Free Josh Reichmann EP

The good people at Paper Bag Records are bringing you a free digital EP download from Josh Reichmann’s latest project The Josh Reichmann Oracle Band.  If you aren’t familiar with Mr. Reichmann, he was a founding member of Tangiers and later performed under the moniker Jewish Legend.  If that still doesn’t ring a bell, download the free EP (after providing a legit email address) or check out track “Believe in Souls” below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/04-believe-in-souls.mp3]

Download: Josh Reichmann Oracle Band – Believe in Souls [MP3]

Cut Copy @ Emo’s – 9-29

If you’re not hungover from Austin City Limits, or you skipped the entire thing hoping to grab someting on the side, then you are in luck.  Electro-pop groud Cut Copy is coming to Austin, along with The Presets. This is one of those shows that most of us will miss, as we’ve been out all weekend at ACL, but we’ll hear from our friends that made it what a great show we missed.

Tickets are sold out online, but there are still tickets available at Waterloo Records.  Stop by and get you some.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/09-hearts-on-fire.mp3]

Download: Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire [MP3]

Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The question with the latest Jenny Lewis album, Acid Tongue, really lies in the listener. Are you, as a listener and fan, willing to forgive some of the lackluster perfomances on this album in order to enjoy some of its finest pieces?

Opener “Black Sand” is the perfect song for Jenny. It’s gentle soundscape relies entirely upon her vocals, which is precisely where she excels. When she pushes her voice during the chorus, you know exactly why you love Jenny Lewis. There is something to her strength as an artist and a fox that both male and female are drawn towards.

Then we Jenny go further in the direction of country/folk, which most of us will say is where we think she belongs, or where she has been all along, but this is untrue. Sure, Rilo Kiley has gravitated towards that, and away from that; yes, her debut solo album bore that influence, but the greatest Rilo album’s were the early ones where she maintained her pop sensibility. The backing of acoustic guitars did nothing other than provide a stage for her voice.

You see, that is where the problem lies in this album. Jenny waivers back and forth between folk and classic R&B girl groups, but she never lands on that precisely pop moment where she truly shines. The title track, “Acid Tongue” does head back into the past, and even with its country undertones, you can still hear the pop star in Jenny Lewis ready to crawl out of her shell. This is the one song where it’s hard to differentiate between the Jenny we love, and the Jenny we are now witnessing. She stands firmly between both worlds.

“Fernando” is full of sexual appeal, which is where I place the blame for the faults of new era Jenny. She’s lost the innocence that made her so spectacular, instead forging ahead into sexual innuendo, associated with a bravado that is very unbecoming. But then, she jumps in with a song like “Godspeed” that makes you fall in love with her all over again. If only she could carry the power of this song throughout an entire album.

Therein lies the final conclusion. Jenny Lewis has a phenomenal voice, unlike most other female musicians these days. Her range is ridiculous, but in an effort to fully explore the vast expanse of her vocal landscape, she leaves herself stretched too thin, leaving faults in songs that could have been perfected. I’m still holding onto hope that one day she finishes it off right, either solo or with Rilo Kiley.

And don’t forget to check her out at ACL this weekend because if there is one woman that commands a stage, it’s this one.

Stereolab @ Emo’s (9/24)

Stereolab, now working on 18 years of existence, will be playing at La Zona Rosa on Wednesday evening.  The show may be one of the only legit shows going down this week that has nothing to do with ACL.  Tickets for the show are $25 and can be bought from Gettix.  Below is a song from the band’s 2008 album Chemical Chords entitled “Three Women”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/0911_stereolab_-_three_women.mp3]

Download: Stereolab – Three Women [MP3]

My Morning Jacket – Next Stop Austin

For those of you lucky enough to have tickets to tonights SOLD OUT MMJ show at Stubb’s, here is a little taste of what’s to come via ATH’s Dallas TX correspondent.

The band played the Palladium Theater in south Dallas Saturday night to a packed and enthusiastic crowd. This venue is similar to Austin Music Hall in size and presentation, but even with a line stretching around the block waiting on the doors, there were tickets still available (for a time) at the box office.

Show review and pictures after the jump

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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.

Toots & the Maytals @ Antones – 8/13

This summer I went back in time and rediscovered classic reggae, and by that, I mean the stuff that goes beyond the adoration for Bob Marley. Apparently it all had a great deal to do with the evolution in British punk, as well as that late 90s ska scene over on this continent. In that rediscovery lay the much heralded Toots, who some of you might remember from ACL a few years back. Lucky for me, he is playing tomorrow night at Antones w/ Outlaw Nation. Doors are at 8 PM.

Click this line to get yourself some tickets to the show

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