Seeing as the Hallmark Holiday is hours away, I thought I would browse through my collection and throw out my Top 5 Favorite Songs with the word “valentine” in the title. Sure, one would think that songwriters have better things to do than sing about a nonsensical holiday with little or no meaning, but then again, they are just love songs in the end, aren’t they? Some of these bands have made appearances on our lists before, and some you might not be aware of, until now that is. So here is to you and yours on this most sacred of holidays. I hope your Valentine’s Day is as good as these songs.
A recent discovery of ours, School of Seven Bells, just recorded a live session for Minnesota Public Radio. You can hear the entire 3 song set on The Current blog. The band will also be making a stop in Austin during our little festival known as SXSW.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/sosev_connjur.mp3]
Download: School of Seven Bells – Connjur [MP3]
Our favorite resident DJ man Car Stereo(Wars) is bringing down the house with a special Valentine’s Day show at The Beauty Bar this Saturday night. Doors for the dance party open up at 9pm. Forget your silk panty rose and take your girl to the dance party![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/car_stereo_wars-ghostface_observatory.mp3]
Download: Car Stereo(Wars) – Ghostface Observatory [MP3]
Well, 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]
We 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]
This 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]
One of our favorite up and coming bands, Annuals, are making a stop in our little town at The Parish on Friday night. The band will be joined by other artists Jessica Lea Mayfield and What Laura Says. Tickets for the show can be had for $12 with doors opening at 8pm.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/ann_carryaround.mp3]
Download: Annuals – Carry Around [MP3]
It 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 & His Magnificent Ukulele – The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
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]
We 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]