Contest: Leonard Cohen DVD

leonard-cohen-live-in-london-464532Here’s a chance for all you fans who couldn’t make it out to the expensive as hell Leonard Cohen show last week to dry your tearful eyes.  You can attempt to recreate the live experience you missed with your very own copy of the recently released Leonard Cohen Live in London DVD.  The live performance features 2 hours of classic Cohen hits at London’s 02 Arena during his 2009 world tour (Amazon has more details and a video sample from the DVD).  Our contest is simple.  Simply leave a comment telling us about your favorite Leonard Cohen song and why it’s the best in your mind.  We’ll pick winners and announce them on Tuesday of next week.  Don’t forget to leave a valid email address so we can get in touch with you if you win.  May the biggest fan win.

Ariel Pink @ Mohawk (4/10)

041009_mohawk_arielpink2Ariel Pink is one of those artists who is fairly unpredictable when it comes to the live show and you never really know what the hell the guy is gonna do.  Make your way out to Mohawk on Friday night to catch Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti along with blog hyped band Vivian Girls and opener Yellow Fever.  If nothing else, Vivian girls proved by their SXSW sets that they can put on a decent show.  Tickets for this show will be sold only at the door with music starting around 9:30.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/vivian_girls_-_where_do_you_run_to.mp3]

Download: Vivian Girls – Where Do You Run To [MP3]

New Tunes from Conor Oberst

conorConor Oberst and his Mystic Valley Band have a new album, Outer South, coming out soon, and the Internet just keeps popping up with songs for us to listen to prior to the actual release. This new song is titled “Nikorette”, and it’s a lot like the last one, with its usage of full on band. But, if this song piques your interest and you want to listen to the entire album, or preorder the thing, just head on over to Merge Records to listen to the whole streaming album.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/08-nikorette.mp3]

Download: Conor Oberst – Nikorette [MP3]

New Tunes from Title Tracks

titlePersonally, I am a huge fan of John Davis. His drum work in Q and Not U was phenomenal. His pop leanings in Georgie James made me warm inside. Now we have word that he has a new group together called Title Tracks, and they’ve just released their first 7″ off legendary Dischord Records, so you have to support them if you want to keep your street cred. You can head over here for a few samples, or just check the Myspace. Just a heads up on the tunes; it’s got a Ted Leo/Jam feel, which you need to learn to love.

Eulogies – Here Anonymous

eulog

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Sometimes a seasonal change will require a certain approach to listening to music; sometimes it will require that you ask something extra of your most recent purchase.  Here Anonymous, the debut album from Eulogies is precisely that record; it’s the one you have been waiting to blast from your speakers as the windows roll down on that perfectly sunlit afternoon.  It’s packed full of melody, throbbing bass lines and a certain sense of catchiness that just won’t let the album leave your head.

Bass and vocals open up the album on “Day to Day,” but it’s not until the guitar begins to chug along in unison do you really get a sense that you’re in for an afternoon joyride. Once you’ve taken a brief listen, your ears will require you come back for more.

It would be easier to type-cast this band; they are the next Tokyo Police Club; they sound a lot like Ra Ra Riot; these are all completely understandable, yet entirely unfair.  The one thing that differentiates Eulogies from other such bands is that they don’t seem to come across as overly repetitive.  Where as some bands in the same sphere of swirling guitar pop have a tendency to rehash the same moments from time, this band escapes it.  This is largely in part to singer Peter Walker, who is able to change the pitch just enough so as not wear one down with his voice.

Another attribute that allows for the band to push through the more monotonous moments is the bass-work.  It would be easy to use the angular guitar approach throughout the record, as this is a commonly used tool, but here, the bass seems to lay the ground work for a lot of the songs.  This is beneficial because, well, you can’t go wrong with a solid rhythm section, but also because it allows for more space for the other instruments to meander and do as they please.  A much more interesting listen.

Just to make sure you don’t get bored with the upbeat tunes, they toss a couple of slow-burners your way for kicks.  “Two Can Play,” “Goodbye” and “The Fight” all have mellow moments that leave time for you to turn down the stereo long enough to see if the rest of your friends in your car need to stop for a drink.  The latter is probably the more memorable of the slower songs, though the shared male/female vocal on “Two Can Play” is likely to hit home with some.

