The Wedding Present – El Rey

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Long ago David Gedge hung up The Wedding Present moniker in favor of Cinerama. Recently, as in the last three years, we have seen the return of The Wedding Present–with two proper albums added to their already glorious catalog. Honestly, this newest one is the best work I think he’s ever done.

Our first hint at a classic return to form is his usage of Steve Albini-famed sound engineer-the first time they have united together since 1991’s Seamonsters. The reunion brings across a brilliant sound, where the guitars are extremely clean, while also carrying with them fire power. Then you have the pounding drums; the perfect mix of instrumentation to accompany Gedge’s voice.

For me, all the music creates quite a dynamic power. Songs like “The Trouble with Men,” carefully play with the soft/loud dynamic that made bands like Death Cab for Cutie or Pinback your favorite. It’s the album we all have been looking for, but we just didn’t know that it was out there for us. Well, solid rock albums are back in these days-brought to you by David Gedge and The Wedding Present.

Lyrically, he is as clever as he has ever been. Gedge comes across in his lyrics like that endearing older sibling who always has the answers to life that we search for on our own. He wants you to feel his characters and his words–and you listen. Of course, he also manages to keep pop culture references abundant–such as the Seinfeld reference in the brilliant “Soup” or a quick jab with Spiderman. This all serves as a reminder why we all love lyrics like these. For me, he is the poor man’s Bob Pollard.

This album is meant to bring perfection to your sunniest days. It makes you want to drive around town-or walk since that helps keep you in shape-with the guitars blasting out of your stereo as you sing along to every single word, as if they were your words. Ask yourself, isn’t this the sort of record you have been looking for? Here you have it folks, the completely triumphant return of David Gedge and The Wedding Present.

Here we have a new song off the album el rey entitled “The Thing I Like Best About Him is his Girlfriend”
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/09-the-thing-i-like-best-about-him-is-his-girlfriend.mp3]

Download: girlfriend.mp3

New Dr. Dog Song

Dr. Dog recently dropped a new single off their upcoming album Fate due out July 22nd. The new song is called “The Old Days”. The band will also be playing the Parish Room in Austin on Sep. 13th. That may be too far ahead to plan for some of you but if your worried about it selling out, you should get those tickets now my friends.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/drdog_theolddays.mp3]

Download: theolddays.mp3

The Hold Steady – Stay Positive

The Hold Steady are following the recent trend of bands streaming full albums on their myspace page after the album has leaked everywhere online. Listen to The Hold Steady – Stay Positive on their myspace page before the actual release date on July 17th and tell us what you think about it. Also, the band will be coming to La Zona Rosa in Austin later this summer on August 6th. The Hold Steady are one of the best live rock acts around so I suggest you buy tickets to the show before it sells out. After the success of the critically acclaimed 2006 album Boys and Girls in America the new Hold Steady album should be better than good.

Shearwater @ Waterloo Records

Austin band Shearwater will be doing a free show at Waterloo Records at 5pm this Wednesday (6/11). If you’ve read our recent review of the band’s new album Rook you probably know we are excited about this free in-store. Waterloo doesn’t do much in the way of promoting these things but you can still check out the Waterloo website for more free in stores coming up or if you just want to buy some sweet tunes. Be sure you show up early because the line starts for the free keg beer pretty early. That’s right, I said free keg beer. Do you really need another reason to go? We’ll be posting pictures of the event in the coming days.

New Noah & The Whale Single

London band, Noah and the Whale, have recently put up a new song on their Myspace page, but surprisingly, it is not coming out on the much anticipated new album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down coming our way via Interscope Records on July 29th. Comparisons abound, from Ruby Suns to Adam Green, but needless to say, this is a band you want to watch. Also, you can download the single, “5 Years Time,” on iTunes as we speak.

Hear the just released single “Sometimes”:
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/sometimes.mp3]

Download: sometimes.mp3

$2 Music Mondays at Draft House

The Alamo Draft house on South Lamar in Austin has been featuring $2 dollar music Mondays for quite some time now. Tonight the draft house will be showing one of the best rock concert films in history Stop Making Sense about 80s pop giants Talking Heads. For only $2, I suggest you make a point to stop by draft house tonight to check out the musical stylings of David Byrne and company. Even if you don’t enjoy the band, the price has got to sound nice if you have nothing better to do on a Monday night.  Buy tickets at the Drafthouse’s website.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Rating: ★★★★★

When one is confronted with the repeated hype of a band across the Internet word, as we all were with Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP, you want to find one thing, anything, that proves them wrong. You almost want to hate the album, but I’m sorry, this is not the album.

Personally, I wouldn’t have started the album with “Sun Giant,” since it may have appeared somewhere in the past, but it still sets the mood for this album. By the time “Drops in the River,” the third track, rolls around, this band already had me won over–I actually didn’t like the EP. Sure, its a gentle track from the beginning, but once it gets rolling its hard not to find yourself bobbing your head here. Then they go straight into “White Winter Hymnal,” which definitely is a stand out on the album.

Actually, its not a stand out at all because I am struggling to find the one song on here I can dislike, or at least dismiss. There isn’t one. I double-checked. Not a one.

Each song on this album has carefully crafted instrumentation, and it all fits so perfectly with the harmonies of lead singer Robin Peckfold, who at times is harmonizing with every one else in the band. It is quite an interesting effect–though I admit at times it makes the lyrics somewhat indiscernible. Still, you can’t hide the fact that each arrangement on this album seems to fit perfectly with the rest of the song–with the rest of the album for that matter.

My biggest complaint about this album is the timing of the release. This is just me being selfish, but where was this album during the winter? Everything on here screams perfect winter album to me. I know I know. I could easily enjoy this sitting around a campfire with my best friends, but I don’t have time to go camping right now. Still, it would be perfect for that.

My favorite songs are “White Winter Hymnal,” “Mykonos,” “Quiet Houses,” and “Oliver James.” Now, I could ramble off thousands of comparisons to this band, but I’m sure you could find more adequate ones elsewhere on the Internet. My vote is for The Clientele comparison, but that is just me.

I hope this little review gives you enough insight into this album, but to be honest, its really hard to write about such a solid album. See for yourself.

Fleet Foxes will also be bringing their live act to the Mohawk in Austin on July 2nd.  Get your tickets at The Mohawk’s website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/02-fleet_foxes-white_winter_hymnal.mp3]

Download: whitewinterhymnal.mp3

June 6th Whitman Show @ Emo’s Lounge

Have you seen my face?  I think I left it on the floor of Emo’s Lounge on Friday night.  Austin darlings Whitman brought the jams out on Friday night at Emo’s Lounge here in Austin.  Most would think the band would be a bit sloppy having been absent from the stage for around two months but that wasn’t the case on Friday. Read more

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