Jawbreaker Coming to Austin – 7/13/18

The experts in pulling our old favorite bands from yesteryear into Austin, Margin Walker, have done it yet again folks by bringing the legendary punk group Jawbreaker to Austin. That’s right, the same Jawbreaker who haven’t played a Texas show in over 20 years, and though “back together”, only play special performances. This is a huge deal for both myself and Nate dog as this is one of the bands we grew up with and one of the bands that first introduced us to non crap. As far as the show goes, the event will take place at the Statesman Skyline Theater and tickets will go on sale this Friday, May 4th at 10am. Tickets are being sold via Skyline Theater website and will run you $44 for GA and $99 for VIP. Support for the show will be from Lemuria and locals A Giant Dog. I am very excite.

UPDATE: We asked Margin Walker boss man Graham Williams for a quote about his booking of Jawbreaker in Austin. Here’s what he had to say:

“While a lot of us got to see Jawbreaker in the 90s, far more never got that chance, as they broke up while really in the rise as a band. I think everyone had given up on the chance of them reuniting, so when they did, its been a goal to get them to Texas and pretty stoked we finally made it happen for everyone.” –Graham Williams

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More Tunes from Woolen Men

woolen-menI really think that people will love this new record from Woolen Men.  It reminds me of some of the structural work that’s been done recently by the likes of Parquet Courts, but that’s not to say that it really sounds anything like that.  In fact, they take a similar approach, though it’s got more pop sensibility to it.  Honestly, it feels like Dear You-era Jawbreaker meets Parquet, which is a formula for love in my book. Their new effort, Temporary Monument, will be out on September 4th via Woodsist.

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FFF Preview: Blake Schwarzenbach

I feel like this might be one of the two artists I feel the most involved with at Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I know for a large group of my friends, not to mention others I’ve talked to, that Blake Schwarzenbach has been a huge part of our musical education.  For me, it started with his role in Jawbreaker; they were one of the group’s I couldn’t get enough of as a late teenager.  Then, as I grew up, my tastes expanded, as did his when he began work on Jets to Brazil.  And most recently, he’s been working with Forgetters, which I’ve grown to like after belated listening.  However, I can’t honestly say that I have any idea what he’s going to bring to the table at FFF; I’ve heard he’s pretty against playing any Jawbreaker tunes, so I’ll just hope for my favorite JTB tunes.  No matter what you’re into nowadays, it’d be hard to go back and ignore the huge influence Blake’s had on so many acts that followed. Hit the play traingle for a pair of my favorite Blake related tunes from Jets to Brazil and Jawbreaker.

He plays at 6:25 on the Yellow Stage on Friday, November 8th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/03-Air-Traffic-Control.mp3,http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/01-Save-Your-Generation.mp3|titles=Jets to Brazil – Air Traffic Control,Jawbreaker – Save Your Generation]

Lemuria – The Distance Is So Big

Lemuria-The-Distance-Is-So-BigRating: ★★★½☆

Lately the musical landscape has been peddling bands who’ve grown up on the alternative rock of the 90s.  Some of those sounds are great, while others sound outdated, but I think Lemuria have landed in a spot that nods to the past while looking forward.  Their new record, The Distance Is So Big, recalls great moments from Dear You-era Jawbreaker, yet includes a heavy dosage of male/female vocal interplay, catching your ear’s attention with every spin.

The first real song on the album beings with an ambling guitar, and really takes off when Sheena enters the scene.  Her entrance seems innocent at first, and then the group blasts off into a heavier spectrum, accented by a gang vocal shouting.  It hints at the excellence to come in just a few moments when “Clay Baby” begins to play.  Everything about this song is absolutely perfect, from the lyrics to the vocal delivery of Alex Kerns to the sound of the guitar.  Sure, there’s definitely a throwback feeling here, but it’s executed so perfectly that I’ll continue to play it for quite some time.

During my first few listens to The Distance Is So Big, I definitely gravitated towards the singing of Kerns as opposed to that of Sheena, but the more I play this album, the more I realize the record wouldn’t be complete if it was just one singer.  For instance, on “Paint the Youth, Sheena takes the show, winning you over with her bass lines and her casually sultry voice, but the appearance of Kerns off and on really ties the song together as a whole.  If they weren’t able to operate in the same realm, then perhaps the formula wouldn’t allow for the success of the release, which is wholly not the case.

