• 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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The Veils – Sun Gangs

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

Let it be said; this album is full of amazing songs.  Sure, that’s a weird way to start off a review, but one would have to listen to this album to understand why it receives a less than stellar rating.  Sun Gangs, the new album from London’s The Veils, is a vibrant affair, switching at every change of song. It drags influences from all across the globe; it does this without sounding overtly banal. Yet, something is amiss here.

On opening number “Sit Down by the Fire” singer Finn Andrews comes off like a cross between the hallowed voices of Win Butler and Will Scheff, though the music definitely lends itself to a more Arcade Fire styling as pounding piano work is maxed out with accompanying percussion and guitar strumming. You’re ready for an album full of such tunes, such great tunes, but then they put a bag over your head; you’ve awoken in a completely different place.

Title track “Sun Gangs” is a wonderful tune. It is the second track on the album, but it doesn’t have a lot of relation to the place where your journey began. Melancholy moments like this make one remember the sweetness of Spirtualized, and Spaceman’s ability to pull at your heartstrings with his voice alone; Andrews does the same, even with his lyrics. So maybe we’re in for a solemn album, and the opener was just a bit off.  Wrong again.

All of a sudden we’re thrust into a space-rocker of sorts with “The Letter”, in a somewhat Muse meets Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sort of way.  Sure, it sounds like quite an awkward affair, but it’s a striking song nonetheless, one worth listening to on repeat, at least a couple of times through.  The next song is sort of a rocker, with definite leanings toward Muse. Then we’re back again to the mellower moments as the band goes into “It Hits Deep.” Once again, this song tugs at you emotionally, and that really has a lot to do with the spectacular voice of Andrews.

Still, this is the variety of songs that you are presented with in the first moments of this album, and you still have another half of the album to go, which follows the same pattern more or less. This is precisely the issue that many listeners will find when listening to the album from start to finish.  The songs do not seem to connect to one another there is not a fluid movement from one place to the very next.  The schizophrenic nature of the album detracts from the overall quality; this record needs some cohesiveness. Individually, there are some ridiculously good songs, but they don’t work together as a whole.  Otherwise, The Veils constructed a solid effort of tunes worthy for any mix tape.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/07-the-house-she-lived-in.mp3]

Download: The Veils – The House She Lived In [MP3]

Zero Dollars

zero_dollarsathI hear some people are downloading free software off bit-torrent sites. Not me. I would NEVER condone something like that. I can assure you this comic was made using software that I gladly payed hundreds, perhaps even thousands of dollars for.

KVRX Benefit @ Victory Grill 4/23

kvrx_pledge_drive_benefit_poster-1-1We’ll be making our first return to Victory Grill since our SXSW showcase on Thursday night for the KVRX Pledge Drive Benefit Concert.  The UT radio station is keeping it local with Austin bands Heartstring Stranglers, Breakfast Club Crew, Sohns, Wine & Revolution, Wild Moccasins, and DJ Car Stereo (Wars) all joining in for the nights events.  A suggested $7 donation will be taken at the door which includes free BBQ and beer while supplies last.  Things kick off around 8pm.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/wild-moccasins-fruit-tea.mp3

Download: Wild Moccasins – Fruit Tea [MP3]

New Pink Mountaintops

pinkmountaintopsphotoThis may be a bit sad bastard for some of you, but I think this is a nice little jam that goes well with the change of the season.  Mastermind of Pink Mountaintops, Stephen McBean, is most widely known as the front man for Canadian powerhouse Black Mountain.  Call it a side project if you want, the “band” has a new album hitting stores on May 5th via JagJaguwar called Outside Love.  Breezy little single “While We Were Dreaming” is bellow for your enjoyment.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/pink-mountaintops-while-we-were-dreaming.mp3]

Download: Pink Mountaintops – While We Were Dreaming [MP3]

Art Brut – Art Brut vs. Satan

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Art Brut burst onto the music scene a few years back wtih their stellar Bang Bang Rock N Roll.  The band was energized, and Eddie Argos self-deprecating wit came out swinging.  Now, three years down the road, Art Brut are preparing to take on the devil himiself for their third full length, Art Brut vs. Satan.

