Soulful Pop Vibes from Divino Nino

3-Panel_JCard_FRONT_AIRemember those early Little Joy or Rodrigo Amarante tunes that seemed to dance around nostalgic tropicalia, but with a fresher tone? That’s exactly what I hear in the newest single from Divino Nino, who also have some Latin roots to add…thus the band name. It sounds a lot like a really hip lounge singer who spends his weekends hanging about town playing in a psychedelic band; there’s just little doses of reverb and twangy wash, but not enough to detract from the central focus. Look for the group’s new album, The Shady Sexyfornia Tapes, which comes out on May 13th via The Native Sound.

Rodrigo Amarante Brings Friends on New Single

rodThrough his work over the last several years Rodrigo Amarante has amassed a pretty solid group of friends.  On his latest single, “Tardei,” he brings friend Fab Moretti, Devendra Banhart and Adam Green into the fold.  While you don’t have to have cool friends to write a great song, it’s a statement that reflects just how well-respected Amarante has become, or has always been.  Those friends all provide a nice little choir to quietly back Rodrigo here.  It’s just another reason to expect wonderful things when you hear his album, Cavalo, which is slated for a May 6th release.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/11-Tardei.mp3]

 

More Music from Rodrigo Amarante

Rodrigo-AmaranteHopefully you recognize the name behind Little Joy, which was noted more for the appearances of Fab (Strokes fame), but which wouldn’t have sounded so perfect if not for Rodrigo Amarante.  Tracks from his album, Cavalo, have been floating around the Internet for a few weeks, and this one is my personal favorite.  It has that tropicalia feel, yet maintains a strangeness that allows me to hold onto the fact that I still think I’m cool (I’m not FYI). If you were a fan of the driftwood pop that his full band created, then you’ll surely love what he’s done on his own (with a little help from Devandra and Fab).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/02.-Hourglass.mp3]

Download: Rodrigo Amarante – Hourglass [MP3]

Little Joy @ The Independent (6/8)

littlejoy1One of our top new bands from last year, Little Joy, are returning to Austin for another show this Monday.  The evenings event will be going down at the brand new Independent Austin (map) over on the east side.  Tickets are still on sale now for $16.50.  Unfortunately it looks like founding member Fabrizio Moretti will not be joining the band on this tour as he is currently recording the new Strokes record.  Bummer.  Should still be a good time if your Monday is looking bleak.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/lilj_keepmeinmind.mp3]

Download: Little Joy – Keep Me in Mind [MP3]

Nickel Eye – The Time of the Assassins

Rating: ★★★ · ·

The last several months have brought the music faithful three different Strokes side-projects, the newest being from bassist Nikolai Fraiture, aptly titled Nickel Eye.  All this output makes one wonder what could have been accomplished had all the players remained as prolific as they seem to be.  But, this one leaves some questions for listeners.

Opening the album, it’s clear that Niklai holds his instrument of choice dear to his heart, as the bass-work is precisely what he provided listeners with when he took to the stage with his mates.

Then comes “Back From Exile,” the first appearance of an acoustic guitar.  It’s not that the songs aren’t enjoyable, as they surely are just that, but you start to go elsewhere with the music as you listen.  His voice sounds oddly like his band-mate’s, which leads one to wonder precisely what Julian thinks of his friends finding replacements for his vocal styling. Still, the second song featuring acoustic guitar, “Fountain Avenue” definitely is worth a listen, possibly over and over again.

Enter “Dying Star,” a possible suggestion at where The Strokes could have gone, or were going, or are going for that matter.  It’s winding guitars and hurried sound seemingly fit the mold of that other band.  It’s at this point that it all begins to slowly make sense.  “Brandy of the Damned” has a similar bounce to that of Fab’s band, Little Joy, but still definitely has a quality unmistakably similar to the central band.  That is where you begin to figure it out.

Nikolai seems to have a lot of difficulty moving away entirely from the sound he helped to establish. Whereas you feel like Albert Hammond and Little Joy have both established themselves, distancing their sound in certain ways away from their alma mater, Nikolai flirts with walking away, but never quite goes the distance here. He can’t seem to eclipse the huge shadow that looms large over his career.

