Divine Fits – A Thing Called the Divine Fits

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When there is a collision of famous indie artists, it’s not really an exaggeration to say that the internet world blows up a bit. So a few months back when this project between Indie darlings Dan Boekner, Britt Daniels, Sam Brown and Alex Fischel came to the surface everyone was abuzz with excitement for their debut album. As a fan of Spoon and Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, the main projects of which Daniels and Boekner are frontmen, I jumped right on the excited bandwagon. How could this much creative genius combine to equal something less than amazing?

First up on the album is the much hyped single “My Love is Real,” which features Boekner taking the lead on vocals and a heavy amount of synthesizer and other electronic sounds. It’s an interesting start, as it is a pretty straightforward song, lyrically and sonically. You have the steady drum machine beats, some thick synth lines and Boekner iterating that “[his] love is real…until it stops;” a tangible one liner that can get itself stuck in your head for hours at a time. Next up is “Flaggin’ a Ride,” on which Daniels takes vocal lead. Noticeably, it sounds a lot more like Spoon, as the first song exhibited signs of Handsome Furs. Apart from the vocal similarities, you have the signature guitar lines that takeover the song and the overall rockier sounding song.

The album progresses gradually, with most of the tracks ringing true to their titles, which are often repeated quite frequently. Another standout, and perhaps the most cohesive song for this group comes on “Baby Get Worse,” on which Boekner has the lead in the beginning and the focus is strong on synth lines and buzzing beats. However, instead of leaving on a one note status, a break comes late in the song with electric guitar surging through with Daniels shortly following, giving it the magic touch of both of these guys. “Shivers” also possesses such a factor of intrigue as “Baby Get Worse,” despite it being an altogether Spoon-ish sounding effort. The lyrics on this ninth track walk a bit on the somber side, but are no less than the brilliance that we’ve all come to know, doling out lines like “my baby’s so vein she’s almost a mirror,” and other quirky darkness that adds to the overall appeal of the Divine Fits.

While this is by no means a bad album, it is a bit of a disappointing one. I was expecting the powers that combined on this work to be greater than the sum of their parts, culminating to an excellent new super group I could get behind. However, A Thing Called the Divine Fits comes across as a mixture of slightly altered songs from the original bands of these gentlemen, but when it’s such talented artists, who’s really complaining?

Stream A Song I Decided I Like

I have always liked Black Moth Super Rainbow, but for only about a minute and thirty seconds. When “Windshield Smasher” was released a few weeks ago, I was pretty ‘meh’.

I listened to a mixtape Tobacco did for SiriusXMU that featured the song and since then, this track keeps finding ways into my earholes to infect my mindgrapes. Guess what, I dig this song now. It starts more percussive, but builds a bit into normal BMSR territories and then gets groovy, rinse, repeat. So yeah, this is my post to share and just say hey *nicejobsport*, I’m a fan.

New album, Cobra Juicy, hits 10/23 just in time for merch booths at their (spoiler alert) FFF Nites show at The Mohawk 11/3 and their FFF set on 11/4. <<<< The internet eats its own. [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/53092604" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=false&color=ff7700" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

More New Rock From Unnatural Helpers

A couple months ago I shared a new rockin’ tune from recent Hardly Art Acquisition Unnatural Helpers called “Hate Your Teachers”.  Well today I have another new song for you going by the name “Toil” and it rocks just as hard as that last tune.  Don’t forget that the band have a new album coming out on September 25th entitled Land Grab.  It’s sure to be a hot one.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/UnnaturalHelpers_Toil.mp3]

Download: Unnatural Helpers – Toil [MP3]

Soft Gem from King Creosote

One of the things I hate about the US is that it’s really hard to get the good vinyl from the UK without paying a hefty sum.  If it weren’t so, I’d definitely have my house filled with the beautiful sounds of Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote.  Today, he’s releasing his newest collection of tunes, a three song EP titled To Deal With Things.  On this particular tune, Anderson quietly enters the fold, letting his vocals brood and build, just before the drums slightly pick up the pace.  For me, there’s not a more mesmerizing voice these days, especially when it’s accompanied by the dark undertones of the music present. Enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Ankle-Shackles.mp3]

Download:King Creosote – Ankle Shackles [MP3]

Show Preview: Wild Nothing @ Red 7 (8/29)

Date Wednesday, August 29th
Location Red 7
Doors 900 pm
Tickets $10 from Transmission

I’m sure you’re probably tired of us always raving about Wild Nothing, but I promise you this is a show you need to be at.  I was skeptical at first, knowing the group was mostly a bedroom project, but Jack and his buds totally killed it that night, making me a life-long fan for sure.  I know all of us at ATH couldn’t do anything but rave about it for a good solid month.  Plus, two great ATX bands will help get you in the mood: Boy Friend and Super Lite Bike.  Please get there early to support all the bands…it’s always appreciated.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Nowhere.mp3]

Download:Wild Nothing – Nowhere [MP3]

