New Music from The Soft Moon

After releasing two 7″s, it’s time for Luis Vasquez to bring on his debut record as The Soft Moon.  Of course, there’s a lot of dark undertones, created by the ominous atmospherics carrying the faintest hint of melody in the background.  The Soft Moon album will hit the streets on November 16th via Captured Tracks, which is home to other great artists such as Blank Dogs and Wild Nothing.  If you’re looking for that post-punk sound, riddled with haze and smoke, then you’re going to really enjoy the work here by Luis. Take a listen to the newest track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/thesoftmoontinyspiders.mp3]

Download: The Soft Moon – Tiny Spiders [MP3]

Blank Dogs – Land and Fixed

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Mike Sniper has two things going for him: his label Captured Tracks and his project Blank Dogs.  Running a label that’s releasing a lot of the best music around allows Mike to keep in touch with the heartbeat of the indie community, which really benefits his own work, as you’ll see on the newest record, Land and Fixed.  This is easily the most accessible, and enjoyable, release from Blank Dogs, while still maintaining that covert aesthetic he’s always utilized.

“Goes By” starts things off, and immediately the beats are dark and moving, just as that angular guitar line starts to dance about in the background of the track.  Sniper’s vocals are still coated, though they’re easily the clearest vocals he’s used to date–there also appears to be some backing tracks used to give more depth to his voice this time around.  As the guitar walks in and out of the verse and chorus it creates a nice powerful hook, sure to shake the dance floor.  “Collides” won’t do too much different than the opening track, though the song does a bit more as far as building tension up before jettisoning off into blissful dark-wave.  If you’re a fan of the band, or a casual listener, the clarity of the vocals this time around still has to grab your attention.

“Northern Islands” is the track that exemplifies everything about Land and Fixed.  It’s got this glitch beat erratically going on in the background, and Mike’s coated vocals haunt the dark edges of the song.  But, there’s this dark jangling guitar that recalls everything innocent about pop music, which goes a long way to establish the aesthetic of this record–beautiful in the club and in your bedroom. It’s this stylistic choice that makes Blank Dogs so interesting to listen to in the current market.  They’re neither chillwave or lo-fi, but more of a progressive element of both, moved forward by a focus on classic pop hooks.  If you take a song like “All Around,” it recalls bits of old school post-punk and new wave, yet nothing sounds entirely too trapped in complete nostalgia. And a track like “Treelines” shows how easily magic can slowly unfold before you unexpectedly when listening to this record.  Every bit and piece seems carefully selected and placed, creating optimal reward for musician and listener alike.

If you were looking for one thing to knock, which we know everyone wants to find, that angular beach guitar sound does get a little bit redundant at times.  At spots, its brilliantly included in the scope of Land and Fixed, but other times it could be pushed in a different direction, perhaps a little bit more mischief in the guitar line.  Still, that’s hardly reason to dislike an album, now is it?  With the latest release from Blank Dogs you’ll see an artist who is tied into the culture of a great deal of left of the dial music nowadays, and his influence clearly goes beyond his work with Captured Tracks. It seems that as Mike Sniper has allowed time to progress, his music has grown substantially, leaving us to reap the rewards of his hard work.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Blank-Dogs-Northern-Islands.mp3]

Download: Blank Dogs – Northern Islands [MP3]

New Music from Blank Dogs

I knew this was coming.  I had heard quiet whispers in the underground world if music nerds, and now P4K has helped us out, giving a little press to the newest of releases from Blank Dogs.  His last record was one of my favorites, and it blended the line between post-punk and electronic–usuaully with a twinge of gloom.  His next album, Land and Fixed, comes out on October 12th via Captured Tracks, which he runs.  If you go off this very first single, it definitely seems a little bit brighter, though his voice always has that appeal with the darkside.  Whatever, I’m digging it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Blank-Dogs-Northern-Islands.mp3]

Download: Blank Dogs – Northern Islands [MP3]

New Music from Wild Nothing

Remember when I raved about how great Wild Nothing‘s Gemini was?  Well, the band, the one project of Jack Tatum, will return with the Golden Haze EP this fall on Captured Tracks.  If you pass judgement based on the following track, it seems like Wild Nothing will definitely have another gem of pop music to win the adoration of listeners everywhere.  Label me excited.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Wild-Nothing-Golden-Haze.mp3]

Download: Wild Nothing – Golden Haze [MP3]

New Tunes from The Jameses

Late last week, Captured Tracks, one of our favorite labels, let word slip that they would be releasing the full length album by Florida band The Jameses.  No date on that yet, but you can order the band’s self-released 7″ now, which features the track “The Haunted Rider.”  This jam was kicking around my house all weekend; it’s got a bit of that hollow vocal soundtrack, giving a distant feel, but positioned next to the melody, it provide a sublime listening reaction.  Give it a try folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The-Jameses-The-Haunted-Rider.mp3]

Download: The Jameses – The Haunted Rider [MP3]

New Tunes from Beach Fossils

After SXSW we brought you news of one of our favorites, Beach Fossils.  At the time, they only had a 7″ and an Insound session, but now we’ve got more to offer you. Their self-titled album will be in stores on May 25th via Captured Tracks. This sneak peak has a lot more of a lo-fi tendency than I remembered live, but those pounding drums that one me over are very evident. All in all, this should definitely be an album full of consistently good jams.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/beachfossilsyouth.mp3]

Download: Beach Fossils – Youth [MP3]

New Tunes from Blank Dogs

Blank Dogs is the project of Mike Sniper, and while much is unknown, the guy likes to put out a fair amount of material.  Speaking of new material, he’s got a new 12″ coming out titled Phrases, which should be in stores real soon (slow vinyl production) according to Captured Tracks.  Having listened to several tracks, the vocals are a little bit more clear than they were on Under and Under, his last full-length.  This tune shows Blank Dogs delving into the darkness of nostalgic dance pop, with a touch of oddball artistry. It takes a bit to kick in completely, so stay with it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/01-Heat-Depression.mp3]

Download: Blank Dogs – Heat & Depression [MP3]

New Music From Fresh & Onlys

As we eagerly await the release of their new EP August in Mind next month, San Fran band The Fresh & Onlys dropped this new track our way yesterday.  The new song “Diamond in the Dark” will appear on the bands upcoming EP out next week on Captured Tracks.  You like?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/The-Fresh-And-Onlys-Diamond-In-The-Dark.mp3]

Download: The Fresh And Onlys – Diamond In The Dark [MP3]

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