The hardest working man in indie rock is back at it again with yet another new single, this one preparing us for his upcoming record, Twins. Personally, this is one of my favorite new Ty songs of the last year; I like the way it opens up with chilled female vocals before Ty bursts in with his usual squall of guitar noise. And, while it would be easy for the female voice to disappear, Ty keeps it in there to counterbalance his own whaling. This is probably the best he’s written in all year. You can pick up Twins from Drag City on October 9th, or pick up the 7″ with this featured tune on September 4th.
Make no mistake about it, Silver Jews has definitely left a mark on the indie scene, especially considering the line-up of Dave Berman, Stephen Malkmus and Bon Nastanovich–they’re the only ones playing on this track. Drag City is digging deep and releasing Early Times on June 19th, which is comprised of tracks from the group’s early EPs. Just listening, you’ll notice the recording isn’t necessarily the best, but that’s what makes it such an interesting song, as it contains the talent the band went on to display, but also those tiny imperfections that endeared us to Berman and Malkmus in the first place. Hope you like it.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1-06_Secret_Knowledge_of_Back_Roads.mp3]
Download:Silver Jews – Secret Knowledge of Back Roads [MP3]
It seems that we have another super group on our hands that everyone should be pumped about in the form of ATH favorites Ty Segall & White Fence. The guys have an album coming out as a duo on April 24th via Drag City entitled Hair. Until then, here’s a first taste of the new collaboration with this sweet new tune “I Am Not A Game”.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/02-I-Am-Not-A-Game-1.mp3]
Download: Ty Segall & White Fence – I Am Not A Game [MP3]
I’ve raved about Ty Segall for quite some time, and many assumed he would take the place of dearly departed Jay Reatard. All signs pointed to this, that is until recently when he began to mention a slower approach to his songwriting on the his new record. Goodbye Bread will be out June 21st, and it will be his first for Drag City. This first single from the album shows exactly what Ty promised, using a more drawn out garage sound, similar to the slew of T. Rex covers he tossed out not to long ago. This track’s all well and good, but we’ll have to wait for the jury to return when the whole collection of songs hits the streets this summer. Give a listen to a less rambunctious Ty below.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Ty-Segall-You-Make-the-Sun-Fry.mp3]
Download: Ty Segall – You Make the Sun Fry [MP3]
Listening to a record from Bill Callahan can often be a daunting affair for all, as his songwriting is superb, but often overshadowed in his work by his abilities as a wordsmith. Once you indulge in Apocalypse, it’s definitely going to be difficult to find your way out, which is precisely what makes this one of Bill’s strongest releases to date.
Kicking off the album is “Drover” and the lyric “the real people went away/I’ll find a better way someday.” If you’re looking to unravel Bill’s meaning, especially in regards to the themes within, you’ll probably begin to think Callahan is trying to reclaim America for himself, for his types. It’s such a beautiful idea, expressing hope amidst a country that’s possibly in decline. Toss this in with the strumming of the guitar, the occasional string flourishes and light percussion, and surely you will recognize what a strong track this is.
“America!” doesn’t stray too far from this theme, though the discussion seems to reflect upon the great exports of our world from a man missing his homeland, though when referencing someone like David Letterman, it’s difficult to see how seriously we should take the lyrics. The song itself uses sort of a carnivalesque stomp and some cascading guitar solos to move everything along, all the way to cacophonous end. It’s odd, as it leads right into the softer “Universal Applicant,” a track that utilizes a hint of flute beneath a shaker of sorts, yet this isn’t the entire story of the track. A light-hearted guitar chord takes over a few minutes in, with some extremely minimal drumming, providing the track with a bit of an emotional boost, while Callahan sort of walks his lyrics through the rest of the number.
