Much Hyped Rock from Milk Music

Those of you that follow the Internet have no doubt heard of Milk Music; they’re a Washington group known for their live energy and raw sound.  Listening to the newest single from their album, Cruise Your Illusion, which hits the streets on April 2nd via Fat Possum Records.  My first run through the tune revealed a lot more polish than some of the efforts that existed on their earlier EP.  But, the recording itself provides this certain level of grit, living somewhere between the boundaries of Cloud Nothings and Dinosaur Jr–not an entirely bad thing, eh?  I think there’s a lot of promise in this track, but I’m holding out my judgment on the hype until a later date.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Ive-Got-a-Wild-Feeling.mp3]

Download:Milk Music – I’ve Got a Wild Feeling [MP3]

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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Royal Headache – S/T

Rating: ★★★★½

Lo-fi recordings and accompanying jangle pop rock have been the rage for sometime, and that’s all well and good, but sometimes you just want to have a little bit of a twist on tried-and-true fashions. When you head to your local record store, and you should do so immediately, to pick up the self-titled record from Royal Headache you’ll find exactly what you’ve need. This album’s furious and fun, but just different enough to make the group stand out among the masses.

Side A of this excellent LP opens just as you would expect from a band with garage leanings, furiously paced by the gritty guitar sound.  But, then enters frontman Shogun, using his voice to take you back to the nostalgic soulful recordings of the 50s/60s.  Perhaps you’ll hear bits of angular post-rock similar to Cloud Nothings, but the vocals take you somewhere else entirely.  Oddly, the powerful dynamic between Shogun and the rest of the band fits the mood of Royal Headache perfectly.  From start to finish, Side A is a winning adventure of six incredible tracks, with the frenetic “Girls” remaining my personal favorite.  That being said, the exuberance isn’t always a pummeling in-your-face affair as evidenced by the somewhat slowly paced “Kinds of Love.” The fact that there aren’t any lyrics might come as a surprise after the first five tracks, but it’s the perfect cleansing before you flip the record on its backside.

If you fell for Side A then Side B is absolutely going reaffirm that Royal Headache  are your new favorite band.  “Down the Lane” definitely fits into the modern musical spectrum though it has a tendency to sound dated–in an absolutely good way.  At times, Shogun even sounds a bit like Robert Pollard stretching his vocals to the maximum; it’s perhaps one of the most emotionally captivating songs on the entire record.  Plus, you don’t want to miss the closer, “Pity,” another track that seems to have ingrained itself in my mind.  I definitely enjoy the steadiness in the vocals on this number, leaving you with the sentiment that the group has evolved with regards to the conceptual aspect of the record.

Nowadays it seems that a lot of people can record in their bedroom or make an album of lo-fi tracks that quickly burst into a huge success, but you’re not going to find anything at all like Royal Headache.  That alone is one reason that you need to get your hands on this LP, but you couple that with the fact that there’s not a single track on this record that you could skip, and you have a winning group of songs that you might not ever escape.  Each song is infectious, whether you base that on the inherent hooks or Shogun’s performance; you’re not going to want to listen to anything else for some time to come.  Yeah, I said it; it really is that good.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/RoyalHeadache_Girls.mp3]

Download:Royal Headache – Girls [MP3]

Show Preview: Cloud Nothings @ Red 7 (2/25)

Date 2/25/12
Location Red 7
Doors 9pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

Of course you know ATH will be making it over to Red 7 for the Cloud Nothings show going down on Saturday night.  We’ve been following the band since they first came our way at the beginning of last year with their stellar debut LP.  Opening support for the evening is provided by A Classic Education and our very own Midgetmen.  This is the place to be on Saturday kids.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01_No_Future_No_Past.mp3]

Download: Cloud Nothings – No Future No Past [MP3]

Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Dylan Baldi is hot right now, there’s no mistake about it.  Ever since releasing the self-titled Cloud Nothings album, his star has continued to rise, and deservedly so.  Now, his band returns with their latest album, Attack on Memory, determined to shift gears a little bit by going into the studio with the heralded Steve Albini.  The collaboration definitely alters the group’s sound, yet through it all we’re watching the evolution of a talented band.

Immediately upon hearing the first track, “No Future/No Past,” you’ll realize there’s a drastic change in the overall sound.  Where the band was once brash and pummeling, you find them here in a more brooding state, building the listener towards the emotional release of the song.  What’s great about the track is that you can feel it coming, you’re just not sure when that moment will come to fruition.  Rest assured, the time will come.  And from there you blast off into what is probably the most dynamic track on Attack on Memory, “Wasted Days.”  For a brief moment, it seems as if a more hammering approach to the stylings of Cloud Nothings has evolved, but as the song is well over 8 minutes, one can’t hope to hold that ferocious energy for too long.  And they don’t, offering up some jammy post-punk moments that wear a little bit towards the end.

