Bill Callahan has just been confirmed for a last minute/surprise instore at Waterloo on Friday. As always, these events are totally free, start around 5:30pm and include free keg beer. Check out our recent review of Bill’s new album Sometimes I wish I Were an Eagle or head elsewhere on the site to hear new single “Eid Ma Clack Shaw”. You won’t want to miss this.
When you come across the musical landscape today, it’s fairly easy to classify most groups within a certain genre, especially when it comes to independent music. Akron/Family‘s new album, Set Em Wild Set Em Free (out now on Dead Oceans) , does not fit easily into any such category, and listeners are better off for the approach to songwriting that the group has taken.
“Everyone is Guilty” jumps the album off with a funky math rock instrumental moment, but just as you brace yourself for a prolonged psychedelic math trip, grouped vocal harmonies bounce in, altering the landscape within the song; the song progresses, bouncing back and forth between the gang vocal approach and the elemental science funk. For the most part, this song serves as the perfect opening to the album, as it lays down the dichotomy of the entire album. This album is one that never stays in one place for too long, combining various albums, different paces and a variety of other musical tricks to make this one of the most diverse listening experiences of the year.
Of course, there are moments when the experimentation goes a step too far, but alas, no band is truly perfect. Take the longest song on the album, “Gravelly Mountains of the Moon,” which meanders along well enough, as all the songs on this album do, but then it is destroyed by irritating noise experimentation. Such moves are a rarity in this case, but this is one moment, of the few, when they band fell off the tracks. Similarly, “Creatures” tries to delve into some electronic drum work, and although the vocal performance is memorable, it detracts from the song a bit as the atmospherics lead the listener to wander.
Still, there are some clearly perfect moments in abundance. The gentle rolling along of “River” creates a song that suits the title of the song, as it seems to gently move along due to the steady pacing of the drums. It’s as if you can hear the river coming down towards you. “Sun Will Shine” is another gem off the album, which recalls the structures of a band like The Dodos who construct and deconstruct with perfect execution. Even the haunting moments of “Many Ghosts” brings to mind the folkier side of bands like the Unicorns, as Akron/Family uses various instruments to create a wall of oddball sounds to accompany their finely woven tunes.
For those interested in this album, you will not only be rewarded by an enjoyable listening experience, but you will find that the length is suiting as well. This is an album where you will get what you paid for in length, as well as in the quantity of songs. Sit back for a spell, and let Set Em Wild Set Em Free take you away for awhile.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/07-many-ghosts.mp3]
Download: Akron/Family – Many Ghosts [MP3]
Coming off the huge recent popularity of their HBO series and debut LP, Flight of the Conchords are touring the nation and making a stop at Bass concert hall on Thursday night. This show has been sold out for quite some time now so try craigslist for some buying options. Show starts around 8 with an opening set by Eugene Mirman.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/businesstime.mp3]
Download: Flight of the Conchords – Business Time [MP3]
NPR is streaming a few new to stores albums and one that isn’t even out yet as part of their Exlcusive First Listen series. For Starters, they are streaming the new Camera Obscura album, St. Vincent’s latest Actor, and the new Conor Oberst joint. On top of that, a First Listen for Jason Lytle’s new album Yours Truly, The Commuter, which isn’t our for a week or so, went up a couple days ago. We gave you first single “Brand New Sun” from Lytle’s new album a while back and we’re really digging the whole thing. What’s your take?
They first teamed up together to create a brilliant track for the Dark Was the Night project, and now they’ve gone at it again; Dirty Projectors have collaborated with Talking Head David Byrne. This new tune is not of the same vein as the formerly released track, “Knotty Pine,” but it showcases the skills of both groups. Don’t forget, you’re supposed to be anticipating the upcoming album from the Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca. More on that later; here’s “Ambulance Man.”[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dirty-projectors-and-david-byrne-ambulance-man.mp3]
Download: Dirty Projectors and David Byrne – Ambulance Man [MP3]
We recently posted a new song by Wye Oak and now we’re lucky enough to have the band stopping through town at the Mohawk on Wednesday night. The Baltimore band will share the stage with openers Pomegranates and local guys Salesman. Doors are at 8pm/music at 9. No word on door cover. Here’s that new song we posted not long ago.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/03-take-it-in.mp3]
Download: Wye Oak – Take It In [MP3]
Occasionally, you come across a group that is reminiscent of everything you truly love. Clever lyrics, jangly guitars, smooth vocals; all joining in unison in order to craft that perfect pop song. Cats on Fire have constructed 10 such songs with their second album Our Temperance Movement. Consider us lucky that Matinee Recordings was able to put out this album by the Finnish quartet.
