First off, you should own Our House on the Hill by the Babies. The song “Alligator” alone warrants your ownership; it’s one of my favorite songs of the last few years, period. Luckily, the band’s been holding onto some of their B-Sides while they’ve been working on solo Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone LPs. Woodsist has opted to released these two B-Sides as a digital single, and I’m going to pick them up (though I wish they came on a 7″). This song from the release has that jangly swagger, featuring Morby on the lead vocal; it’s so tasty I’m not even sure how this track didn’t make the final cut! Listen and hit up the label for the release.
With the recent release of Our House on the Hill, the Mohawk was filled to the brim to catch the Babies in action. A line-up fueled by Austin acts only added to my personal anticipation, so we happily made our way out on the town.
Read on for our thoughts and photos…
|Date||Friday, December 14th|
|Tickets||$8 from Mohawk|
We’re drawing to the very end of what has been a great season of rock n’ roll, and what better way to wrap things up with a visit from The Babies. The part Vivian Girls, part Woods, super group blasts into town fresh off the release of their very excellent Our House on the Hill. Their music alone would be reason to go to this show, but we’ve also got the benefit of some incredible openers, namely Deep Time and Gal Pals.
Interested parties can enter our contest for a ticket with accompanying +1. Simply leave a comment about anything you want, and we’ll pick a winner the morning of the show. Good luck![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/thebabiesrunmeover.mp3]
Download:The Babies – Run Me Over [MP3]
The project between Woods‘ Kevin Morby and Vivian Girls‘ Cassie Ramone isn’t exactly a new project, but their newest effort for Woodsist seems like the side-project finally got some much deserved focus from the two core songwriters. Our House On The Hill is the perfect execution of sunny pop with a ramshackle approach, giving listeners exactly what we’ve been looking for since we first got wind of the band.
“Alligator” takes aim at my pop-centric heart almost immediately. A ringing guitar accompanied by Morby’s sunny vocal approach definitely pleases, and when Cassie Ramone comes in for accompaniment midway through the track, I couldn’t have been happier. It’s a simple tune, with fairly common writing, but it’s just the beginning of the infectious hooks coming from The Babies. Immediately following you’re greeted by slow-walking, where Morby and Ramone take dead aim at bright pop by trading vocal duties back and forth. This is the track I longed for the group to create!
A few tracks ahead and you enter the realm of perfection with “Get Lost,” one of the standout tracks on Our House On The Hill. This is definitely Morby’s track, and it’s his vocal performance that steals the show, though the low-key approach of the various verses just builds the tension for the group to blast off into a bliss filled meandering guitar affair to close out the song. Just because there’s a hit like this laying in the middle of the record, it doesn’t mean there’s not enough interesting tracks to fill out the album exceptionally.
You can take “Mean,” which is mostly a one-man Morby affair, with the singer coming off with hints of Bob Dylan, both in the writing of the track and the vocal delivery. Ramone’s quieted backing vocals only strengthen the track even more. There’s also “Baby,” which belongs to Ramone, and definitely wears the mark of her other project, Vivian Girls, though there’s also similarities to Best Coast lurking in its structure and vocal delivery. These are just a few of the various examples that mark this effort by The Babies, leaving you with an effort that doesn’t really repeat itself, though paces back and forth in similar territory.
Our House On The Hill is all over place, and in saying this, I’m meaning it as a compliment. In combining the great songwriting attributes of Morby and Ramone, the record never really gets stale, and if anything, it only improves reveals more gems from listen to listen. Depending upon your mood, you might light the sunny pop elements, but others might find themselves leaning towards the more stripped down tracks like “That Boy.” Thats precisely why I think The Babies are so successful on this round, doing what they do best on their own terms, and excelling in every way.
The following track is not like anything I’ve heard from The Babies as of late, but to be honest, I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed listening to the group: their sound is fairly unidentifiable. They’ve got tunes that come off as garage-rock, but they’ll mix it up with some slow-paced ballad, keeping you on your toes throughout your listening experience. This new tune begins with a bit of a wayward stomp, filled with a melodic hook that I can’t escape; of course, it also features a closing guitar ambling to wrap up the track. Who knows what we’ll get when their latest album Our House on the Hill comes out November 13th (Woodsist), but I bet it’s going to be good.