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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

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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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F-Yeah Tour at Mohawk (6/27)

The F-Yeah tour will be bringing the traveling road show to Mohawk on Friday evening. The list of acts include Matt & Kim, Deathset, Brother Reade, Keith Morris, Team Robespierre & many more. Tickets for the show are only $8 and you can buy them ahora on the front gate tickets website. For more information about the show, check out the brand spankin’ new Transmission Entertainment website. You can also preview the show with a song by Matt & Kim entitled “Yea Yeah”. Get yo dancin’ shoes ready! Also, according to their myspace page, the Crystal Antlers will be doing an after party at the Lamar Bridge around 2 am after the show at Mohawk. I don’t know much about it, but I’m sure it will be a good time.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/matt-and-kim-yeayeah.mp3]

Download: yeayeah.mp3

New Kings of Leon Album Details

Kings of Leon have set a release date and an album title for their newest record. The album is called Only by the Night and is set to be released on the RCA record label Sep. 23rd. You can read more about the album on NME website or head to Kings of Leon’s website for more information/tour dates. This gives me a good excuse to post one of my favorite songs of 2007 “My Party” off the incredible & personal top 5 album of 2007 Because of the Times. I’m praying these guys can recreate this sound and continue to deliver rock n roll at its finest.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/06-my-party.mp3]

Download: Kings of Leon – My Party [MP3]

Okford Collapse Free Show

Sub Pop label friends Oxford Collapse will be playing at Mohawk tonight for free! That’s right, it cost you nothing, zip, nada, seriously nothing. The show will be getting started at 8 pm. It can’t really sell out but it can fill up pretty quick so you should get there early before the fire marshal says no more people inside. Read more about Oxford Collapse on their website or hear a song off their 2006 album Remember the Night Parties called “Please Visit Your National Parks”:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/oxfordcallapse.mp3]

Download: pleasevisityournationalparks.mp3

Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Anotony Hegarty put out one of my favorite albums of the last five years, and when I heard of his involvement in this project I was extremely excited. His voice–albeit one needing adjustment–is probably one of the more emotion evoking voices I have listened to in the these days. Sure, they are stripping him of his piano, but the possibilities of a solid album were definitely there.

The first track “Time Will” definitely maintains the spirit of an Antony record. His strong vocals come through in full force, met in the background by carefully constructed dance beats. It’s a fresh approach that definitely earned some interest from the get go. It’s hard not to listen to the the opening track without high expectations.

Then you come to the second track, “Hercules Theme.” Throbbing bass lines and other various beats have you bobbing your head as soon as this song comes into your ears. The use of horns–live or sampled–creates a blistering dance song that will have to be a staple at all your summer dance fiestas. Just ignore the sexual moans playing quietly in the background, and you will be well on your way to enjoying this album.

The next two tracks hit you just as hard. Encouraging you to dance along with all your friends in your favorite living space. This all comes to a culmination by the fifth and best track, “Blind.” Antony Hegarty sings throughout, carrying you up and down with his voice, while the beats have you tapping your feet ferociously–if your legs and arms don’t follow, go see a doctor. This is an exceptional dance track, and there is nothing else you can say. It all, however, stops here.

The rest of the album drags on like a really poor dance record. It’s hard to find the reason for the hype when you listen to the rest of the album. The beats become extremely repetitive, and there isn’t anything that garners your attention, as the album slowly fades into the background of your mind. The pumping beats that accompanied the first five tracks go off in the way of a really bad 80s porno soundtrack. The pace gone, and the creativity lacking, the album turns into something hardly listenable, unless of course you are into porno soundtracks.

Another flaw that I find with this album is that they still use Hegarty’s lyrics. His writing is so intimate and dark that it is hard to find it juxtaposed with disco dance beats. It all seems wholly out of place with the rest of the music. Sure, it’s great to hear Antony back again, but without the personality he carries with his piano, you find him coming off a little bit hollow; this is not what I looked forward to when I heard of this union.

If you need some dance tracks for your upcoming July 4th party, then I suggest you go out there and buy a few of these songs to keep your friends feet moving, but if you are looking for an intimate evening with Antony then you will find yourself disappointed, and possibly disillusioned with his tastes. So much for the hype.

Have yourself a go at “Hercules Theme” from the new album:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/02-hercules-theme.mp3]

Download: herculestheme.mp3

I’m Into Geeks

Just a picAugust 5th will see the release of Fasciinatiion by The Faint.  You can expect nothing but the best in dark dance tracks – like they’ve been throwing our way for years. I found this little song for you to listen to, entitled “Geeks Were Right.” You can visit the band and their tour dates (one of which includes Austin) at this pretty location.  

Get yourself a pair of tickets for the show at La Zona Rosa on August 11th. This geek will certainly be there to dance away the night with you and your friends.  I’ll be wearing black. 

Blues on the Green

Don’t forget about the always fun Blues on the Green this evening with the legendary Marcia Ball. Bring yourself a chair to sit on and something good to drink (alcohol is okay). Check out the KGSR website to find out more about the event. Things usually get started over at Zilker around 7 pm.

