Fresh Tunes from Greg Ashley

There are some musicians that inevitably supercede all others, and when new music arrives you stream it, buy it, play it over and over. Such is my interaction with Greg Ashley, who has just announced the release of a new album. Our first listen has him working out some broader musical territory; he opens with some careful guitar picking and soft vocals, then moving into an almost lounge exploration of balladry. This would be enough to grab me, but he continues his expansion with a heavy handed eruption that wraps up the tune. You know you’ll find me playing his new Pictures of Saint Paul Street quite frequently when it’s released by Trouble in Mind on June 30th.

Jam This Cover Album From Greg Ashley

greg_ashleySo it’s not often that we post covers of songs, let alone whole cover albums, but it’s a Monday and it’s time to mix things up. Greg Ashley, who you should already know, has made an album covering legendary songs from Leonard Cohen and Phil Spector. I’m not going to say too much, as you should really just take a listen below or over here, but Death of a Ladies’ Man is filled with cowboy folk renditions of already great tracks. Hear it for yourself.

Top 50 Albums of 2014

TOP 50 ALB 14These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year.  Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry.  So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more

Thus Far….Albums of 2014.5

docIt’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun.  But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man.  We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014.   Read more

Top 5 Trouble In Mind Bands at Austin Psych Fest

troubleYep…this week is the week.  We’ve got just a few days before we spend our weekend with the folks over at Austin Psych Fest.  I figured it’d be nice to do something a little different for previews this year, rather than just the traditional Top 5 Bands to See route.  So today I decided I’d bring you a highlight of all the acts at the festival that are on Trouble In Mind Records, either past or present.  I love the Chicago-based label, and while they definitely have a slew of psych bands, they’ve also got a reasonably diverse catalogue, all of which is pretty solid.  So, check out below to see the Top 5 TIM bands at the festival. We’ll see you out there. Read more

Psych Fest 2014 Interview: Greg Ashley

Greg Banner 2Ah yes, another festival in Austin! Actually, we’re really excited about Austin Psych Fest.  It’s got a remarkable line-up, though I’m a  bit bummed Primal Scream had to back out.  But, as we have a month to go, we want to start offering you some insight into the bands coming our way.  Our first interview is with Greg Ashley, who released Another Generation of Slaves to rave reviews, at least from our site.  We caught up with him before he comes into town.  Read more

Greg Ashley – Another Generation of Slaves

ashley-lp

Rating: ★★★★½

The past few weeks I’ve been listening to Another Generation of Slaves pretty non-stop.  When it came down to the arbitrary rating system, I wavered between a 4 and a 5, then settled on the now visible 4.5. While those numbers may mean little, all I can say as I write is that Greg Ashley has left us with a record that, at this point, is the best collection of songs I’ve heard this year.

“East Texas Plain” is a brilliantly solemn ballad.  It opens with a barroom piano while some understated percussion provides the perfect accent to Greg Ashley’s voice.  There’s something that goes into his vocal delivery that offers a familiarity to it; I keep thinking that he’s a more palatable Richard Hawley.  I particularly like how there’s just a little buzz in the recording too, providing some authenticity to what lays within.  Yet, Ashley doesn’t want to create something that weighs you down with one simple style.  “Brother Raymond” is a bluesy offering that brings a little bit of a rock n’ roll swagger to his creation.  It’s the perfect placement too…giving a bit of energy before bringing you to the best track.

It’s not that Another Generation of Slaves peaks entirely early, but I cannot get “Awkward Affections” out of my head.  There’s not too much to the actually lyrical content, but there’s a huge emotional pull going on inside.  Perhaps it’s the repeated séance of “you make me feel like shit/I wanna kill myself.”  If you’re looking for a song that begs to be played again and again, you should find a way to get your hands on this number.  However, the early tracks, like the three above all fall under 4 minutes, while it seems Greg saved his more laborious tracks for the latter half of the record.

The last few tracks on this record are all over 5 minutes, with my personal favorite being “Prisoner #1131267.” I love the piano work on this track; it sounds like there’s some classical training here, but at the same time, the way it’s used makes it seem like it’s just about to go out of tune; it buzzes and hums in your speakers.  It’s songs like these, which is pretty much every track, where you can hear an artist putting every bit on the line, musically.  Sure, Ashley might sound subdued at times, but other moments exist where he’s just belting out the notes, maximizing his passion.

I can’t really explain how much I love listening to Another Generation of Slaves.  There are songs that sound like cowboy piano ballads, then there are others with horns to jazz things up a bit.  There’s no telling which way Greg Ashley is going to take you on this listen, but I can assure you that no matter which way he goes, you’re not going to be let down one bit.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/03-Awkward-Affections.mp3]

12/12 – The Dutchess and the Duke @ The Mohawk

dutchessduke08This here is a story of heartbreak, a story of fallen heroes.  The Dutchess and the Duke made their way once again into Austin amongst strong praise for their recent release Sunset/Sunrise.  Our expectations were high, and we promoted the show as best we could, hoping many would see the greatness that was D&D.  Unfortunately, the night fell far short of our expectations, or mine at least.  Follow the jump for full review and photos.

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ATH Presents: Dutchess & The Duke

ATHpresents_d&dHooray!  We are now happy to anounce a killer show we will be helping out with at Mohawk in December.  One of our favorite bands of last year (#1 to be exact) Dutchess & The Duke are returning to Austin on December 12th and we couldn’t be more excited.  They will be joined on the stage by two other buzz bands: Oakland’s own Greg Ashley and Denton, TX boys Fergus & GeronimoThe last time D&D were in Austin they played as an acoustic duo, but word has it that they are now touring with a full band to bring the rock!  Tickets will only run ya $8 so we really don’t know why you wouldn’t be there…  Plus it’s a Saturday night!  Check out some previews of this show with an album review of D&D’s debut album of 2008, one for their more recent LP Sunset/Sunrise, or an interview we ran the last time they made it to town.  Stay tuned for more details and a possible contest for tickets to the show.  In the meantime, check out one of our favorite songs from last year “Reservoir Park” and what will surely be in our top songs for this year “The River”.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/01-reservoir-park.mp3]

Download: Dutchess & The Duke – Reservoir Park [MP3]

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/10-The-River.mp3]

Download: The Dutchess and the Duke – The River [MP3]