Comet Gain – Paperback Ghosts

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

I’ll admit it, I’m a little late to be jumping on the Comet Gain fan express, as they’ve been making records for the past 22 years and I am just now becoming acquainted with David Feck and company and their epic jangly indie pop tunes. I say epic because though they specialize in the jingly-jangly guitar that is textbook for indie pop, Feck brings in this heavy element of poetic narratives that pervades all of the tracks and brings it to a whole new level of detail. Paperback Ghosts is an exploration into love lost and the nostalgia that seems to haunt long after its disappearance.

It would be easy to dismiss this record as just jangly indie pop, when in reality it’s that and so much more. Yea, there are tracks that do this genre more than justice, like second up on the album “Sad Love and Other Short Stories” which begins with familiar angular electric and backing acoustic guitars while Feck spins tales of morose love tales, musing “what’s the saddest love of all?” and then offering his interpretation of what could be the answer to this question. His lyrics are quick and witty, giving you vivid images alongside the jangle pop. The words and vocals are mixed as equals to the instrumentation, making it clear where exactly your attention and focus should be. To finish it off you get some string arrangements that coat everything in a nostalgic bath as the song comes to its close. They give you quality jangle with other layers and textures that push it beyond.

While they give you solid tunes like the aforementioned track, Comet Gain also brings you the blues a bit, or some heavier tracks. On these numbers, the band digs in, and the guitars get a bit fuzzier and the synths more prominent. “(All The) Avenue Girls” brings in some female vocals and the old fashion organ-esque synthesizer that runs through the whole tune, and for some of the rest of the album gives it a timeless flair. End number “Confessions Of A Daydream,” is another example of this bluesy tinge, complete with gritty guitars and Feck’s vocals straying the furthest from where we first met him at the beginning of the album. We get the image of a disheveled frontman instead of a put together poet, but the imperfections of the song make it an interesting twist to finish the album.

Paperback Ghosts is an adamant testament to the talent of this man and the musicians that have accompanied him through the years to keep putting out relevant records of indie pop. It takes a lot to stay current, but Feck doesn’t seem too preoccupied at all with keeping up with the times, rather more with doing his own thing. It’s worked for 22 years and it has worked once again this time around; beautiful songwriting abounds and you have yourself a collection of deep tunes to spin around your office or house and really sink into. Let’s just say Comet Gain has made a fan out of me.

Fresh Music from Comet Gain

cgThere’s a secret cult out there, like me, holding every Comet Gain release to the highest esteem.  No matter what incarnation of the group, the songs always fit perfectly into my listening rotation.  Recently, Fortuna Pop uploaded this gem of a tune, which can only mean that long awaited next album from the group is just around the corner.  There’s a maturity in this track…it’s like City Fallen Leaves, but without the lo-fi aesthetic.  Regardless, I’ll devour this song, and probably play it as many times as I can before the record finds its way into my hands.  Won’t you do the same? I’ll keep posted on the more finite details as I get them.

New Music from Pale Lights

paleDuring slow music weeks you turn to your friends, and I always know I can count on IPSML for a good jam or two.  Today I bring you a track from Pale Lights that he pointed me towards, which features Phil Sutton of one of my favorite acts, Comet Gain. You’re going to get a similarly ringing guitar, and even find the vocal delivery similar.  Personally, I dig the nice female vocal in the background.  I’m posting this track because I love it, but you can stream the band’s whole new album, Before There Were Pictures, right HERE.  It’s so good, you won’t want to have anything else on today.

Brand New Music from The Bankees

The Bankees VLong have I championed The Bankees, a band that deserves far more appreciation than perhaps they’ve gotten.  Honestly, everything they’ve done has affected me in some manner or another.  I got great news today that the band has completed work on their 5th album, completing some of their best songs to date.  They remind me a little bit of a dreamier version of Comet Gain, perhaps including a little bit more psychedelic elements too.  I’ve spent the afternoon listening to V, the new album, and I’m offering up one of the many great tracks featured on the record.  If you’re looking for something that encompasses pop elements whilst still challenging your ears, then grab a listen here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/07-Miley.mp3]

Download: The Bankees – Miley [MP3]

Brand New Music from Comet Gain

CometGain2Make no mistake about it, Comet Gain is one of my Top 5 bands of all time.  The poetry, the song construction, the style and the diversity consistently surprise and entertain.  News came just recently that they are working on a 7″ for WIAIWYA (via my man Howard), which is always exciting as you never know when the group is going to pop up with something new.  I’m pretty sure that the rest of my day is going to be spent playing this tune over and over.  If you’ve not followed this band before, and this song catches your ear, please go check out the back catalogue of one of the most overlooked bands in the world.

Art Pop from Beachniks

I’ve heard rumors of Beachniks for some time, but I really haven’t been able to come up with too much information on the group.  That is until I stumbled across news that the band would soon be releasing their album In Color on Neotomic Records sometime early in the new year.  I can’t tell you how great their lead single is; it reminds me of the clever interplay that was always present on albums by Comet Gain…yet it still maintains a sense of harmony and artfulness, enabling me to act all smug when I listen to it.  Actually, I don’t even care about acting cool…this is just a great jam.

