Top Albums of 2017

Lists are arbitrary and burdensome, but why not join the fun everyone else is having? We gathered our lists, separate lists for all of us, then combined them into one that had 50 albums. What you get here are the four writers/contributors of ATH, giving you their meaningless opinions on what we thought was the jam in 2017. It’s alphabetical, and we put the initials next to it so you could track down your enemy!

 

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Enjoy the Latest from Gun Outfit

Something about this song feels like home. Gun Outfit have undoubtedly played a role in my at home listening, but this one has this general feeling of safety and welcome. Perhaps being a Texas has something to do with it, but the lyrical trading between male and female vocals almost has a familial storytelling vibe, while the guitar paces about your speakers. Some songs just have that ability to wrap you up in that security blanket, allowing you to immerse your soul in song…and that’s where this song carried me. The group will be releasing Out of Range on November 10th via Paradise of Bachelors.

Enjoy New Music from Gun Outfit

It always seems weird to me that Gun Outfit isn’t living in Texas…though the same could be said for parts of New Mexico, Utah or Arizona. They craft this intelligent Americana, seemingly rooted in the vastly barren expanse of Western America. Sure, there’s country/folk leanings, but on this latest single, the musical unfolding seems to create a broad horizon…a lonely road heading deep into the orange mesas with a car packed full of the band members. I want to be in that car, I want to listen as the wind whispers…but most of all, I want to hear the group’s entire new record, Out of Range; it drops on November 10th via Paradise of Bachelors.

Brand New Gun Outfit

gunsHonestly, I didn’t expect this week. It seems like hit after hit has come my way, via my searching or just a massive amount of tunes being pushed out there. Still, it wouldn’t be a great week without this Gun Outfit tune to wrap things up with a little bit of alt-country perfection. Their new album Dream All Over just came out, but they have this great new Two Way Player EP ready for your ears via Wharf Cat. Maybe it’s a stretch, but it seems like this song is the crossroads where Kurt Vile and Silver Jews meet in the middle…it’s the sound of rolling on with just a hint of being an outsider; it’s the sound you’ve been looking for but didn’t know you were looking for, yet. The EP will be out on February 21st.

Yesterday’s News: New Gun Outfit Single

gunoutfitI think people are going to be really surprised by the depth that’s present in this new Gun Outfit LP. It’s all over the map, musically, which is pretty evident just listening to this track here. Opening with a trickling bit of psychedelia, it branches out into more of a warning of impending doom. I suppose you could stretch and say the darkened edges of psych rock are ever-present, but when listening to the album as a whole, I think it’s offering much more, even some tracks that are pretty simplistic in their presentation. All that being said, it’s diversity and accessibility make Dream All Over a special listen; it’s out on October 16th via Paradise of Bachelors.

Gun Outfit Unleash New Single

gunoutfitJust when you thought you had Gun Outfit pegged, they go and mix things up on you, tossing out a real slow burner as their latest single. Kind of sounds like the post-rock ghost of Bill Callahan, which I won’t be complaining about anytime soon. There’s all sorts of space in the track being filled in and out with guitar noodling and percussive touches to flesh out the number. Their new album, Dream All Over, definitely will be on my list of must buys, but just in case you haven’t been thoroughly convinced, give this one a listen. You can grab the album from Paradise of Bachelors on October 16th.

Gun Outfit Give You Mellow Folk Rock

10325577_1387509698154727_9205184690863579935_nGun Outfit are a group out of Southern California who are back with their fourth studio album, Dream All Over, which is due out October 16th on Paradise of Bachelors. From this new album they’ve shared the lead single, “Gotta Wanna,” and it’s a low-key simmering track with folk and americana influences. If you’ve ever been to SoCal you’ll understand how the track mimics the landscape there; the bluesy guitar work meanders easily through the mix while those dueling male/female vocals waft gently in, giving the track a desert rock feel to it. I’m digging this subtle jam, and I’m looking forward to more from Gun Outfit.

Top 50 Albums of 2013

albums banner 2013 procMaking our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly.  We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience.  We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed.  If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.

50 – WampireCuriosity
49 – Dot DashHalf Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles  – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed CastIllumination Ritual
46 – Bad SportsBras
45 – Part TimePDA
44 – Dick DiverCalendar Days
43 – Math and Physics ClubOur Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica FallsWaiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely WildThe Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love LanguageRuby Red
38 – Gun OutfitHard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le BonMug Museum
36 – Daughn GibsonMe Moan
35 – Andre ObinThe Arsonist
34 – ArpMore
33 – Gap DreamShine Your Light
32 – The Black WatchThe End of When
31 – Ty SegallSleeper
30 – The StevensA History of Hygeine
29 – Of MontrealLousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror TravelMexico
27 – Local NativesHummingbird
26 – Girls NamesThe New Life
25 – GRMLNEmpire
24 – Small BlackLimits of Desire
23 – AudacityButter Knife
22 – Mikal CroninMCII
21 – Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty
20 – FoalsHoly Fire
19 – Radical FaceFamily Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry MaltsNobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out LoudsOptica
15 – Kurt VileWaking on a Pretty Daze
14 –  BraidsFlourish//Perish
13 – Crystal AntlersNothing is Real
12 – TyphoonWhite Lighter
11 – Ski LodgeBig Heart

10 – GamblesTrust

Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created.  In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.

