Free EP From Richard Swift

Singer-songwriter Richard Swift has a free EP you can download from Emusic called Ground Trouble Jaw. If you’re one of thoe impatient types, we have the song “Would You?” from the EP below for you to stream and or download.  You can read more about Richard and his innovative music on his website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/richard_swift_ground_trouble_jaw_1_would_you_.mp3]

Download: Richard Swift – Would You [MP3]

Trail Of Dead

Everyone’s favorite Austin band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have been fairly quiet since the release of their 2006 album So Divided which wasn’t exactly loved by critics, or fans for that matter. The band has resurfaced recently with an in depth interview over on the Drowned in Sound website. The interview sees the band discussing a new album set to be released in early 2009 on their own label Richter Scale. The band also recently provided a live set for the Daytrotter website with 4 songs that you can download or stream. (Check out “Will You Smile Again for Me?”) Finally, if you’re not familiar with the band, below is a song called “Another Morning Stoner” off the band’s 2002 album (and best release to date) Source Tags & Codes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/02-another-morning-stoner.mp3]

Download: … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead – Another Morning Stoner [MP3]

Oxford Collapse – Bits

Rating: ★★★★½

Throughout this summer, music fans have mostly been greeted by mellower forms of tunes, with an absence of rock coming our ways–and by this, I mean the kind of music with loud guitars and banging drums. Well folks, Oxford Collapse wants to change that.

As the car peels out in “Electric Arc,” the drums come banging in your ears. Soon, the guitar will join this fray, and off the band goes. It’s hard not to feel your heart beating a little quicker in this song. Nice start boys.

They follow that up with another short song full of angular guitars and simple melodies, but its done just the right way, throwing the band back to the classic post-punk sounds of the mid-90s–a la Braid and Jawbreaker. Then they come with a tension building song in “Vernon Jackson,” which builds up continuously through the song, only to have the band slow it down in the end as the song begins to fade out. It’s clear by this point that they have enough control over themselves to pull back the reigns at just the right time.

They just keep going from here, pushing their guitars into your ears, as the drums pound away. Oxford Collapse sound tighter than they have, and a lot more comfortable as well, which may be why they claim “we’re doing fine” in “Young Love Delivers.” But, then they throw a change up. “A Wedding” slows things down, and sounds as if they took a cue from Final Fantasy, using string instruments to back the strength of their vocals. Its a good breathing point.

Then they go right back to it–walls of feedback thrown right back into your face as they continue their rocking onslaught. For me, they seem really straightforward with their approach, and they don’t seem to go off into the distance of atmospherics and noise as they did on their last album.

Towards the end, they start to switch it up, and its for the betterment of the album. “Children’s Crusade” is a brilliant song, and one that will probably make a lot of my mixes throughout the year. “John Blood” similarly slows things down, at least during the chorus, where a female chants her way through the chorus. Still, there is enough guitar work on this song, to make it border between rocker and ballad. “B Roll” also takes a gentler approach, but that approach is matched again by the tension building of the guitar work.  I do wish that this time, they just would have unleashed that guitar completely, but for me, this is their first misstep.

They close it off with “I Hate Nobody” which isn’t immediately gratifying, but as you work your way through the end of the song, it wraps up the album perfectly. Anguished guitars fueled by the deliberately dense drumming, and finally, you can breathe. It’s over.

It’s hard to find much wrong with this record. Personally, I think the mix on the vocals had some issues in a few places, but for the most part, I just went along with the album. It’s enjoyable as you follow around each of the corners and twists and turns.  Let’s hope for more rock like this as we wrap up 2008.

Oxford Collapse returns to Austin on August 27th at The Mohawk, but as of yet, tickets are not readily available.

