New Indie Jam From Telekinesis

This new jam “Ghosts and Creatures” from indie pop virtuoso Telekinesis has been making the rounds on the internet and I wanted to share it with those who maybe hadn’t heard it yet.  It’s a synth heavy pop number that has a very epic sort of pop sound that would seem to fit in perfectly for a wide open outdoor festival set.  Hopefully this is promise for yet another great album from this now veteran indie act.

New album Dormarion is out April 2nd via Merge.

Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Telekinesis consists primarily of Michael Benjamin Lerner, who won over your attention from his first and self titled album. On 12 Desperate Straight Lines, he looks to keep you in his clutches, locking you in a steady sea of indie rock that will surely create a lasting adoration for this man and his craft.

Beginning with “You Turn Clear in the Sun,” Telekinesis picks up right where thy left off:  the crisp strumming of guitars immediately fill you with a swell of nostalgia for tracks form their last album like “Coast of Carolina.” In fact, these two songs are strikingly similar in that they both start with simplicity and then bust, with the crash of cymbals, into the airy and light sounds that this band has become synonymous with. Lerner’s intricate storytelling lyrics are back in full swing, and so are his borderline nasal-y vocals. However, the band seems to be in a slightly darker place lyrically, as Werner belts “I never loved you/ I’ve never loved anyone.”

This change can be felt instrumentally on the second song “Please Ask For Help,” which calls back on classic sound from the eighties with it’s trembling bass and guitars akin to that of Modern English. The drums punch harshly in the background while the guitar and Lerner echo in waves on the surface. Continuing this transition to darkness comes “50 Ways.” This song starts with a smidge of feedback and then some fairly grunge guitar that welcomes you into the song. However, Telekinesis knows their limits, and pulls back to their softer side, if only for a few seconds. The combination of soft to heavy rock fuses two drastically different textures of music and it works because Lerner’s voice bridges the gap between the two.

 If you listen to every track on 12 Desperate Straight Lines, you’ll be challenged to find a bad song. Each one is a fresh and snappy slice of what makes this band: rapid drumbeats, furious guitars, vital bass and wail of Lerner. By keeping the middle tracks relatively short, the band makes sure that they don’t become banal with their listeners; the only track after the third that pushes past the three-minute notch is the last. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stop to admire those small songs. On “Country Lane,” my personal favorite song on the album, the band lures you in with the hooks of guitar, then coats their sound with distinct riffs of a higher guitar part, creating one of the albums finer moments.

Telekinesis has succeeded with this sophomore release in that they kept things simple: the tracks are moderately short and fitting, and the lyrics are sharp and witty. However, it’s not much of a jump from their previous album, which is not that problematic on this album, but could prove monotonous for this band if they don’t mix it up for their future releases.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/carcrash.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Car Crash [MP3]

More New Music From Telekinesis

Shortly after dropping a new EP at the end of summer and losing most his band, Michael Lerner is returning with a new Telekinesis album in 2011.  The new LP, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, is set for release on February 15th via the ever growing Merge Records label.  Prior to that date, you can check out new straight up pop track “Car Crash” below.  I know many of us around here in the ATH offices, and out there in the interwebs world, have been eagerly awaiting a follow up to the stunning Telekinesis debut album from 2009.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/carcrash.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Car Crash [MP3]

New Tunes from Telekinesis

Telekinesis just released a new EP yesterday, and I just had to pick it up.  The Parallel Seismic Conspiracies EP has a few new tracks from Mr. Lerner, as well as a few covers of Guided by Voices.  You can order the EP over at Merge Records, or grab it from the band while they’re on tour with SSLYBY.  Give it a go.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/01.-Dirty-Thing.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Dirty Thing [MP3]

FT50: Songs of 2009

bestof2009cover_songsWe have to start this list off with a disclaimer.  We have three writers, all with different tastes, so the list should reflect that a little bit.  Also, these are our opinions, and by no means, are they meant to be seen as an “end all be all” to the question of what were the best songs of 2009.  That being said, we like our list quite a bit.  Sure, it’s got some expected numbers at the top, but the rest of the list is genius.  We’ve got some of the songs streaming for you, and the rest take you straight to youtube.  Follow the jump for full list.

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Telekinesis On Daytrotter

teleOver the Thanksgiving holiday one of my favorite new finds of the year, Telekinesis, appeared on the famed Daytrotter website.  The new hyped band play 3 songs from their self-titled debut album and one older song from the Telekinesis independent days.  Here’s a tasty little number called “Calling All Doctors” which should brighten you day.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/telekinesis-calling-all-doctors.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Calling All Doctors [MP3]

Tim Williams – Careful Love

twcl-cover

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Tim Williams has a slew of releases under his belt, and the acclaim he earned off the last album left many lying in wait to get their hands on Careful Love. It’s hard to classify the man and his tunes, but press releases lean towards the description of coffehouse pop meets classic singer/songwriter. This is a fairly solid description, but you can see flourishes of musicianship that push beyond those stereotypical boundaries.

