Premiere: Bubbles Brown Cover Nirvana (kind of)

bubblesbrownI just wanted to grab your attention, as I think Bubbles Brown, knowing their style, are really covering Lead Belly. Sure, the Nirvana link gets a lot more attention, as radio stations won’t stop playing it, but now you have a more soulful version (as it was originally intended) to add to your collection. I love the sound of Bubbles here, pulling out the old school Southern drawl with his vocals; it’s refreshing to hear someone yank at the heartstrings and sound wholly refreshing. The two piece releasetheir brand new Oh Sure Volume One EPtoday, which will feature this nod, but don’t forget to revisit their recent release, Mt. Gilead too…you won’t wanna miss it.

Friday Top 5: Skippable Track Types

You seem like the modern sort. I bet you have 80 bazillion digital music files don’t you? Wow, you have 90 bazillion? That is impressive. How in God’s name do you listen to that many songs? Let me answer that for you: you don’t. You’re a fickle song skipping beast. It’s okay, I do it too. It’s the only way to cope with such an overwhelming amount of music. I’m liable to skip any track on a whim, but there are certain types of songs I find myself skipping all the time. Here are the types of tracks I’m talking about:

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Harlem – Hippies

Rating: ★★★★½

For the past several years, interest has been building slowly behind the Austin trio, Harlem.  They upped their own ante by signing to Matador Records for the release of their newest album, Hippies.  Behind years of playing whenever and wherever they could, honing their musical chops, Harlem have seemingly created one of the best works of the year (I was afraid to give it a 5 so as not to be accused of a homer).

Entering the album, there’s about thirty seconds of a slight lull during “Someday Soon,” but as the song goes on, the pace quickens, going forward in a ramshackle truckload of fun.  The final crashing chorus shows the nonchalant attitude of the band who are always energetically pursuing joy on stage.  “Friendly Ghost” (not about a ghost) carries the same mentality, using jangling guitars and a pounding drum to get your foot tapping so hard you might lose it to the sheer enjoyment of the song alone.

Destined to not just rely on lo-fi tendencies and madness, the group do give a nod to a little bit more of a classic rock n’ roll sound, as “Number One” highlights garage rock’s earlier days with gang vocals and certain tendency not to come across too polished.  All the while, they maintain their incredible stomp, which may lead to some soreness in the neck after prolonged exposure to this record. “Be Your Baby” is in the exact same ball park, although it doesn’t sound anything at all like the song that precedes it.  You will surely be exhausted already by this point, as no band can clearly keep up this blistering pace.

They do.  It’s like non-stop furious jangling chords and raucous percussion work.  “Gay Human Bones” maintains the pace, and then you find a hint of Nirvana in “Torture Me” (that’s if you are to believe the band’s Myspace).  However, there is “Cloud Pleaser.”  Rolling gently along for a minute or two, it gives all us listeners a chance to stretch and maybe grab a quick drink of water, but the band can’t stay away too long, ending the song on a faster note, albeit a slightly slower one, comparatively speaking.

You won’t ever find anything dull, though some might say that there are some like-sounding songs, along the way to the end of the record.  If you found the first half of the record touched by garage sounds and carefree recording, then you’ll be surprised that there is a dark psychedelia lying at the second half.  “Prairie My Heart” has a darker soul to it than some of the previous number, leading you to believe that Harlem has more tricks up their sleeve. So they do, as “Pissed” clearly isn’t like many other things on the record, yet it fits right along the rest of the tracks.  Personally, it just reminds me of Love if Arhtur Lee was a whole lot more “pissed”, and didn’t have that spectacular voice.

Really, this record is fantastic.  It moves along at such a quick pace that you have to go back several times to make sure you loved that one song as much as you did when you first heard it.  Truth is, you will love it, possibly more so.  Hard to find a bad song on this record that can’t stand on its own merit, which makes Hippies one of the best works to come out in 2010. Truth.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Harlem-Friendly-Ghost.mp3]

Download: Harlem – Friendly Ghost [MP3]

FT5: Forgotten Nirvana Songs

0213top5cover1Twenty-eight years ago today Kurt Cobain’s uncle gave him a choice of either a bike or a guitar as a present for his 14th birthday. Kurt chose the guitar. As the front man for Nirvana, he would spearhead a cultural shift in rock music by bringing underground rock overground with the album Nevermind. DGC records hoped to move 250,000 copies. It went on to sell millions and symbolically dethroned Michael Jackson from the #1 spot on the billboards. Suddenly the hair metal bands and carefully crafted pop icons that dominated before Nevermind’s release looked dated and ridiculous. Nevermind was more than just an album, it was a pivotal moment in rock history. Follow the jump as we unveil our Top 5 Forgotten Nirvana Songs.

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