New Music from The Decemberists

We all love The Decemberists, and we are stoked to hear that they are releasing a series of singles this year (October 14, November 4, December 2). The single series is titled “Always a Bridesmaid,” and this is the track off the opening single titled “Valerie Plame.” Those in the know might recognize the name, but for now, let’s just listen to the tune. Follow this link to preorder.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/01-valerie-plame.mp3]

Download: The Decemberists – Valerie Plame [MP3]

We Survived ACL

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we made it through ACL and we are working on our write-ups, interviews, etc.  We will start giving you guys the goods tomorrow and we promise it will be worth your while.  The exhaustion, dust, and late nights have taken their toll, but we have some of the best staffers around and the content should be great!

Gentlemen Jesse and His Men

I cannot stop listening to this album, or this song; Gentlemen Jesse and His Men seem to know where its at. Sure, it’s a little bit of a throwback, but we all loved The Strokes the first time around right?  Blast this song into the afternoon, and if you dig it like I do, then you can find the band’s self-titled debut out now on Douchemaster Records.

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

Download: Gentleman Jesse and His Men – I Dont Wanna Know [MP3]

The Shaky Hands – Lunglight

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Lately it seems that the world has gone completely soft, or at least the spectrum of rock n’ roll has gone soft.  We desperately need a band that can grab us and shake the dust from our record collections.  The Shaky Hands appear to be that band, and their album Lunglight is just a taste of what they have to offer.

Opening track, “A New Parade” comes off with jangly pop affection, as pounding drums drive the song towards the end.  The vocals are a little raspy, with just a tinge of countrification a la Kings of Leon.

The band name is quite fitting, considering the sounds on this album have a sort of shakiness that can only be associated with pure, unadulterated rock.  It has this post-punk feeling to it, but fused with a country soul, and stirred with just the right amount of pop sensibility.  Although they carry such a signature sound, the album never seems to get old, always maintaining a sense of freshness in each song.

Lyrically, it seems that the album is filled with issues of struggle.  In today’s world we come across such battles between friends, lover and, ultimately, ourselves.  Understanding this, The Shaky Hands have set out to let us know that we are not alone in our daily issues; they, too, are confronting these demons.  If such battles must be fought, then we shall do it together.

And, the percussion is simply amazing here.  The drum work is all over the place, hammered out with precision that only comes to the those with the most devout practice routines.  You’ll find it difficult not to bounce your feet along to the driving rhythms here, which is at it should be with rock n’ roll.

Faults do exist on Lunglight, but they are things that can easily be overlooked.  The last three songs, for instance, extend over a minute longer than the previous songs, which has the effect of dragging the last moments of the record to the end. Also, it’s hard to completely buy into the vocals here.  Yes, they are reminiscent of other acts, as mentioned earlier, but at times you’ll find it hard to chase down the words.

In the end you will find that the band has created an album full of bright moments you can listen to time and time again.  Those who fall in line with bands like Kings of Leon (thats you RayRay) will surely find that great album you’ve been waiting for KoL to finally put out.

ACL Battles: Horses vs. Tegan

So it’s come down to this. The major conflict we see on Sunday at 7:30 has got to be Sub Pop boys Band of Horses playing against sister duo Tegan & Sara.  Let’s just call this one the ATH Battle Royal.  You have a choice between reverb laden rock n’ roll or creators of probably the best pop song to come out in several years “Back in Your Head”.  What’s it gonna be?  You have a difficult decision ahead of you.  We hope you make the right one.  Check out two of the greatest tunes of last year:

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

Download: Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost [MP3]

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

Download: Tegan & Sara – Back in Your Head [MP3]

Cut Copy @ Emo’s – 9-29

If you’re not hungover from Austin City Limits, or you skipped the entire thing hoping to grab someting on the side, then you are in luck.  Electro-pop groud Cut Copy is coming to Austin, along with The Presets. This is one of those shows that most of us will miss, as we’ve been out all weekend at ACL, but we’ll hear from our friends that made it what a great show we missed.

Tickets are sold out online, but there are still tickets available at Waterloo Records.  Stop by and get you some.

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

Download: Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire [MP3]

ACL Battles: Keys vs. Wine

So here’s what should be a very interesting battle: intense expiremental blues rock of The Black Keys vs. the intimate folk rock of Iron & Wine. Some people may not see the contradiction here with the bands having such starkley different sounds. I agree that the bands sound nothing alike but I’m finding this to be one of the huge conflicts of the festival. Both bands are playing at 7:30 on Saturday.  Which stage will you be at?  Recent singles from both bands are below to make this decision easier…. or harder?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/03-strange-times.mp3]

Download: The Black Keys – Strange Times [MP3]

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

Download: Iron & Wine – Boy With a Coin [MP3]

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