New Music From Quasi

quasiThe famous duo known as Quasi are returning in 2010 with a new album entitled American Gong.  This being the first new album from the band in close to four years, we are anxious to hear where things are going.  Take a sample of that new direction with this first single from the new LP called “Repulsion”.  Quasi’s new album hits stores February 23rd via Kill Rock Stars.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/01-Repulsion-1.mp3]

Download: Quasi – Repulsion [MP3]

Thao With the Get Down Stay Downs – Know Better Learn Faster

thao---know-better-learn-faRating: ★★★★☆

Prior to listening to Thao with the Get Down Stay Down’s new album, Know Better Learn Faster (Kill Rock Stars), I knew absolutely nothing of Thao Nguyen or her band.  Boy, am I glad that has been remedied!  Know Better Learn Faster has got to be one of the most pleasant listening experiences I have had in some time.

Those who have met me know that I am not drawn to dance parties or music played at dance parties, but I have to tell you, Nguyen has crafted a tight and whimsical long player that is essentially a dance party on a five inch piece of plastic (or a twelve inch slab of vinyl, depending on your tastes).  Starting with rowdy hand clapping and foot stomping of ‘The Clap’ you are transported to a sweaty living room filled with pulsating bodies.  The thirteen tracks on this album are sweet and sexy and just plain fun.

The influences on this album tend to shift from song to song, which would normally irritate me, but somehow on Know Better Learn Faster, it works.  The music goes from Minus the Bear to Andrew Bird to No Kill No Beep Beep era Q and Not U sometimes in the same song (see the title track).  Nguyen’s vocals are a little harder to pinpoint.  They are at time reminiscent of Nico, Rebecca Pearcy, or Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, which are all really good things!

I have a hard time finding something  bad to say about Thao and the Get Down Stay DownKnow Better Learn Faster is perfect for the changing seasons; it will continue to bring sunshine into these dreary Fall months.

New Thao And The Get Down Stay Down

thaoAfter the critical and blogger success of their 2008 album We Brave Bee Stings and All San Fran band Thao and The Get Down Stay Down are back with new material for 2009.  Their new album will be release on October 13th via Kill Rock Stars and will be named Know Better, Learn Faster.  Here’s a first taste of that new album with title track “Know Better Learn Faster”.  Your thoughts?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Thao-With-The-Get-Down-Stay-Down-Know-Better-Learn-Faster.mp3]

Download: Thao With The Get Down Stay Down – Know Better Learn Faster [MP3]

FT5: Anticipated SXSW Artists Releases

0313top5cover1While we were roaming around town last week, we started thinking about some of the upcoming releases that have got us peeing our pants in anticipation this year. Then we saw some of these artists during SXSW and got even more excited for what’s to come. For today’s Top 5, we wanted to take a look at some of theses new releases and rank them in order of just how excited we are about them. Some big names who were in town (Decemberists, Dan Auerbach, etc.) have already put out some solid releases this year, so we’re hoping that these won’t let us down. Follow the jump for our full Top 5 of anticipated releases from SXSW artists.
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New Tunes from The Thermals

thermIn yet another wonderful day in the music industry, we get to hear another new track from yet another anticipated album in 2009. This time, we bring you the newest single from The Thermals, who recently signed to Kill Rock Stars. Their new album, Now We Can See, is set to come your way this April. Enjoy this tune. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/the-thermals-now-we-can-see.mp3]

Download: The Thermals – Now We Can See [MP3]

The Shaky Hands – Lunglight

Rating: ★★★★☆

Lately it seems that the world has gone completely soft, or at least the spectrum of rock n’ roll has gone soft.  We desperately need a band that can grab us and shake the dust from our record collections.  The Shaky Hands appear to be that band, and their album Lunglight is just a taste of what they have to offer.

Opening track, “A New Parade” comes off with jangly pop affection, as pounding drums drive the song towards the end.  The vocals are a little raspy, with just a tinge of countrification a la Kings of Leon.

The band name is quite fitting, considering the sounds on this album have a sort of shakiness that can only be associated with pure, unadulterated rock.  It has this post-punk feeling to it, but fused with a country soul, and stirred with just the right amount of pop sensibility.  Although they carry such a signature sound, the album never seems to get old, always maintaining a sense of freshness in each song.

Lyrically, it seems that the album is filled with issues of struggle.  In today’s world we come across such battles between friends, lover and, ultimately, ourselves.  Understanding this, The Shaky Hands have set out to let us know that we are not alone in our daily issues; they, too, are confronting these demons.  If such battles must be fought, then we shall do it together.

And, the percussion is simply amazing here.  The drum work is all over the place, hammered out with precision that only comes to the those with the most devout practice routines.  You’ll find it difficult not to bounce your feet along to the driving rhythms here, which is at it should be with rock n’ roll.

Faults do exist on Lunglight, but they are things that can easily be overlooked.  The last three songs, for instance, extend over a minute longer than the previous songs, which has the effect of dragging the last moments of the record to the end. Also, it’s hard to completely buy into the vocals here.  Yes, they are reminiscent of other acts, as mentioned earlier, but at times you’ll find it hard to chase down the words.

In the end you will find that the band has created an album full of bright moments you can listen to time and time again.  Those who fall in line with bands like Kings of Leon (thats you RayRay) will surely find that great album you’ve been waiting for KoL to finally put out.

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