New Wet Paint Track

A few years ago I caught wind of this band by checking in on Bloc Party, but don’t let that confuse you, as they sound nothing like the band. Wet Paint have a sound more akin to those who’ve recently been slogging in the muck with early 90s slacker/nerd rock.  Their new record, Woe, should be out this month, and I can’t help but just swoon over these collection of tracks. You can see the past living in their songs, but it’s not overly reminiscent of any band in particular, which gives the band of a punch of originality and freshness. Go back in time with me and enjoy this track folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/01_Gone_So_Long.mp3]

Download: Wet Paint – Gone So Long [MP3]

Times New Viking – Dancer Equired

Rating: ★★★ · ·

If there is be a perfect time for Times New Viking, it’s now. With the rise of so many different jangly pop and lo-fi bands, there could not be a more suiting atmosphere for this album to be released. Already equipped with a significant fan base, this band is here to show the rest of the music world that they are at the top of their game; more defined in their noise pop sound.

Heavily distorted vocals and echo-y guitars fill the first number, “It’s A Culture,” which sort of feels a little mismatched and out of order at its beginning, but develops into a fuzzy toe tapper, with Adam Elliot and Beth Murphy sharing the muddled vocal responsibility. It’s a bit of a foggy start, only to be contrasted by the second song, “Ever Falling in Love,” where the band seems to tighten things up a bit, wrapping overlapping vocals about a steady guitar riff.

A common problem with having an album largely based on short simple songs, is that that some of those little bits become throw-aways, and leave you wondering why they were included into the mess. Songs like this, in my opinion, come on the utmost of shortest jams, such as “New Vertical Dwellings,” on which everything is out of sync. For the most part, the drums don’t match the guitar, which doesn’t match the vocals, leaving the song to sound like a bunch of elements thrown together haphazardly. At only one minute and nine seconds, a song without substance may not seem like that big of a blemish, but it just makes one question the production of this album. Even though a band’s sound is lo-fi, doesn’t mean they can skimp on the quality of music they produce.

But Times New Viking doesn’t completely fail on this album; the tartness of “Fuck Her Tears” gives a taste of the classic sound that this band exemplified on their last album, while “Somebody’s Slave” slows things down for a gravelly slow burner that keeps you hanging on to the rolling drums. Following this is the weirdly distorted and emotional “No Good,” that is a simple and odd way to end the album.

Abundant with its carefree nature and brisk songs, Dancer Equired, feels just right for the increasingly hot weather and sunshine. Despite some less than satisfactory numbers, the fun of the good ones combine to outweigh the bad, leaving you with a pretty mediocre, yet enjoyable album.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Times-New-Viking-Ever-Falling-In-Love.mp3]

Download: Times New Viking – Ever Falling In Love [MP3]

Dancer Equired is out now via Merge Records.

Explosions in the Sky – Take Care Take Care Take Care

Rating: ★★★★ ·

In the days of computers for instruments, and a heavy weight on the vocals of a band, be it gang or solo, where do Explosions In The Sky fit in? Filling neither of these two aspects, they rely solely on the strength of their instruments to weave their listeners into an intricate web of simplistic, stripped down instruments. Known as Post-Rock, this genre of music allows for the music to be left up to your utilization: background music, inspiration for creativity, or something to contemplate.

For a merely six-song album, Explosions In The Sky do not fall short in the field of time for a full-length album. Instead, each song is long and sprawling, providing those crescendos and an abundance of catharsis that this band is famous for doling out. Take the first song, “Last Known Surroundings,” for example. Over the course of almost eight and a half minutes, you are taken to a variety of places by the changing rhythmic cycles of the instrumentation. Squalling, yet controlled guitars dominate the foreground of the song, while explosive drums kick in the background, leaving with the simplistic elegance that any song that this band produces contains.

While one might think that the long songs on this album would make each one stick out from each other as its own work of finesse, the contrary of this is true. Much like the chapters of a good book, each is brilliant, and they weave together to form a collective brilliance as an album. The sound fluctuates from loud to soft, and then back to loud again, giving those rolling hills of depth that are able to be filled with whatever strikes your fancy. Such depth allows for catharsis after catharsis and build after build without tire.

As I said before, one of the best qualities to this band is that they leave it up to you instead of forcing it down your throat. They pick the best possible times to grab your attention. So even if you are using their delightfully serene music as the filler of space while you work or think, they still have the ability to command your attention back to the music so that it can be commended as excellent craft. This is all you can ask from Explosions In The Sky.

