High Places – s/t

Rating: ★ · · · ·

Brooklyn duo High Places recently released their newest LP, a self titled affair, to much critical claim. Those kids over at PFork gave it an 8! Having come across it ourselves, we opted to look deeper into the album in attempt to uncover the mystery.

Upon first listen, most will find that the music, well, there really doesn’t seem to be much music. Sure, there are some electronic beats dancing here and there with a little mixture of the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure, but there really isn’t anything along the lines of what the majority of the world would define as music. A close examination might reveal that the skeleton for almost every single song on the album stems from too much indulgence into someone’s collection of Animal Collective B-Sides.

Some refer to such music as IDM, or Intelligent Dance Music. Listening, you might find it difficult that the word intelligent has been mentioned at all because clearly it takes very little intelligence to create this music. It’s reminiscent of the stuff all your nerdy friends were making on their own computers back when things like Garage Band were just coming into play. Simpletons.

However, despite obvious lack of creativity, or melody for that matter, there is a highlight all over this album, almost blanketing the sheer horridness. That savior is Mary Pearson, the vocalist for the band. Her range is not all that grand, but she is precisely what most listeners seem to be enjoying these days. She is your girl next door indie songstress, albeit one who has chosen to make this album. One would love to find here step outside the confines of this one-dimensional genre in search of deeper melodies or more creativity.

Those of you who consider yourself intelligent should not listen to those in love with this band, well, you are intelligent, so you should be informed. Listen, listen, then check back with us at ATH so we know that we weren’t too far off on this one.

The Hood Internet V.3

The internet has gone crazy this week with free mix tapes!  I have no doubt that the new Hood Internet Volume 3 Mix Tape will end up being the best one yet. (or at least the best one we’ve told you about this week)  If you aren’t familiar with The Hood Internet, the duo take one indie rock song and blend it with a popular rap/hip-hop song which usually results in dance party gold.  The new volume includes 34 brand new mashups with madness like Ludacris Vs. She & Him, Ghostface Killah Vs. Caribou, and Fleetwood Mac Vs. Daft Punk.  Yikes!  Check it out now and get the party started right!

Locksley @ Emo’s Lounge (10/24)

Locksley will be playing Emo’s Lounge on Friday night as part of the MTV Choose or Lose tour.  Tickets for the show are only $8 and can be bought online from Ticket Web.  Doors for the show are at 9 with music starting at 10.  Preview the show with a sweet track from Locksley called “Why Not Me”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/locksley-whynotme.mp3]

Download: Locksley – Why Not Me [MP3]

Free Eels EP

Mark Everett and his band, The Eels, have a new EP you can download for free from their website.  The new live EP is from a 2005 performance in Manchester and features 4 songs that the band will send to you after entering a valid email address (expires on Oct. 28th).  The band is giving away this EP in celebration of the release of their new delux 4-LP vinyl edition of the 2005 album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations.  This limited vinyl pressing might be for the die hard fans…. It’ll cost ya $205.  If that doesn’t sound too bad, pre-order a copy now.

Cold War Kids In Austin (10/24)

The Cold War Kids will be playing a couple shows in Austin this Friday.  First one is a free show at Waterloo Records going down at 5pm with free keg beer of course.  Second show of the day takes place at Emo’s with A.A. Bondy in support.  Better try searching craigs list if you wanna make it to the Emo’s show because it’s been sold out for a while now.  Here’s Cold War Kids most recent single “Something is Not Right With Me”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/12-something-is-not-right-with-me.mp3]

Download: Cold War Kids – Something is Not Right With Me [MP3]

Paper Bird

While stumbling aimlessly around this great city of ours on Saturday night, I had the good fortune of catching an intimate, middle of the night set by Denver, CO band Paper Bird.  Finding a band worth watching at 2 in the morning is pretty rare so I thought I’d throw a little love the way of this Rocky Mountain band.  Paper Bird is a band earning quite a following in their home city of Denver and surrounding areas.  Upon first listen, the 7 piece acoustic band come off sounding like a grassroots old timey folk band with 3 lovely ladies sharing vocal duties.  Oh and those vocals… These 3 ladies might win the award for best female vocals ever.  Yes, they’re that good.  The band is currently touring in support of their 2007 debut LP Anything Nameless and Joymaking.  See what all the fuss is about with hearfelt tune “Sacrifice” below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/14-sacrifice.mp3]

Download: Paper Bird – Sacrifice

Stream Cardinology On iLike

The not yet released new album by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Cardinology, can now be streamed for free on the Facebook iLike page (don’t worry non facebook users, you don’t have to sign up to listen).  The physical edition of the album isn’t out till the 28th, but you can pre-order it now.  I’ve heard the album a few times but I’ll keep my opinion to myself until you guys have had the time to hear it (we aren’t Stereogum).  This is the first full album with the Cardinals added on to Mr. Adams name since the underrated 2005 releases Cold Roses & Jacksonville City Nights.  Anyone ready to form an opinion? 

Sebastien Grainger – Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The majority of the world might not recognize the name of Sebastien Grainger, but most of you know who he is, and I’m sure some of you saw him play. Grainger is the former drummer for Death From Above 1979, that dueling barrage of blips and banging that burst onto the scene a few years back. Dude’s on his own now; the question is can he deliver like he used to do when he stood atop his stool breaking our ears and his drums?

Upon first listen, you will immediately discover that Sebastien has long ago departed from the intensity he once carried into our bedrooms. “Love Can Be So Mean,” the opening track, is about as deliberate a step into the pop spectrum of things we could expect him to go; he goes there unexpectedly, but he still brings a punch or two with him.

For some you might hear a touch of his past in a good amount of these songs, as the guitars usually carry a large amount of fuzz with them, much like that horse we’re beating into the ground. Another similarity in transitions is the vocal quality built into these songs; the vocals never sound very clear, coming off muddled in the mix. It’s not horrible, especially since he attaches a lot more melody this go round, but you can still see the shadow of his past looming just over his shoulder.

“I’m All Rage Live 05” is Sebastien doing Wolf Parade, which is okay since they both hail from north of the border, but the most disheartening thing about this song is that Sebastien holds back during the chorus; he has every opportunity to let loose like we know he can, but he holds back instead. It gives a less angst-ridden approach to the song, but most would love to see him belt it out. And it’s clear he has plenty of angst to let out, as evidenced by songs such as “I Hate My Friends.”

There are steps in all sorts of directions here, which makes this album a little unfocused. There are some allusions to 80s power ballads mixed with shadows from his past wrapped around various other late-nineties influences (see Saddle Creek Records, the label releasing this album). You’ll even find more direct approaches to ballads and harmonies, but you won’t find focus. When he’s on, the record has amazing moments worth playing again and again; when he’s not, you just hope he can rein it all in for the next go round. Really, you just want him to let loose completely.  A record without the evident inhibtions from this record could just prove brilliant.

Have a listen to latest single “By Cover of Night” below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/03-by-cover-of-night-fire-fight.mp3]

Download: Sebastian Grangier – By Cover of Night [MP3]

10/18 Portugal. The Man @ Emo’s

The city of Wasilla, Alaska is best known for one of two things: The first, and the one we keep hearing about in the news, is how the city was once home to vice presidential candidate Sarah Pallin. The second, and much less widely known fact, is that Wasilla was also once called home by members of psych-rock band Portugal. The Man. Regardless of where they came from, the one time Alaskan outfit (now in Portland) known as Portugal. The Man rocked the house at Emo’s on Saturday night. Follow the jump to read more about the show.

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