New Rocker from The Demon Beat

You all know I love my rock n’ roll given to me with a nice little punch in the face, which is exactly how I feel with this new jam just released by The Demon Beat.  The group’s preparing to release their new album, Less is Less, which comes out in September via Funny/Not Funny Records.  I feel like the group’s got a solid garage rock feel, but the vocals have a bit of a scratchy drawl, prompting me to give into these guys more punk rock leanings.  It’s definitely an energy filled hit, so I hope it helps keep your day real.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/02-02-Teenage-Wasteland.mp3]

Download:The Demon Beat – Teenage Wasteland [MP3]

Wild Nothing – Nocturne

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Perhaps one of the greatest things about listening to Wild Nothing is being aware that the project began as an intimate bedroom affair, possibly not even meant for mass consumption.  But, as with all good things, it’s made its way to our ears, and with Nocturne the sounds have become more fleshed out, creating a more dynamic sound that bodes well for Jack and friends.

With a title like Nocturne, you immediately get a darker image than what you might have gotten from the early works such as Gemini.  “Shadow” works with that meaning, both in title and in its emotional pull.  Sure, there’s still a bit of an angular guitar chiming in, but the lush string arrangements bring out an undercurrent of heavier sentiment.   Similarly, the title of “Midnight Song” implies the exact sentiment, but there’s something more energetic lurking here.  I’m not sure if it’s the guitar sounds, or Jack’s vocals, but I feel as if there’s more emphasis in this tune; it’s a personal standout for me.

But, one of the things I like from this new recording by Wild Nothing is the smallest of tweaks that demonstrate a branching out of sorts for the group.  If you skip through the album to “Paradise” you’re going to find an entirely different guitar line than what you’re used to from the band.  It’s almost as if Jack switched up his homage to C86 bands, trading it in for some Northern Soul guitar licks.  That being said, the electronic wash present on the track, and the deeper vocal tones still tie it nicely into the thematic darkness of the entire album.  It’s a good song to contrast with earlier numbers like “Only Heather,” which gains its energy from the frenetic pace of the drumming here.  I can see how the vocals have a similar weight to them, but the guitars are much brighter, and your toes won’t be able to avoid a bit of tapping as you listen to the record at your desk.

Personally, I think there’s sort of a magical quality to Nocturne, and I don’t mean in the sense that it’s going to possess your soul, though it just might.  Lyrically and emotionally it seems to carry with it an other-worldly quality that combines bits and pieces of the group’s earlier works with touchstones of its contemporaries.  Yet, with all those bits and pieces, something inevitably captures you, pushing your thoughts beyond the mundane.  Perhaps wistful is a fitting term to use here, as the title and the mood are affected by a feeling of sadness; I honestly don’t know how to put my finger on it, but I think listeners will completely understand the sentiment after a few runs through.

For those that expected Nocturne to be a complete return to where Wild Nothing left off with Gemini, you might be disappointed.  It’s definitely an album consumed by the nature of the title, offering a fair balance between beauty and the vague hints of darkness.  Light splashes of energy come and go, but what you’re left with is a record that immediately transports you beyond your status quo; such is the quality of truly great music that can consume us wholly, yet still maintain its intimate qualities.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/08-Paradise.mp3]

Download:Wild Nothing – Paradise [MP3]

Fun Fun Fun Nites Lineup

So you think you’ll have energy for even more bands after spending your day at the FFF?

The Nites lineup is here and I anticipate the lack of sleep the second and third days of FunX3 will be enough to cause delirium and panic, intentional insomnia. Check bands like Blitzen Trapper, Imperial Teen, A Place to Bury Strangers and King Tuff in native environments, the clubs and bars and venues. Plenty of others will be throwing DJ sets to get your dance party on after spending the day being pinned against the rail on the black stage.

Click here to see what you get to miss if you sleep.

New Music From Flock Of Dimes

I really can’t seem to get enough of Jenn Wasner as of late.  After the recent show in Marfa with her veteran band Wye Oak, I found myself returning to the band’s back catalogue and falling in love all over again.  Her songwriting is always superb and her voice is easily one of the best female voices in the game.  This post is about Flock of Dimes though, which you may or may not know, is the more experimental side project of the Wye Oak leading lady.  A new tune by her solo endeavor called “Curtain” can be found below in a handy soundcloud streamer.  It’s a great little number that somehow garnishes even more respect from this guy.  You can pick up a hard copy of this tune on 7″ via Merge Records on September 25th.

Show Preview: Tallest Man on Earth @ The Paramount (8/28)

Date Tuesday, August 28th
Location Paramount Theatre
Doors 700 pm
Tickets $30 from Austin Theatre

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see Tallest Man on Earth again, not to mention the fact that his music seems perfectly fitting to the inherent beauty of Austin’s Paramount Theatre.  He’s surely going to play a great deal off his excellent new album, There’s No Leaving Now, but you know he’ll play some gems like “King of Spain” too.  I’m just excited I’ll get to hear him somewhere other than Antones, as I think he deserves a better audience than that typically chatty venue.  Strand of Oaks will be opening the evening, so make sure to get there by 8 when the show starts.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/The_Tallest_Man_on_Earth_-_1904.mp3]

Download:The Tallest Man on Earth – 1904 [MP3]

 

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