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New Music from Braid

I was fortunate enough to tour alongside Bob Nanna and his posse during the Hey Mercedes days, and while I look back at that, the one thing I remember about those guys were how incredibly down to earth and real they were, despite the fact that they were 3/4 of Braid, which was one of my favorites.  So, I’m happy to see that Braid’s original lineup has reformed, or rather, reconvened, in order to give us some new tunes.  Polyvinyl will do us the honor of releasing the new EP, titled Closer to Closed, but says there are no plans for a full-length, as of yet.  This first listen is a lot less discordant and angular, but the maturity demonstrates that they still have the passion, and obviously the songwriting chops to keep on trucking. I hope you love this track as much as I do.

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Download: Braid – The Right Time [MP3]

New Music From Extra Happy Ghost!!!

Here’s a lo-fi style pop jam from Calgary based outfit Extra Happy Ghost!!! that I’ve been jamming this weekend.  The tune is called “So At One” and will appear on the band’s upcoming debut LP Modern Horses due out July 26th on Saved by Radio/Saved by Vinyl.  I doubt it’s going to pull you out of your Monday hangover, but you should at least enjoy the simple pop stylings.

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Download: Extra Happy Ghost – So At One [MP3]

Wooden Birds In-Store @ Waterloo @ 5 PM

Last week, Wooden Birds released their pretty awesome Two Matchsticks LP, and with that, the band is set to leave town for a little bit of touring across the nation.  If you’ve got the time today, you need to go check out their in-store performance today at Waterloo Records at 5 PM.  Rumor has it that you might even get to see Andrew pull out some old favorites from his American Analog Set catalog.  I mean, come on, it’s going to be hot outside, so why not grab a few beers, watch a good band, and enjoy the AC at Waterloo? I’m hoping they play this awesome cover:

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Download: The Wooden Birds – Maneater (H&O Cover) [MP3]

New Music from Teens

What’s the best new music your $3 can buy?  In my opinion, it’s gotta be the new self-titled record from Teens.  It’s the perfect short little release for summertime, filled with bits of garage rock, hints of psychedelia, and perhaps a hint of classic surf twang.  The vocals are a bit gritty, but you can’t deny the passionate approach of these guys.  Each song breezes in, making you shuffle your feet just a bit, then goes off into the next song before you’ve had a chance to sit down and breathe. If you want to have a wet n’ will summer filled with hooks and debauchery, I suggest you choose the Teens to be the soundtrack.

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Download: Teens – O’Lay [MP3]

More New Music From Tomorrows Tulips

Here’s another new sweet jam from lo-fi garage rockers Tomorrow Tulips called “Casual Hopelessness”.  As previously stated, I just can’t seem to get enough of this style right now and these guys are certainly helping quell my appetite for the genre.  This song comes after we already heard new song “Eternally Teenage”.  Both of these new rocking numbers will appear on the upcoming debut LP Eternally Teenage due out July 19th on Galaxia Records.

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Download: Tomorrows Tulips – Casual Hopelessness [MP3]

The Wooden Birds – Two Matchsticks

Rating: ★★★ · ·

It’s not like Andrew Kenny is new in town, so if you haven’t heard of his work before, you better get back to your homework.  But, that being said, his work with American Analog Set has seemed to dominate discussions, at least in comparison to his other projects.  While he made small steps away from that with the first Wooden Birds release, Magnolia, it appears he can clearly put the past aside, as Two Matchsticks is his best work date.

The meandering guitar line, softly walking across your speakers on “Folly Club,” is something that has come up often in Kenny’s work, as he’s really simplified his compositions of late.  What does stand out upon the first track is Leslie Sisson, who has spent time with Matt Pond PA (Matt is also all over this album).  Her voice is the perfect accompaniment for Andrew’s gentle warmth, providing almost a folk aspect to the minimal indie rock sound. Listening to the title track from Two Matchsticks, you continue to immerse yourself in a bit of folk, with the group giving what might just be a small nod to Iron and Wine.  This should come as no surprise, as the recording was done in a small bedroom in Austin, as Sam B. used to do in the golden years.

While the proper pacing might lack at times for The Wooden Birds, it’s the differentiation of presentation that really appeals to you on this LP.  For instance, Sisson takes control of the lead vocal on “Baby Jeans,” which provides a different dynamic, though the music sounds similar.  But, that’s the thing this round that makes the album a new step for Kenny and his mates, they share in the songwriting/singing duties fairly equally, giving the record a wider range than what you might have found on Magnolia.

Still, there’s something classic to the way the lyrics are being written on Two Matchsticks.  In a time when many are likely to shirk literary responsibilities in favor or obscure references or “carefree” (read careless) lyrics, things go differently in this land.  While I have no idea about the narrators in the songs, at least you can see story lines,  and personable notes within the lines, allowing listeners to make those connections with either the band, or themselves.  This isn’t to say this Oxford English here, a la Colin Meloy, but the crafting of the phrases and the stories within the songs should definitely be something that piques your interest.

You know, the first dozen listens to this record, and it might be fewer for most, may not strike you as anything breathtaking or otherworldly, but give Two Matchsticks just a bit more time.  Just as you begin to find things rather drab, you discover lyrical gems, drawing yo closer into the landscape of the songs, such as “Too Pretty to Say Please,” laying in wait for you near the end of the record.  If anything, those extra listens will lead you to see the careful little touches made by Kenny and The Wooden Birds, leaving you with a fairly remarkable listen.

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Download: The Wooden Birds – Two Matchsticks [MP3]

Show Review: Beirut @ ACL Live

Zach Condon brought Beirut to town after playing Free Press Fest in Houston on the way to Bonaroo. New material is starting to trickle out to the intarwebs, but the older songs show no age as they are timeless. The mix of a little new material with the best of the band’s catalog made for an amazing and sweeping playlist for an artist just twenty-five years of age. Twin Sister came along for this gig at the Moody Theater at ACL Live (what I now call the Bat Cave).

More about the show and plenty of pics after the jump…

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Show Preview: This Will Destroy You @ The Parish (6/12)

Date 6/12/11
Location The Parish
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

Those who can afford the luxury of going out on a Sunday night, should head over to the Parish for some tunes by local boys This Will Destroy You.  They’ve been doing their thing in and around Austin now for quite awhile and it’s about time you caught them in the live setting if you haven’t already.  Sweetening the deal for me is opener and long time ATH fave John Lamonica who is currently touring behind his creative and forward thinking new album Volunteers.  Be there kids.

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Download: John Lamonica – Heartling [MP3]

Friday Top 5: Local Beers

I can’t think of a better way to ease into summer here on the ATH than talking about local beers. This is a casual list … I can’t claim to be any kind of beer expert. I’m familiar with the A-S-T-M-O rating scale, but only recently have I been trying to form an opinion outside of “it’s wet and contains alcohol.” So this is more of a conversation starter than any kind of definitive list. I’ve also tried to vary the types of beer and feature a favorite from each of the local breweries (be informed that Shiner is NOT a local beer). If I didn’t vary the styles, I’d probably just end up listing my 5 favorite IPAs. Seasonals need not apply as I haven’t kept up with them close enough to give them a fair shake and frankly, that’d just be too much work. So without further ado, I present my Top 5 local beers.

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Show Review: Antlers @ Emos (6/7)

As the heat beats down upon us, it’s always nice to find yourself enthralled in a decent evening of carousing with the locals, especially if said shenanigans include a night filled with incredible musical accompaniment.  I’m pretty sure that’s what all of us got over at Emos on Tuesday night, with Antlers and Little Scream giving us just what we needed.

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