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    Well SXSW music is officially here, and as I sit and ponder my existence while at work, I thought it would be fun to share some advice on bands to

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  • RayRay’s Top Songs – 2018

    When it comes to ATH and our areas of expertise, I like to think I’m the go to guy for song lists and bad ass playlists. If you’re doubting me,

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  • Best of Indiepop 2018

    Everyone has their own definition of indiepop; but I tend to ascribe to the original craft where DIY aesthetics and a softer response to punk were all the rage. But,

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  • ATH Top Albums – 2018

      This is our year end list for albums of the year. There’s four of us here, so it’s hard to come to a consensus, but we did our best.

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  • Nathan’s Top Austin Albums of 2018

    In the year’s end, those who “write” about music claim our superior tastes by spouting off about our favorite releases. I figured I should start off all the shenanigans with

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BLK JKS @ Emos (10/12)

blkjks

Date 10/12/09
Location Emos
Doors 9pm
Tickets $10 from Ticketweb

We really dig the new BLK JKS record so naturally we are excited to see that they’re stopping through town at Emos on Monday night.  Some of our favorite locals TV Torso and Wine & Revolution will also be on hand to provide your opening support.  You won’t want to miss this one.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/karen-o-_-the-kids-all-is-love.mp3]

Download: BLK JKS – Molalatladi [MP3]

New Tunes from Thomas Function

TFunction_1Back during SXSW, I anxiously awaited Camera Obscura to take to the stage, but while waiting, I was lucky enough to be blown away by Thomas Function.  These cats from Alabama have a new record coming out next week on Fat Possum Records titled In the Valley of Sickness.  Since I just got the album in the mail, I wanted to throw a track everyone’s way, so you can see what I’m so excited about.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/06-Belly-Of-The-Beast-1.mp3]

Download: Thomas Function – Belly Of The Beast [MP3]

Dear And The Headlights @ Emos (10/9)

dear

Date 10/9/09
Location Emos
Doors 8pm
Tickets $12 from Ticketweb

Seems like Dear and the Headlights make a stop through town pretty regularly and we always get excited to hear they’re returning to town.  So if you aren’t making it to some of the other solid shows on Friday night, make your way out to Emo’s on Friday for the Phoenix based band.  Support will be provided by Kinch and Rajiv Patel.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/05-im-bored-youre-amorous.mp3]

Download: Dear and The Headlinghts – Im Bored, Youre Amorous [MP3]

The Clientele – Bonfires on the Heath

clientele

Rating: ★★★½ ·

A short while ago, there was discussion that the UK group, The Clientele, would be calling it quits, and perhaps this is still true.  Regardless, I was taken aback, and a little saddened.  I’ve been listening to the group, and their pop soundscapes for some time, so I was happy to know that if they were calling it quits that I would least get one more album; that record being Bonfires on the Heath.

Not surprisingly, the group brought out the same old same old on their latest release, which isn’t entirely a bad thing in my book.  This is one group that’s never needed to change, no matter what they put out.  One should note, however, that their musical etchings are as detailed as the cover art to the current album, layer upon layer of sounds molded together to create one entity.

As I listen to “I Wonder Who We Are,” the opening track, I can’t help but notice that they share some odd similarities to my faves, Belle and Sebastian. Jangling guitars, and a knack for making mono-syllabic lyrics fit so well into the song structure, but what I think is still holding the band back this time is Alisdair Maclean’s vocals.  For some reason they just don’t always seem to fit the music; there’s no correlation at times.

Still, this is the perfect fall piece of music.  As each night brings a variance in weather, so too, does this album.  It’s as if you’re walking with the group through each of their songs.  The title track slowly meanders, as one would on a simple walk through the neighborhood on one of those cool windy nights.  You see, it’s hard to tie down the precise sound of this album, or any of its songs, as you’re clearly affected by the mood they successfully create.

If you had to pick out a standout track here, for me, it would be “Jennifer and Julia.”  It is the one song that I think epitomizes the years of work this group has put into their songwriting.  Subtle horn backing and Maclean’s vocals all seem to fall perfectly into alignment on this album.  This song is what makes you fall in love with this band, and it’s great to see that despite the years, and possible break-up, that they still have the knack for writing something as sublime as this.

