I have no idea why ATH has yet to talk about the new Shout Out Louds records… Let me apologize profusely for our absent mindedness and hit you with latest teaser track from the new album “Paola”. Just sneaking in before the album’s release date tomorrow, this new single is classic SOL material and I couldn’t be happier. The rhythm section creates this tight, driving force to the song as the vocals from Adam Olenius play off the sounds perfectly. I forgot how much I like this band.
The voice of Adam Olenius has been something supremely familiar in my ears since I first heard Howl Howl Gaff Gaff so long ago, so hearing him playing stripped down tunes on his new solo EP just seems natural. That’s the thing about his songwriting; it’s seems effortless, and I’m impressed by the care put into the details on each track…such as the female counterpart present in the featured song below. From what we know, this is just a stop-gap between Shout Out Louds albums, but that’s probably what will make it so personal to fans of the band, allowing them to glimpse another side of Adam’s process as an artist. Looking Forward to the New Me will be out on June 29th via the ABWO Label.
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Making our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly. We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience. We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed. If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.
50 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created. In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.
9 – The Growlers – Hung at Heart
I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.” But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track. I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.
Hether Fortune seems to scare people. Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes. That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense. The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors. If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.
While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work. It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record. The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.
What else really needs to be said about The National. They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts. I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party. Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.
When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve. Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.
Someone For You came our way in January. On my record player, it hasn’t left since. This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record. You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.
At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners. You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.
This album is about Devon Welsh. From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note. The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow. It made us believe in great music again.
It’s that time of year where everyone on the Internet is throwing in their two cents as to what the best records of the year are, at least up to this point. We thought we’d give it our own go, with each of us tossing out our choices. I can tell it’s going to be a huge fight come time to make our year end list.
Nothing quite like figuring out that you still have 1600 shots to go through after six posts already up for SxSW…
Sorry, SxSW seems like a distant memory, but I may just rekindle some fond memories of the smaller shows that you should have gone to. Official SxSW stuff, I have already shared the shots of The Flaming Lips headlined party and Iggy and The Stooges. This gallery has shots of Mompox, Young Galaxy, Local Natives, Gold Fields, Shout Out Louds, Shout Out Out Out, GEMS and more. If you click, you will also get a few quick notes on winners and losers.
So do it. Sing with me, MEEEMMMOOOORRRIIIEESS!!!11!shift+1
Okay, so you thought that Shout Out Louds couldn’t get any cooler: they’re Swedish, they’ve been making records that make your body move for more than ten years now, they’re Swedish… the list goes on. But then, this band decides to put a new single out, but also on a record made out of ice, which is also really cool (pun intended). Coolness aside, this band is back with their fourth studio release, and after 2010’s Work, they have a lot follow up.
For longtime fans of Shout Out Louds, or really to anyone looking for dance-ready jams laden with endless guitar hooks, Optica will not disappoint. From the beginning, there is this anticipation that comes from the second you hit play on “Sugar,” and some extra fuzzy guitar floods your speakers. For a first track, it doesn’t really overwhelm, but it gives you a taste of what’s yet to come; it’s a nice little introductory track before Adam Olenius and company really hit their stride. The second song, and a previously released single “Illusions,” kicks things up to the next level, with its highly percussive and prominent drums adding some texture to the background, while the guitars cut through with the chief riff. Also cutting through the static and robotic base elements are some delicate female vocals that utter the songs tagline, and then harmonize with Olenius that might just make you stop your dancing to laud the band for creating something so filled with substance.
But this is just the second track of twelve! The band continues grooving onward, but changes up the pace on “Blue Ice,” the number they released via ice record for a contest. It’s a track reminiscent of their last album in the way that it feels a bit softer; there’s less angled guitars, Olenius’ vocals are mumbled instead of belted, etc. This variation works well for the band, and the album’s pacing—Shout Out Louds don’t get too hot too fast and they make you wait until the fourth song until they really bust out their killer track: “14th of July.” Multiple hooks and a catchy chorus will have you singing along in no time and I can see this track making its way onto many party mixes and year end lists.
