More Fun Pop from Flower Girl

flowergirlNot too long ago I was writing about how much fun I was having listening to the first single from Flower Girl, and here they are blasting out another catchy number. It’s strange, they have this noisy element hiding in the background of this track, providing a slight edge. But, if I let that slide, it’s just a euphoric number akin to the early works of Surfer Blood. It’s built for singing along, letting yourself go and rocking out with your best friend. Their album, Tuck in Your Tie Dye, will be released by BUFU on November 11th.

Coachella 2014 Lineup

Coachella 2014I am sure all of you have posted this on Facebook, but I figured we need to add it here just in case someone can’t find the pic later on…

Coachella is again using the two weekend format and will feature Outkast, Muse and Arcade Fire as headliners. I get Outkast and Arcade Fire, but please stop booking Muse at every festival. Please. It has to stop. I walk out when I hear Muse; it is my “you’re drunk, go home” alert. Or maybe that is why they are booked as headliners. “Hope you had fun, this is your queue to leave and rest up for tomorrow.” So many lasers. So many.

The festival is getting spendy, passes are $375 and $435 with daily shuttle service. Yikes. Weekend One only has the passes with shuttle service available. VIP will run you $799 with $150 more for parking.

Notables for me on the lineup, as with most festivals, are further down the list: Flume, Jagwar Ma, Dum Dum Girls, Wye Oak, Holy Ghost!, Blood Orange, Mogwai, Chvrches, STRFKR, Daughter, Poolside, Surfer Blood. Mid-levels I’d be stoked on are Bryan Ferry, The Knife, Pet Shop Boys, Beck, Neutral Milk, Motorhead and Little Dragon. You going to the desert? You wearing flip-flops?

Surfer Blood – Pythons

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Back in 2010, these Floridians busted their way into the music scene with their garage rock with their debut album Astrocoast, which received widespread praise for its catchy singles and interesting riffs. Following that, the band released an EP, Tarot Classics, last year, which rekindled interest among fans and reminded them that Surfer Blood has more music yet to come. Enter Pythons.

At a length of ten songs, you can tell from first glance that Surfer Blood want to stick with what they know works as far as albums go, as this sophomore effort is the same length as their debut. However, in terms of song length, none of the tracks on this album seem to last all that long, and the longest track ends up not even hitting the 4 and a half minute mark. These songs are briefer, snappier, and stray away from the nautical theme that the band seemed to be inclined to on the last record. In its place remains the same garage rock built around heavily buzzing guitar parts, with some tweaks here and there to spice things up. Although one wouldn’t think this is true from listening to “Demon Days,” which retains the same reverb coated vocals of John Paul Pitts and overall sound of the group.

Not to worry, there are changes to come that prove to be different in all the right ways for Surfer Blood. Third up on “Weird Shapes,” you get this metal feeling riff that opens the song, which continues through the song. Along with this comes a bit of screaming in the chorus from John Paul Pitts, but the quick paced and extra rhyming lyrics add back to the playfulness of the song and keeps it from becoming too much metal for this band. Later on the album, comes “Say Yes To Me,” which is fast paced and amped up, which works for Surfer Blood’s sound. The vocals seem to be clearer with slightly less reverb and more attention to the ability of Pitts. Last up is “Prom Song,” which is a slower number that relies on the ever-steady percussion to carry it a little slower. Overall, something about this track, possibly the guitar riff itself, reminds me of early Weezer, and the slowness gets burned away towards the end of the song so that the album can finish on a high note, with guitars a blazin’ and a power chord to end things right.

Before you know it, you’ve burned through the whole album, which is 34 minutes and feels like 20. However, like most albums that are short and sweet, the sweetness on Pythons is perhaps too short-lived and not designed with the intent of listening longevity. I worry that with these shorter numbers comes a shorter life for Pythons in my listening catalogue, but this is a fear not yet realized, as I continue to press play again and again.

GRMLN – Empire

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

Some records are perfectly fitting for the time of their release, leaving you with an album for that particular season.  For me, the first full-length from GRMLN is definitely going to be one of my most played this summer.  Empire has the energy, the hooks and enough variance to keep it in constant rotation.

It’s fitting that Empire opens with “Teenage Rhythm” as this track most likely resembles the youthful exuberance of most teens, at least in the overall mood. Guitars start chugging while the drums immediately come in pummeling your ears, all building up to the adolescent shout of “get out get out” in the chorus.  It’s a track that makes it difficult to turn your ear the other way.  It leaves plenty of room for the following number to jump in with a bubbling undercurrent of bass lines.  “Blue Lagoon” has more of a ringing guitar sound, and it’s here where I first noticed how easy it is to sing along to the lyrics.  Who doesn’t love to bob your head and sing?

GRMLN, which is the primary work of Yoodoo Park, makes it difficult to skip a single track, even when writing a review.  “Hand Pistol” seems to blend the cocky swagger of Waaves with the hooks of Surfer Blood, though sounding entirely like it has its own personality.  You’ll hear a clean guitar cutting through the background, while a heavier guitar plays up front.  Then the attitude is switched up for a more indie pop appeal with “Coastal Love,” which has a slight effect on the vocals.  It’s a cleaner bent, which offers a bit of a breather from where Empire was dwelling for the last few tracks.

