• SXSW 2019 – A Recap

    Yet another SXSW is in the books and it’s time for the ATH crew to reminisce a little and offer some highlight from the week behind us. I think we’ve

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  • SXSW: 6 Bands To Watch

    Well SXSW music is officially here, and as I sit and ponder my existence while at work, I thought it would be fun to share some advice on bands to

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  • RayRay’s Top Songs – 2018

    When it comes to ATH and our areas of expertise, I like to think I’m the go to guy for song lists and bad ass playlists. If you’re doubting me,

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  • Best of Indiepop 2018

    Everyone has their own definition of indiepop; but I tend to ascribe to the original craft where DIY aesthetics and a softer response to punk were all the rage. But,

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  • ATH Top Albums – 2018

      This is our year end list for albums of the year. There’s four of us here, so it’s hard to come to a consensus, but we did our best.

    Read more »

Cale Parks – Swift Mars EP

cale

Rating: ★★★ · ·

It’s funny that Cale Parks spent the majority of this summer touring with Passion Pit, as the member of Aloha seems in an entirely different league altogether on his latest, the Swift Mars EP, which is out now on Polyvinyl Records.   As a musician, he most well known as a drummer, but his usage of electronics and layering on this EP tells a story of a different sort.

We’re first presented with “Eyes Wont Shut,” a precursor to the electronic features on this album.  While the music doesn’t sound too far from many of his peers around the park, his stalled delivery of vocals here actually strengthens the beats beneath the track.  A warm chorus breaks into a throwback glam-dance as the song sparkles to and fro, until it comes to an end.

On “Knight Conversation” we find his understated vocals accompanied by a female counterpart.  While the music here isn’t entirely out of this world amazing, it does just enough to push the song to its focal point, which definitely has to revolve around the vocal duets going back and forth.  The strength of the song lies in this recipe.

“Crystal Air” hits the album at its peak.  Here we see Cale layering just as we know he does best.  Simple progressing piano walks along the song itself, with various electronic atmospherics entering from stage left.  Although you might strain to hear the vocals at some points on the song, and the album for that matter, you are definitely drawn into his barroom persona, somewhere between Sinatara and Patrick Wolf. “One at a Time” supposedly is the single from the album, but it isn’t as pronounced as a winner as some of the previously mentioned tracks.  Vocals sort of seem drawn out, and somewhat secondary.  It’s just not a strong effort, and an odd choice for a single.

“We Can Feel It” closes out the EP with a swirling set of combined noises, from steady drums to the bursting of bubbles as they boil.  It’s a new setting for the album, somewhat reminiscent of a more experimental Grizzly Bear, minus the remarkable vocals harmonies.  As it ends, you can’t help but think that Cale Parks has a clear path ahead of him to break new ground and accomplish great things as his musical career continues to blossom before us.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/01-eyes-wont-shut.mp3]

Download: Cale Parks – Eyes Wont Shut [MP3]

A2W: White White Lights

whitewhitelightsThe White White Lights are a band that have been receiving a whole slew of positive praise as of late from the local music blog roll.  We decided it was just about time we joined in the fun and featured the band in our artist to watch feature.  Not much information can be found about White White Lights, but we do know that the band has been around for a little over a year and features members of Austin bands Lomita and Monster Girl.  You can also expect a debut self-titled LP from the band sometime this October coming out on local label Indierect Records.  We think they sound a lot like one of our other favorite Texas bands, Eisley, mixed in with a bit more of an atmospheric touch.  You can experience that sound this Wednesday at Mohawk for only $7 along with fellow locals Sleeping in the Aviary.  Give ’em a chance and let us know what you think of this new Austin band.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/its-cold-here-in-japan.mp3]

Download: White White Lights – It’s Cold Here In Japan[MP3]

New Music From Wooden Sky

woodenskyWe’ve read quite a bit about Toronto band Wooden Sky on Chromewaves and LHB and finally decided it was time for us to give them some love.  The band just wrapped up their sophomore effort If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone which hits stores August 25th via Maple Music.  This first single “Something Hiding For Us in the Night” is really incredible.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/woodenskysomething_hiding_for_us_in_the_night-1.mp3]

Download: Wooden Sky – Something Hiding For Us in the Night [MP3]

Our Lady Peace @ Antones (8/11)

olpWow.  So apparently Our Lady Peace is still a band and they are actually coming to Antones on Tuesday night.  Recent Austin transplants Electric Touch will also be on hand providing opening support.  If interested, get yo tickets now for $20.  Much to our surprise, Our Lady Peace also just released a brand new album last month with this new single “All You Did was Save my Life”.  It’s…. interesting.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/our-lady-peace-all-you-did-was-save-my-life.mp3]

Download: Our Lady Peace – All You Did was Save my Life [MP3]

New Music From Port O’Brien

portobrienWe just found this new Port O’Brien track on The Gum today and we are really enjoying the new sound from the band.  This track, “My Will is Good”, will appear on the band’s upcoming album Threadbare due out October 6th via TBD Records.  It’s turning into a solid summer jam.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/port-obrien-my-will-is-good.mp3]

Download: Port O’brien – My Will is Good [MP3]

New Music From Brown Recluse

brownreclusesings03It’s been a while since we’ve heard from indie-popsters Brown Recluse, but this fall will finally see some new material from the band.  The band’s Soft Skin EP was recorded in 2007 and will be hitting stores September 8th via Slumberland Records.  Here’s a first listen to the new EP with “Contour and Context”.  Enjoy.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/brown-recluse-contour-and-context.mp3]

Download: Brown Recluse – Contour and Context [MP3]

Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper

jplenti

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Julian Plenti isn’t really a new band, rather it’s the sidecar for Interpol frontman Paul Banks.  His latest release on Matador, Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper, attempts to re-up the ante for his career, and honestly, that of his band.   After a brief departure into a more mainstream approach Banks is seen hear , expectedly, treading the ground he’s walked upon for so long now.

Opening track “Only if You Run” demonstrates that despite going it alone, his heart is never too far away from his mainstay. However, the trickling guitar lines show a touch of brightness, which also seems to collide with the lyrical content.  He does however bring back that recognizable throaty vocal when he shouts “surprise” near the end of the track.

“Skyscraper” begins with a great deal of promise for new direction, as punctuated guitar strumming is accompanied by symphonic flourishes.  It’s a brooding number, one that might benefit greatly for some strong vocals, and just as you think there won’t be any, Banks enters the picture.  Haunting as he can be, it would have been nice to see him go a bit further in this direction on the entire record.

“Games for Days” probably sounds exactly like what you would expect from this album had you heard nothing else other than the involvement of Banks.  It’s as close as you get here to an Interpol cover song, although his work in the chorus does seem as if he tried to push himself a bit into new space, especially with the guitar work that crashes at the end, coming off a bit like a heavier version of The Killers. Of course, this song backs up to “Madrid Song” which is about as minimal of a song as you can carry on with.  It’s all piano and soundbytes; it would have been nice to see the album here.

But the thing is, you could see this train coming from miles away with the blogosphere telling you of the arrival of new work from Paul Banks.  Those of you who were die-hard fans of Interpol were salivating, and there are definitely moments here that shine, or rather give off a faint sparkle.  Still, aside from interesting moments such as “Unwind” with the blasting horns and marching vocals, the album is fairly predictable in regards as to the direction that you would expect it to venture.  This isn’t entirely a bad thing, after all, the last record was sub-par.  Julian Plenti is a solid reminder that the forces of Interpol are still something to be excited about as we head into the future.

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