Hear a New Tune from The Clientele

The only thing that bums me out about the Clientele‘s new album is that it drops while it’s still damn warm down in Austin. Other than that, I couldn’t really find a record I’m anticipating more. For me, the band’s been the perfect late fall listening experience, just as the cold weather begins to take on a dreary, yet alluring presence. This new tune stretches over 6 minutes, with multiple changes in structure (and the inclusion of samples), yet it sounds wholly like the group always has…like the feather in Forrest Gump, drifting perfectly in and out of our lives. Music for the Age of Miracles will be released by Merge Records on September 22nd; I’ll be there to grab it.

Check This Premiere of New Verandan

Finnish label Soliti has quite a remarkable stable, and this year they signed what I think is an artists capable of breaking across the globe: Verandan. With one incredible single under their belt, the band bring you this brand new single (released digitally on the 14th) to enjoy. It reminds me of the best of the pop world, combing chamber elements with delicate touches of atmospherics…all the while keeping a nice bit of energy in the track. Just imagine the playful bounce of Belle and Sebastian mingling with the more introspective world of the Clientele. The group even throws in some joyous “ooh oohs” near the end, so be sure to stay ’til then.

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.

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New Song from Amor de Dias

For those of you that were super worried that Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele was on his way out from writing music, well, think again.  Alasdair has teamed up with Lupe Nunez-Fernandez of Pipas to form a new group titled Amor de Dias, or Love of Days, if you will.  The group will be releasing their debut, Street of the Love of Days on May 17th via Merge Records.  Listening to this first track, you’ll notice a slightly more upbeat affair, though I will admittedly say that I hope to hear Alasdair’s voice on the final product, though Lupe sounds quite enticing here as well. Just another thing to be grateful for in 2011.


Download: Amor de Dias – Bunhill Fields [MP3]

New Music From The Clientele

As far as British twee-pop goes, The Clientele have long been one of the best at what they do.  The Brits are continuing what they do best this summer and returning with a new mini-album of pop goodness entitled Minotaur.  The new short album from Merge will feature 8 new songs and hit stores on August 31st.  Below you’ll find new track from the band “Jerry”.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/02-Jerry.-1.mp3]

Download: The Clientele – Jerry [MP3]

The Clientele @ Mohawk (3/1)

Date 3/1/10
Location Mohawk
Doors 7pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

Why not start your week off right with a Monday night set by UK band The Clientele at Mohawk.  Solid opening support will be provided by Vetiver.  It starts a little early so you kids with jobs should be able to make it out.

Update: Michael Kingcaid and his new band The Broken Bottle Casualties will be the 1st opener and Vetiver will play second.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/01-retiro-park.mp3]

Download: The Clientele – Retiro Park [MP3]

The Crayon Fields – All The Pleasures of the World

thumb_crayonRating: ★★★★½

In a year that offered lots of mediocre albums, 2009 had so many new records that it was hard to digest them all in due time for reviews.  Yet, I always intended to touch on this album, as I’ve loved The Crayon Fields since Animal Bells came out a few years back. 

“Mirrorball” made the list of our Top 50 songs of 2009, and it still draws a lot of power, months after it first hit our ears.  Singer Geoff O’ Connor has a real breathy vocal projection (like a pop whisperer), one that will recall Colin Bluntstone of The Zombies for many listeners…it’s just one of the many touchstones for the group.

One thing that differentiates the characterstics on All the Pleasures of the World from Animal Bells is that there seems to be a little bit of darkness lingering beneath each of the songs.  On Animal Bells, you had songs like “Living So Well,” which were full of sunny beach pop and gang vocal effects, but this doesn’t fit here.  On the album’s title track, amidst singing of pleasures, O’ Connor seems sort of resigned to see the pleasures, though not necessarily take part in them.  Perhaps the extra layering of instruments has made a more dense soundscape from which the band took off this round (some of the best being from the solid bass work). Just a guess.

When one comes across songs like “Celebrate” you can see how a Clientele reference might creep up in a review, but you might also note that the similarites are existant, yet polarizing.  Where The Clientele often feels extremely cold, and their melodies have a sense of brooding danger, The Crayon Fields put a little bit of energy into their artistry.  By this I really mean one thing: The Clientele gives you foggy melodies; The Crayon Fields blow the fog away with a touch of beach-side sunshine. 

You’ll also find a lot of the guitar-work of Glaswegians Belle and Sebastian lying beneath this album.  You can almost pick up on the homage being given in songs such as “Disappear” where there is a hint of swing and sway to the general atmospheric creation.  It’s not a bad thing to highlight, as I’m a fan of the former band, which also probably shows why I’m a huge fan of the latter.  Really, is there any ground for originality nowadays?

So, here I am, a few months after the release, though you will still find it hard to get a hold of All the Pleasures of the World in the U.S.  Be that as it may, you’ll do yourself, and the dollar, justice if you go out to your local hotspot and purchase the latest from The Crayon Fields, and the last one while you’re at it.


Download: The Crayon Fields – Mirror Ball [MP3]

The Clientele – Bonfires on the Heath

clienteleRating: ★★★½☆

A short while ago, there was discussion that the UK group, The Clientele, would be calling it quits, and perhaps this is still true.  Regardless, I was taken aback, and a little saddened.  I’ve been listening to the group, and their pop soundscapes for some time, so I was happy to know that if they were calling it quits that I would least get one more album; that record being Bonfires on the Heath.

Not surprisingly, the group brought out the same old same old on their latest release, which isn’t entirely a bad thing in my book.  This is one group that’s never needed to change, no matter what they put out.  One should note, however, that their musical etchings are as detailed as the cover art to the current album, layer upon layer of sounds molded together to create one entity.

As I listen to “I Wonder Who We Are,” the opening track, I can’t help but notice that they share some odd similarities to my faves, Belle and Sebastian. Jangling guitars, and a knack for making mono-syllabic lyrics fit so well into the song structure, but what I think is still holding the band back this time is Alisdair Maclean’s vocals.  For some reason they just don’t always seem to fit the music; there’s no correlation at times.

Still, this is the perfect fall piece of music.  As each night brings a variance in weather, so too, does this album.  It’s as if you’re walking with the group through each of their songs.  The title track slowly meanders, as one would on a simple walk through the neighborhood on one of those cool windy nights.  You see, it’s hard to tie down the precise sound of this album, or any of its songs, as you’re clearly affected by the mood they successfully create.

If you had to pick out a standout track here, for me, it would be “Jennifer and Julia.”  It is the one song that I think epitomizes the years of work this group has put into their songwriting.  Subtle horn backing and Maclean’s vocals all seem to fall perfectly into alignment on this album.  This song is what makes you fall in love with this band, and it’s great to see that despite the years, and possible break-up, that they still have the knack for writing something as sublime as this.

Sure, there are tracks one can dismiss, like “Sketch,” which is a track that seems like simple album filler, but when you come to something like “Never Saw Them Before” you can clearly see what people enjoyed about this band from the get go.  If you’re looking for one of those records that changes as often as you do, but clearly keeps you grounded, then you’ll want to check out Bonfires on the Heath, a culmination of pristine, moody pop, years in the making by The Clientele.


Download: The Clientele – Jennifer And Julia [MP3]

New Tunes from The Clientele

client The Clientele have been around for a long time, crafting serene pop songs for those inclined to have their moods altered, and by that, I mean that they are moving.  Sadly, their latest effort, Bonfires of the Heath, is said to be their last one.  But, luckily, months in advance of the October 6th street date on Merge Records, we have a track to sample from the album.  Should be a dandy. 


Download: The Clientele – I Wonder Who We Are [MP3]

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