Tim Presley Releases Solo Effort

timpresleyI’m never tired of Tim Presley. You likely know his work, whether you’re aware of it or not. You know, bands like The Strange Boys, Darker My Love, White Fence and most recently Drinks (with Cate Le Bon). He’s stepping out under his own name, which makes sense, as this seems like a project that’s wholly his, and entirely different from his various other releases. It’s definitely a blend of post-punk and art punk…using jagged guitar stabs, steady rhythms and a sort of spoken-word delivery. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Tim might be one of my favorite working artists; I don’t dislike a single thing he’s touched. That, of course, makes me really excited Drag City will be releasing The WiNK on September 16th.

Get Funky with The Red Krayola

redkrayolasNot sure there’s really anything at all that sounds like The Red Krayola, and in doing that, this seems like an important piece to involve yourself with today. It’s high on the funk level, but in doing that, it sounds a lot like the remnants of the dub-influenced scene that took over the UK. Lyrics are delivered in a hap-hazard bit of spoken word, forcing the band to walk you through step by step with each bubbling bass note or guitar chord. Don’t sleep on this legendary act, as they’re releasing Baby and Childcare on May 13th via Drag City.

Everybody’s Doing It: New Wand Track

wandoIt seems like every one on the Internet today is posting this Wand tune, which is fair considering I think it’s going to propel the band to the next level. Up until now, I’ve felt that the band have been living just beneath the cusp of stardom, crafting heavy-handed psych rock that’s a little more developed than many of their peers. This tune sees the band dropping full on into the pop spectrum, though they still employ those huge fuzzy guitar riffs. You’ll be able to hear this crunchy number on the band’s new album, 1000 Days, which is being released by Drag City on September 25th.

Acoustic Goodness from Alasdair Roberts

alas

Alasdair Roberts is a Scottish singer/songwriter who has been around for quite some time bringing you classically Scottish gentle tunes. He’s back with a new album on the near horizon, featuring his classic style stripped down to acoustic. This self-titled album feels like its going to be a return to a celebration of roots and self– minimal musical elements accompany Roberts’ voice on the track below, leaving the meat of the song to be found in the vocal tenderness. The song is gentle and the songwriting detailed, as Roberts pulls you into his little world and spins a soothing song to ease your mind musically. Have a listen to “Artless One” below and get ready for the new album expected to come out from Drag City in January of 2015.

Show Preview: The Oh Sees @ Hotel Vegas

Thee Oh Sees

Date 11/11/14
Location Hotel Vegas
Doors 7pm
Tickets $20 @ Eventbrite

For those of you who didn’t quite get your fix this weekend, Hotel Vegas has an awesome show going down tomorrow night that kicks off pretty early for you working types.  Drag City mainstay Jack Name kicks off at 8pm with the recently reunited (did they really even break up?) The Oh Sees taking the stage at 9pm.  Following the headlining acts outside is a stellar lineup of locals inside featuring Warm Soda, Hundred Visions, and A Giant Dog.  Kick off the week right!

I Love This New Tune from Purling Hiss

PurlingHiss_byAaronBiscoe smallTuesday’s are full of tons of tunes on the webs.  People are trying to get you to buy the latest (and I did!), but as a blogger type dude, you get lots of emails too.  I waded through some stuff, then I got stuck.  I got stuck on this ridiculously rad tune from Purling Hiss.  It’s nearly five minutes of great alternative guitar riffs that are meant to be turned up loud as you work to blow out your factory speaker system.  But, what I really like, is the lackadaisical tone of the vocals; it’s almost like a slacker jam, though you can tell there’s been more work put into it (it’s five minutes long!).  The new record from the band will be out on September 23rd via Drag City; it’s called Weirdon.

Tim Presley Returns with New White Fence Track

whiteyTim Presley is one of my favorite songwriters of the last few years, and this new track from his White Fence group demonstrates his continued musical growth.  This new song feels like a bit of his signature psych leanings have been exchanged for a pop or glam touch; the vocals have a different tonal quality, and the song features a pretty straight-forward guitar that drives the song through.  It’s something we got a glimpse of on Cyclops Reap, his last LP, but it looks as if To The Recently Found Innocent will further that evolution…just a guess though.  You can grab the LP from Drag City on July 22nd.

David Novick – Your Sister’s Hand

David-Novick-Your-Sisters-Hand

Rating: ★★★½ ·

David Novick is only a few years into his solo career, yet he’s already claimed a great deal of acclaim in that brief span.  His latest LP, Your Sister’s Hand, offers listeners more strong songs from start to finish, though I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more attached to the lyrical numbers that are present.

