Hey New Woollen Kits Jam

988431_10152386592409874_1545930897_nI had no idea the Woollen Kits were even working on new music; they’ve been relatively quiet since their last album, Four Girls. That being said, there’s never a bad time for these guys to put out new tracks, as their relaxed pop fits right into the modern indie rocker playlist. There’s some deeper vocal tones on their songs, which always makes me feel like your favorite Aussie jangle pop band is covering Beat Happening…and that’s a compliment of the highest form. You can grab the below tune on a brand new 7″ from RIP Society, but hurry, good stuff never lasts.

Go Back in Time with Crayon

brickRemember that one town that birthed Beat Happening? Well, that same town also had something heavier working simultaneously, though possibly not as prolific in the long run.  Crayon kicked out these happy songs with this dangerous edge to them.  Think about jamming to the Violent Femmes if they were fronted by one of your favorite gritty punk rock outfits.  Sadly, the band disbanded in the early 90s, spawning the creation of Tullycraft (a delightful act in their own right), but you’ll be able to get your hands on some a pristine vinyl copy of the group’s Brick Factory, courtesy of the really rad people at HHBTM Records.

Great New Reissue from the Tronics

Just in time for Valentines Day, you can pick up this incredible reissue of the Tronics classic Love Backed by Force. Sure, it came out decades ago, but you can definitely throw it right into the current mix, and it would fit right along side bands like Beat Happening or Television Personalities–both solid bands in my book.  The good people over at Whats Your Rupture will be releasing the album February 14th for all you fans of art-pop, and if you’re in love like I am, they’ve also got a sweet shirt from the band’s heyday that you can pick up as well.  Start your day off right with this track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/03-Theyre-Talking-About-Us-1.mp3]

Download: Tronics – They’re Talking About Us [MP3]

From the Closet: Calvin Johnson

beat For those of you into all the newest lo-fi hits of the last few years, there is really one man we need to look towards: Calvin Johnson. The man was the driving force behind the great Beat Happening and also the Halo Benders, which featured Built to Spill frontman Doug Martsch. Clearly, this man’s fingerprints have been all over the musical landscape, and he’s at it again this Saturday night at Emo’s, as he takes the stage with his new outfit Hive Dwellers; former Nation of Ulysses frontman Ian S. will also have his new outfit Chain and the Gang as the show headliners.

So hit up Emos this Saturday night for a definitive good time. Here are some tracks from the closet.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-left-behind.mp3] [audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/track08.mp3]

Vivian Girls – s/t

Rating: ★★½ · ·

Everyone seems keen on the Vivian Girls lately; you’ll find their name on every independent blog or web site across the world.  Despite their recent rise to glory, it’s completely clear that the girls have a great deal of work to do in order to rise all the way to the top.

After a set of 7 inches, and a short run of their self-title debut, the girls have re-released the entire debut; this time on In the Red Records. It’s odd how such a short career has risen sky-high, and one must question whether the downturn in the global market has finally led to inflation in the minds of indie connoisseurs .

“All the TIme” opens this album, and the earnestness in the song definitely creates a sense of interest for the listener. The soulful female vocals, reminiscent of ancient R&B singers, carries the song amidst waves of sheer noise.  This is about as far as one can go with garnering loads of praise upon the band; their efforts here fail in regards to the critical praise they have recently achieved.

Throughout the entire album, the drum work is somewhat shoddy, relying upon the cymbals and pounding snare work, which harks back to the more straightforward punk sounds that came out of New York in the eighties.  For some reason, the drums lack the proper clarity in the final mix, which destroys their overall effect, almost rendering them the label of juvenile.

Every song seems to follow in the footsteps of the first track, playing upon the the female harmonies.  Momentarily, one might be distracted from the walls of noise and feedback at first, but as the album continues to push forward with the varying levels of sonic noise it appears as if Vivian Girls are trying to hide their capabilities behind such noise, disguising their talent from the ears of listeners.

No one seems to be linking the girls to the fame and popularity of Beat Happening.  Sure, Calvin  Johnson carried the band for years, but just go back to the album Jamboree and listen to Heather Lewis sing on “In Between” and you will clearly see that the Vivian Girls have quietly lifted their style from everything in that song.  The only difference is that they surround the pop elements with unnecessary noise.  Clearly, they have work to do if they want to achieve the longevity of Calvin’s low-fi pop genius.

Listening to this album is something that one should do with skepticism.  All the hype in the world just doesn’t come through your speakers the way that you want it to do.  You can’t blame the Vivian Girls for this, for it’s clear that they didn’t rise to fame without merit.  There are elements of enjoyment here, along with promise, but the punch in the face you all hoped for doesn’t come through in the end.