New Music from Woozy Viper

I’ve been jamming to this sweet new track from NYC group Woozy Viper.  The band is self-releasing their latest batch of hits, titled Rock n’ Roll, which you can still grab for free from their web site, but we encourage the usual donation.  They’ve got this Cramps feel, but with a little bit less of a horror approach, exchanging it for a nice little modern spin, making it catchy enough for everyone to enjoy.  We dig it, and we hope you do too.


Download: Woozy Viper – Dirty

New Music from Frank Smith

Apparently we’re supposed to inform you that Frank Smith is actually a real band, not just the name of the singer, who is actually Aaron Sinclair.  What’s more important is that you realized that there’s a powerful sound behind the Americana-ish group, with a little bit more melodrama than your usual.  It sort of has the sound of a more fleshed out Clem Snide, but with expressive lyrics.  The group has worked hard on their new album, Nineteen, which you can get your hands on October 16th when the band play their CD release at Mohawk. Enjoy, but remember, its a band, not a man.


Download: Frank Smith – Nineteen [MP3]

Show Preview: Field Music @ Emos (9/29)

Date Wednesday, September 29th
Location Emos
Doors 900p
Tickets $10 from Ticketweb

Field Music is a band from England who’ve been putting out some significantly creative music over the last several years.  Their first album, Tones of Town, has a little bit more of a pronounced sharp edge, but they completely went off into the realms of exploratory post-punk with their latest record, Measure.  Honestly, had they not been smack in the middle of the Pavement and GBV shows, then this would have been the show of the week, but it very well could still be–these cats are that good. You will also be able to see Zorch and Gentlemen Rogues; each no slouch in their own right.  So, if you can’t make it to other shows this week, sell your 30 Seconds to Mars tickets and go see these bands!


Download: Field Music – Measure [MP3]

New Music from Shimmering Stars

Would you look at these lads? Don’t they look fetch? Well, since Monday was a bit of a slow one in the music biz, I was happy in the afternoon when I ran across this new track from Canadian group Shimmering Stars.  The band made waves back in the summer with their song “Im Gonna Try,” and now they’ve got another blissful pop jam to toss your way (via P4K).  Seems like something we’d all be into right? Indeed, so happy Tuesday.


Download: Shimmering Stars – Sun’s Going Down [MP3]

Twin Shadow – Forget

Rating: ★★★★☆

It seems like nowadays, you throw a label on a band, give them a bit of hype, and sure enough, it usually works out for the band, deserving or not.  Finally, we’ve come to a band in 2010 who deserve this adoration, Twin Shadow.  While a great bit of Forget is dominated by electronic textures, there’s this underlying attention to details that equips the album with layer after layer of pure beauty.  Even when things don’t seem to fit altogether, somehow it’s tied in neatly, crafting one hell of a debut.

You walk right into a hint of synthesized darkness, mild beats, creating something of a somber sensation, just as George Lewis Jr. makes his first appearance.  Hidden behind the instrumentation, or barely intruding, Lewis’ vocals evoke that Murray Lightburn feel, warm and affecting. There’s all these odd touches of instrumentation, crafting something wonderfully unique, all as the song works its way towards a bliss-filled ending.

Everything about the way Lewis and Grizz Bear chap Chris Taylor built Forget makes it one of the most rewarding listens on this side of pop music.  “Shooting Holes at the Moon” jumps off with this groovy little work on the drums, then there’s some throbbing bass rhythm added in, along with all sorts of hints of string work in the background.  It’s all about the funk, yet as Lewis jumps in to join the party, he brings a suave element, giving the song a bit of a house party feeling, if that party was full of sweet tunes.  Those little guitar short shots in the background just make the element of electronics just rise above your typical cliched laptop band.  This is precisely where these sorts of bands should live; they should aspire to be Twin Shadow.

Seriously, “Yellow Balloon” recalls those late nights spent in dingy dancehalls with your friends, while whiskey poured from the bar.  And yet Lewis still wants you to do your thing, he just wants to add a touch of class, which usually comes by way of his soulful voice and the various textures.  Easily this could disappear as just another chillwaved track, but the fact that you can decipher the real instruments, brings this jam into the forefront.  Don’t forget the delivery of Lewis when he coos “the secret handshakes/the swimming hole/keep awake.” So right on.  Twin Shadow easily could border on the line cheesy, yet you have to return time and time again to the craft of the songwriting.  “Slow” has this Edge-influenced guitar line that runs in the background, which definitely harkens back to an era of innocent electronic music, but instead of sticking with his clean polished vocals, George decides to throw an echo-y yell in the background of the chorus. He’s challenging our conceptions, or rather challenging us to go back to the days of refreshing club hits.

