New Music From Marching Band

Swedish indie pop duo Marching Band have some tasty new pop tunes coming your way this summer.  The band’s sophomore effort, Pop Cycle, will be making its way to you on May 18th via U&L Records.  Until then, the guys have this new single “It Will Never Slip” available for free download.  I dig their pop melodies.  Is it summer yet?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Marching_Band_It_Will_Never_Slip_128.mp3]

Download: Marching Band – It Will Never Slip [MP3]

Mynabirds – What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood

Rating: ★★★½☆

After D.C. duo Georgie James disbanded, the two members went their separate ways. Singer/songwriter Laura Burhenn found herself attempting to discover herself from behind the space of former band mates John Davis’s shadow. On her solo album, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, Burhenn’s voice soars like a bird from the onset and it’s obvious that she’s feeling a sense of liberation after James’ demise. After first listen it’s obvious that the former duo was not letting her fulfill her potential.

It’s fitting in fact that the opening track, “What We Lose In The Fire” is a tune about rebirth and reemergence. With quality backing rhythms by Richard Swift, Burhenn is reveling in her new-found freedom. With the help of producer/instrumentalist Swift, here we find a performer at her most-relaxed, creative state.  The tracks found here are simple and display a timeless quality of folk echoing the likes of Patsy Cline and subtle gospel touches of Neil Young. “Numbers Don’t Lie” is a highlight of the release and shows Burhenn’s whole range of vocal skill; which is ample.

“LA Rain”, another good choice for a single is a wonderful moment for the listener to hear her undeniable talent opposite Swift’s penchant for simple yet catchy hooks. “We Made A Mountain” utilizes a horn section with a very Motown beat in a playful tune reminiscent of Duffy, though much more easy on the ears, making it one of the highlights of the release for me. She slows things down directly following with “Right Place” and the final track “Good Heart”. The latter displays the most obvious feeling reminiscent of yesteryear.

As a whole the album is tight and soulful, showing many tricks in Burhenn’s bag, but I foresee many more tricks up her sleeve. Here, it’s a focus on the past, but there’s no doubt she should be looking forward to a very bright future. 

Light’s Out @ Seaholm Power Plant (4/30)

Date 4/30/10
Location Seaholm Power Plant
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 @ UT Tickets

Very cool event going down on Friday night at the Seaholm Power Plant present by KVRX, Texas Travesty, and Canvas for a Cause.  For only $10, you’ll get great comedy from Mike Macrae, John Ramsey, and Bryan Gutmann along with music from locals Ume and Ringo Deathstarr.  Apparently drink specials, art work displays and other fun whatnot will be going down as well.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/ume-ep-the_conductor.mp3]

Download: Ume – The Conductor [MP3]

More New Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club have another new song from their upcoming LP Champ floating around the internet today.  The new track is called “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)” and shows even more pop goodness from the Canadians.  Hoping this will be one of the better pop albums of the year.  You can pick up your copy of Champ on June 8th via Mom + Pop Records.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/tokyo-police-club-wait-up-boots-of-danger.mp3]

Download: Tokyo Police Club – Wait Up (Boots of Danger) [MP3]

New Tunes from Magic Bullets

San Francisco’s Magic Bullets once shared connections with members of Girls, but don’t let that fool you! This band is everything you love about groups like Orange Juice and The Smiths.  It’s got new-wave post-punk guitar chops and a bit of yelping vocal to boot. You can find this killer track, along with many others when the band release their second album Magic Bullets on Mon Amie Records on June 15th. Enjoy kids.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/04-Track-04-1.mp3]

Download: Magic Bullets – Lying Around [MP3]

Gogol Bordello – Transcontinental Hustle

Rating: ★★★½☆

Gypsy rockers extraordinaire Gogol Bordello moved to South America in search of inspiration. What emerged is the group’s latest and 5th studio release Trans-Continental Hustle.  As hard as it is to capture the pure unadulterated mad essence of a GB live show, this release comes as close as you can get. It’s angry and loud and more than anything excites me for a hopeful reprise at ACL this October.  This is festival friendly music and after blowing me away on the great lawn in 2008, I hope they return with the raw energy of their live show and the addition of wonderful South American accents in full swing. Indeed, they come back stateside with 2 additional members; Pedro Erazo, an Ecuadorian percussionist and Thomas Gobena, an Ethiopian bassist.  As Gogol Bordello plays havoc on my spell-checker, the music pummels my speakers. There’s no other way to enjoy it; the louder the better.

Undeniably, they prove this right off the bat with the opening track ‘Pala Tute’. It is vintage, blasting accordion and violin along with the ever present howling vocals of Eugene Hütz. Next, “Immigraniada” is a raucous ode to the immigrant lifestyle and I can’t think of any band that convincingly covers the topic better. The listener doesn’t even have to make it half-way through the release to realize what kind of trip the band is taking them on. There’s no secret to their success. It’s just full-frontal, unmitigated, sweaty authority. There is no better dance number on the release than “Uma Menina Uma Cigana”; where Erazo’s Latin percussion influence shines through Hütz’s raspy vocals. The resulting vocal track is as angry as ever, but the music shows some subtlety, which was obviously something they sought after when moving to Brazil.

