There are two sides of the power-pop/garage rock coin, at least two that I can always subscribe to when listening. There’s the gritty version, filled with sloppy hooks, or there’s the polished huge riffs. The perfect example of this, in my mind, comes in the battle of Terry Malts vs. Wild Smiles. I love the Malts and their gritty style, taking nostalgic rock and fueling it with booze and exuberance. But, the Wild Smiles, who I’m here to talk about, take a similar approach, but clean things up, giving you more accessible hooks. You’re supposed to love both! And if you do, you already have the Terry Malts LP (or else you’re behind the times), so go ahead an pick up the Wild Smiles LP, Always Tomorrow, and enjoy the rest of your day.
Due to ATH regulations, I’m only able to offer up one Slumberland Records related piece a day, which is why I’m a few hours late with this new Terry Malts jam. Musically, this is perhaps the heaviest I’ve heard the band sound; I think it’s one of their greatest attributes, as there’s so many touches and nods to other acts that you can’t entirely pigeon-hole the group. This is the second tune off their forthcoming Insides EP, which you’ll be able to pick up from the aforementioned label on September 23rd.
What a great week for fans of Terry Malts (aren’t we all?). First, we had a new single from Corey, and now we’ve got the announcement of a brand new bouncing tune from the band themselves. It’s a rocker, of course, with gritty guitar coating the pop sensibility of the band in a bit of distortion. It’s a quick tune, but it’s one of those songs that you can sing along to whilst you playfully pogo into the folks jamming out with you. This new song comes from the band’s Insides EP; it’s going to be released as a 7″ on September 23rd via Slumberland Records.
Making our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly. We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience. We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed. If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.
50 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created. In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.
9 – The Growlers – Hung at Heart
I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.” But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track. I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.
Hether Fortune seems to scare people. Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes. That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense. The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors. If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.
While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work. It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record. The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.
What else really needs to be said about The National. They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts. I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party. Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.
When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve. Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.
Someone For You came our way in January. On my record player, it hasn’t left since. This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record. You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.
At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners. You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.
In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers. But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music. This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special. Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.
This album is about Devon Welsh. From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note. The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow. It made us believe in great music again.
There are just some bands that you’re going to fawn over, so I’m always glad when I get a chance to see Terry Malts. It didn’t hurt that they had some great local acts supporting them before their set, which made for an all-around enjoyable night for us. Staying up late on a school night, well worth it.
You can read on for my thoughts and such things, not to mention B.Gray’s photos of the evening.
|Date||Thursday, September 26th|
|Tickets||$8 from Mohawk|
I’m going to beg you to come to this show. I absolutely love the Terry Malts and their no bullshit live shows. They’ve come through town before, but their return to Austin comes on the heels of their latest release, Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere (Slumberland Records). It’s just another excellent record that deserves a huge audience, so be part of that on Thursday night. If you play your cards right, you’ll also be treated to excellent sets by locals New Arrows and Shivery Shakes (who just finished recording their own LP!) Great bands deserve great audiences so they can put on great shows…come be part of it.
Download: Terry Malts – Disconnect [MP3]
I definitely don’t hide the fact that I adore Terry Malts, who are about to have a great week. But, on the side, their guitarist Corey Cunningham has something going on the side, which I’m quite enjoying. It’s the limited Is This Really Really Real 7″, which is being put out by LogLady Records. Sure, there’s that distorted darkness that the Malts often take on, but there’s a drum machine serving to propel the song forwards, whilst the guitar carefully accompanies Corey’s soft vocals. I don’t see any reason why this track won’t gain a lot of steam this week; it’s a definite hit in my book!
The last time out Terry Malts ruled my world with Killing Time, so I was curious to see where they could go from that point. Would Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere top the previous effort? Would it fall off? Well, after spending the last few weeks listening to the record on repeat, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s much the same, in a good way, though I feel like there’s a heavier punch this go round.
“Disconnect” begins the album off in much the same way that Killing Time left off, blasting off with guitar explosive guitar riffs and darkly tinged melody in the vocals. It’s not breakneck speed until it pounds out near the 1.19 mark, yet it reverts into this interesting melody that works alongside, including a light backing vocal. And with such a post-pop hit, it’s interesting how the band moves right into the furiously punk “Life’s a Dream.” Envision circle pits with smiles, and then the track ends.
It’s hard to find out standout moments on Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere, as the group are so consistent in their songwriting that it’s hard to pick out a favorite. Can I take them all? Of course, “I Was Not There” should be on everyone’s year-end list. The crunchy distorted guitar operates in such a forceful manner that it completely works against the seemingly spoken-word lyrical delivery. That being said, Terry Malts always manage to unite such things, which is why I can’t help but tap my feet and bounce around the room when this song is on full blast. It fits perfectly in the mix, going into the poppier “No Tomorrow.” While the pounding drums stand out on this tune, I really like the way the vocals are delivered on this song. The notes are held long longer than usual, and they make way for this electric soloing guitar that pointedly knifes its way through the track.
One of the differences that I have noticed here is that Terry Malts seem to have gone to the darker corner of punk on this release. Their last record sounded like a beautifully modern Ramones LP, but this time songs like “Walking Without You” and “So Serious” take on the heavier area, at least in regards to how the music comes across. They’re not nearly as pummeling in speed, though you’ll hear a noisier element to these tunes. Luckily, even with that approach, they don’t lose their pop sensibility. One spin of “So Serious” and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Heavy meets pop and it equals perfect tune.
It’s possible that I’m predisposed to love this album, seeing how much I enjoyed their first release, but I can say, assuredly, that this isn’t some fanboy letter. Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere takes on the noise in a different manner than its predecessor, though still wraps you up in melodious hooks that invade your soul. With such an array of great songs, it’s hard not to enjoy this record, so be sure to pick it up as soon as you can.
ATH loves Terry Malts and we hope that they love us just as much in return. With that out of the way, it’s due time for us to share another new track from the bands upcoming album entitled “Walking Without You”. It’s loud, it’s fast, and daddy likes it.
As previously mentioned, Terry Malts have a new album called Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere due out September 10th via Slumberland Records.
Our year end lists are wrapping up at this point, but we wouldn’t be a legitimate music site without a list of the top songs from 2012. Personally, I feel like this list is a thousand times more difficult to compose than an albums list because we’re dealing with close to 400-500 songs in the running. It’s been a long process trying to narrow that iTunes playlist down to 100, and I know some incredible tunes from this year are missing, but we hope you enjoy. Ladies and gentlemen, follow the jump for the ATH version of top 2012 songs.