New Single from Brown Recluse

It’s been almost two years since I last thought to check in on Brown Recluse, but the band has decided to pop back into my mind, and based on their latest single, “Impression of a City Morning,” they’ll probably be staying there for some time.  The band is releasing their debut for Slumberland titled Evening Tapestry on March 15th.  It’s got this smooth jangling feel to it, one that’s sort of reminiscent of all things Scottish in my mind.  That steady drum beat, overdubbed vocals, and nice keyboard moments to brighten the melody truly make me one to swing my arms about in the air in the most fey sort of way.  Then again, pretty sure most music makes me feel this way.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Brown-Recluse-Impression-of-a-City-Morning.mp3]

Download: Brown Recluse – Impression of a City Morning [MP3]

Weekend – Sports

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Slumberland has been fortunate enough to have always stayed true to their original sound aesthetic as a label while still offering up a diverse clientele for their audience.  Enter San Franciscos’ Weekend, another group offering up a noisy debut, fueled by certain sonic and textural elements we’ve all come to recognize.  Their album Sports does have certain touches of diversity when compared to the grand spectrum of things, yet those modifiers that make them relevant often seem to get in the way of the progress they offer as a group.

Listening to the first track, “Coma Summer,” you almost get the idea that this might just be a nice little pop number, as the song’s intro includes a nice pounding drum and jangling guitar.  Still, the echo in the background has a haunting quality, and as the song pushes forward, that quality explodes into buzzsaw guitars that practically obliterate any chance of vocal comprehension.  Underlying melody is all well and good folks, but if you don’t allow room for breathing, then what’s the point?

Clearly, the scope of the record does have some lyrical value, but it often seems to have evolved as an afterthought to the completed musical process for Weekend.  “Youth Haunts” has this brooding bass work that really propels the song forward, but as guitars knife their way discordantly through the song, the vocals appear very distant, as if they were recorded separately, then spliced onto the tape in another session altogether.  Similarly, “Landscape” has that certain appeal one would find in the early days of Manchester, yet part of you probably feels a driving need to connect with the vocals themselves.  That’s probably one of the great difficulties with Sports; you either connect with the noise itself, or you’re spending your time chasing after the lyrical content.  One of the things that made bands like Joy Division so successful was their ability to bring you that connection, offering up vocals that could be discerned, while still piling noise into the whole affair.

One might find themselves extremely frustrated with Weekend by the end of this whole affair, as there are clearly elements that seem successful in their own merit, such as the track “Age Class.” Once again, the rhythm section practically owns the song, giving you this animalistic power that only increases the tension as the song progresses.  Normally, there would be some sort of release, some sort of resolution, but Sports just never offers that sort of cleansing moment.  Perhaps that is where my listening habits have gone wrong; I’m not capable of connecting both the sounds of this record and the vocals in order to decipher the message, song by song, let alone the whole album.  While plenty of elements suggest the conceptual ideas throughout the entire listen, for some reason, the band’s purpose just never seems to fully evolve, leaving listener’s, myself in particular, asking for more from the group. I suppose you can leave this all up to personal tastes, but despite lots of pleasurable listening moments, it just never seemed to complete its journey, leaving me interested, yet entirely unfulfilled.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/01-Coma-Summer-1.mp3]

Download: Weekend – Coma Summer [MP3]

New Music from Weekend

Don’t you just feel like you need a bath in some noise rock?  Well, Weekend just might provide you with that, but they aren’t content to just let squalls of feedback remain as their lone impression.  They’ve got driving bass grooves, and first single “Coma Summer” keeps a bit of melody courtesy of singer Shaun Durkan’s soft voice.  Their album Sports will hit the streets on November 9th via Slumberland, and rest assured that the album is worth every bit of the excitement generated by early press.  Be careful, this is going to be loud.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/01-Coma-Summer-1.mp3]

Download: Weekend – Coma Summer [MP3]

New Tunes from Neverever

You may not have herad of Neverever just yet, but then again, you might have heard of them, and never ever known it.  The group, comprised of Jihae Simmons and Wallace Meek used to go by the name Champagne Socialists, and Wallace was in one of my favorites, Bricolage.  Now, they have Neverever, a sweet little classic pop group based in LA.  I’ve been playing this bouncy little number, with its warm “ooohs” floating over it, all morning long.  You should too.  Their debut Angelic Swells will be out May 25th on Slumberland Records. Another jam, “Young and Dumb” is available HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/neverever-young-runaways.mp3]

Download: Neverever – The Young Runaways [MP3]

New Tunes from The Lodger

I’ve long been a fan of British band, The Lodger.  I loved their album, Life is Sweet, with all its jangly cutting guitars and infectious pop ditties.  Now, the band are set to release their newest album, Flashback, on Slumberland Records on April 27th.  We’ve got a new tune to offer you, and while there is still a bit of a jangle to the guitar, you can definitely tell that the band has put some work into evolving their sound.  Pretty excited for this one!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-Lodger-The-Back-Of-My-Mind.mp3]