Now, I don’t want to sit here and tell you these are the greatest songs that man has ever written, but damn it if you’re not just going to have fun listening to this release.  “Do You Know How It Feels” has a great vocal throughout, and the energetic delivery of the guitars had me hooked instantly.  Then you skip ahead a few tracks to bob along to “1993,” which might just be the my favorite track on the album. It’s youthful, yet the musicianship is perfectly executed at every turn, displaying the blossoming skills of Park right before our eyes.

You can listen to this record, and almost immediately fall in love with it.  The songs throughout are fairly simple, yet they’re structured around hooks and melodies that grab hold of your eardrums, never letting go.  GRMLN has constructed the perfect seasonal listen, which due to current temperatures, is absolutely perfect.  Empire is fun, it’s catchy, and it’s something that might endure beyond the summer, keeping us warm all year long.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/05-Do-You-Know-How-It-Feels_.mp3]

Download: GRMLN – Do You Know How It Feels_ [MP3]

 

Show Preview: Foals @ Emo’s (4/27)

D700 Foals 176

Date 4/27/13
Location Emo’s East
Doors 9pm
Tickets SOLD OUT!

It’s Psych Fest weekend in Austin, but that doesn’t mean that other show options aren’t in abundance for those of you who missed the boat on festival tickets.  For this guy, the best “other” show in town would have to be Foals playing to a sold out crowd at Emo’s on Riverside.  On top of the great headliner, the undercard is also stacked with ATH favorite Surfer Blood in direct support with Blondfire opening for all.  See you there?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Spanish-Sahara-1.mp3]

Download: Foals – Spanish Sahara [MP3]

New Music From Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood

Well it’s official, Surfer Blood are finally about ready to release their new album to the masses and have some new tunes to appease the fans in the mean time.  So the band’s first taste of new material from the album comes in the form of this new track “Weird Shapes”.  It’s certainly a different type of sound from the band and I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on it yet.  You can  definitely hear a slicker production quality from the band similar to The Strokes progression to First Impressions of Earth which is sure a result of signing on to the huge Warner label.  Let us know your thoughts.

[audio:http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001L-HcH_2AvOyy5jn4XvgrJ8oKptm08KPsjgsRvERDv6oLkGDBcSPj6H7nbYT36bGx3HrwaT9dPURhwo2h7zLHVoR6P8_ZA6sJg_cLOKYKgBAmo1D6YYEPOA==]

Download: Surfer Blood – Weird Shapes [MP3]

FFF 2012: Saturday In Pictures

Ahhh. Home, sweet home. Back on the pit to bring you nine kinds of performance shots.

Saturday’s shots include Residual Kid, The Young, Gold Fields, Brendan Benson, Daughn Gibson, The Helio Sequence, Braid, The Spits, Surfer Blood, Tanlines, Paul Banks, Real Estate, Wavves and PiL. More from around the fest, of course. Fun was had by all, just bummed that I missed shooting Refused from the pit. It was “too busy”.

Click through to feed your eyes…

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Fun Fun Fun Fest Lineup Is Here!

Sorry for the major delay on getting this information out to you guys as I’m sure you’ve seen this information elsewhere by now.  For those of you that haven’t already heard, the Fun Fun Fun Fest lineup was leaked last night via Bingo tournament.  As you can see via the poster to my left, the lineup once again blows most festivals completely out of the water.  Somehow the festival goers manage to get great reunion bands like Run DMC, The Promise Ring, Braid, Refused, etc. along with up and comers like Real Estate, Surfer Blood, Dum Dum Girls, etc.

Without a doubt, this will be an awesome festival just like it is every year.  You can scope the full lineup on the poster or check it out over on the official website.

Don’t forget that the special PIP passes are still on sale!

Anyone care to offer their sentiments on the lineup?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/24-Braid-Killing-A-Camera.mp3]

Download: Braid – Killing A Camera [MP3]

Surfer Blood – Tarot Classics

Rating: ★★★★ ·

If you haven’t heard of the riffy surf rock of Surfer Blood, where the hell have you been? No really, these guys have been to at least two SXSW’s and put out a killer first album. Well, if you haven’t heard of them before, they are a four part, all male band hailing from West Palm Beach Florida, who pack all the balmy weather of Florida into a neat sound package to be sent all over the world. I guess if you’re still a stranger to this band, Tarot Classics is an excellent place to start.

The first song, “I’m Not Ready,” comes out kicking and rocking, with hooking guitar parts and the gravelly vocals of John Paul Pitts’s familiar yells. Instantly, you’re bobbing your head along with that bubbling bass underneath and grooving along to the playful matching of vocals with guitar. At 4:24, this first song does go other places than what makes up the first minute of the song, which is excellent. Surfer Blood refuses to fall into that realm of already-done-before, and somehow manages to keep things fresh. Towards the very end of the song, they drop into this old-time swoony, beat, complete with backing ‘oohh,’ that brings the track out of, and then back into, its hazy garage rock zone that this group are the kings of.

 “Miranda,” is up second on this EP, and it comes across as Surfer Blood’s stab at a track devoted to a lady, and the chorus consists of just her name repeated over and over. While not as interesting as the first track, it does provide for a change in tempo. This second song explores more of a classic rock jam, one that you could hear echoes of from other bands. Yet, while it does go places other bands go, Surfer Blood manages to put their own flair on it, with the backing vocals giving it that extra dimension.

 The third and fourth songs are also excellent jams that add to Surfer Blood’s listening catalog. Both of them, well all of these songs, serve exactly as an EP should: as a lovely appetizer. These tastes of new material from this band make me hungry for their next full-length release album and if this is any testament to the merit of the next album, we should not be in for a disappointment.

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