Top 50 Albums of 2016

top50You’ve all been waiting, anxiously. Waiting for our arbitrary list of the opinion of four folks who run this site, and what we think were the best albums of 2016. It’s really really important. We’re going to make our site great again with this list. We’re going to win, bigly. But really, it’s just a list of the stuff we loved the most that we covered throughout this year on our site. The comment section is open, so feel free to tell us where we’ve gone wrong or what we’ve got right or anything else fitting. Read more

Spend Some Time with New King Creosote Video

KingCreosote460I’m a sucker for all things King Creosote, be it his work in conjunction with other artists like Jon Hopkins, scoring soundtracks or his own work, he’s an artist I won’t hesitate to indulge. Today he released this beautiful video for the newest single on his forthcoming album, Astronaut Meets Appleman. Everything about this track, from the video to the recording has me completely sucked in; I love the slight little bit of buzz from the guitar strings as they’re strummed. His continued expansion with string arrangements broadens the song, and although I wished for a one more vocal verse, I still found myself lost within the confines of the tune. The new LP will be out via Domino in September!

King Creosote Quietly Releases New Album

1889064_409615282514747_1920060549594188106_oMaybe being overseas is a detriment to my adoration of King Creosote.  I fell in love with the songwriter several years back, and unfortunately, his releases don’t get quite the fan-fare they do overseas.  Just this week, he’s quietly released an album titled From Scotland With Love, which is comprised of original songs he wrote with his band to correlate to a documentary of the same name.  There’s the same ornate craftsmanship he’s always brought to the table, and according to Domino, he’s stepped out of his comfort zone to narrate, musically speaking, from the perspective of other characters.  If you’re in the mood for something of beauty, look no further.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/01-Something-To-Believe-In.mp3]

 

New Electronica from Jon Hopkins

Jon-Hopkins-2Musically, I’m going out on a limb here, but only because B. Gray is our usual electronic afficionado.  But, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the work of Jon Hopkins.  He first came to my attention a few years ago when he worked on Diamond Mine with King Creosote; I still play that album all the time. He’s got a new record coming out on Domino on June 4th titled Immunity, and it’s going to be a much appreciated piece by those in the know.  Now, you’re in the know; you get to hear the first single from Jon’s record, so if this is you’re thing, it’s time to get excited.

Soft Gem from King Creosote

One of the things I hate about the US is that it’s really hard to get the good vinyl from the UK without paying a hefty sum.  If it weren’t so, I’d definitely have my house filled with the beautiful sounds of Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote.  Today, he’s releasing his newest collection of tunes, a three song EP titled To Deal With Things.  On this particular tune, Anderson quietly enters the fold, letting his vocals brood and build, just before the drums slightly pick up the pace.  For me, there’s not a more mesmerizing voice these days, especially when it’s accompanied by the dark undertones of the music present. Enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Ankle-Shackles.mp3]

Download:King Creosote – Ankle Shackles [MP3]

Fall In Love With New King Creosote Track

Last year was a great year for the mysterious Kenny Anderson and his King Creosote project, especially if you followed our adoration over here at ATH.  Everything he touched won me over, and he’s already back again with a new 12″ EP for Domino Records titled I Learned From the Gaels.  We’ve got the lead track off the 4 song single, and it’s super upbeat, not to mention ridiculously catchy.  These are the sort of songs that make it a joy to be a music fan and find stuff like this in your inbox.  You can get your hands on this on May 28th, and I suggest you do, as KC stuff is definitely hard to find!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/1-01-Doubles-Underneath.mp3]

Download:King Creosote – Doubles Underneath [MP3]

FT5: Albums of the Year…so far

Let’s face it, every site is doing it, and perhaps we’re a little late on the run in, but technically, we just got to the midway point of the year, so I was holding off until the exact date–I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  So, in all honesty, this is going to be sort of a list of my 2011 albums of the year up to now, but I reserve the right to drastically change my opinion on any, if not all, of these choices. Come on, it’s just now July, so I’ve still got six months to hammer things out in a fully functional list.  Please remember, this is one man’s opinion, not the site as a whole, nor do we disagree with your opinions, unless you like that new Beyonce.

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King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Earlier this year King Creosote returned with the absolutely amazing Thrawn, an album that will undoubtedly be spinning for quite some time in houses across the globe.  But, in what could be his most prolific year, King aka Kenny Anderson has teamed up with ambient producer Jon Hopkins to reform/rehash some old tunes that have been laying around the house. Together they completed Diamond Mine for Domino Records, and if anything, it just makes the return of King Creosote that more powerful, as we won’t find too many people writing such incredibly emotional songs.

The first real track on Diamond Mine is titled “John Taylor’s Month Away,” and from the minute you play it, you can tell Hopkins has aided here, as gulls echo in the far-off distance, prior to the entrance of a steady strum from Anderson, along with his magical vocals.  One could try and continuously analyze the lyrics, but there’s an emotional tug that overcomes all the meaning one can try to extract. But, it’s not nearly as touching as “Bats in the Attic.” While King Creosote definitely has the ability to win you over on his own, just light touches such as the static in the background of the piano really forces you to acknowledge Kenny’s vocal quality, which is soon matched by a female counterpart.  You’ll find a softness to the presentation that surely will fit your playlist during those emotionally trying times, or perhaps just a winter mixtape that needs a bit of grace.