Have a listen to a new song from their album:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/birthdaywars.mp3]

Download: Oxford Collapse – Birthday Wars [MP3]

New Music From Of Montreal

Polyvinyl label greats Of Montreal have a new song called “Id Engager” which you can listen to below. The song will appear on the “Id Engager” single due September 9th available for pre-order on the Polyvinyl website. It will also appear on the band’s upcoming LP Skeletal Lamping, due out in October.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/of-montreal-id-engager.mp3]

Download: Of Montreal – Id Engager [MP3]

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – s/t

Rating: ★★★★ ·

I know I’m a little bit late with this review, since other people have already fueled the career of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, but I feel like I have to encourage this even more so.

Much has been said about the singer/songwriter’s difficult past, and a few touch on his TV on the Radio/Grizzly Bear connections. I want to focus on the strength of his debut self-titled album.

As a fan of music, this is exactly what you want a debut album to be. You want to see a lot of promise, and you sort of want to see a weak spot or two; a weak spot shows that there is more to be improved upon; a hopeful glance into the future.

I expected this to be sort of a folk record, dominated by acoustic guitars and gentle vocals. From the opening track, “Buriedfed,” you can tell that this is not the case. It starts off gently, as many of the songs do, but then the song picks up with percussion, and the vocals really can stand alone. His voice is somewhere along the lines of a warble, but at the same time, there is a certain assuredness in its delivery. Imagine Conor Oberst if he used to sing hardcore tunes.

There is a lot of loss going on in this album, lyrically. It’s clear that MBAR has had some rough times, and he definitely uses that for his songs. The sad thing, and I don’t know if it is a personal reference or not, but a lot of the album questions the purpose of living, which I know can only come from a person who has truly been in that position. Its got a touch of tragedy, but you want to route for the man. My own personal reference reminds me of Eliott Smith, and his way of connecting you to his life trials–MBAR does the same.

For some reason, this album is really hard to put into exact words. It feels really new, or at least the approach comes from somewhere else. The album comes across really dirty in a certain sense; there is a certain sound developed in this man’s songwriting that makes you go into the the darkness with him. Each turn the album takes allows you follow willingly, which you will.

With lines like “Fuck you, I just wanted to die,” I worry about MBAR, even if he is writing from an omniscient perspective. This man has some demons, but music fans know that this often creates some of the more powerful tunes. Hopefully he has his act cleaned up, and we can look forward to more great releases from him in the future.

Check out a new song called “Buriedfed” by Miles right here:

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

Download: Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed [MP3]

Chairlift

Brooklyn’s finest dance/pop band Chairlift have some new music for your listening pleasure. The song is called “Evident Utensil” and will be seen on the band’s newest album Does You Inspire You due out on November 11th October 28th. The band will also be stopping by our little town on August 9th at The Mohawk with tour mates Ariel Pink. Tickets for the event are sold only at the door. Mark your calendar!

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

Download: Chairlift – Evident Utensil [MP3]

Dawn Chorus

The Dawn Chorus are celebrating the release of their new album out last week, Florida St. Serenade by offering you their last two albums The Disappearing Dawn Chorus & Second Dawn Chorus completely free for your downloading pleasure.  You can download the albums from the band’s record label Fractured Discs.  You can also stream the band’s brand new album Florida St. Serenade and download a couple tracks from it over on the Last FM website.  That’s not all!  You can preview the song “I’m Cured” off the band’s newest album below.  It’s quite the catchy one.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/i27mcured.mp3]

Download: Dawn Chorus – Im Cured [MP3]

Dear & The Headlights @ Stubbs 7/29

Arizona band Dear and The Headlights will be playing the live scene at Stubbs indoor this evening. What Laura Says Thinks and Feels will also be playing with Beaux Loy opening things up for both bands. Tickets are at the low low price of only $10 with doors set to open at 8pm. Buy yourself some tickets at the Stubbs website. Also, check out a song entitled “I’m Bored, You’re Amorous” from Dear and the Headlights 2007 album Small Steps, Heavy Hooves:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/05-im-bored-youre-amorous.mp3]

Download: Dear and The Headlinghts – Im Bored, Youre Amorous [MP3]

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