That being said, the last few songs, “Another Sunny Afternoon” and “Hey, Thats No Way to Say Goodbye” both push those boundaries just a little bit, in a folkier manner.  It’s at the end of the album, which makes it come off as an afterthought, though you’ll surely enjoy “Another Sunny Afternoon.”

While listening to this album, you will definitely find a lot of it’s appeal, as there are many songs worthy of making your favorite mix-tape.  Yet, this album, is not one where you ask for more from Nickel Eye.  It’s pleasant and enjoyable, but where you wish Little Joy had another record, here your okay with just a few listens.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/07-brandy-of-the-damned.mp3]

Download: Nickel Eye – Brandy of the Damned [MP3]

Top 40 Songs Of The Year

So when we thought making an albums of the year post was hard, this one proved to be even harder.  How do you take literally thousands of songs and narrow it down to the best 40 of the year?  Not too sure how to answer that question, but we tried.  Each of these songs scream 2008 in our ears.  As evident by this list, the year in music was quite a good one and we had some tough choices to make.  We’ve got some of the songs streaming for you or links to the song on youtube.  Follow the jump to see if your favorite tune of the year made the list.

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Albums Of The Year: 30-16

The year of 2008 is winding to a close, so it’s only appropriate that we wrap it up with our year-end albums list. We don’t expect many to necessarily agree with our list, but we worked really hard to make sure we had what we thought were the best thirty albums of the year. These are the records that spun over and over again in our heads and stereos, so this list is dedicated to their longevity in 2008.  We’ve conveniently broken it down into two segments, with albums 30-16 after the jump. Read more

Little Joy @ The Parish (11/29)

Yet another contender for album of the year, Little Joy, will be bringing their indie rock supergroup to The Parish on Saturday evening.  Doors open up at 8pm with tickets available now for only $12If you read our review of the band’s debut LP, you know we are pumped about this one.  Here’s a standout track from the album “Keep Me in Mind”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/lilj_keepmeinmind.mp3]

Download: Little Joy – Keep Me in Mind [MP3]

Little Joy – s/t

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Most will recognize the percussionist of Little Joy, the newest offshoot made up of Strokes drummer Fab Moretti. Toss in Rodrigo Amarante and Binki Shapiro, and you have the line-up for LA based Little Joy.

Those in search of the upbeat pop specialties that Albert Hammond has thrown our way will surely not find what you are looking for in these songs, but instead you will find an entirely different genre, what one will call beach-influences crooner tunes. It would suffice to say that this group has created eleven perfect lounge tracks for your favorite smoky dive bar.

“The Next Time Around” is the album’s opener, which contributes the first of many island infused tracks. Guitars and percussion lie in the back of the song, as Amarante croons, not entirely like Julian Casablancas, but not too far off. It’s easy to see why Fab chose to work with this fellow; in the middle of the track there is an influx of Portuguese lyrics, which add to the Latin appeal of the album.

Listening to this album one should recall quiet moments spent on beaches with their friends, much like the members of Team Zissou. In fact, if you recall the soundtrack to the Wes Anderson movie Life Aquatic, you will find that this album is very reminiscent of the guitar work done by Seu Jorge, although the majority of the music here is in English; none of the songs are Bowie covers either.

“No One’s Better Sake” is the fourth track on the album, and it’s one that has the largest resemblance to The Strokes. The progression sounds strikingly similar to a few of the songs off Room on Fire, but a little organ work gives it an entirely different feel. Once again, Amarante croons in that very familiar tone. Even the progression of the song sounds too familiar to dismiss as mere coincidence.

Be sure to listen to “Don’t Watch Me Dancing.” This song features the female vocals from Binki Shapiro, and it’s one of those perfect little songs that creeps into your head as the day passes into the by and by. It’s a mellow little ditty, but most will appreciate the emotive number, possibly one of the strongest tracks on the album.

One thing missing from this album is a substantial pace. The lack of pace, and the organization of the songs on the album makes it a tad difficult to immerse yourself completely in the album. Even good beach parties have a few rollicking moments that move the crowd; this album seems to lack that pace and emotion entirely aside from one or two brief moments.

At the end of the day, listeners will have a decent debut album from Little Joy to attach themselves to for evening listening. If anything, this album is the perfect conversation starter as your friends try to figure out why the songs sound so familiar, yet so much like their last trip to Cancun. You’ll enjoy the album too; it just won’t make your top albums of the year list.

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