Float Fest Reminder

Hey y’all. Float Fest is coming up this summer and we’ll have some coverage, but first, we need to remind you that pricing goes up at midnight. If you are on the fence, get in now. Camping is a thing and Amazon sells air-conditioned tents. Take advantage of tubing and then revel in Tame Impala, Modest Mouse, Snoop, White Denim, RTJ, A Giant Dog and many more.

Told Slant Has Something

Told Slant - Going By | Press picI’m going to go out on a limb here, Told Slant (the project of Felix Walworth) is the new Modest Mouse. I don’t mean this in terms of the over-produced, oft-dimsissable, current MM, but the old stuff we all love and adore. Even with that, there’s something accomplished, almost polished that makes it even more appealing. It’s only one song, but it already seems perfectly suited for one of those late night drives under the stars, letting the music sink into your soul as you drive to an endless horizon. Look for the new effort, Going By, via Double Double Wammy on June 17th.

“Dead” Video From Darts

dartsWe don’t normally post a lot of music videos, but when I came across this one by Darts, I simply couldn’t resist, as the song is awesome and the music video creepy, yet entertaining. The song, “Dead,” is an angst filled roller coaster ride, and the male vocals definitely bring you thoughts of Modest Mouse, but what’s different about this song as well as the band are the presence of the contrasting female vocals which add a whole different aspect to the sound. Watch the disturbingly awesome video below and jam along with Darts.

ACL Lineup Is Here!

untitledThough the lineup unofficially leaked yesterday, we were holding off to make sure everything was all official and whatnot before posting anything.  So if you haven’t seen it yet, the ACL lineup was just announced this morning for both of the festival weekends.  Of course ATH is excited about seeing The Strokes again, but as usual, we’re enjoying the undercards with groups like Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Talk in Tongues, Jose Gonzalez, etc.  Check out the full lineup here and form your own opinions.

You can also pick up a 3 day pass at 10am central time by following this link.  Do it.

Show Preview: Modest Mouse @ Stubbs (11/8 & 11/9)

Date 11/8/11  & 11/9/11
Location Stubbs
Doors 7pm
Tickets SOLD OUT!

I hope most of you were paying attention to sites that think more in the future and saw the recent announcement about the Modest Mouse shows at Stubbs in Austin.  I say this because both the initial show and secondary show are sold out so you’ll have to try craigslist or scalpers for this one.  Both nights will have stellar opening support provided by Portland based group Talkdemonic.  Don’t forget that Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. will also be doing aftershows on the inside stage for both nights.  Get your hands on some tickets kids.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/modestmouse-satelliteskin.mp3]

Download: Modest Mouse – Satellite Skin [MP3]

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Aliens

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Hailing from New Jersey, Cymbals Eat Guitars are a four-person band with one album, Why Are They Mountains, under their belt already. Released in 2009, that album rewarded this band with comparisons to bands like Modest Mouse, and Pavement. On this new effort, they looked to work on it more collaboratively, and the effect of this is a band that sounds more controlled, and the instrumental parts feel tightly knit and well thought out on Lenses Alien.

The first song is “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name),” which is an eight and a half minute long track, but it’s really just two songs pushed together with the help of some atmospheric guitar feedback noise in between the two. For roughly the first three minutes of this track, you have this lovely bouncy and jangly alternative rock song, complete with the harsh vocals of lead singer, Joseph D’Agostino, whose voice reminds me a bit of John Paul Pits, of Surfer Blood, due to its ability to turn ragged and grungy in an instant. You get a chance to see this switch to grungier on the second half of the first song, in which the guitars are fiercer, the cymbals crash more, and the pacing is faster. D’Agostino gets his chance to command the song with his vocals that are exasperated and rough at first. However, as the song calms down, so does the raspy nature in his voice, softening, if only for contrast as the song resurges to its final height.

