Austin A2W: Wooden Birds

thewoodenbirdswooden_birds_02_lowresSeeing as how we haven’t run one of our Austin Artist to Watch features in quite a while, we thought we’d kick things off again with obvious A2W choice Wooden Birds.  This new Austin band has been getting a ton of local and national press coverage as of late, mostly for their mellow take on indie folk rock, and partly because the band is fronted by local music legend Andrew Kinney (American Analog Set).  After 6 long years in Brooklyn, Mr. Kinney moved back to Austin recently and decided it was just about time for a new music project.  We had the good fortune to speak to the man behind Wooden Birds and ask him some of those burning questions about his relocation and his music.  Follow the jump for full interview with Andrew Kinney.

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White Denim @ The Parish 4/17

whitedenim500Looks like local buzz band White Denim are going to start playing regularly around town again after taking a little break from the Austin scene.  The Parish is one of the few places I can’t remember the band playing and the venue should provide a unique experience to see the band.  Fellow locals Corto Maltese and Ume will be opening things up.  Doors are at 9:30 with music at 10:30.  Tickets are on sale now for $9 if you’re of age and $12 if you’re still illegal.

LA Snacks @ Creekside 4/15

lakicksCreekside doesn’t usualy get in on the live music scene  too often, but they’ve got a nice local lineup planned for Wednesday night.  Austin artist LA Snacks are headlining the show with fellow locals Bankrupt and The Borrowers and The Eastern Sea opening things up.  Tickets are at the door for $5.  Music is at 10.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/lasnacks-kristinwasameteorologist.mp3]

Download: LA Snacks – Kristin was a Meteorologist [MP3]

Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

Austin resident Bill Callahan is more widely known for his releases under the Smog moniker, but the release of his second “solo” album will surely have heads turning in the direction of his future; his most recent ventures seem to be the most focused of any of his releases, which definitely prove beneficial to the listener.

Of course, there is really only one instrument on this album that is truly worthy of discussion, and that has to be the ragged baritone vocals of Callahan himself.  His voice is easily identifiable, but it also serves as the predominant element that courses through the entirety of the album.  Everything else seems to play second-fiddle to the vocals, and one can presume that that is precisely where Callahan would like to leave us.

Take, for instance, “Eid Ma Clack Shaw,” the album’s first released single.  The song is comprised mostly of two elements: one being the voice of Callahan, the other being tinkering piano that bounces gleefully in step with the vocals. “The Wind and the Dove” follows just after, and you’re caught on the brief moments when the pitch and delivery seem to change just the slightest bit, creating a sense of reserve.  Both songs emphasize the voice rather than the music, although this isn’t saying that the music is altogether uninteresting. One merely needs to listen to the gentleness in the production, even when other elements are added to the textural mix of the song, such as the female vocals that filter in and out of “Rococo Zephyr.”

This entire outing seems to come out of a place of reserve, as if Callahan is taking his time to think things through, watching the world around slowly go by each day.  Lyrically, the songs approach various levels of observation and commentary on fairly mundane things, but developed in the way only Bill can do.  Even the song titles seem to illustrate the idea of thought, and other such processes, which is apparently where a lot of the album stems from, as Bill admits to being a bit restless during the recording of the majority of the album.

At the end of the journey, you’ll find one of the longest songs in the Bill Callahan/Smog repertoire, which isn’t entirely a bad thing.  It’s the perfect bookend to the album, as the narrator here admits that it’s time to put some things away, such as God.  With the album coming to a close, it’s time to put it away, as Bill has clearly made his point.  He’s crafted a set of mellow semi-folk tunes using his voice as the instrument and his lyrics as your guide through his world and his thoughts.  It’s a good run through from start to finish.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/03-the-wind-and-the-dove.mp3]

Download: Bill Callahan – The Wind and the Dove [MP3]

New Tunes from My Latest Novel

artists-mylatestnovelA few years back, I stumbled into the record store and came across this band, My Latest Novel. They met my requirements for something worthy of checking out: they were from Glasgow and someone references Belle and Sebastian in their review; those days are long gone. The first single from the bands upcoming album, Death and Entrances, is full of complexities and an organic quality that most enjoy these days.  Sit back and listen.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-all-in-all-in-all-is-all.mp3]

