Bright Dance Pop from Black Taxi

This song is a real throwback to those early 2000s when we could all just join up in a club and dance for fun.  Black Taxi are a Brooklyn foursome, currently working towards the release of their record in January 2012.  On this number you’ll find that steady guitar jangle stomp often heard in the likes of Franz Ferdinand or The Strokes.  I can already tell that this is one of those numbers that will have you and your friends dancing about late at night after the bars.  And if you like what you hear, the band will be playing the Zombie Ball at ACL Live this Saturday in Austin.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/01-Tightrope.mp3]

Download: Black Taxi – Tightrope [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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Bricolage – s/t

bricol

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Bricolage released their self-titled album earlier this year in the UK, but little fanfare made its way over to the United States, aside from a little bit of bubbling press; rest assured that Bricolage is an up-and coming act that will surely win you over upon your very first listen.  And let’s not all act surprised that this is yet another solid band hailing from Glasgow.

Here you find a band that is ready to make guitar music you can dance to, and they do it in the most straightforward fashion that you have to be enamored by everything that they do.  The second track, “Flowers of Deceit” brings to mind the boot-stomping moments from early Franz Ferdinand records, but in a much less post-punk sort of way. Guitars are a little bit warmer, as if each chord is struck with a little bit less anger/more affection.

Something sunny this way comes.  “Footsteps” is just another track that exemplifies the swinging emotion of the band.  Layered guitars and precision drumming bring to mind the poppier moments of bands such as The Lodger or  Mystery Jets.  All these bands use warm vocals to counter the angular guitars; you can’t help but roll down the window and let the music carry you down the road.

Let’s not think that this band is nothing but a modern dance troupe as they have the ability to carry a classic pop ballad along the way, such as “Plots are for Cemeteries,” which seems to use a bit of tropicalia in the overall crooning aesthetic.  “Sleepwalk to Me” is similar in that it slowly maneuvers along, progressing without ever really picking up the pace.  Even in the slow moments the band can catch your attention.

“Turn U Over” is an obvious single, instantly ready for your best dance party, at this late moment in the album, it makes you look back at the album as a whole; the album is full of great moments and great songs from start to finish.  The latter half of the album packs as much punch as the first part of this album, and the only thing that detracts from this entire collection of songs is that you might find that the band walk the same line for much of the album, but using multiple vocalists allows enough strength to each song that you never get the feeling that the band is retracing their steps. Bricolage is just another reason we should all move to Glasgow.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-flowers-of-deceit.mp3]

Download: Bricolage – Flowers of Deceit [MP3]

Franz Ferdinand @ La Zona Rosa 4/25

franz-ferdinandThese tickets have been sold out basically since the day they went on sale, but trying to a find a scalper for Saturday night’s Franz Ferdinand show at La Zona Rosa would be a smart move.  The Scottish dance/rock/pop innovators will be joined on the stage by Born Ruffians out of Canada.  Doors for this show are at 8pm with music starting at 9.  Check craigslist for some purchasing options.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/1-01-ulysses.mp3]

Download: Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses [MP3]

Franz Ferdinand – Tonight Franz Ferdinand

tonightff

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Let’s face it, Franz Ferdinand, though extremely enjoyable, has never been breaking a lot of ground with their push to get you to dance.  Comparisons to various bands crossed all over their debut, and this album is no different.  But, approaching the end of the day, you’ll still find that another solid record from this Scottish group, Tonight Franz Ferdinand, is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Ulysses,” the opening track surfaced a few months back, and it offered promise of a more dance-worthy set of tunes.  The problem with that approach to a description of this album is that the band has always been a dance-laden band.  Sure, they took a slow dance approach last go-round, but they’ve always encouraged you to dance, since their inception!

Sure, a song like “Turn It On” definitely will make you hit the dance floor a little harder, as the beat entices you to grab your friend and head straight for the floor.  In fact, all the songs, excluding “Send Him Away” and “Katherine Kiss Me” have a danceable quality, and even those two aforementioned songs will allow you sway with your partner in a reasonable fashion.

Once again, the band succeeds on various levels.  Somehow, singer Alex K is capable of crafting lyrics, accompanied by harmonies of course, that suggest involvement from all parties, listener and band member alike.  This is perhaps the best modern approach to dance music, as everyone loves a little participation.  Then you have to add the increasingly steady rhythm section, which always manages to create songs that make you want to stomp around. In addition, they sound tighter than ever before.  It’s the same stylistic approach as previous efforts, but small changes have pushed the band further than before.

One thing is clear here, the production has changed on this album.  The vocals sound a lot clearer here, and the music just seems to have a more straightforward clarity.  Increased synth or keyboard elements have also given the band a stronger edge in their overall appeal, at least when that pertains to dance floor ready tracks.  They don’t seem out of place on the record, rather an expected progression from a group that seems to clearly be searching for a new direction.  Another noticeable change appears in Kapronos’ voice.  There is a bit of a croon here, that visited at times in the past, but was never as prevalent.

At the close of the album, you aren’t blown away.  You probably can’t decipher every single song from those before it.  You can, however, say that you thoroughly enjoyed your listening experience.  You will look forward to cleaning your house with this playing loudly in the background.  It’s a good album, and you’ll enjoy it, you just won’t adore it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/1-01-ulysses.mp3]

Download: Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses [MP3]

New Music From Franz Ferdinand

As the release of Franz Ferdinand’s new album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand draws ever closer, new songs are popping up all over the interweb.  First came a video for new song Ulysses and now the band is giving us an mp3 for possible dance hit of the spring “No You Girls Never Know”.  Physical copies of the album will be out January 27th in the US via Domino records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/franz-ferdinand-no-you-girls-never-know.mp3]

Download: Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls Never Know [MP3]

The Lodger – Life Is Sweet

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Leeds band The Lodger released this album in May of this year, but Life Is Sweet has been taking its time to get completely acquainted with those of us on American soil.  Surely you will find tragedy in that, for this record is precisely the type of album that made British music a mainstay in U.S. college radio throughout the 90s.

This album opens up with “My Finest Hour,” which is a piano-laden song, gently sweeping along.  It floats somewhere in the world of Belle and Sebastian until the chorus brings in pounding piano and a quickened pace with the vocals.

Moments later you’re treated to the best song on the album, not that the rest aren’t here for your enjoyment.  It’s a foot-stomper of a song, with guitar work similar to that of Franz Ferdinand, but with a more pop-driven vocal.  “The Good Old Days” is sure to get you moving, no matter what your into.  It’s the perfect blend of upbeat indie rock and modern pop music.

The more you listen to the album, the more the infectious melodies lodge themselves inside your brain.  It’s similar to the first time you threw on a Smiths LP or even Orange Juice.  It isn’t anything that will go down as the most creative music of all time, but it’s the fact that the band has honed their skills to perfection; they get the most potential out of every single song on the album.

You could drop the name of pretty much every seminal Brit-pop band from the early eighties on when describing this band, but despite their shared commonalities with their influences, The Lodger is able to go beyond those same sounds; they create a sound entirely their own.  Surely this deserves our notice over here in the United States, as we can only hope that we get more guitar-pop from our distant cousins rather than the same re-hashed dance music time and time again.