After so many spins, it’s hard not to fall in the love with the latter-half of this album, one of the strongest statements of Bill’s career, in one man’s mind. “Riding for the Feeling” sort of hovers over the guitar work, clinging to gentle stringing and some careful arrangements that bring the story of Bill’s world in the Apocalypse to life. It’s pointless to influence you with thoughts on emotional meaning, as each listener will surely bring their own interpretation to the table, but regardless, you’ll want to play this song again and again. Then skip ahead to “One Fine Morning,” nearly 9 minutes of Bill Callahan writing at his best. Heading out on his journey, Bill seems to be looking over the landscape of America just as much as he’s looking back over his life. Amidst the quiet dance of guitar strumming and piano, he seems to realize that he, like us all, has to confront “the hardest part,” hoping that when it all comes to an end, there will be a little sun left on the horizon. It wraps up a wonderful album, by wrapping up a wonderful track.
“One Fine Morning” serves as the final statement here on Apocalypse, and while the record might slowly fade into the background, you’ll reach over and immediately play it all over again. Slower pacing seems to suit Bill Callahan, his voice especially, allowing him to give us an honest account of his thoughts in a way only he can pull off. Nothing more needs to be said; it’s just an endearing listen from start to finish.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Bill-Callahan-Babys-Breath.mp3]
Download: Bill Callahan – Baby’s Breath [MP3]
Apocalypse is out on Drag City on 4/5.
So, while we were out performing our ACL duties, we neglected to notice that there were still things going on in the rest of the music world. Luckily, I was able to catch up by heading over to MBV, and those kids had tossed up a new track by one of my faves, Stereolab. The group has a new record titled Not Music coming out November 16th on Drag City. Rest assured, it is music, and if you’re a fan, you’ll have to admit, it’s pretty much always good music. You be the judge folks.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/stereolab-sundemon.mp3]
Download: Stereolab – Sun Demon [MP3]
A few weeks ago, word spread that Joanna Newsom would be releasing a new album, Have One on Me, on Drag City on February 23. Today’s big headline is that the album is a triple album (3 CDs/LPs), and you can now stream a song over at Drag City. Enjoy.
We know this is a few days late, but seeing as we were busy enjoying SXSW, we didn’t have time to throw this up right away, which is a shame because we love our fellow Austinite, Bill Callahan. This track is off his forthcoming record Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle, which hits stores April 14th on Drag City.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/bill-callahan-eid-ma-clack-shaw.mp3]
Download: Bill Callahan – Eid Ma Clack Shaw [MP3]
“When there’s only one thing I can do, well you know I don’t want to do it. When there’s just one way to go through, sometimes I don’t want to go through with it.” These first lines from opening song “Easy Does It” off Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s new album Lie Down in the Light sets the tone for the entire record. I can just hear Bonnie saying: “If you think I’m going to do this like anyone else, well you’re wrong son.” Bonnie (famous alias of Will Oldham) doesn’t plan on making a record like one you’ve ever heard before. If he only has one way to do something, he’s not going to do it.
If for some reason you are waiting to know if this album is worth picking up, wait no longer, it’s well worth it. Oldham and company have made a superb album not like anything else being done right now. Sure, some bands may be attempting to recreate the americana/country/folk or whatever you want to call it from years past, but Oldham is head and shoulders above everyone else.
Oldham enlists his frequent counterpart Ashley Webber who invokes the spirit of countless country music women many years her senior. I’ve heard comparisons that Oldham and Webber are our generations George Jones & Tammy Wynette or Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty which after a few listens to tracks like “So Everyone” & “You Want That Picture”, you might just start agreeing with those bold comparisons.
In a day with the mindset that everything needs to be recorded louder than ever, Oldham and friends prove that louder doesn’t always mean better. These songs can say more with the slight hint of percussion or slow strum of a guitar than most songs can say with the volume on 11.
If you’re an old fan of Bonnie ‘Prince’ and think you may be let down by this album, think again. Lie Down in the Light proves that Oldham doesn’t plan on letting up anytime soon. This is americana at it’s finest folks. Not much else I can say about this record, just buy it and enjoy the beauty of its simplicity.
Have a listen to one of ’08s best “So Everyone” & drop us a line with your thoughts.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/03-so-everyone.mp3]