New Single/Video From Kevin Morby

unnamed-23We’ve been tracking Kevin Morby and his work with Woods and The Babies for a long while now, and at this point that anything this man has a part in will be some sort of magical. Today, he’s shared a new video and debuted the single, “I Have Been To The Mountain,” which is classic Kevin Morby with a bit of a pop twist to it. It’s got this stewing haze to it, made possible by Morby’s vocals and the grumble of the electric guitar which cuts in and out. Meanwhile, the beat is kind of groovy, simmering underneath it all. It’s a damn great song, and the video is interesting to say the least. Make sure you check it out below and get ready for Morby’s upcoming album,Singing Saw, which is out April 15th onDead Oceans.

 

 

New Music (To Me) from The Babies

babesFirst off, you should own Our House on the Hill by the Babies. The song “Alligator” alone warrants your ownership; it’s one of my favorite songs of the last few years, period.  Luckily, the band’s been holding onto some of their B-Sides while they’ve been working on solo Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone LPs.  Woodsist has opted to released these two B-Sides as a digital single, and I’m going to pick them up (though I wish they came on a 7″).  This song from the release has that jangly swagger, featuring Morby on the lead vocal; it’s so tasty I’m not even sure how this track didn’t make the final cut! Listen and hit up the label for the release.

Kevin Morby – Still Life

kevin-morby-stilllife

Rating: ★★★★ ·

You may know Kevin Morby better through his other projects such as The Babies, or has bass work in Woods. However, Still Life is his second release for this solo development, a follow up to Harlem River, which came out last year. If you’re still only familiar with this man’s other achievements, it’s time to bust out your headphones or your speakers and have a listen to Still Life, which shows the pure talent that you already knew Morby possessed, but channeled in a raw and real form; the sincerity of this record will have you coming back to it over and over again.

The album comes to you humbly and asks you to “take [it] as you feel—” a line that comes on “Amen,” which you won’t come to until later, but this is an instance of the songwriting aptly describing the listening experience. From the moment you press play on opening “The Jester, The Tramp & The Acrobat,” you get this gentle undercurrent of a rhythm that carries you along while Morby, addressing you as a friend, opens up. The song begins to flesh itself out, transitioning from soft drums and acoustic guitar to some licking electric guitar and a change to a faster pace. Here, we get a bit of a preview as to what this album has in store for us: we get both a subtle and simple side well as the intricately crafted indie-rock-and-roll jam side, all of which is coated in a residual gravity in the songwriting.

While it’s hard to pick a favorite aspect of this record to focus on—both the instrumentation and the lyrics work together in a fantastic combination of mood—the lyrics are constantly are working at your heart, begging for you to let them in. Take any track on this record and you can find a line or two that is stunning in its nature, even removed from context. On a song by song basis, there are numbers like “Drowning” and “All Of My Life” which grip you from start to finish, tying together lines like the threads in a tapestry, leaving you simply stunned at the end product. Here is a man pouring what seems to be the contents of his soul into his craft, laying it all out for you in a sometimes delicate, sometimes rock and roll fueled context.

To put it bluntly and with a cliché, listening to this record feels a bit like falling in love; by the time I reached the ending of Still Life, I was already itching to restart and do it all over again, following Morby through the highs of the jams and especially the lows in his lyrics. It’s all good, and it’s all waiting for you to fall into its depths.

New Music from Kevin Morby

kevKevin Morby‘s made quite a name for himself with Woods and the Babies, but the last year has really seen him step into a world of his own.  He released Harlem River, which received rave reviews, then put on a killer set here at the Mohawk in Austin.  And, he’s back again, this time agreeing to a fresh new single with Suicide Squeeze Records; it’s set to be released on August 5th. There’s an intimacy to his performance on this track, with careful guitar work and a solemnity in his voice; you can even here a bit of imperfection in pieces, which is a nice nod.  Enjoy listening to this one.

Everyone Loves This New Kevin Morby Track

kevUsually when everyone lauds a new tune, it’s either because it’s incredible or because there’s tons of unnecessary hype.  In the case of this new piece from Kevin Morby, who spends a lot of time in Woods and The Babies, it’s mostly the former.  The tune is sprawled carefully across Morby’s vocals, moving quiet slowly, with ornate little touches of detail added in all the right places.  I’m reminded a bit of The Clientele, especially when you get to the 2.5 minute mark…that’s not a bad thing in my mind. You can grab his new record, Harlem River, on November 26th via Woodsist.

