Joe Smyth help us keep our Austin theme today, as he’s one of the folks helping get Austin acts (and others) out on the road. But, more importantly, he’s a scavenger of music news, so he’s given us a couple of great lists…one a shout out to the blogs that turned him onto great music…and the other just a general best of list. Peruse as you must, and if you have touring needs…check out Nine Mile Touring.
Austin punks the Midgetmen are an Austin staple, and have been for quite some time. Thus, we’ve befriended Marc through the years of seeing them at shows and all that. He’s joined up in in our efforts to get some insight into year end lists the nontraditional way. Here’s a few words from Marc. Also, and it should definitely be mentioned; he’s a huge TGI Fridays supporter; I once watched him down slider after slider topped off with potato skins at a SXSW party…sponsored by TGI Fridays.
Marc: As it turns out, I happen to like beverages that come in 12 packs… and I happened to have exactly 12 albums that stood out to me this year. I actually had a lot of trouble cutting the list down from 20 –> 10, which is how I wound up at 12.
We’re a week out from Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015, and you should probably be getting your schedule nailed down, so I’m here to help you out. Mikal Cronin is an act that’s sure to make your list of highlights on Monday after the fest when all is said and done. Once you press play on the single “Made My Mind Up” from back in January of this year, you’ll be enamored with the breezy alternative rock that Cronin brings to the table. The driving electric guitar, embellished with tinkling piano and soaring vocals will certainly be wonderful to start your fest off at 2:25 on Friday afternoon on the Orange Stage. Or perhaps a good way to round out your first day of festing Friday night at 10:45 at The Mohawk.
P.S. Have you picked up your wristband at The Funderdome yet? Get to stepping.
Everyone’s posting about this new Mikal Cronin single, but it’s too damn good to not share with you! So if somehow you still haven’t heard this track, it’s time for you to press that play button and get excited for the upcoming release of Mikal Cronin’s latest album, MCIII. Now, you’ll have to wait until May 5th to hear what Cronin has in store for you on the grand scale, but for now, soak up the warmth of this radiant alternative rock song. There’s soaring vocals, great little touches like bouncy piano and a catchy chorus you’ll be singing all day. Go on, enjoy.
Yep…this week is the week. We’ve got just a few days before we spend our weekend with the folks over at Austin Psych Fest. I figured it’d be nice to do something a little different for previews this year, rather than just the traditional Top 5 Bands to See route. So today I decided I’d bring you a highlight of all the acts at the festival that are on Trouble In Mind Records, either past or present. I love the Chicago-based label, and while they definitely have a slew of psych bands, they’ve also got a reasonably diverse catalogue, all of which is pretty solid. So, check out below to see the Top 5 TIM bands at the festival. We’ll see you out there. Read more
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.
Sure, we knew it was going to be a sweat night, with temperatures still bordering on 100 when the bands took the stage at The Mohawk, but how hot would it get? Real hot. Sweat from bands, sweat from fans and sweat from our drinks. Regardless, the rock must go on, and rock it did. A Giant Dog, Shannon and the Clams and Mikal Cronin get commendations for valor in the face of hair dryer air.
Read on for our thoughts on all the bands and see B.Gray’s pretty photos.
|Date||Thursday, June 27th|
|Doors||7 PM – Show at 8|
|Tickets||$10 from Mohawk|
Many of you know Mikal Cronin as one of the guys that makes Ty Segall sound so incredible live, but the guy’s been putting out music with various outfits, not to mention his own solo work. Recently, he released MCII, and I guarantee you that the album will end up on year end lists. But, there’s two incredible openers that need your support. Shannon and the Clams have been doing their own soulful garage rock for quite some time, always bringing the energy live. Finally, be there by 8 to catch local band A Giant Dog, who feature members of OBN IIIs and Bobby Jealousy…that alone should be enough to get you out. Plus, if you stay around afterwards you can catch local boys Sweet Talk and Act Rights.
Download:Mikal Cronin – Apathy [MP3]
Mikal Cronin is an artist who has drawn a lot of attention for the ATH staff, and rightfully so. Already we’ve shared with you new track “Shout it Out” that showed Cronin had a bit of a softer side when compared to his previous work with Ty Segall. This new song we’re sharing today called “Weight” also is a taste of something poppier and more mellowed out than previous work in other groups. I like the direction Cronin is heading in and the new record is sure to be worth your time.
New album MCII is due out May 7th on Merge Records.
Okay, so Mikal Cronin doesn’t go entirely soft, but in comparison to his work with Ty Segall, the only thing you’ll really find comparable here is the wall of guitar distortion that bursts into the background during the chorus. For the most part, the various verses carry a more general pop element, which should surprise people in the long run; you’re still going to find it appealing. The song has a central hook, and the combination of the soft and loud element will make your day. You can get his new album, MCII, from Merge Records on May 7th.