Forest Fire Album Download

You can download the entire new album from Forest Fire entitled Survival from the Catbird Records website entirely for free. You can also tip the band if you want or get a hard copy of the album for muy cheap. Preview the album before you spend all that time downloading it by giving a listen to “Fortune Teller” on our website:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/02-fortune-teller.mp3]

Download: Forest Fire – Fortune Teller [MP3]

Coldplay – Viva la Vida

Rating: ★★★ · ·

In 2000, when MTV showed two music videos a day instead of one, I recall watching a video featuring a squirrel-y looking fellow walking along a merky morning beach. I didn’t care much for the redundant slow motion effect or the dusk-to-dawn illusion, but as a teenager, was enthralled in what this hoodie-wearin’ bloke had to say. “Yellow” was my introduction to Coldplay. Since releasing 2000’s Parachutes, the London quartet have sold more than 32 million records worldwide, filled countless arenas and made legions of Dodge Caravan-driving soccer moms in the process. You know a band is doing something right when you make a phone call to your mother and SHE asks you, “Have you heard the new Coldplay record?” No small feat…

Much has changed in Camp Coldplay since then. While 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head proved this band was destined to “rock” stadiums, 2005’s snoozefest X&Y brought us back to Earth proving that re-hashing singles is not always the brightest of ideas. Exhibit A: X&Y’s “Speed of Sound” tried it’s darndest to match the success of “Clocks” by sounding just like “Clocks.” Exhibit B: “Fix You,” a song that I’m pretty sure GOD wrote was X&Y’s answer to “The Scientist.” The boys we’re in dire need of assistance because the formula was already walking on thin tightropes.

On their fourth installment, the Tex-Mex-titled “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends,” that help comes in the form of producer Brian Eno (U2, Talking Heads) to assist in ship-shaping their form. Gone are the power ballads Coldplay are known for and the over-production of their past records. Instead, listeners are treated to a multitude of sonic landscapes, sweeping strings, and a buttload of church organ. Luckily, this change works in Coldplay’s favor showcasing a band that’s capable of writing challenging music rather than worrying about living up to their position as the “Biggest Rock Band in the World.”

I promised myself I wouldn’t mention any other bands in this review, primarily the obvious one that has a letter and a number in it (sigh), but after hearing “Life in Technicolor,” the opening instrumental track off the record, it’s an arduous task not to mention Coldplay’s Dublin doppelgangers. It’s a shimmering two minute piece that opens the album nicely transitioning into “Cemetaries of London,” a drag-of-a-tune that sounds more like Big Country with it’s lagging chants and guitatist Jonny Buckland’s Edge-riffic licks. Now if only these cats can learn some quality jigs for their live show.

As the album progresses, the band explores darker territories. “Lost!” is a well-crafted song mixing powerful organ and drummer Will Champion’s Afro-beats, and “42” is a stunner with it’s unique and daring structure. However, it’s difficult to sympathize with future Sir Chris Martin when he sings “I just got lost…every river that I tried to cross.” Martin has never been known for his profound lyrics and it definitely doesn’t do him or his troupe any favors on Viva la Vida. It hurts the record if anything. “Yes” with it’s “Walk Like an Egyptian” style strings, monitone vocals, and “profound” lyrics could’ve been spared from this record. However, the second half of the song dubbed “Chinese Sleep Chant” is English trance at it’s best. If only I had my glowsticks…

“I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t put an end to all violence and suffering.” Obviously, Martin was joking when he said this about the record in a recent SPIN Magazine interview, but after hearing the mighty one-two punch of Apple iTune’s smash “Viva la Vida” & first single “Violet Hill,” I would not be surprised if this record in fact ended all violence and suffering. Okay, I’m blowing smoke up your ass, but both songs serve as an excellent juxtaposition when describing the album as a whole. Everything from Martin’s fixation between life & death to the album’s awful Revolutionay War cover art that was ripped out of the pages of a 7th grade Social Studies book are embodied nicely during the record’s climax. “Strawberry Swing” is fantastic blending Buckland’s Afro-pop guitar hook and bassist Guy Berryman’s stomping rhythm. However, it’s all brought to a screeching halt when the final track “Death and All His Friends” wraps up the album. Sadly, it’s a trite tune that sounds more X&Y than Viva la Vida. The second half of the song revisits the beginning of the record. “And in the end, we lie awake and we’ll dream of making our escape,” Martin delivers in Abbey Road fashion over Eno’s soundscapes. It’s a comfortable refrain that does not coincide well with the 1st half of the song. And in retrospect, that’s how Coldplay’s Viva la Vida plays out. An easy-flowing record that gets lost periodically in it’s own ambition.

You can hear the title track to the new album below:

Download: Coldplay – Viva La Vida [MP3]

06/21 Grand Archives Show + Interview

The people at Stubb’s Austin were treated to an outstanding set by Seattle’s own Grand Archives on Saturday night. The band mostly stuck to songs from their self titled debut album Grand Archives, which came out earlier this year in February. The set list provided a good mix of upbeat songs along with some of the slower tracks from the album. One big highlight for me was the superb cover of Sam Cooke’s popular R&B song “Another Saturday Night”. Most members of the audience were cracking smiles and singing along to the huge ’60s hit from the late singer. Read more

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