Immediately upon pressing play, you will more than likely realize that the band shares a certain affinity for bands such as Felt or the Smiths, sharing those classic vocal similarities, but not in such a fashion where you feel as if they’re merely playing the role of imitators. Singer Mattias Bjorkas can hold the sway in his voice just like Lawrence or Morrissey. But, you’ll find that in listening to his voice, it stands alone an a different entirely.
Now, the band probably has a lot of influential waters that they could soak up with a sponge, all of which are visible in their songs, but a different comparison comes to mind when listening to the album. Our Temperance Movement recalls early Belle and Sebastian records, or just your favorite pop album, where every single song is so good that it would be hard to decipher which song on the album was meant as the single. You won’t be able to find a throwaway track here, which is an oddity in this year’s music output.
“Lay Down Your Arms” has that familiar jangly guitar you’ll recall from all those classic recordings, creating a mood of stomping about your local pub dancefloor. As the vocals sway back across the song, you can’t help but feel moved by the meldious tune. “Letters from a Voyage to Sweden” follows shortly after, with tales of watching a cruiseliner filled with adulterers and sodomites. Even with such a taboo topic, the song rolls along; it’s the perfect song for quiet headphone moments lying in your bed in thought.
With songs like “Tears in Your Cup,” Garden Light” and “Fabric” neatly tucked into the latter half of the album, you’ll find that your listening experience is never lacking in above average tunes. Especially when you encounter the bookend to the album “Farbic” with its backing female vocals and bouncy strum.
As the album wraps up completely you’ll be rushing to record your favorite tracks for that next great mixtape you are preparing for your friends. You only want the best tracks, and every song on this album will suffice to prove to your friends just how great your tastes are; so go on and introduce them to Cats on Fire.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-lay-down-your-arms.mp3]
Download: Cats on Fire – Lay Down Your Arms [MP3]
Alright listen up, we’ve got one helluva contest for a couple lucky winners out there so pay attention. Upcoming on May 18th, The Parish has one very solid lineup in-store featuring The Dears & Eulogies along with The Great Northern as opening support. If you aren’t feeling spendy, we’re going to giveaway some prize packs to two lucky winners. That’s right, first place AND second place. Deets:
1st place – 2 tickets to the show, a copy of the Eulogies latest LP Here Anonymous on vinyl, and a fancy Eulogies t-shirt
2nd place – A copy of Eulogies last EP Tempted to do Nothing on vinyl, The Dears Latest album Missiles on vinyl, AND a Dangerbird Records hoodie.
If that doesn’t spark your interest, I don’t know what will! Let’s try something new for entry in this contest… Simply leave a comment OR hit us up on Twitter and mention something about the contest in your @. Please remember to leave a valid email address so we can get in touch with our winners. Contest will be open until May 12th (one week from now).[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/thedears_meltdowninamajor.mp3]
Download: The Dears – Meltdown in A Major [MP3]
Austin’s VEGA is set to release a new digital EP, Well Known Pleasures, on May 19th. We hyped this band prior to SXSW, and we’re pleased to present you with a new track from the band. It’s definitely a track to get your boots stomping across the room, so enjoy.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/no-reasons.mp3]
Download: VEGA – No Reasons [MP3]
Cinco de Mayo is upon us and some people are of course looking to put on some parties downtown. Apparently one is going on in the block between Lamberts and La Condesa near second street. Information on this show has been hard to come by, but word is that Xemumba alum Los Bad Apples and Cienfuegos will be playing along with Charanga Cakewalk and DJ George. The event is totally free and gets started around 5pm. Food and drink will be provided by several vendors (not sure if they are free or not). Check out the fancy poster attached for more info or head to wikipedia to do some stuyding on the significance of Cinco de Mayo.