Discovering a song that’s inexplicably moving is always a joy, especially when it comes offering a different view at music than what one typically gets during their day. I’ve been loving this tune from France’s Dead Horse One, who’ve just completed the finishing touches on their new album Without Love We Perish, which was recorded by Mark Gardener of Ride. This opening tracks is a sprawling number that slowly builds, waiting for the softly spoken vocals to move in beneath the mix. I’m sorry, but you’ve gotta listen to this song on repeat at least four or five times.
Feel like it’s been a minute since I last heard the work of French group, Blanche as a Name, but today things are a-changing as they just released a really special new single, featuring the track below. You’ll get sucked into the switch between the soft opening and the minimal explosion into pop bliss. Admittedly, these sorts of songs aren’t for everyone’s ears, but you’ll find yourself tapping your toes softly, escaping your daily doldrums, albeit for just four brief moments. You can pick up the single now from Bleeding Gold Records.
Long have I championed The Bankees, a band that deserves far more appreciation than perhaps they’ve gotten. Honestly, everything they’ve done has affected me in some manner or another. I got great news today that the band has completed work on their 5th album, completing some of their best songs to date. They remind me a little bit of a dreamier version of Comet Gain, perhaps including a little bit more psychedelic elements too. I’ve spent the afternoon listening to V, the new album, and I’m offering up one of the many great tracks featured on the record. If you’re looking for something that encompasses pop elements whilst still challenging your ears, then grab a listen here.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/07-Miley.mp3]
Download: The Bankees – Miley [MP3]
I’m not sure if anyone has ever used the term twee garage pop before so I plan on coining it as my own if it has yet to be claimed. That’s the term I’m using to describe this relatively new Paris based outfit Beat Marks. Their sound combines the twee elements of POBPAH with some of the indie garage bands like Yo la Tengo or even a touch of Sonic Youth. Those comparisons may seem a bit bold, but I find the band might just be worthy.
Download: Beat Mark – Between My Teeth [MP3]
You know, I don’t think too many people talk about the scene over in France, aside from a few acts. So when I got this heads-up on Dead Horse One, I was a bit intrigued, and then I was pleased. The band has crafted a blend of early shoegaze with hint of psychedelia, creating a heavy sound that begs your attention today. Earlier this year they released their Heavenly Choir of Jet Engines EP, and while it might be a short affair (4 tracks), it’s been really rewarding listening to the wash of guitars coated in this odd pop approach. It’s clear that the French aren’t worried about pretense here, aiming to craft their own unique sound.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Dead-Horse-One-Heavenly-choir-of-jet-engines-01-Dead-Horse-One-Alone.mp3]
Download: Dead Horse One – Alone [MP3]
Occasionally you encounter a band and a record that fits perfectly into who you are or where you are; these are the sorts of albums that you’ll always find endearing, no matter who tells you otherwise. Home by The Bankees, just might be that album, reaching beyond my expectations and finding its way straight into the core of my being.
Admittedly, I’m not in the same place as the lyrics on “Single Life” by any means, yet I’m drawn to the songs emotional appeal. I love the way there’s some restraint in the delivery of the verses, which is only strengthened when the chorus comes through with a bit of brightness. The cascading electric guitar solo nicely ties the song together as it continues through the track. And then you come into “Days,” one of the standout tracks from the Home. For me, the quality of the recording is what does it; it’s not overblown with production, allowing the craftsmanship of the group to shine through. The lyric of “I don’t have that much to say, no one listens anyways” seems perfectly fitting to my wandering mind. This track is perfect.
The Bankees put songs together so well that you have no idea what hit you until the track is over, so you rush to play it again. Every time I listen to “Big Fish” this is the exact sentiment I get, hitting that repeat button. Quietly strummed guitar, stomping drum beat and male/female vocal duo all feature on this jam, warming my spirit with each play. Mid-track the song seems to come to a halt for just a moment, then carries off again as the cymbal is used for extra bits of emphasis. But, making songs like this surely can’t come easy, even if they sound so incredible. “Home” creates nostalgia personally, though it’s not just in the lyrical material, but also in its likeness to Arab Strap. Similar to the Scots, this French band seems to strip things down to such simplistic moments that you sometimes aren’t even aware of the musical quality, despite how moving it is as it comes out of your speakers.
There’s hardly a misstep on Home, which alone makes it worthy of your listening pleasure. More importantly, it’s hard to write about one song, or even several, as each song seems to deserve some attention. “Under the Sun” closes things out in a softer space than where the album began, relying mostly on the guitar work and the vocals. It’s almost a personal farewell from The Bankees, although the subject matter might not lead you that way. That’s precisely why I’ve annoyed everyone playing this record over and over again: it’s extremely personal. Whether you relate to the lyrics or your drawn to emotional appeal of the tracks themselves, you can’t help but feel enwrapped in the whole of it all. In my mind, that makes for a memorable record I vow not to put down anytime soon.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-Days.mp3]
Download:The Bankees – Days [MP3]
I’ve long been a supporter of Bankees ever since I came across their last album, Kimono. Unfortunately, the French group has largely gone unnoticed over here in the States, but I hope I can change that. This song is their first single from their upcoming record, Homes, which is shaping up to be one hell of a listen. On this tune, they’re taking a casual approach to effortless pop, just letting the guitar trickle in while the vocals calmly win you over. It’s the sort of pop tune with a melody that gets stuck in your brain, which is the kind of stuff I like. I’ll keep you all posted on the new album as more details come our way, but you can spread the word on these guys in the meantime.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-Days.mp3]
Download:The Bankees – Days [MP3]
You may be sick of all the new dance music making a resurgence, but you’ve gotta admit that French duo Justice are at least doing it right. The Frenchman continue to do it right with a new 4 part project entitled Planisphere which can be streamed on the Justice myspace page. It’s pretty rad.