Boston Spaceships – The Planets are Blasted

boston

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Ohh Bobbie, how we love your Miller Lite infused high-kicks. How we love walking into your shows dry and leaving sopping wet from not only our own but other peoples body sweat. How we love being able to throw beers in the air at innocent by-standers and not give a shit. Above all else Bobbie, we love your unmatched creative output of material. Slurrrrrp.

Boston Spaceships return with Planets Are Blasted only 5 months after their first LP Brown Submarine. In a recent interview, Chris Slusarenko has said they already have a third album ready tentatively titled Zero to 99 which should be out before October. With no trimming on the song count, Planets Are Blasted boasts another 14 songs just as it’s former had. The line-up has stayed the same with booze buddies Chris Slusarenko (GBV, Svelt, Sprinkler) on guitar and John Moen (Decemberists, Jicks, Elliott Smith) on drums. Now implemented as an official band and not a side project, Boston Spaceships carries on the sounds of pop infused punk/garage rock and beyond. In classic Pollard fashion, all the songs are generally under 2 1/2 minutes in length with the exception of one which goes into prog zoning of 4 minutes.

The treats keep coming on this sophomore release which I wonder if they were recorded at different sessions or what? I’m curious to hear more details on the recording process of these songs. For the most part, the way these songs see the light of day all starts at Pollard’s home. He comes up with raw demos, usually consisting of him on an acoustic guitar and singing vocal melodies on top. He’ll go through the songs deciding which ones will work for his solo project and which ones are Boston Spaceships material (The man has a self-proclaimed 3,000 un-released songs give or take a thousand depending on how many Miller Lites he’s had).  He’ll then call Slusarenko up and say that he has some ideas, they’ll get together, have drinking challenges, write notes on songs usually ending with KICK-ASS the more they drink. Slusarenko will then take these songs home, mull over them until he knows every subtle part, take them to Moen and flesh it all out.

It’s amazing at the ease in which Pollard can come up with a catchy chorus. Such is the beast of album opener “Canned Food Demons.”  It immediatley takes you back to GBV days of old, maybe missing the piss and puke buckets, but as close as we’ll get and I’ll gladly take it.  I mean, the man is 52 years old and can still squeal with more power than any rock singer I’ve heard at his age. When you hear him howl, “now she’s coming aroooound, canned food demons aliiiiiiiive!” Just surrender already. This may be the best song on the album but it definetly doesn’t stop here. Gems like “Queen of Stormy Weather” and “Heavy Crown” will quench your thirst for more R-A-W-K.

As a whole, Brown Submarine too me is a much more polished album with catchier and inventive melodies than this one. I don’t know if the songs were picked first for Brown Submarine and the ones on Planets Are Blasted were picked afterward from the same collection of material but either way, this album still holds up in my opinion. Not as strong or consistant throughout, but still many perks that will turn an ear. Most of all, I’m really happy to know that this isn’t a “project” and that Pollard is having fun and pumping out little bits of gold over and over. (insert high-kick here)

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bigogetsanearful.mp3]

Download: Boston Spaceships – Big O Gets an Earful [MP3]

From the Closet: Leonard Cohen

lenny1 We’ll go a little old school crooner this week, well, not that entirely old school, as the feature of this week is still up and at it.  Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you Leonard Cohen. The man has been honored by everyone, and this Friday we have a chance to honor the man  as well.  You can do so by purchasing tickets to his show on April 2nd at the Long Center. This will be the show you will tell your kids about.  Get a hold of your tickets here, and buy me one as well please!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/02-chelsea-hotel-no-2.mp3]

Download: Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel No. 2 [MP3]

New Tunes From Crystal Antlers

crystalantlers03The latest and greatest crystal in their name band, Crystal Antlers, have a new rockin’ jam for your listening pleasure.  The new track is called “Andrew” and will appear on the band’s upcoming LP Tentacles out April 6th.  If the whole album sounds like this, we may be in store for one of the years best.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/crystal-antlers-andrew.mp3]

Download: Crystal Antlers – Andrew [MP3]

New Music From Whitman

whitmanLocal boys Whitman recently spent a long weekend in the studio and are ready to drop a new track your way from the sessions.  No word yet on a title or release date for an upcoming album, but we’ll let you know when we hear something.  The new track, “Light It Up”, has been getting heavy rotation in the ATH offices and we think you’ll like it as much as we do.  Feel free to drop us a line about the new tune or hit them up on myspace.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/light-it-up.mp3]

Download: Whitman – Light It Up [MP3]

Mastodon Bring More Rock

mastodon-photoMaybe some of our readers are not ready for the face melting music of Mastodon, but count ATH as one of their many fans. The Grammy winning band are bringing you a new album on March 24th entitled Crack the Skye and have two new songs to preview the effort. First new song “Oblivion” can be heard on the album’s website along with some sweet flash animations.  We’ve got the other new tune “Diviniations” for you below.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/mastodon-divinations.mp3]

Download: Mastodon – Divinations [MP3]

Odawas – The Blue Depths

odawas

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Odawas come to us from Berkely, California via the Midwest, which is definitely an attribute one can find on both ends of the spectrum when listening to their newest album, The Blue Depths, off JagJaguwar Records.

