My Latest Novel – Deaths and Entrances

latest

Rating: ★★★★ ·

When My Latest Novel released their debut Wolves a few years back many were taken by the forest-folk style, as the band walked a tightrope between organic folk and twee.  On their latest release, Deaths and Entrances, the band seems to have fully realized their sound, which now seems to be strengthened by the maturation of a group constructing ornate songs throughout its duration.

Interestingly, the band spent a great deal of time on this album researching their favorite literature, taking cues from their everyday live, and weaving them into the lyrics of the album.  The title, for instance, takes its name from a Dylan Thomas poem; they also pay homage to writer Alasdair Gray, who hails from the same land, Scotland, as the group.

Using influential literature as a background for constructing songs has a way of informing a band in a certain sense.  In writing this set of songs the band has been able to transform their album into something entirely different than the modern pop album; it reads, rather, like a concisely written piece of prose. There is an elemental flow, not unlike literature, where the pacing of the album slows in parts, waiting for the reader, or listener in this case, to gather his or her thoughts for just a moment before moving on with more details.

The music is like a great deal of the music that is making its way from Scotland at the moment.  Vocals are immediately recognizable, but in the sense that many a Scot has a distinctive dialect.  And we find that the music throughout the album is quite busy, whilst the band utilizes multiple instruments to construct and deconstruct each song.  According to press releases, they wrote a great deal of these songs together, which allowed the songs to blend together as one large piece of music itself; once again this lends itself to the resonance of literature that is evident in their music.

Subject matter varies on the album, with issues of war-mongering seeming to be one of the more noticeable motifs.  The outlook is not quite as bright, or at least not in the eyes of the songwriters, and as the band unites to sing in unison, they encourage us all to move forward, beyond our trivial pursuits as we search for something greater for both humanity and ourselves.

Once again, My Latest Novel have created an album composed of millions of pieces, tightly pieced together like a giant jigsaw puzzle of aesthetically soothing tunes.  The album exists as a complete composition; its a unified vision of a band sticking together, which inevitably makes it a rewarding listen time and time again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/06-argument-against-the-man.mp3]

Download: My Latest Novel – Argument Against the Man [MP3]

5/11 Elvis Perkins @ The Parish

ep_03On a quiet Monday evening, The Parish continued its recent tradition of well-produced shows as they put on a solid bill, with ATH favorites Other Lives and Elvis Perkins joined by his new band Dearland, supplying the talent. An orchestral grab bag of instrumentation ranging from cellos to trombones, to flutes, a harmonium and organs were laid upon the stage foreshadowing an ambitious evening of unpolluted musical ability in front of a very attentive audience.  Follow the jump to continue reading our review.

Read more

The Theater Fire @ Lamberts (5/15)

theaterThis Friday night Austin will be treated to one of the great North Texas bands, as Theater Fire make their way into town.  They’ll be playing a set over at Lamberts this Friday evening with Some Say Leland.  TIckets to the show are $7 at the door, and you’ll be glad you got to spend your evening listening to the eclectic folk of this great Texas band.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/06-dahl-parts.mp3]

Download: Theater Fire – Dahl Parts [MP3]

Nico Vega @ Emo’s (5/13)

nico_vegaNico Vega are a band that often get compared to Yeah Yeah Yeahs for obvious reasons.  They have a fiery female lead singer, a male guitar player, a male drummer and the sound is eerily similar.  We dig it.  You can catch this rock trio at Emo’s on Wednesday night along with relatively unknown band Red Leaves.  Doors are at 8pm/music at 10.  Tickets can be purchased online for $8.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/nico_vega_-_gravity.mp3]

Download: Nico Vega – Gravity [MP3]

New Music From Bowerbirds

bowerbirdsphotoAfter the success of their debut LP, North Carolina band Bowerbirds are back and ready to drop a  sophomore LP on our ears.  The new LP will be called Upper Air and features this brand spankin’ new single “Northern Lights”.  You can get this album in stores June 7th via Secretly Canadian. They’ll also be making a stop at the Mohawk in August so keep your ears open for a reminder.  I’m diggin’ this one hard style.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/northernlights.mp3]

Download: Bowerbirds – Northern Lights [MP3]

Jeremy Enigk – OK Bear

okbear

Rating: ★★★½ ·

You’d have to be living in a hole to not have heard of Jeremy Enigk, or at least his legendary band Sunny Day Real Estate; he has since moved on to focus primarily on his solo efforts.  His third LP, OK Bear, has just been released, and it’s a step in a direction that many will be pleased to see him pushing.

