New Tunes from Leichtenstein

liechtenstein2It seems Slumberland can’t really go wrong with their picks of bands to support, and our friend GVSB has found yet another band on the small label worthy of our interest. Sweden’s Liechtenstein recall a lot of that all girl aesthetic encouraged by bands like Vivian Girls. Here is a new track for you to enjoy. The band will be releasing their album Survival Strategies in a Modern World on May 26th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/liechtenstein-roses-in-the-park.mp3]

Download: Liechtenstein – Roses in the Park [MP3]

Bricolage – s/t

bricol

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Bricolage released their self-titled album earlier this year in the UK, but little fanfare made its way over to the United States, aside from a little bit of bubbling press; rest assured that Bricolage is an up-and coming act that will surely win you over upon your very first listen.  And let’s not all act surprised that this is yet another solid band hailing from Glasgow.

Here you find a band that is ready to make guitar music you can dance to, and they do it in the most straightforward fashion that you have to be enamored by everything that they do.  The second track, “Flowers of Deceit” brings to mind the boot-stomping moments from early Franz Ferdinand records, but in a much less post-punk sort of way. Guitars are a little bit warmer, as if each chord is struck with a little bit less anger/more affection.

Something sunny this way comes.  “Footsteps” is just another track that exemplifies the swinging emotion of the band.  Layered guitars and precision drumming bring to mind the poppier moments of bands such as The Lodger or  Mystery Jets.  All these bands use warm vocals to counter the angular guitars; you can’t help but roll down the window and let the music carry you down the road.

Let’s not think that this band is nothing but a modern dance troupe as they have the ability to carry a classic pop ballad along the way, such as “Plots are for Cemeteries,” which seems to use a bit of tropicalia in the overall crooning aesthetic.  “Sleepwalk to Me” is similar in that it slowly maneuvers along, progressing without ever really picking up the pace.  Even in the slow moments the band can catch your attention.

“Turn U Over” is an obvious single, instantly ready for your best dance party, at this late moment in the album, it makes you look back at the album as a whole; the album is full of great moments and great songs from start to finish.  The latter half of the album packs as much punch as the first part of this album, and the only thing that detracts from this entire collection of songs is that you might find that the band walk the same line for much of the album, but using multiple vocalists allows enough strength to each song that you never get the feeling that the band is retracing their steps. Bricolage is just another reason we should all move to Glasgow.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-flowers-of-deceit.mp3]

Download: Bricolage – Flowers of Deceit [MP3]

FT5: First Concerts

0501top5cover1The first official concert in a young person’s life can be a monumental occasion. 15 years and countless shows later, you always remember your first. The ATH offices were surveyed, and today’s Top 5 is a random ordering of the first concert from 5 ATH staff members. Although I was hoping to find some suppressed NKOTB or Debbie Gibson concerts among us, I had no such luck. Some of us were a little embarassed to fess up, while some us were happy to gloat. But this list isn’t just about us. We want to hear about your first concert experience as well, as cool or embarrassing as it might be. Follow the jump for our list.

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Elvis Perkins @ The Parish (5/11)

elvisperkinsElvis Perkins will be bringing his brand new band Deerland to The Parish on Monday for what should be a nice evening of music.  Mr. Perkins will be joined on the stage by Oklahomans Other Lives.  Doors for this show are at 8pm.  Tickets are on sale now for the low low price of $14.  Here’s latest single from Elvis Perkins in Deerland “Shampoo”.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/elvis-perkins-in-dearland-shampoo.mp3]

Download: Elvis Perkins in Deerland – Shampoo [MP3]

Lucero @ Emo’s (5/8)

lucero-ben-nicholsAlt-country/punk band Lucero are making a stop in Austin at Emo’s on Friday night.  Lucky for all concert goers, longtime ATH favorite Black Joe Lewis will be providing your opening entertainment for the evening.  Head out at 9pm for doors and 10pm for music.  Tickets are available now for $12.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/lucero_i-can-get-us-out-of-here.mp3]

Download: Lucero – I Can Get Us Out of Here [MP3]

Conor Oberst & the Mystic… – Outer South

conman

Rating: ★★ · · ·

Conor Oberst has long been able to manage his own evolution as a songwriter.  Since he was a young lad in his hometown of Omaha he has asked for little help outside of Mike Mogis and Andy Lemaster; on Outer South he gives up a fair amount of the writing to various members of his Mystic Valley Band.  Unfortunately, this group of mystics just doesn’t come across nearly as convincing as anything previously released under Conor’s name.

A noticeable difference here is that the acoustic guitar and orchestration that usually accompanies an Oberst outing, even on last year’s self titled album, has always played a significant role in the presentation of song.  Even the spectacular work of Mogis always seemed to raise the guitar to the heavens for all to listen; this round, the full-on band approach that began to evolve on Conor Oberst has fully taken root.

The side effect, not only of allowing others to take part in the songwriting, but the encouragement of the full band sound, aside from the mostly acoustic “Ten Women” or “White Shoes,” makes much of the record seem somewhat disjointed.  The album seems to waver between various songwriters, and the effect makes it difficult to grasp the album as a whole entity.

The good news aside from the lack of cohesiveness is that there are some bright moments on the album that solidify the progress that Conor has made as a musician.  Many a detractor always commented on the warble that existed in his early recordings, especially when you look at Fevers and Mirrors, but that unstable vocal has long since disappeared, making way for a more mature vocal.  His songs benefit from this; “White Shoes,” for example, is probably one of the better songs he has written (furthered by the fact that it seems to be mostly him on guitar).

Perhaps this sort of evolution is completely acceptable, and in fact, it should really be encouraged.  No one wants to listen to the same record being recorded time and time again, so you have to give it to the man for going out into new territory, but in doing so he is bound to alienate various listeners, perhaps even his most diehard fans.  The error with the album, though there are bright spots, is that he has lost his intimacy throughout the recording of this album.  Where he once seemed to speak to you in your bedroom through your speakers, he now shouts at you as the lead speaker for a group of musicians.  Let’s forgive him for now, and hope the intimacy returns.

Outer South is out now on Merge Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/09-white-shoes.mp3]

Download: Conor Oberst – White Shoes [MP3]

From the Closet: Nine Inch Nails

ninAh, the cult of Nine Inch Nails. I can remember the hordes of “NIN” shirts roaming the halls in-between junior high classes like it was yesterday. As a 90’s grunge kid, there was a lot of crossover into Nine Inch Nails. Their two greatest albums, Pretty Hate Machine & The Downward Spiral, got constant rotation in my CD player on the drive to school. Today, I present my favorite song from The Downward Spiral and one that tends to get lost in the shuffle of “Closer” and “Hurt“, the bass heavy “Piggy”. NIN will be invading Austin with Jane’s Addiction & Street Sweeper Social Club next Tuesday, March 12th at the Frank Erwin Center. Tickets for the event can still be had from the Texas Box Office.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/nine-inch-nails-piggy.mp3]

New Tunes from Cause Co-Motion!

causeCause Co-Motion! jangled their way across many-a-stage during SXSW this year, and I loved the lo-fi operation from the get go.  The Brooklyn quartet is set to release a new six song EP titled Because Because Because, and we’ve brought you one of those tracks to sample.  It’s lost a bit of the speed, but it still carries the fuzz. Buen proveche.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/cause-co-motion-you-lose1.mp3]

Download: Cause Co-Motion – You Lose [MP3]

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