• 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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Chairlift On Daytrotter

Dance/pop outfit Chairlift recently recorded a 4 song Daytrotter session that you can download or stream online.  The 4 song set features 3 old tunes and one previously unreleased track.  Here’s “Bruises” (that song from the ipod commercial) performed live in the Daytrotter studio.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/chairlift_daytrottersession_1.mp3]

Download: Chairlift – Bruises(live) [MP3]

New Music From The Von Bondies

We’re probably a little late on getting this one out, but we can’t resist new tunes.  Today’s new music comes from Detroit outfit, The Von Bondies.  You more than likely remember the band from their 2004 hit “C’mon C’mon” or singer Jason Stollsteimer’s 2003 altercation with Jack White.  Regardless, the band has a new album out on February 3rd entitled Love, Hate and Then There’s You.  We’ve got first single from the album “Pale Bride” below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/the_von_bondies-pale_bride.mp3]

Download: The Von Bondies – Pale Bride [MP3]

J Tillman – Vacilando Territory Blues

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Local Austin label, Western Vinyl, has caught hold of yet another bedroom country musician, but this time with a familiar name, at least to many. J Tillman is one of the various vocalists in last year’s adored Fleet Foxes.  On his latest release, Vacilando Territory Blues, he offers the public his take on meandering folk tunes, this time sans multiple part harmonies.

While most that are unfamiliar with Tillman’s solo work will see similarities with his other group, this is an album that sonically goes outside of the spectrum of the aforementioned group.  A noticeable difference upon first listen is that he does not seem overeager to fill all the empty space.  He allows for the presence of hollow moments, or negative space if you will.  This allows him to spend more time crafting the individual song structure, but that is the role when one chooses to go solo.

Oddly, the absence of multiple harmonies reveals one telling detail, that being that his voice might hold more strength than that other guy.  There is an element of sincerity, tinged with personal clarity, that makes his songs immediately personable to the listener.  It’s as if stepping out of the shadow allows him to find himself, and he does it through his songs.

Fans of modern alt-country and folk tunes will surely find a great deal of comfort in listening to songs like “No Occasion.”  Sure, there is a definite sense of familiarity with the acoustic styling of the song, not to mention the vocal tones, but you’d be hard tapped not to notice the force behind the song.  He uses a similar pattern throughout the album, which may be his one downfall.

As each song meanders through the album, the entirety of it all gets a little tedious.  Often it’s hard to differentiate one song from the next one, though separately they all are somewhat striking.  However, the patterns just go on and on, which can easily wear on any listener who is listening half-heartedly, allowing this album to merely seep into the background.

All in all, you’ll find comfort in the listening experience you get with J. Tillman here, though you may not fall head over heels in love.  It’s an above average piece of output, but it simply needs a little extra something to push it beyond the level where it rests.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/02-no-occasion.mp3]

Download: J Tillman – No Occasion [MP3]

Joaquin Phoenix Works With Diddy

In a break from new music posts, here’s a bit of tasty news from one of our favorite actors making the all too baffling leap into music.  Some of you may have already seen the ridiculous video of Joaquin Phoenix rapping/falling on stage, but you may not have known that Phoenix plans to bring Sean “Diddy” Combs on board to produce his album.  You may also not know that Casey Affleck (Ben’s sort of talented younger brother) plans to make a documentary about the creation of this album.  We don’t even know what to say… just look at that picture.  Phoenix is either on heavy medication/drugs or just another actor who plans on embarassing themselves for our amusementSinging like Johnny Cash does not mean rapping is a good idea.  ATH fans, how about a Joaquin Phoenix album title or worst musical acts by famous actors?  Go!

New Music From Beirut

We here at ATH have always loved the musical stylings of Zach Condon and his band Beirut, so when they drop new music, we give it to you.  Today we offer up new single “La Llorana” which is set to appear on new EP March of the Zapotec due out February 17th via Ba Da Bing Records.  The EP is said to contain music from Mr. Condon’s recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and features backing music from 19 piece Mexican outfit The Jimenez Band.  What’s your take on the new material?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/beirut-la-llorona.mp3]

Download: Beirut – La Llorona [MP3]

New Music From M. Ward

Last week we told you about NPR streaming the new M. Ward album Hold Time, but that doesn’t do much for your ipod lovers.  Today we’re offering up an MP3 of a song from the new album called “Never Had Nobody Like You” which features backing vocals from the other half of She & Him, Zooey Deschanel.  I wonder why the first single would be one of the few tracks featuring the future Mrs. Gibbard?  We’ll let you decide that one.

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

Download: M. Ward – Never Had Nobody [MP3]

Antony and the Johnsons – The Crying Light

Rating: ★★★★½

Much can be made about the sexual identity of singer Antony Hegarty, the man behind Antony and the Johnsons, just as much can be made of his choices for album artwork, which is equally as haunting, yet beautiful, as his his music.  But, aside from the front pages of gossip columnists, one most focus on one thing, and one thing alone. This album is f**king awesome.

The very instant that that The Crying Light begins, listeners are confronted with the overpowering presence of Hegarty’s voice.  His gentle piano carefully walks you through his lyrics, accompanied by the unique string arrangements we’ve all come to appreciate from his work.

As the album plays out, you grow to appreciate the simplest details of everything that this album brings with it.  Look closely at the lyrics, and you will not that Antony does not delve into the overly verbose vocabulary, choosing instead to tell his tales with the simplest of words, all the while creating superior poetry.  It’s something that only the truly greats can do.

And ever more daunting is the power behind his truly unique voice.  Sure, one could proximate it due to similarities to one Jeff Buckley, but the power behind Hegarty’s voice is second to none.  At each turn he seems to reach into thin air and pluck the perfect pitch from the sky.  At times, it can be overwhelming, and perhaps it is not for every listener out there, but the pure emotive quality behind his voice demonstrates what has made him one of the newest greats in our world.

A standout track, that demonstrates Antony willing to push forward comes via “Kiss My Name.”  A light inclusion of percussion, quick and to the point, beats through the background.  Perhaps his recent foray into dance-pop with Hercules and the Love Affair has encouraged him to open new doors.  If this is a sign of things to come, surely everyone will have to soon open their doors for Antony and the Johnsons, as nothing will match this spectacular album.

It may be early on, but it is hard not to reserve room for this album in year end lists.  Give it time, and don’t stand to the side while Antony and the Johnsons take over the world, one beautiful masterpiece at a time. Simply put, it’s perfect.  It’s f**king awesome.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/02-epilepsy-is-dancing.mp3]

Download: Antony and the Johnsons – Epilepsy Is Dancing [MP3]

Jennifer O’ Connor @ Stubbs – 1/20

The beautiful voice of Jennifer O’ Connor will be making its way into Austin tonight. Her folky singer/songwriter set is set to open of for Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls tonight at Stubbs, but we’re sure that the Matador signee O’ Connor will be the one who steals the show with her passion-filled harmonies.  It’s Tuesday, so what do you have to lose?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/jennifer-oe28099connor_here-with-me_04_valley-road-86.mp3]

Download: Jennifer O’ Connor – Valley Road 86 [MP3]

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