Beck’s Giving His Grammy to…Hayden?

hayI said it. I’m stealing a nod from an old friend who always called Hayden the “Canadian Beck.” It seems with his new work, that the Grammy is going to have to be passed along to Canada.  Surprisingly, Hayden’s career has worked in a similar arc, hopping back and forth between genres, but always achieving huge accolades when he takes the folk-laden ballad approach.  It’s also a track that takes a careful ear; you can hear the static of a guitar being pulled from the amp (or something similar) in the middle…it matches well with the bending guitar too.  Look for Hey Love to appear via Arts & Crafts on March 24th.

Great New Pop Tune from Zulu Winter

It’s sort of weird that the dissolution of Broken Social Scene seemingly has brought about a decrease in American interest in Arts and Crafts Records, which is really a shame.  One of the label’s newest signings is the British group, Zulu Winter, who previously got some love from P4k, but I expect even more interest with this new record; it’s titled Language and should be in the stores on June 19th.  Seeing as the band is from the UK, you can see some similarities in the local music scene, such as the beat of the drums, the vocal delivery, and so on and so forth.  You know you can’t turn away from a good hook.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/02-We-Should-Be-Swimming.mp3]

Download:Zulu Winter – We Should Be Swimming [MP3]

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]

New Tunes from Apostle of Hustle

apostle Andrew Whiteman is just one of the many heads that is Broken Social Scene, but, like all the rest, he has a solo outfit with Apostle of Hustle.  The groups new album Eats Darkness is coming out via Arts and Crafts Records May 19th, and we offer you the first single, “Perfect Fit” for your enjoyment. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/apostle-of-hustle-perfect-fit.mp3]

Download: Apostle of Hustle – Perfect Fit [MP3]

Charles Spearin – The Happiness Project

charles

Rating: ★★★ · ·

When Charles Spearin, member of Broken Social Scene, decided he needed something new to cleanse his pallet, he turned to an idea that had been fermenting for several years.  In his mind, he could hear the vocal inflections in every day conversations, as only a man with a keen ear can do.  His next step was to fuse these natural inflections into a pop-centric album.  The album would be titled The Happiness Project.

Setting the scene for this masterpiece of sorts, Charles set out to record his neighbors conversations with the subject matter revolving entirely around the idea of happiness. Once recorded, Charles would enter the studio to incorporate a plethora of instruments in order to match the melodies in the speeches on tape to musical melodies.

His attempt has proven quite successful, though it’s easy to say that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  For all intents and purposes, it’s an avant garde concept album, with a leaning towards the pop elements; these elements rely more on the personality of Spearin than the final product.  Each recorded session is fit in with a unique sound meant to follow the exact vocal inflections of the speakers.  You may not regard this as something entirely remarkable, but when listening, one can’t help but feel a sense of wonderment when you hear just how tightly wound the two melodious elements are on tape.

A problem for most listeners certainly will lie in the timing of the album, and by that I refer to the appropriate time to listen to such an album.  It’s not exactly something you just throw on the record player in the middle of the party, but this could be precisely what Spearin wants from his listeners.  Perhaps he is begging you to step aside from the normal barriers of conversation and listen closely to the natural music we all make every day of our lives.

This experiment, as the man proved live, is quite beautiful when heard in the live setting.  Conceptually, its both brilliant and intriguing. You’ll just have to set aside a fair amount of time to actually sit down and let this record crawl into your head, and if you do so, you are sure to reap the rewards that Charles set out to share with us all.  Though it’s merely a reminder of the beauty that surrounds us each day, even in our most mundane conversations.