Top 50 Albums of 2016

top50You’ve all been waiting, anxiously. Waiting for our arbitrary list of the opinion of four folks who run this site, and what we think were the best albums of 2016. It’s really really important. We’re going to make our site great again with this list. We’re going to win, bigly. But really, it’s just a list of the stuff we loved the most that we covered throughout this year on our site. The comment section is open, so feel free to tell us where we’ve gone wrong or what we’ve got right or anything else fitting. Read more

Even More New Black Marble

blackBy now you’ve noticed my affection for the electro-musings of Black Marble, thus when another song pops up, I’m going to share it with you. This new track has the feeling I’ve been looking for as we head into the cooler (ish) months; it’s practically bedroom pop, which very may have been the way it was recorded…and meant to be enjoyed. I also get this faintly haunted feeling from it, giving it another avenue to be explored during my listening excursion. We’re still a good solid month out from It’s Immaterial, which is the new LP being released by Ghostly on October 14th.

Another New Black Marble Song

blackI’m gearing up to really enjoy this new Black Marble record, which is being released on September 30th. Hearing this new single, there’s a sensation of solitude that’s incorporated through the echo-effect on the vocals. The electronic progression is pretty restrained, it’s not forcing beats into your ears, allowing the song to slowly settle within the caverns of your brain. For a bedroom electronic project, this is precisely what one would come to expect. This LP is titled It’s Immaterial, and it’s going to be handled/released by Ghostly.

Black Marble Is Back!

blackmarbleI think I can attribute my re-introduction to electronic music to Black Marble and the album A Different Arrangement. But, the project has been mostly quiet since that release…until now. Yesterday, this track blew up with the announcement that there’s a new home for them, Ghostly International. I think that heavy resonating drum sample is really one of my favorite pieces here, but I’m also enjoying the contrast between the song’s soft emotional pull and the deep tonal quality of the vocals. It’s Immaterial, the new album, will be out on September 30th.

Top Albums of 2012: 50-1

Here it is.  I know you’ll hate it; I know you’ll disagree, but that’s not the point in making an arbitrary list.  We here at ATH worked really hard to fit in the tastes of the four of us, and when we decided upon our Top 50, it really boied down to simple math.  What albums did we love when they came out?  Do we still enjoy spinning those records months later? If they’re in the Top 50, then the asnwer is probably yes.  I mean, our Top 2 records came out in January, and still play a vital part in my weekly listening.  There’s no disclaimer here.  We are who we are, we like what we like, and we hope that’s okay with you. If not, drop us a line and let us know where we went wrong.

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Black Marble – A Different Arrangement

Rating: ★★★★ ·

There are tons of bands out there crafting dark electronic pop music nowadays, and I’m cool with that, for the most part.  But, sometimes you have to wade through a lot of mediocre work in order to find something special.  Luckily, the newest effort from Black Marble makes it easy; it’s accessible, dark and infinitely rewarding.  You’re going to want to get your hands on a copy of A Different Arrangement as soon as you can.

For three seconds, Black Marble begins things with this ominous feeling on “Cruel Summer,” but just minutes later it evolves into a evenly-paced bit of dark pop.  Beats unfold rather slowly, encouraging you to fall further into the track as a brighter electronic sound begins to take shape.  If you’re looking for something that’s going to beat you over the head with hooks, then perhaps this isn’t the song for you, with the lyrics keeping an even keel throughout. While other bands simply push forward to quickly, the NYC duo are happy just hanging out and making tracks you’ll want to listen to on your darkest days, and your brightest too.  There’s a pulsing beat to “A Great Design,” and even a bit of a lighter sound to the crafted music, but the slightest hint of an echo drenched over the vocal provides that sensation of personal melancholia that allows you to lose yourself within the confines of A Different Arrangement.

Even with the songs creating their own sort of negative space throughout, a few songs do allow for that slight upbeat movement.  The one-two punch of “A Different Arrangement” and “Limitations” does provide the record with an extra skip in the middle of things.  Musically, the former track is what provides the bit of a different mood, with the vocals holding tightly to the distant feeling they’ve provided since the get-go. I feel like the latter track, though still dwelling in that haunting spectrum, does its bit to move the mood into a peppier sphere, though only slightly.  All that being said, the tempo remains slow–a constant for almost every track on the album.

One of the things I really enjoy about immersing myself in this release by Black Marble is its ability to seem so far away musically, yet provide you with a bit of personal intimacy—at least if you grew up on the dark-tinged pop of the 80s.  Songs like “Pretender” though using a more propulsive drum loop still invoke a feeling of longing or isolation, yet the slight swinging of the beat makes me wax nostalgic about dancing in my room as a kid to my sister’s records.  Naturally, those sorts of feelings, even as an adult, still resonate, which is what makes the entire effort so enduring spin after spin.  A Different Arrangement never grows old, and it almost always surprises me with which song I like the most; sometimes I lose myself in one, only to find myself mildly tapping my tow to another.  As the winter months begin to approach, there’s not a record that I think you’ll appreciate more.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/BlackMarble_AGreatDesign.mp3]

Download:Black Marble -A Great Design [MP3]

A Different Arrangement is available October 9th from Hardly Art!

 

 

New Dark Jam from Black Marble

If the first few singles are any indication of what Black Marble have up their sleeve, then their new release, A Different Arrangement.  For me, this newest single, “Static,” has the feeling of a more approachable Blank Dogs track.  It’s got this underlying darkness being portrayed by the electronic element, but the overall feeling is definitely one that leans more towards pop.  You’re going to need to pick this record up the day it comes out, just to show your friends how good your tastes really are. You can pick the album up on October 6th from our dear friends over at Hardly Art Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/BlackMarble_Static.mp3]

Download:Black Marble – Static [MP3]

Amazing Darkened Tunes from Black Marble

I didn’t expect this at all! We’ve known a full-length was coming from Black Marble since they first signed with Hardly Art, but I had no idea how much I would anticipate the whole affair.  Now, having listened to the first single from A Different Arrangement, I’m hoping it comes earlier than the October 9th release date.  The heavy tones of the vocals caught me off-guard, but juxtaposed with the music itself, it’s surprising how fitting it is, how well it all ties together.  I especially like the guitar flourishes shooting through the background.  Be sure to keep an eye on this release, it’s going to be a great one.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/BlackMarble_AGreatDesign.mp3]

Download:Black Marble -A Great Design [MP3]

Dark New Song from Black Marble

I’m a label loyalist, so when our friends at Hardly Art send something our way, I’m pretty much guaranteed to like it.  Perhaps that leads me to make judgmental errors in regards to what’s good and what’s not, but in the case of Black Marble, I think I’m right on with this one.  The vinyl release of their Weight Against the Door EP will be out on Valentine’s Day, and I hope it features just as many darkened tracks as this number.  Musically, it’s just a steady, almost simple, electronic production, but the vocal vibe creates that sort of haunting feeling you had as a kid when you first listened  to Joy Division…or more recently Blank Dogs. Taste it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/BlackMarble_Pretender.mp3]

Download:Black Marble – Pretender [MP3]