Download: My Latest Novel – All in All in All is All [MP3]

Electric Six @ Emos 4/15

electricsix I’ll be honest, I haven’t really kept in touch with the music of Electric Six in a few years, but they have to be doing fairly well for themselves considering they are playing outside at Emo’s this Wednesday night; you don’t get that gig being small potatoes. Tickets are way cheap at only $10, and you can buy them here. Rest assured, you’ll be sure to hear their classic hit, and one of my favorites, which I’ve placed below for you enjoyment.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/electric-six-danger-high-voltage.mp3]

Download: Electric Six – Danger High Voltage [MP3]

New Tunes from Dogs Die in Hot Cars

dogs For a while, we all thought that UK band Dogs Die in Hot Cars were done for good, but recently, the band has reemerged with a new project at hand.  In order to get their second album completed, they are asking their fans to finish it up, as they seem to be done with working together.  Regardless, you can read more about that project and download the entire second album demos for free at the band’s web site.  I, for one, can’t wait to hear what someone does with “Pop Nonsense.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/02-pop-nonsense.mp3]

Download: Dogs Die in Hot Cars – Pop Nonsense [MP3]

Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want

you_can_have_what_you_want-papercuts_480

Rating: ★★★★½

This appears to be the decade where people actively seek out the atmosphere of a quiet bedroom recording, as bands like Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes burst forth with warmth and comfort, the kind you would find beneath your Grandma’s quilt in your room. Unfortunately, Jason Quever and his band, Papercuts, have often been overlooked in the discussion, though few will feel that way when this record hits the streets.

You Can Have What You Want is the third proper full-length from Quever, and listeners will find that this is his most complete collection of songs to date.  The songs are the most fluid he has composed, and they seem to courageously go from one shining moment into the next. Melodies rise just as you thought they’d fallen away, and it all feels as if a master architect assembled the songs piece by piece; everything on this record feels absolutely right.

Jason’s vocals sound amazing this time around, albeit a bit underdone at points. Some will find fault with this approach, as you must surely dig deep into your listening experience in order to grasp the lyrics, but most will find this aesthetic quite appealing whilst searching for their favorite tune as they rearrange their closet by color.  Take “The Machine Will Tell Us So,” a song that meanders carefully through seas of organ and cymbal work, almost so quiet you can’t help but let wonder if the music is only in your head; then the chorus bursts in full of calming melodies, taking the song in an entirely different direction, though only for a moment.

Of course, Papercuts aren’t afraid to pick up the pace, at least musically.  “Dead Love” and “Future Primitive” are both set back to back, which may be due to the fact that each of these songs call for a bit of toe-tapping, though one must only do so in place, as the vocals are not begging you to move about. “Future Primitive” is the first single from the album, and features a lot of the elements of the rhythm section of Jeremy Jay, only with quieter lyrics, if you can imagine that. Sure, it’s a standout track, but almost every track here shines in its own manner.

The title track to the album, “You Can Have What You Want,” is just yet another example of how beautifully Jason shapes his songs; he is able to fill up empty space with bits and pieces of vocals and instrumentation, all pushing the song to the fullest potential.  Really, this is all one needs to ask of his or her favorite musician: can you get the most out of your song? The answer to that question, and in regards to this whole album, is a resounding yes! If you want something to listen to in your bedroom, this album may be the best one for your ear.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/papercuts-you-can-have-what-you-want.mp3]

Download: Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want [MP3]

Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Emo’s 4/14

bjm_logoIt’s hard to guess precisely what sort of show you’ll get when you go watch BJM, but let’s face it, that’s sort of the fun in the whole thing right? Despite their somewhat unsettling antics, as seen in DIG, the band have still crafted some solid songs over the last decade or so, and you’ll be sure to enjoy such songs when they play tonight at Emo’s. Tickets are still available, so grab one and catch an exciting show.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/bjm_going-to-hell.mp3]

Download: Brian Jonestown Massacre – Going to Hell [MP3]

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