New Tunes from the Strange Boys

strangeWell, it’s Friday, and what better way to end the week than to premier a new song by local Austin favorites, The Strange Boys. This is a track off their album And Girls Club, set to come your way on March 24th on In the Red Records.  The track is titled “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up.” Happy Friday folks. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/strange-boys-heard-you-wanna-beat-me-up.mp3]

Download: Strange Boys – Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up [MP3]

From The Closet: The Beach Boys

beach_boysWe wouldn’t dare to insult you by saying you don’t know who The Beach Boys are, but how about a little “Don’t Worry Baby” to make your day go by a little faster?  The song originally appeared on the 1964 album Shut Down Volume 2, and later as the B-Side to “I Get Around”.  There are so many great Beach Boys songs to choose from, but we’ve been jamming this one all over the ATH offices recently and it just makes time fly.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/dont-worry-baby.mp3]

Golden Bear @ Club Deville (2/13)

goldenbearThis Friday, Golden Bear will be releasing their newest EP, Everest,  at Club Deville.  Not only will the locals be treated to the great tunes of Golden Bear, but they will also get to witness one of our favorite acts, as The Great Nostalgic will also be opening the evening’s festivities.  Rumor has it that Pink Nasty will be on hand to play a set as well.  Show begins around 9, so get there and have fun.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/all_the_stars.mp3]

Download: Golden Bear – All the Stars [MP3]

New Tunes from Max Tundra

maxIt seems that the dance craze must go on, so here is a new tune from Max Tundra to keep you moving as the week winds to a close. Hopefully you’ll find a touch of happiness in the joys of this one-man army. If this is up your alley, keep your eyes and ears peeled, as this group will be all around town during SXSW

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/maxtundrawhichsong.mp3]

Download:  Max Tundra – Which Song [MP3]

Dent May – The Good Feeling Music of…

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Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele – The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Not much has been made of Dent May, which is quite a shame, as he is the man that fills the void for all those in need of a decent lounge singer to mix with their pop-culture references.  He’s part Jens Lekman, part Stephin Merritt.  The release of his album, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, is worthy of your ear, so do the man a favor and tune in.

One of the more original elements in Dent May‘s albums seems to be his reliance upon sun-soaked tunes, lending many to note that he leans towards tropicalia. It’s like he’s gone and mixed all  his elementary bar lineage with a trip to somewhere in the Caribbean.

Sure, the use of the ukulele definitely will draw comparisons to the work done on must-have albums like 69 Love Songs, but he’s not simply taking a rip off of his influences.  The infusion of various island elements brings an entirely new spin on the genre of uke-pop.  Each song has its own personality, which is all you can ask when the origins of the songs stem from such a domineering instrument.   He even adds various sound bites throughout to add a little something extra; its his own spin on the genre.

Vocally, you’ll find him walking the line of Merritt and Lekman, which all owes a great debt to lounge singers throughout the history of time.  It’s a vocal that contains remnants of soul, but has a heavy influence of showmanship.  Mixing these qualities together provides for a uniqueness all his own.  Despite similarities to those who visited the land before him, Dent May has a sound all his own.

One thing you can pick out immediately is the songwriting touch, which pays an homage to the obvious influences.  Lyrical content reflects his ability to take mundane, trivial even, stories of life and spin them in a fantastical sense that keeps the listener interested.  It’s a quality of writing that only few before him truly possess, and we’ll leave those names to historians for the time being.  Who wouldn’t love to hear a song about one’s love for Michael Chang?

Rest assured, in the silence times of uke-pop, Dent May has taken over as the king of swinging lounge acts eager to win your heart and your ear.  It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but dammit if it doesn’t make you want to swing someone around in pure glee.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/02-meet-me-in-the-garden.mp3]

Download: Dent May – Meet Me In The Garden [MP3]

ATH Presents @ Hole In The Wall (2/13)

fridaythe13thposterWe here at Austin Town Hall try to get a show together once in a blue moon, and now felt like the right time to get things going again.  This time around we’ve brought Opposite Day, Whitman, and Frantic Clam to Hole in the Wall this Friday night for a sure to be killer set.  The show will only run you $2, so put down that Friday the 13th box set and get your live music on.  If we don’t see you there, we’ll do to you what Jason did to Kevin Bacon…

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/03-fort-worthless.mp3]

Download: Frantic Clam – Fort Worthless [MP3]

New Tunes from Comet Gain

thegainIts no secret that we here at ATH love Comet Gain, or at least one particular writer has a certain inclination for their sweet pop tunes. When all these other bands want to act lo-fi, lets turn our attention to the true form. This is the new single off the band’s newest 7″ titled Herbert Huncke. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/01-herbert-huncke-part-i.mp3]

Download: Comet Gain – Herbert Huncke [MP3]

Free Album From Brilliant Sweaters

brilliantsweatersRelatively new Queens band, Brilliant Sweaters, have their debut album available for you to download for free. The album is ironically titled Music is Free and features 11 punk rock oriented jams. Here’s a taste of what’s in store with the rocker “I Love You But You’re Worthless”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/03-i-love-you-but-youre-worthless.mp3]

Download: Brilliant Sweaters – I Love You but You’re Worthless [MP3]

Charles Spearin – The Happiness Project

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

When Charles Spearin, member of Broken Social Scene, decided he needed something new to cleanse his pallet, he turned to an idea that had been fermenting for several years.  In his mind, he could hear the vocal inflections in every day conversations, as only a man with a keen ear can do.  His next step was to fuse these natural inflections into a pop-centric album.  The album would be titled The Happiness Project.

Setting the scene for this masterpiece of sorts, Charles set out to record his neighbors conversations with the subject matter revolving entirely around the idea of happiness. Once recorded, Charles would enter the studio to incorporate a plethora of instruments in order to match the melodies in the speeches on tape to musical melodies.

His attempt has proven quite successful, though it’s easy to say that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  For all intents and purposes, it’s an avant garde concept album, with a leaning towards the pop elements; these elements rely more on the personality of Spearin than the final product.  Each recorded session is fit in with a unique sound meant to follow the exact vocal inflections of the speakers.  You may not regard this as something entirely remarkable, but when listening, one can’t help but feel a sense of wonderment when you hear just how tightly wound the two melodious elements are on tape.

A problem for most listeners certainly will lie in the timing of the album, and by that I refer to the appropriate time to listen to such an album.  It’s not exactly something you just throw on the record player in the middle of the party, but this could be precisely what Spearin wants from his listeners.  Perhaps he is begging you to step aside from the normal barriers of conversation and listen closely to the natural music we all make every day of our lives.

This experiment, as the man proved live, is quite beautiful when heard in the live setting.  Conceptually, its both brilliant and intriguing. You’ll just have to set aside a fair amount of time to actually sit down and let this record crawl into your head, and if you do so, you are sure to reap the rewards that Charles set out to share with us all.  Though it’s merely a reminder of the beauty that surrounds us each day, even in our most mundane conversations.

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