New Ballad from Laura Stevenson

Okay, so it’s not exactly a clear-cut ballad, but in the grand concept of things, Laura Stevenson‘s new track is a striking ballad. While we’ve heard her with backing bands or playing in other bands, her new album The Big Freeze represents the full experience of Laura operating with little more than her voice and guitar. You can hear the grumbling of her guitar ring out, accenting the rise of her voice. But, once it fades, there’s guitar bits to walk you into the track’s next section where Stevenson reappears with her voice. This track is all about that voice and how it plays into space, almost isolated…which is one of the various themes in this track. Look for the new album on March 29th via Don Giovanni Records.

Ease Into The Weekend With Dusk

If you’re looking for a relaxing, easy to listen to tune for the weekend, I suggest you check out this new track “Old Magnolia” from Wisconsin based Dusk. The song clearly has some great country themes to it with a sort of meandering guitar, nicely harmonized vocals, and even a fiddle. I’m also enjoying this not too subtle video complete with monster trucks, gambling, and train tracks. This should be a great way to relax yourself into the weekend.

Dusk will release a self-titled LP on June 15th via Don Giovanni Records.

Love This Bad Moves Jam

Just a few weeks back RayRay caught up with Bad Moves for a SXSW Interview, and now the band are back with a bashing new pop number. They dropped this tune today, and you’ll only need a few seconds to catch onto the band’s infectiousness. But, more importantly, like similar spirits The Spook School, they’ve crafted social criticism beneath the guise of incredible pop music; it’s some of the most important music being written today. This particular tune tackles the commodification of art by the disenfranchised and spitting it out into the masses. They’ll also be touring with Jeff Rosenstock for a few weeks in late April, so hopefully we all get a chance to catch their greatness live!

New Music from Crow Bait

crowFriday had some great hits coming out, and I really gravitated towards this new tune from NY’s Crow Bait.  It’s got incredible guitar parts that remind me of the recent work of bands like Superchunk.  It harkens back to the days when guitars and melodic vocals really dominated the underground music scene; it’s also the kind of music that reminds us all of our youthful attachments to rock n’ roll. The band will be releasing their debut Sliding Through the Halls of Fate on May 20th via Don Givoanni Records.  Should be a blast listening to this record.

More New Tunes from Modern Hut

HutPromo1.1I can’t say enough about how much I am enjoying Modern Hut right now. This new track from the songwriter features the voice of Screaming Females frontwoman, Marissa Paternoster, who just happens to be the most bad ass girl in rock n’ roll right now.  The duo have written a song that reminds me of a more serious version of The Moldy Peaches, with the focus on the lyrics here much more serious than something like “Who’s Got the Crack.”  It makes for a special listen, providing more anticipation for Generic Treasure, which hits stores on August 6th via Don Giovanni Records.

Vacation – Candy Waves

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

Don Giovanni Records has had a good go of things lately, especially with the work of Screaming Females on their roster.  But, new boys Vacation aim to make their own mark with Candy Waves.  It provides listeners with sharp guitar lines and catchy hooks, while managing to sound appropriately unpolished.

Feedback opens the doors to Candy Waves with “Pyro Hippies” opening moments before the furiously quick drumming assaults your ears.  Here you’ll find the guitar chords knifing their way through the song, and the vocals border on angst, yet still retain a bit of melody.  Yet moments later, the bubbly bass work on “Make a Mess” is what grabs you by the ears and pulls you within the depths of the record.  This tune has less detail oriented guitar work, but the rhythm section surely offers enough to get your toes tapping and your body jumping about.  I want to attach myself to the vocals on this tune, yet they’re just a bit too far below the mix.

For my two cents, the band excels when they offer their pop affinity in their music.  “SFA” jumps right into your meat and potatoes punk rock, though spun through a sludgy blender.  The vocals offer a glimpse at anthemic moments, while the apparent allegiance to Vacation‘s metal influence is also visible.  It opens the way for the hook-laden “Candy Waves,” which might be the record’s standout tune.  Again, I think the lyrics could break through if they had just a hint more clarity in the mastering, but you can tell that this is a tune built for fans to join in during live performances.  You don’t think the band can share pop sensibility with their metal/punk pedigree? Just start listening at 1.36.  They make it three brilliant songs in a row with “Everyone Loves the Sun,” again establishing a gritty beach party feel.  This song excels due to the fact that every instrument, including voice, seems to be pulling in an opposite direction, while still maintaining a healthy balance that unites the tune.

Concluding Candy Waves is another of the record’s standouts, “Horny Politicians.”  Yes, the killer rhythm section comes through again to give a good push on the final tune, but I think it’s the vocal that allows this number to rise above the rest.  There’s clarity throughout the entirety of the song; this allows listeners to really partake in the joy of the song.  It’s the perfect closing moment, allowing us to glimpse Vacation at their very best, and perhaps a possible look into their future.  And in the end, the record ends with a bang, but you’ll go right back to the beginning to play it all over again.  You’ll get the feeling we all had when bands like Wavves felt dangerous, and you’ll be thankful bands like this are still doing it right.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/11-Horny-Politicians.mp3]

 

New Tune from Modern Hut

HutPromo1.1Joe Steinhardt is working under the moniker Modern Hut, and it’s time we introduce this fantastic new voice to you all.  His songs, like the one below, are pretty basic in construction, just using guitar and some minimal backing accompaniment. But, I’m particularly interested in the way his vocals are delivered, not to mention the lyrics that tie everything together.  Perhaps you can ascribe similarities to John Darnielle or a more serious Adam Green, which both count as great things in my book.  His album Generic Treasure will be coming out on August 17th courtesy of Don Giovanni Records.

Fresh Rocker from Vacation

vacationWe’ve gotta keep Friday going with a banger, and I think this new tune from Vacation is just the right fit.  Underneath it all lays a very earnest pop song, verging on power-pop, but the song is filled with discordant noises and a furious rhythm that moves it to an entirely new place.  It doesn’t take too long to find this song repeating in your daily playlist, especially if you jam it outside on this beautiful Austin day (hope the rest of the world has such rad weather).  You can pick up the group’s new album, Candy Waves, on June 18th courtesy of Don Giovanni Records.

Fuck Yeah with Shellshag

sspromopic2013JIt only took me two seconds to realize that I was going to dig this tune from Shellshag. The opening bit of guitar noodling had me immediately hooked, and only furthered my attention as the band plugged in a bit.  It’s just a good tune to roll the windows down and turn up real loud, especially on such a nice day today.  The vocals are sort of throaty, but I appreciate that aspect–it only improves when Jen Shag softly enters in the background.  You can enjoy this track and more on the group’s new record, Shellshag Forever; it comes out on April 16th via Don Giovanni.