• Top Songs of 2019

    Phew, the end of the year really snuck up on me this time and it’s crazy to think we are moving on from the 2010s. Before we do so, Nathan

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  • Top 25 Albums of 2019

    This is the list you’ve all been waiting for, well, sort of. This is my Top 20 LPs of the year. Admittedly, there’s none of the high profile hitmakers on

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  • Levitation 2019: A Reflection

    Team ATH has been covering Austin Psych Fest/Levitation since its early inception, probably in the second year at Radio Room (sorry we missed the first year!), so we’ve seen the

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  • ACL WE2 in a Nutshell

    Another Austin City Limits is behind us boys and girls and it’s always a good time to reflect on the music and experiences from the weekend. I considered myself very

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  • 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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Republic Of Austin/ACL Picks

A fairly new blog to town, Republic of Austin, just wrote up a little blurb about myself and the ATH website.  He also included my picks for this year’s ACL Festival.  This is all part of the site’s plan to run features about local bloggers/musical people and their favorite things about ACL.  Check it out.  Now the internet knows what I look like.. aaaahhhh!  Oh and many thanks for the kind words friend.

Frightened Rabbit @ Mohawk (9/24)


Date 9/24/09
Location Mohawk
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 from Frontgate

Mohawk is the place to be on Thursday night with solid bands playing on both the inside and outside stages.  The outside stage features headliner Frightened Rabbit along with The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks.  After the outside festivities shut down, the inside stage lineup includes locals Corto Maltese and buzz band Division Day.  Now that’s how you get your monies worth.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/frightened-rabbit-last-tango-in-brooklyn.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Last Tango in Brooklyn [MP3]

ACL Interviews: Phoenix

phoenixLet the ATH ACL festival madness begin! So we’ve started off light with a few spotlights on lesser known ACL artists and now we’re really getting serious with artist interviews. Last year we spoke to some pretty big bands and we hope to reach as many artists as we can this year. To start off our interview series, we have none other than French pop hit makers Phoenix. Guitar player Christian Mazzalai recently sat down with us to chat a bit about his now 10 year old band. Follow the jump for full interview.

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Cursive on Daytrotter

cursiveDaytrotter really made my day this week by throwing up a session with Cursive.  Not only do they include a song off Domestica, which is my favorite album by the group, but they included several unreleased covers that you likely can’t get anywhere else…one of them is “Love Cats!”  Why not go check it out.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/cursive-modern-love.mp3]

Download: Cursive – Modern Love [MP3]

Also, Daytrotter ran a Rock Plaza Central post a few days back , which is also worth the visit.

Roman Candle

RomanCandle-11I know very little about North Carolina band Roman Candle, but I do know that I really dig this track “They Say”.  I would dare say that we may have missed this one when discussing our songs of summer.  This song appears on the band’s most recent release Oh Tall Tree in the Air which hit stores back in May.  If you like this one, you can stream more tracks from the band on their website.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/they_say.mp3]

Download: Roman Candle – They Say [MP3]

Islands – Vapours


Rating: ★★★½ ·

Let’s face it, Nic Thorburn just churns out the tracks, time and time again.  Last year he threw Arm’s Way at us, and then backed it up with another solid outing under Human Highway. Now, his buddy Jaime Thompson, another ex-Unicorn, has rejoined Islands to record Vapours.

One thing you’ll notice as soon as you press play on this disc, or touch the needle to the record, is that the guitar has seemingly disappeared.  Sure, Nic and Jaime have always had an affection for oddities included upon their work, but after all the guitar work Nic put into his last few releases it seems odd that he would leave it off.  “Switched On” just seems like a collection of drum loops with Thorburn’s vocals patched atop.  Don’t get me wrong, the vocals are great as usual, with Nic’s unique inflection and range, but there’s just a lacking of punch.

