Fun Number from Lovely Bad Things

The press release for Lovely Bad Things starts out with “if the Pixies and Black Lips got drunk at a party…”  For me, the first thing I thought was “Man, wish I was cool enough to be there.”  Then, I figured the next best thing would be to hear the combination of those two acts, and thus we have LBT.  They’ve got a an EP, New Ghost/Old Waves, that was released on cassette, but should be back on vinyl on March 13th of this year. I see a bit more sunshine in their brand of pop then perhaps the press release mentions, but that’s definitely an added bonus; pretty sure most people will enjoy this simple little jam.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/lovely-bad-things_i-just-want-you-to-go-away.mp3]

Download: Lovely Bad Things – I Just Want You to Go Away

Friday Top 5: Same Name Songs

Hey, it’s me Jon. Back for some insightful commentary on popular music. JK JK LOL!! I’m actually here with another thinly veiled excuse for rambling nonsense and forced humor. Today’s list is about songs that have the same title (not to be confused with cover songs). For no reason in particular, I have decided to give myself bonus points for selecting songs with maxim musical disparity. Read on if you dare.

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Pursesnatchers – A Pattern Language

Rating: ★★★ · ·

When Dirty on Purpose broke up, I was a bit saddened, thinking I’d never get to hear their blend of sharp-edged indie pop again. Luckily, Doug Marvin and his wife, Annie of Au Revoir Simone, had other thoughts in mind, forming Pursesnatchers at home in their bedroom.  They’ve since fleshed out a full band and completed A Pattern Language, giving all the old DoP fans something to hold onto.

“Forever Ahead” opens with this angular stuttering guitar, just before Marvin enters with his whispering vocal, barely floating atop the rest of the band.  It’s a powerful song, built on the backbone of those noisy guitars and steady drum beats. You’ll find a similar pattern with “Mechanical Rabbits” as the song again opens slowly before bursting into the meat and potatoes, those discordant guitars crossing from ear to ear, balanced out by Marvin’s voice.  The dichotomy between Doug’s vocals and and the music is precisely what one would hope for from A Pattern Language.

While the quiet loud quiet dynamic made poplar by the Pixies is used excessively, there’s some differentiation between the songs.  “A Partying Prayer” applies the same construction, relying more on a forceful guitar sound, but it’s Marvin’s vocals that have a different tone to them (not as wispy).  There’s also an intricate closing to the song, built around carefully picked guitar lines.  Then there’s “Kissena Park,” possibly one of the best songs on the A Pattern Language. It’s the closest that Pursesnatchers come to creating a ballad, with cleaner guitar sounds, and Marvin going all soft. You’re likely to find this song sweeping you away for some time to come; it has such a pristine melody that you just can’t escape its magic.

What’s interesting about  Pursesnatchers is that they have this ace up their sleeve that they don’t seem to utilize enough; that ace being Annie Hart. Her first real audible performance comes as backing vocalist on “Baseball on the Radio,” and she really seems to balance out her pop inflections perfectly with Doug’s voice.  You can hear the cascading guitar chords chiming in and those powerful drums fills, but you can’t escape that her presence gives it the perfect essence of pop. She follows that up with her first lead performance on “Third Body Problem.”   It’s a wonder that she doesn’t make more of an appearance, vocally speaking, on A Pattern Language.  You can still have a dynamic song with her, but she brings a different balance altogether to the group’s sound. I’d be interested to see what the group can do using her more, as they seem to do on the latter half of this record.

Listening over and over to A Pattern Language you’re going to hear the ghost of Dirty on Purpose, and by no means is this a knock, as that band was vastly under-appreciated in their time.  But, it’s clear that Pursesnatchers have some tools in their arsenal that they haven’t quite brought to the forefront, so in the future we can only hope they grow, just a bit, making them something incredible.  For now, they’ll have to just settle for being really really good.

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

Download: Pursesnatchers – Baseball on the Radio [MP3]

Viva Voce – Rose City

roses

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Portland, Oregon duo Viva Voce spent the past few years building, creating new things.  First, they created their own backyard studio, perfect for the husband/wife combo to record new tracks.  They continued the building process by adding two permanent members to their line-up, solidifying the group for the recording of an entirely new album.  That new album is titled Rose City, and it demonstrates a band experimenting with their proven recipe for tunes, as the band travel to sonic regions not explored in the past.

Once the album opens with the lead track “Devotion” it becomes rather clear that this isn’t the same group you came across back in the day.  Distortion billows from the guitar this round, and the percussion has this permanent beating echo that seems ominously powerful.  For the first time, Kevin Robinson sounds like someone other than himself, as his voice comes across like a man covering Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  It’s fitting to the music, which explains the change in delivery, as the sound has clearly changed.

“Die a Little” seems a tad bit like what you would expect from this band. It’s rather catchy, and the bobbing bass lines that go throughout keep you tapping your foot at the base of your chair.  Also, vocal duties are split between Kevin and Anita Robinson, so it approaches the aesthetics of the male/female vocal a bit more. Even so, there exists a boundary of sound and feedback the band has yet to explore.

Once you come across a song like “Midnight Sun” you can imagine what the songwriting process was like; the band seems to be painting sounds upon a blank canvas, filling empty space with various elements so that the album sounds full, yet not repetitive in the least bit, allowing for the empty space to resonate with a sound all its own.  But, you can juxtapose that with “Good as Gold,” which seems to take a line or two from the Pixies closet of bass lines, not that anyone could get upset by that.  This song takes on a more traditional Viva Voce feel since it doesn’t seem to have as much of the sonic exploration even though some of the guitar parts have a new sharpness to them.  Just make sure you save yourself for “Flora,” a song that comes at the butt of the album.  There is something spectacular about this song that just yanks at your emotions.  It’s one of the moments that really makes this album worth listening to for repeated listens.

There are some misguided moments here and there throughout this album, which one owes to the band’s desire to explore new sonic elements.  You have to respect that, and you have to hope that the promise that clearly exists on this album will only be pushed further with future recordings, as this album clearly has great moments worthy of your ears.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/09-flora-1.mp3]

Download: Viva Voce – Flora [MP3]

New Pixies Album

pixies2_wideweb__470x3460Okay, so we’re not completely sure about all of this, but as of this point, it seems pretty legit.  Last night, a few sites showed this site , which seems to indicate that a new album, titled Minotaur, will be released by the band at some point this summer.  You can pre-order starting June 15th.  But, we have no news on singles or who is going to release it, although the majority of Pixies releases came our way via 4AD. I’m not going to lie; I’m a wee bit excited here.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/10-la-la-love-you.mp3]

Download: Pixies – La La Love You [MP3]

FT5: 80s Songs In Film

0227top5coverThe 80s saw the birth of the best music from the better half of the century. The problem is that like many similar great works of art, these songs weren’t always immediately recognized for their brilliance. So when Van Halen’s sexually-rowdy “Hot For Teacher” blares in the strip club scene in Varsity Blues, you can’t help but give it a “ten” (a f-ing ten!). It’s from there that the song earns it’s immortality and lives in film fame for years to come. The only rules to this list:  the song couldn’t have been written for the movie or debuted in the movie (sayonara Top Gun, Breakfast Club, and Kenny Loggins). So here’s a list of the most memorable 80s songs from the movies…
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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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