More New Tunes from Holopaw

Those of you looking for a sprawling bit of carefully orchestrated pop are going to fawn over Academy Songs, Volume 1, the newest record from Florida’s Holopaw.  On their latest single, the vocals are what seem to draw me in, going back and forth between a careful whisper and a rising bit of force.  This is one of the more gentle tunes on the record, which will see a release from Misra on January 15th.  The band carefully builds the sound, with lightly rolling drums filling in the negative space with perfect precision.  It’s slow opening only makes the emphatic release of tension more special as the song continues to unfold.  This release can’t come soon enough.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Discotheque.mp3]

 

New B-Side from Holopaw

I’m not sure where my infatuation began with Holopaw, but I’ll claim myself as a devoted fan of the group, perhaps with their early work from Sub Pop and Isaac Brock…and their impossible to find third album.  They’ve just joined up with Misra, who released a 7″ from the band, and will also be releasing Academy Songs Vol. 1 on January 15th (just before my birthday!). This is the B-Side from the 7″, representative of the band’s ability to move in and out of various musical spaces within the span of a single song.  It’s always been something I’ve adored, not to mention the sound of Orth’s voice on everything they’ve done. Enjoy this one.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/67184125″ params=”auto_play=false&show_artwork=false&color=ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Holopaw – Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.

holopaw-oh-glory-oh-wildernessRating: ★★★☆☆

Holopaw had a decent output back in their days on Subpop, but they had been quiet for the better part of the last four years.  That is until Bakery Outlet released news that they would put out Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness.  And, despite that singer John Orth has ties with Mr. Brock from Modest Mouse, you can’t really feel the odd signatures and multi-instrumental moments that he threw into the completion of the Ugly Cassanova album.  It’s much more of a mainstream approach, but by that, perhaps it just means it’s more straightforward than what one would expect.

When “The Art Teacher and the Little Stallion” first burst onto the Internet, there was something really casual about the vocal delivery.  It seemed like a band that was comfortable in what they were creating, and that, for me, was quite refreshing.  It was just a simple guitar driven song, nothing special about it, but nothing one would consider mundane.

For the most part, the album doesn’t do too much else to steer you away from that understanding.  “Boys on Motorbikes” has a strange feeling of 90s radio meeting with vocals of someone like Bazan or Enigk or even one of the Kinsella brothers.  Something in the vocal just seems to pull at that emotional level just enough to differentiate itself, but not so much to where you will forever remember the vocals.

A special moment does appear on “Cherry Glow,” the album’s fourth track.  Strummed guitar serves as the primary background for Orth’s voice, and then it slowly builds towards a quickening of the pace.  And as the lead guitar takes over, you’re reminded that you’ve found a song; the female backing vocals cooing in the background don’t hurt too much either.  Similarly, “The Last Transmission” is perfect as a single instrument strong.  Sure, the flourishes in the background from the slide guitar aren’t really going to hurt anyone, but by itself, you can really get pulled into the song itself.  All this can probably be placed at the foot of Holopaw‘s history, as they were forced into a duo years ago, only to pick back up as a group very recently.  

The group aesthetic is all well and good, but some of the songs, such as “Little Stallion with a Glass Jaw” sometimes seem a bit overdone by having the full band presence.  This is what makes Oh, Glory. Oh Wilderness. a good album as opposed to a moderately great one.  Intimate moments across the album are perfect and rewaring, but occasionally, you just seem to get stuck in the middle of the album.  Alas, they’ve just reformed a proper band, so the future for Holopaw could be very bright.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/holopawartteacher.mp3]

Download: Holopaw – The Art Teacher and the Little Stallion [MP3]

New Tunes from Holopaw

holopawWhat can you do when you’re part of the great roster at Sub Pop but continue to be overlooked by the masses?  Well, you switch up labels (Bakery Outlet), and you just keep writing great tunes.  That is precisely the way of Holopaw, who are set to release their new album Oh, Glory. Oh, Wilderness. This new tune, along with the upcoming album, makes me want to go revisit their old catalogue it’s that good.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/holopawartteacher.mp3]

Download: Holopaw – The Art Teacher and the Little Stallion [MP3]