New Music from The Darcys

It seems like Arts and Crafts Records has been rather quiet for some time, but I’ve finally come across some new music from the label, by way of The Darcys.  They’ve got a new album, self-titled, coming out on October 25th, and this single is grabbing my attention.  It begins with this operatic opening, soaring vocals taking the focal point, but keep on listening. About midway, however, the song gently erupts with discordant guitars and bits of ambient noise exploding into the background.  It’s like Antony and the Johnsons if they chose to jump off and throw some guitars in the mix.  Should be an interesting listen come October.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/04-Shaking-Down-The-Old-Bones.mp3]

Download: The Darcys – Shaking Down The Old Bones [MP3]

FT50: Songs of 2009

bestof2009cover_songsWe have to start this list off with a disclaimer.  We have three writers, all with different tastes, so the list should reflect that a little bit.  Also, these are our opinions, and by no means, are they meant to be seen as an “end all be all” to the question of what were the best songs of 2009.  That being said, we like our list quite a bit.  Sure, it’s got some expected numbers at the top, but the rest of the list is genius.  We’ve got some of the songs streaming for you, and the rest take you straight to youtube.  Follow the jump for full list.

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FT50: Albums of the ’00s

0828top5coverWhat?   You still listen to THAT album?  That record is so 2004!  Well, that’s okay, because we really like that one too, which is why we decided to come up with a list of our favorite albums of the last decade (2000-2009).  Sure, these might not be YOUR favorite records, or the most critically acclaimed, but we sat down and really thought out every record from the past ten years that we keep coming back to in our collections.  You’re likely to disagree with some of these, and we won’t tell you we’re absolutely right we just know that these happen to be OUR favorites.  If you think we totally blew it here, feel free to tell us so, but be nice, as our egos are kind of fragile.  Follow the jump for more.

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Antony and the Johnsons – The Crying Light

Rating: ★★★★½

Much can be made about the sexual identity of singer Antony Hegarty, the man behind Antony and the Johnsons, just as much can be made of his choices for album artwork, which is equally as haunting, yet beautiful, as his his music.  But, aside from the front pages of gossip columnists, one most focus on one thing, and one thing alone. This album is f**king awesome.

The very instant that that The Crying Light begins, listeners are confronted with the overpowering presence of Hegarty’s voice.  His gentle piano carefully walks you through his lyrics, accompanied by the unique string arrangements we’ve all come to appreciate from his work.

As the album plays out, you grow to appreciate the simplest details of everything that this album brings with it.  Look closely at the lyrics, and you will not that Antony does not delve into the overly verbose vocabulary, choosing instead to tell his tales with the simplest of words, all the while creating superior poetry.  It’s something that only the truly greats can do.

And ever more daunting is the power behind his truly unique voice.  Sure, one could proximate it due to similarities to one Jeff Buckley, but the power behind Hegarty’s voice is second to none.  At each turn he seems to reach into thin air and pluck the perfect pitch from the sky.  At times, it can be overwhelming, and perhaps it is not for every listener out there, but the pure emotive quality behind his voice demonstrates what has made him one of the newest greats in our world.

A standout track, that demonstrates Antony willing to push forward comes via “Kiss My Name.”  A light inclusion of percussion, quick and to the point, beats through the background.  Perhaps his recent foray into dance-pop with Hercules and the Love Affair has encouraged him to open new doors.  If this is a sign of things to come, surely everyone will have to soon open their doors for Antony and the Johnsons, as nothing will match this spectacular album.

It may be early on, but it is hard not to reserve room for this album in year end lists.  Give it time, and don’t stand to the side while Antony and the Johnsons take over the world, one beautiful masterpiece at a time. Simply put, it’s perfect.  It’s f**king awesome.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/02-epilepsy-is-dancing.mp3]

Download: Antony and the Johnsons – Epilepsy Is Dancing [MP3]