Stereolab @ Emo’s (9/24)

Stereolab, now working on 18 years of existence, will be playing at La Zona Rosa on Wednesday evening.  The show may be one of the only legit shows going down this week that has nothing to do with ACL.  Tickets for the show are $25 and can be bought from Gettix.  Below is a song from the band’s 2008 album Chemical Chords entitled “Three Women”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/0911_stereolab_-_three_women.mp3]

Download: Stereolab – Three Women [MP3]

ACL Battles: MGMT vs. Spiritualized

Okay, so I personally think this may be the toughest choice to make of the festival.  On one side, you’ve got a very young band in MGMT who have only had major success since the release of their superb second album Oracular Spectacular in 2007.  On the other hand, Spiritualized are coming up on twenty years of existence and have been seeing success since before members of MGMT were in middle school.  Both bands will be playing at 5:30 on Saturday on the AT&T Blue Room stage and the Dell stage respectively.  You have a choice between the psych-pop of MGMT or the space rock of Spiritualized.  What’s it gonna be?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-electric-feel.mp3]

Download: MGMT – Electric Feel [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/spiritualized_-_soul_on_fire.mp3]

Download: Spiritualized – Soul on Fire [MP3]

ACL Preview: Hot Chip

By this point in time, we’ve all heard about Hot Chip many times before, or at least I hope they have done a fly-by on your radar. Well, this bunch of Brits are here to brighten up your ACL experience on Friday afternoon. Expect this to be a hot-spot for those in the know, and since I’ve alerted you, you are now one of those privileged people! Grab more info after the jump.

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Brightblack Morning Light – Motion to Rejoin

Rating: ★ · · · ·

All things considered, Matador Records is one of the top indie labels, consistently putting out good albums, but I’m not sure I understand the love behind their latest release from Brightblack Morning Light. It’s great to branch out into new areas of the field, but is there anything really worthy of recovery here?

First off, some have called Motion to Rejoin mood music, and it is just that.  It is for those moods when you feel like driving your car straight into a black and white movie.  As you barrel down the highway, you want something barely audible in the background, something with a sense of impending doom.  Then the scene stops.  You are no where to be found–obviously, you are dead, and I think it is this album that led you there.

Absolutely nothing on this album is moving, especially the sprawling pace of these songs.  As every song carries on, listeners will try their damnedest to locate something that will draw them back into the song, but their search will be fruitless, entirely so. If this album were racing with a turtle, the turtle would most likely be the winner of the race, and not only because it is faster, but because it actually goes somewhere.  Every piece of this album just comes across the speakers as if someone tried their best to create the most mundane soundtrack pieces known to man.

And! And! There are six songs on this album that go beyond the five minute mark! Did someone seriously think there were songs on here worthy of going beyond the  one minute mark?  They did, because they are on here, but they shouldn’t have.  The album would have been just as perfect had it only included the 43 second introduction song that begins the entire piece.

When you consider the vocals, and their desperate grasp at anything with an ounce of emotion, it is clear that the album didn’t have anything when it all began.  The vocals lack a certain sense of soul, and when they approach that line, it is clear that they are grabbing for emotion with all their might; it comes across forced, much as I was forced to listen to this record several times to figure it all out.

Now, I realize that there are certain people out there that place some sort of value on this album, but it is increasingly unclear as to why they have placed any importance on it at all.  I struggle to determine whether or not one can even really consider this dense mess of undertones music in the first place.  Just because no one understands it, doesn’t make it unaccessible, therefore rendering it worthy of listening.  If you care to explain it to me, go right on ahead, but I will probably not listen to this album again, unless I’m envisioning euthanasia in my near future.

I’m sorry Brightblack Morning Light, but your Motion to Rejoin has been denied by the court.

R.I.P TRL

So MTV recently announced that it is canceling Total Request Live. I think that means they officially play zero music now. Not that the 15 second sound bytes of Miley Cyrus they played on TRL really counted as playing music. Looks like it was a bit of a guilty pleasure for poor Steve, however…

Town Hall ACL Battles: Manu vs. Mars

Town Hall ACL  Battles is another feature we will be bringing you everyday leading up to the festival this weekend. The idea is fairly simple: two bands, same time slot, same day, who ya gonna pick? Feel free to leave comments on why you should or shouldn’t see each band represented in our “battles”. Now obviously we can’t hit every single conflict over 5 days so don’t be offended if we miss something. These are “the big ones”. Our first battle pits Manu Chao vs. Mars Volta both headlining around 8:30 on Friday. The schedule does have Mars Volta ending at 9:30 and Manu ending at 10 but were talking about opposite ends of the park (AMD and AT&T stages). It might take you 30 minutes just to get from one side to the other this late in the day. So, Sunday at 8:30, where ya gonna be? Getting your face melted by the prog-rock of Mars Volta? Or jammin’ to the world sounds of Manu Chao? If you need a little assistance, we have the most recent singles of both bands. Ding Ding.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/rollingstone_download_manuchao_politikskills.mp3]

Download: Manu Chao – Politik Kills[MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-wax-simulacra.mp3]

Download: Mars Volta – Wax Simulacra [MP3]

ACL Preview: Colour Revolt

This being the week leading up to ACL, we’re going to preview the Festival by offering you a feature of a few bands we’re pumped about seeing. We’ll try to keep it to bands that might be a little left of center or not quite on everyone’s radar. Today, we take a quick look at Colour Revolt out of Oxford, Mississippi. A short bio, song preview and a ton of links after the jump.

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TV on the Radio – Dear Science,

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Does the absence of a song such as “Wolf Like Me” devalue a new venture by a popular band?  TV on the Radio poses such a question to the audience of independent music with their newest effort Dear Science,.

By opening with “Halfway Home” the band walks the thinnest of lines between new direction and tried and true talent.  The pounding song, full of handclaps, pushes forward, with an atmospheric guitar swirling in the background.  Outside of the chorus, listeners will immediately notice the more subdued approach the band has embarked upon.

Oddly, the band discards the often apparent gang-vocals approach they’ve used in their previous albums, instead choosing to focus the singing duties for one singer per song, at least for the most part. Stranger still is the lack of real instruments present; the drums sound more programmed than anything they’ve done before.  Sure, you have strings and horns, adding a strikingly subtle emotion to the entirety of the album, but no real musicianship, give or take a few songs.

Yet at the core of the album is a band that is able to perfect exactly what they want.  This album comes off more as a traditional R & B album, with a revisionist standpoint.  Of course there are a few odd songs, such as “Dancing Choose,” which is full of vocals reminiscent of Billy Joel when he was telling us that “we didn’t start the fire.”  Then you juxtapose that with a song like “Family Tree,” which some might call the most beautiful song TV on the Radio has ever written, even with its Brit-Pop leanings.

Admiration is owed to the band for their desire to go in newer, albeit, stranger directions.  They haven’t rested on their popularity; they have continued to progress with their own direction in tact.  The throbbing bass lines of “Golden Age” with its funk skeletal backbone might have pushed some listeners away, but those that used the surface value of this song as a statement on the album will surely miss out on some of the more amazing moments that come out on this record.

At the end of the day, TV on the Radio have answered the question in regards to the necessity of having a driving single to push album sales. With or without a huge hit, this is an album that shows superior growth in an entirely new direction, as the band continues to open new doors for themselves.  It’s all up to them to see where they can go.  I expect those new progressive moments to be as beautiful as the Gill-Young Wedding I attended this past weekend.

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