• 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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Tim Barry @ Emos (3/10)

tim Frontman for punkers Avail, Tim Barry, is making his way to Austin this Tuesday night.  He’ll be doing his folkier side of things, but that won’t make it any less punk rock, as those who caught his set at Fun Fun Fun Fest can attest.  His charm will win you over in a minute, and his songs will win you over the next.  Also on the bill is Austin Lucas, who made waves earlier this year with his joint venture with Chuck Ragan. The show is at Emos, with tickets costing a recession proof $8.  Doors are at 8 PM and show starts at 10 Pm.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/01-texas-cops.mp3]

Download: Tim Barry – Texas Cops [MP3]

Cursive – Mama I’m Swollen

cursive

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Tim Kasher has always been a voice living on the darker side of lyrical content, filling his words with his own animosity, with the subject often turning to his own reflection.  Aptly titled, the new Cursive album, Mama I’m Swollen, is another album based on his own self-reflection, and, well, deprecation.

It takes a few seconds of ambient noise, thirty-four to be exact, before Cursive burst in with a fever known to most fans of the band.  The guitars cut through your ears with the sharpness of a polished knife, as Kasher sings ” don’t want to live in the now/don’t want to know what I know.” The sentiment seems to be that the man, himself, is unhappy with the way things have turned out.  Regardless, the ferocity of this song is a welcome opener.

Skip right ahead to the obvious single, “From the Hips,” which starts the opening minute with a gentle pace, pushed along by the guitar; its reminiscent of The Good Life, Kasher’s other focal point for musical expression.  That is until the drums kick in, carrying the song forward, with the remainder of the song revolving around the drums and Tim’s remarkable voice.  Happy Hollow horns close the song, a wonderful second track.

Then we find the angular guitar work of the band echoing in the dense hollows of the next few songs, as the sounds seems to bounce off your ears, just as Kasher’s voice rises and falls with that dark edge that only he can wield with such perfection.  It’s clear that he’s borrowed a bit from his other musical outing, but the darkness associated with Cursive albums clearly shines through the familiar elements. By this point, your four tracks into the latest musical excursion.

“Caveman” brings in a newer element to the fold, as it seems like a barroom stomper, filled out with the accompaniment of horns.  Here we find a man that seems content with where he’s at in his life.  On top of that, its clear by this point, the middle of the album, that Tim’s voice is back; its probably never sounded as strong as it does here. But, the sentiment is contradicted by the following song, as the gentle statement of “we’re going to hell, we’re going to hell” rings in listeners ears.  Lyrical content aside, this is one of the most beautiful songs on the albums, one where we once again see the passion of our pained hero.

From here on out, the fierceness of the songs diminishes, but there is clearly a brighter side to things.  Each of the following songs has a new attitude in the songwriting process.  While still holding tight to the stylistic leanings that put Saddle Creek Records on the map, there’s a new sense of clarity to the songs, as they seem less dense than previous efforts, which has made way for some of the stronger songs this side of the Cursive catalog.

Closing out the album is “What Have I Done.” Here, you find one of the better lyrics of the album, if not, the year, as Kasher sings “I spent the best years of my life, waiting on the best years of my life.”  It seems as if he’s looking back upon his whole life, or career, with a sense of regret, which is unfortunate, as this sets of songs are some of his best yet.  When he asks the audience “what have I done,” our response to Tim should be that he’s put together a complete album, full of masterful songs, including the grandiose closing statement at the end.  You’ve done great Tim.

FT5: Gay Dudes That Rock

0306top5coverHomosexuality may not always be the easiest subject matter to broach, but it’s one that people often turn away from when discussing homosexuality in modern rock n’ roll. However, some of the greatest inspirations for modern music all have their gentle touch. So in honor of these brave souls, who bared it all, we give you our Top 5 Gay Dudes That Rock.

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Quiet Company CD Release @ Mohawk (3/6)

3-6-09_cdrelease_poster-01-01Another local band worthy of your attention, Quiet Company, will be celebrating the release of their new LP Everyone You Love Will be Happy Soon at The Mohawk Friday evening.  Joining the band for the the show are two other up and coming Austin acts Jets Under Fire & The Rocket Boys.  Doors for this show open up at 9pm.  As a bonus, Juno Award nominated band Plants and Animals will be playing the inside stage after Quiet Company wrap things up outside.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/04-seal-my-fate.mp3]

Download: Quiet Company – Seal My Fate [MP3]

Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Communion

tsool2009

Rating: ★★★ · ·

The 24 songs that make up Communion, the sixth LP (a double album) by stalwart Swedish throwback rockers The Soundtrack Of Our Lives (TSOOL), clock in at more than an hour-and-a-half. In theory, (and given the immediacy of modern acquiring and listening habits), the very notion of the double album is not only outdated, but a pompous statement of intent.

