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paste1Long-running Paste Magazine is struggling in this economy, just as we all are, and they are asking for your help.  Most of us here at ATH have attended various Paste parties during SXSW, and we respect everything they’ve done for the independent music community.  To top that off, while we may be contributing to the technological musical age, we still harbor great love and admiration for the traditional print format.  So head over to Paste and help these guys out.

Passion Pit – Manners

passion-pit

Rating: ★★★ · ·

To refer to this as one of the most anticipated albums thus far this year is probably an understatement; throw out Grizzly Bear and this is the album everyone wanted to hear.  Passion Pit finally have a full length, Manners, to help you make up your mind; are they worth all this hype?

You’ll have to make up your own mind on that one, as this album is sure to be a polarizing one for many listeners.  It builds upon the promise of the bands Chunk of Change EP, but does it go much further than the sounds the band first introduced?  Really, at some points, the band seems to sort of tread upon the same spot for a little bit too long.

One thing you will note immediately is that the band definitely will have you moving your feet, as the opening moments of the album definitely provide you with full bouncing capabilities.  The pulsating rhythm does not, however, make up for the lack of vocal quality, which really is probably just a matter of personal tastes; the high pitched yelping all across these first two songs is just a bit much.

Then the band hits you with their one-two punch, bringing in “Moth Wings” and “The Reeling” in succession.  “Moth Wings” succeeds for the group where other songs have failed, as the band seemed to have tamed that vocal, which allows listeners to see right into the moving sound collages Passion Pit have constructed, as layers dance upon layers, shimmering to the surface.  “The Reeling” surfaced as the band’s first single, and deservedly so, as it packs the dance-floor ready stomp that recalls elements of MGMT during their brighter moments.  Still, the most enjoyable quality is the warmth of the vocal contrasted against the electronic pulse beneath.

Other moments on the album seem to find the band going over the same space, as they attempt to combine various electronic samples with unique vocals (still a touch annoying), building and building until it achieves dance-psych bliss.  But, elementally, it all sort of blends together, as there isn’t much that differentiates each song from the next.  Each song seems to run into the next one, making the listening experience a little redundant.

Don’t get upset here, but the release of Manners is probably exactly what everyone expected it to be.  It’s a good listen for a few rounds; it’s an interesting one to say the least, but it won’t be the most moving thing you come across this year.  Too much of a good thing sometimes turns things for the worse, and in this case, Passion Pit might have just gone that route.

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

Download: Passion Pit – Seaweed Song [MP3]

From the Closet: Calvin Johnson

beat For those of you into all the newest lo-fi hits of the last few years, there is really one man we need to look towards: Calvin Johnson. The man was the driving force behind the great Beat Happening and also the Halo Benders, which featured Built to Spill frontman Doug Martsch. Clearly, this man’s fingerprints have been all over the musical landscape, and he’s at it again this Saturday night at Emo’s, as he takes the stage with his new outfit Hive Dwellers; former Nation of Ulysses frontman Ian S. will also have his new outfit Chain and the Gang as the show headliners.

So hit up Emos this Saturday night for a definitive good time. Here are some tracks from the closet.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-left-behind.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/track08.mp3]

New Music From The Murdocks

murdocksAustin’s very own rockers, The Murdocks, are busy prepping a new album and have a single ready to drop on the music world.  The new single is called “Lords” and will appear on an as of yet titled album due out sometime this fall.  This is also a great time to mention that the band is playing at La Zona Rosa tonight along with fellow locals Rock and Eagles and Oak Is Keeping.  Tickets will be sold for $7 at the door.

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

Download: Murdocks – Lords [MP3]

Loxsly CD Release @ Mohawk (5/15)

loxsly1Local boys Loxsly have been garnishing a lot of positive publicity as of late and are finally ready to drop a proper LP on our ears.  To celebrate the release of the album, Tomorrow’s Fossils, the band is putting on a release party at Mohawk on Friday night.  Fellow local bands Oh No Oh My, Booher and the Turkeyz (Mike Booher from now dead Zykos), Corto Maltese, and TV Torso are also on the bill.  Damn, that’s one helluva lineup.  Show starts at 8pm and tickets will be sold only at the door.  Here’s newest single from Loxsly “Battalions”.

