Gomez @ Waterloo Records – TODAY!

gomesThose clever Brits in Gomez have been around for over a decade, and yet, they’ve never really broken huge overseas, that is until recently. Their consistency and dedication have finally broken through, and the band is getting much deserved acclaim over in los Estados Unidos. You can catch them for free today at Waterloo Records at 5 PM or you can catch them outside at Stubbs on the very same evening!  Catch one or catch both and you’ll be glad you did.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/gomez-ruff-stuff.mp3]

Download: Gomez – Ruff Stuff [MP3]

New Tunes from J Tillman

jt J Tillman has most recently gotten a lot of notice for his participation as part of the current Fleet Foxes line-up, but this gent has a wonderful set of tunes in his closet as well.  He’s set to release a new album on September 22nd on Austin’s own Western Vinyl, and we have an unmastered peak at one of the album’s tracks.  It’s hard to find anything at fault with such an understatedly beautiful song.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/j-tillman-earthly-bodies.mp3]

Download: J Tillman – Earthly Bodies [MP3]

Sonic Youth – The Eternal

theeternal

Rating: ★★★★ ·

In the musical landscape today, many bands have now begun to focus on the more ornate aspect of musical creation, choosing to spend their time carefully constructing harmonies and explosions of sonic noise.  Still, when it comes to combining both, none have done it better in the recent history than Sonic Youth.  They return again to give us The Eternal, which holds some of the more explosively brooding moments recorded this year.

Kim Gordon opens the slaughter by groaning over the enthusiastic barrage of guitars on “Sacred Trickster.” As an opening statement, you’d be hard-pressed to find one as passionate as this, with Kim sounding younger than she has in years.  It’s a vibrance and enthusiasm that the group sometimes seemed to lack in their previous efforts.

Here, you find the band reverting to a more classical sense of songwriting, much as they did on Rather Ripped, at times pandering to the hordes of fans that still hold nineties guitar rock as the ultimate god.  “Little Lifeboat” is the perfect example, with Gordon and Moore trading vocal duties, often overriding one another.  Guitar work throughout the song is exceptional, as we always expect, but the fact that there exists a melodious balance as well showcases the band’s growth through the last two decades whilst still holding tightly to their experimental roots.  Even so, with songs like “Antenna,” their experimentation has been honed such that they seem more like an arty version of Pavement rather than a sporadic noise band that occasionally conjures up a tune with pop sensibility.

Let us not forget though, that this is still Sonic Youth, and they still have the capacity to unleash the fury upon listeners with walls of noise meant to shatter your ears in an instant.  “Calming the Snake” is anything but calming; rather it is a raucous number with Gordon providing the vocal ammunition that most punk-singers crave, even to this day.  Clearly, this is a band still very much on top of their game.

In closing the album, the group chose to pull back on the reins just a bit, so as to not go overboard with their monstrous power.  “Walkin Blue” is one of the more straight forward songs the group has composed, and while it comes off as simple, a close listen to the musicianship reveals that this song, as with all their songs, is anything but simple.  Of course, they completely end the album with the sprawling number “Massage the History.”  Musically, this song covers a vast expanse of territory, ranging from noise experimentation to bedroom guitar strumming, all the while Gordon softly moans.  It’s a closing statement just as strong as the beginning, exemplifying the balance of the group.  The Eternal benefits greatly from the varying musical approaches, and once again make Sonic Youth a band to be reckoned with in the modern age.

FT5: Show Pas

0605top5coverFirst, let me assure you that the plural of faux pas is indeed faux pas; it’s just like the word deer. Now, there has been a lot of recent discussion around the ATH camp about proper rock show etiquette, so after careful deliberation, I opted to lay out my Top Five Faux Pas; these are the things you shouldn’t be doing when you attend a rock show, or really any social event where a stage is involved.  If you find that you commit these atrocities while in attendance at a rock show, you should definitely consider reevaluating your behavior; this is for the benefit of everyone I assure you.
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Little Joy @ The Independent (6/8)

littlejoy1One of our top new bands from last year, Little Joy, are returning to Austin for another show this Monday.  The evenings event will be going down at the brand new Independent Austin (map) over on the east side.  Tickets are still on sale now for $16.50.  Unfortunately it looks like founding member Fabrizio Moretti will not be joining the band on this tour as he is currently recording the new Strokes record.  Bummer.  Should still be a good time if your Monday is looking bleak.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/lilj_keepmeinmind.mp3]

