Mason Jennings – In The Ever

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Mason Jennings has long been the troubadour of my heart. From the first listen of his self-titled album–which would probably go in my Top 50 list–he had won me over. There was fire and originality, something I had yet to come across from others in the same genre of music. I buy every album; I am a loyal fan.

However, I finally feel that Mason and I are through. I feel it has been coming for a long time; I think now it is officially time for the two of us to part ways. Finally I feel as if he arrived at a point completely on the opposite end of the promise he once showed.

I first noticed this departure in common ground on his last album Boneclouds, which felt a little over-produced, and by that I mean everything sounded really clean. It didn’t feel as intimate as his past albums had. Not to mention there were throw away songs.

What about the new one? Well, I found several throw away songs, in fact, I found one in “I Love You and Buddha Too.” I understand the search for spirituality, and the welcoming of all religions-as we should–but this is quite possibly the worst song I’ve heard all year. You can add to the list of throwaway songs “How Deep is That River.” Sorry Mason old pal, but you have so much more.

I don’t want to slam this record entirely because I feel like there are some promising moments. For instance, “Memphis, Tennesee” has the heart and soul of earlier recordings, and the opening track, “Never Knew Your Name,” does hold onto some of those intimate moments that I feel like Mason and I shared in the past.

Unfortunately, this album has drawn a line in the sand. I’m now going across to that side where I can no longer afford to buy Mason albums on our old bond alone. If you like Mason Jennings, or singer\songwriters, then you most likely will find some solace in this album, but I don’t think this is an album that will win him a lot of new fans–it might lose him some old ones.

Hear “Fighter Girl” off the new album In The Ever
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/04-fighter-girl.mp3]

Download: fightergirl.mp3

New Tilly and the Wall Single

Tilly and the Wall have released a new song and accompanying video off their new album o due out June 17th. The song is called “Pot Kettle Black”. Check out the “Pot Kettle Black” video on Sterogum’s website.

Also, don’t miss the band passing through Austin on July 17th at everyone’s favorite venue Emos. Pick up your tickets for Tilly and the Wall at Emo’s before it sells out!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/tilly-and-the-wall-pot-kettle-black.mp3]

Download: potkettleblack.mp3

The Supreme Genius of King Khan

King Khan & The Shrines will be releasing their new album The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines on June 17th. For now, listen to one of my favorite new songs of the year “Torture”. They are coming to Mohawk July 6th, and we would highly recommend jumping on tickets now. It’ll sell out.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/king_khan-torture.mp3]

Download: torture.mp3

The Return of Whitman @ Emos Lounge

Local band Whitman sees a triumphant return to the stage this Friday (June 6th) at Emo’s Lounge in Austin Texas. Whitman will be playing with well known bands Sybris & Unwed Sailor. Prepare to have your faces melted! For tickets Click here. Or just buy one at the door for only $8! Doors open at 9pm, show starts at 10.

More info/song previews for each band can be found here:
Whitman
Sybris
Unwed Sailor

Hear “The Drifter” off Whitman’s new album Torch Songs
[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/08-the-drifter.mp3]

Download: thedrifter.mp3

New Albert Hammond Jr.

I’m sure most of you have already heard this song from somewhere or another but I wanted to post it anyway. If you’re like me, you are chomping at the bit waiting for Albert’s new album to come out later this summer. After the huge success of his first album “Yours to Keep”, I’m betting this album won’t let us down either. The new single is called “GFC” off Albert Hammond Jr.’s new album ¿Cómo te llama?.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/alberthammondjrgfc.mp3]

Download: gfc.mp3

American Princes – Other People

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Long ago, in a land quite our own, we weren’t really concerned with sound oddities or atmospherics; we liked our rock n’ roll straight up. Pour it in a glass and drink it down–then again, I was really young. Nonetheless, American Princes are that band serving up a tall glass of straight-forward rock–the kind I miss the most.

I think the first notice of this is comes across immediately upon the first listening of the voice. There is a sincerity in the fact that you can identify with the vocalist and the scratchiness accompanying his vocals–see Arts and Crafts band, The Constantines for a reference point. I like sincerity–not to mention minimal production.

Now, if I were to pick a radio single, and I like to pretend that I could, I would easily put “Real Love” on my set list. The chorus alone is enough for me to purchase this album. Its got the hook one needs to keep coming back.

One song that I didn’t expect from this veteran band, “Wasted Year,” doesn’t have any of the post-punk reference points of their other songs, but in fact, its this freshness that makes this an album worthy of repeated listens. Not to mention they toss me a ballad–clearly I am a sucker for such things–in the beautifully written “Don’t Ever Promise.” I must say, I appreciate differentiation in regards to albums.

Now, this band could have stuck to their guns, maintaining varied success as a solid post-punk outfit from Arkansas, but they pushed themselves. In that act, they push their fans–like me–to ask for more from their rock music. No longer can we settle for oddities and atmospherics, for, in fact, the simplest approach is quite possibly the one we love the most.

Hear “Real Love” off Other People:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/05-real-love.mp3]

Download: reallove.mp3

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