When you listen to the first track, it seems at first as if the vocal inflection of Tim is leading you towards a stronger identity.  “I Hit the Wall” lies somewhere in the vein of Telekinesis or Spoon, catching you with a bobbing hook.  This all leads you into “Ozone Street,” which sounds an awful lot like a cleaner version of Tim Kasher’s early work with The Good Life.  By this point, one thing that is disappointing is the lack of realism that stems from the recording of the drums.  Sure, programmable drums are easy to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go get some solid work from somebody in a studio.

Still, if you can step aside from that factor, you’ll find some songs on here that definitely grab your ears, due mostly to the gentle voice of Tim Williams.  Sure, it sounds awfully clean and polished, but with the rest of the musical accompaniment, that works to great effect here. Songs like “Oceans”or “8 x 10” have infectious grooves and tonality that find a way to lodge them inside your head.  The latter track is probably one of the most exceptional on the album, but you’ll find me yearning for a stronger drum track to back this.  A crashing cymbal here or there could have made this song brilliant; instead, it’s just pretty damn good.

Listening to Tim Williams new album, you find something for almost every taste.  Slow moving songs with touches of piano and female backing vocals are abundant, as are the pop gems that most people associate with Tim’s work.  This is just another solid example of a man who is crafting his own path, and what a bright path that proves to be when listening to Careful Love.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ihitanotherwall.mp3]

Download: Tim Williams – I Hit Another Wall [MP3]

Telekinesis – Telekinesis!

tele

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Telekinesis is more or less made up of one man, Michael B. Lerner, who gathered what one can assume is a group of close friends to flesh out his debut album.  The self-titled album, well, save for a change in punctuation, is the first most will hear from Mr. Lerner, and with such a solid album, we’re sure to hear more from the man and his band in the future.

“Rust” is the album opener, and it sets the mood, or revels in the setting of the music, as it would be hard not to place the music on this album somewhere in the Northwest.  Here, you’ll find the band sounding a bit like old Earlimart bedroom recordings.

Then listeners will come across what we will call the meat of the album, which is probably the most consistent tracking on any album this year.  Kick starting our hearts is “Coast of Carolina,” which begins with gentle acoustics before kicking right it in with its energy legs. There is an element of lo-fi recording to this song, and to the majority of the songs that appear on this album, but they also have a surefire pop sensibility.  Rock songs like “Look to the East”  will remind some of us of early Ben Kweller recordings before he thought coke and country was where its at.

“Foreign Room” is another song that clearly locates the album and its narrator, as Lerner does his best to emulate Eliott Smith; the wavering in his voice will be the first key to this comparison.  But, he doesn’t just rely upon Smith’s old tricks, instead pushing forward with a quick paced guitar.  It’s like the entire Northwest went pop as the rain made way for a years worth of sunshine.

Just as you get used to the harder moments on the album, or the faster elements one should say, Lerner slows it all down with “Great Lakes.”  His voice is pitch-perfect here, and the space on the song is all filled in such a fashion that one would be hard pressed not to adorn the band with praise just like the rest of their cohorts along the Northwest Corridor. And so the album closes with an acoustic number that bookends the album precisely the way one would expect.  Through all the peaks and gorges, it’s hard not to appreciate such a subtle ending as this.  A love song no less.

And with the entirety of this album, each listener will find something that they can appreciate, as Telekinesis appeals to many different styles and many different tastes.  It’s an album that many will appreciate, a few will love, and most will respect; the best thing about the album is it leaves the door wide open for future accomplishments by Michael Benjamin Lerner.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/05-awkward-kisser.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Awkward Kisser [MP3]

SXSW Watchlist: Telekinesis

telekinesisMichael Benjamin Lerner records under the moniker of Telekinesis, and he’s the most recent signing to indie stalwart Merge Records. His self-titled album is set to come out on April 7th, and its precisely the sort of album one would want with a Spring release; its full of warmth, yet filled with memorable pop moments.

His whole sound is difficult to put down on paper, as there seem to be many underlying elements. At some moments, he sounds like the more mature brother of young Ben Kweller, when Ben was geared towards the poppier side of life. Still, you might find some resemblance to Brendan Benson‘s solo works here, as fuzzed out guitar is mixed with precision drumming.  Even more interesting is a song like “Foreign Room,” which recalls Elliott Smith moments before picking up pace, all done to perfection. Mark my words, Telekinesis should be on your radar, and not just for SXSW.

He will be playing at The Parish on Saturday, March 21st at 8 PM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/06-foreign-room.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Foreign Room [MP3]

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