Round three has the band coming out with a barrage of tightly wound rock fury; the flare is back again, and you can feel the power in the chords.  Interestingly, the driving force does not appear to be the music, however, as singer Eddie Argos is pushed way up front in the final mix.  For some artists, this might not be a bad decision, but I don’t think Argos dead-pan delivery warrants such a focus, despite the cleverness of his lyrics. Often, the band brings a tour de force like Les Savy Fav pummeling our ears with a frenetic pace.  Angular guitars cut through thin air with sharp turns of melodious guitar chugging around each corner. Still, the focus has been, and always will be, on Eddie Argos.

Opening the album, Eddie tries to rehash his evening of drinking in “Alcoholics Unanimous” by sending out a group text, as he is sure he was up “all night making mistakes.”  Clearly he has no problem with calling himself out, as he continues to do so on “The Replacements” where he admits he hasn’t heard of The Replacements at this point in his life; this is a bit sad, or at least it seems like some egregious error. Even so, you’re left to question whether or not he trying to good you into buying into everything he has to say.  Perhaps this is his point.  Argos wants us to question the way we listen, or why we listen, or even who we listen to these days.

Altogether, the album comes together quite nicely; it’s as consistent as their debut album.  One will always wonder what would come of the band if they ever had a full-fledged singer at the mic stand, but even now, without such a person, they band sound as brash and enjoyable as ever.  This is an album that will hold your attention through to the end.

New Tunes from Shugo Tokumaru

shugOkay, admittedly I have no idea what on Earth Shugo Tokumaru is singing about, but I do know that every time he creates his grandiose gems I fall in love.  Shugo has a new EP coming out, though you’ll probably need a translator to get your hands on it.  But, you can check out this cool site to listen to more tracks.  Here is “Rum Hee.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-rum-hee.mp3]

Download: Shugo Tokumaru – Rum Hee [MP3]

ATH Interviews: Pretty & Nice

prettyandniceWe brought Boston band Pretty & Nice to our SXSW showcase at Victory Grill and have been awaiting their return to Austin for a proper show.  We are in luck, because the band has a show lined up next week at Emo’s on Thursday (4/30).  We’ll remind you about that next week, but for now, check out an interview with band member  Jason Mendicino.  It’s quite insightful.  Follow the jump for full interview with Jason from Pretty & Nice.

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New Tunes from Sonic Youth

soniceNews has slowly been drifiting about the newest Sonic Youth release, The Eternal. Matador Records even gave us a little bit of a teaser by throwing out some 7″s on Record Store Day featuring the band so as to whet your appetite.  Now, to further your interest, we have the first complete single, with Kim manning the wheel here.  If you ask me, this is a good start. Let’s hope it all sounds this good on June 9th, the album release date.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/sonic-youth-sacred-trickster.mp3]

Download: Sonic Youth – Sacred Trickster [MP3]

Wye Oak

wye_oak-warningBaltimore two piece Wye Oak just dropped a new single that we’ve been spinning around the ATH offices over the last few days.  The new track will appear on upcoming album The Knot due out July 21st on Merge.  What do you think of the new material?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/03-take-it-in.mp3]

Download: Wye Oak – Take It In [MP3]

New Pixies Album

pixies2_wideweb__470x3460Okay, so we’re not completely sure about all of this, but as of this point, it seems pretty legit.  Last night, a few sites showed this site , which seems to indicate that a new album, titled Minotaur, will be released by the band at some point this summer.  You can pre-order starting June 15th.  But, we have no news on singles or who is going to release it, although the majority of Pixies releases came our way via 4AD. I’m not going to lie; I’m a wee bit excited here.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/10-la-la-love-you.mp3]

Download: Pixies – La La Love You [MP3]

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