As much as I tried to stay focused on writing, I couldn’t contain myself and had to dance like a mad-man during “In the Meantime in Pernambuco”. The group has concocted a recipe for exhilaration and while listening there is no way out from under the control of their spell. This segueing nicely into “Break the Spell” with a different nearly hip-hop-esque rhythm in some spots, though they never stray too far from the up-tempo Gypsy punk they know so well. The title track, “Trans-Continental Hustle” finishes off the record with a Hütz guitar/vocal solo before the band thrashes into more vintage gypsy punk.

Following up 2007’s Super Taranta! was no doubt a difficult task for the group and a tricky situation. If they continued the route they took, they run the risk of falling into a monotonous trap. On the flip side, they could not stray too far from what has gained them so many fans in the first place.  Luckily for us, the group varies their sound just enough to keep it fresh and interesting. Followed by no-doubt extensive touring, Gogol Bordello should pick up many more fans with Trans-Continental Hustle. C3, bring them to Austin!

Phoenix @ Stubbs (4/29)

Date 4/29/10
Location Stubbs
Doors 7pm
Tickets Sold Out!

Hopefully you were paying attention a few months ago when tickets went on sale for the Phoenix show at Stubbs since it’s now sold out.  Don’t give up hope though… You can always try craigslist or scalping from shady fools outside the venue.  Opening support will be provided by Two Door Cinema Club.  Also stick around after Phoenix wraps up their show for a set on the inside stage by locals The Laughing.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/03-Lisztomania.mp3]

Download: Phoenix – Lisztomania [MP3]

New Tunes from Gift Horse

During SXSW I opted to check in on another fabulous scene, that of Athens, GA.  I went to catch an amazing set from Twin Tigers, but I was also pleased to get a ridiculously enthusiastic performance from Gift Horse.  It was freezing cold (ya’ll remember that Saturday), but the energy from the stage kept me warm, albeit for just a little bit.  You’ll find a clever balance between soft and heavy in this tune “Plastic People,” which generally bodes well for the group.  You can catch more tunes from the band when they release their album Mountain of Youth on May 4th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/05-Track-5-1.mp3]

Download: Gift Horse – Plastic People [MP3]

New Tunes from The Babies

A few people in NYC’s The Babies have full-time gigs in other known bands.  Some of you might have heard of Woods or even Vivian Girls, but trust me, this band doesn’t sound anything at all like that. It’s got a bit of jangle, but the vocals and the guitar work are a lot more geared towards getting you to bounce all about your room (or cubicle), and we can’t see a single thing wrong with that.  This track is off their new 7″ Meet Me in the City, which you can get your hands on by going to Make a Mess. It also features the B Side, “Somebody Else.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Babies-meetmeinthe-city.mp3]

Download: Babies-Meet Me in the City [MP3]

Avi Buffalo – s/t

Rating: ★★★★☆

Eventually you run across something unexpected and bewildering.  Such is the case for Avi Buffalo, who have released their self-titled album on Sub Pop.  The band originated with a kid in Long Beach named Avi who gathered his friends together, creating one of those albums you vaguely remember hearing about, but are bound to come across again and again in the next few years.

You have to wait almost an entire minute before you get to meet the band on opener “Truth Sets In,” but the warm gang vocals, and the odd harmonic guitar picking create a respectable opener; it’s not entirely overbearing, just an assuming number serving as a brief introduction to the band before they kick your teeth in with elation.  And you’ll soon be blown away by “What’s In It For,” the following song.  Something about Avi’s falsetto resembles the early Shins recordings (also on Sub Pop), and as you listen, you sort of get the feeling that Avi Buffalo will be one of those albums just like Oh, Inverted World that grows and grows until you have to listen to it once a week for the rest of your life.

You can feel all sorts of influences on this record, which is not a big surprise from a young artist such as Avi. “Five Little Sluts” begins with a bit of homage to Belle and Sebastian before it ambles down its own path.  “Jessica” pulls out some vocals reminiscent of David Vandervelde.  Even with the allusions to other artists, these songs take on a life all their own, making the entirety of the album familiar, all the while establishing the band with an original sound to which only they can lay claim.

“One Last” mixes up the game, using a female vocal to add a different texture to Avi Buffalo. It’s a playful folk song utilizing a bar-room piano sound to give the song a little pace.  It’s not the only number here that shows the range of the group, as the bedroom quiet of “Can’t I Know” adds yet another approach for the group. But, just as you thought they’d get all quiet on you, the band brings out “Remember Last Time.”  This pop gem has great vocal performances and clanging guitars that will ring in your ears for hours, and that’s really all you can ask for, right?  It might drag on a bit too long in lieu of a slight jam, but you can’t take that away from the opening moments of the track.   Then it all closes again with the dual vocal approach of “Where’s Your Dirty Mind.”  Gently strummed guitars and piano create the skeletal backbone of this one, but the vocals are the most endearing element of it all.  Rebecca Coleman has an angelic voice that will stay with you even when the song (and album) end.

It’s interesting listening to this album.  It has flourishes of great beauty, as well as moments of sprawling pop, yet it all sounds like a concisely constructed album geared to let the songwriting speak for itself.  While at times Avi Buffalo seem a bit unfocused, as if they’re unsure of their identity, what you do get is a young band who have an extremely bright future ahead of them.  If this album is anything, its a breath of fresh air in a lo-fi world, and one that just might make the long haul in your record collection.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/02-Whats-In-It-For_-1.mp3]

Download: Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For [MP3]

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