Show Preview: Feist @ Stubbs (4/26)

Date 4/26/12
Location Stubbs
Doors 7pm
Tickets SOLD OUT!

It seems crazy that Feist has grown to this insane amount of popularity after humble begins in Broken Social Scene.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of all of her material, but she can certainly write her fair share of catchy pop tunes that appease the masses.  The lovely lady stops into town on Thursday night at Stubbs in Austin for what is sure to be the hottest ticket in town.  Opening support is provided by Timber Timbre.  This show has been sold out for quite some time so check out craigslist or other such ventures to get a way in.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/08-I-Feel-It-All.mp3]

Download: Feist – I Feel It All [MP3]

Friday Top 5: Make Up Songs

Despite what we see in jewelry commercials this time of year, life and love isn’t all hallmark moments and wonderful memories. Sometimes we make mistakes, big mistakes. Mistakes so big that simply buying your loved one aforementioned jewelry can’t help. When that happens, being true to your heart and honestly apologizing is always best. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, poor (dumb) souls can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone; after all you’re only human. If your heartfelt apology is not enough to smooth these rough waters you are sailing, consider a mix tape. After all, God created mix tapes for this exact reason; to tell someone through song, what you are feeling inside. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few tracks to hopefully ease the pain and invoke the love back into your Valentine just in time for a romantic day. Commence sappiness in 3…2….1…

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Free EP from Alex Winston

Alex Winston is a talented young lady.  With the help of a few powerful producers, she created The Basement Covers EP, a wonderful collection of covers,  all by herself, playing all the instruments.  You’ll find her sounds are similar to other pop female artists like Feist, and we know there are a whole bunch of you out there excited by that comparison.  You can get her free EP right HERE with just the submission of an email address. Give it a try, I know you’ll like it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/The-Cave-Mumford-Sons-Cover.mp3]

Download: Alex Winston – The Cave (Mumford & Sons Cover) [MP3]

Wilco – Wilco (The Album)

wilco

Rating: ★★½ · ·

Everyone always has Wilco on the mind.  No matter where you go, you find someone you know that adores Wilco, which is acceptable, as they’ve managed to put out some phenomenal records. The question on everyone’s lips will be whether or not Wilco (The Album) will be one of those feats of greatness, or something along the lines of Sky Blue Sky. More than likely, once everyone has listened for an ample amount of time, it will lean more on the side of their later work rather than their earlier strengths. Alas, such is the life for a band of such stature.

One of the strengths of this album is that Jeff Tweedy has his voice way up in the mix, which provides die-hard fans with a chance to get more acquainted with him.  He seems quite a bit more assured here, as if he finally has come to realize that his voice is truly the backbone of the band, and without him they fail.  In all honesty, his voice is the best thing that runs throughout the album; it seems as if he would succeed to greater lengths if he just went it on his own.

This is where the album seemingly misses its mark.  Nels Cline has taken the reigns from Tweedy, and he now has control over the group. It’s much like the presence of Jim O’ Rourke; he has the ability to add greatness to a song, but the power to destroy it in various moments.  His guitar work meanders through the songs, but haphazardly, which decreases his strengths, and that of the band.  Nels, and the band, travel into territory that seemingly adds little to the progression of the songs as a whole, bringing the listener to a point of indifference.

“You and I,” however, is one of the best songs the group has ever written. Sure, the presence of Feist doesn’t ever hurt anyone, aside from being played on various iTunes commercials, but the song itself exemplifies the gifts Tweedy possesses as a songwriter. It’s on of the more straightforward songs, and it demonstrates Tweedy at his best, without the tampering of Nels Cline.  “Solitaire” is another such song where Tweedy seems to go it alone.  You can’t deny the power of his voice in such a song, and you can’t deny the intimacy with which he sings.

But, at the end of the day, the band lacks much of the interesting moments they’ve maintained on previous releases. Their formulaic styling as of late leaves much to be desired, and it seems as if its rendered the band rather mundane.  While they once peaked your interest with various approaches to Americana, they seem to have dwindled far away from those moments, instead settling for the most basic song elements.  So you find the band traversing such territory, dancing with tried and true strategies, while fading away with their modern twists on the genre.  Sadly, it just doesn’t garner much interest for listeners, which is a place Wilco fans never thought the band would go.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/05-you-and-i.mp3]

Dowload: WIlco – You and I [MP3]

ATH Interviews: Broken Social Scene

bss_coverPrior to Broken Social Scene taking the stage at Bass Concert Hall we were able to grab a few minutes with Brendan Canning and Charles Spearin. They talk about the current state of the band, their most recent tour, and details about their solo albums. Thanks to Robin and Brendan for all of the arrangements and preparations.

Read the Brendan Canning Interview

Read the Charles Spearin Interview

Land of Talk – Some Are Lakes

Rating: ★★½ · ·

Land of Talk is yet another band from Montreal, Canada, intent upon re-creating pop music in their own likeness and bringing it to your ears.  Their latest effort, Some Are Lakes, has just been issued by Omaha label Saddle Creek Records.

According to press information, the opening three songs of the album seem to revolve around the band’s earlier sound, which seems to reflect the earthy undertones of the album’s title track.  It is a female-dominated sound that recalls similarities between various Canadian acts that have made their way south of the border.  While these first three tracks definitely showcase the band’s musical repertoire, there isn’t anything too remarkable from these first glimpses.

Then they come straight at you with “Some Are Lakes,” which features stronger vocals from front-woman/guitarist, Lizzie Powell. Here you will find the band cleaning out their sound, ridding the song of extemporaneous noise in place of a more direct approach to your ears.  “Give Me Back My Heart Attack” has the band going back a few steps, those this song definitely has a stronger groove than the opening tracks present on the album.

“It’s Okay” is one of the simpler songs on the album.  Picture Amy Millan singing along to piano ballads and you’ll get the picture for this one.  The band pulls it off, but it’s not altogether very inspiring.  Then the band seems to pick it up from here.  Land of Talk pushes forward with more Canadian influences, but they do it this time with a certain brashness that makes it all seem more worthwhile; it comes off a lot more personal.  At its best when they unleash their guitars, they pull them back momentarily for what is the album’s stand out track, “Got A Call.”  As it sweeps in and out, it sweeps you away in the process.

After all that progress they sum it all up with an acoustic number that doesn’t seem to stray to far from the works of Feist, which is not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes the album feel entirely too uneven. Some Are Lakes is an album with varying levels of accomplishment, and those mainly come in the form of a band that let’s loose on the listener, releasing the power they seem to hold back for the majority of the album.  It all ends without the band establishing itself as the predominant force in the music presented here, and they fail to step out of the shadow of the Canadian heavy hitters.