Late to the Party: Carnival Youth

10379877_319202781561504_1879389632014875846_oWith endless emails coming in every day, and my own hunt for great songs outside the press, I’ll admit, I sometimes find that great music escapes me.  Luckily, I was able to revisit this sweet bit of swelling pop from Carnival Youth, and now I can’t get enough of the track below.  What amazes me as much as the track itself is that the band hails from Latvia, a country that rarely, if ever, gets musical coverage, so I’m glad to shine a little light that way; I’ve got old ties to the country.  Just listen to this track. Listen to the bounce and let yourself get swept up in the beauteous emotion of the song.  It’s off their Never Have Enough EP, which is as great as this tune below.

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Solid Pop from Tomboy

tomboyThere’s some electronic music that really pushes the boundaries of the genre, then there’s others that should just be appreciated for great execution. This song’s got a little of both, though I’m just enjoying it for the fact that it really just hits the spot today.  The beats are fairly minimal, with the track’s focus on the vocal performance; it’s a good thing those vocals are smooth too, adding to the song’s attraction.  It’s the second single from Tomboy‘s debut EP, which will be released by Captured Tracks this summer.

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Enjoy Your Day with Shorts

shortsI found this tune while I was trolling the Internet, hunting down our virtual friend Curtis from Velcro. Shorts is actually a Brooklyn act, but it’s founded by a former Australian, which is probably where Curtis comes into play, running a similar path in life.  Of course, this is exactly what I wanted to hear today; it has a bright guitar chord that dances around the song’s melody, while casual harmonies come in via multi-part vocals.  You’re going to want to get your hands on this bad boy when it’s release by Aloe Music on March 18th; it’s titled the Berlin 1971 EP, and it’s sure to be a stunner.

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Stream the Young Girls EP

youngirlsWe’ve been talking about it for weeks, and dreaming about it for even longer, but today the Young Girls EP goes live.  You can pick it up digitally from the band themselves, or you can wait two weeks and pick it up from us in a double-sided vinyl format.  Either way, we figured it was best if we let you hear it, that way you know just how much you’ll need to get your hands on it.  Things have been going pretty quickly online, so don’t wait around too long, as it’s limited to 500 copies of delicious hits.  Grab it from us HERE.

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New Music from The Rainy Afternoons

rainyMan, sometimes Texas is so big you just don’t realize the hidden gems hiding in your own backyard.  It took a UK blog, Burning World, to shine a light on the Rainy Afternoons, which is the project of one of the former members of Flying Nun band, Garageland.  That band fared pretty well, and I think some of the songs from this project definitely have some longevity.  The songs on this short unnamed EP range from fuzzy to super accessible, such as the song below.  Be sure to check out all the tunes up for offer, and don’t forget that you can always donate to help the cause…well, you should always donate.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/The-Rainy-Afternoons-Oscillations.mp3]

Download: The Rainy Afternoons – Oscillations [MP3]

Widowspeak – The Swamps EP

widowspeak-epRating: ★★★☆☆

The Swamps isn’t nearly as gloomy as its cover and title might indicate.  Although the EP begins with a slow, somewhat melancholy introductory track, it soon gains momentum.  By the time the penultimate track, “True Believer” rolls around, the mood on this record could almost be called optimistic.

Musically, The Swamps is a bit more eclectic than Widowspeak’s first two albums.  At times, the band almost strays from the smooth, dream-pop sound of their previous work.  “Smoke and Mirrors” feels a bit like surf-rock, while “Calico” and “Brass Bed” are much lighter, folksier tunes.  Still, the band is instantly recognizable due to lead singer Molly Hamilton’s dragging, breathy vocals.  Hamilton has an effortless way of rising up into notes that reminds me strongly of Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval.

Lyrically, these songs combine the imagery of a swamp with both nostalgic and hopeful sentiments.  “Calico” and “Brass Bed” are about simple, domestic pleasures and reflect a lost sense of normalcy in a relationship, while “True Believer” is a more direct appeal for understanding.  “True Believer” contains a grand, sweeping chorus and is, for me, the best and most memorable song of the group.

I’m not the biggest dream-pop fan out there, and the songs on The Swamps might not be as strong as some of Widowspeak’s earlier tunes, but there’s something very compelling and soothing about the vocals throughout the record.  

