I feel like the Fresh and Onlys are one of the most vital bands around today, hyperbolically speaking. First, the band’s great, consistent and still grows with each release. Second, the members such as Wymond Miles are great songwriters on their own…and now we have new Magic Trick, the long-time project of Tim Cohen. His latest LP is informed by his move to the Arizona desert and travels on the road, but it still wears the influences you’ve heard on his previous releases. The female backing vocals add this really haunting touch to the track, placing you in the world Cohen has envisioned. His new record, Other Man’s Blues, will be released by Empty Cellar Records on August 26th.
One of the great things about reviewing music is discovering an act that’s been around, but that you hadn’t given much attention to in the past few years. For me, Arp is that group; I’ve devoured More, the latest release, and hunted down the rest of his catalogue. From the opening track to the closing moments, it’s just remarkably moving, and if, like me, you ignore it, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice.
“High-Heeled Clouds” opens More with one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard this year. A gently playful piano line works with the bass to open, before Alexis G enters with his vocals. While one would seem to bounce at the musical mannerisms, there’s this perfect restraint that encourages solitary swaying. But, it’s the slightest details within the track that really push the song into the realm of “stand-out;” there’s this sunny guitar solo that works its way in, fading into an atmospheric end. But, while the opening moments slowly move forward, the following track of “Judy Nylon” creates the perfect counterpoint. There’s a fuzzy guitar, and a heavier pounding on the piano, leaving you with loftier emotions, yet still in the spirit of the opening tune.
Suddenly, Arp leaves you in the mood for more ethereal pop moments with the warmth of “A Tiger in the Hall at Versailles.” This tune’s more of a spiritual track, using the vocal as an extra instrument. While you might not find yourself as attached to this song, it serves the album, overall perfectly, offering insight into the songwriting process. It’s similar, in approach, to “Gravity,” which includes string arrangements for emphasis. The layering of each moment in these tunes gives you clues as to the way future songs are constructed, such as “Light + Sound.” There you’ll find a similar formula, but what interested me are the faint horns flourishes or light keyboard notes that elevate a traditional pop-writing formula.
Of course, some of the other tracks are momentary throw-aways, thus why I can’t quite toss the perfect score towards More. I don’t mean one should toss these songs aside, as the little snippets of noise and samples provide detail to the storytelling of the record as a whole, but I was thirsting for more great pop moments. I get it; I know why they’re there, but it shortens the album, leaving me hungry for more of Alexis’ word play and craftsmanship. That being said, it’s part of the beautiful journey of this release.
Having barely been acquainted with Arp up to this point, I couldn’t help but fall in love, as if this was the first release. The careful artistry of every track, even the snippets, overwhelmed me, washing me with emotions that are rare in a consumable musical age. I can assure each and every person that reads this that you’ll find few records this year that are as rewarding and magnificent as I found More.
The more I listen to the latest single for Arp, the more I just want to fall in love with the band; you know give myself over to their grandeur. This track begins on the backbone of a nice little piano bounce, with airy vocals plodding along atop. A distant guitar meanders through in the distance about midway through the track, leaving an emotional touch that really steps up the song’s level of achievement, emotionally speaking. More, the new album from the group, will be available for everyone to enjoy on September 17th via Smalltown Supersound. Can’t wait.
I know I’m usually the one with a tendency towards power-pop or punk rock here, but I couldn’t resist posting this incredible song from Arp. The project of Alexis Georgopoulos has been quiet since 2010, though he’s popped up here and there. This piece exemplifies why Arp is such a special listen, revolving around the voice for the most part, though the entrance of horns and organ definitely take the song into another level of beauty. I’m in love with Alexis’ voice throughout the tune, softly operatic and accented by the light guitar work backbone. His new record, More, will come out on September 19th via Smalltown Superound.
The new album More from NYC based band The Shivers has been one of my hidden gems of the year that seems to be getting more and more plays this summer. For those that are still on the fence about the band, they have just put up their new album as a free download via The Awl. If you remember our original post on gritty pop song “Used to Be”, you should appreciate the group’s versatility with this song “Love is in the Air”. Its Motown baby making style mixes in nicely with the incredible new pop record from The Shivers.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/05-Love-Is-In-The-Air.mp3]
Download: The Shivers – Love Is In The Air [MP3]
I just got sent this nice little driving garage-pop song called “Used to Be” from NYC based band The Shivers and wanted to share it with the ATH public. The song will appear on upcoming LP More due out May 10th on Silence Breaks Records. It’s truly hard to believe that this band has yet to become a household name with great tunes such as these, in addition to their huge back catalogue.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Used_To_Be.mp3]
Download: The Shivers – Used To Be [MP3]