Free Mixtape from Violens

violensLong time fans of genre hoppers will definitely be pleased to hear that those clever kids in Violens are dropping a free Winter Mixtape for you on their web site. This little mixtape, and it’s not that little, will probably win over fans, as the guys sing over My Bloody Valentine while playing over the Byrds. Sounds like nothing short of a guaranteed test of musical sanity.  Unfortunately, it’s a mixtape, so I can’t throw a sample up for you, but I’ll give you a taste of “Doomed,” which is remixed on this mix.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/doomed-f2.mp3]

Download: Violens – Doomed [MP3]

Atlas Sound – Logos

walkabout-cover

Rating: ★★ · · ·

I must preface this review by stating that I have never been a fan of the work of Bradford Cox.  I realize that this is heresy in today’s indie scene, but I really just have a difficult time giving a shit when there is so much more quality music to which to listen.  Now I’m not saying the man isn’t talented, he is.  His work with Deerhunter is listenable, but I feel like I have heard it all before, and better. I have listened to Deerhunter’s entire catalog and all I am left thinking “Man, this would be great, if My Bloody Valentine had never existed.” Then I go and listen to My Bloody Valentine instead.

So with the release of Bradford Cox’s solo project, Atlas Sound, new album, Logos (Kranky), I approached it with trepidation. Surely the My Bloody Valentine influences would be stripped from the sound and I would finally be able to see what Bradford Cox could really bring to the table creatively.  Plus there were numerous high profile guest appearances, most notably Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab and Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, which warranted, at least, a cursory listen.

You know what? On the first listen of Logos, with the lack of My Bloody Valentine influences, it tricked me into actually liking this record.  I wanted to listen to again. It was light and airy. There was room to move around in it rather than the oppressive wall of sound that is a Deerhunter album. 

But on subsequent listens this album felt familiar for all the wrong reasons.  I know that artists rely on their influences. It’s what makes them who they are.  But there is a huge difference between being influenced by an artist and mimicking.  Bradford Cox continues to come off as an imitator, a highly talented one, but an imitator, nonetheless. While what he is releasing is good, it feels like he has yet to find a voice of his own. 

The majority of Logos sounds exactly like Joan of Arc b-sides and not awesome How Memory Works b-sides, but shitty Live in Chicago, 1999 b-sides.  When joined with Lennox (Walkabout) or Sadier (Quick Canal), we have the highest points of the album, but ultimately the songs sound like the sum of their guest musician’s full time bands.

I hope Bradford Cox finds an original voice soon, because people will soon tire of a band that continually pull too liberally from way more interesting sources.

Atlas Sound will be playing at Fun Fun Fun Fest on the Orange Stage this Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Walkabout-w_-Noah-Lennox.mp3]

Download: Atlas Sound – Walkabout (w/ Noah Lennox) [MP3]

From The Closet: Sunny Day Real Estate

sunny-day-real-estate If you haven’t listened to Sunny Day Real Estate, or at least heard of the much heralded band, then you must have been hiding under a huge rock.  Not only was the band one of the most influential early emo bands, but they put out a few records that were nearly perfect, before parting ways.  But, the band is back, and they will be playing at La Zona Rosa on October 7th.  Sure, it will be an older crowd, but this is definitely a must see show for all indie fans. Dare I say it’s more important to me than My Bloody Valentine earlier this year? I do. Go buy Diary.

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

Crazy Music Tuesday 4/21

black_tuesdayIf you live here in Austin, tomorrow is one crazy day for live music options in our town.  We’re not sure we can remember a day that was so packed as this one as far as music goes.  So packed, in fact, that we can’t fit all these shows on our main page.  Follow the jump to see full details on all the great shows going down Tuesday.

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t

pains

Rating: ★★★★½

Some of the simplest music occasionally connects with you on the most personal level, and this probably is just one of those times.  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have released one of the most personal albums of the year, and yet there is no explanation.  From start to finish, the album wins you over, time and time again.

Minute one is full of the jangly guitar pop that leapt all over the indie landscape throughout the late 80s and into the 90s.  Surrounded in layers of reverb and feedback, it chugs along, claiming that “you never were a contender.”  Lyrically, it is one of the most simple ideas put to paper, but you can carry that any which way you like; it never takes away from the magnificence of the music.

At times, you can clearly see the influence of bands like My Bloody Valentine, as the band use various effects to coat their sound in a darker spectrum, but at the heart of it all is a clear understanding of the craftsmanship in pop formulas.  Suppose you cleared away all the atmospherics intentions of the band, just for a moment.  You would find the most accessible pop song you’ve come across this year, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. This New York quartet didn’t take the easy way into your hearts, they took  the road less traveled.

Vocalist Kip seems like the sort of guy you always wanted to hang out with when you walked through your campus.  He wasn’t pretentious, not even in his writing, as he was assuredly an English major. Still, every time you saw him cross your path, you knew he had something to him; you knew he could take over the world.  Here, his voice is warm and entirely unassuming. The songs he crafts are all the things you wish you could’ve written, and he’ll gladly share them with you.

One of the more intriguing elements here is that the bobbing bass work is precisely what this record needs to move along.  It’s got a certain bounce to it that makes you want to continually move your feet.  It’s club music for those that  just don’t have the need to go to the club every single night of the week. Toss that in with the simple, yet exact, drum work, and you have a rhythm section that can really claim to be the backbone of this band. See “Teenager in Love” for the perfect example of the strength of the rhythm section.

Vocal interplay across the album is perfectly fitting, coddling every little harmony.  There is nothing modern about this record, other than the fact that it came out in modern times.  It could fit in alongside the best albums of the Cure or even the Go-Betweens, yet it stands on it’s own two feet.  Each turn brings you a new melody, a new angle with which to approach the songs. You don’t want to put it down, as you are sure that there has to be more to what lies beneath the album.

But, greatness aside, there is a drawback to the album. You want to keep listening to it over and over again. You want to play it on your walks, in your house, in your car on a sunny day.  That can be a bit much, and since the sound is a bit repetitive at points, you might find yourself worn out on the album in a short time frame.  Rest assured, you’ll be back soon to keep listening to this album time and time again

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/07-everything-with-you.mp3]

Download: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You [MP3]