New Tunes from Land of Talk

landoftalkMontreal’s Land of Talk have a new EP headed your way, but it won’t be the easiest thing to find in the world, so you should probably get it from Saddle Creek Records while you can.  The Fun and Laughter EP features four new tracks, and several videos.  We’ve got one of these new songs to offer you today, so enjoy, and don’t forget to get your hands on this while you can.

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

Download: Land Of Talk – May You Never [MP3]

New Tunes from Built to Spill

Built-to-Spill-leanbackThe band that brought you one of the best albums of the 90s (that being There’s Nothing Wrong with Love), Built to Spill, is up to their old tricks.  They’ve got a new album heading our way on October 6th titled There Is No Enemy, not to mention a show lined up for October 24th.  Here’s the recent track, “Hindsight.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Built-to-Spill-Hindsight.mp3]

Download: Built to Spill – Hindsight [MP3]

FTC – The Stone Roses

stonerosesLong before you had the trendy Britpop scene that exploded with the likes of Blur and Oasis (though Pulp was clearly the best!), you had another scene, sort of the Godfather scene to Britpop.  It was Madchester, rooted in the town of Manchester (where the best team in England plays).  The style combined a little bit of house DJ music with straight rock n’ roll.  And head of the movement…The Stone Roses.

Not only did they release one of the most flawless albums of the 1980s with their self titled Stone Roses debut, but they did it whilst creating an entirely new mode of fashion (baggy), which I suppose we can blame for the invention of Jncos.  Hands down, this was the first Britpop group to make it big, but like most bands of that ilk, they quickly faded into obscurity.

We bring you the group this week, as this marks the anniversary of their debut, and as such, that album is getting the Redux treatment; it’s been remastered, and it includes a selection of demos and unreleased songs to boot.  Trust me, this band deserves your love, so go dig in the closet and break out The Stone Roses.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/09-Made-Of-Stone.mp3]

Taken by Trees – East of Eden

east

Rating: ★★ · · ·

Vicotria Bergsman has long been the chanteuse of my dreams.  First, she warmed-me over with her sultry vocals during her tenure in The Concretes, and later, she kept me going with Taken by Trees. Now, she is releasing her second album under the latter, this one titled East of Eden.  Much will be made of her venture East, which like most Europeans gone East, has had a profound influence on her music.

Whilst many will no doubt link the sounds of this album to India, thanks to the unnecessary success of Slumdog Millionaire, Victoria went elsewhere for her muse: Pakistan. “To Lose Someone” is such a song, as it carries the ornate horns of such cultures to accompany Bergsman’s voice.  Even the percussion resembles the spirit of a simpler life. And while the wooden horn/flute/whatever dances in the background, the song closes with syllabic chanting that probably means little for listeners.

One of the best songs on the album, and easily one that you will find the most commercial is titled “My Boys.”  Why does it seems familiar you ask?  Well, it’s a cover of “My Girls” by Animal Collective. The melodies are precisely the same as the original, and in fact, the song completely mimes AC’s version, aside from a few lyric changes, and the obvious use of real instruments.  It’s interesting that this is the most accessible song, as it’s not one Victoria can call her own.

As a concept piece, it’s a great idea,  mixing her powerful vocals with an entirely different arrangement musically, but it has more failures than successes due to this.  “Watch the Waves” is a song that is full of flourishes from the travels to the East, but using non-pop-centric instruments strips Bergsman of her vocal prowess, and renders her somewhat dismissable for the greater part of the song, let alone, the album as a whole.

She goes too far at times, especially including “Wapas Karna” in the project, which is merely a number that is full of chanting, and little else.  If we wanted to listen to world music, there are surely better places to find such tunes (no offense Victoria).  It even seems as if she spent more work on developing a sound that stayed true to its roots, rather than create an album of her own songs, backed by the newer sonic discoveries.

In the end, the highlights of East of Eden are few and far between.  Taken by Trees has perhaps been taken to far East and away from the blissful harmonies that we associate with its lead singer Victoria Bergsman, leaving a concept album with limited range in its wake.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/taken-by-trees-watch-the-waves.mp3]

Download: Taken by Treese – Watch the Waves [MP3]

New Tunes from The Mary Onettes

the mary onettesRiding high on the great press they received over their self-titled debut and their most recent Dare EP, The Mary Onettes are slated to take on the world.  Their newest number is a little bit more straightforward than their previous efforts, though it still shines through with a glimpse into the past.  This song, “Puzzles,” will be on the band’s new album Islands, which is scheduled to arrive in America on November 3rd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/01-Puzzles-1.mp3]

Download: The Mary Onettes – Puzzles [MP3]

ACL Spotlight: !!!

chkchkchk

We continue our ACL coverage this week with the Brooklyn via Sacramento band !!! (properly pronounced as Chk Chk Chk or Pow Pow Pow). 

