I Can’t Not Share This New Ducktails Track

11011742_10153118611178988_4504398511613680129_nCall it old news, or call it what you will, but this new track from Ducktails must be shared. We’ve grown fond of essentially all the work we’ve heard from Matt Mondanile via Real Estate or this project, so it’s not a surprise that this song, “Don’t Want To Let You Know” is a stoner rock gem. The soundscape is lush and full, alternating between a groovy bass line and fuzzy twee synths. Vocally, I’m a little on the fence, but the psychadellic-lite aesthetic of the song keeps me coming back. What do you think? Take a listen and watch Matt wander through some cold looking streets below.

 

 

 

This New Ducktails Joint Aint’ Half Bad

ducksThe last record that Ducktails put out really got ignored by me. I thoroughly enjoyed Ducktails III, but the Flower Lane just didn’t do it for me; there was too much focus on creating this over-the-head pop sensation.  But, on his latest single, it looks like Mondanile is finding that middle ground, smoothing out the edges on his chilled-pop songwriting.  I’m a little trepidatious to jump in with both feet, but it sounds as if St. Catherine will have a huge redeeming quality to it; we’ll find out on July 24th when Domino releases the album in full.

Ducktails – The Flower Lane

Ducktails-Flower-Lane

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The Flower Lane is the third studio album from this group, fronted by Real Estate’s Matt Mondanile. The band specializes in garage-esque, murky alternative rock music, though they take a step further into clarity with this release.

The album starts out on an unmistakably high note, with “Ivy Covered House,” which is one of those tracks that makes you yearn for that perfect sunny day so you can roll the windows down and just let the breeze ruffle your hair—it’s that glossy and smooth of a tune. This first number is just about as full of jangly guitar as possible and it is as though Matt Mondanile is evoking the style of his other band, Real Estate, which is far from a bad thing. Regardless, when the band circles around to the final repeated chorus after a short instrumental break, it’s impossible not to be onboard.

Though this is about as jangly as Ducktails go on this album, and the next few tracks put some distance between its sound and the others. Two tracks later on “Under Cover,” the band still has their swirling guitars, but have leapt into the realm of jazz, complete with saxophone interludes; it is safe to say that this isn’t a predictable Ducktails track. That being said, this album is quite a different step for the band, not only in a decrease of fuzziness via the production, as well as the different experimental directions they take.

But what is interesting about The Flower Lane is that if you skipped ahead to the latter part of the album, you’d probably be confused as to if you were still listening to the same band. Though they have already jumped a few genres earlier, there are a few tracks toward the end that don’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the tunes on this album. “Letter of Intent,” the second to last track on The Flower Lane, is really more electronic than anything Ducktails has put out up to this point in time, as it is a collaboration with Dan Lopatin on Synths, and the feminine vocal styling of Jessica Farkas of Future Shuttle. It’s a groovy number, but it really strikes hard as out of place after you’ve been listening to a primarily guitar motivated album. The track before it, at roughly two minutes long, “International Date Line,” retrospectively only feels as though preparation for the track that follows, but alas, it still doesn’t really sit right when the band returns to their ‘normal’ sound on the final track after it.

Even with this odd ending, this album is still one that has a number of good songs to entertain those who are a fan of garage rock. So if you haven’t yet, give Ducktails a spin.

WTF? Ducktails New Jam

Man, I’m really stuck on the fence with this Ducktails track that just came out.  Matt Mondanile has added a posse of contributors for his newest record, The Flower Lane, but I’m not sure I’m sold on their collaborative appeal.  This tune has Dan Lopatin who uses some hipster-approved moniker, and while I appreciate the effortless keyboard work behind the song, I just don’t think it’s quite as enticing as the work done on Ducktails III.  I don’t mind loops and such, but in his early tape days, Matt was using guitars crafting this dense pop collage–seemingly not the case.  I’m not jumping off the fence entirely, but I’m approaching the January 29th release date on Domino with a little trepidation.

New Music from Ducktails

Last year I really got stuck listening to Ducktails III; it made my year end list, in fact!  Now we return with news of a new record, this time on Domino Records.  The first single sees Matt Mondanile and Ducktails again crafting his own sonic genre, with mellow guitar lines turning around minimal percussive elements.  He seems subdued here, which could make for a great listen when Days comes out on January 29th, wrapping up the winter months with his beautifully spun pop tunes.  I can’t find any faults with the music he’s creating when it sounds as good as this tune.

Tiger Waves – Don’t Be Yourself

 

Rating: ★★★★ ·

When I first encountered Austin’s Tiger Waves, I was caught off guard by their experimental inclusion of bits of noise that eventually shifted into snippets of grandiose pop.  However, on their recent release, Don’t Be Yourself, the band tends to switch it the other way around–clearly indicative of a band who have grown in their songwriting capabilities. 

“From the Start” begins with a bit of a noise snippet, but the impressive forcefulness of the track quickly breaks into full stride.  Personally, I like how the lyrics are hiding just a bit behind the music, almost like the classic rock we all grew up jamming to in our parents living room, and then it ends. But, the motif of classic songwriting comes in with the hints of psychedelia that are present on “Quebec.”  Perhaps it’s just that jangling tambourine and the affected vocal that gives it the San Francisco effect, but it fits perfectly with the mood of the entire album.

