Contest: Nada Surf @ La Zona Rosa (6/29)

It’s contest time ladies and gents!  What does that mean you say?  It means we’ve got a sweet prize pack for one lucky fan of veteran indie act Nada Surf.  Here are the deets:

Up for grabs: 2 tickets to the Nada Surf show at La Zona Rosa this Friday, plus a CD of the band’s new album The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy.

How to enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite Nada Surf tune and we’ll pick a winner at random

Deadline: Please get all entries in by this Thursday the 28th and we’ll contact you afterwards.

Please don’t forget to leave a valid email address in the comment form so we can get in touch with you.  Go!

EDIT: Bumped back up to the front page, enter people!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/03-When-I-Was-Young-1.mp3]

Download: Nada Surf – When I Was Young MP3

Great New Folk from Evening Hymns

I’ve been really into quieted folk tunes this summer, and this new track from Evening Hymns is one of my favorite jams to cross my path thus far.  Early on, the song comes at you as if it was recorded in a room, or a cabin (it was!), giving it a deeply emotional quality. As the song builds, there’s more lush arrangements being added, moving the song along as it sort of gets lost in its own beautiful world. If you’re digging this track, you can grab it and the rest of the tunes from the band’s forthcoming album, Spectral Dusk, when it hits the streets on August 21st.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-Arrows.mp3]

 

Jamming New Dance Track from Birds & Batteries (+ Video)

With the heat of summer comes the need for sweaty dance parties, and I think I found another track for your summertime playlist, courtesy of Birds & Batteries.  This song comes from the group’s forthcoming LP, Stray Light, which hits the streets on August 7th. There’s hints of Twin Shadow, if you’re looking for a comparison, but you get the feeling that the songs on this record will hit a lot harder! The band just released a new video for this single as well, and you can catch that right HERE.  If you like what you’re hearing, keep an eye out, as the band hits the road here in August, with an Austin date planned for the end of the month.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2-Let-The-Door-Swing.mp3]

Download:Birds & Batteries – Let The Door Swing [MP3]

Interesting Folk Tunes from Edmund II

Usually I skim press releases, hoping something sticks out to grab my attention.  In the case of Edmund II, the words Guided By Voices, Ted Leo and Promise Ring stuck out…I’m a sucker for all those bands.  But, in all honesty, listening to the record (it’s out now), Floating Monk, I didn’t really get all that.  I did, however, find some folk music that will be staying with me for some time to come. I love the way Edmund plays guitar on these tracks, and the accompaniment (also Edmund) isn’t too shabby either.  It definitely makes for a quieted listening experience one will enjoy in the solitude of their own bedroom.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/edmundII_goldenlung.mp3]

Download:Edmund II – Golden Lung [MP3]

Show Review: Beat Connection @ Red 7 (6/21)

We gathered our team together this past Thursday, hoping to catch a great show over at Red 7.  Two of the much-hyped Interweb bands would be taking to the stage, so we figured we had to be there to see what they really had to offer. Our photographer Brian was on hand to snap some great pics despite being forced to shoot from behind and around the ridiculous amount of video cameras present.

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Solid New Track from the Bankees

I’ve long been a supporter of Bankees ever since I came across their last album, Kimono.  Unfortunately, the French group has largely gone unnoticed over here in the States, but I hope I can change that.  This song is their first single from their upcoming record, Homes, which is shaping up to be one hell of a listen.  On this tune, they’re taking a casual approach to effortless pop, just letting the guitar trickle in while the vocals calmly win you over.  It’s the sort of pop tune with a melody that gets stuck in your brain, which is the kind of stuff I like.  I’ll keep you all posted on the new album as more details come our way, but you can spread the word on these guys in the meantime.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-Days.mp3]

Download:The Bankees – Days [MP3]

The Eastern Sea – Plague

Rating: ★★★★ ·

As we all know, Austin is a giant arena for up and coming bands to make their names known, but in such a big scene, how do you stand out amongst the others trying just as hard as you? For The Eastern Sea, their delicately forceful rock, complete with some uniquely striking vocals sets them apart from the average bedroom rock band. Upon first listen, Plague gives off an illuminating quality that yields further listening and promises that this band has a lot to bring to the table.

The opener and title track introduces the deep sound that The Eastern Sea builds upon with the rest of the album. A slow burner, “Plague,” relies on a thick coating of atmospheric sound and a gradual build that shows the range in Matt Hines vocals. It’s a refined number that reveals just how much control the band has, and the restraint that is employed early on, leaving you yearning to know just what is in store when they let loose. As if they know what you’re waiting for, the next song, “Wasn’t For Love,” picks up the pace and gives you a taste of the layers of complexity that combine seamlessly. The track begins with a groovy bass line, and continually adds upon itself with a lighter line of jingly percussion, a looping guitar hook and of course Hines’ James Mercer/Ben Gibbard-esque vocals. Some horns join in on the chorus and later in the song, and you’re forced to marvel at how very put-together this band is; they are controlled chaos at its finest, knowing where to reel in before it becomes too much.

As aforementioned, in a town so big on music, something is needed to set apart, and what the Eastern Sea has going for them is their control and an album packed with interesting and excitingly good songs. There are numbers like “Santa Rosa” on which the lyrics are sharp and quick witted, and more horns join in, leading up to a sizzling couple of choruses, before they pull back and end the track on a quieter, refined note. The band pulls back one slower numbers like “The Match,” but still builds to an explosive ending. There is a great mixture of loud and quiet, controlled and chaotic that pushes the elements of sound of this group above others.

There really isn’t much to complain about on Plague; it’s a beautiful album that will have those who love some classic indie rock begging for more. So enjoy this effort from a local band and look forward to this band blowing up in the near future.

New Tunes from Yeasayer

As we draw closer and closer towards the release of the new Yeasayer album, Fragrant World, which comes out in August via Secretly Canadian, more tracks are starting to hit the Internet, building a swell of excited fans. The first track “Henrietta” was definitely a summer banger built for grooving.  This round, the group seems to have a more soulful approach, unfolding a bit slower.  It’s definitely a different spin on the group’s electro art pop, but I admit that I’m really feeling this jam…so I’m sure that the rest of the Internet will be clamoring for more Yeasayer.  A few short months and we can all have the whole record in our hands.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Yeasayer-Longevity.mp3]

Download:Yeasayer – Longevity [MP3]

New Quirky Pop from Saint Motel

One of the band’s I’ve fallen in love with the last year is Saint Motel.  They’ve nearing the release of their newest record, Voyeur, and I expect it to be all over the place, in only the best way possible.  They’ve tossed some gems our way already, and they’re letting us run another great track, “Benny Goodman,” which demonstrates the band’s playfulness.  I think one of the best things about the group is their willing to throw all conventions out the window, writing catchy pop music on their own terms. Love them or hate them, they do it in their own way, and you better respect that. They’ll be bringing their great live show to Austin on August 4th, so start getting ready.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-Benny-Goodman.mp3]

Download:Saint Motel – Benny Goodman [MP3]

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