New Music From Trail Of Dead

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have some new songs online from their EP released today Festival Thyme.  You can hear the song “Inland Sea” over on Stereogum and “The Bells of Creation (Machete Mix)” on the band’s myspace page.  You can also purchase and download a digital copy of the EP on the Justice Records website today.  If your’re more hands on oriented, the EP is available in limited edition 10″ picture disc vinyl from any fine record store like Waterloo Records.  Is this a return to form for the Austin boys?

The Dears – Missiles

Rating: ★★★★½

Years into the future, we will look back upon the “oughts,” searching for those few bands that we all seemed to forget about, but that completely deserved our love and affection.  Already I can see The Dears being one of those bands; so adored by fans, yet never given the chance to completely blossom before us.  Their latest release, Missiles, again has them chasing down labels, losing members and still coming out on top of the world. They settled with Dangerbird Records in order to release the album in these United States.

Much has been made of singer, Murray Lightburn’s, tendency to come off as a black Morrissey, but throughout this album you get a peak at a more mature Murray, one that is comfortable in his own skin, singing as carefully as his music requires.  Opening track, “Disclaimer” features one of the most laid-back Lightburn vocal performances to date, which is still ridiculously wonderful in its own right.

One of the more apparent attributes of this album, and possibly the one fault, is that this album doesn’t sound quite as complete as The Dears albums from the past.  There are some empty spaces throughout the record, which is most likely due to the loss of every member in the band other than Natalia and Murray.  Although their traditional soundscapes are not nearly as dense as they once were, it makes way for a lot more intimate moments for the listeners, not to mention the full emergence of Natalia’s vocals.  But, most will find that the grandiose soundscapes of typical construction are strikingly absent here.

As usual, there is evidence of a certain sense of melancholy and ruination, as evidenced by songs like “Demons,” but the unique organization of the lyrical content in the songs carefully allows for the continual movement of the songs’ statements.  After all the trials and tribulations of the band, and couple, heading this album, it’s difficult not to empathize with everything they’ve gone through, even in song.

Admirably, they solider on into that good night.  Creating wondrous songs full of lush guitars, ebbs and flows, and subtle defiance.  Many of the songs go beyond the 5 minute mark, which really means you have more of The Dears to listen to night after night.  The build up towards the final launch in “Missiles” is just an example of the mastery this group has over their songs, perfecting nearly every one.

In the end, we might all skip over this one, or this band for that matter.  We may see their absence of credibility with various labels, or the decrease in interest building up to this new album; but, always present will be the incredible songs the group has written, and continues to write, in the face of more adversity than most of us will ever care to endure.

Check out the song “Meltdown in A Major” elsewhere on our website.

White Denim @ Club Deville

A White Denim show has just been added to the bill at Club Deville this Wednesday (10/22).  The Austin boys will be headlining with Dayton garage rock outfit Heartless Bastards opening things up.  Tickets for the show are only $9 and I suggest you buy them now before this thing sells out.  The show is in support of the band’s debut US LP Exposion which you can buy/download today before the November 3rd vinyl release date.  You can also head elswhere on our swanky site to preview the outstanding track “Sitting” from the new album.

Minus The Bear On MPR

Minnesota Public Radio continues to give us great in studio sets with a recent performance by Minus the BearListen to the entire show and download the MP3s now.  While were on the subject, here’s the band’s most recent single “Guns & Ammo” off their recent EP Acoustics.  Have a listen and enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/guns-and-ammo.mp3]

Download: Minus the Bear – Guns and Ammo [MP3]

10/17 The Wedding Present @ Mohawk

Many in Austin seemed to have forgotten about the decades of hard work that David Gedge has put forth for our ears. Since 1984 he has consistently provided us with a plethora of guitar-driven pop music set to ideas of loss and love. Perhaps we consider it cliche now, but Gedge has been at the helm for a long time, and he brought his group The Wedding Present to the Mohawk Friday, October 17th. Follow the jump to read about the show.

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Summer Mix Series

Yes we know that summer has been dead and gone for a while now, but summer mixes can be enjoyed all year long!  The Yewknee Blog has compiled a massize website with every summer mix tape they could find on the internet.  Trying to count all the free mixes and free mp3s on the Summer Mix Series website would just give you a headache so don’t even try.  Head over to the site and download all the free music of summer you can fit on your hard drive.

Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Of Montreal have been purveyors of cool for quite some time now, and they are a group, or a man, continuing to push the boundaries of pop music. Here, Kevin Barnes, does his best to deconstruct pop structure in order to make Skeletal Lamping one of the more interesting listens of the year.

Let’s rid ourselves of the main flaw that is present on this album, and in fact, I’m quite disappointed with the lyrical output. Much has been made of Barnes’ alter-ego, a super-sexed black transsexual, but the presence of that person destroys a lot of the album’s credibility. Lyrically, this album pushes the limits of acceptance beyond it’s barrier, and although I’m sure various people’s will claim that “we can do it softcore, if you want,” but that doesn’t make the sexual innuendo worthy of our attention. Typically, Of Montreal albums maintain credible lyrics, in some manner, and sure, they exist here and there, but most will be turned off by the ridiculousness present.

Now, the band has continuously been moving towards an electronic sound since Satanic Panic in the Attic, and this album is what one can assume is the last step. For the most part, it’s difficult to find where full-band participation might come into play, as the majority of the skeletal instrumentation is electronic. However, the group, as per usual, splices their elements carefully throughout the backbone of electronic sounds. One of the highlights might be the horns on “An Eluardian Instance,” where they blast in with perfect accompaniment.

One of the most spectacular aspects of this album, based merely on Barnes’ attempt to tear down the walls of modern pop, is that listening to the entire thing is like going on a scavenger hunt for perfect pop gems. Harmonies abound, hopping in and out of the core of each song, hiding around the corners of our hearts. You must carefully follow through each song in order to get the most out of this album. It’s a daunting task.

Therein lies the problem most listeners will encounter. Can you stomach the hours of careful listening to find one of the most gratifying listening experiences around? It’s a hard choice for most, and one that most people will not be able to make until several listens of the album, and by that point it’s too late, you’ve already put it aside for the rest of the year. But, if you hold on for a couple more listens, you will be making some of the stranger mix tapes among your groups of friends, based solely on the fact that you used clips from the 47th second on when you decided to include “Death is Not a Parallel Move” on your year end mix.

It’s not an easy listen by any means, but weeks into your listening experience you will find that there are more and more elements you missed, ultimately asking you to return again and again to one of the more interesting listens of the year.

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