Strong Vibes from British Sea Power

britishseaI’ve had friends who’ve toured and worked with British Sea Power, yet somehow this is the first track that really pulled me in immediately.  I love how the song builds from the get-go, with this really perfect vocal performance creeping in softly; I also like how the strings and horns are restrained until called upon by the band. It’s one of those songs that seems like the orchestration and vibe are pretty near perfect; I just imagine a cleaner, saner version of Flaming Lips or Polyphonic Spree…it’s orchestral pop music done like no few else. Their new effort, Sea of Brass, is being released on October 30th via Golden Chariot Records. You won’t be able to get enough of this track.

Pulsating Pop from VOWS

wvosListening back to this latest tune from Vows, I’m finding this odd mixture where Caribou meets the world of the Flaming Lips.  It’s a strange sensation, sometimes pulsating with electronic magic, yet still holding onto what one would call a sense of oddity.  The oddball  sensation definitely permeates through this track, yet the groove ultimately fulfills your listening needs, giving you a little bit more oomph in your step.  Soon Enough Love, their next release, will be released later this summer via Vermont’s Section Sign Records.

New Blissful Pop from The Color Bars

When you get a press release that mentions Belle and Sebastian, The Flaming Lips and Pavement all at once, you’ve either got to be excited or scared.  After listening to this single from The Color Bars, I will definitely say I’m leaning towards excitement, and clamoring to get my hands on their recently released record, Prosopopoeia.  Really, it’s just great pop music, and with the electronic influence on this track, I’m getting more of an Of Montreal feeling here, giving a bit of classic quirkiness, though it’s a bit more in the nerdy vein as opposed to Kevin Barnes hyper sexuality.  Just let the hooks sweep you through the day.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/structupoppierally.mp3]

Download: The Color Bars – Structupoppie Rally [MP3]

Friday Top 5: Top Five Song Spots

In a conversation with one of our local blogger friend’s, Sonic Itch Mike, I decided that I really needed to take a close look at which spots on any given album are the killer spots to put your hits.  Some people think that the immediacy really makes Track 1 the best, but I’m going to look a little closer at this idea.  I mean, there are hundreds of classic albums out there, and surely they ascribe to this great song placement formula.

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ACL Battles: Band of Horses Vs. Flaming Lips

With only about a week and a half remaining until the huge ACL festival starts on the 8th of this month, it’s time that you really start thinking about that plan of action for who you want to see over the weekend.  Sometimes your choice will be easy with only one decent band playing at a certain time, but then you’ll have a choice like this one that will make you want to pull your hair out.  So on the one hand you have The Flaming Lips who formed over 25 years ago and have been doing their psych rock thing for longer than most of us can remember.  But then we have a more recent favorite in Band of Horses who can still hold their own despite their relatively short career together.  Both bands are playing on Sunday late in the day at 6pm on opposite sides of the festival, so you have little hope of catching a bit of both sets.  My initial feeling was to go with Band of Horses based on my just having seen Flaming Lips at Free Press Summer Fest earlier this summer.  Plus, I feel like The Lips are still using the same damn live gimmicks that they’ve been hitting us with for the last 5-6 years… I mean cool, but I’ve seen it more than once.  Then again, Flaming Lips play right before The National on back to back stages so it would be nice to just post up and avoid fighting the crowds.  I also fear that the Band of Horses crowd could be old hippie city since The Eagles play on the same stage shortly after BOH. My indifference towards the recent material from both of these bands may cause me to just go with a majority vote amongst my friends.  Care to share your thoughts?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/bandofhorses-isthereaghost.mp3] [audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/03-silver-trembling-hands-1.mp3]

New Music from The Octopus Project

One of our favorite local acts, The Octopus Project are gearing up to release a new collection of songs, titled Hexadecagon.  The project began, as the band is like to do, with a bit of an artistic inspiration, writing the songs to video clips, and recording in the manner of the Flaming Lips on Zaireeka.  This collection hits the streets on October 26th, and just you wait for the band to rock it out, just like they do near the end of this track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/The_Octopus_Project_-_Fuguefat.mp3]

Downlaod: The Octopus Project – Fuguefat [MP3]

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

EMBRYONIC TRAY

Rating: ★★★ · ·

I’ll be the first to admit that after listening to At War with the Mystics a few years back, I fully expected Embryonic, the new album from The Flaming Lips to be one of the worst albums I would come across this year.  Yea, I lost the faith, and like others, I was pleasantly suprised when I got my hands on the album.  A few spins in, and I dug it.

For the first few moments, you can tell that the shift of the group has gone towards a less pop-centric approach to writing.  Gone from the opening moments are the anthemic pop songs one would expect to hear coming from Wayne’s mouth as he walked across a crowd in a bubble.  Still, the one thing that makes me reluctant to go full on into this conglomerate of sounds, which is really what the first few tracks are, is that I heard this all before.  Sure, the Lips can pull it off, but it reminds me an awful lot like that Battles album from a few years back.

Then comes “Evil,” which starts out as mere noise samples, then goes into traditional song structure, and then fades back into the samples once again. Unfortunately, it’s not really a classic song approach for the band, and you won’t get a chance to really hear them pull off in that direction again until “I Can Be a Frog,” but you really don’t get too far into the song itself, due to the fact that you’re spending most of your time trying to catch the noises that correlate to Wayne’s lyrics.  Even “Silver Trembling Hands” isn’t a straight-forward song, and it was the single.  Take out the vocals, and you have the rest of the album in your hands.  No lie.

So what makes up the majority of this album you might ask?  Well, if I were The Flaming Lips, and I were constructing this album, or explaining away its secret recipe, I would do it as such:  2 Parts Flaming Lips, 1 Parts M83, 1 Parts Battles, 1 Part Liars/Deerhunter, 2 Pandering to Noise Fans, 1 Part Throwaways.  You probably bake it in the studio for several years just to make it come out the way you want.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the lack of originality on this album, as far as where my ears hear the sounds coming from, is that very few people could execute an album precisely the way this group did.  Their fusion of sampling, pop, psychedelia, jazz, noise, etc comes off successfully, without really exhibiting  a lull in the album.  If anyone could construct such a concept in their mind, and then pull if off, it had to be the guys that put together Zaireeka.

Sure, there aren’t any classic gems, like most of us really wanted to get the band to toss our way, but there is no denying that beneath the sinister construction of this noise, something beautiful will come to fruition.  Will I be the one to see that beauty?  Maybe so.  As of now, I’m still trying to figure out who on Warner Brothers tried to explain Embryonic to the bosses on behalf of The Flaming Lips because I’m having trouble enough explaing it to myself, let alone anyone who reads this.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/03-silver-trembling-hands-1.mp3]

Download: Flaming Lips – Silver Trembling Hands [MP3]

FT50: Albums of the ’00s

0828top5coverWhat?   You still listen to THAT album?  That record is so 2004!  Well, that’s okay, because we really like that one too, which is why we decided to come up with a list of our favorite albums of the last decade (2000-2009).  Sure, these might not be YOUR favorite records, or the most critically acclaimed, but we sat down and really thought out every record from the past ten years that we keep coming back to in our collections.  You’re likely to disagree with some of these, and we won’t tell you we’re absolutely right we just know that these happen to be OUR favorites.  If you think we totally blew it here, feel free to tell us so, but be nice, as our egos are kind of fragile.  Follow the jump for more.

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