Stream The Rosebuds “Life Like”

We here at Austin Town Hall love The Rosebuds, and we’ve talked about a few tracks off their newest album, Life Like, in a previous post.  Now that the release of said album is only a few months away, I’ve got a tip for you that should get you salivating for more from this band.  The cool cats over at Merge Records are now streaming the entire album in an easy to use pop-out format.  Head over there now for your own listening pleasure.

Life Like comes out via Merge Records on October 7th.

Chad Van Gaalen – Soft Airplane

Rating: ★★★★ ·

“Willow Tree” opens up the newest effort from Chad Van Gaalen, Soft Airplanes.  From the start you experience what Chad is all about, but only one aspect.  The quite folk song is underlined by his soft vocals, which appear to have some sort of vocal affect that provides an emotional echo.  Regardless, this is the song you want to hear while sitting on your back porch.

Then you swing at the folk moniker and you miss.  “Bones of Man” completely throws you off track, walking the line of rhythm based bands such as Pinback.  Even his vocals aren’t exactly the same, which is a bit refreshing.  It’s a good song, though I must admit that it doesn’t have the draw of the opening track.

And back he goes again with the off-kilter folk tunes, though this one has stronger percussion work than the first song, though by no means is it over-powering–just more noticeable.  By this point, his voice is back, and you can really immerse yourself in it.  For some reason, it sounds like a folkier version of Brendan Benson.

From here he cruises off to sunnier times, or at least the feeling in “Inside the Molecules” is all things California.  His guitar sounds a little more bluesy, but the atmospherics clinging to his vocals kind of carry that breezy aura you’d expect to find in a California bar band. He doesn’t jump so far with his next song, “Bare Feet on Wet Griptape,” but this song just didn’t work for this listener.  It seems sort of casual, and even the lyrical commentary isn’t too insightful.

Suddenly, you’re transferred to future land where folk meets samples, and I know its been done before, but it’s sort of like James Figurine meets Grizzly Bear.  I still can’t decide if that is a good thing or not.  You should probably decide for yourself.

At this point I feel like I’ve run the course of this album.  I don’t mean to say that in adding that point that you can turn off the record at this point, because there are definitely some key points to be visited throughout the rest of the album, but he jumps and jives across genres.  Van Gaalen does it so effortlessly that a listener agreeably goes with him, no matter where he travels.  His vocals have a haunting sense of freedom attached to them, and when he steers away from the folk as he does on “TMNT Mask,” its believable. Sure, one could ask for more focus here on this album, but at the same time I think the differences in sound add a texture to the album that you won’t really find elsewhere.  Besides he paid homage to the long forgotten Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I’d down with that.

This is good stuff.

Fujiya & Miyagi – Lightbulbs

Rating: ★★ · · ·

Fujiya & Miyagi have garnered interest all over the world for several years now, and to a certain extent, they’re a band that does deserve some of the accolades that have been thrown to them.  However, they have got to do something to mix it up before they grow entirely stale for music audiences across the globe.

On the opening track of their last album, Transparent Things, they threw “Ankle Injuries” in our face.  It’s throbbing bass line moved your feet, but not too much because, let’s face it, it’s not this band’s style. On Lightbulbs they offer us a very similar tune in “Knickerbocker.”  It’s a clever trick because you immediately think the band will fulfill our fantasies of a danceable album.

Unfortunately for us, we don’t ever get to reap the benefits of their aptitude. The rest of the album comes off extremely mundane, which, in all honesty, is quite along the same lines as their debut release.  Every single beat is enjoyable enough, but not a single one has anything out of the ordinary to offer up, which tends to make the entire album sound seamlessly boring.  For some reason they take the most straightforward approach to writing dance songs, and the more focused they get on this album, the less danceable the songs get.  It’s like we all started dancing together, but everyone got bored and went home with their significant others.

I could speak on the lyrics and their attributes, but it’s extremely hard to find a lot of redeemable qualities about the words across this album.  Each song has little differentiation in the lyrics themselves, and most repeat throughout the album.  It makes everything entirely too redundant, limiting the ability of the song to rise above the music.  For me, it’s hard to even recall a special song because each one ends up sounding like a repeat of its predecessor.

This album is shorter than the previous one, which does make the songs more listenable, if you are into this sort of streamlined dance music.  For all the promise that they have, they rarely come across as a band that has warranted our attention.  Throw out the single, and you would probably find an album that you played once through and then put on your iPod strictly for workout tunes.  It’s an album that easily sinks into the background of your subconscious, where it will likely stay for eternity.

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