Really, I could go track by track on Optica, enumerating praise for this band because fast, slow, upbeat, downbeat: they know what they’re doing. See for yourself and go buy this record. Now.
I’ve been waiting for Shout Out Louds to replicate the deliciousness that was 100 Percent from their first LP, and I think this new track, Illusions, might just be that perfect step. It combines the element of indie dance music with the group’s current musical warmth, due mostly to the soft spoken female backing vocals. You can listen to this song and not feel a bit of personal exuberance; you better be tapping your toes or spinning about at your cubicle/bedroom. This tune has me thoroughly excited for the band’s new album, Optica, which comes out on February 27th via Merge.
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I’m sure many of you have already heard this sweet new tune from Shout Out Louds elsewhere by now, but I don’t really give a damn to be honest. We’ve always been huge fans of the band since their inception 10 years ago, and we’re all excited to see them resurface after near silence since Work from early 2010. The new song tearing up the internet this week is called “Blue Ice” and can be downloaded for free below. It’s a beauty of a song that has me majorly excited for the band’s planned early 2013 release.
Also, apparently the band has created some sort of crazy 7″ single of this song that is made entirely of ice. Don’t get too excited, only 10 were made, but a contest is currently running here to win one of these highly sought after items.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Shout-Out-Louds-Blue-Ice.mp3]
Download: Shout Out Louds – Blue Ice [MP3]
After nearly two decades together, what’s their left for a band to accomplish, or say that matter? Well, after spending the last few days with Feel the Sound, the most recent release by Imperial Teen, it’s clear that there’s plenty more to be done. There’s always been an infectious brightness to the band, and they don’t hold back on this effort, giving you 11 new tracks to which you can tap your toes.
“Runaway” doesn’t hit hard, but it hits you in all the right places. Guy/girl vocals, one of the band’s specialties, provides a certain sentiment of joyousness, propelling the album along in the precise manner one would expect. As the song rolls along, a smile will begin to spread from ear to ear. This approach seems to be the most successful on Feel the Sound, with songs like “All the Same” using steady drumming, precision guitar play and a penchant for a nice hook to keep us bobbing along with the group. Listening to the increased pace and stomping drums in the middle of the aforementioned track will have you seeing precisely why Imperial Teen have been able to win us over again and again.
Don’t think that the record’s just going to pound you with furious bubblegum flavor from start to finish, as restraint is definitely a forte on this outing. One of the standout tracks, “Don’t Know How You Do It,” really comes across as an indifferent jam, yet you’ll find that it slinks its way into your heart. Monosyllabic chants always get me, personally, but the effortless cool of the track itself reminds one of the great tracks by current label mates, Shout Out Louds. “Overtaken” has a much more melancholy tone for listeners, almost in the vein of mellow post-rock, which might come as a surprise for most fans. The lyrical line of “it’s overtaking us” provides in ominous mood, yet those soaring harmonies always make it hard to fall too deep into the darkness with Imperial Teen.
While there’s plenty to absorb, musically speaking, on Feel the Sound, it’s an interesting collection of tunes. None of these tracks are going to absolutely blow your mind, but there’s a certain playfulness that allows you to really get carried away in the listening experience. Take the brief, “It’s You,” with its sexy vibe and sprightly bounce and you’ll hear the sort of maximum enjoyment that band can offer up in a heartbeat. Whether you’re looking for a solemn tune, or something to lift up the spirits, this record really does have it all. A little bit of time, and you’ll realize exactly why Imperial Teen have been able to sustain such great longevity; the band’s just flat-out good, simple as that.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01-Imperial-Teen-Feel-the-Sound-Runaway.mp3]
Download:Imperial Teen – Runaway [MP3]
At the moment there’s not tons of news stateside about The Serenades, other than it feature Adam Olenius of Shout Out Louds, and his friend, Markus. They’re not crafting bubbling pop with hints of melancholy; they’re offering up sweeping pop music that only the Swedes seem to know how to perfect. They’ve got an album out called Criminal Heaven, and it’s full of really warm numbers with swelling bursts of exuberance. It’s the perfect track to fit into your midweek listening rotation. Just kick back and enjoy this little ditty.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/05-Oceans.mp3]
Download: The Serenades – Oceans [MP3]