SXSW Interview: STAL

Well we’ve reached the final countdown people, SXSW music starts next week. Most of us here at ATH have made some lists of bands we need to see and even marked a few party lineups that look promising. As always, we are about the music and won’t chase a free pair of sunglasses or a Taka vodka mixed drink. Keeping in tune with our music first attitude, I’m continuing our SXSW interviews today with one from L.A. based musician STAL. Hit the jump for full interview.

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ACL WE2 – Friday In Photos

acl-we2-121aAre you ready to reminisce?

Let’s kick off more photos from the front for Austin City Limits on Weekend Two. Friday was the day. Let’s name drop – Radiohead, Die Antwoord, M83, Foals and more. A whole day of headliners for me and I was super excited. I had one “break” where I decided to get photos of Banks and Steelz to fill in the gap. Oofah. Do I have a story.

How about you read past the break? I had to suffer for my art. Heh.

#pukeandrally #radiohead #cantstopmenow

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Gimme 5 ACL: Corbu

unnamedAs we get ready for ACL this weekend, team ATH has been trying to find new ideas for providing coverage for this year’s festival in unique and exciting ways. An idea was given to me recently to have a group highlight some of their favorite bands on the bill by way of a 5 song playlist. I jumped at the idea and asked New York City based outfit Corbu to be our very first playlist band. Maybe you’ll find something you like or rediscover an oldie that you forgot about. Check out the band’s words and playlist after the jump.

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ACL 2012: Friday In Pictures

ACL 2012 coverage continues with a giant photo post for Friday. Here is the list of artists: Los Campesinos, Patrick Watson, Delta Spirit, Afghan Whigs, Alabama Shakes, Florence and the Machine and M83.

We’ll have more on which bands did what, for sure. This I will tell you, Florence has pipes. Very impressive, as I recall early in her career being a bit of mess live. Alabama Shakes deserve their popularity. Patrick Watson (Wilson according to the lineup, awww) and his band may have been the best group of musicians. Delta Spirit is an all-growns-up festival band. Likewise for M83. But seeing the Afghan Whigs? That was pretty bad ass.

Click through for overload.

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ACL Battles: M83 vs. M. Ward

Well it’s time ladies and gents, time for everyone to start mapping out that ACL schedule and deciding who is really going to be worth your time in the sun.  While skimming through the schedule, the first major conflict I see for a lot of people has to be on Friday with M. Ward and M83 both going on at 7:30.  Now I also see Thievery Corporation going on around the same time, but I’m going to leave them out of the mix since they aren’t really my thing.  

So who you gonna pick?  The atmospheric electronic jams of M83?  Or would you rather go with the songwriting style of the legendary M. Ward?  I think I know who I’d pick…. I think.  

Let’s hear your thoughts.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/02-never-had-nobody-like-you.mp3]

Download: M Ward – Never Had Nobody Like You [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/M83-Midnight-City.mp3]

Download: M83 – Midnight City [MP3]

Show Preview: M83 @ Stubbs (5/18)

Date Friday, May 18th
Location Stubbs
Doors 700 pm
Tickets SOLD OUT

M83 doesn’t need much of an introduction anymore, though old school fans might found his new usage of vocals a little different than his instrumental construction pieces; I dig both styles, but I’m sort of partial to his earlier career.  Unfortunately, the show at Stubbs sold out, but if you’re willing to browse Craigslist or hit up a friend, I know you can get in to the show.  A real reason you should get there early, however, is to catch I Break Horses.  The Swedish band has graced the pages of our site on several occasions, and I know our photographer B. Gray really enjoys what they do.  Their music is a clever combination of electronics and soundscapes, sort of like what Anthony Gonzalez had done on his most recent effort.  If you can score a ticket, catch a great show from these two solid acts.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/01-Winter-Beats.mp3]

Download: I Break Horses – Winter Beats [MP3]

Show Pics: FFF6 Day Two

Fun Fun Fun Fest photo coverage continues at Austin Town Hall.

Made it through another day of pics. Day Two includes attempts to indeed Keep Shelly in Athens, a little time on Future Islands, Fugazi’ing solo, rolling in the T’Bird, being Formidably Joyful, Tuning the Yard, Egging on a Riot, rolling on the M83, pic’ing up some Girls, paparazzi’ing Ms. Li and salvation from The Damned.

