I’ve been a longtime follower of Neil Brogan, since his time in Girls Names throughout his work with Sea Pinks, so of course its time to shine on his most recent offering from the weekend, Magnolia Day. I’ve covered a few singles, but I’m really impressed with how strong this collection of songs is upon my first few listens. Always one to toy with melodies, I think I was really stuck on the album when I came to “Broken Record;” he plays with a few notes here, holds a few there, and it explores his willingness to push his sound. Currently, I’m stuck on “Between Two Trees,” though “Green Recovery” seems to tie into the influence of Spring and nature on Brogan’s songwriting for this album. Whatever. Just enjoy.
My love affair with Neil Brogan has stretched back over 10 years, first with Girls Names, then Sea Pinks…but this is the first time Neil’s really stepped out with an album under his own name. These 11 songs are still filled with his pop sensibility, as you’ll get almost immediately with the steady bop of “20/20.” You’ll notice the whole album seems to be written from the perspective of someone holed up indoors during this shit year; you get the isolation, but you also get reflections and songs about busying yourself to keep your mind occupied; we’re all going to find this listen highly relatable. There’s not a bad song in this bunch, but at the moment, I’m really stuck on “Belisha Beacons,” the most charming tune this morning.
Girls Names rode a wave of hype that seems to have crested and left few of the bands on that ride remaining, but not so for this bunch. They’ve continued to develop their sound on their own terms, and with this new, almost brooding track, they seem to really have found that sweet spot. The rhythm section gives the song a dark underbelly, while the guitar shimmers in an almost atmospheric way before adjusting to insert careful guitar lines that float across the mix. As usual, the vocals generally operate in these deep tones, though the moments of perceived chorus do give them a chance to rise into dreamier vibes. I’m glad this group is still going about their business, and we’re looking forward to Stains on Silence, which drops June 15th via Tough Love.
Oh Girls Names, how we’ve missed you. The long time ATH fave has just announced their return with this dense new single, opening with this brooding post-punk for almost two minutes before vocals even enter the picture. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of movement following that, but I love the group’s ability to evoke maximum emotion with such simple structures. I can even hear a slight King Krule influence on the way the vocals come across during the verses. It’s an interesting entry into an already stellar catalog, so I look forward to seeing what comes out of it all when Stains on Silence is released on June 15th via Tough Love.
We had representation form the Brits, Scots, Irish, Bloomingtonians(?) and, of course, Brooklyn and LA.
Read More for images to relive the past or learn what you missed.
After a lot of hard work and tweaking of some components, I’m finally pleased to share the news of a show we have going down on Tuesday, March 15th at Nomad Bar in Austin. Personally I think this might be one of the best lineups we’ve ever been able to put together. Find some deets below and we’ll see ya there. Facebook event link.
Time: ATH Happy Hour with music by us 5pm-7pm.Music @ 7pm.
Free & Open to the public. 21+ only. Sorry kids.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/197819457″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Year-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.
Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
Hmm. Do I like this? Well, I do like it, but I also have to see it as a completely different version than the Girls Names I originally came to love. Honestly, it seems like an entirely new band, though we’ve had hints with recent singles and 10″ coming from the band. What was once atmospheric and brooding now takes on the full focus, thrusting the band into a darkened world of filled negative space and slowly unraveling rapture. It sort of reminds me of what’s become of Iceage…though it seems like they’re getting a lot more out of their approach. Their new effort, Arms Around a Vision will be out on October 2nd. My final thoughts…yes, I like it.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/224862989″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Admittedly, I think I’m partial to the Girls Names debut, Dead to Me. There was something in the simplicity of the songwriting that the band now seems to have discarded for the most part. Their newest single, like their 11 minute 12″ tune from earlier this year, goes beyond simplicity, filling in space with sonic exploration. Still, what I’m liking from this new effort is the band’s adherence to pop tropes within the confines of their new direction; while it borders on a touch too long, there’s still evidence of a pop song in every moment. It’s our first listen to the band’s new album, Arms Around a Vision, which will be out in October via Tough Love.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213629879″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
I’ve been way into Girls Names since they first hit the shores via Slumberland Records, and while they’ve changed their sound, their music has still been relatively compelling. Enter the new chapter for the band, the result being an 11 minute exploration into the space where bands may soon take their post-rock approach. The track opens with digitalized foreboding before the settles into it’s circular guitar work, pushed forward by the drum work. Don’t be worried, as the band have disguised their pop-centric leanings beneath carefully crafted swells of guitar. Look for this new Zero Triptych 12″ via Tough Love Records on May 11th.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/197427780″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]