Top Songs of 2013

best songs ath 2013We’ve put our pretty little heads together ladies and gentlemen to bring you our favorite songs from this past year.  It was a difficult task with our ever growing staff, but we feel like this list best represents the diverse taste of our staff.  Love it or hate it, it’s ours to call our own.  Hit play and put your head down or dance or shimmmy or drool or whatever works. Most of all we hope you hear something you missed, something you want to buy or something you want to see live.

Scroll past the playlist for full the run of the bestest songs ever this year.

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Show Preview: Grooms @ Mohawk (10/23)

grooms

Date 10/23/13
Location Mohawk
Doors 9pm
Tickets $6 @ Door

It’s yet another great week /weekend of shows here in Austin and I see a great place to kick off your week right with a set by up and coming indie band Grooms at Mohawk.  Joining the band on stage will be local favorites The Sour Notes and Yum.  I see a great and cheap option to kick off your music week the right way.  Do it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/02-I-Think-Were-Alone-Now.mp3]

Download: Grooms – I Think We’re Alone Now [MP3]

 

Grooms Sign To Western Vinyl + New Single

groomsGrooms is a band that picked up lots of love on our website a few years ago with their stellar SXSW performances and later with their top albums worthy LP Prom.  So with that out of the way, we were clearly excited to hear that the band had signed with local label Western Vinyl for the release of their new album Infinity Caller on September 3rd.  To preview the new album before it’s release, the band recently dropped this new single “I Think We’re Alone Now”.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy the sort of hazy pop sounds that the band can create so effortlessly.  I find this one irresistible.  

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/02-I-Think-Were-Alone-Now.mp3]

Download: Grooms – I Think We’re Alone Now [MP3]

Grooms – Prom

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Two years ago, Rejoicer, came out, putting Grooms on the map, at least for a little bit.  In those two years, the group has really put in their time figuring out their style, and it’s going to pay huge dividends in 2011.  Prom is a record full of tracks tied together cohesively, yet each track is completely able to stand alone as an undeniable hit.

“Tiger Trees” opens with sampled drum beats and a repetitive guitar, sort of like an ambient opener for a Mogwai song, but moments later, cymbals crash, noise washes in, and you’re stuck in the melody bubbling beneath the track.  Here you’ll be intrigued by Grooms‘ ability to slither in and out of discordant atmospherics and melodious washes of noise.  Beauty in noise seems to be a huge theme from the get go as you enter into “Prom.”  It’s a youthful discussion lyrically, moving from the song’s title to discussion of the Smiths in one’s bedroom, but you’ll find yourself wrapped up in the line “I wanna be friends with you.”

Perhaps it’s just me, but while people can probably throw around a Sonic Youth reference here and there, due entirely to the loud quiet loud noise element, I occasionally hear later 90s indie rock heroes such as Built to Spill.  “Expression Of” has that same meandering quality that the best BoS tracks had, and vocally, you can definitely hear a little Doug Martsch channeling.  Part of the allure of Prom is that the band seemingly drop references to various bands throughout, such as the nod to Deerhunter in “Skating With a Girl,” but Grooms owns the sound; they make it entirely their own, wrapping it up in a unique blend of quieting melodies juxtaposed with distortion and feedback.

If you wanted to nit-pick here, perhaps you could call for a bit of a more polished production value, as some tracks tend to rattle perhaps too much for their own good. That being said, that’s one of the interesting qualities here, as the band clearly is marking their own territory within the realms of their forefathers. “Into the Arms,” comes late into the album, and this is perhaps the most Thurston Moore-ish song, even down to the lyrics, but the vocal delivery takes on a character of it’s own, allowing you to focus on the song’s construction, made more remarkable by the fact that the bass line seems to live just beneath the surface of the song, letting the cutting guitar chords roam free.

Sure, there’s definitely some landmark references throughout Prom, but everything has roots in something nowadays.  Grooms succeeds in their endeavors because you clearly see their dedication to crafting their own space within the confines of noisy indie rock.  It’s a place you’ll need to delve into, traveling with the band from start to finish on this most excellent journey, leaving you feeling fulfilled and rewarded for giving this record the deserved time.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/grooms_tigertrees.mp3]

Download: Grooms – Tiger Trees [MP3]

New Song from Grooms

One of the great things about SXSW is that it introduces you to bands you’ve never heard of, and often don’t remember days afterward, but then when you come across a new tune you get really excited, remembering all the promise the band showed in their brief set.  Such is the case of Grooms, having come across them last year at SXSW.  Having been quiet since the release of their last album, Rejoicer, the group has now lined up the release of Prom, set to come out July 12th via Kanine Records.  This first track comes off with this real muddy feel to it, filled with noise throughout, seemingly about to crash down up the listener.  All the while the vocals have this thoughtful quality, as if the lyrics are an observation of the music.  It all makes for a listen that will have you pushing repeat until the button breaks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/grooms_tigertrees.mp3]

Download: Grooms – Tiger Trees [MP3]

SXSW Discovery: Grooms

With SXSW week now way behind us, I’d like to spend a little time touching on some of my favorite new discoveries from the week.  Often times you get so busy running around trying to see that new hyped band, you miss out on some great artists like Brooklyn band Grooms.  I sort of stumbled (and I do mean that quite literally) onto these guys while wandering into one of my favorite east side watering holes last Wednesday night, Long Branch.  This band, and their incredible drummer Jim Sykes, immediately blew us away with an intense live show.  After speaking to the guys after their set, I hear they have a new album out called Rejoicer which hit stores via Death by Audio back in October.  Late in the game on this one or not, I’ll be picking up a copy of their LP and keeping an eye on these guys in the future.  Below you’ll find album opener “Dreamsucker”.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Grooms-Dreamsucker.mp3]

Download: Grooms – Dreamsucker [MP3]