Free Pre-ACL Show From Paste/BMI

Another week, another free by RSVP show.  Before heading out to the ACL festival this weekend, Paste Magazine has joined up with BMI to give you a pretty nice show at Emo’s on Thursday night.  Lineup includes Mates of State, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Bobby Bare Jr., and several others.  A full list of performers can be read on the fancy show flier.  RSVP now and put ATH as your company to help us get the word out.  Spread the love!

ACL Battles: CSS vs. Man Man

Round two of our ACL battles pits Brazilian dance/pop band CSS vs. Philly artist Man Man.  This is our earliest battle of the festival weekend with both bands playing at 3:30 on Saturday.  CSS will be gettin’ it down on the AT&T Blue Room stage while Man Man plays on the Dell stage.  So the question is simple: Power pop goodness from the ipod commercial makin’ CSS or get a little more intense with war paint wearin’ Man Man?  Tell us who you’re seeing and why.  Both bands most recent singles are below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/02-rat-is-dead-rage.mp3]

Download: CSS – Rat is Dead (Rage) [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/manman4.mp3]

Download: Man Man – Big Trouble [MP3]

Mogwai – The Hawk is Howling

Rating: ★★½ · ·

Finally, I found music that I can run to these days, or at least music I could imagine myself running to, if I ever were to actually run.  That being said, Mogwai always offers me something that I can run to, or at least think about running to; actually, they always make music that lets me think.  The Hawk is Howling is just such an album.

First, I have to think about what I have done to begin thinking about running, which I will most definitely not do.  Then, I have to think about why Mogwai makes me think about running.  Finally, I have to think about what it is in Mogwai albums that makes me think.

In thinking about running, I came to the conclusion that its irrelevant to the topic at hand, the new album.  Then I thought long and hard about why Mogwai makes me think about running. This is my conclusion.

The band in and of itself does not make me want to run, but it is their music that makes me do so, and more important, it is their latest releases.  You see, they used to grab you, and fill your ears with swelling noise and sounds that irked your thinking caps.  They have since retired these strong arms of the axe, and exchanged such powers for mellower affairs.

Opening tracks are never going to be considered the best on the album, but here, they don’t really break new ground, and instead, they wallow in the tried and true formula they used off their last album.  It’s not unique anymore, considering the plethora of bands nowadays that are intent upon creating mood altering music.  Let’s take songs like “Local Authority” and “Scotland’s Shame.”  Each song has some offerings for music listeners, but for the most part, they are restrained musings of a band that once let go with such force that my ears rang for days, and that was with earplugs in my ears.  It is gone; they have lost the ferociousness.

There is, but of course, a song like “Batcat” which recalls that grandiose noise they used to bring on a daily basis, but the availability of such noise on this album is minimal.  They did, however, pen the greatest song this side of M83 with “The Sun Smells Too Loud.” Ridiculous song title aside, its the perfect sprawl of Mogwai at its best.

So then I just thought.  Mogwai makes me think about running nowadays because I can ignore their albums.  They used to strike me with a feeling of grandeur, but those days have long passed.  I can enjoy them for their minimal offerings, but, like their songs, the albums gently float away.

My thinking has led me to declare that the glory days of Mogwai have long since passed. In asking them not to rest on their laurels we asked them to throw away what we loved the most.  In the end, we were given sub-par albums that are always worthy of listening to, but never worthy of playing time and time again.  We can take them for a run, but like The Hawk is Howling, their albums are used solely for special moments; lets face it, the moments just don’t seem as special as they used to seem.

Stereolab @ Emo’s (9/24)

Stereolab, now working on 18 years of existence, will be playing at La Zona Rosa on Wednesday evening.  The show may be one of the only legit shows going down this week that has nothing to do with ACL.  Tickets for the show are $25 and can be bought from Gettix.  Below is a song from the band’s 2008 album Chemical Chords entitled “Three Women”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/0911_stereolab_-_three_women.mp3]

Download: Stereolab – Three Women [MP3]

ACL Battles: MGMT vs. Spiritualized

Okay, so I personally think this may be the toughest choice to make of the festival.  On one side, you’ve got a very young band in MGMT who have only had major success since the release of their superb second album Oracular Spectacular in 2007.  On the other hand, Spiritualized are coming up on twenty years of existence and have been seeing success since before members of MGMT were in middle school.  Both bands will be playing at 5:30 on Saturday on the AT&T Blue Room stage and the Dell stage respectively.  You have a choice between the psych-pop of MGMT or the space rock of Spiritualized.  What’s it gonna be?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-electric-feel.mp3]