Sure, there are tracks one can dismiss, like “Sketch,” which is a track that seems like simple album filler, but when you come to something like “Never Saw Them Before” you can clearly see what people enjoyed about this band from the get go.  If you’re looking for one of those records that changes as often as you do, but clearly keeps you grounded, then you’ll want to check out Bonfires on the Heath, a culmination of pristine, moody pop, years in the making by The Clientele.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/05-Jennifer-And-Julia.mp3]

Download: The Clientele – Jennifer And Julia [MP3]

The Raveonettes – In and Out of Control

The_Raveonettes_In_and_Out_of_Control_Vice

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Listening to the history of The Raveonettes, I can easily see why I have remained indifferent with their career, that is up until this point in time.  They’re a band that seems to revel in their discoveries of various genres, perhaps so much so that one cannot listen to their albums without feeling nostalgic for the traditional influences.  In the past, they’ve come across as a band of mere mimicry, bordering on unoriginality and banality.  That all changed when I popped on In and Out of Control.

Once “Bang” hits your ears, it’s clear that the band brought something else to the table this time around.  Bouncing rhythms run throughout the song, and the sunshine of California seem to reverberate from the vocals.  It’s clearly a fun song; a tune to let your hair down.

So, instead of treading the same ground, they go off into a more fuzzy pop gem with “Gone Forever.”  It clearly sounds like a Pains of Being Pure at Heart song, minus the echo and atmospherics.  Okay, so maybe the echo is there in the vocals, but they are so distinguishable, you can easily attach yourself to the content, should you choose to do so. And such a sweet chorus.  They stay in the same spectrum with “Last Dance,” which is possibly one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear this year.  It won’t blow you away, but you won’t mind listening to it time and time again, garnering a number worthy of year end lists.

For once, the fact that the group doesn’t seem to stay in one place actually works.  It doesn’t veer off too far from where they began, which allows you to see the lines drawn in the songwriting that connect the album together as a whole.  But, the differentiation is wholly refreshing from The Raveonettes. Even the quick “I Buried You Today” is just another mark of a band that clearly is willing to define this record on their terms.

Out of nowhere, this band seems to have escaped the monotony of their past.  At times, what they seem to do here is quite invigorating, as the band finally has the courage to step beyond the shadows of their influences.  This is new ground for them, and it makes for a remarkable listen.  All the songs have a bounce, yet they all seem stylistically different; the fact that the band isn’t trapped for once seems to have freed them to progress in a direction I never expected.  It’s hard with this approach to expect the Joan Jett chorus on “Breaking Into Cars,” just know you’ll love it.

So you can’t be sure where the material from In and Out of Control came from, but one thing can be assured for all listeners.  You’ll find this as a record which allows you to sink into, if the mood so allows, and not get bogged down by nostalgic dreams of the golden days of music…though those influences are still walking around in the background. Now’s the time ladies and gentleman to get on board with The Raveonettes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/The-Raveonettes-Last-Dance.mp3]

Download: The Raveonettes – Last Dance [MP3]

FTC: Violent Femmes

FTC_violentfemmesFrom time to time, you just find yourself going back to those albums that meant a lot to your music evolution.  I can’t say enough about how much I loved listening to the Violent Femmes, whether it was their clever humor or just the overall feel of the music they presented.  Sure, I’d love to say that I heard this when it first came out, but I didn’t get into it until 1994 when I was a high school freshmen.  I had been sidetracked by grunge and other metal influences, but their self-titled album got me right back on track.  If you can’t love this song, and this band, then you’ve lost your way my friend.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/10-Good-feeling.mp3]

Black Lips @ Mohawk (10/9)

blacklips

Date 10/9/09
Location Mohawk
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 from Frontgate

The Black Lips are loved by all music sites in the land and you can consider us one of those sites fond of the band.  If they tickle your fancy, head over to Mohawk on Friday night for a set by the lo-fi boys.  Openers are our very own Strange Boys and The No No No Hopes.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/10-old-man.mp3]

Download: The Black Lips – Old Man [MP3]

New Tunes from Sleep Whale

sleep-whaleNovember is going to be a busty month for our local label Western Vinyl.  They already have plans to release the much anticipated Ola Podrida record on the 3rd, but now we have news that they plan to also release the new album by Denton duo, Sleep Whale.  According to release info, Houseboat is slated to hit our streets on the 10th.  Take a sample.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Sleep-Whale-Cotton-Curls.mp3]

Download: Sleep Whale – Cotton Curls [MP3]

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