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]

New Tunes from Crystal Stilts

crystalThe last album Alight of Night from Crystal Stilts was one of those magnificently beautiful records that sort of crept around your brain for a period of time during 2008. The band are set to release a new single this Spring on Slumberland Records, and we’ve opted to throw a sample of the track your way. Listen closely as the lyrics swirl around the dense fog of energy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/crystalstiltsloveisawave.mp3]

Download: Crystal Stilts – Love is a Wave [MP3]

New Tunes from Bricolage

bricoGlasgow, Scotland has a certain place in my heart, as my favorite band stems from the region, not to mention their influence Orange Juice. Yet, here comes another great band, Bricolage, that seems to owe a bit of love towards the aforementioned band.  Throw in a touch of The Smiths, and you’ve got a rollicking good time.  The band is set to release their self-titled album on Slumberland this May.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/08turnuover.mp3]

Download: Bricolage – Turn U Over [MP3]

SXSW Watchlist: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

pains1The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have recently been lauded, not just by ATH, but by many others for their self-titled release. It’s shrouded in atmospherics and melody, the perfect blend of everything going on nowadays. Suffice it to say, that very record is one of the only albums released thus far in 2009 that succeeds in every song. Follow the jump to find out a little more about the band.
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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t

pains

Rating: ★★★★½

Some of the simplest music occasionally connects with you on the most personal level, and this probably is just one of those times.  The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have released one of the most personal albums of the year, and yet there is no explanation.  From start to finish, the album wins you over, time and time again.

Minute one is full of the jangly guitar pop that leapt all over the indie landscape throughout the late 80s and into the 90s.  Surrounded in layers of reverb and feedback, it chugs along, claiming that “you never were a contender.”  Lyrically, it is one of the most simple ideas put to paper, but you can carry that any which way you like; it never takes away from the magnificence of the music.

At times, you can clearly see the influence of bands like My Bloody Valentine, as the band use various effects to coat their sound in a darker spectrum, but at the heart of it all is a clear understanding of the craftsmanship in pop formulas.  Suppose you cleared away all the atmospherics intentions of the band, just for a moment.  You would find the most accessible pop song you’ve come across this year, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. This New York quartet didn’t take the easy way into your hearts, they took  the road less traveled.

Vocalist Kip seems like the sort of guy you always wanted to hang out with when you walked through your campus.  He wasn’t pretentious, not even in his writing, as he was assuredly an English major. Still, every time you saw him cross your path, you knew he had something to him; you knew he could take over the world.  Here, his voice is warm and entirely unassuming. The songs he crafts are all the things you wish you could’ve written, and he’ll gladly share them with you.

One of the more intriguing elements here is that the bobbing bass work is precisely what this record needs to move along.  It’s got a certain bounce to it that makes you want to continually move your feet.  It’s club music for those that  just don’t have the need to go to the club every single night of the week. Toss that in with the simple, yet exact, drum work, and you have a rhythm section that can really claim to be the backbone of this band. See “Teenager in Love” for the perfect example of the strength of the rhythm section.

Vocal interplay across the album is perfectly fitting, coddling every little harmony.  There is nothing modern about this record, other than the fact that it came out in modern times.  It could fit in alongside the best albums of the Cure or even the Go-Betweens, yet it stands on it’s own two feet.  Each turn brings you a new melody, a new angle with which to approach the songs. You don’t want to put it down, as you are sure that there has to be more to what lies beneath the album.

But, greatness aside, there is a drawback to the album. You want to keep listening to it over and over again. You want to play it on your walks, in your house, in your car on a sunny day.  That can be a bit much, and since the sound is a bit repetitive at points, you might find yourself worn out on the album in a short time frame.  Rest assured, you’ll be back soon to keep listening to this album time and time again

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/07-everything-with-you.mp3]

Download: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You [MP3]

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