Peter and the Wolf – Mellow Owl

Rating: ★★★★ ·

As the winter weather wanders down the street and into our open windows, we’re all looking for that perfect album to accompany the complete change of the seasons.  We need something subtle, something soothing, yet something that challenges and thrills.  Enter Red Hunter.

Red Hunter is the local Austin legend, also known as Peter and the Wolf, who has just recently released another beautiful listening experience.  He’s known from playing on the edges of the world, where the water drops off into a great abyss of silence; he plays to the small crowds who still believe in mythical beasts.

Pacing is immediately established by the lyrical content and the title of the opening track, “Supermellofied.”  It speaks of a simpleness that most will not be able to describe, yet all yearn for from time to time.  Guitar track atop guitar track creates the effect of gentle rain dripping down from your roof and into the cracks in the sidewalk.

For some reason, the quietude of the album is the one thing that will speak to most listeners.  It’s Red’s simple approach to writing and crafting songs that allow us all to focus on the mundane details of our own world, allowing us all to realize the beauty that exists in every corner that we walk through.  It’s an album of simple folk songs and simple pleasures, such the things that should be in our lives.

Listeners may find it difficult to absorb the vocals of Red Hunter, as they seem to be sung through a can, clearly an echo of some sort resonates. But, the focus in his songs doesn’t revolve merely around his lyrics; it is the entire aesthetic appeal of these songs that sneaks into your soul.

Other hits that many will adore on this album are songs like “Trainhopper” and “Ballad of Redhook.”  Pleasant guitar strumming melds with overlying electric guitar, begging all to focus upon the minutest detail of this record; surely a metaphor for how one should approach their own life.

Several hundred years into his career as Peter and the Wolf, Red Hunter still has what it takes to craft some of the most personal songs many of us will come across this year.  If you miss him now, don’t worry, for he will surely go down in Austin lore.

Buy his album on Peter and the Wolf’s Myspace Page.

Anthony Kiedis TV Show

Word on the street is that long time Red Hot Chilli Peppers front man, Anthony Kiedis, is planning a series for HBO based on his rock ‘n’ roll childhood.  The memoir is tentatively titled “Scar Tissue” and focuses on Kiedis’ move from Michigan to Hollywood and his relationship with a rock star lifestyle dad.  Variety has the whole story.  This follows a recent trend of famous 90s front men taking on completely random new projects.  Have your say and give us some episode ideas in the comment section.

The Acorn On The Laundormatinee

The Laundromatinee, brought to you by MOKB, continue to bring you sweet video of their in studio performances with a set by The Acorn this week.  The Ottawa based band is currently touring with Calexio in support of their 2007 album Glory Hope MountainCheck out video for the 4 live songs or listen to the band’s most recent single “Crooked Legs” right here on our website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/acorn_crooked_legs.mp3]

Download: The Acorn – Crooked Legs

White Denim – Exposion

Rating: ★★ · · ·

Local Austin heroes, White Denim, have been garnering ridiculous amounts of press over the last few years, blasting off into the world of the inter-web with raving reviews and undying fan loyalty. Finally, the band have a full length album, Exposion, for all audiences to grab.

Their live shows are known for their riotous behavior and their vocal interchanges. Packed full of energy every step of the way, White Denim has easily found their way into the hearts of every Austinite, if not every person that considers themselves in the know.

One would figure that with the backing of local production company, Transmission Entertainment, that White Denim would be sure-set for a take off into the most fruitful of places. The question for most is would their daring stage show translate across formats and into speakers across the nation everywhere.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. This will greatly anger folks from the Lone Star State, but rest assured, a poor review is warranted here. They may still own the local stages with a tenacity uncommon to most witnesses, but their first real foray into the world of recorded music is not as fruitful as one would hope for these developing artists.