While there seems no discernible concept running through Communion that facilitates its length, it’s no small feat that the album coalesces as a whole. More than that, its songs offer enough surprises – and subtlety – to not just invite the listener, but warrant repeated exploration.

Splitting the difference between raucous Who-style garage jams (“Universal Stalker,” “Distorted Child”), and melodic Kinks and Sgt. Peppers-influenced songs (“Thrill Me,” “Pictures of Youth,” “Flipside”), Communion manages to maintain an identity of its own without too egregiously displaying its influences. At times TSOOL can sound a little too close to current bands mining the same rock history territory, (“Babel On” and “RA 88” are dead ringers for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and the nod to their friends in Oasis – or The Bees (adept in their own right at delving fully into the past – is evident on “Flipside.”

But despite its pomp, and the debts it owes, the distortion-soaked “Saturation,” and the delicate “Pineal Gland Hotel” and “Without Warning,” among others, show moments of clear, singular beauty. With an album this long there are bound to be throwaways, but rather than focusing on the occasional missteps, Communion is a rare treat: an album that warrants a start-to-finish listen, no matter how long the trip.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/the-soundtrack-of-our-lives-flipside.mp3]

Download: The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Flipside [MP3]

SXSW Watchlist: Kevin Devine

kdevineLong ago Kevin Devine was just your average singer/songwriter, coasting along on the coattails of pop-punk, although it was clearly that he never really fit in musically. His early shows were intimate affairs, as witnessed by last year’s performance at SXSW where the entire audience sat down to watch him intricately pick at his guitar. Still, there’s plenty of passion in his voice.

Kevin has a knack for writing careful lyrics combined with his innate understanding of melodies. He matches it all with his fervor and personality, as his stage banter makes it easy to fall in love with the man singing on stage. This year, he’ll be bringing his God Damn Band in tow to fill out the sounds for his upcoming release Brother’s Blood.

He’ll be playing at the Radio Room Patio on Wednesday, March 18th at 11:oo PM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/09-i-coule-be-with-anyone.mp3]

Download: Kevin Devine – I Could Be with Anyone [MP3]

From The Closet: The Temptations

temptations1We know everyone here is familiar with The Temptations but we couldn’t resist throwing one of their tracks your way for our From the Closet this week.  The track we’re jamming is “(I Know) I’m Losing You” which was originally released in 1966 during the height of the groups success.  Take note of the remarkable vocals from the band’s most famous lead singer David Ruffin who sometimes doesn’t get the respect he obviously deserves.  Catch a video of The Temptations performing this song live along with The Supremes and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/13-i-know-im-losing-you.mp3]

New Tunes From Young Galaxy

1021415_356x237Montreal band Young Galaxy are getting ready to release a follow up to their stellar 2007 self-titled album.  The new album will be called Invisible Republic and is set to come out sometime this year.  A preview of the new album is available now with this track “Long Live the Fallen World”.  We hope the new tune gets you just as excited as we are about the band’s upcoming sophomore effort.  Young Galaxy will also be making some appearances during SXSW in a couple weeks.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/younggalaxy-longlivethefallenworld.mp3]

Download: Young Galaxy – Long Live the Fallen World [MP3]

Cut Copy @ Stubbs (3/6)

cutcopy_071206124221687_wideweb__300x279Stubb’s has a nice bill Friday night featuring Aussie act Cut Copy and one of the happiest bands around Matt & KimTickets are currently on sale for this event from Front Gate Tickets for $20.  Doors open up at 7pm and music should start around 8 with a set by DJ Knightlife.  As if that wasn’t enough, Austin dance band L.A.X. will be playing the inside stage of Stubb’s as soon as things wrap up outside.  Entry to the after show is totally free if you hang on to your wristbands from the Cut Copy show.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/good-ol-fashion-nightmare.mp3]

Download: Matt & Kim – Good Ol Fashion Nightmare [MP3]

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