One of the things to appreciate about the King Creosote & Jon Hopkins collaboration is that it seems to have allowed Mr. Anderson a bit of time to wander about, such as in the folk-ish track “Running on Fumes.”  While the musical accompaniment is understated, there’s a fragility to Anderson here that seems so sincere that it the lyrics wrap around you, drawing you into the wilderness of the song itself.  Somehow you’ll drift off, just as the song crackles a wee bit; moments such as these don’t exist too often nowadays. Juxtaposed with the quieter element is the more electronic-laden “Bubble.”  It may not be the strongest track here, production wise, but at this point, you’ll pretty much do anything to listen to the vocals over and over again, haunting you until the end of your days.

Closing out Diamond Mine are two of the record’s shorter numbers, but they seem to fulfill the promise of the more developed songs that have been completed throughout.  If you’ve made it this far, as you clearly should have, you’ll likely find yourself caught up in the gracefulness of everything King Creosote seems to touch. Compile that with the studied touch of Jon Hopkins, and you have yet another startling release from a man who can’t seem to stop winning over every single listener he encounters. Let’s just hope the string of excellent releases, such as this one, keep coming down the pipeline for some time to come. Otherwise the world will probably seem a whole lot less beautiful and serene.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/03-Bats-In-The-Attic.mp3]

Download: King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bats In The Attic [MP3]

Diamond Mine is out now via Domino Records.

New Music from King Creosote & Jon Hopkins

Just last week I was raving about how great the new album from King Creosote was on our SITE. Then, seemingly out of nowhere our friends over at Domino send us a track offering up more new sweet tunes from the man, this time with music written by Jon Hopkins, and KC singing over it.  It’s every bit as splendid as I thought it would be.  This record, Diamond Mine, will be out on March 28th, and it possesses the same beauty we got from the latest from KC, just this time giving him the freedom to let his voice reign supreme over the music.  I’ve been listening to a lot of fast rock this week, but even still, one can’t miss the magnificence in the track below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/03-Bats-In-The-Attic.mp3]

Download: King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Bats In The Attic [MP3]

King Creosote – Thrawn

Rating: ★★★★½

In all likelihood, you’ve probably heard very little about Kenny Anderson up until this point in time; I was definitely in the same boat.  However, the release of Thrawn, the first King Creosote album to make its way overseas should hopefully change that, at least if you’re listening closely to the album.  It’s a Scottish influenced folk affair from a man who doesn’t seem to be seeking out the fame and fortune of other bands, instead he’s quietly releasing his own music, whether we pay attention or not.

Once you play the opening track “Bootprints,” you might find yourself thinking of cleverly crafted pop music a la Sondre Lerche.  Anderson’s voice is so perfect, in both pitch and tone.  The music has a hint of cocktail lounge, giving a little hint at some sort of modern tropicalia. But, Thrawn isn’t a record that’s going to stay in one place for too long.

“You’ve No Clue Do You” recalls Van Occupanther-era Midlake, or one could throw Fleetwood Mac into that too.  However, it’s Anderson’s slight change in pitch during the chorus, going just a tad bit higher, that really makes such a track truly remarkable. Then it moves off into “King Bubble’s in Sand,” which has more of an oddball folk appeal, though not in an overly quirky sense.  It’s a short track, and it uses some non-traditional percussion to go along with slight piano dancing in the background, then it’s over in less than two minutes.  But, that’s okay, as King Creosote offers up one of the album’s greatest tracks, “Missionary.”  You’ll probably notice some similarities in the vocal performance here, and the strumming for some reason reminds me of innocent campfire scenes surrounded by fans.  There’s nothing contrived or dishonest here…just straight-ahead pop glory.

One of the unique things about Thrawn is that despite various nod to other musicians, whether intentional or not, the entire record sounds perfectly fresh.  You get a song like “Little Heart,” which sounds like a great deal of Scottish janglers, yet it’s one of those songs that rises out of such an homage, establishing itself on its own merits.  There’s some backing vocals to provide more-depth, and the pacing just fits perfectly with the overall mood of the song.  I mean, listening to this song, “what’s with the frown?”

For the little I know about King Creosote, despite my research and press bios, I wasn’t entirely prepared for such heartfelt songs like “My Favourite Girl.”  It’s a pretty simple ballad, similar to many marking the twists and turns of this album, but there’s something emotionally moving about the track.  It’s an unexplainable thing; it’s not the piano atop the gentle strumming, or the softness of Anderson’s vocals; its just got that “it” factor that we all yearn for in our everyday listening experience.  You’ll find many tracks like this throughout the whole of Thrawn, probably different than the ones that stood out to my ears.  Such is the force of this record, appearing out of nowhere to win over countless listeners, on the recommendation of one man alone. Hopefully this great work will not go unnoticed any longer; go check out the King.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/04-Missionary.mp3]

Download: King Creosote – Missionary [MP3]