Posts Tagged ‘austin’

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Little Cinema Hits the Diving Board

tdubsLong ago there was a great little Austin band named Hollywood Gossip.  For all intents and purposes, they were my favorite local pop band…then they were gone.  Frontman Tyler Womack has relocated to Brooklyn, but he’s still got a knack for writing hook-laden songs…he even still is pushing the path through Austin; Marcus of Shivery Shakes and Dana Falconberry appear on his new single. This first song really reminds me why I fell in love with Womack’s work long ago; he’s got a rather distinctive voice, kept in check by Falconberry here.  It’s nice to see Tyler back as Little Cinema.

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Show Preview: The Both @ the Mohawk (8.13)


Date Wednesday, August 13th
Location Mohawk
Doors 6:30 PM
Tickets $22 from Mohawk

I’ll be the first to admit that I vastly overlooked the first release from The Both, the album of work from Aimee Mann and Ted Leo.  The self-titled record took me by surprise, and perhaps I didn’t give Mann enough credit.  It’s a spot-on album of great pop tunes, from two great songwriters, and I know that Ted will definitely be bringing his showmanship to the stage (I’ve yet to catch Aimee).  I’m not even sure if the duo will continue writing together, so you’ve got to be there to catch them while you have the chance. And, opening the show will be Lemuria, who won us over with their album, The Distance is So Big.  This is a night worth every dollar.

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Austin Spotlight: Another Spray Paint Tune

Spray-PaintA little over a week ago we tossed up a tune that was from the forthcoming album from Austin’s Spray Paint.  But, while we’re waiting for what’s sure to be another rad record from the band, they’ve also announced a new 7″ for Upset the Rhythm that’s coming out next week.  I’m loving the discordant pluck that rides along this tune, while the pummeling beat just pounds away.  Lyrics accompany the first half of the song, and the last few seconds, but the middle is filled with instrumental pacing, of the dangerous sort.  Not sure if “Cussin” will appear on the next LP, or if it’s just a stand-alone 7″, but it’s another reason for people to continue their praise of the Austin three-piece.

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Great New Track From Mumblr

downloadIt’s well known that we are in full support of local label Fleeting Youth Records and the great artists they continue to pick up.  Today we’ve got a new song for you called “Philadelphia” coming your way from Philly based rock group Mumblr.  I love that the song seems to be inspired by harder indie rock groups like Cursive with the emotional vocals and strong guitars.  Keep it up doods.

Mumblr’s new album, Full of Snakes, is due out September 16th.

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Download: Mumblr – Philadelphia [MP3]

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Show Preview: Miniature Tigers @ Stubbs Jr (8.6)


Date Wednesday, August 6th
Location Stubbs Jr
Doors 8:00 PM
Tickets $12 from Stubbs

After a really busy few weeks, the going of shows slows down a bit, but there’s a great pop rock show that should be on your radar…you know, if that’s your thing.  Miniature Tigers blow into town, filled with catchy tunes from their most recent release, Cruel Runnings.  Their tracks are all fun, all the time. But, be sure to pay special attention to openers, the Griswolds.  The Australian band is set to release their album, Be Impressive, and the title does great to serve notice to new fans.  Plus…it’s not every day bands from Australia get to make it over here…traveling gets expensive ya’ll. Another opener, Finish Ticket opens things up; I don’t know much about them other than they’re influenced by The Strokes and the Killers…so there’s that.

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Download: Miniature Tigers – Gold Skulls [MP3]

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Austin Spotlight: Xetas Ready 7″

xetasListening to Xetas, I’m reminded that I owe my friend Mark a debt of gratitude.  He teaches across the hall, and he’s been championing his friends for some time.  I’ve caught them live twice now, and let me tell you, there aren’t a lot of bands playing this style of music that live that bring the energy and the licks like these three.  There’s a dichotomy between guitarist D and bassist K, with both playing the role of the foil to the other. I’m further impressed by the recording on this single; it captures the ferocity of the band’s live show, but still sounds huge.  Their new 7″ is being released on September 2nd via 12XU Records; you can preorder it HERE.

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Show Preview: A Giant Dog @ Mohawk (7.31)


Date Thursday, July 31st
Location Mohawk
Doors 9:00 PM
Tickets $7

So many great shows, so little time.  And tonight you get to see three incredible Austin acts tearing up the Mohawk.  It goes without saying that A Giant Dog, who are recording their 3rd LP, are one of Austin’s better live bands.   But, even with that in mind, you need to get there early to catch the other two openers.  Trustees kick off the night; they’re one of the most impressive bands in town at the moment, though we’ve yet to here recorded material, so you’re only chance to hear them is at Mohawk.  And, Hundred Visions will also be rocking in the middle of the line-up; they never put on a bad show, at least in my opinion.  So you’ve got three bands. Three killer bands.  Plus, you’re likely to run into Norman Wanklord.

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Download: A Giant Dog – To Put it Bluntly [MP3]

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Hikes – Hikes EP


Rating: ★★★½ ·

Sometimes I like to test out a band on my fist listen by putting on their album while I am preoccupied. Its a little game I like to play called “Can you grab my attention?” The idea behind it is to see if the music is interesting or powerful enough to climb to the top of my cognitive pyramid. It also is also a great way to divine the most immediately noticeable tune of the album.
I decided to put on Hikes’ EP during a slow afternoon at work. I had heard the name tossed around in conversation and decided it was time for a listen. I popped in one ear bud and hit play while I caught up on email. That was the plan at least. Halfway through the intro of Spring Forward I had popped in my second ear bud and stopped working. Sorry boss, thank you Hikes.
It’s hard to find something I don’t like about this EP. Which is honestly strange as Hikes employs a few musical pet peeves of mine. First off, they are undeniably Prog. Ok sorry, they are math folk, but let’s be honest the “math” genre is a bunch of Prog players trying to avoid being called progressive rock. Second, as a guitar player myself, I almost unilaterally hate tapping. It always make me think of an Ibanez add of an airbrushed Steve Vai with awkwardly long, highlighted hair. Tapping is a flashy technique that almost always results in an audible loss of tone. And you know what? It’s a guitar, not a piano.
That being said, Hikes has managed to meld intricate tapping melodies and counterpoint with standard picked riffs and rhythms in a way that does not detract from their tone. My hats are off to the Hikes guitar players.
Hikes’ songwriting style is expansive and free flowing. They note water as being a main inspiration, and it’s easy to hear that in their songs. Their songs go through quiet, thoughtful phases that evoke a slow moving creek wandering through pastures. Then, they surprise you by turning the bend and quickly transforming into a rushing rapid of notes and syncopation. As a listener you feel very much like a passenger on this river, drifting off during the gentler sections only to be pulled back in through stretches that demand your active attention.
After making it through the lengthy EP, I couldn’t help but wonder how these songs would work out in an album setting. The 4 track EP is already nearly the length of most pop albums, clocking in at just over 25 minutes. I am not sure that a full album worth of Hikes’ intense, meandering songs could captivate the average listener’s attention for more than a few songs at a time, or even for the entirety of a 8 minute song. That may be the point, though. Hikes’ is surely not your average band. While searching and striving for the zenith of musical creativity, they appear to be intentionally ignoring the lowest common denominator. If you are someone who enjoys a challenging listen, I would recommend this EP. If you are someone who prefers to consume his audio in 3 minute bits… you know what, give yourself an aural stretch. It’ll be worth it.


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