Yo Gabba Gabba & Of Montreal

tv_new_yo_gabba_gabbaIf you haven’t checked out the kid show Yo Gabba Gabba, you really should make a point to do so.  Besides featuring some musical guests like Mates of State, The Shins, and MGMT, the show is fairly entertaining and goofy.  The Nick Jr. show is also about to put out a soundtrack on October 2oth called Music is Awesome… which features some solid indie acts like The Roots, Chromeo, and this new track from Of Montreal.  Also try searching Yo Gabba Gabba on youtube and watch some clips from the show.  They are sure to get a laugh… or at least make you not want to grow up.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/14-Brush-Brush-Brush.mp3]

Download: Of Montreal – Brush Brush Brush [MP3]

Generationals – Con Law

genere Rating: ★★★★☆

New Orleans duo, Generationals, seem to have flown beneath the radar for quite some time, that is until Park the Van Records, home to Dr. Dog, decided to release their album Con Law.  The record crosses various rivers of genre, yet always staying familiar in the listener’s ear.  Here we have a complete album of pop celebration that will surely tide us over for the rest of the summer.

When “Nobody Could Change Your Mind” begins, the tinkering of electronic keyboard makes it seem like just any other neo-electroni-pop album, but then the horns kick in, stepping the album out of a purely cliche realm of music. Vocals here have a bit of an echo, which may give them a lo-fi title, but the band is nowhere near that mark.

“Angry Charlie” switches gears, and recalls the best moments of MGMT, although if you listen to this on repeat several times you will see that the usage of the organ and bounding percussion give it an entirely different light, moving the band beyond their peers.  Yet, this group immediately allows for the staleness of such styles to veer in different directions.  The half-hearted stomp of  “Faces in the Dark” demonstrate that the band is far more than a one trick pony; they have a barrage of approaches in the writing of Con Law, allowing for the album to take on a more long-standing importance for fans.

By the time you meet the mid-section of this record, you start to wonder exactly why you hadn’t heard anything about this band up until this point in time.  “”When they Fight, They Fight,” and “Our Time (2 Shine)” are both solid tracks that exemplify just how special a listening experience this will be.  Both songs hold tightly to some really great hooks, while still paying homage to classic beach sounds.  They might take a slight misstep from here with “Wildlife Sculpture,” as it’s one of the very few songs that doesn’t immediately make you want to press repeat on your player, whatever format.

Just as the album seems as if it will stay with electronic flourishes, “Exterior Street Date” sweeps in with ringing guitars.  The vocals will take the key role for the majority of the song here, but the subtlety of the chorus somehow manages to stick inside your head.  This duo is the key of under-spoken pop gems, accessible and discernible, only for those with careful ears.  Following this comes “It Keeps You Up” with its bouncing piano work and vocals that appear to be sung by a mass group of fans, though it’s just one voice.  Such care went into the patchwork of these songs that it’s no wonder you find yourself listening to them again and again.  And such is the story of the album, you find yourself rushing back and forth to play that track over and over, wondering to yourself if it really was that good.  The answer for the songs, and the album is yes!

Generationals play at Stubbs Indoors on August 6th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/02-angry-charlie.mp3]

Download: Generationals – Angry Charlie [MP3]

Passion Pit – Manners

passion-pitRating: ★★★☆☆

To refer to this as one of the most anticipated albums thus far this year is probably an understatement; throw out Grizzly Bear and this is the album everyone wanted to hear.  Passion Pit finally have a full length, Manners, to help you make up your mind; are they worth all this hype?

You’ll have to make up your own mind on that one, as this album is sure to be a polarizing one for many listeners.  It builds upon the promise of the bands Chunk of Change EP, but does it go much further than the sounds the band first introduced?  Really, at some points, the band seems to sort of tread upon the same spot for a little bit too long.

One thing you will note immediately is that the band definitely will have you moving your feet, as the opening moments of the album definitely provide you with full bouncing capabilities.  The pulsating rhythm does not, however, make up for the lack of vocal quality, which really is probably just a matter of personal tastes; the high pitched yelping all across these first two songs is just a bit much.

Then the band hits you with their one-two punch, bringing in “Moth Wings” and “The Reeling” in succession.  “Moth Wings” succeeds for the group where other songs have failed, as the band seemed to have tamed that vocal, which allows listeners to see right into the moving sound collages Passion Pit have constructed, as layers dance upon layers, shimmering to the surface.  “The Reeling” surfaced as the band’s first single, and deservedly so, as it packs the dance-floor ready stomp that recalls elements of MGMT during their brighter moments.  Still, the most enjoyable quality is the warmth of the vocal contrasted against the electronic pulse beneath.

Other moments on the album seem to find the band going over the same space, as they attempt to combine various electronic samples with unique vocals (still a touch annoying), building and building until it achieves dance-psych bliss.  But, elementally, it all sort of blends together, as there isn’t much that differentiates each song from the next.  Each song seems to run into the next one, making the listening experience a little redundant.

Don’t get upset here, but the release of Manners is probably exactly what everyone expected it to be.  It’s a good listen for a few rounds; it’s an interesting one to say the least, but it won’t be the most moving thing you come across this year.  Too much of a good thing sometimes turns things for the worse, and in this case, Passion Pit might have just gone that route.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/11-seaweed-song.mp3]

Download: Passion Pit – Seaweed Song [MP3]

10/18 Portugal. The Man @ Emo’s

The city of Wasilla, Alaska is best known for one of two things: The first, and the one we keep hearing about in the news, is how the city was once home to vice presidential candidate Sarah Pallin. The second, and much less widely known fact, is that Wasilla was also once called home by members of psych-rock band Portugal. The Man. Regardless of where they came from, the one time Alaskan outfit (now in Portland) known as Portugal. The Man rocked the house at Emo’s on Saturday night. Follow the jump to read more about the show.

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The ACL Bottom 5

Yeah we’re going there ACL. For all the numerous good things that happen during our little festival, there are always a few things people tend to complain about (whiners). We’re keeping this list just a bit short because I think most agree that the positives of the weekend always outweigh the negatives. Things not included on this list are complaints we have every year like: $8 Lonestars, $6 hamburgers that taste like dirt, long bathroom lines, and the like. Those are things we all hate but won’t be changing anytime soon. No, with this list, we hope the good people at C3 hear our cries and makes this festival the one everybody talks about.  So without further ado….. The Austin Town Hall Top 5 worst moments at ACL after the jump.
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ACL Battles: MGMT vs. Spiritualized

Okay, so I personally think this may be the toughest choice to make of the festival.  On one side, you’ve got a very young band in MGMT who have only had major success since the release of their superb second album Oracular Spectacular in 2007.  On the other hand, Spiritualized are coming up on twenty years of existence and have been seeing success since before members of MGMT were in middle school.  Both bands will be playing at 5:30 on Saturday on the AT&T Blue Room stage and the Dell stage respectively.  You have a choice between the psych-pop of MGMT or the space rock of Spiritualized.  What’s it gonna be?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/04-electric-feel.mp3]

Download: MGMT – Electric Feel [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/spiritualized_-_soul_on_fire.mp3]

Download: Spiritualized – Soul on Fire [MP3]

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