• Top Songs of 2019

    Phew, the end of the year really snuck up on me this time and it’s crazy to think we are moving on from the 2010s. Before we do so, Nathan

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  • Top 25 Albums of 2019

    This is the list you’ve all been waiting for, well, sort of. This is my Top 20 LPs of the year. Admittedly, there’s none of the high profile hitmakers on

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  • Levitation 2019: A Reflection

    Team ATH has been covering Austin Psych Fest/Levitation since its early inception, probably in the second year at Radio Room (sorry we missed the first year!), so we’ve seen the

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  • ACL WE2 in a Nutshell

    Another Austin City Limits is behind us boys and girls and it’s always a good time to reflect on the music and experiences from the weekend. I considered myself very

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  • 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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The Album Leaf – A Chorus of Storytellers

thealbumleaf

Rating: ★★★ · ·

A Chorus of Storytellers is Jimmy LaValle’s third album for indie label Sub Pop, and at it’s finest moments, it proves that this is the most cohesive Album Leaf record to date.  While it maintains many of the electronic flourishes that existed on past works, the latest piece somehow comes together a little bit tighter, forming stronger collection of songs.

For me, it all starts with the title, and for that part, the cover art.  Artists of this ilk can rely upon these mediums to further their message.  Sure, all artists should do this, but it’s even more important with acts that remain instrumental.  And the title,  A Chorus of Storytellers, should really say it all.  While I’ve lambasted electronic music in the past, it is works such as this that strive to make a coherent story, to create a plot within their music.  Such is the story within this record, as illustrated on the cover.   It just begs you to create your own story of the man ashore while his boat drifts aimlessly away.

Of course, one thing that differentiates this album from purely electronic or post-rock music, if you wish to call it that, is the inclusion of songs which use lyrics.  “Falling From the Sun,” for example, is a pleasant enough tune, and you can easily follow as the melody rises and falls, especially in the vocal performance.  But, moments such as this make things to clear for the listener; this is something that detracts from the overall listening experience.  Lyrics, in this case, push a story upon you when you’d rather just float off into your own world.

You can take a song like “Within Dreams,” which in itself recalls the ability to drift off with your own thoughts.  Slowly, you can feel the song fall asleep on you, as if you too are going into that deep REM sleep.  Then you can hear the faint touches of string instruments, and you’re off an running in a dream of your own.  It is here where LaValle succeeds the most, as he allows you to immerse yourself in the song, and take the song wherever you want to go.  Happily, it’s not constructed of mere loops, and the national progression lends itself to the telling of tales.  “Until the Last” is another such song; it is along the lines of Balmorhea or even a less-dangerous version of Mogwai.

Up until the middle point of the album, the record is really strong.  It has its ups and downs, but it also adds enough diversity for you to be invested wholly into the album.  However, towards the end, there are a bit too many songs with vocals.  This isn’t a disaster by any means, as the songs are actually really good, “Almost There” in particular, but it does break up the flow of the album.  Still, A Chorus of Storytellers provides many listenable moments that prove Jimmy and The Album Leaf still can concoct magic out of their post-rcok potions.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/05-Falling-From-The-Sun.mp3]

Download: The Album Leaf – Falling From The Sun [MP3]

FTC: Dr. Octagon

FTC_droctagonUsually we don’t do a lot of write-ups on hip-hop, but that’s mostly because we don’t know too much about it, but we do know about this guy.  Kool Keith has been all over the place for years, sometimes as KK, sometimes as Black Elvis, but his most prominent persona for me is Dr. Octagon.  His rhmyes are odd, and quite vulgar, but not in a “I just want to cuss a lot way,” more in a disturbed MC sort of way.  I used to listen to the first record, Dr. Octagonecolgyst (the best in my opinion), all the time in college.  For some reason, I just  felt like travleing down memory lane with this record today. Blue Flowers!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Half-Shark-Alligator-Half-Man.mp3]

New Music From Dinosaur Feathers

dinosaurfeathers_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85Brooklyn band Dinosaur Feathers are prepping the release of their new self-released LP Fantasy Memorial on March 2nd.  To build the hype machine by this relatively unknown band, we’re throwing up this new single from the guys ‘Teenage Whore”.  Funny title, cathcy song.  Baller.  (via MBV)

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/dinosaur-feathers-teenage-whore.mp3]

Download: Dinosaur Feathers – Teenage Whore [MP3]

New Music From Sharon Jones

sharonjonesBrooklyn’s finest funk artist Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings have a new MP3 floating around the internet today.  The song is called I Learned the Hard Way” and is the title track of the group’s new LP.  I Learned the Hard Way will hit stores April 6th on Daptone Records.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/02-I-Learned-The-Hard-Way.mp3]

Download: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way [MP3]

Alec Ounsworth @ Emo’s (2/5)

Alec+Ounsworth

Date 2/5/10
Location Emos
Doors 9pm
Tickets $10 from Ticketweb

Alec Ounsworth, former lead singer of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and his new band Flashy Python is coming to Emo’s on Friday night.  Ounsworth will be joined on the stage by our very own Michael Kingcaid of What Made Wilwaukee Famous.  Word is the former CYHSY lead singer will perform his own solo material as well as songs from his new band Flashy Python.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/07-Cattles-New-Clothes-1.mp3]

Download: Flashy Python – Cattle’s New Clothes [MP3]

A.A. Bondy On Daytrotter

aabondyWe are going to make our obligatory Daytrotter post this week with a set by the incredible singer/songwriter A.A. Bondy.  The up and coming artist plays 4 songs from his most recent release of 2009 When the Devil’s Loose.  This track “I Can See the Pines Are Dancing” is a highlight of the set just as it was a highlight for us last year.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/aa-bondy-i-can-see-the-pines-are-dancing.mp3]

Download: AA Bondy – I Can See the Pines Are Dancing (live) [MP3]

New Tunes from Sambassadeur

sambassadeurIf you follow labels closely, they always lead you to new gems.  Such was the case when I hit up Labrador Records, the label that releases lots of killer Swedish tunes.  This time around they led me to Sambassadeur, another up-and-comer from the Swedish scene.  You’ll find this tune on their new album European, which comes out at the end of Ferbruary.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/02_Days.mp3]

Download: Sambassadeur – Days [MP3]

SXSW Watchlist: Jets Overhead

jetsoverheadWhaaaa?!?  It’s barely February and you guys are already talking SXSW?  You bet your ass we are!  Now still a little over a month or so away, we wanted to kick off our SXSW watchlist bands this year with Victoria, BC band Jets Overhead.  Hailing from the great white north, you can hear the obvious Stars/Metric/Broken Social Scene influences that run deep in the sounds of this band.  Of course the ATH loves those sounds!  Not to write them off as just another Canadian atmospheric rock band, Jets Overhead also show some 70s psych rock parts similar to elements of Velvet Underground (anyone else agree on that?).  Now touring behind their second full length LP No Nations, the Canadians will be making their way into Austin during SXSW week and we think you should give them a go.  Being as early as it is, we can’t find much information about when and where the band is actually playing.  We’ll keep ya posted.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/04-No-Nations-1.mp3]

Download: Jets Overhead – No Nations [MP3]

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