New Music from Davila 666

Considering that two of the ATH writers have spent time living abroad in our past, how could we not support the movement of good rock n’ roll from our Latin American bretheren. So here you have Davila 666, a band from Puerto Rico, a band about to release their new album, Tan Bajo, next week here in the states.  It’s a bit noisy, using rhythmic grooves to provide a nice bit of hyponitizing hooks for listeners.  If you need help translating for this track, feel free to hit us up, as we swear we’re studied in Spanish.  And, if you like what you hear, don’t only buy the record, go see the group in March when they come to Austin for SXSW.


Download: Davila 666 – Esa Nena Nunca Regreso [MP3]

Show Preview: Sebadoh @ Emos (2/19)

Date Saturday, Feb 19th
Location Emos
Doors 900p
Tickets $15 from Ticketweb

You want a chance to get a little bit of a history lesson to go along with your good rock tunes? Well, then you definitely need to show up at Emos this Saturday night, especially since Lou Barlow will be playing with his band Sebadoh!  You might recognize Lou from a little known act, Dinosaur Jr., but he’s done a great bit of solo work, not to mention his work with Sebadoh.  Then, throw the always entertaining Quasi, and you’ve got a pretty solid show that no one seems to be talking about.  And to top it all off, you get to see local opener TV Torso, who continue to write great songs to go along with their strong live sets.  Seems like you know the place to be this Saturday.


Download: Sebadoh – Dreams [MP3]

Echo Lake – Young Silence EP

Rating: ★★½☆☆

As this is their very first release, Echo Lake are new to the music scene. They are a psychedelic/ambient pop band hailing from London, as their Myspace page claims. With their floods of gritty guitar and distorted echo-y vocals, the band fits the genre pretty well with this debut. At six tracks, it is a long EP, but each track works with the others to weave the listener in and out of a stream of consciousness.

“Sunday Evening” – as the first whispers of heavy guitars waft through the emptiness, it feels like the calm before the storm, almost foreboding. In a sense it is: then some strumming and tambourine follow, and the noise builds upon itself until the silence has been replaced completely by sugary layers of distortion, making you feel like you’ve lost all your senses; perfect in encompassing the band’s sound.

From the beginning of “In Dreams,” you can straight up hear a greater influence of percussion elements. Soft drums kick off, but by no means a shift from the distortion of the first song. The sweet feminine vocals coat everything in a bath of what I want to say is warmth, but in contrast to the instrumentation, it feels cold and almost mechanic in nature.

Next comes “Everything is Real,” which is juxtaposed against the previous song in their titles. However, Echo Lake continues with their airy distortion, belying the title, and making you feel as though nothing is real.

“Memory Lapses,” the fourth song, is complete instrumental song, and at a minute and fifty four seconds long, it is probably the song that could have be avoided when choosing songs to put on your first ever release. Yes, it fits with the two songs before it in a cathartic sense, but it does not bring any new elements to the table.

Next comes “Young Silence,” in which the guitars seem a smidgen less distorted. As for that matter, everything feels a bit clearer. Still, there lingers the omnipresent vocals that push and pull at the song, but there seems to be more clarity. By no means is it a jump in genre; I still feel as though my senses have had reality clouded for them with every jangle of the percussion and every indiscernible lyric.

Lastly is “Buried at Sea,” which is similar to that of the first song in length. Echo Lake likes to surround you with their sound. They open with a long track, and close with one, making you feel like you’ve been dreaming for the approximate twenty minutes that the EP lasts. Lke a dream, it feels as though you’ve been out of conscious for longer than it’s duration.

If you had to choose one song on this EP to listen to, I’d say that you should stick with the first track. Even though it is the longest, it provides a grasp of what this band’s sound consists of, and has the most tangible sound to follow. While I enjoyed this six-song set of work from Echo Lake, it did become a lot of echoes to handle in a sitting. I’m interested to see how their sound translates to the full-length setting. Whether it becomes banal or takes off in a whole new direction is up to them.

New Track from Princeton

It seems like forever since I’ve heard anything about new music from Princeton.  But, bands have lives too, and I suppose they got busy.  Luckily, Stereogum reported today that the band will be releasing a new 7″ featuring tracks “To the Alps” and “The Electrician” March 29th. You’ll definitely find some nice melodic shifts in this song, all going with that steady, yet smooth vocal.  Listen carefully and you’ll see some nice horn arrangements kicking in the background, as the band continue to experiment with ways to flesh out their sound.  It’s never a bad day to get a track from these guys.


Download: Princeton – To The Alps [MP3]

Yuck – s/t

Rating: ★★★★☆

Listening to Yuck time and time again makes it one of the easiest albums to review.  The band hs influences all across the alternative rock spectrum, and while the majority of those are from bands of yesteryear, their spin provides some refreshing energy into a sound we’re all familiar with at this point.

Everyone should immediately recognize that there is one drawback, and only one to the first album from Yuck: it’s got really obvious influences.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as the band never go too far into mimicking their heroes, usually using various methods to further their own sonic pallate, which should be acceptable considering the band’s young age. Put that thought aside though from the get go because despite a perceived lack in originality, you’ll find everything you need in a great record: melodies, guitar hooks, edginess and anthem-like lyrics.