New Tunes from Pale Lights

Pale Lights will automatically get my support, based on the fact that main man, Phil Sutton, was once part of Comet Gain…one of my top bands of all time.  This new gem isn’t quite along the lines of the quirky art-pop, but it’s equally as infectious.  The vocal has a deep tonal quality that while fairly distant in sound, holds onto an intimacy that makes pop fans swoon.  Musically, it’s a slow paced jangling affair, with ringing guitars that craft warmth and melancholy simultaneously.  You can find this tune and a few others on the group’s Pale Lights EP, which is available right now.

New Jam from Cineman Red and Blue

Our friend Kevin’s probably going to hate the fact that I can’t get over my infatuation with all things Comet Gain related, but what can I say, I’m a sucker for the band.  However, this track only features part of the group, as well as members of Crystal Stilts, so that should garner me some hipster cred, right?  The track below is from the Butterbean Crypt EP, which was released only in the UK on Fortuna Pop, but it’s still worth hyping one of my favorite songwriters, David Feck.  This track here is a lot more aggressive than previous works, and seemingly unites some of the Stilts psych tendencies.  Definitely a nice addition to the group’s brief history.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Walkin-To-The-Cemetery.mp3]

Download: Cinema Red and Blue – Walkin’ To The Cemetery [MP3]

Comet Gain – Howl of the Lonely Crowd

Rating: ★★★★ ·

For years I felt like my adoration for Comet Gain was unjustified, as very few, if any, of my friends had even listened to the band. But, with the release of Broken Record Prayers, their singles collection, the group slowly seemed to gain ground with the masses; I say rightfully so. Now, we welcome the newest recording, Howl of the Lonely Crowd, which appears to have a two-sided story–one filled with jangling pop of the usual sort, the other slowing it down just to spread some introspection.

As a new listener, you can easily breeze right into the opening three tracks of the record, fueled with the usual bit of jangling pop and David Feck poetry.   Depending upon where your allegiance lays, you’re either going to adore opener “Clang of the Concrete Swans,” or its successor “The Weekend Dreams.”  Personally, I’m going with the former, as I love Feck’s affecting vocals, not to mention the stuttering guitar/vocals just before the 2.5 minute mark.  However, Rachel Evans has a sweet melody behind her occasionally raspy vocals, so “The Weekend Dreams,” will definitely get your attention.  What’s interesting in both tracks, and many that follow, is the production quality, which still sounds busy, but so much more clear than previous works, allowing the true spirt of the band to prevail.

Of course, Howl of the Lonely Crowd has that bit of forlorn love to it; it’s the kind of thing David Feck seems to have perfected.  It’s first appearance via slow jam comes in on “She Had Daydreams.”  For me, it’s the storytelling and the lightly brushed female vocal accompaniment that allows this track to excel, giving Comet Gain a new dimension they haven’t delved into thus far in their career–not much anyways. “Some of Us Don’t Want to Be Saved” is another such number, but Feck takes more of a spoken word for this track, allowing the guitar playing, which is lighter than usual.  The fact that such a song can win you over without ever really taking the typical approach this group has displayed speaks loudly to their fans, and hopefully to newcomers as well.

You’ll find that listening to all of Howl of the Lonely Crowd might paint two different pictures. You’ve got the pure pop moments of the opening tracks, not to mention the power-pop of a song like “Working Circle Explosive” (reminds me of CG circa Realistes), and then you’ve got these somber closers on the latter half of the record.  Knowing Comet Gain, as I think I do, you’ll have to realize they don’t take the typical approach to songwriting, especially when it comes to album construction.  For all I know, Feck and friends could have jammed out and recorded the first half, which is likely since songs featuring Herbert Huncke have been floating around for some time, then gone back and recorded the second half at a later date.  But, none of it really matters in the end, as no one’s going to write a better indie pop record than this group.  The more you listen to the lyrics, the more they suck you in, and the more you fall in love–which is how it should be with your favorite bands.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/03-An-Arcade-From-The-Warm-Rain-That-Falls.mp3]

Download: Comet Gain – An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls [MP3]

You can grab this from What’s Your Rupture now!

Still,

More New Music from The Bankees

One of our readers pointed us in the direction of this new track, as it’s hard to keep up with the Bankees, as they haven’t gotten a lot of love from the US press, not to mention there just isn’t a lot of info out there on the band.  But, apparently they’ve just recorded this wonderful new track, which reminds me of Comet Gain so they can help raise money for those in Japan in need.  A good cause, and a good song? Yea, go help out HERE. And if this isn’t good enough for you, prepare for the band to release another LP later this year.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Tsunami-in-my-heart.mp3]

Download: The Bankees – Tsunami In My Heart [MP3]

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