20 years into their career, Milky Wimpshake are still going strong, ready to unleash their fifth proper LP in February on Fortuna Pop. The first single is everything you love about catchy pop music, with lyrics that find their way inside your subconscious, leaving you singing them for the rest of your day. I’m digging the effortless bit of swagger to this tune, in particular the classic rock n’ roll guitar soloing in the middle of the track. It’s fitting that their new record should by titled Heart and Soul in the Milky Way, as there’s no other way to describe the work this group has put in over the years. Just jumped to the top of my list of anticipated albums in 2013.
Just a few weeks ago we talked to you about the upcoming release from Ablebody, the newest project of Christoph Hochheim. (formerly of Depreciation Guild/POBPAH). I’m bringing you another excellent track from his upcoming All My Everybody EP, which will actually be available for everyone tomorrow. On this latest single, there’s a subtle electronic undertone, built perfectly to accompany the gentle tonal quality in Christoph’s voice. Slowly but surely he’s making a name for himself on his own, and after listening to this EP, it’s well deserved.
A lot has been made about the talented duo Buke and Gase, with a great deal of the discussion revolving around their ability to use hand-made instruments. That’s quite a gift, I assure you, but I think the biggest thing to focus on with General Dome, the group’s second full-length, is how it all comes together. In a basic sense, it’s executed pretty perfectly, leaving listeners with a crunchy bit of art-rock that sounds more like a multi-membered band than a twosome.
From the moment I first heard opening track “Houdini Crush” I was already into General Dome. There’s a ringing guitar chord just before Arone Dyer enters the picture, her voice soaring heavenly with just a bit of an off-bitch quiver. The duo uses a sense of playfulness that reminds me of a more-focused Deerhoof, or perhaps less erratic. That attitude carries over into tracks like “In the Company of Fish” where Arone and Aron play off each other before Dyer takes over the lead roll. Here the guitars sound almost like emotional jabs rather than sprawling chords, but it’s organized in such a fashion that you find yourself mesmerized.
As you arrive at the fourth, titular, track from Buke and Gase, things begin to take root. For me, this was the first track where I really was impressed by the musicianship; I thought it surely couldn’t be less than three people–such is the usage of various sounds. Dyer on this version sounds more breathy, drawing you into the edgy construction of the track. It’s similar in fashion to the following number, “Hard Times,” a tune that opens with what sounds like piano tinkering (it’s not) before plunging into the heavier side of the group’s sound. Layers are placed upon layers, and again, you’re mystified.
But, one thing that would have immensely affected General Dome would have been a number or two that changed the pace a little bit. There are moments when things seem to change up a bit, such as album closer “Metazoa” or the feeling of added tension on “Split Like a Lip, No Blood on the Beard.” They alter the formula slightly, but Buke and Gase find themselves middling about at parts…perhaps the downfall of being a duo, as two people can obviously only do so much without giving into unnecessary technology. That being said, each song on the album (aside from a few artistic intermissions) can be successful on its own.
Some albums need your involvement as a listener, while others can survive as environmental noise…General Dome is the former. For you to maximize your enjoyment with Buke and Gase, you need an attentive ear that closely follows every structural change or every added instrumental touch. If you choose to do so, you’ll be rewarded with an experience you’ll cherish from the moment you press play.
Benoit Pioulard has had an interesting career, and by that I mean he’s progressed back and forth in different directions throughout, always careful to stand by his carefully crafted ambient sounds. His last few releases have seen him take a more accessible approach, providing listeners with a more pop generated sound. He’s back again with what I’m thinking is going to be a hit; he’ll release Hymnal on March 4th through Kranky. As the releases of 2013 start to get busy, this is one that’s creeping to the top of my list after listening to this track on repeat for the last few hours.
As much as I adore fast paced rock n’ roll, I have a great fondness for carefully crafted music of the folk/orchestral sort. This new single from LA’s The Lonely Wild fits perfectly into that mold, with a swell of orchestration and harmony sung in unison. But, there’s also a gruffness that comes in towards the middle of the track, which provides a bit of an edge to the track as a guitar cascades through the background. They’ll be releasing their new album, The Sun As It Comes, on their own via the Ursa Major Recordings imprint…that should be available to you like-minded folks on April 2nd.
There’s a swelling of praise coming towards Feeding People, and we’re happy to be on board with all the noise. They’re newest single has them showing off a heavy-handed side, bringing their brand of pysch rock to the masses in a short span of time. It hits hard and fast, then it fades into the background, like only a good song should do. If I’ve piqued your interest with this tune, then be ready to get your hands on Island Universe, which will be available to everyone on February 5th by way of Innovative Leisure.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/04-Big-Mother.mp3]
Honestly, I’ve had my hands on the new Veronica Falls album for a few weeks, and I can’t tell you how much the band has progressed since their first self-titled release. The melodies are tightly woven and the vocals are simply intoxicating…and that’s on every single track. You can put all preconceived notions aside, as this record sounds so much brighter than the previous effort. Waiting for Something to Happen is just around the corner with Slumberland Records slated to release the tune on February 12th. I have faith that this entire listen won’t let down a single fan, and should award the group many new adoring listeners.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/09-Buried-Alive.mp3]
Most of my experience with Aly Spaltro, who performs under the moniker Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, has seen her working on the softer side of things, with her voice living it up as the most powerful element. But, on her latest single “Bird Balloons” you’ll find a much more emphatic orchestration surrounding her voice, creating a song that’s both moving and accessible; it also exhibits her playful side, which you’ll definitely appreciate. You can pick up her debut album, Ripley Pine, on Feburary 19th via Ba Da Bing Records. It’s not your typical musical affair, which is all the more reason to enjoy it.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/04-Bird-Balloons.mp3]
Those of us who’ve found our lives intertwined with bedroom pop should be rejoicing over the world’s musical fascination with the genre’s reemergence over the last several years. Even in Italy, Brothers In Law have been crafting their own propulsive blend of atmospheric guitar pop for some time, and they’ve finally got a full-length coming to light titled Hard Times for Dreamers, which is seeing a limited joint release between WWNBB and CF Records (who put out that excellent Sea Pinks record in 2012). I can’t help but fall in love with this track…sure, there’s a dreamy quality, but I put it on and my arms can’t help but flail about as they spin me around the room in my office. Feel free to fan over this one.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t write about the most recent Girls Names track to come out of the Internet. I’d also be in the same boat if I didn’t admit that I have no idea where the group is going musically, in an extremely exhilarating sense. When I first heard this tune, I noted the semi-Orange Juice guitar chops, but was thrown off by the haunting of the vocals. Then came this progression with keyboard intrusions and a brighter tone to the vocals–it honestly reminded me of The Fresh and Onlys traveling back to the early 80s, which basically equates to a hit in my ear. Luckily, The New Life will be in stores from Slumberland Records on February 18th, so I’ll finally get to put all the incredible pieces together.