Still, despite the altered sound on the record, there remains that knack for creating a sharp-edged hook that really captures listeners, such as the opening “fall in, fall in” line that comes with “Fall In.”  Okay, so perhaps it’s redundant a bit, but the drumming and Baldi’s voice are sufficient in carrying out the immense pleasure in this number.  “Stay Useless” offers up a more mature sound overall, though it definitely harkens back to the prominently more energetic times of early Cloud Nothings. Again, Dylan’s forte seems to be his ability to craft momentary hooks in the midst of a track that do more than enough, even with just brief lyrics like “I need time to stop moving, I need time to stay useless.”

Although the album seems brief, at least in the number of tracks – eight, there’s definitely more attention to detail in the fleshing out of tracks, giving more depth and vibrance to Attack on Memory.  You’ve also have to love the slight alterations that really craft beautiful moments like the album’s closer,  “Cut You.”  This song definitely lives somewhere in the post-grunge workings of 90s indie rock, and yet the group sounds refreshing, perhaps because of all the work they’ve put in leading up to this track. It might be the unassuming best track on the album.

For all the hubbub surrounding the usage of Albini and crafting a record around the influences on Cloud Nothings, they’ve really crafted a record that makes them seem a bit louder, a bit more thoughtful, and every bit themselves.  It’s difficult to live up the expectations of the masses, especially when you’ve risen to popularity so quickly, but Attack on Memory serves notice that the group is growing in confidence, both in sound and personality; we’re all better off for it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01_No_Future_No_Past.mp3]

Download:Cloud Nothings – No Future No Past [MP3]

Albums Of 2011

We’ve already brought you our songs of the year and Texas albums of the year, so now it’s time for the much anticipated albums of the year list.  I’m sure many of you will notice some big names off the list and you will be ready to plead your case about why we are wrong.  We’ll hear ya out… Feel free to drop us a comment with your own list or just to debate with us.  Follow the jump for list.
50) The New Tigers – s/t

49) Secret Cities – Strange Hearts

48) AM & Shawn Lee – Celestial Electric

47) Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing

46) Blue Skies for Black Hearts – Embracing the Modern Age

45) Geoffrey O’ Connor – Vanity is Forever

44) Dum Dum Girls – Only in Dreams

43) Destroyer – Kaputt

42) Obits – Moody, Standard and Poor

41) The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low

40) Tim Cohen – Magic Trick

39) Bad Sports – Kings of the Weekend

38) Chelsea Wolfe – Apokalypsis

37) Chad Van Gaalen – Diaper Island

36) Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts

35) Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion

34) Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years

33) Devon Williams – Euphoria

32) Okkervil River – I Am Very Far

31) Sonny and the Sunsets – Hit After Hit

30) Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

29) Wax Idols – No Future

28) Grooms – Prom

27) Cut Off Your Hands – Hollow

26) The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient

25) Ducktails – Ducktails III

24) Papercuts – Fading Parade

23) Atlas Sound – Parallax

22) Mind Spiders – s/t

21) Craft Spells – Idle Labor

20) Yuck – s/t

19) The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

18) Comet Gain – Howl of the Lonely Crowd

17) The Drums – Portamento

16) Snowmine – Laminate Pet Animal

15) King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine

14) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong

13) Girls Names – Dead to Me

12) Light for Fire – s/t

11) Other Lives – Tamer Animals

10) Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

9) Iceage – New Brigade

8 The Antlers – Burst Apart

7) Seapony – Go With Me

6) Pure X – Pleasure

5) Cloud Nothings – s/t

4) Real Estate – Days

3) Gold Leaves – The Ornament

2) The Twerps – s/t

1) Wye Oak – Civilian

So that’s it ladies and gents, we are officially putting an end to 2011.  What do you like and what do you not like?  Let’s hear it.

Fun Fest Interviews: Cloud Nothings

Sorry that we’re just now getting this one finished, but it takes us awhile to recover from all the good times at Fun x 3 Fest. This last interview is with one of our favorite bands of 2011, Cloud Nothings. We were fortunate enough to catch up with the band, and ask them a bunch of random questions, as we’re wont to do. Hope it’s informative. And I’m sorry I look so fat on camera.

Follow the jump for video.

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Show Pics: FFF6 Day One

Fun Fun Fun Fest Six photo coverage begins.

There is a lot to go through; here is but a smattering. Day One features Cloud Nothings, people getting tattoed, The Gosling, dust, YACHT, The Thermals, The Oh Sees, more dust, Okkervill River, Four Tet, bandanas (wearing one right now) and a couple filler shots from the house.

Head past the break for a couple of stories, the pics and a link to even more pics…

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