ACL 2019: Friday In Pictures

Weekend One is done. Let’s start with Friday’s big gallery.

The big stories from Friday were GnR not embarrassing themselves (quite the contrary), Tame Impala crushing through a fantastic festival set, Thom Yorke’s fun side shining through, Jenny Lewis charming the crowd, FIDLAR bringing the noise and much more. The gallery to follow will feature The Amazons, Houses, FIDLAR, Cherry Glazerr, Palm Springsteen, King Princess, Weyes Blood, Jenny Lewis, Thom Yorke and Tame Impala.

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Love That New EZTV

eztvI loved the first EZTV release; it reeked of nostalgia, but clearly it was just step one in the band’s progression. Now the band is back with the announcement of their sophomore release, High In Place, and our first listen is definitely a joyous one. This tune definitely looks back on the sunnier side of classic rock, filled in with vocal accompaniment by everyone’s favorite Jenny Lewis. Seeing as their last effort was all over the place in a good way, it’ll be interesting to see where all the songs land on the new one. Look for the album on September 30th via Captured Tracks.

ACL Recap & Photos: Day 3

ACL

Well folks, it’s been a week since the ATH crew embarked upon Zilker Park for a weekend of music and general debauchery. Gates are open for Weekend Two, but here’s a recap of the highlights from last Sunday in case you’re still looking to relive or maybe you want some guidance as to who to see and who to skip for your Sunday scheduling. Catch each ATH member’s personal take on Sunday and see some gorgeous photos from B.Gray after the jump.

 

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Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

the-voyager-1404940221

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Jenny Lewis, long time indie star, has been making a lot of waves recently with this new album, yes, but with her star-studded music video for “Just One Of The Guys.” Regardless, this lady has put in a lot of time and effort into her musical career and many projects she’s worked on and all the buzz around the Voyager is well deserved, as it’s a joy to listen to from start to finish.

Last time around on her solo effort on Acid Tongue, Lewis got mixed reviews when it came to the reception, but 2008 is long ago and a lot can happen in six years, as this album is a testament to. Her songwriting takes center stage, and each track is either a story from the past or a commentary on the changing times; of love and lost and what exactly it means to be in Jenny Lewis’ shoes. The first track that grabs you just so happens to be the opener, but what reaches out to me is the guitar riff and not the songwriting. “Head Underwater,” though not devoid of witty and reflective lyrics, seems a little bland until about halfway through the track where this precision guitar riff and some backing “oohs” pulls you in to this gypsy folk funk-twisted rock. The beat of this track is quick and Lewis’ voice is all power and commands the song in all its hops and skips. Next up you get a little deeper into this groovy take on bluesy rock with “She’s Not Me, ”which is one of my favorites from the record, complete with a string breakdown and guitar solo outro.

As the album progresses you begin to focus more and more on the songwriting and therein the storytelling that is to be found here. Deeper tracks like “Late Bloomer” and the title track,” The Voyager,” both give you full stories to reflect in and on. The first of these two tracks delves into the past of the narrator, recounting and retelling when she was sixteen. It’s obvious that Lewis has a vast amount of experience to draw on and spin into tales of intrigue. “The Voyager” closes the album by starting off with some epic string arrangements only to scale it back to just Lewis’ vocals and some acoustic guitar. You can here the simplistic brilliance in the songwriting through the choral tag:  “If you wanna get to heaven get out of this world–” she takes simple life instances and turns them into deeper reflections.

My criticism of this album is that it feels a little too easy to listen to. While that may seem to be a ridiculous critique to you, dear reader, there’s a small part of me that worries the ease of listening may detract from the overall longevity of the record, as I’ve yet to really live with this album for a while. Time will tell if The Voyager can withstand its own voyages.

Show Preview: Jenny & Johnny @ Emo’s (11/2)

Date 11/2/10
Location Emos
Doors 900p
Tickets $16 @ Ticketweb

Anyone looking for a good time on a Tuesday in Austin, should head on over to Emo’s for a show by the lovely Jenny Lewis with her BF Jonathan Rice in their duo known simply as Jenny & Johnny.  Opening support for their show will be provided by Grandchildren.  You’ve also got a chance to see the duo at Waterloo around 5pm for free!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jenny-and-Johnny-Scissor-Runner.mp3]

Download: Jenny and Johnny – Scissor Runner [MP3]

Contest: Jenny & Johnny Prize Pack

The fabulous new duo featuring lovers Jenny Lewis and Johnny Rice known simply as Jenny & Johnny are stopping in Austin next week and we’ve got a little prize pack to give away to one lucky winner.  To enter, all we ask is that you leave a comment with your favorite duo of all time.  That’s it!  One, yeah I said ONE lucky winner will win:

– A signed copy of new LP I’m Having Fun Now

Several posters promoting the new album and tour

– As many Jenny & Johnny stickers as we can fit in a mailable envelope

Sounds like a sweet deal to me!  Get those entries in and don’t forget to leave a valid email address suckahs!  Winners will be contacted no later than 5pm today.  You can also get in on the live show coming up on Tuesday at Emo’s which has yet to sell out!  Let the games begin.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jenny-and-Johnny-Scissor-Runner.mp3]

Download: Jenny and Johnny – Scissor Runner [MP3]

Jenny and Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now

Rating: ★★★★ ·

What can we expect when our favorite artists fall in love and write music together?  It didn’t work for Yoko and John, but would it work for Rilo Kiley songstress Jenny Lewis and her beau, Johnathan Rice?  Well, I’m Having Fun Now, the first album under the Jenny and Johnny moniker, really sums up the attitude of the duo, as that spirit, at least musically, embodies everything about the album.  Honestly, you’ll probably be having a lot of fun as well listening to this record.

