On their recent stop through Austin with Death Cab for Cutie, we had the chance to interview Syracuse indie-rock band Ra Ra Riot. We spoke with bassist Mathieu Santos about the state of his band, his favorite music of 2009, and how his band has survived through some major adversity. Follow the jump to read our entire interviewwith Mat.
Ah, the cult of Nine Inch Nails. I can remember the hordes of “NIN” shirts roaming the halls in-between junior high classes like it was yesterday. As a 90’s grunge kid, there was a lot of crossover into Nine Inch Nails. Their two greatest albums, Pretty Hate Machine & The Downward Spiral, got constant rotation in my CD player on the drive to school. Today, I present my favorite song from The Downward Spiral and one that tends to get lost in the shuffle of “Closer” and “Hurt“, the bass heavy “Piggy”. NIN will be invading Austin with Jane’s Addiction & Street Sweeper Social Club next Tuesday, March 12th at the Frank Erwin Center. Tickets for the event can still be had from the Texas Box Office.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/nine-inch-nails-piggy.mp3]
So we just updated our Dears + Eulogies at the Parish ticket/merch contest. Now you can enter the contest by leaving a comment about almost anything on the contest post or hit us up on twitter with something about the contest in your @. Do it now. Get to the choppa! Contest ends on Tuesday – May 12th.
Cause Co-Motion! jangled their way across many-a-stage during SXSW this year, and I loved the lo-fi operation from the get go. The Brooklyn quartet is set to release a new six song EP titled Because Because Because, and we’ve brought you one of those tracks to sample. It’s lost a bit of the speed, but it still carries the fuzz. Buen proveche.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/cause-co-motion-you-lose1.mp3]
Download: Cause Co-Motion – You Lose [MP3]
A longtime ATH favorite, The Paper Chase, are returning to the stage at Mohawk on Friday night. The Dallas band is currently touring in support of their two part double album, the first half Someday This Could All be Yours (Volume One) is due out May 12th. Joining the band for the show will be Haunting Oboe Music and Valina. Tickets will be sold only at the door with music starting at 10pm.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/whatshouldwedo.mp3]
Bill Callahan has just been confirmed for a last minute/surprise instore at Waterloo on Friday. As always, these events are totally free, start around 5:30pm and include free keg beer. Check out our recent review of Bill’s new album Sometimes I wish I Were an Eagle or head elsewhere on the site to hear new single “Eid Ma Clack Shaw”. You won’t want to miss this.
When you come across the musical landscape today, it’s fairly easy to classify most groups within a certain genre, especially when it comes to independent music. Akron/Family‘s new album, Set Em Wild Set Em Free (out now on Dead Oceans) , does not fit easily into any such category, and listeners are better off for the approach to songwriting that the group has taken.
“Everyone is Guilty” jumps the album off with a funky math rock instrumental moment, but just as you brace yourself for a prolonged psychedelic math trip, grouped vocal harmonies bounce in, altering the landscape within the song; the song progresses, bouncing back and forth between the gang vocal approach and the elemental science funk. For the most part, this song serves as the perfect opening to the album, as it lays down the dichotomy of the entire album. This album is one that never stays in one place for too long, combining various albums, different paces and a variety of other musical tricks to make this one of the most diverse listening experiences of the year.
Of course, there are moments when the experimentation goes a step too far, but alas, no band is truly perfect. Take the longest song on the album, “Gravelly Mountains of the Moon,” which meanders along well enough, as all the songs on this album do, but then it is destroyed by irritating noise experimentation. Such moves are a rarity in this case, but this is one moment, of the few, when they band fell off the tracks. Similarly, “Creatures” tries to delve into some electronic drum work, and although the vocal performance is memorable, it detracts from the song a bit as the atmospherics lead the listener to wander.
Still, there are some clearly perfect moments in abundance. The gentle rolling along of “River” creates a song that suits the title of the song, as it seems to gently move along due to the steady pacing of the drums. It’s as if you can hear the river coming down towards you. “Sun Will Shine” is another gem off the album, which recalls the structures of a band like The Dodos who construct and deconstruct with perfect execution. Even the haunting moments of “Many Ghosts” brings to mind the folkier side of bands like the Unicorns, as Akron/Family uses various instruments to create a wall of oddball sounds to accompany their finely woven tunes.
For those interested in this album, you will not only be rewarded by an enjoyable listening experience, but you will find that the length is suiting as well. This is an album where you will get what you paid for in length, as well as in the quantity of songs. Sit back for a spell, and let Set Em Wild Set Em Free take you away for awhile.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/07-many-ghosts.mp3]
Download: Akron/Family – Many Ghosts [MP3]
Coming off the huge recent popularity of their HBO series and debut LP, Flight of the Conchords are touring the nation and making a stop at Bass concert hall on Thursday night. This show has been sold out for quite some time now so try craigslist for some buying options. Show starts around 8 with an opening set by Eugene Mirman.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/businesstime.mp3]
Download: Flight of the Conchords – Business Time [MP3]
NPR is streaming a few new to stores albums and one that isn’t even out yet as part of their Exlcusive First Listen series. For Starters, they are streaming the new Camera Obscura album, St. Vincent’s latest Actor, and the new Conor Oberst joint. On top of that, a First Listen for Jason Lytle’s new album Yours Truly, The Commuter, which isn’t our for a week or so, went up a couple days ago. We gave you first single “Brand New Sun” from Lytle’s new album a while back and we’re really digging the whole thing. What’s your take?
They first teamed up together to create a brilliant track for the Dark Was the Night project, and now they’ve gone at it again; Dirty Projectors have collaborated with Talking Head David Byrne. This new tune is not of the same vein as the formerly released track, “Knotty Pine,” but it showcases the skills of both groups. Don’t forget, you’re supposed to be anticipating the upcoming album from the Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca. More on that later; here’s “Ambulance Man.”[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dirty-projectors-and-david-byrne-ambulance-man.mp3]
Download: Dirty Projectors and David Byrne – Ambulance Man [MP3]