08/23 Matt Pryor Show @ Stubb’s

Matt Pryor has evolved quite a bit to get to where he is now. Would you have believed me 10 years ago if I told you he’d be playing shows armed only with an acoustic guitar? Most of the vagrant punk followers would accuse you of mistaken identity and slap you around a bit. Believe it or not you old Get Up Kids die hards, that’s what Matt Pryor is all about nowadays. He went to being a pioneer in the pop-punk world to now being an extremely solid singer song writer who still inspires the young and old.

Show review and pictures after the jump

Read more

Human Highway – Moody Motorcycle

Rating: ★★★★½

This album didn’t receive too much press, nor did the band, but this is definitely an ex-Unicorns side project worth noticing.  Human Highway consists of former UnicornIslands front man Nick Thorburn and singer-songwriter Jim Guthrie–it’s about as Canadian as you can get.

Opening track, “The Sound,” will probably make a cut for many singles of the year lists, and probably mine.  It’s got sort of an island feel to it–by that I am referencing the volcanic ocean formations rather than Thorburn’s band, though that is there too.  Guthrie closely resembles Patrick Wolf here, but the overall feel pushes you for a little beach time.  It’s probably the most upbeat song on the album.

From here they go on to pursue their original intentions in creating this record, that of chasing after the harmonies of 50s/60s R&B groups.  They can achieve this fairly easily considering Thorburn’s abilities to tie harmonies in twisted knots, and they do this throughout the record.  In fact, this really is the record for the most part.  It’s a stripped down affair full of matching harmonies with accompanying guitars and minimalist percussion.

Those of you searching for the awkward catchiness of the Unicorns and Islandswill probably have a momentary lapse of judgment when you listen to this album.  Immediately, it won’t be accessible to your ears, but I beg you to go on for a few more listens.  This album resembles all those bands and projects you love from Thorburn, but in a more traditional singer/songwriter vein.  It’s like an acoustic Islands album, which probably garners it more longevity than Arm’s Way–the album by the aforementioned band that came out this year.

You’ll find all the great harmonies you’ve come to love, and you will find Thorburn’s vocal styling all over the place–he frequently goes from casual crooner to that soft whisper we’ve come to know so well in his productive career.  I don’t want to take away from Guthrie’s presence here either–his heavier voice, though gentle, definitely adds a sublime contrast to the higher pitched Nick T.  And of course, you will find that the lyrics, though a bit more personal, still have that hint of absurdity.

At the end of the day you will come to find that this album is hard to put away.  Each song continuously unfolds for me, turning me into fans of different songs throughout the day, only coming back to revisit the album in its entirety.  I might be on an island all by myself listening to this, but damned if I don’t enjoy every instant.

The Lord Dog Bird

We recently read about this band, The Lord Dog Bird, on the NPR website and found their stuff quite interesting. The band is a stripped down side project of Colin McCann, who plays guitar for Baltimore rock band Wilderness. You can read more about The Lord Dog Bird or order the new self-titled album on the Jagjaguwar record label website. Newest single “The Gift of Song in the Lions Den” from Mr. McCann’s new solo act can be found below. Give it a few listens, and I’m sure you’ll learn to love it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/thegiftofsonginthelionsden1.mp3]

Download: The Lord Dog Bird – The Gift of Song in the Lions Den [MP3]

My Morning Jacket – Next Stop Austin

For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to tonights SOLD OUT MMJ show at Stubb’s, here is a little taste of what’s to come via ATH’s Dallas TX correspondent.

The band played the Palladium Theater in south Dallas Saturday night to a packed and enthusiastic crowd. This venue is similar to Austin Music Hall in size and presentation, but even with a line stretching around the block waiting on the doors, there were tickets still available (for a time) at the box office.

Show review and pictures after the jump

Read more

Jaguar Love – Take Me to the Sea

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When I first head about the union of former Pretty Girls Make Graves member, Jay Clark, with two of the Blood Brothers, I was salivating in wake for the release of a full length.  The potential for this combination could reach no bounds in my imagination, but come to find out, there are some boundaries for this band.

The opening track, “Highways of Gold,” fails to let me down.  Each time I play this song I’m invigorated by the rise and fall of the guitar work, as it approaches the angular tour de force that I anticipated. Had they reined it in about thirty seconds, then this could be a front runner for one of my favorites of the year.

I suppose that at this point, I should let you know that singer Johnny Whitney’s voice can be grating.  Personally, I’ve adapted to it after settling in to several Blood Brothers’ albums, but I can foresee this as a problem for many listeners.  If you can’t look past it in the first song, then you can’t get through this album.

Still, the next three songs are solid tracks.  In particular, “Georgia” won me over with its proximity to a modern indie ballad done in the post-punk way.  Lyrically, these songs set the face, from the doomsday homages in “Jaguar Pirates” to the personal pain that comes with “Georgia,” which still kind of deals with the effects of living in the modern world.

However, the album starts to get repetitive at this point.  The musicianship is exactly what you expect, with tight drumming and throbbing bass, piled upon razor-sharp guitars, but at this point it kind of blends into itself.  There isn’t any differentiation in the vocals, and the music, like a Blood Brothers album, or the later Pretty Girls Make Graves records for that fact.  It’s not that the music is uninteresting, but the pace and power disappear.

Then comes the eighth track on the record, “Bone Trees and a Broken Heart,” which is another slow song for the group.  Strangely, their slower songs are just as intriguing to my ears as their louder material.  For me, it represents the talent this group possesses, not to mention their abilities to go pretty much anywhere on this record.  It’s just too bad that they don’t really go anywhere, aside from the expected barrage of noise I predicted in my earlier fantasies of this band.

Once you get away from Whitney’s vocals, you’ll find–those of you that like to rock–that this record has a lot of redeemable qualities about it.  It’s listenable all the way through, at least for those of this ilk. It might not be anything that takes you out of this world, but then again, it meets almost all of my expectations.  Good start fellas, now hit the showers.

Coupons

There’s nothing like a good old trip to H-E-B. Sure it takes hours to fight your way down each aisle. Sure you inevitably run into at least one person you didn’t want to see. Sure they don’t recognise the concept of expiration dates. At least they have some pretty good deals, on everything

1 1,232 1,233 1,234 1,235 1,236 1,263