This an album of soundscapes, carefully sculpted with an artists touch, as the duo of Isaac Edwards and Michael Tapscott, pay attention to every inch of the recording process and the musical concept.  Clearly, this is an album where they sat down together, determined a common path they wished to depart upon, and decided to take us their with them.  Even the album artwork and the song titles illustrate a journey of sorts, for all those participating in the listening experience.  Titles like “Swan Song of the Humpback Angler” and “Moonlight/Twilight” clearly represent a canvas on which the band can paint.

Oddly, they choose to do a lot of the percussive work with a twinge of eighties pop keyboard elements.  The backing sounds are remarkably similar to every soundtrack you would hear in the pop-culture movies of the eighties.  Still, it keeps some of the more brooding moments rising above the seemingly somber moments that exist throughout. And yet the band push on with their sound, carefully filling every single inch of space with some form of instrumentation, be it harmonica, string arrangement or vocal melody; they don’t leave a single musical stone unturned here.

Vocals all over the album are a little bit in the vein of something we would have seen with Jason Lytle, just a whole lot gentler, as if the Californian has been sampled, slowing his voice down to a whispering tone.  It’s a trait that allows for the band to put the music on the forefront, with the vocals remaining just an extra instrument for them to utilize in the ultimate construction of this album.  This being the case, its hard to take a lot of quality understanding from the vocals in the realm of lyrics, but that probably isn’t the point at all.  They want you to be drawn in, pulling your ears closer to the speakers as you fight to take meaning from their compositions.

In the end, this is the seeming purpose behind this release, as it surely is a moment of pure mood music.  This isn’t to suggest that you need to be in a certain mood to grasp the record; this is by no means the purpose of that statement.  The purpose of making a blanket statement such as that means that while listening to this album in its entirety, as you should do with all albums, you will find that your mood has been altered.  This is precisely what Odawas wants of you, they want you to immerse yourself in their wonderful world of space and sound.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/02-swan-song-of-the-humpback-angler.mp3]

Download: Odawas – Swan Song of the Humpback Angler [MP3]

SXSW Watchlist: Choo Choo

choochooWe continue our attempts to bring you some lesser known SXSW acts today with Swiss artist Choo Choo.  Originally formed as a 3 piece back in ’06, the band now performs their brand of 60s style garage rock as a 4 piece out of their home in Berne, Switzerland.  Catchy hooks infused with fuzzy guitar and some pop stylings all their own characterize the sound on Choo Choo’s debut self-titled LP out in 2008.  The band’s going to be hard at work making a name for themselves during SXSW and playing more shows than any band ever should.

Catch an official showcase @ B.D. Riley’s Thursday March 19th 9pm.

Or for you freeloaders, check the band’s myspace for a whole slew of other unofficial parties planned.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/a-little-wiser-now.mp3]

Download: Choo Choo – A Little Wiser Now [MP3]

New Tunes from Cursive

cursiveTim Kasher has long been penning incredible tunes, both as the frontman for Cursive, and as the man behind The Good Life. Now comes the time of year where we can all be grateful, as new tunes are now available in preparation for Cursive‘s release of Mama, I’m Swollen, out on March 10th via Saddle Creek Records. You can hear “I Couldn’t Love You” over at Entertainment Weekly.

Also, they released another track yesterday to the public, which is also another song off the upcoming album.  This song, “From the Hips” illustrates Tim at his best, writing great lyrics, and the song just seems to churn out those special moments we missed on the band’s Happy Hollow last time around.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/cursive-fromthehips.mp3]

Download: Cursive – From the Hips [MP3]

New Tunes from Bricolage

bricoGlasgow, Scotland has a certain place in my heart, as my favorite band stems from the region, not to mention their influence Orange Juice. Yet, here comes another great band, Bricolage, that seems to owe a bit of love towards the aforementioned band.  Throw in a touch of The Smiths, and you’ve got a rollicking good time.  The band is set to release their self-titled album on Slumberland this May.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/08turnuover.mp3]

Download: Bricolage – Turn U Over [MP3]

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