Forget had the potential to fall flat on its face, a victim of its own hype.  But, George Lewis Jr. wasn’t going to let that happen, choosing to create music that he thought was both beautiful and fun.  In his pursuit, he created an album that rises above the doldrums of your everyday electronic music, providing us with our first vision of what Twin Shadow is really all about. After listening to this record, we’re all about what ever Lewis and company are all about, especially if sounds this ridiculously good.


Download: Twin Shadow – Yellow Balloon [MP3]

New Music from The Parting Gifts

When Coco Hames and Gret Cartwright took a break from their respective bands, The Ettes and Reigning Sound, they had no intention of writing a whole album.  Their work together began with a 7″ in mind, but led to an entire album’s worth of material under the name The Parting Gifts. Their album will be called Strychnine Dandelion, and it hits stores on November 9th via In the Red Records. This first single has a bluesy grit to it, and a pounding rhythm that kicks you in the teeth from the get go.  It’s that good old classic rock sound with a hint of dirt thrown in to keep it real.


Download: The Parting Gifts – Keep Walkin [MP3]

New Music From The Black & White Years

Local band Black and White Years are at it again, and they’re ready to bring you some new hits; we’re sure you’re ready to get down with that, right?  Well, we’re here to premiere one of their new tracks, titled “Up!,” which comes out on their  new album, Patterns. It will be in stores on November 16th, so you better get yourselves ready.  Just one listen to this single, and we know you’ll be excited to get behind another great local Austin band.


Download: The Black and White Years – Up!

Cinema Red and Blue – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

Honestly, this has been one of our most anticipated records for some time, ever since word hit the streets that members of Crystal Stilts and Comet Gain would unite to create Cinema Red and Blue.  While this might just be a brief off-shoot for all those involved, it’s got the feel of a classic record that will only get better as time goes by.

One of the members that needs mention here, as he’s the primary vocalist, is David Feck.  He’s always been able to carry tracks entirely on the foundation of his voice, much as he does on “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough,” the opening track on Cinema Red and Blue. But, just as you think he’ll do it all alone, the band kicks in just shy of the 2 minute mark, jangling their way to a solid ending, while Feck’s vocals strain to grab every drop of emotion.

Then you’ll hit the trilogy of “Ballads,” all named for different interests, and its the wordplay of Feck that wins out, as it usually does.  For instance, there’s something clever about the way he puts together “we’re trying hard to sound like the Swell Maps/what a terrible name for a pop group,” during “Ballad of a Vision Pure.” It’s not just his word slinging that’s clever, but his delivery has the perfect amount of inflection and soul to win listener’s over.  There’s something about his tone too, especially in “Ballad of a Bus Stop” when its accompanied by a female counterpart.

Cinema Red and Blue isn’t entirely about David Feck, however. While you can see the homage to their bands, with flourishes of indie pop and psychedelic darkness, they also pay tribute to their favorites, such as Vic Godard, Julian Cope and the Chills. One that everyone is sure to like is the group’s cover of “Same Mistakes” by Godard.  Their version was released as the first single on the record, and its filled with a bit of electronic organ and low-tempo jangle.  It doesn’t hurt that David gets to match his vocals up either with another soft female vocal.  Listening, its odd how the band doesn’t seem to try at all with what their doing; its a casual affair of great songwriters, which inevitably wins us all over.

Something about this record just seems so precious, even though its not even a week old.  Every song, every note, really hits home as you listen.  There’s a familiarity to it that quickly attaches itself to your ears and heart.  That female follow up vocals in “Love in the Altitude” just hits home.  Or maybe the mellow mood of “Charlie Clarke” is more your style.  What’s clear is that you can find something beautiful, or you should, in every single track here.  While the members all have their respective projects going on, coming across an album as special as this definitely makes you yearn for more.  At least we’ll always have that one perfect record created for us all by Cinema Red and Blue.


Download: Cinema Red and Blue – Same Mistakes [MP3]

Unsubstantiated Rumor: The Drums @ the ND (9/25)

The Drums album, released earlier this year, had been on my radar for quite some time. It used jangling surf-guitars, smooth rhythms, and a pretty killer vocal to win me over pretty quickly.  I was excited, to say the least, to see the band on their return venture to Austin, but something was amiss last night.  This might just be hearsay, and one man’s opinion, but I almost left early due to the fact that I can’t guarantee, nor do I want to, that the band actually performed live.

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