Show Preview: Brazos @ Holy Mountain (12.11)

Brazos

Date Wednesday, December 11th
Location Holy Mountain
Doors 9:00 PM
Tickets $10 from Transmission


I’m actually a little amazed at how much is going on in the music community this week, and this is an absolute must see show! Brazos, the one-time Austin band is touring in support of Saltwater, which we enjoyed; it also got a lot of great national press too..deservedly so.  We also did this great takeaway show with them HERE. Plus, you’ll get to see Ski Lodge again, who made one of our Top 50 LPs of the year, Big Heart.  The last time they played, B.Gray and I were having a grand old time.  And, you’ll get to see Austin’s own rising star, Jess Williamson.  You win all around by attending this show on Wednesday night.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/brazos-interlocking.mp3]

Download: Brazos – Interlocking [MP3]

Top 50 Albums of 2013

albums banner 2013 procMaking 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 – WampireCuriosity
49 – Dot DashHalf Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles  – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed CastIllumination Ritual
46 – Bad SportsBras
45 – Part TimePDA
44 – Dick DiverCalendar Days
43 – Math and Physics ClubOur Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica FallsWaiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely WildThe Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love LanguageRuby Red
38 – Gun OutfitHard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le BonMug Museum
36 – Daughn GibsonMe Moan
35 – Andre ObinThe Arsonist
34 – ArpMore
33 – Gap DreamShine Your Light
32 – The Black WatchThe End of When
31 – Ty SegallSleeper
30 – The StevensA History of Hygeine
29 – Of MontrealLousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror TravelMexico
27 – Local NativesHummingbird
26 – Girls NamesThe New Life
25 – GRMLNEmpire
24 – Small BlackLimits of Desire
23 – AudacityButter Knife
22 – Mikal CroninMCII
21 – Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty
20 – FoalsHoly Fire
19 – Radical FaceFamily Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry MaltsNobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out LoudsOptica
15 – Kurt VileWaking on a Pretty Daze
14 –  BraidsFlourish//Perish
13 – Crystal AntlersNothing is Real
12 – TyphoonWhite Lighter
11 – Ski LodgeBig Heart

10 – GamblesTrust

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 GrowlersHung 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.

8 – Wax IdolsDiscipline & Desire

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.

7 – Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege

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.

6 – The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

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.

5 – LegsPass the Ringo

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.

4 – Warm SodaSomeone for You

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.

3 – Coma CinemaPosthumous Release

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.

2 – Bubblegum LemonadeSome Like it Pop

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.

1 – Magical CloudzImpersonator

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.

 

Top Songs of 2013

best songs ath 2013We’ve put our pretty little heads together ladies and gentlemen to bring you our favorite songs from this past year.  It was a difficult task with our ever growing staff, but we feel like this list best represents the diverse taste of our staff.  Love it or hate it, it’s ours to call our own.  Hit play and put your head down or dance or shimmmy or drool or whatever works. Most of all we hope you hear something you missed, something you want to buy or something you want to see live.

Scroll past the playlist for full the run of the bestest songs ever this year.

Read more

Ski Lodge – Big Heart

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Rating: ★★★★½

Admittedly, I’m a huge indiepop fan, so Ski Lodge didn’t have to do too much to win me over.  But, that being said, I was looking for consistency; I wanted Big Heart to be great through and through.  Some records, sadly, fade off in the end.  Lucky for me, and for you, Big Heart isn’t such an album; it’s consistent, consistently good.

“Anything to Hurt You” kicks things off right, bubbling and bouncing its way through, providing the perfect exuberance to balance out the soft croon of singer Andrew Marr.  There’s bright guitar licks too, plucked furiously, as if Marr can’t quite catch up; it’s an interesting effect, and one that works out successfully here.  Immediately following is “Boy,” which seems to have gotten lots of air-time and praise.  My ears see this as a warmer indiepop nod, with a sprawling chorus that highlights the softer side of Ski Lodge‘s music.  While I adore those mellow moments, I like when the band picks up the pace a bit.

There are several occasions when they do speed things up in just the right place on Big Heart, allowing for a change of pace.  The first time comes after the two previously mentioned tracks with “Looking For a Change.”  It might just be the way the guitars or played, or maybe it’s the drums, but there’s a new energy, although Marr’s vocals still provide that emotional pull fans will adore.  They pull it off again later in the album by way of “Just to Be Like You.”  The guitars here have a bit more of an angular approach, leading one to pull out your best Molly Ringwald dance moves before your bathroom mirror. Trust me, I did it.

Throughout, Ski Lodge seems to be scattered, but in a contained way.  They’ve provided glowing indiepop, backed by joyful numbers, all leading into the beautiful closing number, “I Can’t Tell.”  My first run through, I didn’t think this track fit.  But, I’m wrong.  It demonstrates the group’s willingness to push the boundaries of a genre that, while amazing, can grow a bit stale through excess exposure. Perhaps in closing the album, they’re giving us a picture of a future; I prefer to think of it as a statement of grandeur.  The goal to reach pop perfection is loftier here, and much appreciated by this listener, serving as a moment of finality.  Big Heart is over, and there’s no other way you could end this LP; it’s just perfect.

More Sweet Tunes from Ski Lodge

Ski LodgeSki Lodge seems to be riding the waves of praise from all over the place.  First, they had the Internet buzz, then our friends Literature gave them the stamp of approval and we, of course, gave them our love after catching them over at Holy Mountain a few weeks back. They’ve finally locked down a firm date for the release of their album, Big Heart; it’s coming your way on August 20th via Dovecote Records.  And, in honor of the announcement, they’re streaming another new track with it’s warm indie pop melodies and spirited guitar playing.

Show Preview: Chad Valley @ Holy Mountain (5/7)

chadvalley

Date 5/7/13
Location Holy Mountain
Doors 9pm
Tickets $8 @ Frontgate

Sorry for our tardiness on this post, but we felt it warranted despite the late notice.  This evening a great show is going down at new favorite venue Holy Mountain featuring the likes of Chad Valley, Ski Lodge, and local up and comers Orthy.  I see the headliner as being enough to spend on this cheap show so the above average undercard makes it a must do.  That is if you don’t have to work on Wednesday… Maybe even if you do.

More New Pop Music From Ski Lodge

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Here’s a tasty little pop number called “Just To Be Like You” coming your way from NYC based band Ski Lodge.  We brought you one of their sweet jams “I Would Die to Be” way back in June so we’re excited to share this new pop track with you.  This song appears on new single from the band due out April 16th on Dovecote Records.

In other news, the band just announced that they’ll be coming into town for SXSW next week.  Shite, I should have put them on my SXSW watchlist…  Check their facebook page for some SXSW dates & times.

Catchy Pop from Ski Lodge

I’ve been jamming this new tune from Ski Lodge that made it into my inbox over the weekend.  It’s got a little hint of that surfy-guitar pop that’s really popular right now, but I like that the vocals take on a nice focus in this track.  You can find the track on the short Ski Lodge EP, along with three other jams, all which are as equally as catchy as this one here.  It sort of reminds me of the innocence of the Drums early on, giving you that same casual bounce that just invades your mind.  Try it out!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Ski-Lodge-I-Would-Die-To-Be.mp3]

Download:Ski Lodge – I Would Die To Be [MP3]

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