An Evening At Stubbs (4/7)

164Stubb’s has a very impressive lineup on their inside and outside stage this Tuesday evening.  First off, the outside stage features ATH dance hall favorite Ratatat, who will bring the damn house down for sure.  Tussle and Despot are in support outside and kick things off around 8pm.  Tickets for this one have been sold out for a while so try to find a scalper.

As soon as the dance party ends outside, head inside for a more mellow ATH favorite Great Lake Swimmers (check out the new album review).  Kate Maki is in support and starts around 11pm.  Tickets for this show are $12 and wristbands from the earlier show do not grant access to the inside stage.  Thank you Stubbs.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-seventeen-years-1.mp3]

Download: Ratatat – Seventeen Years [MP3]

New Tunes from Throw Me the Statue

throwThrow Me the Statue is one of those bands that you’ll find difficult to define immediately. They’re part Sufjan, part elctronica and stirred in a pot by the Northwest. It’s an interesting recipe for some great tunes, which is reason enough to post a song off the band’s latest Purpleface EP, which is out now via Secretly Canadian.

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

Download: Throw Me the Statue – Ship [MP3]

The Thermals – Now We Can See

now

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Ever since they first released More Parts Per Million The Thermals have stuck pretty close to home as far as their sound goes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  On Now We Can See, the band’s fourth album, we finally get the benefit of listening to the culmination of years on the road and in the studio honing their skill.

Finally the band seems to have reached their apex as far as maturity goes, and it this is probably the most complete album the band has been able to put together.  Singer, Hutch, seems to have a great deal more control over his voice in comparison to years past, and the clarity with which he sings allows for the cleverly composed lyrics to shine through.  This has always been one of the band’s more overshadowed attributes, but those that have been listening all along will surely be aware of Hutch’s prowess as a wordsmith.

Much will be made about the somewhat gothic approach, as the lyrics tend to show narrators looking back upon life from the beyond; still, the focus seems to look back with a sense of nostalgic accomplishment.  The lyrics don’t seem to look back with a sense of resentment or disappointment, but rather reflect a coming to terms with the life one has led, which is probably the best way to approach such morbid subjects.

Of course, most listeners will immediately flock to to the infectious pop single of “Now We Can See” with it’s “oh way oh whoa” chorus of catchiness.  This is probably one of the better songs the band has put together, but we all know the band can churn out at least five or six solid tracks per album.  What other tunes will listeners identify with you ask?

“At the Bottom of the Sea” is surely a track that exhibits the more mature side of songwriting that the group has taken on in recent years, as the song bares no resemblance to the brashness that accompanies the rest of the album as a whole.  It’s as close to a ballad as the band has come, but it still shines with Hutch’s voice bursting through at the appropriate moments.  “Liquid In, Liquid Out” is another shocking song, settling in at just under two minutes.  This is the most simplistic power-pop the band has produced to date, and the clean quality demonstrates the ability the band has to go off into different ranges.

Fortunately for us, The Thermals seem to be at their best when they are having a blast.  Catching their live show, you will immediately pick up on the shared energy between the members in the group.  This is the first album where you can really hear the vibrance of the band come through from the studio.  You can picture the band having a blast in the studio, and we’re all better off letting them have fun and create such joyful listening experiences.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/09-liquid-in-liquid-out.mp3]

Download: The Thermals – Liquid In, Liquid Out [MP3]

FT5: Bruce Springsteen Albums

0403top5coverFinally we’ve been given an excuse to write about The Boss on The ATH. The Working On a Dream tour will be rolling through town this Sunday night at The Frank Erwin Center, and we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to look back on Bruce’s recording career. The Boss burst onto the scene in 1973 with his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and the Jersey boy is still going strong over 30 years later. Go ahead and follow the jump to read my picks for The Boss’ Top 5 Albums.

