Still Dancing to the Drums

I’m going to make a bet that I was one of the earliest fans of the Drums. And, years down the road I’m still out here appreciating all the fun the band bring to the table, including encouraging me to get my dance shoes on my feet. On this track, I love the guitar stabs that seem to provide the listener with some energetic pulse; it’s juxtaposed with the electronica behind the vocals, allowing for a dreamier side of things to seep into. Perhaps a bit kitsch on the lyrics, but that’s just a reminder that you can have fun and not take life so seriously. Look for Brutalism on April 5th via Anti.

Mothers Return with New LP

Now this is a Mothers tune I can assuredly get behind. Guitars twinkle in an angular fashion, with quick cymbal work emphasizing the sharpness of the guitar. Of course, Kristine’s voice is juxtaposed to the frantic pace, seemingly swirling about the work of her bandmates. And then it all stops. Allowing the song to fall into a subdued fashion where listeners can revel in the patient approach. It wraps things up in a warm cocoon of dreamy slow-core; it’s a fantastic return for the group. Their new LP, Render Another Ugly Method, will be released in early September by Anti.

This Is the Drums

I’m going out on a limb to say I was one of the first followers of the Drums…really really way back. They had this undeniable catchy deliver that you use couldn’t ignore; you wanted to play it all day long. Since then, the band has faded a little bit, though I still find the early hits sneaking back into my life. Now, as we near the delivery of Abysmal Thoughts it seems that Johnny Pierce has the group right back on track; you’ll tap you toes as Pierce delivers his airy pop. Sometimes you find a band and you just can’t pull away…I fully expect this album to be as such; it hits on June 16th via Anti.

New John K Samson

jksamsonI’m really sorry that I had to work all day yesterday, otherwise I would have let this beautiful John K Samson track sit atop our site. By now you should know Samson, from the Weakerthans or from Propaghandi…either way, if you’re like me, it’s something you love. His voice will always hold a special place in my heart, even if it does have a unique tone. This song is his first solo outing since Provincial, though the recording does feature members of Weakerthans in the sessions for his forthcoming record, Winter Wheat. It’s largely based around acoustic arrangements, but his memorable poetry makes it hard for me to pull myself away. Going to play it all day long. You should too. Look for the record on October 21st via Anti.

New Cass McCombs Track

cassWhen listening to this new Cass McCombs track, the first thing that struck me was how fragile his voice sounded; it’s edging on cracking, yet he holds it together. The rest of the track is filled with tiny flourishes of accompaniment for accent purposes…be it slide guitar or electronic blips. He does take a spoken-word approach for a moment saying “if it’s so easy, you try” in the song’s latter half, adding the number just a bit of needed respite so as not to wear on listeners. Mangy Love, his new effort, comes out this month via Anti, and it should be on your radar already.

Cass McCombs Continues His Streak

unnamed-48We here at ATH are fairly convinced that Cass McCombs can do no wrong, and with every single he releases in anticipation to his upcoming album,Mangy Love, he proves us to be a little more right. After seeing him at Primavera Sound, I’m pleased to hear “Run Sister Run,” which is a laid back groove employing a mellow beat. The verses ramble while the chorus is a tight knit refrain that McCombs returns to no matter how far away the verses take him from it. This is a track that brings outa different side to McCombs, and makes me excited for that release ofMangy Love, which will be out on August 26th viaANTI.Go preorder!

New Music From Man Man

Our amigos over at the Gum premiered this awesome new tune “Life Fantastic” from Man Man yesterday and we wanted to share it with you readers today.  The song really has it all: great vocals, haunting beats, and even a crazy guitar solo towards the end.  This number is the title track to the new Man Man LP due out May 10th on Anti-.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Man-Man-Life-Fantastic.mp3]

Download: Man Man – Life Fantastic [MP3]

Dead Man’s Bones – Dead Man’s Bones

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

It’s been quite the week for children’s choirs, huh? First Karen O and the Kids and now Dead Man’s Bones, children’s choirs are having the best week ever! But I digress.  Dead Man’s Bones is the brainchild of Oscar nominated actor Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields.  When I initially heard of this project I, of course, was skeptical. I mean you when hear about two actors who wrangle up a children’s choir and write an album based on zombies, vampires, and werewolves, your cynicism is warranted, these conditions are capable of inducing Scarlett Johansson amounts of worry.