Now, the one detractor from the album, if you were to find one, is that the band isn’t breaking any particularly new ground with this release.  They will draw numerous comparisons over and over, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have peers.  Still, Eulogies benefits from the fact that at least they keep the game interesting. And they’re sure to keep you interested, at least the first two dozen times you play this on your drive home for Easter.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/07-out-of-character.mp3]

Download:Eulogies – Out of Character [MP3]

Pree

pree-park2DC band Pree are a new band to us and are fairly new to the music game as well.  We get tons of press releases everyday and it’s nice when we find something that really catches our ear like this band has.  The self described sound of Pree mixes “Regina Spektor style narratives, Isaac Brock’s vocal stylings, haunting folk, and a remarkable command of words”.  That sounds about right to us.  Their debut EP A Chopping Block can be bought on itunes or in physical form on the Kora Records website.  We are jammin’ it hard style.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/02-in-the-parlor.mp3]

Download: Pree – In the Parlor [MP3]

Built By Snow @ Emo’s (4/9)

bbs-april9th_posterMake your way to Emo’s on Thursday night for a nice local lineup of promising and upcoming bands.  Things get started at 10pm with ATH friends Whitman so get there early and start drinking cheap tall boys.  Fellow ATH favorites The Bubbles, Red X Red M, and headliners Built by Snow follow on the bill.  Tickets will be sold at the door for $8, but if you RSVP at Do512, you’ll get in for only $5.  Working on Friday is no excuse not to be there, it’s a holiday (for some of us).

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

Download: Whitman – Light It Up [MP3]

New Tunes from Dent May

dentIt’s hard not to love a man with a ukulele. First, there was Stephin Merritt, and now the indie world has given us Dent May. We loved his debut album, and right now we’ll gladly get our hands on anything the man will put out, so when Daytrotter released an unreleased song, we jumped on it so as to bring it to you. Here is “Eastover Wivez.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dent-may-and-his-magnificent-ukulele-eastover-wivez.mp3]

Download: Dent May – Eastover Wivez [MP3]

Telekinesis – Telekinesis!

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Telekinesis is more or less made up of one man, Michael B. Lerner, who gathered what one can assume is a group of close friends to flesh out his debut album.  The self-titled album, well, save for a change in punctuation, is the first most will hear from Mr. Lerner, and with such a solid album, we’re sure to hear more from the man and his band in the future.

“Rust” is the album opener, and it sets the mood, or revels in the setting of the music, as it would be hard not to place the music on this album somewhere in the Northwest.  Here, you’ll find the band sounding a bit like old Earlimart bedroom recordings.

Then listeners will come across what we will call the meat of the album, which is probably the most consistent tracking on any album this year.  Kick starting our hearts is “Coast of Carolina,” which begins with gentle acoustics before kicking right it in with its energy legs. There is an element of lo-fi recording to this song, and to the majority of the songs that appear on this album, but they also have a surefire pop sensibility.  Rock songs like “Look to the East”  will remind some of us of early Ben Kweller recordings before he thought coke and country was where its at.

“Foreign Room” is another song that clearly locates the album and its narrator, as Lerner does his best to emulate Eliott Smith; the wavering in his voice will be the first key to this comparison.  But, he doesn’t just rely upon Smith’s old tricks, instead pushing forward with a quick paced guitar.  It’s like the entire Northwest went pop as the rain made way for a years worth of sunshine.

Just as you get used to the harder moments on the album, or the faster elements one should say, Lerner slows it all down with “Great Lakes.”  His voice is pitch-perfect here, and the space on the song is all filled in such a fashion that one would be hard pressed not to adorn the band with praise just like the rest of their cohorts along the Northwest Corridor. And so the album closes with an acoustic number that bookends the album precisely the way one would expect.  Through all the peaks and gorges, it’s hard not to appreciate such a subtle ending as this.  A love song no less.

And with the entirety of this album, each listener will find something that they can appreciate, as Telekinesis appeals to many different styles and many different tastes.  It’s an album that many will appreciate, a few will love, and most will respect; the best thing about the album is it leaves the door wide open for future accomplishments by Michael Benjamin Lerner.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/05-awkward-kisser.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Awkward Kisser [MP3]

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