Long ago, due to my adoration of Crayon Fields, we made friends with the guys at Chapter Music. In the last few years they’ve released hits from Twerps, Dick Diver, and many more, so we’re pleased to share with you their two new singles from this week. The first is from Darren Sylvester, a visual artist in Australia; his album Off By Heart is released on October 4th. Then, there’s Bushwalking, a post-rock trio with an arty sound; they’ll release No Enter on September 6th. Enjoy these two tunes, then go browse the Australian label’s catalog for more undiscovered hits.
If you’re looking for creative indie rock in the vein of Local Natives, or like-minded bands, then perhaps you should try on TORCHES. While their sound has some striking similarities, it definitely is able to go off on it’s own spectrum, aided by the trading back and forth of male/female vocals harmonies. Listening closely to this new tune, you can hear some percussive rim shots built in to aid in the song’s progression. The group’s headed out on the road in a couple of week’s to promote the release of their If The People Stare EP, so be sure to see if they’re coming to your town.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/02-If-the-People-Stare.mp3]
Download: TORCHES – If the People Stare [MP3]
It’s that time again in Austin: the weather is unbearably hot, and the days seem to last forever as the sun sets late, and the kids, out for the summer, frolic in public pools and sprinklers while you count the days until the oven breeze turns to just a warm breeze. Yes, that’s right, the dog days of summer are upon us. But never fear, The Love Language has just the release to give you a new lease on summer; Ruby Red is just about as refreshing as a cool plunge into Barton Springs.
On this third studio release, The Love Language, headed up by Stuart McLamb, have put together an album filled with straight up rockin’ jams that will have you coming back again and again. First up is one of these infectious tunes, “Calm Down,” which begins with a groovy bass line and a frenzied drum beat. A few seconds into the song, you get McLamb coming in with his echo-y vocals and the words “don’t look back now…” right before they launch full speed ahead into the song. It seems like a fresh start for the group and an invitation for you to come right along with them and forget the past in a blur of garage rock mixed with a hint of lo-fi coming through; the dual vocals on the chorus give it that lo-fi flare, grounded in the jangly, all out explosive instrumental ending. And that’s just the first song.
Continuing on this positive start, up third seems to be the song that has made it’s way into my favorite slot: “Hi Life.” It’s one of those numbers that just seems to shine and glitter, with its layers of instruments, horns included. These layers help each song stick out from the next: every track battling for more depth of said layers than the track before it. Right in the middle of things, you get a number like “For Izzy,” that slows down the roaring pace, but McLamb keeps you right there with him with his vocals that may not float atop the mix, but whose far away quality makes you hang on to his every word, while the slow, waltz-esque beat dances next to him. This number especially reminds me a bit of The Walkmen, which is never a bad thing.
Overall, Ruby Red seems to be a step in a more garage, and more colorful direction for The Love Language. On their last album they seemed to stick to a milder path, but Ruby Red is pure rock n roll. Have a listen and enjoy the rest of summer. Perhaps this is even an album to carry you right on through the rest of the year.
Over the last year, I’ve caught a handful of Night Beats sets, and I’ve always enjoyed myself. There’s a bit of garage rock hipness, but also a nice little dose of psychedelia that puts them outside the range of your run-of-the-mill act. On this brand new single it seems as if the vocals are in another room entirely, which is an effect I”m personally partial to nowadays. And, the band have obviously made an impression here in town because the Reverberation Appreciation Society has opted to pick up the band’s new record, Sonic Bloom, for a September 24th release date. Can you dig?[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/04-Outta-Mind.mp3]
Download: Night Beats – Outta Mind [MP3]
A simple search on this website for the band FIDLAR will tell you immediately that we are huge supporters of the group’s music and general attitude toward song writing. Go ahead, try the search. So we dig these guys obviously and we always get excited when they send us great punk rock tunes like the anthemic song “Awkward” found below. As usual, the guys don’t beat around the bush with their lyrics and clearly like to rock equally as much as any punks in the game. This track is the first taste of new material from the band since the release of their albums of the year worthy self-titled LP back in January. Simply a single of sorts.
