The Lodger – Life Is Sweet

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Leeds band The Lodger released this album in May of this year, but Life Is Sweet has been taking its time to get completely acquainted with those of us on American soil.  Surely you will find tragedy in that, for this record is precisely the type of album that made British music a mainstay in U.S. college radio throughout the 90s.

This album opens up with “My Finest Hour,” which is a piano-laden song, gently sweeping along.  It floats somewhere in the world of Belle and Sebastian until the chorus brings in pounding piano and a quickened pace with the vocals.

Moments later you’re treated to the best song on the album, not that the rest aren’t here for your enjoyment.  It’s a foot-stomper of a song, with guitar work similar to that of Franz Ferdinand, but with a more pop-driven vocal.  “The Good Old Days” is sure to get you moving, no matter what your into.  It’s the perfect blend of upbeat indie rock and modern pop music.

The more you listen to the album, the more the infectious melodies lodge themselves inside your brain.  It’s similar to the first time you threw on a Smiths LP or even Orange Juice.  It isn’t anything that will go down as the most creative music of all time, but it’s the fact that the band has honed their skills to perfection; they get the most potential out of every single song on the album.

You could drop the name of pretty much every seminal Brit-pop band from the early eighties on when describing this band, but despite their shared commonalities with their influences, The Lodger is able to go beyond those same sounds; they create a sound entirely their own.  Surely this deserves our notice over here in the United States, as we can only hope that we get more guitar-pop from our distant cousins rather than the same re-hashed dance music time and time again.

Whitman @ Mohawk (12/5)

Friends of ATH, Whitman, will be returning to the stage at The Mohawk in Austin after a 4 month break from touring.  Whitman are joined by other fine local acts The Sideshow Tragedy, Bankrupt and the Borrowers, and The Couch.  Doors for the show are set to open at 9pm with first band going on around 9:30.  Tickets will be sold only at the door for $6 21+ and $8 for the kiddies.  You can read more info about the show on the fancy flyer made by The Versatile Syndicate.  While you can expect some new tunes from Whitman during the evening’s show, nod your head to “The Drifter” in the mean time.  ATH will be on hand snappin’ some photos so try to look presentable.

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Deerhunter @ Emo’s (12/2)

Deerhunter are bringing their tour with Times New Viking through town on Tuesday night at Emo’s.  Doors are set for 9pm with tickets available now for only $12.  Earlier in the day, Times New Viking will also be doing a free instore at local record shop End of an Ear around 5pm.  You should  take a peak at our recent review of Deerhunter’s 2008 album Micorcastle or stream a song from that effort below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/deerhunter-neverstops.mp3]

Download: Deerhunter – Never Stops [MP3]

Free EP From Matt Pond PA

Going on 10 years in the business, Matt Pond PA continue to pump out quality new tunes year after year.  Last week the Pennsylvania based band offered a downloadable 9 song EP ironically titled The FreeepDownload the new songs for free or check out opening track “Hearts and Minds” right here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/01-hearts-and-minds.mp3]

Download: Matt Pond PA – Hearts and Minds [MP3]

Los Campesinos – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Two records in one year is a highly ambitious goal from anyone, but the majority of the songs released on the debut full length from Los Campesinos, Hold On Now Youngster, has been lying around for a few years.  Still, the band aimed to keep the pace with their angular jangling pop, releasing We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, in the last week.

Everything about this band just screams sheer fun. The guitars pummeling your ears as the gang vocals ebb and flow throughout each song, and you find that your hooked immediately.  Their flirtation with nonsensical lyrics makes code deciphering something all of us can enjoy.  It’s energetic, and they never let up, not for a second.

Trading male and female vocals is always a perfect way to gather fans quickly, be it a band like Comet Gain or a group like Mates of State.  The dynamic quality of such songwriting always makes it interesting for any listener, and lets face it, with so many bands putting out decent albums nowadays, it’s hard to find one that perfectly distinguishes itself from the masses.  Yet again, Los Campesinos are standing out in the crowd.

A lot of credit gets thrown around for vibrant young bands, chasing the teenage underclass with energy-packed singles.  Bands like Ra Ra Riot or Tokyo Police Club most recently come to mind, but Los Campesinos stand above the rest.  Their guitars always seem to be combatting one another, as if the war to write a pop song could only be one.  Aforementioned vocals dynamics prevail, mixing it up around any corner, just for kicks.

Take title track, “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” for instance. It opens up with a killer percussion line powered on by a little synthesizer, just before the rest of the band comes in for the attack.  Swelling guitars pulsate, up and down, then make a splash, hinting at the chorus.  Throw in a set of gang vocals, and you have a perfectly juvenile song written for adults.

Sure, the band is not breaking newer ground here with this album.  In fact, you’ll find that a lot of the sounds appear strikingly similar to previous works put out by the band this year.  Still, listening to an album like this reminds you of what fun we can all have if we just let it all loose once in awhile, taking in everything for the sake of fun.

Happy Turkey Day

As a send off to Turkey Day, we here at ATH would like to congratulate the winners in our Black Keys contest.  Winners have been emailed and we’ll get those sweet prizes out to you right after the holiday.  Thanks to all who entered and giving thought out responses!  We’ll be taking some vacation for the next couple of days, so go spend some time with your families.  Happy Thanksgiving kids!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/adam-sandler-the-thanksgiving-song.mp3]

Little Joy @ The Parish (11/29)

Yet another contender for album of the year, Little Joy, will be bringing their indie rock supergroup to The Parish on Saturday evening.  Doors open up at 8pm with tickets available now for only $12If you read our review of the band’s debut LP, you know we are pumped about this one.  Here’s a standout track from the album “Keep Me in Mind”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/lilj_keepmeinmind.mp3]

Download: Little Joy – Keep Me in Mind [MP3]

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