• 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.

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Horse Feathers On Tiny Desk

horsefeathers1One of our favorite artists from last year, Horse Feathers, just did a Tiny Desk session for the fine folks at NPR music.  The session features 3 live songs including one of our favorites from last year “Curs in the Weeds”.  Check out the full session now.  Here’s that beautiful song from last year again.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/horse-feathers-curs-in-weeds1.mp3]

Download: Horse Feathers – Curs In The Weeds [MP3]

Wooden Birds – Magnolia

wood

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Local Austinite Andrew Kenny made waves long ago as the leader of American Analog Set; he returns to Austin after a lengthy absence with a new band in tow, The Wooden Birds.  While you immediately recall his vocal styling, the music definitely takes a different approach on the band’s first proper album, Magnolia.

Musically, this album comes directly at you.  There are no waves of distortion or ambient sounds; this is an album comprised very simply of guitar, vocals and percussion.  Kenny’s gentle guitar plucking will bring to mind some comparisons to Iron and Wine, though Andrew’s been at it longer, so we should give him credit there (not that it’s a competition).

While the approach may be very simple in it’s delivery, you can tell that in the writing process Andrew spent a great amount of time fleshing out the melodies that would accompany the softness of the music he composed.  His voice, at times, seems oddly similar to that of Ben Gibbard, especially when he takes on that bedroom-quiet whisper.

Oddly, a lot of the songs do seem to play off the same set of standards, with only the slightest of variations.  For instance, “Quit You Once” and “Never Know” open in precisely the same way, which also appears to happen with “Hailey” and “Hometown Fantasy.” Despite the lack of change in much of the album, you still take interest in how the songs develop individually; this is all due to the abilities of Andrew as a songwriter.

From start to finish the album is carefully and quietly written.  It’s the type of album that draws you in with its approach to the craft of the song, and such talent allows listeners to look beyond the similarities that might otherwise render the album dull and boring.  Luckily, Mr. Kenny has been at this long enough to know precisely how to rise above such issues, and his success is just another reason why he is regarded with such respect among the musical elite (as you could witness by his recent performance with Broken Social Scene at Bass Concert Hall). Sure, the quietude of this album may not be your precise cup of tea, but it’s great to have one of our local boys back composing such softly wonderful music.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/04-hailey.mp3]

Download: The Wooden Birds – Hailey [MP3]

Great Lake Swimmers On Laundromatinee

great_lake_swimmers02My Old Kentucky blog continues to pump out some really great session as part of their Laundromatinee series with a set from Canadians Great Lake Swimmers.  The in-studio features video and MP3s from 4 new and old songs from the band.  Check it out now.  We’ve also got an awesome live version of “Rocky Spine” from the session.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/great-lake-swimmers-04-your-rocky-spine-live-on-mokb-radio.mp3]

Download: Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine (live) [MP3]

New Music From The Features

26314430-26314431-slargeNashville based rock band The Features have a new album coming out soon and have a couple songs available for you to check out.  We’ve got a song called “The Drawing Board” available for you below and song “GFM” can be downloaded from the band’s wesbite.  Some Kind of Salvation is in stores June 9th or can be bought from the Features online store now.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02_the_drawing_board.mp3]

Download: The Features – Drawing Board [MP3]

New Tunes from Leichtenstein

liechtenstein2It seems Slumberland can’t really go wrong with their picks of bands to support, and our friend GVSB has found yet another band on the small label worthy of our interest. Sweden’s Liechtenstein recall a lot of that all girl aesthetic encouraged by bands like Vivian Girls. Here is a new track for you to enjoy. The band will be releasing their album Survival Strategies in a Modern World on May 26th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/liechtenstein-roses-in-the-park.mp3]

Download: Liechtenstein – Roses in the Park [MP3]

Bricolage – s/t

bricol

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Bricolage released their self-titled album earlier this year in the UK, but little fanfare made its way over to the United States, aside from a little bit of bubbling press; rest assured that Bricolage is an up-and coming act that will surely win you over upon your very first listen.  And let’s not all act surprised that this is yet another solid band hailing from Glasgow.

Here you find a band that is ready to make guitar music you can dance to, and they do it in the most straightforward fashion that you have to be enamored by everything that they do.  The second track, “Flowers of Deceit” brings to mind the boot-stomping moments from early Franz Ferdinand records, but in a much less post-punk sort of way. Guitars are a little bit warmer, as if each chord is struck with a little bit less anger/more affection.

Something sunny this way comes.  “Footsteps” is just another track that exemplifies the swinging emotion of the band.  Layered guitars and precision drumming bring to mind the poppier moments of bands such as The Lodger or  Mystery Jets.  All these bands use warm vocals to counter the angular guitars; you can’t help but roll down the window and let the music carry you down the road.

Let’s not think that this band is nothing but a modern dance troupe as they have the ability to carry a classic pop ballad along the way, such as “Plots are for Cemeteries,” which seems to use a bit of tropicalia in the overall crooning aesthetic.  “Sleepwalk to Me” is similar in that it slowly maneuvers along, progressing without ever really picking up the pace.  Even in the slow moments the band can catch your attention.

“Turn U Over” is an obvious single, instantly ready for your best dance party, at this late moment in the album, it makes you look back at the album as a whole; the album is full of great moments and great songs from start to finish.  The latter half of the album packs as much punch as the first part of this album, and the only thing that detracts from this entire collection of songs is that you might find that the band walk the same line for much of the album, but using multiple vocalists allows enough strength to each song that you never get the feeling that the band is retracing their steps. Bricolage is just another reason we should all move to Glasgow.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-flowers-of-deceit.mp3]

Download: Bricolage – Flowers of Deceit [MP3]

FT5: First Concerts

0501top5cover1The first official concert in a young person’s life can be a monumental occasion. 15 years and countless shows later, you always remember your first. The ATH offices were surveyed, and today’s Top 5 is a random ordering of the first concert from 5 ATH staff members. Although I was hoping to find some suppressed NKOTB or Debbie Gibson concerts among us, I had no such luck. Some of us were a little embarassed to fess up, while some us were happy to gloat. But this list isn’t just about us. We want to hear about your first concert experience as well, as cool or embarrassing as it might be. Follow the jump for our list.

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Elvis Perkins @ The Parish (5/11)

elvisperkinsElvis Perkins will be bringing his brand new band Deerland to The Parish on Monday for what should be a nice evening of music.  Mr. Perkins will be joined on the stage by Oklahomans Other Lives.  Doors for this show are at 8pm.  Tickets are on sale now for the low low price of $14.  Here’s latest single from Elvis Perkins in Deerland “Shampoo”.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/elvis-perkins-in-dearland-shampoo.mp3]

Download: Elvis Perkins in Deerland – Shampoo [MP3]

Lucero @ Emo’s (5/8)

lucero-ben-nicholsAlt-country/punk band Lucero are making a stop in Austin at Emo’s on Friday night.  Lucky for all concert goers, longtime ATH favorite Black Joe Lewis will be providing your opening entertainment for the evening.  Head out at 9pm for doors and 10pm for music.  Tickets are available now for $12.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/lucero_i-can-get-us-out-of-here.mp3]

Download: Lucero – I Can Get Us Out of Here [MP3]

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