Serengeti‘s typically been known for his work in the hip-hop realm, and while I’m sure that still holds true to his heart, his work with Sicker Man is taking him somewhere entirely different. For instance, the video below accompanies this brilliant piece of electronically washed pop; I can’t help but find myself comparing the piece as an homage to Magnetic Fields…all the way down to the heavy tones of the vocals. It’s just one of those songs that finds its way under your skin, and the next thin you know you’ve played it ten times in a row! Look for this tune on the Doctor My Own Patience LP, which is being released on December 16thby Graveface Records.
Admittedly, I’m a huge indiepop fan, so Ski Lodge didn’t have to do too much to win me over. But, that being said, I was looking for consistency; I wanted Big Heart to be great through and through. Some records, sadly, fade off in the end. Lucky for me, and for you, Big Heart isn’t such an album; it’s consistent, consistently good.
“Anything to Hurt You” kicks things off right, bubbling and bouncing its way through, providing the perfect exuberance to balance out the soft croon of singer Andrew Marr. There’s bright guitar licks too, plucked furiously, as if Marr can’t quite catch up; it’s an interesting effect, and one that works out successfully here. Immediately following is “Boy,” which seems to have gotten lots of air-time and praise. My ears see this as a warmer indiepop nod, with a sprawling chorus that highlights the softer side of Ski Lodge‘s music. While I adore those mellow moments, I like when the band picks up the pace a bit.
There are several occasions when they do speed things up in just the right place on Big Heart, allowing for a change of pace. The first time comes after the two previously mentioned tracks with “Looking For a Change.” It might just be the way the guitars or played, or maybe it’s the drums, but there’s a new energy, although Marr’s vocals still provide that emotional pull fans will adore. They pull it off again later in the album by way of “Just to Be Like You.” The guitars here have a bit more of an angular approach, leading one to pull out your best Molly Ringwald dance moves before your bathroom mirror. Trust me, I did it.
Throughout, Ski Lodge seems to be scattered, but in a contained way. They’ve provided glowing indiepop, backed by joyful numbers, all leading into the beautiful closing number, “I Can’t Tell.” My first run through, I didn’t think this track fit. But, I’m wrong. It demonstrates the group’s willingness to push the boundaries of a genre that, while amazing, can grow a bit stale through excess exposure. Perhaps in closing the album, they’re giving us a picture of a future; I prefer to think of it as a statement of grandeur. The goal to reach pop perfection is loftier here, and much appreciated by this listener, serving as a moment of finality. Big Heart is over, and there’s no other way you could end this LP; it’s just perfect.
Ski Lodge seems to be riding the waves of praise from all over the place. First, they had the Internet buzz, then our friends Literature gave them the stamp of approval and we, of course, gave them our love after catching them over at Holy Mountain a few weeks back. They’ve finally locked down a firm date for the release of their album, Big Heart; it’s coming your way on August 20th via Dovecote Records. And, in honor of the announcement, they’re streaming another new track with it’s warm indie pop melodies and spirited guitar playing.
|Date||Saturday, March 3rd|
|Tickets||$7 @ the Door|
Those of you that didn’t see me raving yesterday about the excellent new EP from Shivery Shakes, then you should definitely check out our REVIEW. But, for those of you also looking for a great local show, you need to head to the ND on Saturday night. You’ll get the jangling sun-pop of Shivery Shakes, not to mention a chance to grab their EP, but you also get to see some other local acts like Sleep Good and Burgess Meredith. BOY, who I’ve heard wonderful things about, will also be joining the festivities. Oh, and the first 50 through the door can grab a cool package with a poster, EP, and buttons included![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Wait.mp3]
Download:Shivery Shakes – Wait [MP3]
|Date||Saturday, October 29th|
|Tickets||$10 from Frontgate|
Man, Saturday over at the Mohawk is going to be one hell of an evening. I know we’re approaching Halloween, but everyone should get out to check out the bands featured on Saturday night. First show starts early, featuring Zola Jesus who just released the excellent Conatus, which I’ve really enjoyed–as has all the national media. But, if it’s too early for you, you still have a chance to check out another great band for cheap following the early show. Our good friends in the Crystal Antlers will be coming to town to headline the inside, and there’s no reason no to pack that little space. They put on one of the most energetic shows, not to mention the fact that they continually put out great tunes. You better catch one of these show folks, or you’ll be sorry.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Crystal-Antlers-Summer-Solstice.mp3]
Download: Crystal Antlers – Summer Solstice [MP3]
|Date||Friday, July 22nd|
|Tickets||$10 from Frontgate|
One of the groups who’ve really grown on me since I first got their album, Twister, is Country Mice. They’re a Brooklyn band, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’ll sound like the majority of the stuff coming out of NYC. They blend tiny elements of pop with pure Americana sounds, giving you some warmth to your listening experience. They’ll be accompanied by Boy this Friday night over at Stubbs, and you can’t really go wrong with two great bands for $10. Hopefully we see you there![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/countrymice_morningson.mp3]
Download: Country Mice – Morning Son [MP3]