Download: The Lodger – The Back Of My Mind [MP3]

New Tunes from Summer Cats

Seeing as we’re throwing a party featuring all things Australia/New Zealand, I thought I would stick to the area and bring some jangle pop your way via Melbourne’s Summer Cats.  This number has got me bopping around my room right now, and you can tell why the energy in this tune makes it a live favorite.  I bet they’ll play it during their various shows at SXSW!  In the meantime, the tune comes your way on a new 7″ from Slumberland to be released on March 16th.  It’ll be the B-Side to the single for “Your Timetable” off last year’s Songs for Tuesdays. Go ahead, tap your feet; you know you wanna.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/summercatstv.mp3]

Download: Summer Cats – TV Guide [MP3]

Black Tambourine Anthology Coming Soon!

Black+Tambourine+BT3If you haven’t gotten to know Black Tambourine, as very few did, then you’re lucky this time around, as Slumberland Records (the one who brought you lots of goodies like Pains of Being Pure at Heart) will be releasing an anthology of the band on March 30th.   BTambourine only existed for a few short years, but this new anthology will have four new songs (two originals, two covers) for your ears.  Just another thing to be excited about in 2010.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Black-Tambourine-Black-Car.mp3]

Download: Black Tambourine – Black Car [MP3]

Pants Yell! – Received Pronunciation

pantsyell-received

Rating: ★★★★☆

Amidst the world of lo-fi stands one Slumberland Records band who is willing to go against the grain.   Ladies and gentleman we present to you, Pants Yell!. Well, we don’t actually present them to you, as Received Pronunciation is the group’s third proper release.  Still, after being all over the SR catalogue this year, and I assure you, we’re still into it, we now have a new record to fall in love with as the year draws to an end.

You see, when opening track “Frank and Sandy” comes through your speaker, you’re not sure what you were expecting, but you most assuredly weren’t awaiting the haphazard delivery of the lyrics, let alone the song itself.  It just seems to sort of traipse along, ever really reaching any sort of climax.  Such restraint, however, is actually refreshing.

You can find much clarity and precision on every single song that plays through this album.  If you added heavy string arrangements, and perhaps a few more witticisms you might call this a Belle and Sebastian record.  Still, that is lazy journalism, but if I told you that they sound like a much more confident Oh No! Oh My! you would probably be a little confused.  More so, there is a particular youthfulness in this that B&S have moved beyond, perhaps even a little naivete, but such innocence, especially in the banality of the lyrics really makes the listening experience one of the most enjoyable of the last several months.  Take the humorous “Spider,” which seems like an elementary student channeling Calvin Johnson.

This album just continually seems to give back to the listener, each song seemingly a touch different then the last, while consistently staying in the same place.  Take “Someone Loves You” versus “Not Wrong,” two songs that have similarity in song structure, but the hurried percussion in the former picks up the tempo, creating a song that sounds nothing like the tune that will follow two tracks later.  And as the album draws near to an end, it all seems so familiar.  Perhaps those who fell in love with Jeremy Jay will find that they can take his promise and craft, hand it over to a set of vibrant like-minded youths, and it will come out like Received Pronunciation.

Everyone is sure to grab ahold of this band, as they are clearly ready to step into a light of their own.  Three albums into their career, and it seems that the group can’t go too wrong.  Let’s cross our fingers that Pants Yell! continue to build upon the talent and joy displayed in their latest effort, Received Pronunciation.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/06-Someone-Loves-You.mp3]

Download: Pants Yell! – Someone Loves You [MP3]

New Tunes from The Bats

batsJudging by the look of this picture, you would think that New Zealand band The Bats might be just a touch to old to bring sweet tunes to your ears, but rest assured, they don’t have a 25 year old history for nothing.  Just like The Clean, they still have what it takes to spin phenomenal gems out of thin air, ones that inevitably get stuck in your head. Try this one on for size. If you dig it, you can find it on the 7″ over at Slumberland Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/bats-face-inside-the-sun.mp3]

Download: Bats – Face Inside the Sun [MP3]

New Tunes from Leichtenstein

liechtenstein2It seems Slumberland can’t really go wrong with their picks of bands to support, and our friend GVSB has found yet another band on the small label worthy of our interest. Sweden’s Liechtenstein recall a lot of that all girl aesthetic encouraged by bands like Vivian Girls. Here is a new track for you to enjoy. The band will be releasing their album Survival Strategies in a Modern World on May 26th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/liechtenstein-roses-in-the-park.mp3]

Download: Liechtenstein – Roses in the Park [MP3]

1 16 17 18 19