The Special Pillow Announce World’s Finest EP

As you listen through to the new single from the Special Pillow it should become apparent that the band’s songwriting is much like an exquisite musical tapestry. It’s got the finest notes from various genres, sewn together so carefully that you’re mesmerized by the sonic presence before you. You can hear some psychedelic influences distantly, while the strings build in this sweeping texture that’s common among many modern “folk;” the collaborative vocals also make that nod, but tie the band into current pop aficionados. And it that wasn’t enough…some delicate woodwind touch ups lurk in the background, all of which leaves you with a well-formed musical vision. That vision and more appear on the World’s Finest EP, out June 26th.

Album Stream: Brian Mietz – Panzarotti

As a bit of a break from SXSW news, today I am pleased to share with you the debut album from New Jersey based artist Brian Mietz. Though you may not know him by name, Brian has spent a ton of time in the New Jersey music scene in various music projects and creating album art work for several indie bands. Mietz made the choice to step out on his own with his debut LP Panzarotti, and boy what a debut it is. At it’s core, the album is essentially a bedroom pop record, but with tons and tons of layers to peel back as you give it repeat listens. One fan can find elements of garage rock, some folk, and tons of bright and airy pop elements. You can purchase the new LP from Mietz via Sludge People.

Nice Indie Pop From LKFFCT

It’s been one hell of a long time since I’ve heard anything from New Jersey based boys LKFFCT. Apparently over the years they’ve been honing their craft in basements and small venues all over the New Jersey and east coast area. Well today I’m pleased to be sharing this new single from the boys entitled “Anesthesia”. It’s a nice bit of indie pop music that meanders a bit between straight and easy pop music, but then hits you in the face with some crazy electric guitar solos throughout. Well done guys.

LKFFCT will release Dawn Chorus on October 6th via Sniffling Indie Kids.

Let’s Get Emotional With Prawn

unnamed (8)After seeing American Football twice during Fun Fest, I’ve found myself much more open to the slow, melodic, emo style music from the late 90s and early 00’s.  Today my need for throwback sounding emo comes our way from New Jersey based group Prawn with their new single “Seas”.  As I’ve clearly put forward already, this one is for fans of all your favorite groups from the Polyvinyl, Barsuk, Jade Tree, etc. era.  This sweet tune appears on a new split with New York’s own Moving Mountains due out November 17th on Triple Crown Records (pre-order).

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/230737427″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Really Enjoying This Tune from The Antics

anticzWhile some bands seem to try and shy away from their nostalgic nods, it seems that The Antics are fully embracing their look into the past of post-punk pop songwriting.  It sounds like they’re crafting something akin to the Servants or the Go Betweens, holding onto the pop sensibility of both bands, while still sounding remarkably refreshing.  This tune shows the licks the New Jersey boys are capable of constructing, which should have you pop fans sitting with watering mouths as the group readies their Emily Jones EP for our ears.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/184926847″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Song Premiere: Lake Effect

1898053_551850284914387_1205701683_nIt’s a day of exclusive song premieres on ATH, and I’m pumped to be sharing yet another one today from New Jersey based boys Lake Effect.  These guys have a knack for creating this raw, almost lackadaisical sounding, punk rock themed songs that I’m finding irresistible today.  Our premiere called “Molecules” is the definition of slacker rock.  One can almost see the band holding a beer in their hand while jamming out to this one at a smoke filled dive bar in the hidden corners of their north eastern home state.  Stay tuned as we hear more from these guys.  Let’s hope that we do.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/150607141″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

New Slacker Anthem From Spook Houses

Here’s a new anthemic new lo-fi jam called “American” from young upstarts Spook Houses.  The tune is short and sweet and delivers a clear message about the jaded youth of America as they struggle into adulthood.  It’s also nice to hear a younger band harking back to some of their forefathers in the lo-fi movement.  A debut LP from the group entitled Trying will be available August 14th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/02-American.mp3]

Download: Spook Houses – American [MP3]

Real Estate – Days

Rating: ★★★★½

With the release of their self-titled album, Real Estate practically made themselves a household name among the indie rock cognoscente.  Not that their second release, Days, is upon us, things look even brighter, with a more refined sound filled to the brim with such pristine pop moments that it’ll be hard not to give the group recognition.

Opener “Easy” instantly brings the jangling guitar lines to the surface, leaving room for sailing melodies to burst through.  But, the ensuing track, “Green Aisles,” which is a bit of a long jaunt, really emphasizes the inherent warmth in the sonic craftwork of Real Estate.  Guitar lines gently glide, as if the band’s dialing in sunshine from within their recording space.  It all seems so effortless, as if the group’s been doing this for years…and they probably have.

“It’s Real” might have won over fans immediately upon its release as the lead single, but it’s just another sign that Days was perhaps designed with the longevity of the tracks in mind.  Soaring “oohs” might be a bit over-utilized by musicians in this pop spectrum, but there’s a hardness to the steady drumming that makes it more than just your average fare.  Still, other tracks are equally as successful within this recording, clearly willing to be played through your stereo for years to come. “Out of Tune” is perhaps my personal favorite, seeming to resonate in the past of California popsters of years gone by.  Despite two solid verses, this track holds onto a bit of guitar noodling, which, having listened to it on repeat a dozen times or slow, still sounds incredible (and not like “jamming” at all).

I’m sure that someone’s going to call the band out for creating a sound that doesn’t offer enough differentiation for your modern listener, but “Wonder Years” is a track that breaks out of the mold.  For one, it seems that Alex Bleeker might have taken over the vocal duties, giving a new quality to Real Estate. The more you let this song unfold, with its “doo-doo” humming and odd background solo, the more you just fall in love with the track.  It’s be nice to see more such moments coming from the trio in the future.

All in all, it’s hard to say anything truly negative about the entirety of Days.  Yes, it doesn’t grab you by the throat forcing you to fall in love, but it does more in being an unassuming collection of some of the most endearing pop tunes we’ve heard.  That alone should be enough to encourage you to pick up this latest release from the group, but if not, then the fact that Real Estate is sure to continue to be on everyone’s radar/blog/podcast for some time will eventually force your hand; give in now; you’ll be grateful you did.