Brian Gray is on a work field trip, so he’s asked me to look into his IT world. And honestly, I thought that Legs was the Cali band who released Pass the Ringo. But, this is a club hit waiting to happen, though it’s one of those where you can respect the smooth R&B approach because you can tell the band are pulling it all off with actual instruments. It’s got an inherent energy, and those of you who are willing to let go of your pretensions will find yourself sliding across the floor with an extra hop in your step. Look for their album, Altitud, to come your way soon.
Making our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly. We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience. We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed. If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.
50 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created. In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.
9 – The Growlers – Hung at Heart
I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.” But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track. I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.
Hether Fortune seems to scare people. Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes. That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense. The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors. If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.
While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work. It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record. The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.
What else really needs to be said about The National. They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts. I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party. Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.
When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve. Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.
Someone For You came our way in January. On my record player, it hasn’t left since. This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record. You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.
At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners. You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.
This album is about Devon Welsh. From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note. The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow. It made us believe in great music again.
It’s that time of year where everyone on the Internet is throwing in their two cents as to what the best records of the year are, at least up to this point. We thought we’d give it our own go, with each of us tossing out our choices. I can tell it’s going to be a huge fight come time to make our year end list.
When a new label starts up, it’s great to have a stable band you can rely upon; a band that can write ridiculous hit after ridiculous hit. After spending the last few weeks with Legs, I’m pretty sure that 3-year-old LogLady Records have found just that band. There’s not a bad song on Pass the Ringo, leaving listeners with an astounding record that will carry your spirit for months and beyond.
“Friday Afternoon at the Zoo” is the perfect start to this listen, hazily drifting with bits of gypsy guitar and a slightly atmospherically affected vocal. It’s a patient number, and the slightest bit of tonal change in the vocals really adds a dreamy pop element. But, perfect openers only work if they can be followed by more perfect songs, so Legs are lucky they do just that with “Go Ask Your Mother.” I don’t want to knock the band by any means, but this tune has the energy and passion of early Pains of Being Pure at Heart tracks if you forced them to run a psychedelic decathlon. Guitars here aren’t glistening with as much jangle and distortion, and there’s an organ being used, as opposed to the electronic keyboard element. Altogether, this is the perfect one-two punch to kick off Pass the Ringo.
Personally, I’m partial to the swinging style of “Two Colours.” It’s one of the few tracks that features a female vocal, which adds a different dynamic to the album. Lofty guitars float you in through the opening moment, while the drums continue to rhythmically pound their way into the ringing guitar sound. I’d could take a nice helping of this tune any day for the rest of my life. Another track that uses the vocals of Amelia Adams successfully is the heavier “Time to Face the World.” While Adams maintains that soft pop chanteuse quality, the song here has a muddier sound, in that endearing sort of way. It’s like you’re trudging along through a murky swamp, all the while your mind thinks upon the love of your life. Soft and hard work well in this case.
One of the attributes on Pass the Ringo is that while the narrative remains the same in a musical sense, the band never seems to get stuck wholly in one place, providing enough variance in the album to keep your attention whilst still pushing the envelope artistically. It’s hard to skip a single song, especially when you have great hits like “Don’t Say a Word” hanging about at the end of the record. Something about the guitar sound, and its movement, really makes this just another standout track on a solid outing from Legs. It’s clear to me at this point, that the Oakland group is clearly a band you can rely upon, be you a label or just a consumer of great music. Do yourself a favor and be sure you don’t skip over this most excellent release.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/02-Go-Ask-Your-Mother.mp3]
Download: Legs – Go Ask Your Mother [MP3]
Not too long ago I brought you the first single from Legs upcoming album, Pass the Ringo, and I’m at it again with this new gem for your ears. This track has a faster pace than “Two Colours,” and I’m personally attached to the way each verse sort of fades out just before picking up right where the group left off. It’s surprising more people aren’t head over heels in love with this band, as songs like this are just too good to simply ignore. You can pick up their LP next week from our homies over Log Lady Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/02-Go-Ask-Your-Mother.mp3]
We were happy to help our friends over at Loglady Records toss a rad party at Trailer Space during SXSW, so in exchange, they gave us this gem of a record from Legs. I’ve got news for you folks, this is going to be your Spring party album. Listening to their first single, it’s got an interesting angle…at first it just seems like a gentle ballad, but the ringing guitar and pounding rhythm section propel it from average jam to certifiable hit. Today is one of those days where things just fit in perfectly. You can expect big things from the band when Pass the Ringo comes out from Loglady on April 23rd.