• 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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God Help the Girl – s/t

god

Rating: ★★★★ ·

God Help the Girl is the project of Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. It’s a fourteen song story created by Murdoch meant to be accompanied by his musical craftwork.  His devotion to the craft of pop writing has expanded greatly as evidenced by this album, which began during his writing for Dear Catastrophe Waitress.

Unlike most Murdoch penned songs, this entire album is fairly void of his soft-spoken voice, instead being replaced by Catherine Ireton on almost every song, aside from “Funny Little Frog” and the two instrumental tracks, “A United Theory” and “The Music Room Window.”

Here we find a remaking of The Life Pursuit’s “Act of the Apostle” opening the album, though it hardly seems recognizable, if any connection at all.  This version comes with Ireton’s vocals accompanied by some appropriate string arrangements.  For all intents and purposes you see this song as the introduction of the story’s narrator.

“God Help the Girl” quickly follows the opener, and it’s one of the most similar to the traditional Murdoch stylings.  Piano backbone and Ireton’s delivery remind you of other Glaswegian band Camera Obscura, which is all the more appropriate seeing as that band, and this project, both travel back in time to 60s pop girl groups. You can just imagine this song coming across with a dance routine and sharply dressed females filling the void in sound.

“Pretty Eve in the Tub” is a track one can possibly dismiss, but it’s going to strike home with most listeners, including the author, for the full use of Murdoch’s voice during the song.  It’s one of the few instances here when he steps in front of the microphone during this project.  However, he also utilizes his voice to trade verses during “Hiding Neath My Umbrella.” Such a song seems fitting in the B&S catalog, though the string arrangements take it further into the musical spectrum.  You’ll find that Murdoch’s arrangements allow for the presentation to go beyond their usual limits.

One of the more developed songs is “Musician, Please Take Heed.” Slowly, for the first minute, it builds with the focus playing upon the vocals, but then the chugging jangly guitars Stuart typically utilizes come into play.  From here the song takes off with a galloping pace as strings are added atop the entire track.  Stuart then returns in the following track with “Perfection as a Helper.”  Backing vocals are so noticeable in this song, which is due to their immediate throwback quality.  At this point, it’s clear just how far he’s really pushed himself in the production of the album.

Every song makes a powerful statement on the album, and there isn’t one that really goes awry when put into the perspective of the album as a story.  Murdoch is at his best with his songwriting, and even the closing moments are spectacular, such as “I’ll Have to Dance with Cassie.” Lovers of his pop song writing will see he’s gone beyond his concise tunes and into a whole other world; this album is the better for it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/02-god-help-the-girl.mp3]

Download: God Help the Girl [MP3]

FT5: Bands I Refuse To Apologize For

0619top5coverSince this is my first post, I thought I should give everyone a little bit of insight into who I am. Unlike the other ATH writers, I refuse to have “Guilty Pleasures.” Either I like a band, or I don’t. I won’t apologize or make excuses for what I listen to, and I try not to give other people a hard time for what they like (one exception would be Nathan). I’m not saying every band I like is great. Sometimes they have great musicians with bad lyrics and catchy beats. Sometimes they’re just catchy. And the best is when I hate a band, but I hear them so often that I’m tricked into liking them. That being said, here are five bands on my iPod that have play counts at or around 30, and that’s just since April.  Follow the jump for more.
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Jenny Lewis @ Stubbs (6/22)

jennylewisOur #5 hot lady of indie rock Jenny Lewis is making a stop in Austin Monday night with her superb backing band.  We listed Jenny as one of our favorite acts of ACL so we are of course excited about this set.  An added bonus, an ATH fave Heartless Bastards will be providing opening support and start around 8pm.  Tickets for this one run $21.50 and are available now online.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/06_see_fernando.mp3]

Download: Jenny Lewis – See Fernando [MP3]

Sunset Rubdown @ Mohawk (6/20)

sunsetrubdownIf you’re looking for some solid indie rock on Saturday night in Austin, head over to Mohawk for a show by Spencer Krug’s band Sunset Rubdown.  Music starts at 9pm with opening act Witchies followed by Elfin Saddle.  Tickets are relatively cheap and on sale now for $13.  Better seize the opportunity to see such a talented act in an intimate setting as you’ll probably never see Mr. Krug’s full time band Wolf Parade in such a setting.  Sunset Rubdown is touring in support of their new album Dragonslayer which is due out next week via JagJaguwar.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/02-idiot-heart.mp3]

Download: Sunset Rubdown – Idiot Heart [MP3]

Pudding

pudding_athWho decided to make washing machines and toilets the exact same color? A simple color code system could prevent accidents like this. Clearly there should be some sort of advocacy group for drunks

Hollywood Gossip @ Nomad Bar (6/20)

hollywoodWe’ve always been big fans of Austin band Hollywood Gossip so we were excited to see that they are playing a free show at Nomad Bar on Saturday night.  If you aren’t familiar with the bar, here’s a little map to help you find your way to the show.  Fellow locals Household Names and Harlovve will be kicking things off around 10pm.  Should be a good one!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/bicycle.mp3]

Download: Hollywood Gossip – Bicycle [MP3]

From the Closet: Screeching Weasel

weaselsLet’s not forget that some of us had to start our musical fandom somewhere, and for myself and many of my friends it was in the land of punk rock. This heralded land has been taken down by a lot of things lately, namely any genre wherein you add the word -core as a suffix. But, back for the attack are some of the forefathers, as Screeching Weasel comes to town this Friday at Emos.  Not only that, but Ben will also be playing a Riverdales set Saturday night.  The song below is one of my favorites that comes off Screeching Weasel’s Anthem for a New Tomorrow. Yay, punk rock didn’t completely die!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/18-a-new-tomorrow.mp3]

ATH Interviews: Here We Go Magic

magicBefore their sold out show at the Parish, ATH stopped by End of an Ear in Austin on Tuesday for an intimate in-store performance by Brooklyn band Here we go Magic.  Shortly after the set, we had the chance to sit down with founding member Luke Temple to ask him a few questions about his newly formed band.  We talk about what it’s been like touring with Grizzly Bear, the future of his band, and tons more interesting tidbits.  Follow the jump to read our full interview with Luke Temple.

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St. Vincent In Austin (6/19)

stvincentEveryone’s favorite indie songstress Annie Clark (known as St. Vincent) will be making another much anticipated stop in Austin on Friday.  First up is one of those famous free Waterloo Records in-stores going down at 3pm with free keg beer of course.  Second is a chance for a full on proper set at Mohawk beginning at 9pm with openers Pattern is Movement.  Tickets for this show will run ya $17 and can be bought online now.  If you’re planning on making it out, stick around after the St. Vincent set for an inside show by our new favorite Austin band Sad Accordions.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/st-vincent-actor-out-of-work.mp3]

Download: St. Vincent – Actor Out of Work [MP3]

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