Have Fun With The Rich Hands

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We’ve been hyping up local San Antonio boys The Rich Hands for awhile now and we’re excited to call these almost locals ATH approved.  You may have heard their style before, but I think the guys are providing a fresh take on the indie-pop genre.  Expect quick, guitar driven songs complete with short and catchy choruses to make music in your ears.  I can’t find any reason not to like this.

New album, Out of My Head, is due out May 6th on Burger Records/Fountain Records.  Also, check our SXSW interview from the band elsewhere on the site.

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Gritty Pop From Gross Relations

300After several spins of this new track “Cut the Final Scene” from Brooklyn based outfit Gross Relations, I’m ready to give it the ATH seal of approval.  It’s a rock pop number with a touch of garage noise in there somewhere that doesn’t seem to let up its intensity until the track culminates after roughly two and a half minutes.  Welcome to fun times.

You can pick up the band’s debut self-titled album on August 20th via Old Flame Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/09-Cut-the-Final-Scene.mp3]

Download: Gross Relations – Cut the Final Scene [MP3]

Keeping It Austin: Meet Pharoahs

1887140403-1Over the last year or so I’ve caught several sets from local boys Pharaohs, and they continue to impress with their enthusiastic indifference.  Their goal you ask? Well, in my eyes the aim of the group is to throw down like nobody’s business while building their sets with rad hooks and jagged guitar lines.  I haven’t caught one set that didn’t make me want to let loose, all the while singing along.  You should care about the group, not only because they’re fast becoming an Austin staple, but because their debut record, Babes Booze Bam Bam Baby, is solid track after solid track.  If you like what you hear, then head HERE to grab the album from the band…and remember to contribute to your favorite artists!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Pharaohs-Babes-Booze-Bam-Bam-Baby-01-Prettiest-Girl.mp3]

Download: Pharaohs – Prettiest Girl [MP3]

New Jamz From Mazes

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Mazes is a band that we posted about a couple years ago and haven’t really heard much from since that point.  Today the band reached out to let us know they have a new album Ores & Minerals that just dropped last week on FatCat Records (available for purchase here).  To get you interested in that release, the band sent us over this new song “Skulking” which can be streamed and downloaded below.  The song is a great garage rock, lo-fi song that has one of the most badass, crazy amplified guitar solos around the 2:50 mark.  That alone makes the song a keeper for me.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/10-Skulking.mp3]

Download: Mazes – Skulking [MP3]

Say Hello to The Sweets

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You won’t find much information about up and coming L.A. based band The Sweets when looking around on the internet, and apparently the band like to keep things on the mysterious side.  I do know that the band make some incredible hazy, surf, lo-fi pop music that’s perked up my ears over the last few days.  Our song sample below “Malts” is a perfect example of the band’s garage style take on mellowed out surfer music.  If you’re into it, check out more of the band’s tunes over on their bandcamp page.  Stay tuned for more information on The Sweets as it gets to us.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Malts.mp3]

Download: The Sweets – Malts [MP3]

Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview: FIDLAR

It’s been a way solid year for FIDLAR, releasing a nice little 7″ full of catchy garage rock jams, and then getting loads of press across the nation from new fans.  It’s no surprise they’re rising, they combine the catchiness of pop-punk tunes, fueled by a lo-fi recording done in someone’s garage; it’s ballsy, yet it’s exuberant, so what more could you want?  They’re going to continue their huge year by playing for us all at Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I get the feeling that they’re just on the cusp of being everyone’s favorite band, sort of like Wavves of 2009, which is all the more reason to get out there and see their set.  You can be one of those people that says “oh yeah, I saw them way back when…”  Not to mention the fact that it’s going to be energetic and kick you in the face!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/fidlar_GotNoMoney.mp3]

Download: Fidlar – Got No Money [MP3]

FIDLAR plays Friday, November 2nd at 1:05 on the Black Stage!

Natural Child – Hard in Heaven

Rating: ★★★★☆

After catching Natural Child several times over the last year, I’ll gladly say I’m a huge fan of their live sets.  I was hoping that they’d capture that raw intensity on their latest effort, Hard in Heaven, and for the most part they do push that onto listeners. But, when they decide to hold back and slow it down, just a touch, it might just make the record more enjoyable through and through.

When I pressed play the first time, I got exactly what I wanted with “Laid, Paid, and Strange.”  It begins with a furious guitar riff, and the group’s two man approach to vocal delivery snaking their way through lyrics about, well, getting laid and making money. They even add a crunchy guitar solo mid-track just to keep it interesting.  “Rock Bottom” bangs in next featuring fuzzed out guitar stomping and guitar soloing as the rhythm section pounds out a groove that definitely fuels the live energy of the trio.

Then they mix it up, slowing things down for a few, though the next tracks are actually growing to be some of my favorites. “What You Gonna Do” is almost a garage rock ballad, but it’s even slower, with the bass work stealing the show throughout.  And those wild vocals, from the earlier tracks, sounds smoother and polished, in just the right spots–these guys can do it all!  The title track from Hard in Heaven isn’t even close to a ballad; it’s a long, drawn out blue-y jam with some quieted vocals just walking longingly through the song.  Listening to this track will definitely give you more appreciation for the group’s abilities as musicians; there’s not to many people doing it up this way anymore.

And then Natural Child is back at it again with “B$G P$MP$N.”  Sure, the lyrics are sort of juvenile, but it’s clear just listening to the song that the band is having a blast just banging songs like this one out. This is the sort of song that has made these guys so endearing live; they’re passionate, no matter what they’re doing on stage, and I can appreciate that.  Still, the rest of the record is full of more surprises that show the band evening out their sound throughout Hard in Heaven.

