• Rock n’ Recipes: European Sun

    A little over a week ago European Sun released their self-titled LP on one of my favorite labels WIAIWYA. But, despite being a relatively new band, the pedigree of the

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  • Rock n’ Recipes: Emma Kupa

    We return to Rock n’ Recipes features with one of my absolute favorite musicians, Emma Kupa. I first stated my fandom with Standard Fare, but she’s gone on to her

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  • Rock n’ Recipes: Thibault

    Hopefully you’ve caught me news of the forthcoming Thibault record on our site over the last few months, and we were fortunate to reach out to Nicole to have her

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  • Rock n’ Recipes: Pop Filter

    The story of Pop Filter as a band is quite long, although Banksia is their debut LP. But, that story is easy to find for those who wish, so instead,

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Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Initially gaining notoriety during the rise of similar bands such as Vivian Girls, it would be easy to lump Dum Dum Girls into the exact same pile, yet something separates those two groups from being perfectly aligned (despite sharing a DDG sharing a former member of VG).  On I Will Be, which is primarily the work of Dee Dee, there remains a large bit of influences, but underlying all that lies a certain sense of darkness.

You can put on “It Only Takes One Night” and immediately feel the edge that runs throughout the album.  Rather than buzz and pop, the guitars seem to ring from a darker place, not ever quite breaking out of that seemingly haunting place.  The vocals, too, have a bit of a dark influence to them, partly due to a bit of a vocal echo effect.  Surely this is the influence of Dee Dee’s friend Mike Sniper (Blank Dogs), who makes similarly haunting tunes.

Even with that sinister tone hiding beneath, the band also have a touch of a softer side to them, one that definitely has its roots in girl groups of the 60s.  You’ll find that style prevalent in songs such as “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” or “Rest of Our Lives.”  The former uses backing vocals to bring back that nostalgic aesthetic, and it does so effectively.  “Rest of Our Lives” is sort of a late 60s prom dance number.  It’s slow moving, and the rest of the girls in the group, or perhaps just Dee Dee’s overdubs, gently float vocals in the background, as one would expect to see.  These songs are easily enjoyable, though not necessarily pushing any new ground.

However much this band seems to stay in one of two places, they are capable of creating some spectacular songs.  “Jail La La” is every bit as catchy as anything that has come out this year.  This is one of the few songs in the collection that seems to rise above the influences and standout for its individual promise, making it a currently relevant pop track.  Whether its the precision drumming pushing the pace of the song or the vocal quality here, the song wins you over instantly, never letting go. Another winning track is “Blank Girl,” featuring Brandon from Crocodiles trading vocal parts.  The juxtaposed vocal tradeoffs are quite successful, and the psychedelic guitar cuts don’t inhibit this song either.

Adding a touch of kitsch, Dum Dum Girls cover Sonny & Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go” to close out the album.  Personally, this song is a lot more affecting than the original number, as you can’t resist Dee Dee’s warm vocals here.  Everything else seems to stop during this song, and the instruments themselves are just a tool for the female voice. At least you can accept the inclusion of the song for thematic purposes on this record, and for the fact that its a pretty enchanting cover.

As it ends, I Will Be is neither astonishing, nor is it a letdown (not by any means).  You just have to weigh your personal feelings about whether or not this style is fitting for your listening habits. There’s not necessarily an over-abundance of originality, but you can’t let that detract from the fact that Dum Dum Girls have recorded some quality moments of music, such as “Jail La La.” You’ll find more enjoyable moments than not on this record, which is something you can’t say too often nowadays.


Download: Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La [MP3]

Ted Leo @ Emos (3/31)

Date Wednesday, March 31st
Location Emos
Doors 900 pm
Tickets $15  @ TicketWeb

In case you didn’t know how much we loved Ted Leo, you haven’t read our latest review of his album The Brutalist Bricks! So many people love Ted’s live show that they had to move it from The Parish over to Emos.  This is one of those shows that you will certainly be sorry you missed, as Ted always guarantees a great live show; it’s just the way the guy rolls. He’ll be taking the stage with Screaming Females and Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves.  Make sure to show your support of one of the great American songwriters. Period.

Ted will also be playing at End of an Ear @4 PM. 


Download: Ted Leo – The Mighty Sparrow [MP3]

New Music From Tokyo Police Club

Monday couldn’t be a better day for some tasty pop-rock, and thanks to Stereogum, we’ve got just the thing from Canadians Tokyo Police Club.  This sweet new jam “Breakneck Speed” will appear on the boys upcoming LP Champ which hits stores on Jun 8th via Mom + Pop.  The longer than usual track from TPC shows a band growing up while retaining their ability to create catchy pop numbers.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Tokyo-Police-Club-Breakneck-Speed.mp3]

Download: Tokyo Police Club – Breakneck Speed [MP3]

FT5: Trios

I’ve always been impressed by musical groups who encompass only three artists and continue to rock as hard as the next. It blows me away that a three-piece can create such a forceful sound that some bands can’t find within five or six members. I know this list doesn’t do justice recognizing some of the greatest trios of all time; however, these are five of my favorite.

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New Tunes from Laura Marling

A few years back Laura Marling was just a teenager playing with Noah and the Whale, but she soon climbed out from beneath that shadow and came into her own with her debut album, Alas I Cannot Swim.  She returns next week (March 30th) with her newest album, I Speak Because I Can, which features a more mature Marling. If you spent time listening to her record, you wouldn’t be able to tell that she was merely 20, as her voice sounds well-traveled.  We’re pleased to offer you a song from England’s favorite young folk starlet.


