I’m continuously impressed with the growth of Captured Tracks. What was once a label heading in one direction, they’ve expanded with their Re-Issues (The Servants, Flying Nun, etc), and they continue with their recent signing Axxa/Abraxas. This definitely continues the label focus on guitar playing, but there’s something different going on in the way the music is crafted, offering up more of a swinging sensation via the band’s psychedelic influences. It’s good to see a roster grow, especially when the music is as exciting as that being created by this band; the label will release the band’s self-titled debut next March.
Looks like 2013 is pretty much behind us, musically speaking. We’re all starting to look forward towards releases for 2014, and one of the hottest names on that list is Temples. They’ve just released the single for their debut, Sun Structures, which will see a release on Fat Possum on the 11th of February. There’s a propulsive element to the track, but the lyrics have this lofty quality that demonstrates the pop-centric approach of the band’s sound. I love how they go from pushing forward, to breaking things down, momentarily going for a softer moment. 2013 was good, but looks like 2014 has plenty to offer as well.
Ok, so I admit that the jangling adjective might be a little played out, but I think it’s a pretty spot on way to approach this song from Mumbly. What’s unfortunate is that while the song is new to most fans, the band is no more. They’ve been silent for 15 years, though this piece is finally coming to life thanks to Dufflecoat Records opting to release the Mumblybule EP. I’m not sure exactly what the release will include, nor when it will come out, but you can’t deny the infectious tunes their modern day glory. One listen to this and you’ll be remiss that you weren’t on this sooner…at least that’s how I’m feeling as I listen.
Man, seems like almost five months since I’ve written about Math and Physics Club, and that’s precisely the perfect time to reintroduce you to one of the greatest indiepop acts bouncing around at the moment. The band is readying the release of Our Hearts Beat Out Loud, and this is their second single off the album. It’s got a steady bounce from the get-go, and the casually soft delivery of the vocals are precisely what we’ve come to expect from the band. I’m digging the way the guitar has a tendency to move back and forth between the bass and the drums, seemingly snaking its way for maximum pop effect. You can grab the CD from Matinee Recordings…it’s a must have for the end of the year.
Plateaus have been a band we’ve been following for some time here at ATH, and they’e quietly gone about their business; they even released a brand new 10″ that I didn’t even know existed, until I caught sight of the Sasquatch fold out that serves as the see for the Wasting Time 10″. Had it been some random band with colored vinyl and Bigfoot on the cover, I would have got it anyways, but it rocks even more because it’s a band I adore. I think you’ll find the below track rather enjoyable, as it encompasses the catchy group playing with a hard edge. You can still grab yourself a few over at Mt. St. Mtn., or just enjoy the jam below.
If you wait long enough, you’ll ultimately be rewarded. This is precisely what happens when you give the latest single from Happy Diving a few minutes of your daily time. Yes, it does start off with almost nothing happening, but as the distorted guitars crash and the drums kick in, it’s only a matter of time before the band offer relaxed vocals that definitely make the group something to keep an eye on. And then its over, just as quickly. On January 14th we’ll find out exactly what else the Cali band has up their sleeves when they release their self-titled EP on Father/Daughter Records…my interest is piqued.
Much was made about singer Tom changing into Laura Jane Grace, but I sort of looked the other way. You see, I’m just a dedicated Against Me fan, and why I’ve seen some missteps, musically speaking, I’ve always had a dear place in my heart for the group. This new single, the first from their upcoming LP, doesn’t necessarily return to the hardcore aesthetics of Laura’s once throaty growl, but it does offer a nice glimpse into the band’s continuous evolution into pop sensibility. I look forward to what the whole album has to offer up; Transgender Dysphoria Blues comes out on January 21st via Total Treble, the band’s own label.
One of the great things about the modern technological age is that bands that we once thought were gone, or never even knew about, are beginning to resurface. A while back I was first introduced to The Servants, and I’ve been on board ever since, though the band is no longer an active group. They survive through the hard work of Captured Tracks and the label’s continuous efforts to reissue forgotten acts. The label will be releasing Small Time/Hey Hey We’re the Manques as a double LP on December 3rd, and it couldn’t get here soon enough. A lot of people make nods to the Go-Betweens, but it’s hard to ignore the group’s evolving role in the early establishment of indiepop, not to mention the heralded C86 tapes.
Occasionally you gravitate towards an album without much awareness, but something grabs you. It squeezes you tight, holding you closely for the duration of your listening experience, and beyond (if it’s good). This is precisely the case with my whole excursion into the world of Illls and their recent release, Hideout from the Feeders.
If I tried to explain this entire LP to you, I’d probably fail miserably, but there’s something incredibly important about the overall feel of the record. It’s claustrophobic, in an endearing sense; the whole album has this filter on the vocals, as if you’re listening through glass or it’s being blasted from the speakers at the bottom of your swimming pool. The first track that really hit this point home was “Colleen,” which is the third tune. It’s present earlier, but the sound of the vocals stood out the most here due to the stark contrast to the pop sensation present in delivery of the vocals. They hold onto to this smooth quality, working against the grainy darkness of the mood; it’s a striking effect, and one that succeeds time and time again on Hideout from the Feeders.
Illls follow up that third track with what might just be one of my favorite tunes of the year, “Coma.” The angular guitars are played through a kaleidoscope of dark post punk heritage, stepping in line with the deep tonal quality of the vocals. Then you’ll hear a higher vocal break into the dense surroundings of the tune, accented by a wash of keyboards. I keep coming back to this song again and again, so you’ll do well not to miss out on a few repeated listens throughout your day. I love how there’s this overwhelming accessibility lurking beneath the surface; you’ll hear it again if you skip ahead to “In Gray.” This song takes on a more sprawling manner, similar to what you’d get if you spun a band like Blank Dogs through a whirlpool of blissful 80s underground pop. Capturing both dark and light, in both texture and mood, isn’t an easy feat, so those in search of such a dynamic will find solace in these types of tunes.
One thing that does tend to hurt Hideout from the Feeders, is that it’s not really able to step away from the structure of the style. While it’s successful on so many levels, the confines of the songs, and album, make it difficult to really stretch into a more dynamic sound…at least on this effort. But, if I were you I’d put that aside immediately, as the record is pretty rewarding. It’s clearly got doses of all things current, but I really appreciate how it’s able to stand out from the rest of what’s going on with such a refreshing approach. You’ll do well not to skip out on Illls.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/04-Coma.mp3]
There’s something going on in the rock movement of late (the last year or so) that shows this relaxed quality of vocal delivery pushed forward by bits of post punk and touches of the American troubadour. Bands like Parquet Courts are really growing in popularity, and I expect the same thing to happen for Honduras. The band released this track off their Morality Cuts EP a while back, but now they’re seeing a re-release on Last Place Tapes, which is how it was brought to our attention. Again, the vibe’s great here, bordering somewhere between punk rock and the likes of the Replacements. I’m pretty sure you’ll dig.