From The Closet: The Rise

theriseShutdown this assembly line quality!  Oh how we love and miss old Austin band The Rise. During the fall of The Refused, we needed something to come destroy the Austin music scene as a whole.  The Rise were the band that did it, infusing their electronic beats with a touch of hardcore and rioting live shows.  While on the scene, they quickly built a solid following here in town, and gaining fans all over the world. Unfortunately, real life got in the way, and the group disbanded, with bassist Danny being the only one going on to make musical waves as a member of Trail of Dead. Also, if it was you that stole their equipment long ago, please return it. We miss you The Rise, and would gladly be willing to put together your reunion show.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/01-The-Fallacy-Of-Retrospective-Determinism-1.mp3]

Download: The Rise – The Fallacy Of Retrospective Determinism [MP3]

…Trail of Dead – Century of Self


trailofdead1Rating: ★★★½☆

Long ago, or so it seems, Pitchfork gave Austin’s Trail of Dead, the highest honor, a perfect ten for their album Source Tags and Codes.  Since then, the band has experimented with various changes in sound and direction, and it seemed, unfortunately, that people had gradually begun to look the other way. Century of Self is perhaps the album that gets them back on top of it all.

When “Far Pavillions” gets under way, listeners are greeted with the bombastic drumming, as pounding rhythms blast through the speakers. The call and response vocals recall a greater day when post-punk definitely had its hold over the world; its a credible start to the album, and what some might call a return to form.

In previous efforts, the band might go off at this point, jumping in a new direction, but this time around, they keep right at it, as a large wall of sound crushes listeners, in a good way.  Once again, the drumming is spectacular, and it continuously pushes the band forward.  “Isis Unveiled” is a somewhat epic tune, sprawling out over six minutes, all of which keep your attention.

Then we are visited by the softer, slower elements of the group.  “Halycon Days” and “Bells of Creation” take a different approach to the audience, slowing down the tempo, albeit momentarily.  These songs demonstrate that the band has grown a great deal in the process of coming to this album, yet they still maintain a certain sense of impending doom and chaos, which is precisely what this band has always been known for in the past.  Here we find them able to soothe you in a moment, and then crush you the next. A perfect balance of sorts.

All of a sudden, the band hold it all back, throwing what one would call some ballads at the listener.  “Luna Park” is somewhat of an unexpected turn on the album, as its driven primarily be gentle piano work, coated in guitar accompaniment. Honestly, if it had come at a different time, as far as album placement goes, this would be one of the many highlights on this record.  There is a personality to this song that hasn’t been present in past efforts. But, this is also where the album switches gears.

From here on out, the album has a different sense of urgency.  Songs like “Pictures of an Only Child” and “Insatiable Two” show that the band may have just outgrown the ferocity they once held.  Sure, there are still elements in the latter half that are pleasing in an aesthetic sense, but its a bit of a juxtaposition when compared with the first half of the album.  While one side presents a fierceness that dares you to hold on tight, the other side wants to draw you in closely.

Its precisely this element that makes the album a little bit uneven.  In a way, they’ve crafted the perfect LP.  Side one is full of a barrage of shear noise and pace.  Side two is a slow drive down a carefully soundscaped highway.  Either side surely can stand up on their own, both with lots of quality, but when thrown together, its a bit of an odd combination.  Then again, the band has never been one to worry about falling along a prescribed path.  They prove their willingness to follow their own path with Century of Self, and we’ve got to respect that.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/09-pictures-of-an-only-child.mp3]

Download: Trail of Dead – Pictures of an Only Child [MP3]

…Trail of Dead – Festival Thyme

Rating: ★★★½☆

It’s been quite some time since anyone has given serious consideration to Austin’s And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, but it seems like the local boys are rearing up to put out another new album.  In order to prepare us all for this new venture, the band has offered up a short four song EP titled Festival Thyme.

Since their last album So Divided, they seem to have lost a little bit of credibility in the music world, as other keep wishing for a rehash of the phenomenal Source Tags and Codes. Let’s face it, this is not the same band, not by a long shot.

The opening track, “Bells of Creation,” has an enormous sound, filled to the brim with swelling guitar sounds piled upon the backs of simple piano tracks.  It’s a much more mainstream approach to the writing process, which we’ve witnessed from these men before, but the chorus is as brash as anything they’ve done before now.  Did he just say “I felt like Satan?” Surely that will get your attention, at least for all you Satan lovers.

“Inland Sea” is the next track on the EP, and once again you see that the band has moved into a much larger scale sound.  The ever-present piano serves as the focal point for this song, as the band moves in and out of the song.  For some reason the vocals, with their emo-tendencies kind of grab at my heart strings.  It’s the same sound as before; it just sounds strangely different.

The final musical track on here, “Festival Thyme” is actually one of the better songs I’ve heard from the band, especially in their most recent years.  It definitely has a post-punk leaning towards Oasis sound, which takes a minute to get used to at first, but give this song a chance.

In fact, give this band a chance.  Sure, they’ve moved on from their origins, or what we deem origins, but who is to say that a band cannot grow up and move forward.  They’ve missed a few steps in the past, but they are still here trying to push on back against the masses.  That, and you’ve gotta love a band based in Austin, Texas.  Here’s to new ground for this well respected band.

And, the artwork is ridiculous.  Ridiculous and good.

New Music From Trail Of Dead

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have some new songs online from their EP released today Festival Thyme.  You can hear the song “Inland Sea” over on Stereogum and “The Bells of Creation (Machete Mix)” on the band’s myspace page.  You can also purchase and download a digital copy of the EP on the Justice Records website today.  If your’re more hands on oriented, the EP is available in limited edition 10″ picture disc vinyl from any fine record store like Waterloo Records.  Is this a return to form for the Austin boys?

Trail Of Dead

Everyone’s favorite Austin band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have been fairly quiet since the release of their 2006 album So Divided which wasn’t exactly loved by critics, or fans for that matter. The band has resurfaced recently with an in depth interview over on the Drowned in Sound website. The interview sees the band discussing a new album set to be released in early 2009 on their own label Richter Scale. The band also recently provided a live set for the Daytrotter website with 4 songs that you can download or stream. (Check out “Will You Smile Again for Me?”) Finally, if you’re not familiar with the band, below is a song called “Another Morning Stoner” off the band’s 2002 album (and best release to date) Source Tags & Codes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/02-another-morning-stoner.mp3]

Download: … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead – Another Morning Stoner [MP3]