It seems like stepping away from Pop Singles isn’t going to slow things down for Melbourne’s Tam Vantage. He’s been cranking out great track after track for about a year now, and he’s finally got the full Setting Sun EP for you to listen to, if you’ve got the time to love great music. There’s a bit more power on these tunes than perhaps what I was expecting, though there’s still an underbelly of Australian pop that supersedes that edge. My favorite track on the listen is “Marry Me,” but I’m sure everyone will have their own pick. Get involved in the Tam Vantage movement, as he’s been on a roll and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.
If you’re outside of Austin reading this, I’ll apologize for being whiny, but the weather here’s pretty miserable. Rain, cold…so un-March. But, with shitty weather comes fitting music to provide an escape. On the new single from Twist, the track opens with little more than guitar and vocals; it doesn’t pick up immensely, though it does pull in some electronic beats to fill in the sound. For me, it’s the perfect storm to match that going on outside my window at the moment, providing a dense bit of pop that’s both calming and unsettling. No words on a release anytime soon, but at least we’ll have this track.
I was looking for something rad to toss up today, something that would definitely lift the spirit, yet still hold true to my personal aesthetics (wherever those are). So I’ve been constantly listening to this brilliant Ruby the Rabbitfoot tune that’s been floating around for a wee bit; I started listening in anticipation of her show at the Blackheart on March 13th. It’s a bit songstress, though there’s this careful artfulness to it, like the bubbling guitar chord you hear lurking beneath her vocals. She’ll be blowing in to town with her album New as Dew, which comes out the week of her Austin visit.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/01-Ways.mp3]
Fred Thomas has made his mark throughout the last decade with Saturday Looks Good to Me (I still adore Every Night). But, as he steps into his own, I think he’s making a statement as one of the great pop songwriters we’ve got around. There’s no frills and hiding behind studio tricks, instead just rocking this song with his voice and his guitar. I’m always amazed how much people can accomplish with so little, and there’s a lot here for great pop fans. Look for his solo effort, All Are Saved, which is being released by longtime label Polyvinyl on April 7th.
The first single off Wand‘s newest album was an all-out rocker, displaying the band’s live energy in a recorded manner. But, their new single has a different side to it; it holds onto some of the heavier edge of the live setting, but the band explores some of that negative space in their own way. There’s a darkly driving pulse to this tune, but it brings out that experimental attitude along the way, which should make Golem one of the album’s you’re most looking forward to come this March (In the Red, 3/17). You can also check the band at SXSW, and read this rad interview I did with them a few weeks back.
Man…Woodsist is on it this week, as far as the troubadour style folk stylings go. They just tossed out two great tracks this week, both of artists that will be releasing new music soon. The first tune they had up was Simon Joyner‘s “Nostalgia Blues” off his Grass, Branch & Bone album (3/31); he has more of a Jeff Tweedy wistful quality, yearning, always yearning. Their other hit was from Little Wings; it’s “By Now” from his effort Explains (5/26). He’s definitely got more of a saddened touch to his style, but his lyrical playfulness reminds me a lot of David Berman. Congrats to the label…these are some really great tunes.
I’ve been approaching the new Young Guv effort with a bit of trepidation for some reason; I think the first single caught me off guard, but I can see why the always reliable Slumberland Records grabbed this new LP, especially after jamming this tune all day. There’s a bit of gritty shoegaze in the way the guitars swirl around in the mix, but Ben Cook definitely takes hold of his newer pop-centric aims on his vocal display. This is one of those tracks that could seemingly break through the universe and catch hold of every pop fan out there; it’s that good. Look for Ripe 4 to hit the streets on March 10th.
I was just talking about the search for rad bands I hadn’t had a chance to even really check out when I stumbled upon Spring King. The UK pop group have this strong sense of pop traditionalism, though they juxtapose that with some rougher edges, building their tunes with driving guitar rhythms to hook listeners. They just released this single this week, so if you’re looking for a bit of discovery, or just a rad hit to work into your daily listening rotation, then go with these lads.
While some bands seem to try and shy away from their nostalgic nods, it seems that The Antics are fully embracing their look into the past of post-punk pop songwriting. It sounds like they’re crafting something akin to the Servants or the Go Betweens, holding onto the pop sensibility of both bands, while still sounding remarkably refreshing. This tune shows the licks the New Jersey boys are capable of constructing, which should have you pop fans sitting with watering mouths as the group readies their Emily Jones EP for our ears.
This debut single from Hannah Cohen is quite the little gem. There’s a darkness in the utilized beats of her new album’s latest track, but her voice is so playful that it’s juxtaposition creates a mesmerizing touch. You’ll hear a slight resemblance to Feist during a few moments, but the style is quite different in every other aspect; I love the voice control, providing little tonal changes that are really appealing. Bella Union will be releasing her new album, Pleasure Boy, on March 31st.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/TRjlBmvGt03y.128.mp3]