Download: MGMT – Electric Feel [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/spiritualized_-_soul_on_fire.mp3]

Download: Spiritualized – Soul on Fire [MP3]

ACL Preview: Hot Chip

By this point in time, we’ve all heard about Hot Chip many times before, or at least I hope they have done a fly-by on your radar. Well, this bunch of Brits are here to brighten up your ACL experience on Friday afternoon. Expect this to be a hot-spot for those in the know, and since I’ve alerted you, you are now one of those privileged people! Grab more info after the jump.

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Brightblack Morning Light – Motion to Rejoin

Rating: ★ · · · ·

All things considered, Matador Records is one of the top indie labels, consistently putting out good albums, but I’m not sure I understand the love behind their latest release from Brightblack Morning Light. It’s great to branch out into new areas of the field, but is there anything really worthy of recovery here?

First off, some have called Motion to Rejoin mood music, and it is just that.  It is for those moods when you feel like driving your car straight into a black and white movie.  As you barrel down the highway, you want something barely audible in the background, something with a sense of impending doom.  Then the scene stops.  You are no where to be found–obviously, you are dead, and I think it is this album that led you there.

Absolutely nothing on this album is moving, especially the sprawling pace of these songs.  As every song carries on, listeners will try their damnedest to locate something that will draw them back into the song, but their search will be fruitless, entirely so. If this album were racing with a turtle, the turtle would most likely be the winner of the race, and not only because it is faster, but because it actually goes somewhere.  Every piece of this album just comes across the speakers as if someone tried their best to create the most mundane soundtrack pieces known to man.

And! And! There are six songs on this album that go beyond the five minute mark! Did someone seriously think there were songs on here worthy of going beyond the  one minute mark?  They did, because they are on here, but they shouldn’t have.  The album would have been just as perfect had it only included the 43 second introduction song that begins the entire piece.

When you consider the vocals, and their desperate grasp at anything with an ounce of emotion, it is clear that the album didn’t have anything when it all began.  The vocals lack a certain sense of soul, and when they approach that line, it is clear that they are grabbing for emotion with all their might; it comes across forced, much as I was forced to listen to this record several times to figure it all out.

Now, I realize that there are certain people out there that place some sort of value on this album, but it is increasingly unclear as to why they have placed any importance on it at all.  I struggle to determine whether or not one can even really consider this dense mess of undertones music in the first place.  Just because no one understands it, doesn’t make it unaccessible, therefore rendering it worthy of listening.  If you care to explain it to me, go right on ahead, but I will probably not listen to this album again, unless I’m envisioning euthanasia in my near future.

I’m sorry Brightblack Morning Light, but your Motion to Rejoin has been denied by the court.

R.I.P TRL

So MTV recently announced that it is canceling Total Request Live. I think that means they officially play zero music now. Not that the 15 second sound bytes of Miley Cyrus they played on TRL really counted as playing music. Looks like it was a bit of a guilty pleasure for poor Steve, however…

Town Hall ACL Battles: Manu vs. Mars

Town Hall ACL  Battles is another feature we will be bringing you everyday leading up to the festival this weekend. The idea is fairly simple: two bands, same time slot, same day, who ya gonna pick? Feel free to leave comments on why you should or shouldn’t see each band represented in our “battles”. Now obviously we can’t hit every single conflict over 5 days so don’t be offended if we miss something. These are “the big ones”. Our first battle pits Manu Chao vs. Mars Volta both headlining around 8:30 on Friday. The schedule does have Mars Volta ending at 9:30 and Manu ending at 10 but were talking about opposite ends of the park (AMD and AT&T stages). It might take you 30 minutes just to get from one side to the other this late in the day. So, Sunday at 8:30, where ya gonna be? Getting your face melted by the prog-rock of Mars Volta? Or jammin’ to the world sounds of Manu Chao? If you need a little assistance, we have the most recent singles of both bands. Ding Ding.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/rollingstone_download_manuchao_politikskills.mp3]

Download: Manu Chao – Politik Kills[MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-wax-simulacra.mp3]

Download: Mars Volta – Wax Simulacra [MP3]

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