I have to tell you though, and I apologize for gushing, but this album, their self-titled debut on Anti-, is a joy to listen to.  The Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir does a terrific job supplying ample amounts of atmosphere for these well-crafted songs.  On the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack, the childrens choir was used to convey wild and youthful abandon, but with DMB (no, not that DMB) the choir comes off more creepy and ethereal.  This coupled with waltzes about vampires (Young & Tragic) and doo-wops about zombies (My Bodies a Zombie For You) makes for a truly original album.

On the initial listen, I kept thinking I would get bored, but even when my attention was waning on the current track, I was always looking forward to what Gosling, Shields and the Kids would showcase on the next track.  I don’t say that too often, especially in this age of a la carte listening, picking and choosing your favorite tracks and discarding the rest.  Dead Man’s Bones deserves a full listen, and then some.

Once again, if you have kids in your life they should love it!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Dead_Mans_Bones_-_My_Bodys_A_Zombie_For_You.mp3]

Download: Dead Man’s Bones – My Body’s A Zombie For You [MP3]

Rain Machine – Rain Machine

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Rating: ★ · · · ·

We all know and love TV on the Radio, right?  So it seems only natural when one of the band’s most integral members, guitarist/vocalist Kyp Malone (recording as Rain Machine), steps out and releases a solo record we should take notice, right? Well, you would be about half right.

The first half of Rain Machine’s self-titled debut (released this week on Anti-) is good, maybe even better than good. The songs are the polar opposite of what would be released as a TV on the Radio track. They lack the density and the sense of paranoia that the band has finely crafted over the years. Malone, as Rain Machine, writes songs with room for the listener to breathe. The tracks almost seem like skeletons of TVOTR songs, waiting for Dave Sitek to fill them in.  Standout tracks include ‘Give Blood’, ‘Smiling Black Faces’ and ‘Driftwood Heart’ which easily rival anything Malone’s main band have ever released.  Seriously, these songs are that good.

But after track six, ‘Hold You Holly’, something happened to the album. It appears that Malone, for lack of a better word, stopped giving a fuck (Sorry, Ma! If you need proof I’ll let you listen. The expletive is warranted.).  The last six tracks make up for 35 minutes of the albums one hour running time, and boy are they painful.  The seventh track, ‘Desperate Bitch’ could’ve easily had four minutes shaved off it’s almost nine minute life span. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the lengths of the tracks that get my goat, it’s the lack of respect for my time.  Author Kurt Vonnegut believed, and I’m paraphrasing here, that you should make your writing (here, songs) easy for your audience to ingest, because you are asking a lot for them to pay attention to you.  If you are going to write a 1,000 page book or 9+ minute song you makes sure fill with as much meat as possible (TWSS!). Malone has a blatant disregard for this listener’s time.

The last half of this album is pure, self-indulgent jack-assery.  Sorry, Kyp, I don’t mean to rain on your slow, boring parade. You are not Curtis Mayfield, you do not have the fortitude for an extended, meandering jam.  I used to have a theory that every song was someone’s favorite song.  For the million of people that love U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ there was always one that loved ‘Lemon’. But Kyp Malone disproved this theory. It is impossible for anyone to like the last six songs on this album, let alone having them be someone’s favorite song (It’s a fact, I did extensive research.)

A five to six song EP or a couple of singles would have easily brought three to four stars, but as a full length, those first six songs just aren’t strong enough to carry the bloated dead weight of the rest of the album.