New Jam from Maus Haus

If things go as planned, then this should be a good year for Maus Haus.  The group just released their well-balanced Light Noise EP, and it’s a listen that makes its way into your playing rotation pretty quickly.  There’s a play between light and dark throughout the entire listen, operating within a spectrum of psychedelia and more creative pop influences.  This sprawling track displays the group walking that fine line, even tossing in a bit of their Kraut-rock influences to boot.  If you spend some time with this EP, you’re going to find yourself a new favorite band. That I can guarantee.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/3-HEY-JEAN.mp3]

Download:Maus Haus – Hey Jean [MP3]

The Babies – Our House On The Hill

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The project between Woods‘ Kevin Morby and Vivian Girls‘ Cassie Ramone isn’t exactly a new project, but their newest effort for Woodsist seems like the side-project finally got some much deserved focus from the two core songwriters. Our House On The Hill is the perfect execution of sunny pop with a ramshackle approach, giving listeners exactly what we’ve been looking for since we first got wind of the band.

“Alligator” takes aim at my pop-centric heart almost immediately.  A ringing guitar accompanied by Morby’s sunny vocal approach definitely pleases, and when Cassie Ramone comes in for accompaniment midway through the track, I couldn’t have been happier.  It’s a simple tune, with fairly common writing, but it’s just the beginning of the infectious hooks coming from The Babies.  Immediately following you’re greeted by slow-walking, where Morby and Ramone take dead aim at bright pop by trading vocal duties back and forth. This is the track I longed for the group to create!

A few tracks ahead and you enter the realm of perfection with “Get Lost,” one of the standout tracks on Our House On The Hill.  This is definitely Morby’s track, and it’s his vocal performance that steals the show, though the low-key approach of the various verses just builds the tension for the group to blast off into a bliss filled meandering guitar affair to close out the song.  Just because there’s a hit like this laying in the middle of the record, it doesn’t mean there’s not enough interesting tracks to fill out the album exceptionally.

You can take “Mean,” which is mostly a one-man Morby affair, with the singer coming off with hints of Bob Dylan, both in the writing of the track and the vocal delivery.  Ramone’s quieted backing vocals only strengthen the track even more.  There’s also “Baby,” which belongs to Ramone, and definitely wears the mark of her other project, Vivian Girls, though there’s also similarities to Best Coast lurking in its structure and vocal delivery.  These are just a few of the various examples that mark this effort by The Babies, leaving you with an effort that doesn’t really repeat itself, though paces back and forth in similar territory.

Our House On The Hill is all over place, and in saying this, I’m meaning it as a compliment.  In combining the great songwriting attributes of Morby and Ramone, the record never really gets stale, and if anything, it only improves reveals more gems from listen to listen.  Depending upon your mood, you might light the sunny pop elements, but others might find themselves leaning towards the more stripped down tracks like “That Boy.”  Thats precisely why I think The Babies are so successful on this round, doing what they do best on their own terms, and excelling in every way.

 

New Jangle Pop from Gloss

It’s Friday, so I’m looking for upbeat tunes to whisk you away into the sunset, and I think this new tune from Gloss that I heard via IPSML is going to just the trick.  It’s just a one track single at this point, but it combines elements of our favorite jangling guitars with warm fuzz you’ll find from the likes of most gaze bands. The track is playful, yet there’s a lush quality that allows for the perfect amount of escapism.  Such are the tracks we all adore on a Friday, heading into relaxation mode for the weekend.

Fun Fun Fest Recap: BGray Edition

I usually end up putting in more miles around a festival then those other two guys. That means I usually see and more importantly hear more bands than the average festival goer.

This year, I was able to relax a bit on Friday as I was with out photo pit access. Once all that was remedied, it was full steam ahead. I had plenty of fun chasing the sound. We’ll start with a Top 5 bands and then hit on festival observations.

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Ticket Giveaway + Show Preview: Twilight Sad @

Our friends have been gracious to provide us with a pair of tickets to one lucky winner for an incredible show going down next Tuesday at Red 7: The Twilight Sad.  I’m excited by this show for more than one reason: 1) I met our photographer Brian at a T. Sad who years ago, so it’s our anniversary 2) the band is one of the most captivating live bands I’ve caught in years.  They stop in town behind the release of their latest, No One Can Ever Know, but there’s more reasons to want to win these tickets! Opening will be Austin’s The Calm Blue Sea and Errors, so you’ve got three incredible bands ready to blow you away.  Now, how do you win? Simple, leave a comment with your favorite European band, and I’ll pick a winner.  The contest will end on Monday at 5 PM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/reflection-of-the-television-1.mp3]

Download:The Twilight Sad – Reflection of the Television [MP3]

New Aussie Pop from Dick Diver

Well well well, it’s more great news from the great folks over at Chapter Music.  They’ve just announced they’ll be releasing the next great Dick Diver record sometime next year, with a teaser EP coming out next week featuring this track below.  I can’t say enough about Dick Diver; their songs always sneak their way into my head at the best times, creating a stupid grin that can’t be wiped off my face.  If you’re new to the band, which is okay, please check out their release, New Start Again, just as a sample of the great things about to come your way.

Heavy New Jam from Dog Bite

When I first pressed play on this new jam from Phil Jones project, Dog Bite, the heavy guitar definitely caught my ear.  It gave a darker quality to the song from the get-go, which I definitely appreciated.  Then the vocals washed in a bit of haunting echo pushed me over the edge.  And while there’s a lurking solemnity, it’s not a song free of hooks.  His album, Velvet Changes will be out on February 5th of next year via Carpark Records, and it’s shaping up to be one of those underdog releases I’m really rooting for.  Have at it guys.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/04-Prettiest-Pills.mp3]

Download:Dog Bite – Prettiest Pills [MP3]

New Single from Jonti (sort of)

Early on Jonti released Sine + Moon on Stones Throw Records featuring the track “Saturday Night Songs,” but he wasn’t quite satisfied with it I suppose.  He went back into the studio with his friend Peanut Butter Wolf and re-recorded it, fleshing out the track with a few more arrangements.  He then retitled the tracks, “Saturday Night.”  I love the way the strumming sounds on this recording, and the backing vocal echoing in the far off distance.; it’s the intimate sort of track that really sinks into your soul, especially when you hear the crackle of the tape.  He’s also done a video for it, which you can find HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/jonti-saturday.mp3]

Download:Jonti – Saturday [MP3]

Introducing: Shark Week

It’s time to get that new band smell going around these parts kids.  This new artist that I’m promoting today comes at you straight out of the D.C. area and goes by the incredible band name Shark Week.  Now when one hears such a band name, you will immediately assume that they have some sort of badass tendencies behind their music.  You would be safe in assuming such things about Shark Week and can confirm with a quick listen to the rocking track “If You Want Me to Stay (For a While)”.  It’s sort of a surf rock sounding tune with tons of energy and plenty of grit to boot.  If you’re into it, check out Shark Week’s latest EP over on bandcamp which can be downloaded at a name your own price policy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Shark-Week-If-You-Want-Me-To-Stay-For-a-While.mp3]

Download: Shark Week – If You Want Me To Stay (For a While) [MP3]

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