Let’s start off this business with a memory of a little-known Ghostland Observatory making their mark on the dusty fields by encouraging thousands of people to dance off the previous night’s hangover.  Well, this year, I predict that it will be !!! doing the moving and shaking this year with all the fans, as they’ve been doing it on a small scale for quite awhile.

Imagine their combination of horns, guitar, percussion and electronics blasting out of those mammoth festival speakers, as you casually sip on your beer.  Then Nic Offer shakes and jives all across the stage, further encouraging you to feel the rhythm; you’ll be shaking it in no time at all.

The band have several CDs to their name, and personally I’d go with the funky grooves off of their self-titled debut, but other really dig the work of Louden Up Now, which came out shortly after the Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard single.  It gave a new twist on the band’s grooves by adding a little more electronic push to the music.

Hopefully we’ll all get a chance to preview some of the new tracks the band has been working on as of late, but if not, we’re at least guaranteed a good long set of sweat-dripping, hip-shaking funk-rock to get our hearts racing and our feet moving in the early afternoon.

!!! take to the AMD Stage at 2:00 PM.

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

Download: !!!- Intensify [MP3]

New Tunes from Kings of Convenience

kings_of_convenience_bTime is nearing for the arrival of the soft-spoken Kings of Convenience album Declaration of Dependence.  Said album comes ashore on October 20th, though you can get the latest single “Mrs. Cold” if you search around the world.  The song we have here for you is off the “Mrs. Cold” single, and also appears on the band’s upcoming record.  We’re excited for this, as you should be too!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/02.-Freedom-and-Its-Owner.mp3]

Download: Kings of Convenience – Freedom and It’s Owner [MP3]

Sondre Lerche – Heartbeat Radio

sondre

Rating: ★ · · · ·

Long ago, upon the heels of Faces Down, Sondre Lerche was quite the boy-wonder many fans of simple pop had been looking for all their lives.  His lyrics weren’t to abstract, and his handle over melody made his innocence resonate with every listener.  Here we are now, 2009, and he’s releasing Heartbeat Radio to great anticipation.  How has he grown up, and where does it leave him now?

First track, “Good Luck,” is something of a statement song, as grandiose symphonic arrangements are placed throughout the tune.  Here is Sondre, sounding as hypnotic as ever, yet something seems a bit off from it all.  Guitars are really low in the mix, placing the emphasis more on the orchestral arrangements instead of his own songwriting.  But this backs into “Heartbeat Radio,” which comes off with the sensible delivery Lerche has always carried with him.  It’s as close to the proximity of his earlier work as you are likely to get on this album.  And that is the problem that lies at the heart of this album overall; Sondre seems to have indulged his fancy one too many times, forgetting that the quality of his tunes lived in the simplicity of his arrangements.

Songs like “I Cannot You Go” or “Pioneer” are pleasant enough songs, but they don’t seem to have the passion in the vocals and the lyrics that used to make Sondre so appealing to the masses that followed him.  More so, he’s placed some unforgivable moments in here, such as “If Only,” which seems like a half-assed Jack Johnson impression. At the middle of the album listeners will possibly start to lose interest, as the creativity seems to have stalled around this mark.

Diehard fans should not be discouraged by all this, as there are definite moments in the album when you can see the maturity of Sondre Lerche has led to some new elements that you might find pleasing. “Words & Music” seems as if it was penned in the bouncing fashion of a classic Spoon song. The chorus, of course, brings back that memorable croon, but the overall bounce of the song is somewhat of a trip into new territory for Sondre. “Almight Moon” is similar in the fact that it seems radio to be an instant radio hit, not to see it doesn’t have that trademark touch of Lerche, but this is probably one of the more commercial tunes he’s written.

But, for all the decent moments, the most lasting impression of this album is that there isn’t really an impression left for you by the completion of the album.  In the past, he’s made some missteps, but he’s always had certain songs with a “wow” factor that have kept you salivating for more tunes, but this time around, the album seems devoid of genius.  Overall, Heartbeat Radio is a boring effort that lacks a lot of the panache of previous efforts by Sondre Lerche.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/05-heartbeat-radio.mp3]

Download: Sondre Lerche – Heartbeat Radio [MP3]

More Tunes from The Swell Season

large_swellseasonNot even a week ago we brought you new music from The Swell Season, and here we are again with yet another track to offer up to you. This tune is the opener to Strict Joy titled “Low Rising,” and you’re sure to love this one just as much as you loved the first single the band released. Don’t forget, the album hits stores on October 27th courtesy of Anti.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/low-rising.mp3]

Download: The Swell Season – Low Rising [MP3]

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