Download: Little Joy – Keep Me in Mind [MP3]

Constantines @ Emos – 6/6

iwasakingOut of all the shows this week, this is definitely the one I have been looking forward to the most. Whether it be the post-punk of Constantines, the crazy antics of Crystal Antlers or the tunes of my favorite new band I Was a King (pictured at left), it’s destined to be a night that my ears won’t soon forget. Sure, there are other greats gracing Austin this Saturday like The Strange Boys, Oh No Oh My or Au Revoir Simone, but this is the show you definitely need to be at. Buy your tickets.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/09-you-are-a-conductor.mp3]

Download: Constantines – You are A Conductor [MP3]

The Lovely Feathers – Fantasy of the Lot

fantasy

Rating: ★★★★ ·

When The Lovely Feathers released Hind Hind Legs, they were riding the fresh coattails of upbeat jangle pop that dominated the independent music landscape.  At the time, few could argue that this band held more promise than most, but as stardom loomed, turmoil hit.  The band parted ways, albeit temporarily, in order to pursue other outlets, as the industry has ground them up and spit them out, with no one willing to release their second album.  But, this is a new year for the band they are back together to bring you Fantasy of the Lot.

The group’s first album had a lot of power to it, but their was also a lot of mystery and experimentation.  Vocal ranges were pushed places you didn’t expect a normal band to go, while the music hit at various levels of pacing, most of which were upbeat. Album number two has the band taking up a similar approach, but with a bit of experience beneath their tattered indie rock belts. Fantasy… has a great deal of balance to it, which allows for the album to really grow on the listener.  You have the toe-tapping of “Long Walks” juxtaposed with the more twee “Fad,” which shows the band playing with more traditional pop song elements. This is not the only example of balancing acts that appears throughout the album, in the end, leading listeners to a greater appreciation for the album’s strengths.

What has lapsed since the last album is the presence of frantic energy in songs like “In the Valley” where tension seemed to build endlessly until the song exploded in moments of bliss.  Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as there are plenty of hyperactive tunes here such as the album opener “Lowiza,” or the very British sounding “Ossified Homes.”  While they don’t have the same tension within the songs, the band have managed to hold onto the catchiness by focusing on the entire set of songs.

Interestingly, the similarities to fellow Canadians The Unicorns comes across a lot more on this album, which isn’t a bad thing.  Take the song “Long Walks” with it somewhat spastic verses that build into the chorus, and when that chorus arrives with gang vocals, it’s hard not to recall the happiness brought to so many by Nick Thorburn.  Even more striking is that the band appears to change it up in the middle of the songs with more enthusiasm, much as the aforementioned band; all this show signs of growth, and perhaps homage.

Closing the record, you realize that this is an collection of tunes where your favorite song is not going to be the exact same as your best friends, and that’s probably a great thing because you can spend all your time talking about why you are right and your friend is not.  A balanced album this is, and one that ends with you loving each song a little bit more as you decide you love Fantasy of the Lot a bit more each time.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/04-gifted-donald.mp3]

Download: The Lovely Feathers – Gifted Donald [MP3]

Friday Rocks!

thedolls Too many good shows Friday to name, but we’ll hit up the highlights.  If you don’t see live music in Austin on Friday, I’m  not sure we can be friends anymore. Really.

Bonnie Prince Billy, Howling Hex @ The Mohawk – Tickets

Animal Collective DJ Set @ Waterloo Records @ 5 PM – Free

Animal Collective, Black Dice @ Stubbs – SOLD OUT—Try to sneak in

New York Dolls, Black Joe Lewis @ Emos — Tickets

Alejandro Escovedo @ Antones – Tickets

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/11-jet-boy.mp3]

New Music From Yo La Tengo

yo_la_tengoNews of an upcoming Yo la Tengo release has been spreading like wildfire over the internet today.  We snagged this first single from the album and are happy to hear that old garage sound we’ve come to love so much.  “Periodically Double or Triple” will appear on the new LP Popular Songs which does not have a release date as of now.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/yo-la-tengo-periodically-double-or-triple.mp3]

Download: Yo la Tengo – Periodically Double or Triple [MP3]

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