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Forty Acres Fest @ UT (4/4)

n55093748052_782_posterThe famous Forty Acres fest is going down this Saturday on the UT campus.  Games will be played, food and drink will be had, and the night ends with headliners Clap Your Hands Say Yeah playing in front of the UT tower at 7pm.  Best of all, everything is totally free.  This is also a good time to post the band’s latest demo/single “Statues”.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/clap_your_hands_say_yeah_statues.mp3]

Download: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Statues [MP3]

New Tunes from Jay Reatard

jayDid everyone know that I love Jay Reatard? Okay, so if you follow ATH, it’s pretty clear that I’m a huge fan, and I had promised not to throw his name around for a bit, but I can’t help it. Jay is re-opening his past, meaning he’s relaunching Shattered Records so that everyone can get their hands on his extensive back catalog. Not to mention, he’s offering a subscription to a Singles Club for $75. And, and, he’s giving away a new tune.  Here is that new track!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/jay-reatard-youre-gonna-lose.mp3]

Download: Jay Reatard – You’re Gonna Lose [MP3]

Other Lives – s/t

other

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Other Lives have gone through exponential changes since their early debut under the name of Kunek.  Back then, the band was known for enchanting audiences, willing them into a silent submission.  The power of the band still exists, though their self-titled debut [of sorts] shows that the band is willing to crawl out from beneath the Radiohead similarities into their own bright future.

We can get that comparison out of the way immediately; the only resemblance the band has to Thom Yorke’s posse is in the resonance of singer Jesse Tabish at certain points, but that is probably where you must draw the line in the sand.  Sure, the sounds are familiar, but they are approached with an entirely new set of lungs that allows for the band to breathe on its own.

Take, for example, “Black Tables” which begins slowly with a darkened piano progression, as strings wrap themselves tightly around each note, clearing the way for Jesse Tabish to lay down his lyrics. Almost two minutes pass in the song where there is little else besides the piano, strings and vocals.  Then, at the 2’48 mark in the song, the drums kick in, and the song takes off like a rocket blasting into the atmosphere of dense sounds.   This is precisely where Other Lives will take you, as they don’t rest on the traditional songwriting strategies.  Instead, they create an album full of miniature movements; these movements sometimes exist within songs themselves, often changing on the spur of a movement.

“E Minor” is one of the highlights, well, if you were to pick up a particular highlight, as close listeners will hear the strumming on the guitar as the piano playfully meanders through the background.  Tabish’s voice hits a different pitch at several moments, exposing his versatility.  This immediately followed by “Paper Cities,” which seems to broach the subject of war, or at least the loss of certain aspects of a modern society.  One could consider this a single, if the band were capable of creating something as basic as a single, but even this song seems to go beyond those expectations of traditional singles.

The band even has the ability to throw a more light-hearted tune in the end when they offer up “AM Theme.”  Sure, it maintains the solemenity of the earlier tracks, but there is something brighter bubbling beneath the surface of the song itself.  Perhaps the brevity of the tune allows for it to open up quickly, before its able to branch off into something more epic; it does go into the song “Epic,” however, which ends the album.

This album is sure to be an eye-opener to many, as the band gradually begins to pick up fans along the way.  It’s an interesting listen to say the least, and one that changes with each song.  Other Lives have created an album of diverse sounds and uniquely moving muiscal movements.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/03-black-tables.mp3]

Download: Other Lives – Black Tables [MP3]

From The Closet: Boyz II Men

boyz-ii-men-01Motownphilly’s back again, doin’ a lil’ east coast fling.  Boyz II men goin’ off, not too hard, not too soft.  You love this song.  I know you love this song.  I bring you this 90’s middle school dance hit because Boyz II Men are playing in town this weekend and we know you’ll be there then lie about actually being there.  The Motown boyz are playing Auditorium Shores on Saturday as part of the Urban Music festival and tickets are only $16.  You know you want to.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/motownphilly.mp3]

Clem Snide @ Mohawk (4/4)

25_clem_snide_04Being big fans of Eef Barzelay/Clem Snide, we’ve been looking forward to this show at Mohawk Saturday night for quite some time now.  The alt-country band will be joined by fellow ATH favorites The Broken West and opening act The HeligoatsTickets are available now for $10 or $12 at the door.  Music starts at 9pm.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/01-clem_snide-me_no.mp3]

Download: Clem Snide – Me No [MP3]

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