The Moondoggies – Tidelands

Rating: ★★★ · ·

We can easily classify Moondoggies under the realm of folk harmony rock, as that’s clearly where their new album, Tidelands, has come to rest.  But, while you’re likely to use the Northwest as a reference point, due to the band’s location, and current trends, there seems to be a bit more nostalgic Americana on this record, which definitely makes it worth your listening ears.

Unfortunately, “It’s a Shame, It’s a Pity” opens up , which possibly gives the wrong impression to listeners right off the bat.  Now, this isn’t to say that this is a bad song, in fact, quite the opposite (I dug it), but it does tend to hint at modern folk rock trends, such as Grand Archives, just with a bit more of a twang and ambition.  Still, it’s not the most revealing song on the record, and it immediately sells the band’s sound short.  Following in its footsteps, “Tidelands,” doesn’t do too much to clarify things.  It comes from the same ilk, roots-rock featuring nice harmonic vocals.  Both songs are great, but you’ll find that Moondoggies have a great deal more to offer you as you move along–still, these tracks are good, but if its not what you’re looking for, keep moving along through the album.

“Uncertain” is the perfect track to display what the group are apt to do, from here on out we hope.  It’s a subtle meandering track, with Kevin Murphy’s vocals tugging on the coattails of a whiskey drunk Neil Young.  The percussion seems sleepy, but you find much more emotion in this track, much more personal reflection. This sort of track asks you to go back and look for phrases to fit to your memory–that’s the sort of song you’re looking for nowadays.  Similarly, the closing track “A Lot of People on My Mind” pulls you deep beneath the surface of the recording, as there are elements where you can here man waiver, questioning his existence, and those other timeless motifs of music.  Soft guitar strumming barely breaks the sound barrier here, forcing you to submit to the power of Murphy’s voice.  Surely we’d all be happy to hear more tracks like this.

Still, the band definitely have work to do if they’re to move beyond mere imitators and nostalgic songwriters.  “Down the Well” comes off busy, and doesn’t have the clarity that even the most quiet tracks of Tidelands offer.  Songs like these aren’t able to escape the haunting of ghostly influences, wearing the past on the sleeves of the musicians.  It is these moments that show us that Moondoggies have a bright future, once the kinks are finally ironed out.  Previously mentioned songs such as “Tidelands” or “Uncertain” stand on their own merit, but in the mix of the album, it makes for somewhat of an unbalanced effort.  Personally, the quiet moments are when the band seems the most successful, as this appears to be where they establish their own voice as musicians.  All in all, the effort here is good, but the execution itself needs a touch of work.

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

Download: The Moondoggies – It’s a Shame, It’s a Pity [MP3]

Free EP From Grand Archives

Despite my indifference to their latest album Keep in Mind Frankenstein, I still dig the sounds created by Seattle band Grand Archives.  To celebrate their upcoming summer tour, the boys are offering up a free download of a short 3 song/1 video EP entitled The Story So Far…  Each song on the EP is taken from a different Grand Archives release.  I’ll reminisce a bit with “Miniature Birds” from the bands steller self-titled Sub Pop debut.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/miniaturebirds.mp3]

Download: Grand Archives – Miniature Birds [MP3]

Free Sub Pop Sampler

subpopSub Pop is at it again with another free sampler featuring some of their best tunes from last year along with a few previews of upcoming material.  You’ll see staples like Beach House, Grand Archives, The Ruby Suns, and tons more.  You’ve probably seen a lot of these songs here on our site, but isn’t it easier to get them all in one big zip file?  Si!  Oh and your favorite 1990s internet graphics are back and ready for some fun!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/05-Falling-From-The-Sun.mp3]

Download: The Album Leaf – Falling From The Sun [MP3]

New Music From Grand Archives

grand_archives_04Grand Archives is a band we feel strongly about because they were one of the first bands we had the chance to interview when we started this site over a year ago.  Oh and we like their music too… The Seattle based band recently wrapped recording on their sophomore LP effort and first single, “Oslo Novelist” is available for your previewing pleasure now.  Keep in Mind Frankenstein will be in stores September 15th via Sub Pop.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/5804.mp3]

Download: Grand Archives – Oslo Novelist [MP3]

Sub Pop Sampler!

subpopIt’s no surprise that Sub Pop has been able to stay atop the game as one of the leading independent record labels since its inception.  To this day they continue to release albums that always matter; let’s just say that the label is known for its good taste.  They’re here to offer you a brand new sampler full of songs that you can get later this year, such as a track from Grand Archives, or songs you should already own this year.  Grab yourself  a copy of this fresh new sampler here.

06/21 Grand Archives Show + Interview

The people at Stubb’s Austin were treated to an outstanding set by Seattle’s own Grand Archives on Saturday night. The band mostly stuck to songs from their self titled debut album Grand Archives, which came out earlier this year in February. The set list provided a good mix of upbeat songs along with some of the slower tracks from the album. One big highlight for me was the superb cover of Sam Cooke’s popular R&B song “Another Saturday Night”. Most members of the audience were cracking smiles and singing along to the huge ’60s hit from the late singer. Read more

06/21 Sera Cahoone Show + Interview

The country music & bluegrass world needs more women like Sera Cahoone. Long before my time, women like Emmy Lou Harris & Loretta Lynn carried the torch as THE women of the genre. Not afraid to say what they think about their latest man or toss out the occasional dirty word along with the strum on the finest Gibson acoustic. Sure the world still has their Kathleen Edwards or even Allison Krause to some extent but I feel we need more from the women of the genre. I feel like Sera is one of these women of country music who can carry that torch in the new generation. On Saturday night at Stubbs, she provided an intimate set full of the grit and vulnerability that used to come with those elder stateswomen of country music. Read more

Grand Archives @ Stubbs (6/21)

Grand Archives will be coming to Stubbs this Saturday in support of their recently released album Grand Archives. The band will be joined by label mate Sera Cahoone who will be showcasing songs off her recent Sub Pop release Only as the Day is Long. You can find tickets to the show on Stubbs website for only $10 or you can get one at the show for $12. ATH will be on hand for what should be a stellar show, with a full review and pictures of the show coming early next week. Songs from Grand Archives & Sera Cahoone can be found below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/couch.mp3]

Download: tornbluefoamcouch.mp3

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/long.mp3]

Download: onlyasthedayislong.mp3