’s like if you wanted to find a darker version of Beach House.  If you haven’t gone and listened to their latest record Twin-Hand Movement, then you’re doing yourself an injustice; you need that record in your collection.  So if you’re looking for that one show that is solid, yet not necessarily loud, then you’ll need to find your way to see the group on Friday night.

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

Download: Lower Dens – Tea Lights [MP3]

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