She & Him – Volume 3

sheandhim

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When it comes to indie queens of the Continental United States, there’s no skirting around it, Zooey Deschanel holds her own. Toting her own TV show, girly advice website, and, of course, half of this dynamic duo, she’s got her plate full. And of course, the Him of the title, M. Ward, has his own musical career in addition to this side project. So sometimes it’s even easy to forget about She & Him, but Volume 3 is a nice little reminder of the talent within this pair.

This third effort in this series of albums from She & Him is far from a reflection of its collective members being busy with their own lives, and more of a representation of the goodness that these two have to offer to the indie music scene. First up, they come at you swinging in “I’ve Got Your Number, Son,” which makes for a burst of color to start the album. High-pitched yelps and ‘oohs’ from Zooey are the first sounds to reach your ears, and from this instant, you know Volume 3 is going to be a work of higher energy from these two.

Higher energy, yes, but they still stick to their retro, Phil Spector ‘wall-of- sound’ style for this third work. Which leads me to essentially the same criticism I had with Volume Two: there’s just not a lot different than their previous album, or even Volume One. Granted, it works for the two of them, as Deschanel’s vocals seem to belong to another era entirely, and are suited nicely by the musical accompaniment of rag-timey piano, acoustic guitar, some simple bass lines. However while the band takes advantage of this to craft a style, which they have thus adhered to up to this point, on the tracks that don’t exactly pop out from the rest, the lack of novelty works against these two and I found myself tuning it out—it’s been done before…by them.

But that’s not to say that Volume 3 doesn’t have some mighty fine good tunes for fans or those who have been under a rock since 2008. In fact, there are quite a few hits on here that stand out not only on the album level, but also through She & Him’s whole catalog. There’s singles like “I Could’ve Been Your Girl” and “Sunday Girl,” that evoke a sassier side of Zooey, playing on her vocal tones and even employing a bit of playful French. On the other hand, at the end of the album you have some excellent slower numbers like “London” and “Shadow of Love–” both will wow you with their simple power and beauty within Deschanel’s vocals.

The bottom line is there’s nothing really fundamentally new to the style on Volume 3, which may exactly be what the band is going for by continuing the trend of entitling their albums ‘Volumes.’ If such is the case, then this is a contender for the most hits.

ACL Preview: The Many Faces Of Monsters Of Folk

We’re going off the deep end here with a bit of a different look at our next featured artist for our Austin City Limits Festival coverage.  The band is a sort of super-group, made up of renowned musicians in the indie world, and we’ve borrowed some ideas from our great friends over at theManyFacesOf.com.  Hopefully you enjoy this feature, and without further ado, we introduce you to The Many Faces Of Monsters of Folk.  Follow the jump for more.

Read more

Free Merge Spring Sampler

It’s that time of year again for all of us to begin reflecting on the first third of our year in the music world.  Merge has of course released some stellar albums in these first 4 months of 2010 and they’re celebrating that with a free 14 track digital sampler.  Awesome songs from She & Him, Destroyer, Let’s Wrestle, and tons of others are including.  The Sampler is currently available for free download via Amazon.  This also gives me another excuse to post up one of my favorite songs of the year from Merge band Wye Oak.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/04-I-Hope-You-Die-1.mp3]

Download: Wye Oak – I Hope You Die [MP3]

New Music From She & Him

she-and-himFinally!  What a nice surprise to get up this morning and find a much anticipated new track from super duo She & Him.  This new track “In the Sun” will appear on the sophomore LP Volume Two which is due out March 23rd on Merge.  The new track also features some guest vocals from Tilly & The Wall.  Nice.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/She-Him-In-the-Sun.mp3]

Download: She & Him – In the Sun [MP3]

FT5: Hot Ladies Of Indie Rock

0612top5coverI think you all knew that ATH would go here at some point and alas today is the day that I take the leap and display our true male hormone driven selves with a top 5 about the hot ladies of indie rock.  I won’t beat around the bush here, this post has little to do with the musical talents of these ladies, and more to do with how they drive me crazy with their good looks.  I promise not to offend anyone and also promise that these women have made my list because they are empowered and musically talented women who also just so happen to be pleasing on the eyes.  I love them all and would probably just turn into a bumbling idiot if they ever actually spoke to me…  You will see a lot of familiar faces on the list and probably take issue with some big names being left off.  I love you too Feist and Neko, just not quite enough for you to break into my Top 5.  If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have gotten to me sooner!  Follow the jump for our full top 5 breakdown.
Read more

Free Merge Records Sampler

Merge records wants you to remember their artists when making your year end lists so they decided a free year end sampler would be a good way to do that.  The free sampler features 13 tracks from She & Him, The Broken West, The Rosebuds and 10 others.  This is not the first free year end digital sampler from record labels and probably won’t be the last.  Download/stream all the tracks now.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/02-why-do-you-let-me-stay-here_.mp3]

Download: She & Him – Why Do You Let me Stay Here [MP3]

The Hood Internet V.3

The internet has gone crazy this week with free mix tapes!  I have no doubt that the new Hood Internet Volume 3 Mix Tape will end up being the best one yet. (or at least the best one we’ve told you about this week)  If you aren’t familiar with The Hood Internet, the duo take one indie rock song and blend it with a popular rap/hip-hop song which usually results in dance party gold.  The new volume includes 34 brand new mashups with madness like Ludacris Vs. She & Him, Ghostface Killah Vs. Caribou, and Fleetwood Mac Vs. Daft Punk.  Yikes!  Check it out now and get the party started right!