Contest! The Babies @ Mohawk (12.14)

Date Friday, December 14th
Location Mohawk
Doors 9:00 PM
Tickets $8 from Mohawk


We’re drawing to the very end of what has been a great season of rock n’ roll, and what better way to wrap things up with a visit from The Babies.  The part Vivian Girls, part Woods, super group blasts into town fresh off the release of their very excellent Our House on the Hill.  Their music alone would be reason to go to this show, but we’ve also got the benefit of some incredible openers, namely Deep Time and Gal Pals.

Interested parties can enter our contest for a ticket with accompanying +1.  Simply leave a comment about anything you want, and we’ll pick a winner the morning of the show.  Good luck!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/thebabiesrunmeover.mp3]

Download:The Babies – Run Me Over [MP3]

Top Albums of 2012: 100-51

It’s really hard to narrow down a list of Top Albums of 2012, especially when you have four contributors with different opinions.  We gave the reins to Nathan.Lankford and Nicole Baumann on this one, since they write the majority of the album reviews, but we all have a little representation within this.  Now, we do realize that our site has specialized tastes, so please realize that these are our OPINIONS.  You’re welcome to disagree, and, in fact, we encourage that process.  Also, we’re doing a Top 100 because so many records came out this year, it wouldn’t be fair to narrow it down.  Not to mention it might lead you to discover some hits you hadn’t heard about yet. Oh, and we don’t really like Frank Ocean or hip-hop…just a personal choice…here’s the first segment.

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The Babies – Our House On The Hill

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The project between Woods‘ Kevin Morby and Vivian Girls‘ Cassie Ramone isn’t exactly a new project, but their newest effort for Woodsist seems like the side-project finally got some much deserved focus from the two core songwriters. Our House On The Hill is the perfect execution of sunny pop with a ramshackle approach, giving listeners exactly what we’ve been looking for since we first got wind of the band.

“Alligator” takes aim at my pop-centric heart almost immediately.  A ringing guitar accompanied by Morby’s sunny vocal approach definitely pleases, and when Cassie Ramone comes in for accompaniment midway through the track, I couldn’t have been happier.  It’s a simple tune, with fairly common writing, but it’s just the beginning of the infectious hooks coming from The Babies.  Immediately following you’re greeted by slow-walking, where Morby and Ramone take dead aim at bright pop by trading vocal duties back and forth. This is the track I longed for the group to create!

A few tracks ahead and you enter the realm of perfection with “Get Lost,” one of the standout tracks on Our House On The Hill.  This is definitely Morby’s track, and it’s his vocal performance that steals the show, though the low-key approach of the various verses just builds the tension for the group to blast off into a bliss filled meandering guitar affair to close out the song.  Just because there’s a hit like this laying in the middle of the record, it doesn’t mean there’s not enough interesting tracks to fill out the album exceptionally.

You can take “Mean,” which is mostly a one-man Morby affair, with the singer coming off with hints of Bob Dylan, both in the writing of the track and the vocal delivery.  Ramone’s quieted backing vocals only strengthen the track even more.  There’s also “Baby,” which belongs to Ramone, and definitely wears the mark of her other project, Vivian Girls, though there’s also similarities to Best Coast lurking in its structure and vocal delivery.  These are just a few of the various examples that mark this effort by The Babies, leaving you with an effort that doesn’t really repeat itself, though paces back and forth in similar territory.

Our House On The Hill is all over place, and in saying this, I’m meaning it as a compliment.  In combining the great songwriting attributes of Morby and Ramone, the record never really gets stale, and if anything, it only improves reveals more gems from listen to listen.  Depending upon your mood, you might light the sunny pop elements, but others might find themselves leaning towards the more stripped down tracks like “That Boy.”  Thats precisely why I think The Babies are so successful on this round, doing what they do best on their own terms, and excelling in every way.

 

New Music from The Babies

The following track is not like anything I’ve heard from The Babies as of late, but to be honest, I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed listening to the group: their sound is fairly unidentifiable.  They’ve got tunes that come off as garage-rock, but they’ll mix it up with some slow-paced ballad, keeping you on your toes throughout your listening experience.  This new tune begins with a bit of a wayward stomp, filled with a melodic hook that I can’t escape; of course, it also features a closing guitar ambling to wrap up the track.  Who knows what we’ll get when their latest album Our House on the Hill comes out November 13th (Woodsist), but I bet it’s going to be good.

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