New Track from Wax Museums

The incestuous punk rock scene in Texas is alive and well, and I’m grateful for that fact. Wax Museums returns to the forefront of the movement with their latest release, Eye Times, after a three year hiatus, which will be in stores June 28th via Trouble in Mind Records. Lyrically, you’ll probably find the track to be a touch on the simple side, but it’s such a quick power-driven number that you can’t help but get attached from the moment those drums clash with the guitars in a cacophonous moment of energy and melody.  With members from Bad Sports, Silver Shampoo and Mind Spiders, there’s not a reason in the world why this won’t be super awesome.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/WaxMuseums_EyeTimes_Sunburn.mp3]

Download: Wax Museums – Sunburn [MP3]

New Music from Rosebuds

With all the great releases coming out this year, it’s no wonder that we haven’t heard about every little thing on the radar.  One of the things I’m most excited for is this new one from the Rosebuds titled Loud Planes Fly Low, which comes out on Merge Records on June 7th.  There’s definitely some interesting sounds coming here, as the track we’re posting has this really mellow clarity to it, while this TRAILER VIDEO featuring another track definitely has that whispy pop quality of past Rosebuds tunes. I guess we’ll have to wait and see which route the band takes, but either way, I bet it’s good.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/03_The_Rosebuds_-_Loud_Planes_Fly_Low_-_Second_Bird_of_Paradise.mp3]

Download: The Rosebuds – Second Bird of Paradise [MP3]

Generationals – Actor Caster

Rating: ★★★½ ·

On their 2009 album, Con Law, the duo known as Generationals sort of left their mark by being all over the place, touching on various genres of modern indie pop.  For their second album, Actor Caster, the band sounds a lot more confident, clearly having spent loads of time developing their sound into a cohesive gem of an album, ready for mass consumption by anyone and everyone.

Kicking off the party with “Ten Twenty Ten” seems like as good an option as any for the band, as it definitely has this rootsy pop-rock guitar bubbling through it, ready to boil over with melodic pop momentum.  Here the band sounds really steady, and instead of hitting you over the head with hooks like on their last release, those moments slowly build beneath the songs on Actor Caster, making it more infectious the more you listen.  Similarly, “I Promise” uses this jangling sunny guitar line to reach up and grab you and carry you swinging arm in arm out the door. A slight piano track in the background adds to the jangling, giving more texture to the band’s sound, again making lasting impressions.

Of course, the band will definitely find themselves compared to other groups with some of the tracks present here, namely comparisons to The Drums.  But, unlike the latter, Generationals have something stronger in their summery swagger, such as “You Say It Too.”  It’s got that clever little surf-rock guitar hook here, and vocals upon vocals, some oohs to boot, but it’s got more substance than other like-minded groups.  In “Goose & Gander” you’ll find yourself sitting at your desk, or wherever  you are, tapping your feet.  You can try all you want to avoid it, but once a hook inserts itself in your subconscious, there’s nothing that will get you away from happily swaying moments from left to right.

You’ll still be able to find bits of pop experimentation on this record, so don’t go thinking it’s all same-old same-old.  “Tell Me Now” is probably one of the more distinctive songs on this entire collection, and it’s the vocals that seem to take hold of you here, as opposed to the overall hooks of guitars and melodies.  That’s probably one of the greatest things about listening to Generationals, they just have an arsenal of hooks and pop wonderment that will instantly win you over; there’s no fighting it folks, so you may as well just let yourself get absorbed in it all.  Whether you want a jangling guitar, or a piano-laden track or even a sing-a-long chorus, you’re going to find it here.

In the end, their ability to harness that exuberant energy into a more confined sound is going to be greatly beneficial. Actor Caster is just chock full of hit after hit, begging you to open up the windows and share these joyous listening moments with anyone, and everyone, who is willing to open their ears. At the end of the day, Generationals have constructed yet another record full of tracks that you can, and should, take anywhere, as they’ll be around for some time, destined to bring you every bit of sun your heart desires.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/09_Greenleaf.mp3]

Download: Generationals – Greenleaf [MP3]

New Music from Title Tracks

If you haven’t been introduced to John Davis before, you must’ve been hiding behind a rock of some sort. He was in Q and Not U, one of the phenomenal Dischord bands and he fronted Georgie James for a bit.  Both bands earned a respectable following, but now John’s working on his new group, Title Tracks, who are about to release their second album, In Blank, on April 19th via Ernest Jenning Records. These tunes are full of a steadier, less angular guitar groove, allowing Davis more room to develop his vocals, not to mention his overall craftsmanship.  If the rest of the record sounds anything like this, we’re destined for another brilliant work by one of the most under-appreciated songwriters around.  You can also check out another track from the upcoming record on his SITE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/titletracksalltricks.mp3]

Download: Title Tracks – All Tricks [MP3]

New Track (album) from Blackbird Blackbird

Don’t you just love it when band’s gather all their old files, polish them up, toss in some new gems and then give it out to the fans?  Such is the case with the Halo LP, the newest offering from San Francisco group, Blackbird Blackbird.  On first listen, it seems all over the place, but in a good way, as you can see where the band’s vision evolves as they’ve continued to work hard.  The album’s opening track, as is often the case, is a great track, using a minimal drum beat to serve as the background for the harmonies that come in and out with the vocals.  You’ll love the listening experience here, as the grooves and hooks continue to penetrate your ears. Get hip to this.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Blackbird-Blackbird-Halo-LP-01-Halo.mp3]

Download: Blackbird Blackbird – Halo [MP3]

New Sigur Ros Single

Sigur Ros just released a single off their forthcoming album with a title so long I won’t even attempt to reproduce it here. Apparently the album is being produced by Nine Inch Nails producer Flood? Go figure… The new single “Gobbledigook” isn’t like anything you’ve heard the band do before. Go here to pre-order the brand new album out June 23rd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/gobbledigook.mp3]

Download:Gobbledigook.mp3

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