“Derek’s Blues” nears the end of the record with a Soutuhern rock influenced jam that nears 6 minutes.  It’s almost like a party rock type, but for those that like to drown their sorrows and good times in cases of beer and bottles of whiskey.  Or there’s the group sing-a-long that ends the record, “Let the Good Times Roll.”  It still has a playful lyrical approach, but even then, there’s a classic storytelling aspect to what their doing.  The song’s mostly a guitar strummed affair, but it’s got bits and pieces of that new Natural Child flare, making it another pleasant winner that keeps me playing the record all the way through.

I guess some might be taken aback at first by this new Natural Child.  But, you can see their mark all over the record, even when they break out a blue-influenced jam.  They’re never going to take themselves too serious, and we all benefit from that. Hard in Heaven isn’t as balls to the wall as I wanted it to be, but after getting to spend some quality time with the album, I’m glad it’s not.  This version sounds more complete than what I had in my head, and I base that on the group’s ability to balance their sound from start to finish, leaving you with a refreshing amalgam of garage, punk, blues, and Southern rock that you won’t want to put down.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/05-BG-PMPN.mp3]

Download:Natural Child – B$G P$MP$N [MP3]

New Rocker from The Demon Beat

You all know I love my rock n’ roll given to me with a nice little punch in the face, which is exactly how I feel with this new jam just released by The Demon Beat.  The group’s preparing to release their new album, Less is Less, which comes out in September via Funny/Not Funny Records.  I feel like the group’s got a solid garage rock feel, but the vocals have a bit of a scratchy drawl, prompting me to give into these guys more punk rock leanings.  It’s definitely an energy filled hit, so I hope it helps keep your day real.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/02-02-Teenage-Wasteland.mp3]

Download:The Demon Beat – Teenage Wasteland [MP3]

The White Wires – WWIII

Rating: ★★★★☆

When I first picked up this new gem from The White Wires, I took the label (Dirtnap Records), the album photo, and then I jumped to conclusions.  I figured it’d be some sort of garage rock record; I figured I dig it.  In a sense, it does both things, but WWIII is far from just your average garage rocker; it’s got a lot more pop sensibility and natural energy, giving listeners much more than, if they’re like me, bargained for on this listen.

“All Night Long” blasts in with your typical garage fair, or so it seems.  Guitars trade off from the speakers, jagged and distorted, but then Ian Manhire enters the fold.  He’s got a polished vocal, allowing his natural fondness for pop to shine through with his lyrics.  It’s a quick start, but in seconds you’ll be pogoing about your home.  That sort of sentiment continues with “It’s Been a While,” a track that features a rolling drum beat, accented by heavy-hit cymbals, and staggered guitar licks.  The chorus uses backing vocals to provide that extra bit of hook. But, WWIII isn’t just a blend of garage rock and pop-punk; it uses power-pop goodness to mix it up.

“The Magic” might not be the best song from The White Wires, but after three straight tracks of upbeat rock n’ roll in your face, it gives you a second to breathe in the power of a good power ballad.  Guitars twinkle, bass fuzzes out and everything else wraps together to create a wonderful tune I can’t wait to see the group play live. However, the calming effect of the sequencing only lasts briefly here, with the band eager to get back to what they do best–rocking your face off.

I like the youthful attitude that’s present throughout the entirety of WWIII, giving you a license to just enjoy the record without having to think too much.  “Let’s Start Over Again” is the perfect song to fit this sentiment, with lyrics in the chorus that reflect the simplicity of the song’s title.  In doing so, the band has created anthemic choruses that are perfect for the live show, letting fans jump about and sing along in frivolity. Then it moves right into the bubbling bass work of “And Then You Told Me,” which features the band providing you with a sharp-edged swinging sensation.  It sort of reminds me of a teenage Ted Leo, free of all the political heroics and legendary status.

Sure, I only filled the review with mention of a handful of songs, but you could easily use every track on WWIII as a lead single.  Only one song reaches beyond the 3 minute mark, keeping things tight and joyous in a short space.  It propels the record, but it also caters to durability for The White Wires.  You’re not going to get bored listening to this record (I promise!), and you’re going to find something to get you going on every track.  Take elements of pop punk, garage rock, power-pop, even power ballads–throw it in a blender with a gritty attitude, vibrancy and solid recording–you’ll end up with the perfect recipe for a great listen, and a great album from this Ottawa trio.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/01-All-Night-Long.mp3]

Download:The White Wires – All Night Long [MP3]

Show Preview: Ty Segall/White Fence @ the Mohawk (5/25)

Date Friday, May 25th
Location Mohawk
Doors 800 pm
Tickets $10 from Transmission

Tons of great shows on Friday night, but the one you’ll find me hitting up is Ty Segall and White Fence over at the Mohawk.  Ty’s got to be one of the busiest people in the business, releasing his latest album, Hair, with White Fence just this past month, then turning around to release another as the Ty Segall Band in just a bit.  Garage rock and glory are all his.  It’ll be interesting to see if Tim from White Fence plays a solo set, or if he’s just going to rock with Ty the whole night, or if they’ll trade back and forth.  You can also catch some great acts opening the night up, with Rayon Beach and Useless Eaters kicking things off the right way.  It’s going to be a rock n’ roll fueled night, but this is your friendly reminder to not talk at the show, please.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/02-I-Am-Not-A-Game-1.mp3]

Download: Ty Segall & White Fence – I Am Not A Game [MP3]

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