Personally, I keep gravitating to the tracks that seem to have a louder force from the get-go, such as “Dream Eater,” which takes about 15 seconds before it lets you rock your way through the entire track.  Or you can look at “Public Opinion Bath,’ using discordant guitar sounds from the start to wear out your eardrums.  Yet, even with my tendency to rock, I like the fact that Lemuria also knows when to let a song sprawl to glory, as they do in “Oahu, Hawaii.”  If you’re looking for my opinion, this is the sure-fire hit that can’t be avoided, with the guitar building tension from the moment you press play.  As the tones get heavier, you expect an imminent explosion, yet the band never fully unleashes that sound.  Instead they rely on the female/male interplay to insert a nice hook during the chorus; it’s loud and it’s quiet and you’ve got a catchiness factor that all leads to a standout.

My first run through The Distance Is So Big was really all that I needed to catch on to this album.  There were songs that stood out like “Clay Baby,” “Ruby” and “Oahu, Hawaii” almost immediately, which is enough songs to keep me going back nowadays.  So I traveled back with this record, in more than one sense, and I found other gems and other qualities that showed Lemuria reveling in the past while pushing their sound forward.  Be grateful.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/07-Oahu-Hawaii.mp3]

Download: Lemuria – Oahu, Hawaii [MP3]

Oxford Collapse – Bits

Rating: ★★★★½

Throughout this summer, music fans have mostly been greeted by mellower forms of tunes, with an absence of rock coming our ways–and by this, I mean the kind of music with loud guitars and banging drums. Well folks, Oxford Collapse wants to change that.

As the car peels out in “Electric Arc,” the drums come banging in your ears. Soon, the guitar will join this fray, and off the band goes. It’s hard not to feel your heart beating a little quicker in this song. Nice start boys.

They follow that up with another short song full of angular guitars and simple melodies, but its done just the right way, throwing the band back to the classic post-punk sounds of the mid-90s–a la Braid and Jawbreaker. Then they come with a tension building song in “Vernon Jackson,” which builds up continuously through the song, only to have the band slow it down in the end as the song begins to fade out. It’s clear by this point that they have enough control over themselves to pull back the reigns at just the right time.

They just keep going from here, pushing their guitars into your ears, as the drums pound away. Oxford Collapse sound tighter than they have, and a lot more comfortable as well, which may be why they claim “we’re doing fine” in “Young Love Delivers.” But, then they throw a change up. “A Wedding” slows things down, and sounds as if they took a cue from Final Fantasy, using string instruments to back the strength of their vocals. Its a good breathing point.

Then they go right back to it–walls of feedback thrown right back into your face as they continue their rocking onslaught. For me, they seem really straightforward with their approach, and they don’t seem to go off into the distance of atmospherics and noise as they did on their last album.

Towards the end, they start to switch it up, and its for the betterment of the album. “Children’s Crusade” is a brilliant song, and one that will probably make a lot of my mixes throughout the year. “John Blood” similarly slows things down, at least during the chorus, where a female chants her way through the chorus. Still, there is enough guitar work on this song, to make it border between rocker and ballad. “B Roll” also takes a gentler approach, but that approach is matched again by the tension building of the guitar work.  I do wish that this time, they just would have unleashed that guitar completely, but for me, this is their first misstep.

They close it off with “I Hate Nobody” which isn’t immediately gratifying, but as you work your way through the end of the song, it wraps up the album perfectly. Anguished guitars fueled by the deliberately dense drumming, and finally, you can breathe. It’s over.

It’s hard to find much wrong with this record. Personally, I think the mix on the vocals had some issues in a few places, but for the most part, I just went along with the album. It’s enjoyable as you follow around each of the corners and twists and turns.  Let’s hope for more rock like this as we wrap up 2008.

Oxford Collapse returns to Austin on August 27th at The Mohawk, but as of yet, tickets are not readily available.

Have a listen to a new song from their album:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/birthdaywars.mp3]

Download: Oxford Collapse – Birthday Wars [MP3]