Your Sister’s Hand starts off with “Gate.”  If you’re one to read into the title of the track, then perhaps this tune is your careful entrance into the world of Novick. The careful guitar work demonstrates just how talented he is; I particularly enjoy the buzz of the strings as they echo through my speakers.  It serves as the perfect opening to the record, leading you right into what many might consider the best tune on the album, “Beneath the Line.”  Musically, the song’s filled with quiet guitar balanced against a discordant solo, at least during the opening moments.  You’ll probably find this track pretty good, but you’ve got to wait until about 2.5 minutes for the song to truly blow you away. Claire Plumb enters here, giving you a gentle whisper of a vocal performance that elevates the song to perfect balladry. These are the sorts of songs where David Novick finds his groove.  For instance, the following track, “Inside the Eye,” brings with it this forlorn vocal that rides along the music.  My favorite bit is how the guitar strumming is accentuated by the careful percussive work at each turn; it’s a special touch for sure.

For me, there are some missteps, but that’s just my personal taste.  I think on “Until You Show” that there are great gifts, but I felt like David put too much on this number, perhaps cramming a touch more than he needed to into this one.  However, it’s a stark contrast to “Ash,” which follows.  This tune has a stark nakedness to it, in both the style of recording and the composition itself.  I imagine the musicians carefully sitting around a campfire quietly singing atop one another.  In doing so, the song is both powerful and subtle.  It’s not going out there to blow you away, yet it does, perfectly.  It helps lead to the bookend of the record, closing in a fashion that reminds you what a unique talent we’ve got here.  Put side by side, “Carry Home the Light” and “Memory” are perhaps the strongest ten minutes of Your Sister’s Hand. The former is one of those tracks that seems so simple and obvious you can’t understand how a track wasn’t written exactly like this before, but further listens allow you to see beneath the surface to the careful touches that make the song mesmerizing. The latter is a 7 minute opus that you’ll have to listen to fully in order for you to really grasp what has been accomplished here.  Rather than rush everything into the first few minutes, the song unfolds effortlessly, taking its time to warm you over. Together, these two tracks close out a wonderful collection of songs from David Novick that only careful listeners will truly appreciate.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/DavidNovick_BeneathTheLine.mp3]

Download: David Novick – Beneath The Line [MP3]

New Bums – Voices In a Rented Room

new bums

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Sitting in my room by the lamp light seems like a fitting way to listen to the new release from New Bums, though this room is paid for.  Going from song to song, Voices In a Rented Room is an album that truly fits best when you’re wrapped up in your own solitude, letting the tracks wash over you.  But, with that in mind, it’s also one of the things that might wear on the listener.

“Black Bough” is one of the best slow jams I’ve heard in a really long time; it deserves to make it onto any playlist you create. I love the way the vocals were recorded, seemingly entering your ears on the cusp of the wind. There’s a heavy-heart that arrives too via the solemn strumming of the guitar; it helps establish the forlorn characteristics that accompany the track throughout.  Moving forward into “Pigeon Town” you find more of the ornate guitar play that is associated with Ben Chasny and his earlier work with Six Organs of Admittance. But, while both these songs are carefully structured, including the string touches on the latter tune, it’s easy to see yourself getting stuck in the same listening space; there’s not a lot of movement sonically in Voices In a Rented Room.

For an audience new to the writing of these two, I think there’s several songs that you’ll find special.  I can’t tell if it’s the recording itself, but I love the sincerity that’s present in a track like “Mother’s Favorite Hated Son.” If you listen closely, you’ll hear a bit of a buzz coming through your speaker as the deeper notes are struck; it reminds me of listening to a record I’ve listened to far too many times, worn out by the needle. That same slight buzz is present on “It’s the Way,” but the vocals are definitely what attracted me to this number.  I love how the higher pitch in the vocal is matched by a slight string touch; it’s ever so gentle, but it adds the perfect listening sensation.

Therein lays both the strengths and weaknesses of going through this release from New Bums.  Every song seems to have purpose, and with that comes a great attention to each little detail, each shift in pitch.  Those artists’ brushstrokes give each track a redeemable quality, but it does make it hard for a passerby to fully grasp what is beneath the surface.  It’s not something you can rest with in the background, but a piece you have to immerse yourself into, maximizing your relationship between the emotional pull and the band’s intentions. If you’re willing to dig deep, you’ll find a great bit of happiness in hearing Voices In a Rented Room.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/01_Black_Bough.mp3]

Download: New Bums – Black Bough [MP3]

New Music from Scraper

scraperSeeing as there’s tons of punk rock all over town due to Chaos in Tejas, I think it’s only fitting that I put up some new rock n’ roll by Scraper.  The group has just signed on to release their debut 7″ on God?, which is the baby brother of Drag City.  It’s a fast paced jam, filled with discordant guitars, shouted lyrics and an old school bravado that I’ll always appreciate.   You want to unleash some pent up aggression? You’re not going to find a better track than this tune.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/1-03-Electric-Hairpiece.mp3]

 

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