New Tunes from Electric Owls

Andy Herod was always one of my favorites, especially when he fronted the Comas.  Now, he’s still working on his latest project, Electric Owls.  They combine a lot of his rootsy folk elements with flourishes of electronics.  The band has just released the new Cullowhee Songs EP on Vagrant, which features members of Band of Horses and other Comas remnants.  Herod always had this way of connecting with me as a listener, and based on this track, it seems like he still has that special touch.  Give this track a spin, and if you likes, then go back and check out all the old Comas stuff, as well as the last Electric Owls record.  I bet you’ll be pleased.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ElectricOwlsIWasaFlood.mp3]

Download: Electric Owls – When I Was a Flood [MP3]

Electric Owls – Ain’t Too Bright

owls2Rating: ★★★½☆

When The Comas decided that it would be best to call it quits, at least for the day, I knew that I would miss their fuzzed-out space pop.  Ever since their first break on Dawson’s Creek, I was absolutely in love.  Luckily, leader of the bunch, Andy Herod, opted to take on the Electric Owls moniker and release Ain’t Too Bright on Vagrant Records.

As soon as this album kicks off, the fuzz begins, coating the acoustic strumming before Herod’s distinctive voice jumps into song.  For a fan of this man, it’s good to hear these familiar vocals, and the return of that space-age pop sound that Herod and friends perfected with Spells.

It’s great to see that Herod and his new posse haven’t neglected that quirkiness that made his old band so interesting, using electronic samples and other sounds to add an atmospheric background to the scope of each song.  But still, they maintain the feel of all the current bands. “Halloween Mask” easily fits in the modern pop landscape, dancing not far away from the works of Rogue Wave.  This song reminds us of Herod at his best, crafting careful cool hits with a hint of futuristic hipsterdom.

Reading notes about his return, it would seem that Herod needed this return to music.  His first foray had left him and his mates exhausted, but as all great writers do, he got the itch to write again.  That personality breaks through the surface of this album, as more traditional songs have been penned.  Songs like “Darken Me” with it’s folk leanings and foot stomping percussion remind listeners of the personal touch that music can bring. “Two Stories” has that similar personal stretch, with the song being drawn gently from personal experience of the narrator, presumably Herod himself.

This outing is less intense than the past efforts that have involved Herod, but this is not entirely a bad thing, as he first warmed his way into my heart with A Def Needle In Tomorrow long ago, which seemed to be a stripped down affair in comparison to his later work.  Still, it’s great to have the voice of an old friend bringing back memories of simple pop tunes with a space-age edge.  You never know how much you miss a particular songwriter until they make their way back into the music industry; we gladly welcome back Andy Herod and Electric Owls to the foray.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/04-darken-me.mp3]

Download: Electric Owls – Darken Me [MP3]