After this monster of a song, it would be easy for the rest of the other tracks to pale in comparison, but each brings a lovely new element to the table. On “Shore Points,” you have a nice little surf rock jam, complete with angular guitars and enticing backing vocals from the other band members. Following immediately on “Keep Me Waiting,” there’s a killer bass line just bubbling under the surface, waiting for your ears to pick it out and move your body to it.

 While there are softer songs on here, like “Wavelengths” toward the end of the album, Lenses Alien does seem to fall a little one dimensional upon the inaugural listen. Perhaps there is too much of a good thing on this album; the heavy guitar and nasal vocals seems a little grating by the end of the ten song album. Maybe, with much repeated listening, there is more to this sophomore release, but as of now, it’s a pretty middle of the road album.

Mister Heavenly – Out of Love

Rating: ★★★ · ·

What do you get when you take 1 part Modest Mouse, 1 part Islands/Unicorns, and 1 part Man Man? Well, the ultimate supergroup in my opinion; you get Mister Heavenly. Out of Love is the name of their first work together, and while the edgier voice of Ryan Kattner might not seem like the best fit for Nic Islands, it’s a surprising juxtaposition, leaving listeners with an abundance of solid tracks.

When Nic begins the brief verse for “Bronx Sniper,” you wonder just how his notable pitch will fit with Kattner’s banging style.  Once Ryan joins in, you can rest assured that the two fit well together, with Nic’s tendency to exaggerate his vocals at times blending interestingly with his throatier counterpart.  If you were looking to see how the two would fit, this isn’t the best example, as “Mister Heavenly” seems to be the best statement from the group of Out of Love. Ryan begins with his organ-stomp, but then Nic throws in his smooth delivery and a nice guitar line.  When you expect Nic to burst forth on the chorus as he would with Islands, instead you find Kattner.  And back and forth they go, successfully.

Perhaps what seems to have worked best for Mister Heavenly is that the group seems to have reawakened Nic’s noisier side, as he hasn’t seemed this endearingly frantic since the late days of Unicorns.  His last few releases have seen him become really polished, cleaning up his delivery a bit.  But, he’s always had this dark side, which you really get to see resurface on songs like “Doom Wop.” There’s a coat over the vocals, yet you can still hear both singers belting out their lines distinctly.  It’s a revitalized energy that longtime fans will be happy to see. Also, Ryan does deserve praise at this point for his own vocal range, which seems to be go anywhere he wishes (see “Diddy Eyes)–to great effect.

And at the heart of the whole project for Out of Love is Joe Plummer, the group’s unsung hero.  All those familiar with both Islands and Man Man will surely be aware that the groups have vastly different styles to songwriting, so you’ve got to have a solid kit-man to hold it all down, and Plummer does a great job keeping the group together.  Each member tosses his style in and out of every song, with those dirtier piano based parts coming from Kattner, and Nic’s penchant for stellar guitar hooks, so Plummer’s ability to keep it all sounding tight is with a doubt the band’s saving grace.

There’s a gem here and there, like “Pineapple Girl,” living on the higher pitches, but one thing that might hold back praise from some is that there’s nothing outstanding.  Every song written by Mister Heavenly has the potential to be extraordinary, but it’s mostly standard fare, which is sort of a letdown. You want everything to be incredible, and instead it’s all just good.  That being said, there’s not really a throwaway track on Out of Love, so the group has that going for them.  Who knows where they’ll go from here, but as of now, this is a solid start for a much-hyped supergroup.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Pineapple-Girl.mp3]

Download: Mister Heavenly – Pineapple Girl [MP3]

FT5: My Most Divisive Bands

It’s interesting being a huge music fan. You come across bands that you absolutely adore, and you rush to make mixes for your friends who ultimately decide that they hate the one song you were most excited for them to fall in love with when you made it.  I started thumbing through my catalog and the Internet, diligently searching for the bands in my collection that I love, but I feel people hate; I also looked at bands on the net I know people love, but I hate.  Here’s my list of the Top 5.

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