“No You Don’t” also has a danceable jive all over, which will no doubt get you moving your shoes, but the minimal guitar work makes this seem like an entirely electric affair.  Still, you’ll find that the electronic affair clears out enough space for “Vapours” to enter the room.  It comes across as the first song to fully utilize the guitar, miming the sound of Albert Hammond Jr., intentionally or not.   And as the album winds its way to the end, you’ll find that more traditional songwriting does take place, just don’t expect it to be nearly as prevalent as the last effort; this may be good, as many people thought the last one was a bit too self-indulgent.

“Tender Torture” is personally one of the more rewarding songs.  Washing over the song is a mass collection of samples and beats, but Nic maintains his domineering presence throughout, and you just can’t ignore the man’s voice.  It’s one of the most remarkable, and he pushes it through various different notes, both high and low on this tune.

And really, up to this point, all the songs are pretty enjoyable, each offering various things for various listeners.  Upbeat danceable songs countered with mellow electronic soundscapes.  Honestly, it’s really reminiscent of Kevin Barnes move after he changed up from Satanic Panic in the Attic and then went to Sunlandic Twins.  Could this be a climatic change for Islands as it was for Of Montreal?   Only time will tell.

But, one thing going against this record is the way that it drags on towards the end.  It suffers from an odd sequencing, much the way Arms Way just wore you out by the end.  All in all, this new Islands effort is something that you’ll find rewarding, and ultimately you’ll uncover various secrets for you as a listener as time goes on.  Vapours is an album that shows the group who always seem to change, still changing; only time will tell how this will pan out for the group.


Download: Islands – Vapours [MP3]

New Music From Devendra Banhart

devandraEccentric folk singer songwriter Devendra Banhart has been a bit quiet in the music world as of late, but he’s about to release another album of new material.  His new LP will be called What Will Be and is hitting stores October 27th via Warner Bros.  Here’s first glimpse of that new album with “Baby”.  Anyone want to offer some first impressions?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Baby.mp3]

Download: Devendra Banhart – Baby [MP3]

Volcano Choir – Unmap


Rating: ★★★½ ·

Speaking of collaborations, Wisconsin’s Volcano Choir brings together Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Collection of Colonies of Bees (which features former members of the mighty Pele).

The nine tracks that make up their JagJaguwar debut, Unmap have more in common with ambient music than either of Volcano Choir other parts.  Using tape loops and minimal vocals, and restrained traditional instruments Unmap plays more like a score to a film than a traditional indie rock release.  That’s not to say that it’s not good, because it is.

What is so bold about this mostly quiet record is the lack of traditional vocals.  You would think having the current indie golden boy, Justin Vernon, in the band you would feature him prominently in as many tracks as possible, Volcano Choir do quite the opposite with only two of the nine songs having traditional vocal arrangements (Island, IS and Still).  It’s no surprise that these tracks are the glue that holds this whole release together.  You’ve previously been introduced to Island, IS, but you might surprised how familiar with Still you might be.  You probably remember it as the autotune (take it easy, Jigga!) vocal track, Woods, at the end of Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP, but here it backed up with a full band.  I must admit, I like this version better.

The rest of the songs rely on the human voice as an instrument, an additional layer to the already lush soundscape.  Many bands have attempted such things before and it has always come off as pretentious and over produced, luckily that is not the case on Unmap.  The songs on Unmap come across as an organic progression of a group of individuals who have a true passion for the music they are producing.

For some this record will be hard to get into, but if you just give it some time you will be greatly rewarded.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/03-island-is-1.mp3]

Download: Volcano Choir – Island IS [MP3]

White Denim @ Antones (9/23)


Date 9/23/09
Location Antones
Doors 8pm
Tickets $15 from Front Gate

It’s been some time since we posted about a White Denim show and we’re excited to see the incredible live band on the bill for Wednesday night at Antones. Hot new artist band Harlem will also be taking part in the night’s event. On the subject, here’s a new track from White Denim called “Wet Sand” that went up a few days ago.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/White-Denim-Wet-Sand.mp3]

Download: White Denim – Wet Sand [MP3]

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