First, note the translucence in the vocals. They just don’t have the passion that they do when the band is standing in front of you, and most, even those who have never seen the band live, will feel as if the vocals are lacking in something. You could call it sincerity, or even passion, but they seem hollow, as if the band is stretching to maintain the effects felt by listeners in a live setting.

Upon further listening you will also find that the band seems more comfortable residing in the soundscapes of sloppy folk rock set in the sixties. The recording provides some similarities to the live audience meandering of the band, but without the visual, or the live experience the music fails to translate. Every ounce of fun is seemingly stripped from the songs; in fact, this just doesn’t seem like the same band winning hearts across America. It’s hard to find a song that makes you move your feet outside of “Shake Shake Shake,” which is always going to be a favorite.

The question, or perhaps the wall, in dealing with this album revolves around the fairness of treating an album the same way you would treat a live show. Is it acceptable to place judgement on a band because they fail to transcribe the raw power of the live show? More than likely, it’s not that fair, but that is what one has to deal with in this case. You have a phenomenal live band, one that everyone needs to see at least twice in their life, but one that just can’t give that magic out through the powers of modern technology. But, die-hard fans will surely be pleased to hear some of their favorites played through their bedroom speakers.

You can judge for yourself by picking up Exposion on the White Denim website.

Of Montreal @ Fiesta Gardens (11/13)

Of Montreal will be bringing their ridiculous live show through Austin this Thursday evening and we’re here to bring you the details. The band will be playing at the rarely utilized Fiesta Gardens on the east side with doors opening at 6pm. Tickets can be bought now from the Transmission Entertainment website. If you’re curious about the venue choice, my guess is that they need somewhere to park the horse trailer. To make the show even more enticing, Icy Demons out of Chicago will be opening for Of Montreal. Here’s a track from Icy Demons called “Miami Ice”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/miamiice.mp3]

Download: Icy Demons – Miami Ice [MP3]

Longwave – Secrets are Sinister

Rating: ★★★★½

Long ago, circa 2003, Longwave released The Strangest Things. It was an album full of possibilities; part pop album, part New York cool. Then comes 2005 and There’s A Fire loses everyone, pushing the band back to start. So where on Earth will we find them with Secrets are Sinister?

Briefly, lets journey back into the late 80s/early 90s, a time when pop music was a socially acceptable medium. Let’s face it, The Cure was a pop band; they still are. Yet, somewhere along this path, marketing interrupted creativity, rendering pop music virtually useless. In steps Longwave, circa 2008.

This album is precisely what a pristine pop album should and still is. Opening track “Sirens in the Deep Sea” is a heavy hitter, blasting guitar swells from the instant you press play, but then it drapes careful melodic vocals upon the walls of the song. It’s not the most novel approach, nor do we ask it to be, but there is not an instant where this song doesn’t immediately feel familiar and lasting.

“No Direction” keeps the pace with it’s predecessor, continuing the beating, yet this song is one of the one’s that harkens back to the band’s heyday. Most unique here are the levels to which singer, Steve Schlitz, pushes himself; it’s the most passionate he’s ever sounded.

However, it’s not all scowling guitars and walls of feedback. Let’s take “The Devil and the Liar,” for instance. It’s a calm moment in this storm of a statement; it’s also fairly reminiscent of Albert Hammond Jr, one of Schlitz’s dear friends, or at least old friends. This song clearly states that the band can play both ends, and they play it well. Similarly, you play a song like “Shining Hours” and you find yourself basking in the rays of pop goodness. It’s got a youthful edge, but one we can all identify with, no matter who we are. Longwave‘s ability to tug at any and every emotion is clearly where the band is at their best.

In trying to find a detractor here, one could easily state that there isn’t too much here that is pushing the limits of the local musical lexicon, but since when did everyone really have to go out of their way to be different in order to garner some sort of fandom. Clearly Longwave treasure those moments musically that we can all share; those moments when we realize we all love music for the same reason. That’s the secret.

You can listen to the record, Secrets are Sinister, in its entirety by visiting the band’s web site.

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