Head past the break for the pics, a link to many more pics and a commentary…
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New Track from Small Black (ft. Heems of Das Racist)

It’s true, we’re not super well-versed on the world of hip-hop, so we tend not to post a lot of it on our site.  But, when I heard this track, I just had to share it with you, as it involves one of my favorites, Small Black, working with Heems from Das Racist.  Apparently they all met while on tour, and recorded some tracks up in NY later in the year.  Those tracks, as well as a few others, will appear on Small Black‘s Moon Killer Mixtape, which hits the streets on November 11th.  It reminds me of the sort of soundscape M83 would create, but with Heems slowly walking his way through the rap, and occasional lyrics being added by the boys in Small Black. It’s pretty solid, so I hope you enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02-Two-Rivers-feat.-Heems.mp3]

Download: Small Black – Two Rivers (feat. Heems) [MP3]

The IT Department – v1.0

The trial run went well enough that the IT Department is going into production. Version 1.0 will include some have-to listens, our first repeat guest, some darkwave, a new to me artist and *gasp* a remix or two. People that know me know I hate remixes, so you may not gasp, but I know a few out there will.

Past the break you will tracks from M83, Tunnels, Active Child, Walls (kind of) and more.

So welcome to the next step, welcome to the IT Department V1.0.

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Liars – Sisterworld

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Long ago Liars delved into post-punk world with They Threw…on Top, but they’ve shape-shifted on every record since that point, which would lead many to believe that Sisterworld would have some sort of major twist forcing listeners to adapt yet again.  The fact is, Liars have finally completed their most cohesive collage of noise-rock since their debut, and in doing so, have created their best work to date.

Our opening two tracks, “Scissors” and “No Barrier Fun” find the group getting into a bit of garden darkness.  “Scissors” features a haunting Angus vocal, with choir backing, that creeps along whilst tinkering noises guide the song.  Suddenly, you’re met with crashing noise.  It’s similar to the way the opened Liars, but as soon as you realize what’s happened, we’re back to Angus lurking in the shadows. Meanwhile, “No Barrier Fun” brings along the experimental noise work the band has employed in the past, throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the mix.  For some reason, there is a throbbing electronic element in the background that seems to keep you on edge throughout.

But, never to be a band to stay in one place for long, you’ll find that “Scarecrows on a Killer Slant” brings sort of an Anthrax vocal delivery coated in walls of feedback and noise.  You have to expect them to belt this song out in the live setting, as the energy alone emitted from this song surpasses almost all their work to date; even Angus’ odd vocals stretched over the ending are not enough to take away from the incessant pounding element that makes this number stand out in the head of most listeners.

One of the weirdest things about recent Liars records, including this one, is that sometimes the band just seems as if they’re messing about in the studio, and yet they manage to always make it sound interesting.  “Proud Evolution” doesn’t really seem to have anywhere to go from the first few seconds, and it almost feels like you’re stuck listening to this song without an escape; this may be why you have to credit the band for their creativity and exploration. You’ll find that as the percussion joins and the lyrical delivery comes in almost the form of a stomping chant, you’ve already invested yourself enough into the song to want to let it go by skipping on to the next moment.

Liars remain a compelling listen throughout Sisterworld due to their ability to juxtapose haunting experimental numbers right next to their oddball noise rock.  “The Overachievers” recalls some of their earliest work, although it has the sonic exploration of their later works, as screeching guitars fill in the back line of the song.  Then they throw it out the window and back the song right into “Goodnight Everything,” which comes off like a demonic version of M83, as soundscapes are destroyed by the death march of the guitars and Angus’ continually disturbing vocal delivery.

You have to give it up for this band.  Rarely does a band manage to jump from point to point throughout their career and still maintain a reasonable sense of cohesion amidst their catalogue.  Liars continue to push the envelope in their own quest to uncover every redeemable quality in sonic exploration.  Sisterworld is the benefactor of this never-ending search, finding the band learning from their past, and moving on into unknown territories of creative noise.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/09-The-Overachievers.mp3]

Download: Liars – The Overachievers [MP3]

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