When More Than Any Other Day came out, I was amazed that more people weren’t clamoring for Ought. They were crafting artful punk out of mundane storytelling, providing commentary on the everyday world with a unique perspective that I, honestly, have found nearly unmatched. Then they offered up Sun Coming Down, which piqued a bit more interest, but still hasn’t garnered them the fandom they deserve. So Friday, do yourself a huge favor, head to the Sidewinder and witness something you aren’t likely to see anywhere else in town, or anywhere else in the larger music community for that matter. Check out the video from their latest release on Constellation Records, and join me Friday; US Weekly and Priests will be opening…doors are at 8 PM.
Ought caught me off-guard with their brilliant blend of art rock and post punk on their debut, More Than Any Other Day. It was probably one of the most refreshing albums that came out last year, and they’re back again with brand new music for you. If you were lucky enough to catch the band on their tour spree, then you likely heard this song in their live set, and it’s a great recorded version, though it gets an entirely different presentation in the live setting. The new album is called Sun Coming Down, and it’s set for a September release via Constellation Records. Seriously folks, this is probably one of the best young acts around.
If you haven’t listened to More Than Any Other Day by Ought, then I’m feeling sort of bad for you now. That record has won me over time and time again, not to mention their live show was pretty stellar, if not better than expected. Fortunately (and unfortunately sort of) they’ve got a new song from a new EP. But, in order to listen to it, you have to stream the two songs before it (or just skip right to the 10 minute mark) from other bands on the Constellation Records roster; you CR folks are tricky! Still, you’ll do well to make sure you’re well acquainted with this act because I’ll probably be raving about them for some time to come.
Somehow Pat Jordache seems to have escaped my ears, but with the release of his recent album, Future Songs, things are changing in my world, and hopefully his as well. Pat used to play with Sister Suvi, with one of his former mates going on to help in Tun-e-Yards. This track has a really deep vocal, but it’s got an odd effect on it, which reminds me of that vocal approach sometimes employed by TV on the Radio. Intrestingly, the music itself seems to counteract the vocal itself, giving this even more of a feeling of unsteadiness, yet it all works, creating a song that immediately attracts your ears, though you might never figure out why.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/patjordache_getit.mp3]
Download: Pat Jordache – Get It [MP3]
Future Songs is out now on Constellation Records.
I’ve always had rule with the music to which I have chosen to listen. This rule can be encapsulated into a single word: variety. Having limited space on an mp3 player makes for a stringent selective process. You can’t have too much metal, indie rock, hardcore, country, or hip hop for fear of over saturation of that particular genre.
This rule applies even more strictly for “epic” (mostly) instrumental post rock. The bands in this genre (Godspeed You Black Emperor!, A Silver Mount Zion, Explosions in the Sky, etc.) ask a lot of their listeners. When your compositions range from 10-20 minutes you are begging for patience, since the songs pay off is often buried somewhere in the middle or the end. Frankly, too much off these type of bands can kill the shuffle function of an iPod, so I usually keep only about two or three of these bands in a rotation.
Since the release of 2000’s Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord is Dead, Toronto’s Do Make Say Think, have struggled to fit into this rotation (I know they have been eager to make it!). Every album DMST put out is a solid release. They are great albums to put on and get creative, but aside from a few really strong tracks, they tend to be ultimately forgettable. That is until 2007’s You, You’re a History in Rust and it’s accompanying 2008 EP, The Whole Story of Glory. These two releases stood leaps and bounds above DMST’s previous ventures. They felt like whole releases rather than a couple of bright spots held together by solid, but meandering, interludes. The high bar set by You… and …Glory had me tremendously excited for what would come next from Do Make Say Think.
The four tracks, clocking in 43 minutes, of Other Truths (Constellation) brings me both excitement and trepidation. The first time I put the album on and listened to the album opener “Do”, I thought that this album would definitely make my year end best of list. “Do” is probably on of the best songs this band (or any band, for that matter) has released in their long career. It is propulsive, carrying along the staccato guitar riffs and fuzzed out bass to epic heights (Seriously, this song is [EXPLETIVE DELETED] unbelievable!). Unfortuneatly, like with most of Do Make Say Think’s albums, Other Truth’s peters out into the comfortable territory of jazzy noodling and repetitive phrases that lead us nowhere.
It’s a shame that bands in this genre become so comfortable with just being background music. It is possible to provide atmosphere without being tremendously boring and predictable.
We all have our hobbies. Whether it be collecting records, knitting, or making graffiti stencils, we all have something that steals away our time and makes the monotony of everyday life a little more bearable. But sometimes our hobbies consume too much of our time or, God forbid, our hobbies become just as monotonous as our day job. You must take a step back and to see what you loved about that hobby in the first place.
For this Friday Top Five we will take a look at several bands that have for one reason or another taken a break. These bands have never formally broken up; they have just gone on extended hiatus.
From the ashes we shall rise, or at least the former members of Unicorns, Alden Penner, and Arcade Fire, Brendan Reed, believe this. They have risen from their past with the formation of a new group, Clues. Their self-titlted album is out now on Constellation, and while it may not demonstrate the brilliance the two are capable of creating, it has some moments worthy of highlighting in your music catalog.
You see the Unicorns resemblance immediately, as the opening track “Haarp” begins with a quiet little whisper before slowly picking up the pace. As the pace is quickened to a steady trot, the tension rises, and even the guitar styling is so similar that you would swear that this is a B-Side from Penner’s former mates. This is either a complaint for those who loved that project, or an place worthy of garnering interest among new hordes of fans.
It would be great if we could discard that reference, but unfortunately we cannot; as of this point in time, Penner is being marked by the success of Nic Thorburn. While you can find similarities in the playing styles of the two former Unicorns, it seems that what sets Clues apart from the past is the jaggedness that he seems to hold onto. “Approach the Throne” is full of just that, as the choppy guitars hammer away. It’s not the sort of pop sensibility of Islands, but one should be happy is set to making his own mark here. “Cave Mouth” similarly shares the affinity for disjointed melodies and angular guitars, with the lyrics being turned down in the mix so that the music takes the focus.
There are moments that do approach chasing that pop sensibility, or at least the ballad aesthetic. “You Have My Eyes Now” and “Ledmonton” are just a few songs that show the slower side of things; these songs unfortunately don’t encourage the listener’s attention span, which render them, sadly, as throwaways. Not throwaways necessarily, but the mellow moments are not very successful here, though “Ledmonton” does sport some chanting choral moments near the songs ending.
Oddly, the Arcade Fire influence is not really here, unless you tie it all in to some of the zany moments that exist throughout. But it’s clear that Reed’s style of drumming was not the founding influence that broke his previous band.
In the end, you wonder whether it’s fair to judge a band by it’s members former labors. Is such a judgment just? Probably not, but that is the unforutunate truth in dealing with Clues. You look at the sparkling moments here, and look back to their past; you look at the dull moments and wonder where this band will go. Truth is, only time will tell.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/06-perfect-fit.mp3]
Download: Clues – Perfect Fit [MP3]