“Get Away” begins this self-titled affair with a bit of distorted guitar a la Dinosaur Jr., with a hint of Kim Deal playing bass beneath it.  It’s a reminder of innocence that we often associate with early purveyors of indie rock, doing what they can just to show off their musicianship and guarantee us a good time.  It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed listening to this sort of chugging, jagged guitar riffage.

Three tracks into Yuck and the band offers up a different spin with their tribute to the past.  This time around, they bring in the melodic moments of Teenage Fanclub, and they’re successful in precisely the same way the TF is; they bring a warm breeze into the guitar playing, which is odd considering the rain and fog associated with Great Britain.  But, the band also uses a nice little jaunt into a guitar solo to take the song to a different level, giving it more power than your normal tribute-style track.  You’ll find a similar stylistic presence on “Sunday,” as well, which is one of my faves here.

There are some different spins on this record though, one’s that show Yuck finding their own ground.  “Sucidie Policeman” comes off as a nice little ditty, but having a female foil to challenge the male vocals gives this song more depth overall.  It doesn’t read as just a stopping point in mid-album, rather it’s a place for the band to hang their own hat as they continue to flesh out their very own distinctive sound in the near future.  That also comes into play with the album’s original single, “Georgia.”  Perhaps it does fall into an more distorted version of C86 bands, but the important thing is that combining male/female vocals demonstrates the band’s willingness to mess with their own formula…and with tracks like all the ones on here, Yuck are sure to come across a horizon filled with gems for our ears.

The bottom line of it all is that Yuck is a band you should really pay close attention to for the time being.  Sure, songs like “Operation” definitely have a nod to Pavement, but who really cares?  I mean, are you going to tell me if you heard a record full of solid new tracks from your favorite nostalgic act that you’d be upset?  The bottom line is that despite all its nods to the past, Yuck is a record full of amazing songs that never bore you, that never seem dated.  It’s just a sign of great things to come, as there doesn’t seem to be many ways this band can go wrong.


Download: Yuck – Georgia [MP3]

New-ish Track from Tape Deck Mountain

There’s tons of bands coming our way for SXSW, and so I’m trying to cover my bases here, and get the word out on as many great bands as I can.  Tape Deck Mountain are one of those band’s who’ve been slowly flying under the radar since their 2009 release of Ghost.  As a band, they craft these extremely eerie songs, but in doing so, they’ve created these soundscapes, perfect for just letting your mind soak in nothing, well, except the music that is.  They’ve just put out the Secret Serf EP, so at least they’re cool with modern motifs.  I have the sneaking suspicion that this could be one of those excellent shows that people will talk about all week.  It’s also just a killer track to space out to before Friday hits and the party starts.


Download: Tape Deck Mountain – Secret Serf [MP3]

SXSW Interviews: Fresh & Onlys

As we get closer to SXSW, we hope to have more great interviews for you all.  Here is one from our favorite act of late, The Fresh & Onlys.  We were lucky enough to grab a hold of bassist Shayde before the band heads our way. Read on ya’ll.

 ATH:  So you’re headed to Austin for SXSW, and we know you’ve been here before. So what’s the first thing you guys have to do, aside from the business side of things, once you pull into town?

Shayde: Finding a place to sleep or camp out is always a challenge during SXSW. We’ll probably going door to door looking for some Texas hospitality.

ATH:  What do you guys think of SXSW? For you as a band, is it just like a great big party? Are there bands you’re excited to see, or friends from the road? Or is it all business…promoting the band?

Shayde: It always feels like a family reunion. All the bands and people that you get to know from doing music are all there so you end up partying more than usual. There’s never been a feeling of doing “business” for us there. It’s just pure fun.

ATH:  There are literally thousands of bands coming to town for SXSW. What’s the one thing you want to tell our readers that will make your band stand out above the rest?

Shayde: I’ve never been a good salesman. But you know where it’s at.

ATH:  You released the excellent Play It Strange last year, and you always seem to be working on releasing some sort of new material. Is there anything coming down the wire in 2011 from Fresh and Onlys?

Shayde: We have a 5 song EP coming out on Sacred Bones called “Secret Walls”. We plan to record the next record between now and June. It’s gonna be a monster.

ATH:  Along those same lines, due to the high volume of output from the band, how do you guys continue to stay motivated to write new material? Is there one principal songwriter, or is it more of a collective effort?

Shayde: The songs varie in origin. Tim and I are always challenging each other and that keeps it interesting. It’s always exciting to see what Wymond and Kyle bring to the table when we show them new songs. That’s really where the magic happens. We’re far from being dried up as far as songs go. We keep getting closer and closer to what we do. That’s what inspires us most. I love it.

ATH:  What are your favorite songs to play live? Are there songs you would absolutely never play live? Why or why not?

