Grave Babies – Gothdammit EP

Rating: ★★★ · ·

When a band tosses out a five song EP, such as Grave Babies have done with Gothdammit, it’s often difficult to see it as much more than a stop gap along the way to the next album. But, regardless of where this lives in the band’s on-going catalogue, there are definite steps being taken here towards positive progression.

“Fuck Off” is the start to this rather short affair, but in the matter of time, it’s the longest, although you could easily skip beyond the first minute or so; the band uses the moment as an intro, but you can hear the crackling of the stereo that takes a large precedent over the recording. When the song kicks in, however, it’s just this delicious post-punk moment, possibly hinging upon “goth.”  Brooding bass lines definitely benefit the sound, with the drums seeming a touch to hollow and metallic; this is my stand out track on the EP.

Musically, I dig the following track, “Mourning Heir,” particularly that lofty guitar line, but this is the track where I think the recording process began to lose a little bit of the plot overall.  There’s something about the shotgun sounding drums that just doesn’t do the live show, nor the record itself, any justice.  It ends up sounding muddied like the band blew your speakers out.  A bit of the composure returns for the third track, “Nightmares,” with the pop senses taking a bit more of a leading role on this song in comparison to the heavy hitting drums.  Listening closely, you’ll see that there’s musical genius lurking just below the surface.  Then the band seem to get move in another direction…entirely.

With the first three tracks dabbling in noisier, goth-affected post-punk, the last two songs seems more to delve into sonic exploration.  They’re not nearly as focused on the songwriting here, relying more upon heavy chant-like vocals as on “Bloodstains.”  And “Wasting” seems to regain a touch of the songwriting capabilities, but it’s still not quite up to par with the three primary tracks featured at the onset–perhaps it’s just too short to really find its groove.

You see, this is the problem with EPs like Gothdammit: you find some great moments that get you really excited; you also find some areas where execution could be much stronger.  Personally, I think there’s a good future (and a good market) for a more concise version of the first three song–maybe cleaning up the drum sound.  Should they choose to go in that direction, things could get big real fast.  Should they choose to go in the other direction, there’s a market there too—either way, I’m sure they’re good, I just have my preference.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/GraveBabies_Nightmare.mp3]

Download:Grave Babies – Nightmare [MP3]

Gothdammit is out now on Hardly Art.

Great Garage Jangle-r from Blooper

It’s taken me almost a full week to completely recover from SXSW, but luckily I can go to our friend Toby’s site, Finest Kiss, and catch up on the good stuff he’s stumbled upon in his neck of the woods (Seattle).  This track he ran by Blooper is superb, and reminds me a lot of basically every sweet jam I’ve been rocking in my house for the last several years.  There’s a bit of swing within the jangle, and an infectious aura that sucks you in.  The band’s working on a new EP as of now, but they’ve also got a free Ballard Avenue EP you can grab to wet your appetite while you wait if you go HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Blooper-SecretSong.mp3]

Download:Blooper – Secret Song [MP3]

Dark Post-Punk from Grave Babies

Hopefully you’ve heard about the Grave Babies by now, as they’re about to start winning people over across the Internet. The band’s about ready to release their Gothdammit EP on April 17th via Hardly Art, and while the title might have some allusions to the music itself, there’s still a whole lot beneath that wall of darkness aching to be released.  If you listen to this track, you’ll hear the pounding rhythm and the wall of noise, but that tiny hint of melody held back by the slightest bit of restraint is exactly what grabs you.  I can’t wait to get this EP in my hands!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/GraveBabies_Nightmare.mp3]

Download:Grave Babies – Nightmare [MP3]

New Song from Elba

There seems to be a small amount of buzz growing behind Seattle group Elba, and I’m here to further their endeavor.  In September, the group will be releasing their self-titled album, which will hopefully put the band’s name out there.  On this track, the ringing guitar floating is mesmerizing, while the quieted backing vocals provide a new level of depth to the song’s sound.  Like me, you’ll scour the Internet for more tracks; you can find one on their BANDCAMP, and another HERE.  All signs point to a great release to further our already busy listening schedule in the fall.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Elba-From-A-Sinking-Ship.mp3]

Download: Elba – From A Sinking Ship [MP3]

06/21 Sera Cahoone Show + Interview

The country music & bluegrass world needs more women like Sera Cahoone. Long before my time, women like Emmy Lou Harris & Loretta Lynn carried the torch as THE women of the genre. Not afraid to say what they think about their latest man or toss out the occasional dirty word along with the strum on the finest Gibson acoustic. Sure the world still has their Kathleen Edwards or even Allison Krause to some extent but I feel we need more from the women of the genre. I feel like Sera is one of these women of country music who can carry that torch in the new generation. On Saturday night at Stubbs, she provided an intimate set full of the grit and vulnerability that used to come with those elder stateswomen of country music. Read more

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