For those of you who’ve missed the effortless pop from Voxtrot (I know I do!), rest assured that Ramesh isn’t giving up on things just yet. A year or so ago I ran a tune that Ramesh was working himself, and then yesterday a few sites popped up with new tunes; it shouldn’t surprise us since he’s got a few shows around Texas with our friends Orthy and Young Girls. This new tune (one of two) is a slow-tempo piece of bedroom pop, though there’s additional musical accompaniment that makes the song swell with effortless beauty. I’m always happy to hear more from one of my favorite Austin artists.
Austin’s Friendly Savages have been blossoming for some time, crafting folk music that spins humor and heartfelt lyrics into memorable songs for their swelling fan base. With the release of O, Joshua, the band has made a statement that they’re going to be around for some time to come, filling 16 songs with care and purpose.
O, Joshua is filled with little orchestral snippets, meant to bridge the gap between statements and songs. But, the first grand statement that visiting the listener’s ear comes via “Counted Lost.” It’s a tune circling the idea that humans from time to time tend to wander, drifting from purpose or established norms. Musically, it’s built around a loose piano and strummed guitar, but the tune picks up more speed near the end with the vocals coming across with a little more of a rasp, and a hurried musical approach. Such things remove a bit of the polish from the record, which surely provides for exuberant moments during the live setting.
Personally, I think the places that Friendly Savages excel revolve around their ability to come in on a whisper, then spring forward into a louder spectrum. Such a moment occurs in “Trouble with Home,” as the songs opens very quietly, allowing the tension to build slowly before the group unites to create a full-room sound. The excited finish to the track displays a band willing to push the boundaries of the folk genre. It also helps that the tune leads into my favorite song from the O, Joshua, “The Hold of the Lord on My Sparrow.” It’s one of the softest tune, but it’s also, pardon the cliche, one of the prettiest tracks you’ll find featured in this collection of songs. It moves slowly, with the strings working in unison to warm your heart.
But, despite all the beautiful moments built into this listen, there are some areas where I think the group could move forward; I think they try to reach this realm on “Natchez Trace.” The song, as per usual, begins gently, but during the chorus it takes a harder edge, employing drums to add a needed emphasis to the formula of Friendly Savages. This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate the pristine folk produced by the band, I just prefer a grittier element thrown in from time to time to allow for some musical diversity to break though. Those moments come few and far between, but that’s just a personal gripe.
In the end, O, Joshua is a perfect statement by a band just starting to grow their brand. They’ve got the folk element down, and you’d be hard pressed to find other group’s crafting such an accessible version of the genre. That being said, Friendly Savages have room to grow, meaning that this is just a first step to what I hope is a prosperous road for the Austin band.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/03-Her-Locket-On-A-Chain.mp3]
Nashville based Bad Cop is a band that we latched on to earlier this year with the re-release of their I Can’t Slow Down EP. Today we were excited to find out that the guys had just released a new EP entitled The Light On a couple days ago on their very own Jeffery Drag Records. A single from that EP was sent our way and you can find the track below. It’s what you might expect from the band, a bit of gutter punk that goes fast and hard. These are expectations that I of course love.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Barbarella-Graham.mp3]
Download: Bad Cop – Barbarella Graham [MP3]
The more I listen to the latest single for Arp, the more I just want to fall in love with the band; you know give myself over to their grandeur. This track begins on the backbone of a nice little piano bounce, with airy vocals plodding along atop. A distant guitar meanders through in the distance about midway through the track, leaving an emotional touch that really steps up the song’s level of achievement, emotionally speaking. More, the new album from the group, will be available for everyone to enjoy on September 17th via Smalltown Supersound. Can’t wait.
Back in the day when we were a young blog, one of our first loves, nationally, was Crystal Antlers. Sure, we had other bands we knew and love, but we caught on to Crystal Antlers, doing an interview, catching some live sets…and we love them. Johnny Bell is one of my favorite front men, and his performances always made the show. Now, they’ve got a new track that’s been up and jamming all day. On first notice, I love the clarity of the vocals, which might not always have been the case. Of course, it’s a CA song, so it blasts off into punk anthem, which we don’t mind one bit. For now, all we have to go on is a great new tune, and promise of a new full-length in the future. We’re waiting patiently, sort of.