You Already Love Bob Collins

11263981_837624092974427_2364401972923408431_nIt’s been a really great resurgence month for The Dentists, with two of the band’s songwriters unleashing new tunes/albums. First there was Treasures of Mexico, and now we’ve got Bob Collins and the Full Nelson.  He’s releasing his new record, Telescopic Victory Kiss, and though slightly different, it hits as beautifully as one would expect.  It’s a power-pop gem of a tune, mixed in with a little bit of an Elvis Costello or Ted Leo approach to how things are delivered vocally.  I’m pretty sure you’ll have this playing for the rest of the day.  Look for the album to see a release next week via Jigsaw Records.

Nude Beach – II

Rating: ★★★★½

There’s very few records out there that force you to pause and take a deep breath, momentarily reflecting upon the great possibilities that await you.  This is precisely what happened to me when I first put on II, the latest release from New York’s Nude Beach.  For me, it’s exactly everything I love in music…a little bit punk, a little bit pub and a whole lot of hooks; isn’t that what we all want?

“Radio” is the opener for II, and it’s a great way to start things; it’s sort of power-pop, but the type that was sung by your older brother when he was hanging out doing Springsteen covers with his friends. This vocal’s not punk rock; there’s a bit of classic American pop sensibility, which is refreshing in this genre.  And of course, the band moves into a bit of their Elvis Costello work on the following track “Walking Down My Street,” but I like the slight bit of yelp that comes through; it balances out with the smoothness of the song’s chorus.

But, as much as I love to write about great power-pop tunes, Nude Beach adds an extra bit of pop that lays outside the tried-and-true formula. You take a  tune like “You Make It So Easy,” and you can tell that this group isn’t defined by the historical context of the tunes they obviously favor.  I like the mellower approach, the touches of keyboard bouncing in the background and I don’t even mind the guitar solo.  You’ll also find hints of a good old-fashioned ballad by way of “Don’t Have to Try,” which is pretty much just a slow jam to close down the night at the bars, again with a late touch of organ in the background.

While it’s refreshing to see that II isn’t fueled by pure energy through and through, the peppy songs don’t hurt the release by any means. “Cathedral Echoes” is perhaps the most punk rock jam on the album, with furious pacing by the percussion section and a bratty bent on the vocals.  I like the swagger you can feel coming through the speakers on this tune, adding a bit of bounce to the record as it’s stuck between a few softer tunes. Album closer “Loser in the Game” has a similar edgy punch to it, but the song itself is a bit steadier, with a bit of that pub-rock swoon swinging atop the instruments.  For me, it’s all good fun, and that’s what I want from my rock n’ roll.

Nude Beach may have been bouncing around their local scene, but they’ve executed a pretty flawless album with II.  There are songs with a romantic leaning, there are tunes with energy, but it’s all done with a working class sensibility, making it one of the most enjoyable records I’ve written about in a long time. Now’s the time for these dudes, and this effort shows that times are good…and they’ll only get better.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Walkin_Down_My_Street.mp3]

Download:Nude Beach – Walkin Down My Street [MP3]

Friday Top 5: Same Name Songs

Hey, it’s me Jon. Back for some insightful commentary on popular music. JK JK LOL!! I’m actually here with another thinly veiled excuse for rambling nonsense and forced humor. Today’s list is about songs that have the same title (not to be confused with cover songs). For no reason in particular, I have decided to give myself bonus points for selecting songs with maxim musical disparity. Read on if you dare.

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FT5: Music Fashion Accessories

We here at ATH hope that all of you had fun over the past 3 months soaking up the Vitamin D, getting wasted, and subsequently wreaking havoc across our city, but now it’s time to get back into the dreaded educational mentality. One of the truly great things about going to school is the first day. You’ll be meeting new people and making a good first impression is all it takes sometimes to get an excellent shot at a get-together with that certain someone you’re sure to see that day. Well, if music has taught me anything, musicians usually know how to dress to impress. I’m sorry to say it, but summer is over. Get some style for the new school year after the jump.

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FT5: Pub Rock

0206top5coverWhile it’s true that most early Pub rock was just a bunch of British dudes ripping off The Band, at it’s core it was a roots rock movement reacting to the wankering of Emmerson, Lake and Palmer and other over-the-top progressive rock acts of the early 70’s. You can just imagine a working class kid in England seeing this on the telly. More of a circuit of pubs and music halls than an exact musical genre, Pub rock created an outlet for stripped down roots rock that would eventually pave the way for punk rock in England. Ranging from bluesy country to basic rhythm and blues, if there was one aesthetic that was common to all of the Pub rock scene it was a no frills return to basics. So grab a pint, start calling your friends your mates and your pants your trousers, and check out the Pub rock top five.

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