Sub Pop Records Sign Husky!

Well, we didn’t really know who Husky was either, until we read up on the Well ourselves.  Sub Pop officially signed their first Australian band, and considering we have a bit of adoration for all things Oceania, we had to fill you in.  The foursome released their record, Forever So, last year in Australia, and their new US label will be re-releasing it on July 10th.  On this track, I appreciate that there are touches every day indie rock, but slight details allow the central harmony to rise to the forefront in this track. They’ve also got a pretty interesting video to accompany the song that you can check out HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Husky-The-Woods.mp3]

Download:Husky – The Woods [MP3]

Funx3 Fest Interviews: Memoryhouse

As we get closer and closer that fateful date marking the beginning of our beloved Fun Fun Fun Fest, it’s time to get down to business. Let’s begin with a few interviews spotlighting some of our favorite bands playing the festival. Today we’ll bring you our very first Fun Fest interview focusing on Sub Pop band Memoryhouse. After the jump you’ll find interview questions from composer Evan Abeele.

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New Music From Still Corners

I somehow missed on new music from Still Corners when it was announced awhile back, but I’m on board new and have been enjoying the new album Creatures of an Hour.  Prior to it’s release date on October 11th via Sub Pop, I can only offer you a taste of the album with it’s second single entitled “Into the Trees”.  Hopefully it will help point you in the direction of that release date.  The first single from the record, “Cuckoo”, can be heard over on the Sub Pop website.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/10415.mp3]

Download: Still Corners – The Hunt [MP3]

More New Music from Blouse

Portland-based Blouse have been making their way around the Interwebs with a slew of recent 7″ releases, the most recent coming on Sub Pop. As it stands now, the band’s signed up with Captured Tracks for the release of their self-titled debut, which will be released on November 1st.  This latest single begins with the quality of a warped recording, but if you can withstand that, there’s some blissful pop moments surfing thoughout the song, making for an elegany little listen.  Game, Blouse(s).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/05_Videotapes.mp3]

Download: Blouse – Videotapes [MP3]

Show Review: Dntel @ Emo’s

Is it possible to live in the present moment whilst revisiting the past? For Jimmy Tamberello’s current tour, under the alias Dntel, that task has become something of an exercise in the contradiction. Only now, nearly a decade after the release of his masterpiece, Life is Full of Possibilities, is Tamberello giving it a proper tour release. By way of the tour, label Sub Pop is blowing the dust off the release with a re-mastered and vinyl reissue of the 2001 LP. The release scheduled for October 25th, marks the first time the album will be on released on vinyl, which is sure to make audiophiles and electro-fans explode with delight.  Tuesday night at Emo’s, the relatively crowded inside stage could finally hear live versions, of the now classic songs, which were long overdue.

More details and plenty of pics after the break…

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Mister Heavenly – Out of Love

Rating: ★★★ · ·

What do you get when you take 1 part Modest Mouse, 1 part Islands/Unicorns, and 1 part Man Man? Well, the ultimate supergroup in my opinion; you get Mister Heavenly. Out of Love is the name of their first work together, and while the edgier voice of Ryan Kattner might not seem like the best fit for Nic Islands, it’s a surprising juxtaposition, leaving listeners with an abundance of solid tracks.

When Nic begins the brief verse for “Bronx Sniper,” you wonder just how his notable pitch will fit with Kattner’s banging style.  Once Ryan joins in, you can rest assured that the two fit well together, with Nic’s tendency to exaggerate his vocals at times blending interestingly with his throatier counterpart.  If you were looking to see how the two would fit, this isn’t the best example, as “Mister Heavenly” seems to be the best statement from the group of Out of Love. Ryan begins with his organ-stomp, but then Nic throws in his smooth delivery and a nice guitar line.  When you expect Nic to burst forth on the chorus as he would with Islands, instead you find Kattner.  And back and forth they go, successfully.

