SXSW 2019 – A Recap

Yet another SXSW is in the books and it’s time for the ATH crew to reminisce a little and offer some highlight from the week behind us. I think we’ve had enough time now to take a few deep breaths, collect our thoughts, and delve through tons of notes and photos. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll offer up awards to bands, venues and events worthy of such praise. It will be glorious. Hit the jump for a full recap with photos.

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The ATH Top 50 Albums of 2015

Albums ListYear-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.

Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
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Cinema Red and Blue – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

Honestly, this has been one of our most anticipated records for some time, ever since word hit the streets that members of Crystal Stilts and Comet Gain would unite to create Cinema Red and Blue.  While this might just be a brief off-shoot for all those involved, it’s got the feel of a classic record that will only get better as time goes by.

One of the members that needs mention here, as he’s the primary vocalist, is David Feck.  He’s always been able to carry tracks entirely on the foundation of his voice, much as he does on “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough,” the opening track on Cinema Red and Blue. But, just as you think he’ll do it all alone, the band kicks in just shy of the 2 minute mark, jangling their way to a solid ending, while Feck’s vocals strain to grab every drop of emotion.

Then you’ll hit the trilogy of “Ballads,” all named for different interests, and its the wordplay of Feck that wins out, as it usually does.  For instance, there’s something clever about the way he puts together “we’re trying hard to sound like the Swell Maps/what a terrible name for a pop group,” during “Ballad of a Vision Pure.” It’s not just his word slinging that’s clever, but his delivery has the perfect amount of inflection and soul to win listener’s over.  There’s something about his tone too, especially in “Ballad of a Bus Stop” when its accompanied by a female counterpart.

Cinema Red and Blue isn’t entirely about David Feck, however. While you can see the homage to their bands, with flourishes of indie pop and psychedelic darkness, they also pay tribute to their favorites, such as Vic Godard, Julian Cope and the Chills. One that everyone is sure to like is the group’s cover of “Same Mistakes” by Godard.  Their version was released as the first single on the record, and its filled with a bit of electronic organ and low-tempo jangle.  It doesn’t hurt that David gets to match his vocals up either with another soft female vocal.  Listening, its odd how the band doesn’t seem to try at all with what their doing; its a casual affair of great songwriters, which inevitably wins us all over.

Something about this record just seems so precious, even though its not even a week old.  Every song, every note, really hits home as you listen.  There’s a familiarity to it that quickly attaches itself to your ears and heart.  That female follow up vocals in “Love in the Altitude” just hits home.  Or maybe the mellow mood of “Charlie Clarke” is more your style.  What’s clear is that you can find something beautiful, or you should, in every single track here.  While the members all have their respective projects going on, coming across an album as special as this definitely makes you yearn for more.  At least we’ll always have that one perfect record created for us all by Cinema Red and Blue.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/08-Same-Mistakes.mp3]

Download: Cinema Red and Blue – Same Mistakes [MP3]