When Tiger Waves breaks into “I Hope You’ll Feel Alright” you can tell that the band has abilities beyond just living with their influences; they’ve created their own sound with fluid movements amidst many of the tracks.  Here, you get almost a quieted chant from the get go, but the lurking backing vocal seems to make way for the entire group to make some mono-syllabic noise in unison.  And this is where you’ll find Don’t Be Yourself really taking hold of listeners, as the record moves into “Summer.”  It’s the sort of constructive pop that recalls bands like Youth Lagoon or Ducktails, but only done more effectively since they’re utilizing the songwriting of an entire group in the studio.  Layering the vocals atop the music on this track definitely creates special moments that you won’t want to miss.

As Tiger Waves prepare to wrap up the whole affair, they close things out with the perfect juxtaposition of their unique sound.  Of course, “I Love You George Harrison” surely harkens back to the careful craftsmanship alluded to in the song’s title–and I’m sure it would make George proud.  But, then you end Don’t Be Yourself with the hauntingly brilliant “Underground.” It’s the quiet atmospheric touches, mellow pacing and steady dosage of pop writing that initially drew me to this band; it comes full circle as the band closes out this EP, going out in quite a fashion.

Hopefully this isn’t your first introduction to Tiger Waves, but if so, do yourself a favor and spend some time with the group’s music.  If Don’t Be Yourself is anything with which to judge these young lads by, then they’ll probably be around for some time, hopefully writing more great tunes such as these.  You can grab this EP, as well as other great tunes by visiting the band HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/14_Underground.mp3]

Download: Tiger Waves – Underground [MP3]

 

Great New Music from Francisco the Man

I first encountered Francisco the Man awhile back, but had totally forgotten about him until the great blog I Guess I’m Floating posted a track from the new single by the group from Los Angeles.  But, in checking in, I discovered he’d also posted a couple of new jams to go along with the single, one that you can only get via Soundcloud (or here).  For me, listening to this sort of reminds me of listening to Ducktails; it’s got carefully crafted pop/folk tunes, yet there’s these ambient noises coating the music, giving it this distant quality that I completely enjoy.  Just listen to these two tracks and pretend like you’re not excited by the music; I dare you.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Tiger_FTM.mp3]

Download:Francisco the Man – Tiger [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/01-Broken-Arrows-1.mp3]

Download:Francisco the Man – Broken Arrows [MP3]

New (ish) Tune from Tiger Waves

Often times I get a bit saddened, thinking that the Austin music scene seems to be in sort of a rut, but going back over this year’s releases, I realized there are some definite local gems.  One of the ones I completely forgot about is Only Good Bands Have Animal Names by Tiger Waves.  Don’t know how I stumbled upon it, but it’s definitely worth a visit.  Still, to get to the point, the band released a new single not too long ago, so I thought I’d give it a look see. It’s this building number that trickles ever so carefully, sort of in the manner that Ducktails constructs songs. It’s a song that takes you on a quiet journey, and sometimes, those are the best to take.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01-Take-Me-Home-single-1.mp3]

Download: Tiger Waves – Take Me Home [MP3]

Ducktails – Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics

Rating: ★★★★ ·

It’s really quite a shame that Ducktails has to be considered a side-project; surely there are others out there who would absolutely enjoy more production from Mathew Mondanile of Real Estate.  Sure, he’s got loads of work, not just 7″s, under his belt, but his latest opus, Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics, is so wonderful that it’s quite hard not to beg and plead for more.

Given, some might look at the tracklisting and see some oddballs, such as the opener “In the Swing” or “Little Window.”  Such songs are barely blips on Arcade Dynamics as a whole, yet they definitely serve a purpose, providing momentary soundscapes from which you can venture deeper into the underbelly of the album. So don’t let yourself get caught skipping some of these elemental pieces.

“Hamilton Road” is precisely as advertised, a song built for the road.  Something about this songs gentle guitar work and barely audible lyrics really provides for genuine pop moments, the sort one would want as they head out on a long drive to clear some cobwebs out of your head.  You can continue this journey immediately with “Sprinter,” a song that seems to sprawl further and further into field of pop with repeated listens.  Three songs in, and you’ve probably turned off the highway and found yourself cruising below the speed limit on some farm road to nowhere.

MM, or Ducktails, oddly manages to squeeze a lifetime of pop enjoyment into extremely short spans of time.  “Sunset Liner” and “Don’t Make Plans” do a phenomenal job of packing all these carefully crafted moments into a span just over two minutes.  Its full of guitar work that seems both intricate and delicate, yet understated, immersing every listener in a gentle trance of sorts; one that rewards you each time you fall deeper into its path.  For some reason, Arcade Dynamics, manages to clean out your mind, which is peculiar, if and only for the fact that it seems so simple.  Perhaps that’s it; simplicity often provides the most impact.

While some might think it strange that such an elegant piece of bedroom pop would reference Seinfeld, yet alone pull if off with success, but that’s precisely what Ducktails does. As the guitar solos in mid-track, providing listeners with just faint hints of sunshine, you can certainly see what sort of time led to such construction and craftwork.  Each note seems purposefully placed, draped across other various notes in an effort to maximize the final product.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve already listened to “Art Vandelay.”

Closing track “Porch Projector” lurks near the end, and that’s probably the most fitting place for it; it doesn’t detract or add from the collection on Arcade Dynamics as a whole.  If anything, the song, like the album, just takes you into the realms of wherever you wish to be.  It isn’t often that I am swept away in the mental and emotional level simultaneously by a record, but Ducktails has accomplished such a wondrous feat, only to return me back to my reality every 35 minutes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/07-Killin-the-Vibe.mp3]

Download: Ducktails – Killin’ the Vibe [MP3]