• Top Songs of 2019

    Phew, the end of the year really snuck up on me this time and it’s crazy to think we are moving on from the 2010s. Before we do so, Nathan

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  • Top 25 Albums of 2019

    This is the list you’ve all been waiting for, well, sort of. This is my Top 20 LPs of the year. Admittedly, there’s none of the high profile hitmakers on

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  • Levitation 2019: A Reflection

    Team ATH has been covering Austin Psych Fest/Levitation since its early inception, probably in the second year at Radio Room (sorry we missed the first year!), so we’ve seen the

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  • ACL WE2 in a Nutshell

    Another Austin City Limits is behind us boys and girls and it’s always a good time to reflect on the music and experiences from the weekend. I considered myself very

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Jay Reatard – Singles 06-07

Rating: ★★★½☆

About a year ago I stumbled into Jay Reatard, well, his record, Bloodvisions. Since that day I have eaten up every piece of news I can find on the man and his band. Out of nowhere news hit me that In The Red Records would be releasing a compilation of all his old singles from various 7″s. I don’t have the money to bid for such things on eBay, so I opted for the more economical solution, buying this here compilation.

The compilation is seventeen new–well, new to me–songs, but you need to examine the tracklist first. The listing includes four different versions of songs that made their way onto Bloodvisions. The songs that might sound familiar to you are “Bloodvisions,” “Oh Its Such a Shame,”Turning Blue,” and “It’s So Easy.” You will also find that the song “Haunting You” from this very compilation sounds really familiar. In fact, if you changed the name to “Nightmares,” you would already have this song. So, you have 12 new songs, but this is all accompanied by a DVD featuring 4 live shows, which are all worth the your viewing.

Do these singles compare to the greatness of the full length? I think that depends on what exactly you are looking at when you listen to this album. Is this your first Jay Reatard experience? If so, then you might find this unique blend of lo-fi garage rock with perfect melodies simply refreshing. It’s hard not to find something to like with this band.

However, if you have previous Jay Reatard experience, you might find this collection of songs kind of a miss. The production quality is the first thing that I noticed that was different. It just didn’t pack the same punch that Bloodvisions brought you. The vocals sometimes appear more muddled than usual. Then you come to the older versions of the songs on Bloodvisions and the only one that really surpasses or equals the newer version is “Haunting You,” which was changed to “Nightmares.”

There are some interesting new twists, such as the keyboard infused “Another Person,” which brings in the bouncy melodies that typically adorn a Jay Reatard song. Also, the bluesy “Hammer I Miss You” is also an interesting touch.

All in all, this is a worthy collection for either listener, Jay Reatard newcomer or diehard. As the newcomer, you get a proper introduction to the rock stylings of Jay Reatard, which we all know is necessary when few bands are making solid rock music nowadays. For the diehard, you get to look into the past of one of your favorites. This album is really a stepping stone for any and all listeners.

Kadane Brothers @ Emos (6/26)

The New Year founding members The Kadane Brothers will be coming to Austin this Thursday at Emos on the indoor stage. The show is only $8 with doors opening up at 8pm. The brothers are touring in support of their bands new album, The New Year which should be dropping Sep. 9th. Below is the title track from The New Year’s last album The Ends Not Near which came out way back when in 2004. Check Emos website for tickets to the show or just hold out and get one at the door. More info can be found about The Kadane Brothers & The New Year from the bands website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/01-ends-not-near.mp3]

Download: endsnotnear.mp3

White Denim Mix Tape

Our Austin boys White Denim recently posted a youtube mix tape on the Drowned in Sound website.  The compilation is pretty awesome, featuring the likes of R. Kelly, Pink Floyd & Stevie Wonder among others.  The band is about to kick off a UK tour in support of their new album Workout Holiday which hits stores tomorrow.  Read more about the band on their myspace page or have a go at the newest single “let’s talk about it”:

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

Download: White Denim – Lets Talk About It [MP3]

New Music From Pop Levi

Former Ladytron bass player Pop Levi has a new single available for download off the album Never, Never Love which is set to be released September 2nd. Hear the title track “Never, Never Love” off the new album right now:

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

Download: neverneverlove.mp3

The Notwist – The Devil, You + Me

Rating: ★★★★☆

The album opener sets the tone for this album. “Good Lies,” kicks off this record with an introduction to the group’s guitar-work. It’s quite a change from their near-perfect Neon Golden. This song bounces along, being pushed by the guitars, but it doesn’t quite have the pace of songs like “Pilot,” off their previous album. Where you hope for a dramatic shift, it just goes along, then adds a little bit of the electronic beats, which is where the band receives a lot of their accolades.

