Funky Jam from Rush Midnight

rushmidnightIf it weren’t for the immediate mention of Twin Shadow in this press release, I might have skipped beyond this tune from Rush Midnight; it’s the project of Russ who tours with TS.  What I really like about this song is that the electronic element is actually understated, allowing for the groove to remain subtle.  It allows you to focus on the smooth delivery of the vocal, while still inviting you to swing your hips and dance about.  The project’s self-titled debut album will be out on May 27th via Last Gang Records; it should definitely put a nice spin on our summer listening.

Captured Tracks Signs Axxa/Abraxas

axxaI’m continuously impressed with the growth of Captured Tracks.  What was once a label heading in one direction, they’ve expanded with their Re-Issues (The Servants, Flying Nun, etc), and they continue with their recent signing Axxa/Abraxas.  This definitely continues the label focus on guitar playing, but there’s something different going on in the way the music is crafted, offering up more of a swinging sensation via the band’s psychedelic influences.  It’s good to see a roster grow, especially when the music is as exciting as that being created by this band; the label will release the band’s self-titled debut next March.

Hey You Danceateria Types! Check Out World’s End Press

WorldsEndPress_PhotobyMaclean_Stephenson_2.132234I’ve got no qualms with my adoration of the Australian music scene, though I tend to have a certain arena from the country that I fawn over.  This new tune by World’s End Press doesn’t necessarily fall into that category, but it’s something worthy of including on your Friday night playlist.  It’s an electronic dance tune, playfully constructed to emit the maximum amount of frivolity. It’s got pulsing grooves, nicely spun harmonies and a general attraction that invades your spirit.  Yep, Friday’s are for dancing.  Stay tuned, as the world will get more from the band when their debut album is released on October 4th.

Enjoy The Black Tambourines

blacktambourinesNo. This is not the famed Slumberland act, Black Tambourine, rather it’s THE Black Tambourines, a UK act who I first caught wind of via Art Is Hard Records.  The label is releasing the band’s self-titled debut today, and I’m pretty sure it’s a band you won’t be disappointed if you just spend a little time with this track.  It’s a pretty fun track that gets your spirits up, offering ramshackle guitar pop that inevitably sinks under your skin.  Guitars cascade in soloing fashion while the drums bang hard in your ears.  I don’t see why you won’t love these guys.

Beautiful Pop from The Starfolk

TheStarfolk123a02.115320Really well managed harmonies in the midst of pristine pop songwriting is really what gets me going.  Bands like Nada Surf and Sloan have always had a heavy rotation on my stereo, so it seems fitting that I can now add The Starfolk to that last list.  I’ve encountered some really incredible songs this week, but this one’s on its way to stealing the cake.  There’s a light ringing guitar that carefully floats along, whilst male, and backing female, vocals gently rest in the foreground; it doesn’t hurt that there’s this wonderful string arrangement in the middle of the track. The band’s self-titled record comes out on September 10th via Korda Records.

Promised Land Sound Debut New Single

PLS4_webPromised Land Sound is one of the latest bands to break out of Nashville, and while those before them have had a heavier edge (Pujol for ejemplo), these guys seem to sound exactly like what I always imagined would hail from their cit.  Guitars slide and there’s a blend of americana lurking in it all, but emotional pull in this song is what really sold me on the group.  They’ve completed work on their self-titled debut, which will see a September 24th release date on Paradise of Bachelors.  Dig the sound of the heart of America.

