Cutting New Track from The Beautiful View

A few years back, angular dance rock was all the rage.  And while we might have moved away from that a bit, it’s nice to hear some people still getting their dance-rock on nowadays.  Such is the case with the Beautiful View, who will be releasing their debut album, life is beautiful, this week on Requiemme Records.  This song features that ringing guitar you might remember from Bloc Party, as wll as a steady pounding rhythm section keeping it moving for your dance floor preferences.  One thing’s for sure: this record’s going to get your feet tapping!

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

Download: The Beautiful View – The Horseman [MP3]

New Wet Paint Track

A few years ago I caught wind of this band by checking in on Bloc Party, but don’t let that confuse you, as they sound nothing like the band. Wet Paint have a sound more akin to those who’ve recently been slogging in the muck with early 90s slacker/nerd rock.  Their new record, Woe, should be out this month, and I can’t help but just swoon over these collection of tracks. You can see the past living in their songs, but it’s not overly reminiscent of any band in particular, which gives the band of a punch of originality and freshness. Go back in time with me and enjoy this track folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/01_Gone_So_Long.mp3]

Download: Wet Paint – Gone So Long [MP3]

FT50: Albums of the ’00s

0828top5coverWhat?   You still listen to THAT album?  That record is so 2004!  Well, that’s okay, because we really like that one too, which is why we decided to come up with a list of our favorite albums of the last decade (2000-2009).  Sure, these might not be YOUR favorite records, or the most critically acclaimed, but we sat down and really thought out every record from the past ten years that we keep coming back to in our collections.  You’re likely to disagree with some of these, and we won’t tell you we’re absolutely right we just know that these happen to be OUR favorites.  If you think we totally blew it here, feel free to tell us so, but be nice, as our egos are kind of fragile.  Follow the jump for more.

Read more

FT5: Disappointing Albums Of 2008

In 2008 we saw all kinds of releases across the board. Noise-pop seemed to be a pretty big deal, as did lo-fi production. But when preparing for our year-end lists, we came across the conundrum of deciding the biggest disappointments in 2008. Today’s Friday Top 5 is full of albums that our staff really looked forward to listening to when they were released, but instead fled in fear as to what our ears had just heard. List is after the jump

Read more

Comet Gain – Broken Record Prayers

Rating: ★★★★★

If you ask someone who their favorite British band is, most will throw at you something like Elbow or Bloc Party, but very few, if any, will mention the lo-fi group Comet Gain. The band, existing in some form since 1992 is quite possibly one of those bands that everyone will overlook for the duration of their lives, but they will miss some of the greatest songs written. Their most recent release, a collection of 7 inches, which comes to the U.S. as a full length is titled Broken Record Prayers.

As usual, the album relies on the interplaying vocals between Rachel Evans and David Feck. The opening song, “Jack Nance Hair” is the perfect exhibit, as the song begins with spoken word elements via Evans before Feck comes in to win your heart, and it will belong to him forever.

Most of these songs do revolve in that lo-fi bedroom quality that some people cannot stand, but the closeness created in this listening experience is completely intentional. Feck opens his tiny little world to you with every song, speaking to you, as if you were the antagonist to his every song. If you can manage the recording quality here then you will find some of the rarest gems, sure to be with your record collection until the end of time.

Surprisingly, the band has added some straight ahead rock tunes on this go round, like “Beautiful Despair.”  It’s a rollicking little number that stands out most notably for the throbbing bass lines rather than the clever guitar work that the band typically employs on the rest of their songs. “Love Without Lies” follows with more throbbing bass lines, and, what seems to be a dance number, done in the most intriguing of ways.

The benefit of a Comet Gain album is that they come out so rarely, and usually as a collection of 7 inches, that you get a solid number of songs. This particular album has twenty new tunes for every type of listener. Bedroom recordings of love and hate, as well as more upbeat numbers come in abundance. Sure, the organization of the album might be a little off due to the way each song was originally released, but you will not find a more perfect album. Surely this is a must have for every music geek.

As the winter comes into your windows, open them up for awhile and let David Feck’s genius blow on into your room. You’ll be happy you did.

Bloc Party On Take Away

If you haven’t seen the video yet of Bloc Party performing an acoustic version of “This Modern Love” behind a bar in Paris, I suggest you watch it now.  The video was shot and produced by the La Blogotheque website as part of their excellent Take Away Shows series.  The older tune is a reminder that Bloc party wrote some outstanding songs for Silent Alarm and their new album pales in comparison.  Maybe they should’ve just made an acoustic album and not the techno/dance rubbish that is Intimacy?

Bloc Party – Intimacy

Rating: ★ · · · ·

Several years back, Silent Alarm blew us away. It’s angular guitars cut and diced as we all spun in awe of the newest British band to hit the states. Our minds spinning, we salivated at the chance for more Bloc Party. All I can ask for at this very moment is no more Bloc Party.

Two albums after their debut, they’ve weighed me down with their efforts to recreate that original brilliance, and I’ve got few nice things to say about these boys. In all honesty, this album has left me to encourage them to hang up their hats… call it a day boys.

The opening track doesn’t do anything to prepare the listener for the barrage of trash that is to come their way, except to offer the lyric that “this s**t is long.” Too long indeed. Sprawling guitars matched with little music creativity push my fingers to fast forward beyond this useless noise.

Once you arrive at the second track its clear that the band have taken on an entirely new direction. Intimacy‘s production lacks the exciting percussive sound that they established long ago, instead mixing in what one can only assume are digital drum samples… and do I hear horns? At this point in my listening experience I’m not sure what to say. Speechless.

However, there is some exciting guitar work on the third song, “Halo,” but it’s so muddled in the mix of the song that it almost disappoints you to hear the promise of this band’s sound being watered down by shoddy engineering. And that is thrown immediately into one of the worst songs the band has written. “Biko” not only lacks any passion, but there isn’t even a trace of real musicianship in this song. I think they might have looped the guitars. Gross.

Bloc Party, however, just continue to push on, angering me with each new track. I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but whoever covered all of these songs in walls of noise, and I don’t mean precious ambience… I mean ridiculous noise, obviously had a few too many pints. The album is lacking a certain clarity, which is where it lost me. Skeletal song structures have promise, but the level of noise deems almost every moment of promise useless.

They’ve piled on loads of electronic samples into this album, which doesn’t really do them any favors. Their strength was always in the dueling guitar work, but once they strip that away, they don’t have much to offer us anymore. All the passion they once threw our way has been lost in new directions. I only wish they knew about the power of guitars, since they fail to use them often enough on this album.

By the end of the album, I just feel like I’ve been drained of every drop of social niceties. There isn’t a decent thing to say about this album at the end of the day. Some have indicated that the latter half offers a touch of redemption, but in all honesty, the latter half is equally as aggravating as the first half. Bloc Party have discarded their musicianship for an electronically fused album, and in the process they have discarded the majority of their adoring fans.

New Music From Bloc Party

BBC Radio w/Zane Lowe premiered a new song from Bloc Party today entitled “Mercury”. The new song is set to be released as a single for purchase on August 11th. This new song will also be released on the the new Bloc Party album which is said to be out sometime early in 2009. Check BBC radio’s website for a stream of the song. You can also watch the brand spankin’ new video for the song on Bloc Party’s website. We should have an mp3 for you in the next couple days when we’re sure it’s legal. What do ya think?  We now have the mp3 we promised:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/bloc-party-mercury.mp3]

Download: Bloc Party – Mercury [MP3]