• SXSW 2019 – A Recap

    Yet another SXSW is in the books and it’s time for the ATH crew to reminisce a little and offer some highlight from the week behind us. I think we’ve

    Read more »
  • SXSW: 6 Bands To Watch

    Well SXSW music is officially here, and as I sit and ponder my existence while at work, I thought it would be fun to share some advice on bands to

    Read more »
  • RayRay’s Top Songs – 2018

    When it comes to ATH and our areas of expertise, I like to think I’m the go to guy for song lists and bad ass playlists. If you’re doubting me,

    Read more »
  • Best of Indiepop 2018

    Everyone has their own definition of indiepop; but I tend to ascribe to the original craft where DIY aesthetics and a softer response to punk were all the rage. But,

    Read more »
  • ATH Top Albums – 2018

      This is our year end list for albums of the year. There’s four of us here, so it’s hard to come to a consensus, but we did our best.

    Read more »

New Tunes from Headlights

headlightsOne of our favorite new bands, Headlights, has a new album coming out soon.  The album is titled Wildlife, and it comes out October 6th on Polyvinyl. This new track has a bit of a different touch, although it’s still brimming with pop, there is a certain element of lo-fi fuzz added.  You can try out the song, and check out the band on tour this fall.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/headlights-get-going.mp3]

Download: Headlights – Get Going [MP3]

Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend

brend

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Lately, we’ve seen more of Brendan Benson trading licks with that one guy from the White Stripes, but when he first came onto the scene, he was a pop crooner.  His album Lapalco remains overlooked, despite all the gems it offers listeners. Now he returns with a new record, My Old, Familiar Friend.  It’s a return to form, for the most part, though you can see the shift in his writing if you’re familiar with his work.

Opening the album, you see a glimmer of the Brendan of the past on “A Whole Lot Better.”  His vocals start low, as they always go, and change to the higher tones mid-syllable.  Even the lyrics seem to recall some of the old territory, but it’s the choruses that remind you of the old songwriter of yesterday.  But, noticeably, the structure of the songs themselves have begun to change a bit, which is good, considering we all admire growth with our favorite artists.

“Eyes on the Horizon” is yet another example of his growth.  It just seems that so much more is going on within the song, and while it may not be as clean as his previous output, you can glimpse the familiar, especially in the chorus. Perhaps the inclusion of guitar solos, of the classic rock sort, give away his most recent act The Raconteurs.  It’s a more mature songwriter we find here, which explains a lot of the lyrical content, as the story line in the album seems to revolve around reflection of a lost love.

Just as you thought you had a collection of b-sides from The Raconteurs sessions, at least the ones Brendan wrote, he kicks it up a notch near the end of the album, starting with “Poised and Ready.”  While he once sounded similar to the early Ben Kweller, he appears more like a rocking version of A.C. Newman. This second half of the record though is chock full of straight ahead pop rock songs of the most sublime sort. It’s the sort of stuff you know you’ll be singing along to during your days at work.  The catchiness of “Don’t Wanna Talk” will surely have you and your friends singing along in your cars. From there you can slide right into “Misery,” which is probably one of the best songs that you’ll find here on the album.  As far as song construction goes, it’s probably one of the more open songs, and the extra space allows for Brendan to work his magic for his audience.

Nothing on this album will blow you away with creativity, but if you’re the kind of person that cherishes solid pop rock to go along with a nice long drive, then you will definitely find something for yourself here.  Brendan Benson has a quality voice that will keep you coming back for more, as he churns out pop gems with his crafty songwriting and vocal inflection.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/09-misery.mp3]

Download: Brendan Benson – Misery [MP3]

Pissed Jeans – King of Jeans

jeans

Rating: ★★ · · ·

On their third album, King of Jeans, Pissed Jeans come out firing, as you would expect them to do. It’s high energy barroom brawling, but in order to really dig deeply into their album, you would have to listen to the whole record extremely closely, which is often difficult to do given the intensity of the sonic force on display.

One of the difficulties in approaching this album is that you really can’t discern the relevance of the album.  It’s grounded in 90s hardcore, or even further back if you want to dance around with some of the influences. Still, a barrage of noise is not necessarily something that you find on the scene nowadays.  Perhaps this is refreshing in a certain regard, but in the end, you’re more than likely to lean back to teenage angst and nostalgia, or be turned off altogether.

Like most of the music the band wears upon its sleeve, you can barely follow the lyrics throughout the album.  Most of the vocals seem to waiver upon the screaming of various syllables, though the liner notes indicate otherwise. Even looking at the lyrics, you can’t really decide whether or not to take them too seriously.  It’s as if they come straight out of the notebook of a teenager, or some disgruntled youth trying to find his or her way.  Barking the lyrics doesn’t do much justice for the listener either, making the majority of the songs somewhat unlistenable.

Still, the album isn’t all filled with negativity, as this review may lead you to believe.  You have to be refreshed at the idea of a band bucking modern musical trends in pursuit of their own rewards.  Such a ferocity has not come across these ears in quite some time, and while that is probably due to age, albums like this tend to bring you back to your own angst-ridden collection, if you haven’t discarded everything at this point.

Probably one of the most enticing aspects, for those traveling the road of their past, is that the riffs even seem reminiscent of every hardcore band you listened to when you were at that phase of your life.  It comes off as a familiar rendition, yet done with a little bit more of an edge.  The ominous chords persist, and the growling vocals remind you of the band you always dreamed of making when you were in 9th Grade. Such is King of Jeans, fueled in the anger of our past dreams, turning and burning all the way.

New Tunes from Sea Wolf

seawolfSea Wolf has a new album titled White Water, White Bloom coming out on September 22nd here in the States on Dangerbird, and as a prelude to the release of the album, he’s offering “Stanislaus” as a bonus track for those interested. It’s definitely similar to his last release, and has that folk passion mixed with his wavering melancholic voice. Have a listen.

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

Download: Sea Wolf – Stanislaus [MP3]

FT5: Best Austin Music Venues

0814top5coverWe spent a lot of time this week debating our favorite venue.  What constitutes the perfect place to catch a show?  Is it sound alone, or beer prices?  Maybe it’s both.  We decided that we wanted to narrow it down to the best five places in town where you’ll most likely see one of us, or one of our favorite bands playing.  We even developed a rating system for them.  We’ll be using our typical 5 Star system (1 being the lowest, 5 the highest) to rate the following areas: Sound Quality, Band Quality, Beer Prices, Atmosphere, and Mobility during packed shows. Follow the jump for full article.
Read more

1 1,289 1,290 1,291 1,292 1,293 1,431