Magnolia Electric Co. @ Mohawk (10/30)

Ah the tough decisions you must make living in Austin…  If you aren’t a supporter of TV on the Radio, you’ve got another choice this stacked Thursday night.  Magnolia Electric Co. will be making a stop at the Mohawk in Austin on Thursday as part of their rare tour of the US this fall.  Another favorite artist of ours, Will Johnson (Centro-Matic), will be opening things up for the Stockholm band around 9:30 or 10.  You can buy tickets now for only $8 or I’m sure you can get one at the door.

…Trail of Dead – Festival Thyme

Rating: ★★★½ ·

It’s been quite some time since anyone has given serious consideration to Austin’s And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, but it seems like the local boys are rearing up to put out another new album.  In order to prepare us all for this new venture, the band has offered up a short four song EP titled Festival Thyme.

Since their last album So Divided, they seem to have lost a little bit of credibility in the music world, as other keep wishing for a rehash of the phenomenal Source Tags and Codes. Let’s face it, this is not the same band, not by a long shot.

The opening track, “Bells of Creation,” has an enormous sound, filled to the brim with swelling guitar sounds piled upon the backs of simple piano tracks.  It’s a much more mainstream approach to the writing process, which we’ve witnessed from these men before, but the chorus is as brash as anything they’ve done before now.  Did he just say “I felt like Satan?” Surely that will get your attention, at least for all you Satan lovers.

“Inland Sea” is the next track on the EP, and once again you see that the band has moved into a much larger scale sound.  The ever-present piano serves as the focal point for this song, as the band moves in and out of the song.  For some reason the vocals, with their emo-tendencies kind of grab at my heart strings.  It’s the same sound as before; it just sounds strangely different.

The final musical track on here, “Festival Thyme” is actually one of the better songs I’ve heard from the band, especially in their most recent years.  It definitely has a post-punk leaning towards Oasis sound, which takes a minute to get used to at first, but give this song a chance.

In fact, give this band a chance.  Sure, they’ve moved on from their origins, or what we deem origins, but who is to say that a band cannot grow up and move forward.  They’ve missed a few steps in the past, but they are still here trying to push on back against the masses.  That, and you’ve gotta love a band based in Austin, Texas.  Here’s to new ground for this well respected band.

And, the artwork is ridiculous.  Ridiculous and good.

Turned on by Passion Pit

Today I found out about a band from Boston called Passion Pit.  After countless repeats of the bootleg and the few songs they put up on their myspace, I can confirm that I do indeed like this band and think they are worth a few hundred characters of blog post.

Unfortunately they won’t be coming to Austin anytime soon, so you will have to fly out to LA this weekend to catch them there.

I’d be interested to hear what you think…

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/0320cuddle20fuddle.mp3]

Download: Cuddle Fuddle [MP3]

TV On The Radio @ Stubbs (10/30)

Arguably one of the most innovative bands around, TV on the Radio, will be gettin’ down at Stubbs on Thursday night in Austin.  Tickets for the show can be bought for $25 from the Stubbs Front Gate Tickets site.  If you read our review of the band’s stellar 2008 album Dear Science, then you know we’re excited about this one.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/03-dancing-choose.mp3]

Download: TV on the Radio – Dancing Choose [MP3]

The XYZ Affair

We’ve been reading a lot online these days about Brooklyn band, The XYZ Affair, and we’re gonna bring you a song to help spread the word about the upstarts.  The song we’ve got for you is called “Evening Life” and appears on recent EP by the band Trials.  Do you think these guys have what it takes to make a name for themselves?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/8ry7-the-xyz-affair-evening-life.mp3]

Download: The XYZ Affair – Evening Life [MP3]

Rose Hill Drive @ Stubbs (10/29)

Boulder rock band, Rose Hill Drive, will be playing the indoor stage at Stubbs on Wednesday night.  In even better news, Colour Revolt (who we did a little feature on before ACL), will be opening things up for the Boulder boys.  Doors for this show are at 10:30 and tickets can be bought for $12 from front gate tickets.  We’ve also got a tune from Rose Hill Drive below called “Trans Am”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/werksman-rose_hill_drive_-_trans-am.mp3]

Download: Rose Hill Drive – Trans Am [MP3]

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals – Cardinology

Rating: ★★ · · ·

Dear Ryan Adams,

Back in the day you put together an amazing album Heartbreaker. In all honesty, that record is going to be remembered for years to come; it really is that good. But, now you come back at your fans with Cardinology!

First off, what on earth is going on with the album artwork? Is this one of the remaining pieces of the set from Roadhouse? Maybe that’s where you found the sound for this album. Perhaps it’s your attempt at establishing yourself as the artist formerly known as Ryan Adams, which would be understandable, as you bare no resemblance to the man who stepped out of the shadows of Whiskeytown.

This new record, Cardinology, well, it just doesn’t make any sense at all. Sure, many of those will remember some of the scattered breakthrough moments you shared with your old band, but your best efforts always seem to come from areas when you step aside from the full on band approach. Here, we find you overshadowed by the entire band, and often, you don’t even sound like yourself anymore.

For the most part, the opening to this album sounds like you wanted to take a pop approach to writing country songs, but you end up sounding like the Gin Blossoms or Third Eye Blind covering Americana songs. It feels overly contrived, as if you lost that magical touch that drew so many people to you in the first place. Listening to this album makes you seems as if you drifted further away from yourself; we were all sad to see you go.

As listeners, we appreciate some of the strong songs that do make their way through, such as “Let Us Down Easy” or “Crossed Out Name.” Each of those seems to exist in that distant place where you lived for so long, yet rarely visit these days. It has so much personality in the song, especially lyrically. You could go so far as to say that “Evergreen” can also be lumped in with the same batch of songs; they are all personal, making them more personal for the audience listening to your records.

Then again, as you make headway, you add a song like “Stop.” If anyone decided to rip off Neil Young playing the piano, it had to be you. There is no passion here, and the lyrics seem so ridiculous. Did you really write “you are not alone,” and throw it into a song? Way to be original. You know what would be original? A Ryan Adams record without the Cardinals that broke our hearts; a record that made us believe; a record we all really need.

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