Thursday had the ATH crew out in full swing to catch a night of great music and good times at The Mohawk. Early door times had openers taking the stage with the sun not quite yet set, but that didn’t deter Dark Rooms and Riothorse Royale from providing entertaining sets to a growing crowd for headliners Other Lives.
If you weren’t there for this night of stunning tunes, sucks to suck, but read on to see just what you missed out on. Or if you were lucky enough to be there, relive the night and click through some rad photos by the ineffable B.Gray.
Thursday night at the Mohawk is looking like it’s shaping up to be the place to be as far as shows go around Austin. Headliners and Oklahomans Other Lives are touring in support of their latest effort, Rituals, which showed the band going in an sultry electronic direction and featured a ton of tracks I’m excited to see fleshed out in a live setting. Not to mention the chance to hear the rest of the bands’ stunning catalogue of dark orchestral rock music. Opening up for them are Dark Rooms (Dallas) and Riothorse Royal (L.A), the likes of which should bring a variety of sounds to the night. I’ve included tracks by both of them below to entice you to show up early to the Mohawk tomorrow night.
Over the years, Oklahoma’s Other Lives have built a reputation for themselves as the creators of cinematically sweeping rock music; their first two full-length albums were delightful examples of this unique style, with the more recent of those two, Tamer Animals, showing the growth of the band and their ability to evolve their sound. Rituals, their third full-length attempts to pursue this growth in a different direction via the incorporation of more electronic elements into the mix.
So how does a band that knocked their last album of grand and dramatic music out of the park introduce their audiences to a new spin on their sound? Well, in true Other Lives fashion, “Fair Weather,” the opening track, begins this adjustment subtly. This slow moving song doesn’t seem to be so different from what we’ve heard before from the band, but soon you pick up on more of the use of what sounds like synth or artificial drum beats, evoking a sort of cool groove that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The instrumentation on here is less folk influenced rock and more carefully crafted electro-inspired simmering rock.
This third album shows the band shifting to a subtler sound overall; a bit of the drama that the last album possessed is replaced with sleek smoothness, which works in some places, but falls slightly short of my high expectations in others. Take second track “Pattern” as a prime example of where this works well—the whole song is lined with fierce violin part that never stops, whose immovable presence creates a bridge between the other parts of the song. Similarly, this violin part is mirrored by tinkling piano that shows the level of nuance that this band is so good at. The vocals here are almost entirely falsetto, making for a swirling mix of high and low elements. Another delightful track that shows the smooth approach from the band is “Easy Way Out,” which uses Jesse Tabish’s smokily sinister vocals to assures us that “we can find an easy way out–” and man do I believe him. While neither of these songs really go far away from where they begin, they both use suspense to hold you in their grasp.
Rituals provides us with some more great tracks to add to our listening catalogue from Other Lives, but on the whole it doesn’t make the same leaps and bounds that their sophomore effort did. The sound is still engaging, and the addition of electronic elements works well with the orchestral and grand sound that this band has made their own, but I find myself feeling like I’m missing a little something. Regardless, if you haven’t already fallen in love with Other Lives, there’s really no excuse anymore: pick up Rituals and let the slow crawling sound take you over to the darkness that this band does so well.
ATH darlings, Other Lives, are about to put out a new album, if you didn’t already know. Ritualsis coming out May 4th, and lucky for you the band has shared another track from the new record, which is called “Easy Way Out.” This track, like the other single the band has released, shows the electronic twist that is in store for us on the new record. While usually I associate electronic with a level of cold aesthetic, Other Lives bring their warm drama to the song, making it one you don’t want to miss.
A year or so ago, I was really into jamming Honduras, but they seem to have been relatively through that time…until this brand new single caught my ear. It fulfills on early promise of blending melodies with this post-rock sensations…the spoken word vocal delivery is a nice twist on the style. Still, the band have a great tendency to get noisy in all the right places, which ends up always keeping their tracks memorable. Look for their debut, Rituals, this June via Black Bell Records.
Other Lives, from Stillwater, OK, are essentially a household name in the indie world, making ominously beautiful tunes. After their 2012 release of Tamer Animals, they’ve taken their time to put out another album, but now they’ve returned with this new single and the announcement of their third LP, Rituals,which is set to come out on May 5th here in North America (preorder it here). Fittingly enough, the track is called “Reconfiguration,” and gone is the sweeping nature you grew accustomed to on those earlier records and in its place is more to appeal to your electro pop sensibilities. The track is still somewhat haunting, but its clear the band is going in a different direction than their first two records. What do you think?
When this track from Exwife begins, it seems like you might be in for a drifting bit of post-rock, featuring ambling guitars and distant vocals. But, as it heads into the 2 minute mark, walls of distortion are inserted, then pulled back. In the end, the song begins to fade, with atmospheric noise circling the listener’s ears as the song draws to a close. I like the sense of brooding and danger that rides throughout. You can hear this song on the group’s upcoming New Colors LP, which hits stores on May 28th, courtesy of Evil Weevil Records.