Magical New Pop Number from Dylan Shearer

Not being from San Francisco, I haven’t been let on the great secret of the city: Dylan Shearer.  Luckily, that changed today when this exquisite track landed in ye olde inbox. Dylan’s got a new record titled Porchpuddles, which is being released by Empty Cellar Records on June 19th.  Sonically, it harkens back to the earlier days of pop music, with a smooth approach to the delivery of the vocals and the music itself.  You get the feeling that this song sounds best in some sort of coffee house with hordes of people swaying as they sit cross-legged on the floor.  Pleased to meet you Dylan.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/SideA_01_Afterwhile.mp3]

Download:Dylan Shearer – Afterwhile [MP3]

Grass Widow – Internal Logic

Rating: ★★★★☆

Judging by the bio that Grass Widow throws up, you’d expect them to be sort of your run-of-the-mill post-punk girl group, but that’s a whole lot of cliche in one sentence; there’s so much more to the group’s album, Internal Logic, that it stands against your attempt to pigeonhole the group.  No matter what, this is something you’ve got to get behind, and you’ve got to do it right now.

All in all, the album clock in at just under 30 minutes, so you don’t have too much time to dwell on particular songs, and that works in the favor of this San Fran trio.  There’s a dark bubbling bass that opens “Goldilocks Zone,” the record’s first track, and the sparse guitar lines provide an added level of demonic pretense; it’s completely offset by the female vocals–possibly the best of the female vocals I’ve heard this year.  Near the end of the track it shoots off in a more guitar driven direction–it’s a nice little touch. For my money, I think the only thing that makes these girls post-punk is the fact that they’re writing songs thirty years after the initial explosion; these girls write punk songs.  “Milo Minute” is probably one of the most enjoyable punk rock songs I’ve heard in awhile, but I suppose some detractors might say the vocals are anything but punk rock.  That’s the attitude Grass Widow seems to take for the entirety of this album; they use what they have (3 girls singing) and apply it to the punk rock they love.

Of course, that’s just one dynamic on Internal Logic.  Other times, these girls don’t seem to have any interest in punk rock, rather they steer in a more alternative direction with warm vocals and somewhat discordant guitar sounds.  “Under the Atmosphere” utilizes some similar skills from earlier on in the record, but the construction of the song definitely lends to a more pop-centric feel: one that will surely win adoring fans. Still, they have the ability to combine both their favorite worlds, which is why the record’s such a refreshing bit of music to play over and over again.

The second side of the affair hits a lot harder and faster, yet still holds onto the girlishness that makes Grass Widow so endearing.  And in playing faster, they also illustrate some remarkable musicianship, shifting pace and styles within songs.  For some reason, I listen to songs like “Advice” or “Disappearing Industries” and I hear bits of Wire with the modern popularity of girl-pop thrown in to it.  It’s a unique combination of sounds, and one that makes listeners of Internal Logic beg for more.  We all love a lady and her guitar, but give me three chicks who can clearly outplay a lot of the boys, and I’m blown away.  Do yourself a favor and turn this up on the old stereo, and witness the prowess of a band at the top of their game.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/GrassWidow-MiloMinute.mp3]

Download:Grass Widow – Milo Minute [MP3]

Bouncing Power Pop from Warren Teagarden

Who’s that handsome chap in the photo? That’s Warren Teagarden, San Francisco’s favorite garage rocker.  He’s joined with his friends The Good Grief to create the album Warren Teagarden and The Good Grief, which you can get from Meaningless World Records. Listening to this track, Warren’s got that same darkened howl of Tim Cohen, but he’s also got his hands on the punk rock guitar chug; it’s the main ingredient that propels this song along.  If gritty garage tracks is your thing, then this is the number for you!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/02-Stupid-Happy-Fun-1.mp3]

Download:Warren Teagarden – Stupid Happy Fun [MP3]

FT5: Songs About Heading West

Summertime is vacation time. Roadtrip time. So sweaty you stick to your chair my God why don’t I live in a more temperate climate time. So where do you go at a time like this? “California! Californiaaaaaa! Here we COOOOOOOOMMMMME!” Excuse me. I believe I slipped into the theme song of the O.C. for a moment. I thought about making every track on this list “California” by Phantom Planet, but I’m fairly certain I am the only one who would think that is funny. So instead, here a legit list of songs about heading out west. Enjoy.

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