• 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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Our Lady Peace @ Antones (8/11)

olpWow.  So apparently Our Lady Peace is still a band and they are actually coming to Antones on Tuesday night.  Recent Austin transplants Electric Touch will also be on hand providing opening support.  If interested, get yo tickets now for $20.  Much to our surprise, Our Lady Peace also just released a brand new album last month with this new single “All You Did was Save my Life”.  It’s…. interesting.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/our-lady-peace-all-you-did-was-save-my-life.mp3]

Download: Our Lady Peace – All You Did was Save my Life [MP3]

New Music From Port O’Brien

portobrienWe just found this new Port O’Brien track on The Gum today and we are really enjoying the new sound from the band.  This track, “My Will is Good”, will appear on the band’s upcoming album Threadbare due out October 6th via TBD Records.  It’s turning into a solid summer jam.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/port-obrien-my-will-is-good.mp3]

Download: Port O’brien – My Will is Good [MP3]

New Music From Brown Recluse

brownreclusesings03It’s been a while since we’ve heard from indie-popsters Brown Recluse, but this fall will finally see some new material from the band.  The band’s Soft Skin EP was recorded in 2007 and will be hitting stores September 8th via Slumberland Records.  Here’s a first listen to the new EP with “Contour and Context”.  Enjoy.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/brown-recluse-contour-and-context.mp3]

Download: Brown Recluse – Contour and Context [MP3]

Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper

jplenti

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Julian Plenti isn’t really a new band, rather it’s the sidecar for Interpol frontman Paul Banks.  His latest release on Matador, Julian Plenti is…Skyscraper, attempts to re-up the ante for his career, and honestly, that of his band.   After a brief departure into a more mainstream approach Banks is seen hear , expectedly, treading the ground he’s walked upon for so long now.

Opening track “Only if You Run” demonstrates that despite going it alone, his heart is never too far away from his mainstay. However, the trickling guitar lines show a touch of brightness, which also seems to collide with the lyrical content.  He does however bring back that recognizable throaty vocal when he shouts “surprise” near the end of the track.

“Skyscraper” begins with a great deal of promise for new direction, as punctuated guitar strumming is accompanied by symphonic flourishes.  It’s a brooding number, one that might benefit greatly for some strong vocals, and just as you think there won’t be any, Banks enters the picture.  Haunting as he can be, it would have been nice to see him go a bit further in this direction on the entire record.

“Games for Days” probably sounds exactly like what you would expect from this album had you heard nothing else other than the involvement of Banks.  It’s as close as you get here to an Interpol cover song, although his work in the chorus does seem as if he tried to push himself a bit into new space, especially with the guitar work that crashes at the end, coming off a bit like a heavier version of The Killers. Of course, this song backs up to “Madrid Song” which is about as minimal of a song as you can carry on with.  It’s all piano and soundbytes; it would have been nice to see the album here.

But the thing is, you could see this train coming from miles away with the blogosphere telling you of the arrival of new work from Paul Banks.  Those of you who were die-hard fans of Interpol were salivating, and there are definitely moments here that shine, or rather give off a faint sparkle.  Still, aside from interesting moments such as “Unwind” with the blasting horns and marching vocals, the album is fairly predictable in regards as to the direction that you would expect it to venture.  This isn’t entirely a bad thing, after all, the last record was sub-par.  Julian Plenti is a solid reminder that the forces of Interpol are still something to be excited about as we head into the future.

Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

A slew of records into his career and Eric D. Johnson returns with his outfit Fruit Bats to release The Ruminant Band on Sub Pop.  Splitting time between Chicago and Portland, you can really feel the regional influences shine through on this album, filled with the wooded folk one would expect from the Northwest mixed with the quality production and warmth you’d find from like-minded bands in the Midwest.

Opening the album with a gentle folk number that rolls through the hills of your mind is where you first meet the voice of Eric D. Johnson.  As his voices rises and falls with the gentle acoustic work of the guitar,  you will find yourself falling in love with him.  When “The Ruminant Band” takes over the stereo from here, Johnson’s voice takes you somewhere entirely close to home, echoing with familiarity.  It’s one of the gentlest songs of the year, but one that definitely should make plenty of lists at the end of the year.

As energized as the album begins, or at least as far as one can go with this style of music, it begins to take a softer slide into the latter half of the album.  “Beautiful Morning Light” recalls a touch, and only a touch, of Wilco. The acoustic number is carried by the perfect range that is Johnson’s voice, which seems to be the dominating theme on the album.  It’s hard not to admire the vocal quality here when so many other bands are coating their lyrics and feedback and reverb.

“The Hobo Girl” is a mid-album stomper, in the midst of the softer side of things, that immediately recalls recent work from Dr. Dog, which is due to the saloon-style piano that serves as the backbone of the song.  The song even features flourishes of barroom discussion included to give a little texture.  Not sure why it’s necessary, but it makes it hard to get away from resemblances.  “Being On Our Own” is another song in the same vein as the previous one, but done with a little bit more of a Southern flourish to the vocals.  Set here in the middle of the album they provide the perfect pacing balance for the whole of the album.

The understated highlight of the album definitely has to be “Singing Joy to the World.”  Every instrument merely exists to bring out the melody and inflection in Eric’s voice, and it’s short time span makes it go along almost unnoticeable in comparison to the rest of the record.  Be sure not to miss this song, as you’ll be sore once you discover it’s the secret gem of the record.

Musically, The Ruminant Band is not full of anything that particularly jumps out at you as incredible feats of musicianship, yet the strengths of the group lie in that fact.  Every song exists as a tool to help Johnson’s voice succeed in the ears of the listener, and in that fact, the Fruit Bats have done an exceptional job carrying out a wonderful album.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/08-singing-joy-to-the-world.mp3]

Download: Fruit Bats – Singing Joy to the World [MP3]

Fruit Bats will be playing in Austin September 2nd at the Mohawk.

Method Man & Redman @ Emo’s (8/9)

methodmanMost of you are probably aware by now that when it comes to hip-hop, we here at ATH tend to kick it old school style.  We’ll continue that trend by telling you about the Wu-Tang alumni show at Emo’s on Sunday night with Method Man & Redman along with Ghostface KillahTickets are on sale for this one at $23 a piece.  Doors are at 9pm, show at 10.  Hip-hop/rap lineups really get no better than this.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/method-man-and-redman-a-yo.mp3]

Download: Method Man & Redman – A Yo [MP3]

New Tunes from Taken by Trees

victoriaVictoria Bergsman has always been a star in my eyes. Whether it was her work in The Concretes or Peter Bjorn and John, she’s simply fantastic. Luckily, she has a new album coming your way with her new name, Taken by Trees. The album’s a Steinbeck ode titled East of Eden and should hit stores around September 8th. Here’s a sample.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/taken-by-trees-watch-the-waves.mp3]

Download: Taken by Treese – Watch the Waves [MP3]

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