When Johnathan Rice‘s voice kicks in on “Scissor Runner,” it’s a warm entry, and you begin to wonder when Jenny will show up.  Seconds later she greets her man with her distinguished vocals, sounding a little bit more like the Jenny Lewis of yesteryear.  Beginning at this point launches the record in the perfect direction, exhibiting a duo completely comfortable with one another, both in and out of the studio.  They even stop to incorporate some of the current California jangle pop with “My Pet Snake,” the first track that really features Jenny.  Her voice hasn’t sounded this great and confident in years, which may surprise some, as Rice helped her produce the much lauded Acid Tongue.  So far, so good.

“Big Wave” is another one of the record’s great tracks, and it’s one of those tracks that really takes you back.  Jenny sounds a lot fresher with her vocal performance, and while many love her country-fied leanings, she can still carry a solid pop tune.  It’s not the most incredibly innovative songwriting, but the casualness on display suits the duo perfectly; it’s like they were both born to write I’m Having Fun Now.  Even Johnathan sounds great when he takes the lead role, such as on tracks like “Animal.”  There’s a hint of devil-may-care in his delivery, yet there is a certain sense of confidence, perhaps from knowing his lover/best friend is by his side, as Lewis really brings her powers to the chorus here.

An edgier Jenny Lewis, who still writes her lyrics in much the same fashion as she always has, is on exhibit with songs like “Straight Edge of the Blade,” transporting listeners back to the days where she seemed so care-free.  This is perhaps the best accomplishment of Jenny and Johnny, bringing the best out in each other, supporting each other and uniting in strength. “New York Cartoon,” much like parts of “Scissor Runner,” uses vocals from both parts singing in unison.  It’s the perfect accompaniment, and you can clearly see why they’re such a match. These touches of balance and harmony lie in wait for listeners throughout the album.

In conclusion, you couldn’t really ask form more from the two songwriters here.  There’s hints of both their passion in these songs, sometimes edgy, sometimes mellow and warm.  Perhaps you won’t find the music the most innovative out there, but occasionally its those groups who clearly know each other so well that they bring the best out of one another that really hit home for us.  Jenny and Johnny have shown us just that with their organization of I’m Having Fun Now; the record shows the two having fun playing together, which leads to fun for us.  The ball is in your court Ben and Zooey.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jenny-and-Johnny-Scissor-Runner.mp3]

Download: Jenny and Johnny – Scissor Runner [MP3]

New Tunes from Kathryn Calder

The ridiculously beautiful Kathryn Calder of New Pornographers is at it again.  She’s just released her second single from her debut album, Are You My Mother, which comes out on August 10th.  It’s a gentle ballad with the focus on piano playing.  Something in her vocal delivery reminds me of a young Jenny Lewis, and you know that can’t be a bad thing by any means.  Make sure to give this plenty of spins today, as its well worth your time.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Kcalder-Arrow.mp3]

Download: Kathryn Calder – Arrow [MP3]

Jenny And Johnny

So word of a new project from Jenny Lewis and her singer/songwriter boyfriend Johnathan Rice has been spreading over the internet like wildfire today.  The group is going by Jenny and Johnny and plan to release their debut LP We’re Having Fun Now sometime later this summer.  I’m an avid follower of Lewis and her heart melting voice so you gotta know I’ll be picking this one up and playing it non stop.  First single from the group “Scissor Runner” is below.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jenny-and-Johnny-Scissor-Runner.mp3]

Download: Jenny and Johnny – Scissor Runner [MP3]

The Postmarks – Memoirs at the End of the World

memoirs

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Last year, The Postmarks threw a collection of covers out to the world, and the year before, they hit us with their self-titled debut.  Oddly, they garnered little press, though their sound, resting somewhere between early Camera Obscura and slow-jam Stars songs seems like it would be all the rage.  Will Memoris at the End of the World be the album to get the group over the hump?

When opening up with “No One Said This Would be Easy,” you start to get the feel of the band; they know it won’t be easy carving out a niche, but their destined to do it all on their own terms.  You’ll find that the string arrangements being used here will draw some to conclude that The Postmarks have a place in the land of the twee, but there seems to be some sort of solemnity underlying here, which takes it somewhere else.

“My Lucky Charm” is the group’s nod to Camera Obscura, although singer Tim Yehezkely recalls a young Jenny Lewis from long ago.  Polite horn flourishes dance in the background bring that gentle tropicalia feel to the song, perhaps an aesthetic quality ingrained in the band from their hometwon in Miami.  But when you get to “Don’t Know Till You Try” you can see a slight addition of electronic touches here and there, which is where you might get a Stars meets Headlights sort of quality.

Still, once you get to this point, you start to see one of the unfortunate drawbacks to the album as a whole.  Every song is absolutely listenable, although “Theme from ‘Memoirs'” lacks a bit as far as interest goes, all the way until the album draws to a close.  However, none of these tracks absolutely have to be listened to at any given point in time.  You could skip around; you could buy one song on iTunes; or you could ignore it altogether.  Nothing on Memoirs at the End of the World stands out to differentiate itself from other like-minded groups.  You can easily enjoy listenting to the entire album for an extended period of time, but the question begging to be asked is do you really have to listen to it?

To be frank, you don’t have to listen to it.  It’s not something you absolutely have to have in your collection, but if you do happen to find it, and you’re into bands listed above, you would do well to pick it up.  Honestly, The Postmarks made a beautiful record, just not one that is begging to be listened to over and over again. You’ll probably love it, but then again, you might soon discard it. Pick your poison.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/01-No-One-Said-This-Would-Be-Easy.mp3]

Download: The Postmarks – No One Said This Would Be Easy [MP3]

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