Where have these guys been? It’s been almost two years since we last heard from Kids on a Crime Spree, and I’m ecstatic that the band is back today. Their sound compiles elements of hazy guitar pop with bouncing rhythms and floating vocals, all of which guarantee a hit over at the ATH offices…and hopefully beyond. The group has a brand new Creeps the Creep 7″ that comes your way next week courtesy of the most excellent, Slumberland Records. Hopefully this great tunes is just a hint at great things to come from the group in 2013.
|Date||Thursday, April 4th|
|Tickets||$6 at the Door|
If you’ve looked at the upcoming shows listing for Austin, April is about to get really crazy ya’ll, so why not start things off right by spending an evening with some of the best local bands Austin has to offer. We’ve raved about all of these bands for a long time, and I know that at least three of the four acts are working on new albums/singles, so you’re bound to hear some fresh tunes. Shivery Shakes are tighter than ever. Tiger Waves, I love them. She Sir make smart pop that I adore. Shrines I haven’t seen, but to be on this bill, you know they’re rad. Seriously everyone, it’s a cheap show, so come out and support local music. Here’s some jams from the Shakes, the Waves and the Sir in case you needed convincing.
From the moment that Indigo Meadow opens, the drums seem to crackle in your speakers, while the guitar creates a trance-like sensation. It’s a mood that sits with you for the beginning of your listen to the new record from Austin’s The Black Angels, but like always, the band allows for that sentiment to resonate for just a few tracks. Just a few minutes later, “Evil Things” has that heavy-handed guitar churning again, creating that psychedelic cum metal stomp, but the chorus just beyond the 1.5 minute mark indicates a world of madness and beauty that arrives later. Of course, the band wants to leave you with a smash and grab at the end of the track, just so you know they mean business.
But, you can leave the heavier stuff for a bit, as mesmerizing tracks like “Holland” wait your ears. Sure, there’s a stereotypical organ placed in the background, but the way the guitar slowly plods along and the vocals swirl and the shout revert listeners back to the innocence of Haight-Ahsbury; songs like these are reminiscent of the genre at its best. That same sentiment exists throughout the middle of the record, especially with tracks like “Love Me Forever,” though the Black Angels always add their own twist. Slowly the song snakes around the reverb vocals, but they push down on the distortion pedal and let out a momentary growl. Then it soars off into a Zombies-esque vocal harmony that lasts all of about 3 seconds. It may seemed like a scatter-brained world you’re listening in on, but I think that’s ultimately what makes Indigo Meadow an album worthy of repeated listens.
In the past, I’ve felt, though not minded, that The Black Angels often get stuck in their own sound, but the work here shows that they’ve branched out, reaching into all of their musical influences on one record. I’ve mentioned the heavier opening numbers, and perhaps some of the psychedelic nods that are placed here and there, and that attitude allows for a certain diversity that will keep your ears entertained throughout. You’ve got groovy nostalgic ditties like “You’re Mine, which might be one of my favorite tracks on the LP, has this fuzzy throb to it, accompanied by ringing guitar cuts and the perfect accompanying percussion. But, you turn around and find the album closer “Black Isn’t Black” built on a different wave-length. Yes, there’s a throb/pulse here, but it’s much more sinister…that’s only made stronger by the way the vocals were recorded for this tune, like a ghost haunting your ear drums from the echo-y cavern of your skull.
While some may choose to focus solely on the lyrical content, or the misconstrued words of others, none of that really matters to me when listening to The Black Angels. Having seen the band live many a time here in Austin, I listen to their tunes in hopes of creating my own landscape where the band’s music will accompany me. Perhaps they’re playing in a cave that serves as drainage into Edward’s Aquifer, or maybe they’re taking me on a haunted boat cruise along Lady Bird Lake; regardless, they’re always taking me somewhere (musically and physically) that allows me to appreciate them as musicians playing the Devil’s good old-fashioned rock n’ roll throughout the entirety of Indigo Meadow.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/02-Evil-Things.mp3]
I can’t get this damn song out of my head! I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s there for good. At first, I couldn’t help but attach myself to the careful tone of the vocals, but then I started to realize that the grandiose orchestration really pushed the song to an exceptionally emotional level. Now, I could do for a bit more length, but one shouldn’t mess with greatness. You can pick up The Phoney, which is the debut LP from Rollin Hunt on Moniker Records on April 30th. This won’t be your average pop affair, thank goodness.
I love the rich pop music that Oberhofer created, not to mention the live show they put on at ACL this past year. So, with that in mind, I’m excited they’ve already geared up to release a new EP, titled Notalgia; it comes out on April 23rd via Glassnote. It’s steady guitar pop when it opens, with the machine gun drumming pushing the pace forward, but the chorus is where the song truly takes flight. It bursts forth with ringing guitars and accompanying arrangements that really display the profound pop exploration of the group. I won’t complain about hearing this song a dozen or so times today, and neither should you!
You know I have a penchant for really great jangling pop music, so it’s no surprise that my introduction to Hanna Cash encouraged me to share it with you. The guitars on this tune have a nice ringing quality, while the drums steady the pace. All the while, you’ll find the lyrics soothing, almost yearning for you to fall in love here. Oh, and did I mention that the band is from Manchester, so their sound will continue to grow, backed by a huge history that continues to leave us with endearing bands.
If you’re looking for something special to get your hands on this week then I suggest you pick up the new album from Gun Outfit; it’s titled Hard Coming Down and it’s seeing release from PPM Records. One listen through and you’ll definitely get the picture of where this record is going to go, knocking back guitar licks with a bit of nostalgia, as well as some exploration into working with negative space within a tune. I get the impression that the group listened to a lot of Build to Spill records when their Sonic Youth albums had been worn out. I think you’ll all have fun listening to this new LP.
I’m a sucker for a female singer, especially one who can carefully craft a pop ditty with ease. This is much the case with San Francisco’s Anna Hillburg who just released her self-titled album on California Clap Records. “Wine In a Tea Cup” is a pretty simple track here, pushed forth by a quiet drum track and some keyboard-ish accompaniment. She’s joined at times during the chorus by the perfectly placed backing vocal; all of this works together to make a joyous little number that you can definitely spin over and over again. Girl power!
It’s definitely the year for heavier-handed rock n’ roll to break back through into the mindset of indie fans everywhere. There’s Milk Music and Metz, but now you can enjoy Odonis Odonis. The group releases their Better EP on April 16th via Buzz Records, before they blast off on a tour that includes a date at Austin Psych Fest. This song has a swirling guitar part that’s emphasized by some industrial drumming; the lyrics don’t come across as heavy at first, but they’ll blast off to match the pace of the track. Just another reason to turn up your speakers this year!
It’s good to diversify your tastes, so I have no qualms with posting this new jam from Kingsley Flood, one of the hottest acts around Boston at the moment. There sound blends elements of raucous bar tunes with punk rock stomps, touched off nicely with bits of horns/violins/keyboard. It’s an eclectic sound for sure, but one that’s definitely captured my attention. You can hear this track, along with other equally mesmerizing tunes (like “The Fire Inside”) on the band’s new album, Battles. If they’re making songs as good as these, it won’t be long before they break out of Boston and move on to greener pastures.