Men Without Pants

Now that I have the ladies attention with the post title (tee hee)…. Our favorite producer man Dan The Automator (Gorillaz, Deltron 3030) is producing and playing on a new album with Russel Simins (John Spencer Blues Explosion). Dan, as always when he collaborate with folks, has come up with another unique name for the project: Men Without Pants. The album is said to have special guests including Sean Lennon, Pelle (lead singer of The Hives) and members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Mooney Suzuki and Cibo Matto, amongst others. A release date for Naturally is set for August 19th. Check out two songs “double life” & “and the girls go” from the highly anticipated new album below.  You likey?

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

Download: doublelife.mp3

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/men-without-pants-and-the-girls-go.mp3]

Download: andthegirlsgo.mp3

Ratatat – LP3

Rating: ★★★★ ·

What does one actually have to say about instrumental music that can garner any attention? How on Earth do you come across a Ratatat record and give it any justice without completely losing the point of the album? I’m not sure how to do this, so I am going to take a different approach.

Shiller: The curtain is pulled back immediately, revealing a lonely woman in a chair. A light appears just above her heart, and it pulsates with the rhythm. Her eyes blink candidly, occasionally shooting towards the window at the back of the stage as lightning strikes. Towards the end of the scene, rain falls hard against the window; her heart beats on.

Falcon Jab: This is a Lance Armstrong commercial. He is pedaling slowly uphill, fighting the winds in his face. Down he cruises through the town, racing past buildings on all sides. Stopping, he takes in a few short breaths, then continues on his journey.

Mi Viejo: While in Mexico for summer vacation a few years back, I sat outside a local bar at the outskirts of Saltillo. Empty, I opted to sip slowly on my Negro Modelo. Suddenly, two dancing sirens entered the bar, bright flowing dresses circling their ankles as they pulsated to a silent rhythm. Mesmerized, my beer grew warm. I opened my eyes and they were gone.

Mirando: This is the sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Tired of the l label of classically trained aliens, only able to play symphonic harmonies, the aliens step it up. Instead of their traditional beeps, they opt to add some guitar; all riffs taken from their latest version of Guitar Hero.

Flynn: This is what it feels like to be on mushrooms in the middle of nowhere, as your college roommate plays guitar by the firelight. He thinks he is the next Bob Marley.

Bird Priest: I’ve never been able to beat the game of Zelda. I bought Nintendo Power Magazine because it had all the maps to get through the game in the quickest fashion. I’m not good with directions, and my father never told me how to read a map, so I just sat there watching the credits roll down my anti-HD TV.

Shempi: Iv’e been sitting in my room all week trying to write music to dance to with my friends. I’ve got some solid loops going in the background; the basic beats aren’t anything special. Still, when I threw those bongo beats in at the end, we grabbed our glow-sticks and shook it until my mom told me to turn it down.

Imperials: DJ Shadow is a close friend of mine. We like to get together and blow a lot of bubbles while lounging in the comfort of his home. Occasionally, we just chill out while he lets the washing machine make the bubbles for us. Today was one of those days.

Dura: When you hang out with Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields you think that he is only good for one thing; brilliant ukulele songs. This is not true. On off nights in New York City, he likes to write serious electronic music. I still hear the ukulele.

Brulee: Girls love to jump rope, especially when its double-dutch. Sometimes they jump and jump and jump, and the rope becomes a blur on the horizon of the suburbs. At some point, they have to catch their breath, pouring water over their heads to cool off in the summer heat.

Mumtaz Kahn: Electronic dragons are the biggest thing in Japan right now. Instead of roaring and shooting flames, which we know is not good indoors, they now purr like kittens. It’s the perfect house pet, and sure to keep the neighbor’s minding their own business. Of course, they all come with their very own Mongolian Kahn.

Gipsy Threat: Do you like to listen to Beirut? I do. The problem is, I only have a computer; there isn’t money enough for real instruments. I spend my days trying to write Beirut cover songs with Garage Band. I made you this one for you.

Black Heroes: We all know that Bruce Leroy defeated Sho’nuff in their epic battle during the eighties, but most never saw this side of the two enemies. In the Criterion Collection of this movie, it has a flashback scene where Sho’nuff and Bruce Leroy were making lemonade in their neighborhood. This is just before they parted ways, most likely due to a poor profit margin.

Now you try.

Hear opening track “Shiller” below or listen to “Mirando” elsewhere on our website:

You can also stream the whole darn thing over on spinner.

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

Download: shiller.mp3

New Music From The Pack AD

Our Canadian friends the Pack AD have a new song for you enjoyment. The song is called “Making Gestures” and come from the bands soon to be released Funeral Mixtape due out on August 12th. They sort of sound like a cross between The White Stripes & The Black Keys with a girl singing. Read more about them over on that all to familiar social network.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/the-pack-ad-making-gestures.mp3]

Download: makinggestures.mp3

Chromeo – Fancier Footwork

Rating: ★★★★ ·

This album doesn’t really need a review. Odds are you already have it, or at least you should have it, but just in case you haven’t. This album is a “Deluxe Edition,” but I am not sure that it really warrants that title. It’s the original album, and then they add a bunch of remixes. I guess that merits a reissue.

Now, if you don’t have this album, here is why you need it.

Remember those really cheesy songs from your dances in middle school. The ones where you danced in a circle with all your friends while you were carefully avoiding contact with the opposite sex? They were songs full of carefully constructed beats; the majority of which were made on really simple keyboards. If you remember that with fondness, you have that nostalgia right here.