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

Download: Loxsly – Battalions [MP3]

New Music From Modest Mouse

modestmouse460Modest Mouse have some new tuneage coming your way just in time for summer.  This new song “Satellite Skin” will appear on an upcoming limited edition 7″ orange colored vinyl out in stores May 26th.  The song will also appear on a new EP No One’s First and You’re Next out in August.  This EP will be comprised mostly of songs that didn’t make the cut for the band’s last two albums.  Check it ouuuuuut.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/modestmouse-satelliteskin.mp3]

Download: Modest Mouse – Satellite Skin [MP3]

My Latest Novel – Deaths and Entrances

latest

Rating: ★★★★ ·

When My Latest Novel released their debut Wolves a few years back many were taken by the forest-folk style, as the band walked a tightrope between organic folk and twee.  On their latest release, Deaths and Entrances, the band seems to have fully realized their sound, which now seems to be strengthened by the maturation of a group constructing ornate songs throughout its duration.

Interestingly, the band spent a great deal of time on this album researching their favorite literature, taking cues from their everyday live, and weaving them into the lyrics of the album.  The title, for instance, takes its name from a Dylan Thomas poem; they also pay homage to writer Alasdair Gray, who hails from the same land, Scotland, as the group.

Using influential literature as a background for constructing songs has a way of informing a band in a certain sense.  In writing this set of songs the band has been able to transform their album into something entirely different than the modern pop album; it reads, rather, like a concisely written piece of prose. There is an elemental flow, not unlike literature, where the pacing of the album slows in parts, waiting for the reader, or listener in this case, to gather his or her thoughts for just a moment before moving on with more details.

The music is like a great deal of the music that is making its way from Scotland at the moment.  Vocals are immediately recognizable, but in the sense that many a Scot has a distinctive dialect.  And we find that the music throughout the album is quite busy, whilst the band utilizes multiple instruments to construct and deconstruct each song.  According to press releases, they wrote a great deal of these songs together, which allowed the songs to blend together as one large piece of music itself; once again this lends itself to the resonance of literature that is evident in their music.

Subject matter varies on the album, with issues of war-mongering seeming to be one of the more noticeable motifs.  The outlook is not quite as bright, or at least not in the eyes of the songwriters, and as the band unites to sing in unison, they encourage us all to move forward, beyond our trivial pursuits as we search for something greater for both humanity and ourselves.

Once again, My Latest Novel have created an album composed of millions of pieces, tightly pieced together like a giant jigsaw puzzle of aesthetically soothing tunes.  The album exists as a complete composition; its a unified vision of a band sticking together, which inevitably makes it a rewarding listen time and time again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/06-argument-against-the-man.mp3]

Download: My Latest Novel – Argument Against the Man [MP3]

5/11 Elvis Perkins @ The Parish

ep_03On a quiet Monday evening, The Parish continued its recent tradition of well-produced shows as they put on a solid bill, with ATH favorites Other Lives and Elvis Perkins joined by his new band Dearland, supplying the talent. An orchestral grab bag of instrumentation ranging from cellos to trombones, to flutes, a harmonium and organs were laid upon the stage foreshadowing an ambitious evening of unpolluted musical ability in front of a very attentive audience.  Follow the jump to continue reading our review.

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The Theater Fire @ Lamberts (5/15)

theaterThis Friday night Austin will be treated to one of the great North Texas bands, as Theater Fire make their way into town.  They’ll be playing a set over at Lamberts this Friday evening with Some Say Leland.  TIckets to the show are $7 at the door, and you’ll be glad you got to spend your evening listening to the eclectic folk of this great Texas band.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/06-dahl-parts.mp3]

Download: Theater Fire – Dahl Parts [MP3]

Nico Vega @ Emo’s (5/13)

nico_vegaNico Vega are a band that often get compared to Yeah Yeah Yeahs for obvious reasons.  They have a fiery female lead singer, a male guitar player, a male drummer and the sound is eerily similar.  We dig it.  You can catch this rock trio at Emo’s on Wednesday night along with relatively unknown band Red Leaves.  Doors are at 8pm/music at 10.  Tickets can be purchased online for $8.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/nico_vega_-_gravity.mp3]

Download: Nico Vega – Gravity [MP3]

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