• 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

    Read more »
  • 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

    Read more »
  • 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,

    Read more »
  • 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,

    Read more »
  • 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.

    Read more »

Jaguar Love – Take Me to the Sea

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When I first head about the union of former Pretty Girls Make Graves member, Jay Clark, with two of the Blood Brothers, I was salivating in wake for the release of a full length.  The potential for this combination could reach no bounds in my imagination, but come to find out, there are some boundaries for this band.

The opening track, “Highways of Gold,” fails to let me down.  Each time I play this song I’m invigorated by the rise and fall of the guitar work, as it approaches the angular tour de force that I anticipated. Had they reined it in about thirty seconds, then this could be a front runner for one of my favorites of the year.

I suppose that at this point, I should let you know that singer Johnny Whitney’s voice can be grating.  Personally, I’ve adapted to it after settling in to several Blood Brothers’ albums, but I can foresee this as a problem for many listeners.  If you can’t look past it in the first song, then you can’t get through this album.

Still, the next three songs are solid tracks.  In particular, “Georgia” won me over with its proximity to a modern indie ballad done in the post-punk way.  Lyrically, these songs set the face, from the doomsday homages in “Jaguar Pirates” to the personal pain that comes with “Georgia,” which still kind of deals with the effects of living in the modern world.

However, the album starts to get repetitive at this point.  The musicianship is exactly what you expect, with tight drumming and throbbing bass, piled upon razor-sharp guitars, but at this point it kind of blends into itself.  There isn’t any differentiation in the vocals, and the music, like a Blood Brothers album, or the later Pretty Girls Make Graves records for that fact.  It’s not that the music is uninteresting, but the pace and power disappear.

Then comes the eighth track on the record, “Bone Trees and a Broken Heart,” which is another slow song for the group.  Strangely, their slower songs are just as intriguing to my ears as their louder material.  For me, it represents the talent this group possesses, not to mention their abilities to go pretty much anywhere on this record.  It’s just too bad that they don’t really go anywhere, aside from the expected barrage of noise I predicted in my earlier fantasies of this band.

Once you get away from Whitney’s vocals, you’ll find–those of you that like to rock–that this record has a lot of redeemable qualities about it.  It’s listenable all the way through, at least for those of this ilk. It might not be anything that takes you out of this world, but then again, it meets almost all of my expectations.  Good start fellas, now hit the showers.

Coupons

There’s nothing like a good old trip to H-E-B. Sure it takes hours to fight your way down each aisle. Sure you inevitably run into at least one person you didn’t want to see. Sure they don’t recognise the concept of expiration dates. At least they have some pretty good deals, on everything

Matt Pryor In Austin (8/23)

Matt Pryor, formerly of The Get Up Kids & The New Amsterdams, will be showing his face at Stubbs in Austin on Saturday for 2 different events. The first set will feature an all ages show from Matt’s kid focused group, The Terrible Twos. Terrible Twos will be performing at 3pm with tickets running you $7.50. Later in the evening, Matt will play a solo set with doors at 9pm and tickets only costing you $12.00. Read more about Matt Pryor on his myspace page or check out our review of his latest album Confidence Man.

The Boxing Lesson – Wild Streaks & Windy Days

Rating: ★½ · · ·

For influences, local Austin band The Boxing Lesson could do much worse: the songs off Wild Streaks & Windy Days reveal an appreciation for the hypnotic swirl of The Secret Machines (“Lower,” “Muerta,”), the pop-prog-trips of MuteMath (“Timing,” “Dance with Meow,) and the grandiosity of Muse (“Dark Side of the Moog,” “Scoundrel”). And like these bands, and Minus the Bear, another group with nonsensical song titles, The Boxing Lesson attempt to synthesize these influences into something greater and original.

What The Boxing Lesson is lacking is not simply talent, restraint, or any lyrical insight at all – although throwaway songs like “Hopscotch & Sodapop” and “Freedom” would suggest they’re missing those too.  Their most notable problem is they have no direction. With songs like “Scoundrel” and the title track lasting nearly seven minutes but offering no payoff, no climactic build, The Boxing Lesson aren’t giving us more, they’re making us wait longer for less.

Encompassing Pink Floyd synth washes provide pleasing backdrops for clean guitar lines on nearly every song, but when it takes more than two-and-a-half minutes to get to the opening verse of the title track, only to have it rip off the music and lyrics from the title track of The Secret Machines’ “The Road Leads Where It’s Lead” – albeit slower and with less passion and intent – you can’t help but feel cheated. The Boxing Lesson seem to have their hearts and ears in the right place, but singer Paul Waclawsky’s lyrics go nowhere, and without something to set his voice apart – aggression, passion, any feeling – the album ends up getting carried away, lost in the large-scale but rootless sweeping effect they created.

Read more about The Boxing Lesson and hear songs from the new album on the bands myspace page.

The Melvins In Austin (8/22)

Two Melvins events going down on Friday we’d like to tell you about. First, the longtime rockers will be signing whatever your little heart desires at Waterloo Records around 5pm. The Waterloo website says no live music, only a signing. Shortly after the signing wraps up, The Melvins will break out the guitars and amps for the people at Emo’s Austin. Doors for the event are set for 9pm with opening act Big Business kicking the music off at 10pm. Tickets for the show are only $13 and can be had here.

Academicos Da Opera

Each week, we here at Austin Town Hall will be featuring one of the many great artists playing the late September Xemumba Latin Music Festival. This week, we cast the spotlight on Academicos da Opera. Academicos, a return act from last years Xemumba festival, are a group of about two or three dozen performers who will bring the pulse of Brazil, Samba, to Xemumba. The group will be playing that Brazilian Samba both nights at the Festival. Be sure to read our original post about Xemumba and buy your tickets. You can also check out an excerpt of that famous Samba music below which should get you jacked up for the show.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/academicos-da-opera-samba_clip.mp3]

Download: Academicos Da Opera – Samba Clip [MP3]

More New White Denim

We posted earlier this summer about White Denim’s latest single “Let’s Talk About It” which appeared on the band’s UK only release Workout Holiday. Lucky for us in The US & A, the band is dropping another album this year on Nov. 3rd entitled Exposion. First single from that album “Sitting” is below and it just might not be the White Denim you’re used to. You can stream more sweet tunes on the band’s website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/sitting.mp3]

Download: White Denim – Sitting [MP3]

1 1,404 1,405 1,406 1,407 1,408 1,434