Great New Tunes from Song Sparrow Research

Man, the guitar line from the new single from Song Sparrow Research immediately drew me in, but then the vocals gave me an entirely different feeling.  Suddenly, guitars were ringing in my ears, only to be brought down to Earth by the elegant voice.  It’s a pretty strong statement being made by the band, fusing elements of folk, baroque and dream pop all together, creating a supremely listenable tune, and it’s just one of many.  You’ll find ten more such tracks on the group’s debut self-titled album, which you can purchase now from the group; it’s a limited press, so if you love what you hear, get on it quick.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/01-As-the-Clouds-Drift-By-1.mp3]

Download:Song Sparrow Research – As the Clouds Drift By [MP3]

Dark Proto-Pop from Holograms

I’m going to tell you right now that we’re going to have some happier tunes on the site today, so I had to kick off the day with something a little bit edgier, you know, just to keep my rep as the resident rock intact. The Swedish group Holograms has just signed with Captured Tracks (one of our faves), and they’ll be releasing the band’s self-titled debut on July 19th.  This has a bit more of a punk rock feeling than a lot of the current bands working on CT, but still combines a bit of that dance element that keeps the whole world happy.  It’s a fine line, but when it’s walked this well, you’re just going to fall in love.

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

Download:Holograms – Chasing My Mind [MP3]

More Sweet Pop from Soft Swells

A few weeks back we brought you a nice little gem from Soft Swells, and as we near the release of their self-titled record, another great tune comes our way.  The record won’t officially come out until February 28th, but you’ll definitely be anticipating getting your hands on it after listening to this standout song. For me, it recalls a lot of the pop sincerity of bands like the Generationals, offering up hooks with no pretension or guise; that’s how you’re supposed to compose the hits.  If this isn’t stuck in your head by the end of the day, let me know and I’ll apologize–I have a feeling I won’t be getting any comments on that front though.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/03-Put-It-On-The-Line-1.mp3]

Light for Fire – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

At this point in time, there probably aren’t too many people familiar with the Portland outfit, Light for Fire.  Honestly, that’s probably the biggest tragedy we’ll come across, as their self-titled debut is chocked full of brilliant pop moments, fusing moments of great indie-pop with arrangements created by a singer-songwriter format.  It’s just flat out golden.

You’re going to struggle to find as good a one-two punch as the opening tracks on Light for Fire this year.  “The Huckster” appeals to those interested in the craftsmanship of a singer/songwriter, with the majority of the song revolving around strummed guitar and J. Nicholas Allard’s great vocal performance. From here the band joins Allard with the stomper, “NY (By the Hand),” which is in the running for one of the greater tracks of the year.  There’s a hint of a scratch to Allard’s voice, but with the banging piano and his storytelling, there’s not much that sounds better coming through your stereo speakers.

If you’re looking for some sort of generic marker to throw at Light for Fire, you’ll easily find comparisons to Spoon.  But, that being said, the band has cleaned up some of the noisy meandering that’s been associated with Spoon, instead allowing the poppier side to push on through.  Take “The Letters,” and you’ll have that semi-stomp, with Allard doing his best to give that scratchy croon perfected by Britt Daniels.  Even “Green Life” seems to take a bit from the comparison, using hints of piano to craft their tune, reminiscent of some of the singles off GaGaGaGaGaGa.  This isn’t a bad comparison, as few people write great pop numbers in the vein of Spoon. But, I suppose someone’s bound to get caught up in the similarities.

But, the more you listen to these eleven tracks, the more you see the band has definitely attached themselves to the songwriting of Allard, and rightfully so. “Where I Was Born” is a track for storytellers, with the narrator giving a brief summation of his life.  There’s restraint in the guitar playing, that is until the band jumps in, making it a passionate Americana rocker. And with “4th of July,” you get a quiet number that evokes other songwriters from the Portland area.  Allard’s voice takes on a more gentle quality, and the guitar lines barely trickle into your ear.

One of the best things you can do for your day is to get your hands on this wonderful effort by Light For Fire.  Yes, there’s touchstones of modern indie stars, but beneath those allusions lives great songwriting.  It’s executed to perfection, providing listeners with eleven tracks, not one of which begs to be skipped. For a band seemingly coming out of nowhere, this is the perfect place to start.

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

Download: Light for Fire – NY (By the Hand) [MP3]

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