The opening tracks, “Mind Idea” and “Late of Camera” set the tone for the entirety of the album, as each song builds upon rising sonic sounds.  Organic songs structures allow Enigk great room for his ever-astonishing voice, which is one of the most recognizable.  As always, his vocals soar, seeming as if they are about to burst through your speakers, yet holding back with enough poise to carry a melody.

While some of the song features full band arrangements, a few of which resemble the sound of How It Feels to Be Something On, this is not the only approach Jeremy takes on the latest effort.  The beautiful “April Storm” reminds us all of why he was so enchanting in the first place.  Acoustic guitar accompanied by quiet percussion plainly bring the song to life, and Enigk carries the song on the back of his voice.  “Just a State of Mind” is another such song, wherein Jeremy lets his voice be your guide throughout the song.  Sure, it’s his voice that comes across as one of the more memorable elements in these songs, but that voice, for many, brings nothing but good memories; for those not accustomed to the vocal quality, it will win you over as well.

“Life’s Too Short” is the song that most recalls Jeremy Enigk playing with his old band; there is a sharpness to the rhythm guitar that creates that bombastic atmosphere.  His voice cuts through the song with a sharpness and a certain ferocity that is not present on the rest of the album.  It might make you tear up just a bit, reminding us all of what it felt like when we first listened to Diary.

One of the more surprising songs on the album is “Make Believe.”  It seems like an entirely different genre, or at least approach to writing than anything he has done before this.  Here you find him doing his best impression of a classic singer/songwriter, a place that he really hadn’t visited too often, despite this being his third LP.  When the song is said and done, you wonder how many more gems he’s got up his sleeve, as you could easily listen to an album’s worth of songs like these.   But, as you have it, the record is a little uneven, alternating back and forth between amazing and standard; once you put nostalgia aside, it’s nice to see Jeremy still writing great tunes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/10-make-believe.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Enigk – Make Believe [MP3]

5/7 Flight Of The Conchords @ Bass

fotc04If you’re looking for what makes Flight of the Conchords so hilarious, look no further than Jemaine Clement’s perspective on the band’s comedic strategy, “We tell you lies, and if you laugh, they’re jokes.” Funny enough, that sounds about right doesn’t it? Lies or not, Jemaine, along with his partner Bret McKenzie, had everyone in the packed Bass Concert Hall laughing uncontrollably for most of their Thursday night set. We were in attendance and had one hell of a time. Follow the jump to hear our thoughts on the show and see some fancy pictures.

Read more

Contest: Thermals @ Mohawk 5/22

thermals1After our Eulogies/Dears huge prize package just wrapped up, we’ve got another contest for all you ATH readers out there.  This time one lucky fan will win a couple of guest list spots to the upcoming Thermals show at Mohawk on May 22nd.  All you have to do is a leave a comment about what’s on your mind OR hit us up on Twitter and mention the contest in your @.  We’ll run this one until Wednesday of next week (5/20).  Don’t forget to leave a valid email address so we can get in touch with you.  While you’re at it, read our review of the band’s new album or check out an interview we did with The Thermals during SXSW.

Kevin Devine @ Stubbs (5/12)

kd Kevin Devine seems to have been around forever, and his shows are always an intimate affair worthy of your listening.  You can catch Kevin tonight at Stubbs playing his most recent album Brother’s Blood.  And, you can also head over to Daytrotter to catch a recently recorded set he did for those good folks.  Here’s a track from that session.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/kevin-devine-and-the-goddamn-band-carnival.mp3]

Download: Kevin Devine -Carnival (Daytrotter Session) [MP3]

1 1,230 1,231 1,232 1,233 1,234 1,340