Another solid number that opens a new vein for The Notwist is “Gloomy Planet.” The soothing voice of Markus Acher is layered beneath a strumming acoustic guitar, while the minimal beats dance their way to the background. The subject matter of the song seems a bit gloomier than prior efforts, but I think that title of the album really sets that mood from the minute you purchase this album.

There are definitely some redundant parts on this album, such as “Alphabet,” but I think it is really hard to pull of this dynamic sound without treading over the same round again and again. On top of that, you add the lack of range for Acher, and at times the album kind of just blends in with itself, which I think is going to be the biggest complaint from any listener. That, and there are a few moments where they push the electronic buttons a little too loud and too far, which got a little grating on my ears, as short-lived as it was.

Given some weaknesses, there are some supreme moments on this album. For me, as a listener, “On Planet Off,” is reminiscent of some of the Industrial nineties music that I just adored, only a great deal more ambient than all that. Not to mention, you don’t find a lot of songs better than “Devil, YOu + Me” these days. Then you comes along a song like “Boneless” near the end of the album to pick the pace back up and put a little bit of a bounce back in your step.

You add the faults and the good moments in this record, and you find a rarity in today’s music world. You find an album that you can listen to from start to finish; each track requires careful attention, and with that attention, each song continues to open up new doors for you. It may not be the album that blows your hair back, but it is an album that fails to let you down, which is a lot to say for a band that was surrounded in hype and anticipation.

Here’s a track off the new album called “Good Lies”:

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

Download: goodlies.mp3

New Music From Damien Jurado

Damien Jurado and his band mates have a new song available off his forthcoming album Caught in the Trees due out on the 9th of September. You can hear the song “Gillian was a Horse”, which is slowly turning into my feel good hit of the summer, below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/damien-jurado-gillian-was-a-horse.mp3]

Download: gillianwasahorse.mp3

The Record Store

Our favorite record store, Waterloo Records, was recently featured in Paste Magazine as being one of the best record stores in America. The article talks about the highly underrated experience of visiting a record store in a download only world. Check out the article on Paste’s website.

Islands Are Forever

Islands will be playing a couple of dates around Austin on Monday. Waterloo records will be hosting the first performance with a free in-store show with free keg beer as always. Get there early so you can post up near the front. Later in the evening, Islands will be moving on over to Emos to showcase a full set with all the trimmings. You can buy tickets for the late night show at Emos website. The band is becoming more and more well known for their live shows, so check out a great set from Islands at Emos at 10 p.m. or Waterloo at 5 p.m. Preview the shows with a song off the bands new album Arm’s Way entitled “Creeper”:

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

Download: Islands – Creeper [MP3]

Jeremy Jay – A Place Where We Could Go

Rating: ★★★★☆

Every once in a blue moon you happen to heed the advice of a good friend, and thus was the good fortune I had with coming across this brilliant piece of work by Jeremy Jay. This album caught me by surprise, but I am so glad that I came unto it for this is exactly the sort of album I have been searching for these past few weeks.

Now, Jeremy Jay comes across to many people as some sort of Jonathan Richman, and I can see that in the way that Jay seems to speak his lyrics rather than sing them, but his voice is a bit off from Richman’s. I tend to think of Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens –then again, I can see some of those Morrissey comparisons. I guess that’s it, you can try as you might, but Jeremy Jay has a voice all his own.

I really enjoy the song craft in these songs. Apparently, this chap is a fan of 50’s music a la Buddy Holly or Richie Valens, and this is very clear in the instrumentation. A song such as “The Living Dolls” completely encompasses this vibe, taking you back to your very own personal sock-hop. He doesn’t stop here, always staying in the vein of classic pop-song structures.

The only fault, for me as a listener, is that the music is clearly wonderful, yet it is really down low in the mix. Clearly, the focus is on Jay’s voice and lyrics, but that doesn’t mean you can turn up those guitars for the sake of the listener. Well, that is personal taste I suppose.

For the duration of this album, Jeremy focuses predominantly on the topic of love, but he approaches the subject from various different angles. Each of his songs, to me, comes across as a carefully crafted love poem–but not the kind that comes across as dishonest. I particularly enjoy the fact that there is an essence of the magical or natural world in the lyrics, which wins points in my book.

There are some faults here, such as the album falls short of 30 minutes, but for a debut full-length, its hard to come across much better than this. I have a feeling that by the end of the year this will sneak its way into my top ten–in fact, I’m reserving it a spot right now!

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

Download: heavenlycreatures.mp3

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