New Music From Birdmonster

Birdmonster has some new music available for the first time in a long time. The new song is called “Born to be your Man” off their soon to be released album From The Mountain To The Sea due out 8/5 digitally and 9/2 in stores on the Fader label. It’s quite the catchy little diddy don’t ya think?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/birdmonster-born-to-be-your-man.mp3]

Download: borntobeyourman.mp3

Earlimart – Hymn and Her

Rating: ★★★½ ·

California’s Earlimart has released their 4th studio album, this one coming just a year or so after the release of Mentor Tormentor, which was one of my favorite releases of 2007. I found it an odd choice to release another album so quickly, but I wasn’t let down by this effort.

“Song For,” the opening track, begins with some bouncing percussion, as the music crashes in behind it, you are reminded of similar California acts such as Grandaddy or early Rogue Wave-neither of which is a bad comparison in my book.

Aaron Espinoza has a perfect voice for the melodic sounds of his band, as he gently sings through this album, resembling the softness of his friend Eliott Smith. It’s a comparison I am sure he is sick of at this point, but one that creeps up time and time again in his music.

“Before it Gets Better” introduces the audience to equally strong voice of Ariana Murray, the other mainstay member in the Earlimart lineup. Backed by the softness of a piano, she sings about the realization that before anything gets better, its bound to get worse. Despite the undertones of this song, Ariana allows the listener to empathize with her feelings–a good feat I dare say. Her lead role on “Time For Yourself” makes it another bright spot on the album, which I think has a lot to do with her voice in contrast to Espinoza. At some points I just find her more fitting, but that could be due to her songwriting on such songs.

Unfortunately, I found that there were some spots that missed their mark–for me as a listener. Tracks like “God Love You the Best” or “Cigarettes and Kerosene” found me searching in earnest for the uniqueness that opened the album. Even when the guitars burst in on “Cigarettes and Kerosene” I found it lacking the personality of other songs that are present. Even the title track, “Hymn and Her,” seems like a track that blends into the background of this album.

However, I found a beautiful gem on this record in the song “For the Birds.” It has the gentle quality of Espinoza, backed by the “ooohs” from Murray, all thrown into the mix with a quiet backing of piano and a strumming acoustic guitar. This is the most special moment on this album.

At times, Earlimart waiver from their focus, and it is that tendency to operate on musical tangents that has always hurt their albums. Their strengths come in when they combine Espinoza’s voice with Murray’s, using carefully constructed soundscapes to back the vocals. Lucky for us, there are plenty of those moments on this record.

Listen to the first single off the album “Song For” below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/01-song-for.mp3]

download: songfor.mp

New Music From Takka Takka

Takka Takka have another new song for your listening pleasure off their latest offering Migration due out July 29th. The new song is called “Everybody Say” which can be found below. The new album features some guest drumming by Bryan Devendorf of The National.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/everybody-say.mp3]

Download: everybodysay.mp3

New Music From The Donkeys

San Diego artist The Donkeys recently posted the newest single from their latest effort Living on the Other Side due out on Dead Oceans September 9th. The name of this catchy/impossible to get out of your head song is “Walk Through a Cloud” which can be found below. Read more about The Donkeys on that website that takes a million years to load.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/walkthroughacloud.mp3]

Download: walkthroughacloud.mp3

06/26 Kadane Brothers Show + Interview

The Kadane Brothers delivered an intimate two guitar and no frills set at Emo’s Austin on Thursday night. Austin was the first show in a series of quick North American tour dates for Matt & Bubba Kadane without their backing band The New Year. The brothers showcased a few new songs off their forthcoming self titled release The New Year due out in September with their band of the same name. Each song of the set featured one of the two brothers singing lead with the other brother singing harmonies to back up. Read more

No Age @ Emos Tuesday (7/1)

No Age will be showing up at the Emos Austin indoor stage this Tuesday (7/1) with supporting act Abe Vigoda in tow. You can purchase tickets for the low low price of $8 on the ticketweb website. Opening act The Strange Boys are set to start at 10pm so No Age will probably be getting a fairly late start for those of you with jobs. Read more about No Age or hear a song off their critically acclaimed new album Nouns entitled “Eraser”:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/no-age-eraser.mp3]

Download: eraser.mp3

Alkaline Trio – Agony and Irony

Rating: ★★★★ ·

For those expecting Alkaline Trio to come up with an entirely new formula for this album–their sixth full length–it may come as a disappointment, although it shouldn’t, that the band sticks close to their guns. They’ve been honing their skills at the pop-punk game for so long, that it might do more damage to fans if they strayed in a new direction.

Of course this album has the classic Alkaline lyrical stylings, filled with allusions to the darker side of things, which has always been Matt Skiba’s forte. An example of this lies in the song “Into the Night,” where Skiba sings “The carrion has been forgotten/Left for dead in the sun rotting.” It’s also visible with track titles such as “Calling All Skeletons” or “In Vein.” There is a real personal vibe in the lyrics as well, but I’ll let you listen to those on your own time.

There are some slip ups on the album such as the redundant lyrics in “Do You Wanna Know,” which is forgivable because of the quality of the music. Also, “Love Love Kiss Kiss” just doesn’t pack the same punch that the rest of the album offers listeners–not to mention how ridiculous the chorus is on this song.

However, there are some phenomenal songs here, such as “Over and Out,” which is probably one of the best songs I think that they’ve written in recent years– driven during the verses by some solid bass work. “Ruin It” is just another song that exemplifies everything that Alkaline Trio has been creating since their jump to the majors–and they throw in a nice vocal effect near the end to boot.

At first, I was weary of the really clean production on here–as I love the grit of that dirty guitar sound–but it really works to the benefit of the band here. Skiba’s melodies are well-suited by the newer sound the band has taken on. It makes the band sound sound really close to being at their absolute best. All good things.

Like I said, there isn’t anything new here–excluding the fact that there are new songs, of course–yet this is a solid effort from a well-seasoned band that has been doing it longer and better than most. Not quite the perfect album, but pretty close.

Below is a song called “Help Me” off the new album:

Download: helpme.mp3

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/alkaline-trio-help-me.mp3]
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