9 – The GrowlersHung at Heart

I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.”  But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track.  I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.

8 – Wax IdolsDiscipline & Desire

Hether Fortune seems to scare people.  Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes.  That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense.  The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors.  If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.

7 – Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege

While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work.  It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record.  The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.

6 – The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

What else really needs to be said about The National.  They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts.  I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party.  Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.

5 – LegsPass the Ringo

When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve.  Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.

4 – Warm SodaSomeone for You

Someone For You came our way in January.  On my record player, it hasn’t left since.  This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record.  You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.

3 – Coma CinemaPosthumous Release

At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners.  You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.

2 – Bubblegum LemonadeSome Like it Pop

In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers.  But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music.  This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special.  Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.

1 – Magical CloudzImpersonator

This album is about Devon Welsh.  From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note.  The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow.  It made us believe in great music again.

 

Show Preview: Gun Outfit @ Beerland (4.5)

gun_outfit

Date Friday, April 5th
Location Beerland
Doors 9:00 PM
Tickets Cheap


If you’ve kept your eye on the site this week, you’ll know that one of the LPs that came out this week that I can’t stop spinning is Hard Coming Down from Gun Outfit.  It’s got the perfect blend of modern day indie rock with that nostalgic 90s bent, and I’ve heard nothing but great thigns about their live set. But, as if that weren’t enough, you’ll get to see underground icons, Versus, and one of our local favorites Flesh Lights.  To top it off, the Young and Ghetto Ghouls will be joining in, so you’ll get to see five rad bands for pretty cheap.  And everyone at Beerland is friendly, so there’s that.  Don’t be scared, come rock with me!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Gun_Outfit_-_My_Whole_Life.mp3]

Download:Gun Outfit – My Whole Life [MP3]

Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down

gun-outfit

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Olympia, Washington’s best kept secret might have been Gun Outfit, that is until people get wind of the incredible piece of work they’ve constructed, and just released.  Hard Coming Down is their third LP for Post Present Medium, and according to press, the first that includes bass.  I don’t care much about any of that, other than I can’t get enough of their blend of Sonic Youth meets Built to Spill meets Dinosaur Jr meets rock n’ roll.

Hard Coming Down almost opens up softly, with a relaxed female vocal from Carrie Keith, but that doesn’t stick around for too long.  Guitars begin to ring out loudly and angular-ly, while drums pound heavily in the background.  Of course, the Sonic Youth attribute does exist in the opener, with the band going from soft to hard in a flash, though Keith has more of a sweetness to her vocal as opposed to Kim Gordon.  From here the album goes into one of its many highlights with “Lau Blues,” with Dylan Sharp offering up his drawn out vocals for a change in the album’s dynamic.  Here you’ll find the same sharpness to the guitars, though they have a country-fied meandering to them, all working around Sharp’s vocal.

While it’s easy to throw these guys in a grab bag of various alt-rock favorites, they manage to make the sound entirely their own.  For instance, the opening guitar work on “I’ve Got a Gift” surely has that fast paced guitar/bass battle working, but it’s the approach that changes things up.  Rather than let the guitar create direction, it’s the vocals here (Sharp again) that dictate where the track will go.  It’s almost a country-jam, though the pace might be too quick for that allusion.  There’s also “Death Drive,” which combines some Mascis-esque vocal tones, but the drumming alone is something that allows this song to step outside of the shadows of their fore-fathers.  Personally, I dig the juxtaposed vocals on this track between Sharp and Keith.

Of course, you’re going to have to pick your favorite singer between Sharp and Keith, and today, I’m sticking with Carrie.  Her voice on the twangy “Fallen Sun Song” is one of her best, and the more I listen to it, the more I see a haunting darkness lurking beneath the soft cover.  Or you can go back to “High Price to Pay” where she sounds more life-worn.  Wherever she pops up, it’s with purpose, providing a distinctive sound that elevates the entire record.  But, I assure you Dylan’s performances aren’t too shabby either.

Up until now I had really only been familiar with Dim Light, the group’s last album, but Hard Coming Down just continues to grow spiritually within me, especially when you bust out the vinyl version.  Gun Outfit has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but this album secures the band’s spot as one of the brightest stars on the musical horizon.

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