Power Pop from Sugar Stems

sugarIf you’re a music fan like me, then perhaps nothing works you up quite like huge hooks and soaring melodies.  If that’s the case, then you’re going to love this new single from Sugar Stems.  It’s our first listen to the band’s new album, Only Come Out at Night, and I’ll be damned if this isn’t the perfectly executed anthemic power-pop that warms my heart.  Betsy’s vocals have a slight hint of attitude, but the rest of the group is just kicking out these huge sounds; it’s the most polished bit of power-pop I’ve heard in some time.  You can grab their new record from reliable Dirtnap Records on July 22nd.

New Jam from Steve Adamyk Band

steveadamykEarlier this year I ran into a new 7″ from Steve Adamyk Band.  I was immediately excited, as a new single usually indicates a full-length is on its way.  That was just the case, as Dirtnap Records have announced that they’ll be releasing the new record from the group, Dial Tone.  This track is quick and to the point, which encapsulates my ideas about the group; they offer up a good dosage of punk rock in quick spurts, always bringing hooks that make their albums playable time and time again.  You can get your copy of the record on July 1st.

Sonic Avenues – Mistakes

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

In 2012 I was stuck with Television Youth on constant repeat; every where I went I was humming along to the melodies and playing air drums.  Suffice it to say, the arrival of Mistakes. the band’s latest effort for Dirtnap Records,  comes with a lot of anticipation on my end.  Sonic Avenues deliver, as I expected, offering up 11 songs of power-pop that are executed perfectly.

“Waiting for Change” begins with a screech of feedback, followed by some understated strumming, but then it jumps into delivery of ringing guitars and hook-laden melodies.  If you were looking for a great answer to the sorely missed Exploding Hearts, then songs like this are precisely why I consider Sonic Avenues to be one of the best acts to have picked up that torch. But, while they do nod their, they’re also making things a bit noisier, exemplified in the track “Automatic.”  It’s a faster paced banger, and the vocals, while still maximizing pop sensibility, are sung in a more hap-hazard fashion.   The next few tracks live in the same realm, with a darker guitar found on “New Vogues,” but I also wanted to see where the band mixed things up a bit.

On Mistakes, “Better Days to Come” brings some respite from the energy-fueled pop that’s been coming through your speakers.  Personally, I’ve found that the guitars, building through two different sounds creates a nice effect, allowing for the group to bring you a nice little power-ballad, though not in the cheesy since.  It allows your toes to take a rest before you tap them off.  You’ll find a similar book-end to the record when you arrive at “Lost & Found.”  It’s not quite the same ballad, but the relaxed approach is very much a part of these two tracks.

For my money, I’d find yourself stuck in tracks 6-8.  My two favorite songs, “In Your Head” and “Too Late” are located here.  The first is really just an excellent jam; I love how the song breaks down just after the two-minute mark, then builds itself back into infectious churning guitar noise.  “Too Late” on the other hand pushes you into rock mode right from the get-go.  The drums are pounding furiously, and you’ll find yourself swept up in the song instantly.  Check out the rad guitar moves knifing through at the 1 minute mark.

If you want a record that makes you feel good about loving rock n’ roll, then you really need to head out and pick up a copy of Mistakes this week.  Sure, there’s a lot of bands out there doing similar things musically, but for me, the Sonic Avenues are one of the best.  From the way the songs are mixed to the unending energy contained in each track, you just can’t get much better than this.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/06-In-Your-Head.mp3]

 

Another Jam from Sonic Avenues

sonicavenuesI’ve got to admit that the more I hear from Sonic Avenues new release, the more I know I’m going to get stuck rocking to this release for quite some time, just like their last LP.  If it’s not the guitars, then it’s the way they recorded the vocals, giving them a sensation of being done live.  There’s even a small little breakdown that builds into this burst of pure power-pop.  Mistakes is the title of the new record, and it’ll be out on April 15th via Dirtnap Records.  I’m going to nerd out so hard when I hear this LP.

New Music from Sonic Avenues

sonicEver since playing my way through two copies of Television Youth I’ve been waiting for the next record from Sonic Avenues.  They offer up this infectious power-pop that carefully walks the line between punk and pop, though not in that cheesy teenage manner.  It’s fitting that the band is releasing their next album, Mistakes, on Dirtnap Records again; it’s the home of other like-minded acts such as The Marked Men or Low Culture. You can grab what is sure to be an excellent record on April 15th when it hits the stores.

