Who doesn’t love a headless photo crop? Well, aside from that, Austin is being blessed this week by a semi-residency of the great Jonathan Richman. He’s one of the greatest American songwriters all time, who got his start with the band The Modern Lovers. Still going strong, Jonathan just released his latest solo album O Moon, and it’s been quietly enjoyed around my house. Jonathan will be playing a show at Hole in the Wall tonight, as well as a few more gigs at The Continental Club. This is your chance to watch one of the great icon of American music do his thing, so be sure to get out to at least one of these gigs, if not all of them.
Download: The Modern Lovers – Hospital [MP3]
Earlier this week I got word from some friends about Cult of Youth, and just today Stereogum gave them the “Band to Watch” tag. Their self-titled album hits the streets on February 22nd, and this is another one of those bands that appeals to both my nostalgic personality, as well as my newer tastes. There is this dark bass line working, with an underlying sense of lighter melodies, but what gets me is the vocal. Vocals on this single are brash and throaty, like some snotty little punk-rocker playing in some dense club. It’s a great dichotomy, and one that should be equally as exciting for all you punks gone soft.
Download: Cult Of Youth – New West [MP3]
In preparation for the release of their album, Evening Tapestry, the catchy Brown Recluse have released an aboslutely free mini-LP for you to download, and perhaps hold you over for the time being. This little release is titled Panoptic Mirror Maze, and I’ve been enjoying this all morning. They even have a little video to go with one of the tracks, emphasizing that this band is just as hard working as they are enjoyable, which is quite a bit, if you’re asking me. If this is the kind of music you’re into, then head right over to the band’s Bandcamp Page to grab this for yourself.
Download: Brown Recluse – Notorious [MP3]
You know we’ve been long into Canada’s Ruby Coast, so much so that we had them play our SXSW Party back in 09′. Finally, the band have their debut ready for your ears, and today only they’re offering it up for your ears for absolutely free! The album is called Whatever This Is, and we’ve been jamming to it all day long over here. You definitely have to give this band a try, and like I said, if you go HERE, their debut record is totally FREE!. So go, preview it before you get it even, just try it on for size. There’s a small sample below.
Download: Ruby Coast – Stability [MP3]
Out of the ashes of Marked Men comes Mark Ryan, pushing through with his own group, Mind Spiders. The band will be putting out their self-titled album on January 25th via Dirtnap Records, which basically guarantees goodness with their releases. On this first single you get a little hint of garage grittiness filling it up, but the pacing provides a little bit more of a straight power-pop feel to it, allowing the band to capture both audiences. Yeah, it’s a short track, but if you give it a listen, it definitely feels like there’s so much more than 1.8 minutes of rock n’ roll here. And did I mention they’re from Ft. Worth? Who woulda thunk it?
Download: Mind Spiders – No Romance [MP3]
I’ve been waiting for several weeks to get a little sample of new work from The Papercuts, after Sub Pop announced they would be bringing Jason Quever on board for his new album. Thankfully, Stereogum got it out before I went crazy, so we’ve got it here for you. The record, Fading Parade, comes out on March 1st, with this single hitting stores on February 1st. Jason’s music has really blossomed since his first album, adding more textures, blending his melodious voice, and each time, topping his previous output. His progression continues to lead me down a path of great enjoyment, so give this tune a try.
Download: The Papercuts – Do What You Will [MP3]
Finn Andrews and Co. have opted to bail on Rough Trade, pursuing their own adventure into the DIY realm, and their first test will be the release of their new Troubles of the Brain EP. The new label for The Veils is now going to be called Pitch Beast Records, with some allusion to animals used in promotional campaigns. Anyways, the last record the band put out was underrated in my opinion, and I’ve been really enjoying what I’ve heard from the EP so far (you can sample 3 tracks HERE). I really hope this works out for the band, as Finn has this incredible voice that never ceases to hit my musical heart.
Download: The Veils – The Wishbone [MP3]
Admittedly, I’m a huge Teenage Fanclub fan, so much so, that I freaked out when I bought the recently re-issued Bandwagonesque a few weeks back. Now, frontman Norman Blake has joined with Euros Childs (of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) to create Jonny, and they’ll be releasing a self-titled album on Merge Records, which is out digitally Feb. 1st, and in stores on April 12th. They’ve also put up a free EP, which you can get over at Merge by clicking HERE. If you go with this small sample, its going to be a splendidly soft-spoken pop affair–just the kind of I love to rave about.
Download: Jonny – Gloria [MP3]
The time is almost upon us for the great return of I Was a King. Their new album, Old Friends, is heading your way January 25th, and while we’ve previewed some tracks, this is one of the standouts from the record, though I admittedly love it all. It’s got a little bit more exploration than their traditional power-pop, using horns to build the wall of sound behind their sugary coating. Like many of the songs on this album, it gets right to the point, hitting you over the head with pop simplicity at its best. This band definitely deserves your adoration, so go ahead an revisit their last self-titled album, then jam to this track, that way you’ll be ready to get blown away come the end of January.
Download: I Was a King – Someone is Waiting [MP3]
While most of the Australian bands we’ve been following have had a fairly similar sound, that can’t be said for Townsville’s The Middle East. They’ve been rather quiet since their EP came out in 2009, but there is hope on the horizon for fans. They’ve got a new single, “Jesus Came to My Birthday Party,” and its absolutely fantastic. It’s a low-key folk experiment from the start, but the song bursts forth about a minute into it, and from there you’re riding a magic carpet of soloing guitars and fuzz, all the way to the end. If they can write such warm tracks filled with this kind of spirit, then I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got in store for us all in 2011.
Download: The Middle East – Jesus Came to My Birthday Party [MP3]