Sorry I Missed This: New Doubting Thomas Cruise Control

I loved what I heard from Doubting Thomas Cruise Control back in 205 with their Remember Me John Lydon Forever LP; it offered up a heavier, punkier version of the slow-core perfected by the likes of Bedhead. Now, they’ve just released Bob Ross II, with similar notes, though the puncher elements bring an added attitude of quirkiness/nerdiness, like theshort jam “Catch My Drift.” The album also has an ode to everyone’s favorite foil Falstaff, so that works for this bookworm. If you’re looking for a rocking act that owes debts to the New Year or Pinback, then go grab this LP now, and feel free to enjoy rock n’ roll again.

The New Year Is Back

Perhaps they’re not a household name in the realm of indie rock, but the Kadane brothers are quietly revered in circles all around. That’s fitting, as their work in Bedhead and The New Year falls into a quiet place in the canon of indie tunes. Today they announce the return of the New Year, their first album under the project in almost ten years! There’s a slightly heavy tone to on this new single, allowing for a sensational brooding quality; these guys have always crafted the best lyrical post rock possible. You’ll have to wait for well over a minute to hear Matt enter with his voice, though that drawn out wait is always what’s made the band so special. Snow will be released on April 28th via Undertow Music; it’s currently the only thing I plan to listen to for the rest of the year.

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Check Out This Band Semicircle

semiAndrew McFarland is no stranger to composing an album.  After all, he was a member of Reptar, but his new project Semicircle takes on an entirely different vibe than what one might expect from him.  It’s interesting that this release should come on the heels, too, of Bedhead‘s compilation, as it takes notes from the slow-core masters, drawing on their delicate touches and cinematic appeal.  The entire listen to the band’s album, Blown Breeze, Grown Grass and We Are Part of the Earth, bears such marks, so if it’s your style, look for the full length to come out on December 9th.

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Download: Semicircle – Mechanism of Erasure [MP3]

Bedhead Cover The Stranglers Golden Brown

bedhedI probably should have written about the Bedhead retrospective box set that includes tons of B-Sides and rarities, like this Stranglers cover below.  Bedhead were one of those group’s that I adored, and still listen to from time to time (even going into their New Year era tunes too), though I was never fortunate enough to catch the group live.  They always had this intricate touch to their songwriting; it reminded me of the complexity of American Football, but with more of an intimate appeal, as opposed to the art-school approach I felt AF took.  This cover is a perfect example of what the band accomplished, and I hope everyone really goes back and revisits the group.  Bedhead: 1992-1998 will be released on November 11th via Numero Group, so you’ll need to save some funds to pick up the box set!

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Pure Indie Rock from Overseas

overseas-album-cover-500I know Ryan will agree with this, as Overseas are pretty much our favorite super group.  As Texas kids of the 90s, we grew into our own listening to the music of Centro-matic, Pedro the Lion and Bedhead, all who have components that are playing key roles here.  That’s right, you’ve got the Kadane’s, Will Johnson and Mr. Bazan.  I don’t think that anyone who was around that the very thought of that combination alone gets chills going.  I don’t need to say much, but I’ll share a few jams with you, just so you can revel in our joy. They’ll release their self-titled LP on June 11th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/01-Ghost-To-Be.mp3]

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New Tunes from Tre Orsi

Tre Orsi recently popped up on the Matador Austin Compilation, though the band is a three piece from Denton.  This is probably due to the fact that we’d like to claim them as our own due to their rocking live shows, and their powerful sound.  The band will be releasing their album, Devices + Albums, on March 23rd through Works Progress Records.  Production credits go to Bubba Kadane of Bedhead (The New Year too) fame, so you know it will sound great–I can confirm it does, as I’ve been listening to it non-stop since I got my hands on it.  Give the band a try. Buy local.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-The-Engineer.mp3]

Download: Tre Orsi – The Engineer [MP3]

The New Year – The New Year

Rating: ★★★★½

Long ago, in a time far far away, Bedhead graced us with a several albums throughout the nineties; each one revolved around their slow, emotive sound.  Years later, decades in fact, the Kadane brothers carry on with their similar stylings, only with a new moniker; The New Year.

Their third album under the new name, The New Year, carries with it similar sounds.  In fact, a fair assumption would be to assume that the bands are one in the same, despite the absence of several members.  Still, the Kadane brothers have always been the center of this slow-core universe, and they remain so today.

Case in point is the opening track, “Folios.”  For three plus minutes it slowly builds and builds; gentle guitars pick their way through the track, backed by the slightest of drum beats.  By the time the vocals join in the song is near its close, but it leaves you with one of the main thematic statements from this record, as Kadane sings “I don’t think the good years I have left can wait/so what are we staying for.”  It seems to be an album about isolation and moving forward.

The largest change on the album is the skeletal importance of the piano work.  Sure, I’ve seen it before on their previous projects, but here it gives a greater weight to each song in which it uses, and it is used as the sole instrument on “MMV.” It is just one of the many ways The New Year has managed to branch out their sound on this new album.

Interestingly enough, the band doesn’t seem to have too many contemporaries these days, which is perhaps why I find this album so interesting.  There aren’t any elements of folk dancing about, and you’d be hard up to find a dance number here; not to mention the fact that the excess noise in these songs is used merely as a compliment, not as focal point.   They’ve perfected their format, and without the like of American Football and other like-minded bands, The New Year is on top of their game.

For me, their specialty has always been their ability to control the ebbs and flows of their music.  As quickly as they build up the pace and the tension in their songs, they turn around and return it all back to the pleasant pacing of where they began.  Few bands have been able to touch on this balance, always dancing on crescendos, and yet always holding back.  I’m sure one day they will let go, and that one day will be everything you want it to be, but for now, I’m okay with their ability to control it.

The gentle approach of this album carries a lot of power for me as the listener, and for you as well, I hope. It’s the sort of album you want to play in your bedroom when you are all alone, just absorbing yourself in aan album in its entirety.  It lacks pretension, yet each listen unfolds more and more.  Put your headphones on, and get deep into The New Year.

If you are more of the live setting kind of person, rather than headphones, then you should check them out live when they come to Austin on September 20th.  They will be hitting the stage at Emos.