“Fancy Footwork” evokes everything from an eighties staple song that you want. There are effects on the vocals, and the lyrics don’t really have much purpose, but you know that with the simple beats that you and your friends will be dancing around the living room with Lone Star in hand.

I think that any person could find great faults in this album. There isn’t an ounce of of originality in the music, and the lyrics are nothing but comedic–a good thing in my opinion. But, Chromeo approaches there craft unapologetically. They didn’t come here to make you wax poetic about the hidden meaning in their songs; this band came to make you dance. Dance you will.

The most playful track on the album for me is “Momma’s Boy.” Lyrically, it speaks of a boy and girl who are a little too much into their attachment with their parents. Now, if you don’t find the lyrics mildly hilarious, then something is probably wrong with you. And, you can shake it to this song as well!

The bonus disc here has some new material not present on the original album. But, for the most part it is filled with remixes, which don’t really do much to the original songs; I guess they give you a different perspective.

All in all, this album is the dance album you need to own. Okay, so some of the songs go on a minute or two too long, but you will find that every track on this record is worthy of some booty shaking. After all, its summer time, and you have no excuse not to dance the night away with your friends. Go buy it. Go dance with it. Thank me later.

Fancy Footwork!

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

Download: fancyfootwork.mp3

Lackthereof

Lackthereof, side project of Menomena drummer Danny Seim, has a new song for you off forthcoming album Your Anchor due out on July 22nd. The song is called “Last November” and it’s planting a seed inside my head and growing a flower.  This album could be a surprise best of 2008 pick.  Read more about Lacktthereof over on da myspace.

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

Download: lastnovember.mp3

One For The Team

Read about this band One for the Team on some other websites and I like the pop goodness they are bringing so I thought we’d post a little song. The song below is called “Better Job” off the bands soon to be released album Build it Up, which you can buy now on itunes for only $5.99. Read more about the band on their myspace page.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/one-for-the-team-better-job.mp3]

Download: betterjob.mp3

Beck – Modern Guilt

Rating: ★★★ · ·

When reviewing a Beck record I think you come across some very difficult waters. The man is revered by so many, and at the same time, it’s become increasingly difficult to put a definition on his music. You have to respect that, yet at the same time, it’s not the easiest thing to write about.

With this album, you have the uber-producer Danger Mouse aiding the production along the way. It’s kind of an odd step, and one that I was skeptical of – I’m not a DM kind of guy. That’s where we begin.

The album opens well enough with “Orphans.” You have some of the staple touches of DM, accompanied by the gentle guitar work of Beck, for which he always wins me over. He throws in some hand-claps as well, which I believe is becoming a bit of a Beck staple. It’s a good start.

“Gamma Ray” is the next track, and its the track you expected to hear on this album. It’s got a bouncing little bass line that pushes the song all the way through. Sure, you have vocals and such, but if you can’t get into this bass line, then you can’t get into this song. This is definitely a high-point on the album.

“Chemtrails” seems like an odd song to follow the previous track. It’s mellow atmospherics leave it completely juxtaposed to “Gamma Ray,” which is probably the intention. Stay with this song because it picks up in the end, with Beck or Danger Mouse, doing his best Stereolab/Air imitation.

The album’s title track comes next. Once again, this is a head bobber. You can’t help but realize that your feet are tapping, while Beck’s familiar voice dances on in the background. Honestly, I’m starting to realize that his voice is playing second fiddle on some of these more upbeat songs, which is kind of disappointing.

I didn’t get much from “Youthless.” You can blame me for poor tastes I guess. Perhaps because it comes off to me like Beck vs. Gnarls Barkley.

I love the next track, or I love the vocals on this next track, “Walls.” The beats present in the background don’t do much to enhance this song. Beck has that passion in his voice here, but it’s the kind of passion that makes you wish he would just pick up his guitar and sing it to you straight.

Then you can skip the next track. I did.

We find ourselves at “Soul of a Man.” This is a solid track, and another of the upbeat numbers you will find, even if the guitar sound does come off like every other garage rock tune you’ve heard in the past years. But, the pace is stepped back up on the album, which is probably where the focus of this album should stay, which it does. “Profanity Prayers” continues the pace, with pounding drums in your ears. One of the better songs on the album. To me this album just screams good times. This should definitely be included in the live set; it just has that feel to it.

Then we close the album with “Volcano.” A down-trodden little number where the acoustic guitar work really makes me reminisce about Sea Changes. It’s a good call to close the album here. For me, its the song that most resembles the Beck I came to know and like. Nice call here.

As I play this time and time again, I can’t help but feel a little distance from it. I don’t find Danger Mouse’s work very interesting, in fact, I think it kind of comes off like everything else he’s done recently. Perhaps he’s just tapped into the same thing one too many times. Due to that, it just doesn’t have the feel of a solid Beck album. Sure, there are some high points, like “Gamma Ray” and “Volcano,” but there are some moments that just don’t reach the listener.

I guess at the end of the day, he can do whatever he really wants to do. He’s earned that right, and as long as he keeps releasing albums with several great songs, I think he’ll still be important. I’m just waiting for him to put out that solid album, all the way through. I’ll keep waiting.

Below is “Gamma Ray” off the new album:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/02-gamma-ray.mp3]

Download: gammaray.mp3

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