Beautiful Pop from The Young Sinclairs

youngI first caught wind of the Young Sinclairs reading the Big Takeover magazine, and throughout that time, I’ve seen several other people I respect have plenty of things to say about the Roanoke, VA group.  They just released the You Know Where to Find Me EP, and the lead single is just absolutely prefect; it brims with beautiful melody and spot-on harmonies.  The sound of the guitar is crisp, even meandering a bit into classic R&B picking from time to time.  If you’re looking for something to carry you to a better place, then you might have found the right track today!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/01-01-You-Know-Where-To-Find-Me-Master.mp3]

Download: The Young Sinclairs – You Know Where To Find Me  [MP3]

Energetic Jam from Pagiins

PagiinsSmall4.182757I immediately like the way this song kicks off, with a guitar line that’s soon joined by percussion and vocals.  It’s a jump-start from the get go, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in the energetic blend of garage and psych genres.  It seems that Pagiins (yea, they did that) are intent about just giving us no frills rock n’ roll, though we might hear a few things mixed up when they release two EPs on October 8th.  The Arkansas based band will release Good Things Take Time and Bad Things Dont EPs, with two similar themes, though the styles are rumored to show the two faces of the act.  You can pick it up from 20 Sided Records in October.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Pagiins-Bad-Things-Dont-01-Open-Up-Your-Mind.mp3]

Download: Pagiins – Open Up Your Mind [MP3]

Gambles – Far From Your Arms

Gambles-Far From Your Arms-EP-COVER-highresRating: ★★★★☆

For the last year or so, the name of Matthew Siskin, and his Gambles project, has been on many a writer’s lips, or pens, or keyboards.  After spending several days holed up with his short Far From Your Arms EP, it’s clear to me that all his accolades and interest are warranted.  His EP is intimately moving, touching every corner of my oft darkened soul, awakening the spirit and faith in music/art once again.

“Trust” begins with a slow strumming, with Siskin’s voice wavering just atop.  At points, he seems to struggle, though not in a manner that turns people away.  Rather, I’ve been drawn closer into his sound, listening for every slight crack or every tarnished note, all reverberating a purity in songwriting that I’ve missed a lot lately.  While the pacing of the strumming provides a sensation of solemnity, he picks things up slightly moving forward.

His strumming of his acoustic takes a heavier-handed turn on “Safe Side,” though he alternates between that punchier strumming technique to quieted careful note picking.  But, when it’s loud, the sound is emphatic, yet his vocals turn intimate when he brings things to a hush.  He’s speaking to someone, or a character he knows, switching from a personal perspective to more of an omniscient thinker.  The closing whistle is an added touch of beauty.

Skipping ahead to the EP’s title track you’ll find what I consider one of the best two songs written this year.  “Far From Your Arms” is the perfect bit of modern folk music, both in its sonic approach and its emotional pull. As Matthew’s voice rises, ever so slightly, one can picture himself listening carefully in a smoke-filled pint-size room, holding your breath as every note is played.  Perhaps the song’s about a journey home, or the distance that divides us all, but regardless, it encapsulates everything I’ve ever dreamed of hearing. I imagine this song will play in my head and heart for some time.

What amazes me about listening to Far From Your Arms is how much I feel the impact and weight of the songs within.  Admittedly, I consume a lot of music, and it takes a lot for something to really really hit home.  But, in five short songs, Gambles has achieved that feat, with both the poetry in his lyrical content and the emotional pull of every chord.  This is a must listen for anyone.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/04-Far-From-Your-Arms.mp3]

 

New Beauty From Kirby Kaiser

Most of our loyal readers know that the ATH crew is all about the leading ladies with beautiful voices that can often times send a chill down our spine.  This new song entitled “A Little Longer” coming our way from Chicago based songwriter Kirby Kaiser is one of those songs that we find irresistible.  The songwriting is fairly simplistic and could maybe be considered a little juvenile for the young 20 year old musician, but hot damn, something about her vocal delivery is really doing it for me.  It’s sultry, it’s raspy, and it fits in perfectly with the doo wop style of the song.  This is the first new material from Kaiser since the release of her debut EP last year, which I highly recommend you check out on soundcloud if you haven’t.  She’s got what it takes to stay around for awhile.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming releases from this upstart and promising artist.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/A-little-longer-original-master.mp3]

Download: Kirby Kaiser – A little longer [MP3]

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