During 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.
Long 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]
Make 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.
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.
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.
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]
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!
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]
Honestly, this has been one of our most anticipated records for some time, ever since word hit the streets that members of Crystal Stilts and Comet Gain would unite to create Cinema Red and Blue. While this might just be a brief off-shoot for all those involved, it’s got the feel of a classic record that will only get better as time goes by.
One of the members that needs mention here, as he’s the primary vocalist, is David Feck. He’s always been able to carry tracks entirely on the foundation of his voice, much as he does on “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough,” the opening track on Cinema Red and Blue. But, just as you think he’ll do it all alone, the band kicks in just shy of the 2 minute mark, jangling their way to a solid ending, while Feck’s vocals strain to grab every drop of emotion.
Then you’ll hit the trilogy of “Ballads,” all named for different interests, and its the wordplay of Feck that wins out, as it usually does. For instance, there’s something clever about the way he puts together “we’re trying hard to sound like the Swell Maps/what a terrible name for a pop group,” during “Ballad of a Vision Pure.” It’s not just his word slinging that’s clever, but his delivery has the perfect amount of inflection and soul to win listener’s over. There’s something about his tone too, especially in “Ballad of a Bus Stop” when its accompanied by a female counterpart.
Cinema Red and Blue isn’t entirely about David Feck, however. While you can see the homage to their bands, with flourishes of indie pop and psychedelic darkness, they also pay tribute to their favorites, such as Vic Godard, Julian Cope and the Chills. One that everyone is sure to like is the group’s cover of “Same Mistakes” by Godard. Their version was released as the first single on the record, and its filled with a bit of electronic organ and low-tempo jangle. It doesn’t hurt that David gets to match his vocals up either with another soft female vocal. Listening, its odd how the band doesn’t seem to try at all with what their doing; its a casual affair of great songwriters, which inevitably wins us all over.
Something about this record just seems so precious, even though its not even a week old. Every song, every note, really hits home as you listen. There’s a familiarity to it that quickly attaches itself to your ears and heart. That female follow up vocals in “Love in the Altitude” just hits home. Or maybe the mellow mood of “Charlie Clarke” is more your style. What’s clear is that you can find something beautiful, or you should, in every single track here. While the members all have their respective projects going on, coming across an album as special as this definitely makes you yearn for more. At least we’ll always have that one perfect record created for us all by Cinema Red and Blue.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/08-Same-Mistakes.mp3]
Download: Cinema Red and Blue – Same Mistakes [MP3]
This band has been one of my favorites for the longest time, and I’m super excited that they have a new 7″ titled I Never Happened. It features the Comet Gain trademark jangle pop, which just grows on you time and time again. This 7″ also shows some promising leads as to the new work of the band, as it features two songs that were started by the band, then finished by Love is All and Crystal Stilts. If this is any indicator of the work to come from the band in the future, then it looks like I might have another incredible record to enjoy for years to come. You can get the 7″ HERE.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/01-I-Never-Happened.mp3]
Download: Comet Gain – I Never Happened [MP3]