Shayde: Waterfall is always great to play live. People are familiar with it and it feels like such a thick song when we play it. I can really feel that one penetrating the crowd. I feel that way about Invisible Forces or Peacock and Wing as well. There are several songs that we’ve never been able to get a grip on. It’s okay though. There are plenty more lying around and many more to come. It’s never good to force a song live. Too many bands do that and it’s painful to watch.

ATH:  If your band were an animal, what animal would you be? Don’t be a kitten, please don’t be a kitten.

Shayde: I love kittens but we are definitely not a kitten. Platypus. Definitely.

Thanks to Shayde for taking out the time to answer our questions, and to the fabulous Nick Dierl for helping make this work.

New Track from Fishboy

We’ve always got to give love to Texas bands, especially those that dwell in the quirkier regions of pop music.  Fishboy, primarily the project of Eric Michener, hails from Denton, TX, and his writing definitely has a story to tell. In fact, it’s all one giant interwoven story, with song titles representing various characters who encounter one another or are somehow interconnected.  It sounds sort of like the thing all English majors would love.  The thing is, the newest release, Classic Creeps, which you can grab from the band now, has this great little pop spin on it, something that you’d put alongside other local acts such as Hollywood Gossip.  Give it a spin, and feel free to listen to the whole new album on the band’s Bandcamp page.


Download: Fishboy – Adrian Simmons [MP3]

New Music from Sad Accordions

All bands will have to grow in order to progress from recording to recording, and that seems to be the place that we find Austin’s Sad Accordions today.  The band is busy prepping a new EP, The Colors and the Kill, for a March 1st release date.  You can grab hand-decorated versions from the band’s at their shows this year.  Listening to the single from this six-track effort, you get the feeling that the music itself is spreading out, giving the band a bit more variety, and a whole lot more power going forward.  It’s nice to see one of our local acts push themselves, and doing so, push the whole town to rock a whole lot harder.


Download: Sad Accordions – Inside Out [MP3]

The Dears – Degeneration Street

Rating: ★★★★½

When the last Dears record, Missiles, came out, we all knew that there were obvious issues that needed to be addressed.  Amid line-up changes and more time spent collaborating with members old and new, the band have emerged with what might possibly be their best record to date.  Degeneration Street is full of squalls of feedback, great melodies and everything you’ve come to expect from the band.

You’ll begin the journey, and believe me, it’s a trek, with “Omega Dog” offering up a tight little angular guitar riff as Murray Lightburn does his best to approach a nice little falsetto.  There’s a nice little groove, and the guitar riff will definitely resonate with every listener.  Of course, the Dears never stand in place for long, going off into a darker corner of the song for the closing minute, with a fierce little guitar solo accompanied by noisy atmospheric elements.

But, one of the things that makes Degeneration Street so stunning is its ability to shift gears, much as the band does on the second track “5 Chords.”  While other bands bash out their hits in less than thirty minutes, here you’ll find a band building their sound, not only within individual tracks, but with the album as a whole.  This number definitely fulfills the happier pop element present in the record, with sweeping harmonies.  A stomping drum beat helps keep the pace through it all, but please, pay great attention to Lightburn, as its clearly his voice that deserves all accolades in this song.  Similarly, “Thrones” does a great deal to take the somewhat prog-leaning elements into a bit of melodrama, but that’s mean in a respectful sense.  Tiny guttural yelps from Murray signify his playfulness, which we can hope relates to his joy with writing this entire collection of songs.

You’ll never think that the band has gone completely soft after listening here, as sharp-edged guitars are a constant throughout.  Take “Stick w/ Me Kid,” which chugs along a jagged guitar line.  The keyboard or programmable element only furthers the tension in the song, keeping listeners on squirming.  Okay, so the operatic element in Murray’s voice definitely allows you to see a bit of light within the song, as we can imagine him standing in the middle of the audience, controlling us all with his voice as the band rages furiously on stage.

In the end, what stuck with me the most about Degeneration Street was the sense of jubilation that lives within the tracks, despite the usual lyrical content remaining.  Let’s face it, Murray hasn’t always been one for optimism, but even with similar themes intact, you can’t tell me that songs like “Yesteryear,” with its almost danceable beat, don’t portray a man who’s having a blast writing the record he always wanted to unleash.  Just try and tell me that “Easy Suffering,” in title alone, doesn’t paint the picture of a happier frontman. I blame this freedom and joy for one of the stronger tracks I feel the band have written, “Tiny Man.”  It’s a solemn tune, one that surely comes from Lightburn’s personal writing, but his vocal delivery, and the mood just creates something wonderful to witness, especially after following the band from their earliest years. Perhaps I’m a simpleton, but sometimes a step back from traditional habits allows for great moments to burst forth.

Such sentiment seems to pervade Degeneration Street.  At times in the past, they seemed victim of their unstable footing, but musical prowess never fell by the side.  It’s always lived in the writing of Murray Lightburn, and it seems that perhaps with a strengthened Dears line-up, he’s finally been able to fit all the pieces together, as we all hoped he would do.  It’s a sixty-minute affair, with varying styles, various approaches, all settling in the end, leaving listeners with one of the most rewarding listens that I’ve heard in a really long time.


Download: The Dears – Omega Dog [MP3]

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