New Music from The Estranged

estranged2014 has been a jam packed year, but some labels have seemingly been in hibernation, like my personal favorite, Dirtnap Records. They’re getting in the swing of the action though, with the announcement that they’ll be releasing a new record from The Estranged.  While it’s rumored that the band has widened their spectrum on post-punk influences, this tune rings a bit of Ted Leo, which if you know me, isn’t a bad thing by any means. It’s a self-titled record and it hits the stores on March 18th…enjoy a little preview below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/01-Another-Stab.mp3]

 

New Punk Rock from Autistic Youth

autisticyouth-1281927164We started this week with a lot of softer tracks, so I feel like we should offer you the flip side of the coin with the newest tune from Autistic Youth.  The band have been fairly quiet lately, but they’re readying a new LP for Dirtnap Records titled Nonage.  The album wears their influences on its sleeve with a punishing combination of hardcore, not to mention a softer touch you’d find in old skate video games by employing gang vocals to encourage maximum crowd participation at shows.  You can pick up the album next week from the label; it should be in stores shortly after.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/01-Not-For-Me.mp3]

Download: Autistic Youth – Not For Me [MP3]

Radioactivity – s/t

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

While the Marked Men might be on some sort of hiatus due to the busy schedules of everyone involved, Radioactivity at least gives us a glimpse at the glory of old, with half the band represented on the band’s eponymous debut.  The project is filled with leftover tracks from Jeff Burke’s project, The Novice, and he called in good pal Mark Ryan to flesh things out, leaving us with a blistering record of punk rock hits.

“Sickness” opens with that stuttering guitar line that’s pretty prominent in the work of all those involved with Radioactivity, though there’s a soloing guitar line that seems to knife its way through the track.  The vocals push the boundary of raspiness that you get from classic punk rock, though for all intents and purposes, the group’s still leans a little bit towards the pop side of things.  You’ll get that image perfectly on the following two tracks, “Other Life” and “World of Pleasure.”  The latter is definitely one of the record’s standout tracks, pounding furiously in your ears, despite having a catchy delivery of the lyrics throughout.

And you get what you expected on the first half of the record, with the blistering pace of the tunes allowing for the band to demonstrate their songwriting capabilities, while still honing their pop sensibility; this is one of the things I’ve loved about Marked Men and all associated bands. Tracks like “Alright” are perfect for driving, partying or even running; they fit in every corner of your life.  But, what has impressed me about Radioactivity is that there’s a glimpse of what’s to come with the band’s next LP (rumored to be on its way in 2014) near the latter half of the album.

For example, “Alone” has this huge ringing guitar line, with the bass slowly working its way into the fold.  It opens up the space quite a bit, adding just the slightest differentiation to the band’s signature sound.  If you listen carefully, you can hear the guitars working against each other, almost fighting to define the band’s sound.  There’s also the power ballad that lurks at the end of the record via “Trusted You.”  The drums seem to want to escape into a heavier realm, though their steadiness really provides a good backbone for the rest of the song, which remains sort of a heartfelt ode to a lost friend or lover.  It’s actually great on its own, but it’s made even better for the fact that its fittingly unique in the grand scheme of the LP.

I’m a huge fan of the group, even if the songs sometimes seem to blend together after repeated listens.  And that’s the thing with Radioactivity, you’re going to get repeated listens. The songs are too good to ignore, and too catchy to dismiss.  It’s clear that the duo of Ryan and Burke still have tons of tricks up their sleeves to keep me coming back to buying their records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/04-Locked-in-My-Head.mp3]

Download: Radioactivity – Locked in My Head [MP3]

Another Rocker from Radioactivity

radioactivity3x372Just last week I was tossing one of the great new songs from Radioactivity your way, and less than a few days later, the band have unleashed another kicking tune for your ears. I love the gritty sound of this tune, even though it still has this underlying pop sensibility to it; you wouldn’t expect anything less from two ex-Marked Men memebers would you? Not only does this capture the sound that I’ve been enthralled with (again) over the last few years, but we can get a big Texas shout out going here.  Their self-titled LP comes out next week via Dirtnap Records…and rumor has it that another one is right around the corner.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/04-Locked-in-My-Head.mp3]

Download: Radioactivity – Locked in My Head [MP3]

 

Brand New Punk Jam from Radioactivity (members of Marked Men)

radioactivity3x372Those of us in Texas have reason to be proud today.  Not only does this tune allow me to throw out a little bit of rock n’ roll your way, but it also marks the return of Jeff Burke from Japan. Jeff, who has renamed his work with The Novice, out of respect for his mates in Japan, has reunited with Mark Ryan, who you might know from The Marked Men (or Mind Spiders).  Together, they’ve formed Radioactivity, and this new tune’s a sweet introduction to the great things that are sure to come our way shortly. The band will be releasing their self-titled debut on Dirtnap Records at the end of  October.  Welcome home Jeff.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/WorldOfPleasure.mp3]

Download: Radioactivity – World of Pleasure [MP3]

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