Fascinating Number from CMON

Some tunes seem so out of place in the current landscape, that they fascinatingly draw you to their sound. This single from CMON definitely bares modern technological touches, but it also wears the pants of a very 80s sound. The steady percussion alone reminds me of any number of tunes I saw on MTV as kid; there’s also a spritely spirit it to it, something giving you an inherent bounce that you can’t ignore. Plus, the video for their new track is visually stimulating, so they’re hitting you on all fronts. They’ll be releasing their self-titled EP on February 23rd.

Low – C’mon

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Low has definitely been around for a while: since 1993 they have been crafting their signature slow core beats for the world to enjoy. Hailing from Duluth Minnesota, this three-part band certainly knows how to spin beautiful tales of whatever they fancy and if nine studio albums wasn’t testament enough to this, than this tenth should seal the deal.

To start things off, Low showcases their most distinctive quality right up front on “Try To Sleep.” Sounding distantly akin to that of some Mott the Hoople song, the album begins with the male/female harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. The light percussive tinkling in the background combined with the slow strumming of the thick guitars comes together to make for a killer groovy jam. Despite the predictability of this sort of sound, you can’t help but take comfort in the peaceful elegance that they create. They are able to drift from a grungier kind of sound to that of clear and compact, forming their own kind of musical genre. From the first to the second song you can see this transition fairly well. On “You See Everything,” Parker takes lead vocals, and her buttery voice just coats everything in a golden light of majesty. The song meanders its slow churning way along, with Parker putting her touch of sweetness upon the topmost layer.

For an album that doesn’t have a big change in tempo, it manages to stay interesting until the very end. “Nightingale,” the third to last track, leaps out as dark and formidable, but twists into a peaceful, but still somber lullaby-esque song. Sparhawk has this sour drawl-like quality to his voice that makes everything drenched in emotion; it’s easy to tell that this man puts a lot of himself into his music. His deep and powerful voice is similar to that of Matt Berninger from The National. Like Mr. Berninger, Sparhawk can convey maximum emotion with his minimalist style.

While C’mon does not falter in its strength, it does get a bit heavy after a while. It’s not too heavy that it would deter from further listening, rather, it grows on you. Low leaves with the feeling that this album was a long-term work that this band really strived to perfect. For a group that has been around for so long, this is true evidence of their talent and longevity and it is another great edition to their ever growing catalog of albums.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Try-to-Sleep-1.mp3]

Download: Low – Try to Sleep [MP3]

C’mon is out now on Sub Pop.

New Tunes From The Soft Pack

the_soft_pack[1]San Diego band The Soft Pack, formerly known as The Muslims, are yet another band throwing their name in for ATH anticipated releases of 2010.  The band’s new self-titled debut will be hitting stores Feb. 2nd via Kemado Records.  For now, have a listen to first single “C’mon”.  Dare we say that it’s already one of our favorites of 2010?  We dare!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Soft-Pack-Cmon.mp3]

Download: Soft Pack – Cmon [MP3]