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

More Music from Lost Animal

lostanimalThis new Lost Animal single is exactly what I wanted today! This is precisely where I always expected pop music to go, and I’m thoroughly excited by tunes like this one. The music working in the background makes nods to the popularity of LCD Soundsystem (thought James Murphy didn’t create it), but the vocals have this incredible post Brit pop croon. It’s like Jarrod Quarrell is just working in his own world, and no matter where that takes him, he always manages to make it sound captivating. The new record is titled You Yang, coming out on October 21st via Dot Dash/Captured Tracks.

Enjoying This Lost Animal

I really enjoyed the diversity of Is Tropical, the last record that Lost Animal put out (all the way back in 2011). This new video shares a trippier world, which can easily be seen on that last record, but there’s still some growing, musically. I feel like this song sort of encompasses a world where Jason Spaceman decided he wanted to write pop songs; it’s textural and strange, yet also really accessible…if you like good songs. There’s a new album coming out called You Yang, and with Captured Tracks attached for the ride, we should all expect really great things. I like this more than Mac Demarco. I said it. Deal with it

Lost Animal – Ex Tropical

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

It’s hard to imagine a musician creating an entire album geared around what he, or she, can accomplish on a keyboard, but that’s precisely what Jarrod Quarrell aimed to do with his Lost Animal project.  Don’t you worry your little head, the songs within Ex Tropical are anything but basic keyboard tunes; they’re soulful ballads dabbling in sonic exploration.

The introductory track from Lost Animal is aptly titled “Intro – Beat Goes On,” giving notice that despite the confines of primarily using a keyboard to craft tunes, there’s a huge deal of soul lurking on the entirety of the collection.  Quarrell’s voice has a hint of gruffness, which provides a darker texture to the otherwise pop-laden hooks of this opener.  You’ll see that haunted soul completely take over on the following tune “Say No to Thugs,” which really seems like a less-orchestrated Spiritualized.  While it may be stripped down, Jarrod’s vocals really seek to evoke that last drop of emotion from the depths of your inner being.

It’s hard to escape the dark feeling that comes with Ex Tropical, and that’s aside from the obvious reference to a move away from sunlight in the title.  When you come to a song like “Dark Litter” there are definite sonic flourishes that add to the song, but the overall simplicity is what really allows you immerse yourself in what Lost Animal is trying to accomplish.  If you stripped it all down to a simple keyboard line, it’d still be a solemn number.  That being said, you can still find yourself some more playful moments popping in and out.

Just after what’s the darkest moment, for my ears, you get the playful striding beat of “Cold Cut Nature.”  It’s placed perfectly in the collection, giving you a more light-hearted vibe that originates with that bobbing beat.  You’ll even find Quarrell playing with his vocal approach by mixing up the tones throughout this tune.  It’s comparable to the driving beat that hides behind “Lose Your Baby,” even though the subject matter isn’t necessarily the most uplifting.  Such is the nature of the work on this record; it goes wherever it wants to go.  But, for my two cents, you should not pass go without listening to “Old Lovers.”  It’s hard to explain what’s more strikingly beautiful: the keyboard work, guttural emotion or the soft touches of backing vocals.  Whatever it is, this is surely a special song.

Honestly, Ex Tropical might not be a record for an everyday listen, but it’s an album that everybody needs to listen to at some point in time.  Jarrod Quarrell has found himself in the work he’s created for Lost Animal, leaving listeners with the perfect balance between barroom soul and pop balladry.  You’re not likely to find much else out there quite as unique as this, making this a hidden gem for those who choose to invest their time in the perfect listening experience.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/LostAnimal_SayNoToThugs.mp3]

Download: Lost Animal – Say No To Thugs [MP3]

More New Music from Lost Animal

The more I involve myself with Lost Animal, the project of Jarrod Quarrell, the more I begin to think that it’s a more elegant approach to the stylings of Kurt Vile or War on Drugs.  Rather than use the rock n’ roll method of guitar and atmospherics, Quarrell chooses to rely upon the synthesizer or keyboard for his songwriting.  It helps to differentiate his sound a bit from his aformentioned peers, even though the vocals still maintain a similar sonic passion.  If you like what you hear from this compelling songwriter, then be sure to check out the release of Ex Tropical, which comes out January 29th via Hardly Art Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/LostAnimal_LoseTheBaby.mp3]

Download: Lost Animal – Lose the Baby [MP3]

New Music from Lost Animal

Our friends over at Hardly Art have picked up a new artist that definitely adds more differentiation to their catalogue, Lost Animal.  For me, this is unlike anything else on the label, with smoky vocals and carefully orchestrated songs being emphasized by various samples.  It makes sense that the group has booked a few dates with Spiritualized.  The song below comes across like an old Brit-pop crooner re-imagined to win over fans in the new world.  If you enjoy what you hear, look for the band’s album, Ex Tropical, to come out in stores on January 29th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/LostAnimal_SayNoToThugs.mp3]

Download:Lost Animal – Say No To Thugs [MP3]