Perhaps what seems to have worked best for Mister Heavenly is that the group seems to have reawakened Nic’s noisier side, as he hasn’t seemed this endearingly frantic since the late days of Unicorns.  His last few releases have seen him become really polished, cleaning up his delivery a bit.  But, he’s always had this dark side, which you really get to see resurface on songs like “Doom Wop.” There’s a coat over the vocals, yet you can still hear both singers belting out their lines distinctly.  It’s a revitalized energy that longtime fans will be happy to see. Also, Ryan does deserve praise at this point for his own vocal range, which seems to be go anywhere he wishes (see “Diddy Eyes)–to great effect.

And at the heart of the whole project for Out of Love is Joe Plummer, the group’s unsung hero.  All those familiar with both Islands and Man Man will surely be aware that the groups have vastly different styles to songwriting, so you’ve got to have a solid kit-man to hold it all down, and Plummer does a great job keeping the group together.  Each member tosses his style in and out of every song, with those dirtier piano based parts coming from Kattner, and Nic’s penchant for stellar guitar hooks, so Plummer’s ability to keep it all sounding tight is with a doubt the band’s saving grace.

There’s a gem here and there, like “Pineapple Girl,” living on the higher pitches, but one thing that might hold back praise from some is that there’s nothing outstanding.  Every song written by Mister Heavenly has the potential to be extraordinary, but it’s mostly standard fare, which is sort of a letdown. You want everything to be incredible, and instead it’s all just good.  That being said, there’s not really a throwaway track on Out of Love, so the group has that going for them.  Who knows where they’ll go from here, but as of now, this is a solid start for a much-hyped supergroup.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Pineapple-Girl.mp3]

Download: Mister Heavenly – Pineapple Girl [MP3]

Fruit Bats – Tripper

Rating: ★★★★ ·

You may or may not know this, but The Fruit Bats have been around for a pretty long time. I say you may not know them not to affront your breadth of knowledge of the musical scope, but to forgive the fact that they are one of those groups on the Sub Pop label that haven’t quite attained the popularity of bands like, dare I say, Fleet Foxes, or The Shins. However, popular doesn’t always mean that one band makes better music than the other; as “indie” music fans should know. Regardless, if you haven’t already hopped on the Fruit Bats express, now is as good of a time as any with their folksy yet pop filled fifth studio release.

Tripper begins with an introductory number that gives listeners a taste of the narrative style embedded inside all great Fruit Bats songs. “Tony the Tripper,” starts with delicate guitar strumming and the lead vocals of Eric Johnson, as you are gracefully eased into the storytelling about the title character. As piano parts trickle in above the bass-line during the chorus, you get the idea that Mr. Tony is a facet of Johnson’s personality; the wandering part of him coming out. It’s a quaint opening number, with the oh-so-pleasant-folksy attributes in full swing, that continues throughout the

On the third track, “Tangie and Ray,” there is a small shift to more a bluesy rock feel, and Fruit Bats show their multidimensional efforts that will make the transition from interesting to excellent on this album. At 3:13 long, it turns into a bit more a stomper than you’d expect from this band up to this point. With a kicked up drum beat and more prevalent piano, it’s a hearty break from the folk. However, you get right back to the folk on the next song, but this is not a bad thing in any way.

For me, the folksier songs are the better on Tripper. For instance, just when you think you’ve reached the end of the goodness, this band throws a beauty like “Wild Honey” your way, and it’s just astoundingly simple and elegant. It feels like a glorified Tallest Man on Earth track, with emotion packed vocals and all, ready for you to get lost inside its sound. If it doesn’t take your breath the first listen, have another, and let it sink in; the same can be said for any song on this album

It may easy these days to have access to a great deal of music, and it may be easy to pass over bands like Fruit Bats, but it is hard to find a grouping of tracks that have the power to both tell a story, and also move you sonically. So give Tripper a try; you’ll be missing out if you don’t.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/9788.mp3]

Download: Fruit Bats – Tangie and Ray [MP3]

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Rating: ★★★★★

When Fleet Foxes released their self-titled debut back in 2008, they took the musical world by storm with their folksy, and harmony flooded jams. So when they announced that they would be releasing their sophomore album, much anticipation grew for what this cherished band would do next. Could they potentially follow up their flawless debut with something even better? Or would Helplessness Blues be forever dwarfed in a shadow of comparisons to the album that won you over to the Fleet Foxes side in the first place? Based on my rating, it should be pretty easy to tell where I stand.