Download: Laura Marling – Rambling Man [MP3]

Tow the Line @ Red 7 (3/27)

Date Saturday, March 27th
Location Red 7
Doors 900p
Tickets Free Show

If you haven’t heard of Tow the Line yet, don’t be surprised, as they’re a brand new band in town, but one with deep roots in the local scene.  Tow the Line features two fellas from a band you should remember, Recover, and two guys from a band you definitely missed out on, The Visitors.  Expect this to be an energy fueled show, and one you have no excuse missing, since its free.  Tow the Line play in the middle of the night’s line-up, which also included Broadcast Sea, We’ll Go Machete and Autons.  Be there to get a glimpse the band before they run this town!


Download: TowTheLine – Taking Off [MP3]

New Music From Suckers

The timing for this new Suckers jam couldn’t have hit more perfectly after we yet again loved their live show during SXSW.  This tasty little jam, “Black Sheep”, will appear on the Brooklyn boys debut LP Wild Smile due out June 8th on Frenchkiss records.  Seriously peeing my pants in anticipation for this record.  (Thanks P4K)

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Suckers-Black-Sheep.mp3]

Download: Suckers – Black Sheep [MP3]

Let’s Wrestle – In the Court of Wrestling Let’s

Rating: ★★★★☆

Originally, the UK trio Let’s Wrestle released their album In the Court of Wrestling Let’s in 2009 in England, but fortunately, those clever lads at Merge Records got a hold of it.  They’ve re-released this record here in the United States, and every listener will forever be indebted to them for doing so.  Let’s Wrestle is an honest band, bound by no pretension, built to cheer you on towards brighter days and generally just make you smile.

“My Arms Don’t Bend That Way, Damn It” opens this sixteen song delight, and despite some rather somber lyrics, the jangling guitar lines and furious drum pounding indicate a narrator, and perhaps a band, pushing towards frivolous days.  This happy assault on your ears always seems to carry more serious undertones, but in disguising it as they do, you can’t help but pogo along.

You’ll absolutely love listening to “Tanks.”  It definitely has a very British sound to it, as the bass bobs in line with the guitar work.  Every bit of this song sounds utterly familiar, yet it stands out in a very distinctive manner, which recalls the early work of The Wedding Present.  Similarly, the “ba, ba, ba” chorus that runs throughout “We Are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon” just sticks inside your head all day long.  Once again, bass work is key to the simplistic formula here, propelling the song along when the chorus isn’t present.  Don’t even try to tell yourself that you don’t already feel yourself growing to love this band.  It seems like soon is now.

Apparently the band have an affinity for American pop acts of the past such as Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.  Such influences definitely bleed through here, especially on songs like “My Schedule.”  There’s a certain swing you’d find in the records of your parents; you know, the ones they told you they first danced to when they were courting each other. But, the group has the knack to make it all their own, using a hint of tropicalia on “In Dreams.”  While the subject matter is definitely a nostalgic allusion, you get the precise feeling of listening to this on a beach, if not for Gonzalez’s echo-effected vocal.

A wondrous thing about In the Court of Wrestling Let’s is the fact that their is a youthful vibrance throughout, keeping the album from ever feeling stale.  “I Won’t Lie to You” has a blistering pace to it, and although it does come across a touch raw, you’ll be drawn to the purity of a band pushing themselves to have fun.  And “It’s Not Going to Happen” feels as if a bunch of British brats decided to borrow a touch or two from Ted Leo.  This is meant as flattery, sincerely.  It uses the stop-start formula, along with mono-syllabic moments repeated, sucking you in as it goes.

For a debut record, you couldn’t really ask for a whole lot more.  Not a song on will turn you off, and despite being a straight pop-rock album, you probably won’t skip a song.  Sometimes the best records are the ones that present themselves honestly, destined to bring you nothing but joy.  In the Court of Wrestling Let’s is precisely such a collection of songs, and one that  Let’s Wrestle should be extremely proud to have created.


Download: Let’s Wrestle – We are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon [MP3]

New Tunes from LCD Soundsystem

We’ve heard the news about the possibly final LCD Soundsystem record that drops May 18th, but we’ve only been able to hear snippets of tracks. Luckily, 130bpm leaked the track today, and so now we have it up to offer you guys.  This song recalls hints of Bowie or Eno for me, but you be the judge.  I know I like it, but we’ll see how the rest of the tunes turn out.


Download: LCD Soundsystem – Drunk Girls [MP3]

FTC: Uncle Tupelo

While recently pondering the music world and my depression with the current state of Wilco, I started thinking back to a time when I really dug Jeff Tweedy’s music.  A time when Tweedy used to write music with current Son Volt front man Jay Farrar in the alt-country group Uncle Tupelo.  Now I can’t obviously claim that my young self was around when this band started up in the late 80s, but I do know that I’ve been smitten with them ever since I heard the twang of “Screen Door” off their rough edged debut LP No Depression.  That record introduced a band to the world with some young kids who couldn’t decide on punk or country, so they just decided to fuse the two.  Of course Uncle Tupelo is long since gone after many years together and many country jam filled albums under their belt.  With that huge discography, it’s tough to choose a favorite, but I’ve got to stick with their final album of 1993 Anodyne.  I’m also going with the album closer “Steal the Crumbs” which sort of seems right as a send off to the band since it appears as the closing track on their last recorded album together.  Sad…

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/12-Steal-The-Crumbs.mp3]
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