Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Lie Down in the Light

Rating: ★★★★½

“When there’s only one thing I can do, well you know I don’t want to do it. When there’s just one way to go through, sometimes I don’t want to go through with it.” These first lines from opening song “Easy Does It” off Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s new album Lie Down in the Light sets the tone for the entire record. I can just hear Bonnie saying: “If you think I’m going to do this like anyone else, well you’re wrong son.” Bonnie (famous alias of Will Oldham) doesn’t plan on making a record like one you’ve ever heard before. If he only has one way to do something, he’s not going to do it.

If for some reason you are waiting to know if this album is worth picking up, wait no longer, it’s well worth it. Oldham and company have made a superb album not like anything else being done right now. Sure, some bands may be attempting to recreate the americana/country/folk or whatever you want to call it from years past, but Oldham is head and shoulders above everyone else.

Oldham enlists his frequent counterpart Ashley Webber who invokes the spirit of countless country music women many years her senior. I’ve heard comparisons that Oldham and Webber are our generations George Jones & Tammy Wynette or Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty which after a few listens to tracks like “So Everyone” & “You Want That Picture”, you might just start agreeing with those bold comparisons.

In a day with the mindset that everything needs to be recorded louder than ever, Oldham and friends prove that louder doesn’t always mean better. These songs can say more with the slight hint of percussion or slow strum of a guitar than most songs can say with the volume on 11.

If you’re an old fan of Bonnie ‘Prince’ and think you may be let down by this album, think again. Lie Down in the Light proves that Oldham doesn’t plan on letting up anytime soon. This is americana at it’s finest folks. Not much else I can say about this record, just buy it and enjoy the beauty of its simplicity.

Have a listen to one of ’08s best “So Everyone” & drop us a line with your thoughts.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/03-so-everyone.mp3]

Download: soeveryone.mp3

New Music from CSS

If you haven’t heard by now Cansei de ser sexy, known to most as CSS, have made a few songs off their new album Donkey available for download and stream on their myspace page. The myspace page has one new song and also a sampler of tracks from the new album out July 21st on subpop. Below you will find the new song “Rat is Dead (Rage)” which is not available on the myspace page. I’m not sure if this song will land them another hot spot on the ipod commercials, but it’s pretty catchy none the less.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/01-rat-is-dead-rage.mp3]

Download: ratisdeadrage.mp3

The Wedding Present – El Rey

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Long ago David Gedge hung up The Wedding Present moniker in favor of Cinerama. Recently, as in the last three years, we have seen the return of The Wedding Present–with two proper albums added to their already glorious catalog. Honestly, this newest one is the best work I think he’s ever done.

Our first hint at a classic return to form is his usage of Steve Albini-famed sound engineer-the first time they have united together since 1991’s Seamonsters. The reunion brings across a brilliant sound, where the guitars are extremely clean, while also carrying with them fire power. Then you have the pounding drums; the perfect mix of instrumentation to accompany Gedge’s voice.

For me, all the music creates quite a dynamic power. Songs like “The Trouble with Men,” carefully play with the soft/loud dynamic that made bands like Death Cab for Cutie or Pinback your favorite. It’s the album we all have been looking for, but we just didn’t know that it was out there for us. Well, solid rock albums are back in these days-brought to you by David Gedge and The Wedding Present.

Lyrically, he is as clever as he has ever been. Gedge comes across in his lyrics like that endearing older sibling who always has the answers to life that we search for on our own. He wants you to feel his characters and his words–and you listen. Of course, he also manages to keep pop culture references abundant–such as the Seinfeld reference in the brilliant “Soup” or a quick jab with Spiderman. This all serves as a reminder why we all love lyrics like these. For me, he is the poor man’s Bob Pollard.

This album is meant to bring perfection to your sunniest days. It makes you want to drive around town-or walk since that helps keep you in shape-with the guitars blasting out of your stereo as you sing along to every single word, as if they were your words. Ask yourself, isn’t this the sort of record you have been looking for? Here you have it folks, the completely triumphant return of David Gedge and The Wedding Present.

Here we have a new song off the album el rey entitled “The Thing I Like Best About Him is his Girlfriend”
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/09-the-thing-i-like-best-about-him-is-his-girlfriend.mp3]

Download: girlfriend.mp3

New Dr. Dog Song

Dr. Dog recently dropped a new single off their upcoming album Fate due out July 22nd. The new song is called “The Old Days”. The band will also be playing the Parish Room in Austin on Sep. 13th. That may be too far ahead to plan for some of you but if your worried about it selling out, you should get those tickets now my friends.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/drdog_theolddays.mp3]

Download: theolddays.mp3

The Hold Steady – Stay Positive

The Hold Steady are following the recent trend of bands streaming full albums on their myspace page after the album has leaked everywhere online. Listen to The Hold Steady – Stay Positive on their myspace page before the actual release date on July 17th and tell us what you think about it. Also, the band will be coming to La Zona Rosa in Austin later this summer on August 6th. The Hold Steady are one of the best live rock acts around so I suggest you buy tickets to the show before it sells out. After the success of the critically acclaimed 2006 album Boys and Girls in America the new Hold Steady album should be better than good.

Shearwater @ Waterloo Records

Austin band Shearwater will be doing a free show at Waterloo Records at 5pm this Wednesday (6/11). If you’ve read our recent review of the band’s new album Rook you probably know we are excited about this free in-store. Waterloo doesn’t do much in the way of promoting these things but you can still check out the Waterloo website for more free in stores coming up or if you just want to buy some sweet tunes. Be sure you show up early because the line starts for the free keg beer pretty early. That’s right, I said free keg beer. Do you really need another reason to go? We’ll be posting pictures of the event in the coming days.

New Noah & The Whale Single

London band, Noah and the Whale, have recently put up a new song on their Myspace page, but surprisingly, it is not coming out on the much anticipated new album, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down coming our way via Interscope Records on July 29th. Comparisons abound, from Ruby Suns to Adam Green, but needless to say, this is a band you want to watch. Also, you can download the single, “5 Years Time,” on iTunes as we speak.

Hear the just released single “Sometimes”:
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/sometimes.mp3]

Download: sometimes.mp3

$2 Music Mondays at Draft House

The Alamo Draft house on South Lamar in Austin has been featuring $2 dollar music Mondays for quite some time now. Tonight the draft house will be showing one of the best rock concert films in history Stop Making Sense about 80s pop giants Talking Heads. For only $2, I suggest you make a point to stop by draft house tonight to check out the musical stylings of David Byrne and company. Even if you don’t enjoy the band, the price has got to sound nice if you have nothing better to do on a Monday night.  Buy tickets at the Drafthouse’s website.

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