This album may be a step in a different direction for this band, but it certainly is the right one. “Montezuma” begins with delicate guitar plucking and the almost too perfectly sweet vocals of Robin Pecknold, joined quickly by the harmonies of the rest of the band, bathing you in warmth. For Fleet Foxes, this is probably the perfect opening song; the simplicity paired with the introduction to a new sound for makes it rightly placed. Whereas their last album relied most heavily on the vocal aspects, it seems as though the instrumentation has become a stronger force on the same level as that as the vocals. This allows for Fleet Foxes to step into that tender climate of being far enough away from their old stuff, but nowhere near unrecognizable.

The rest of the album follows suit in a way that only this band could; you’ll be hard pressed to find a song that you don’t love. On the first half of the album, you have soft at first then earthquake strength of “Sim Sala Bim,” only to be outdone by the climactic “The Plains / Bitter Dancer.” But to me, the real superstar comes on “The Shrine / An Argument,” which has be arguably one of the best songs of the year. Last, but certainly not least, you have the explosive, jangly, single, “Grown Ocean” which serves as the icing on the cake.

So at the end of this masterpiece, it’s easy to be transfigured by the delightful and beautiful sounds that this band has produced. It’s remarkable how they were able to produce two flawless albums back to back, and if they hadn’t already marked a spot on your list of favorite bands, then this should certainly seal the deal. Look for this to make its place atop some end of the year lists.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/FleetFoxes_HelplessnessBlues.mp3]

Download: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues [MP3]

Low – C’mon

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Low has definitely been around for a while: since 1993 they have been crafting their signature slow core beats for the world to enjoy. Hailing from Duluth Minnesota, this three-part band certainly knows how to spin beautiful tales of whatever they fancy and if nine studio albums wasn’t testament enough to this, than this tenth should seal the deal.

To start things off, Low showcases their most distinctive quality right up front on “Try To Sleep.” Sounding distantly akin to that of some Mott the Hoople song, the album begins with the male/female harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. The light percussive tinkling in the background combined with the slow strumming of the thick guitars comes together to make for a killer groovy jam. Despite the predictability of this sort of sound, you can’t help but take comfort in the peaceful elegance that they create. They are able to drift from a grungier kind of sound to that of clear and compact, forming their own kind of musical genre. From the first to the second song you can see this transition fairly well. On “You See Everything,” Parker takes lead vocals, and her buttery voice just coats everything in a golden light of majesty. The song meanders its slow churning way along, with Parker putting her touch of sweetness upon the topmost layer.

For an album that doesn’t have a big change in tempo, it manages to stay interesting until the very end. “Nightingale,” the third to last track, leaps out as dark and formidable, but twists into a peaceful, but still somber lullaby-esque song. Sparhawk has this sour drawl-like quality to his voice that makes everything drenched in emotion; it’s easy to tell that this man puts a lot of himself into his music. His deep and powerful voice is similar to that of Matt Berninger from The National. Like Mr. Berninger, Sparhawk can convey maximum emotion with his minimalist style.

While C’mon does not falter in its strength, it does get a bit heavy after a while. It’s not too heavy that it would deter from further listening, rather, it grows on you. Low leaves with the feeling that this album was a long-term work that this band really strived to perfect. For a group that has been around for so long, this is true evidence of their talent and longevity and it is another great edition to their ever growing catalog of albums.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Try-to-Sleep-1.mp3]

Download: Low – Try to Sleep [MP3]

C’mon is out now on Sub Pop.

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