It’s been quite some time since we’ve had an official release from The Fresh & Onlys, despite getting lots from Tim Cohen and Wymond on solo projects. In my mind, the band are moving further and further away from their psych sound, which isn’t all bad, if you’re asking. Sounds like the band have sort of a rolling rock thing going, kicking out energy, though not going to heavy on the riffs; imagine a softer side of Terry Malts and you’ll get what I’m hearing. Wolf Lie Down is the band’s new record, and it comes out on August 25th via Sinderlyn.
It’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun. But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man. We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014. Read more
Their scene, their city, discovery, being a band, labels, projects, Spotify, sports – We had the opportunity to sit down with The Fresh & Onlys and talk music and people, and eventually a lot of sports. The interview went long and we love it. I thought about cutting it down, but these guys put it out there and to cut it would be a shame.
Big ups to the gentlemen for taking the time, being conversational and quite candid. It could have been even longer had my camera not over-heated, yeah, it over-heated.
Yep…this week is the week. We’ve got just a few days before we spend our weekend with the folks over at Austin Psych Fest. I figured it’d be nice to do something a little different for previews this year, rather than just the traditional Top 5 Bands to See route. So today I decided I’d bring you a highlight of all the acts at the festival that are on Trouble In Mind Records, either past or present. I love the Chicago-based label, and while they definitely have a slew of psych bands, they’ve also got a reasonably diverse catalogue, all of which is pretty solid. So, check out below to see the Top 5 TIM bands at the festival. We’ll see you out there. Read more
I’d be remiss if I didn’t write about the most recent Girls Names track to come out of the Internet. I’d also be in the same boat if I didn’t admit that I have no idea where the group is going musically, in an extremely exhilarating sense. When I first heard this tune, I noted the semi-Orange Juice guitar chops, but was thrown off by the haunting of the vocals. Then came this progression with keyboard intrusions and a brighter tone to the vocals–it honestly reminded me of The Fresh and Onlys traveling back to the early 80s, which basically equates to a hit in my ear. Luckily, The New Life will be in stores from Slumberland Records on February 18th, so I’ll finally get to put all the incredible pieces together.
I listened to this record 8 or 9 times, all along thinking it was on the verge of either a 3.5, but not quite. I figured my love and adoration might just push it over the edge, so I gave it a few more spins. Then it hit me, Long Slow Dance is perhaps the most focused and complete the Fresh & Onlys have completed up to this point in their short career. Given, they’ve stripped away a little bit of the reverb, but it makes way for a clarity that is really appreciated by those following Tim Cohen and company.
“20 Days and 20 nights” opens with a bit of a catchy jangle, holding back on the pace just a bit. It allows for the perfect introduction to a more polished-sounding Tim Cohen. His voice sounds steady, rather than wavering in the hazy distance as you’ve come to find on Fresh & Onlys records. If you listen closely this time around, you might even catch a bit more emotion in his voice–it’s barely audible, but listen closely. For me, an avid fan, it all indicates a more confident singer, and group for that matter. Years ago I couldn’t have imagine them creating tunes like “Long Slow Dance,” which closely resembles a folk ballad. Percussion is turned down low, giving the strum of the guitar and the dancing tambourine a little bit more emphasis. While they hold back in spots, they do unleash a little bit more power in various spots.
My first notice was “Yes or No?” Once that guitar enters accompanied by the drum, you know exactly that these guys mean business. Like most tunes on Long Slow Dance, it’s clearly linked to the annals of the band’s previous works, just with more punch. Or, you can listen to “Euphoria,” which again utilizes more pronounced drum work, not to mention some cascading guitar-lines. Honestly, the first ten second almost gave me a punk rock feel–that’s until Tim came into haunt the track with his heavy vocals. And, such emphatic songs are great in the scheme of things, but I really like the extra touches outside of the group’s normalcy that they’ve chosen to include.
Have you listened to “Fire Alarm?” It’s got a strong electronic bent to begin, and while that remains slightly in the back, there’s a definite groove that doesn’t sound too familiar on most Fresh & Onlys albums, being one of the reasons I really like it. Take the group’s psychedelic touch, mix it in with hints of the 80s swatch, and you have one of the most intriguing songs on the record. Or you might want to take a look at “Foolish Person,” where you’ll find the band flirting with touches of modern pop construction, using Tim’s vocal to captivate listeners while the rest of the posse work their magic…and then it just blasts off into experimental noise to wrap out the 6 minute track. There’s not much else like it in the band’s catalogue.
While I may have been on the fence a bit, that’s just my own idiocy. Long Slow Dance finds the San Francisco group mixing in newer influences and stronger studio production to knock this one out of the park. You know Fresh & Onlys can write great songs, but this time they’ve written twelve, using every bit of their influences to create a refreshing record that only gets better the more you listen.
Earlier today P4K threw out this great new track from The Fresh and Onlys, which appears on a compilation (HERE) between the band’s new label Mexican Summer and Software. While I completely dig the sound, it appears as if it’s going to end up a B-Side of sorts, being tossed aside for the band’s upcoming label. Once again, you can see the band really progressing in their songwriting, eliminating a lot of the cacophony that was on earlier recordings. I’m digging the chorus quite a bit, and if this is an outtake, there’s no telling how good the new album will be when it finally sees the light.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/The_Fresh__Onlys_-_Do_What_I_Came_To_Do.mp3]
Download: The Fresh and Onlys – Do What I Came To Do [MP3]
San Fran’s Fresh & Onlys are really starting to get on my nerves. Whether it’s frontman Tim Cohen or the whole band, they just keep turning out tunes, and good ones at that. I’ve probably spent close to $100 on this band this year alone (Tim Cohen included), which either means I’m a sucker, or they’re just that good; I’m going with the latter. P4K announced that they’ll be releasing another new 7″ in September, and based on this, there goes a bit more money from my wallet. I’m guessing you feel the same about their whispy vocals and jangling psych guitars.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Fresh-Onlys-I-Would-Not-Know-the-Devil.mp3]
Download: Fresh & Only’s – I Would Not Know the Devil [MP3]
If you’ve been reading these pages for some time, then you undoubtedly are aware of my man love for Tim Cohen. While he gets more press for his role in Fresh & Onlys, he’s definitely got other great things going on, such as his Magic Trick project. He just released a song from The Glad Birth of Love, which will see a full release on August 23rd. While there are hints of psych folk, that seems to live primarily in the trickling sound of the guitar in the background. The rest of the 7 minute song comes off like a crooner of sorts, but one completed in the realm of carefully orchestrated opuses. With patience, you’ll grow to love and appreciated Tim’s songwriting, as it continues to grow and amaze me.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/TimCohen-DaylightMoon.mp3]
Download: Tim Cohen – Daylight Moon [MP3]
For most listeners, you’re probably expecting anything coming from Tim Cohen to somewhat resemble his haunting vocal performances from his main gig, The Fresh & Onlys. But, while that dark tinted vocal is still there, Tim’s been creating music on his own for some time, this being his second solo release in about a year (making that 3 in a year, all work included). Magic Trick establishes itself as his most timeless release to date, making Cohen a hot commodity in the small indie rock community.
“I Am Never Going to Die” sounds precisely like something your father might have listened to if he grew up in the late 60s. It was probably a track played by his roommate while they sat in some bong circle, promising one another that they were going to make themselves happy. Yet you won’t have to travel back in time to enjoy this piece, nor do you necessarily have to partake in recreational drugs; Tim’s music, as well as the themes throughout Magic Trick, apply just as much now as they did then.
The haunting vision of Tim Cohen that I have in my head revolves around those vocals, teetering on the edge of despair, such as you get on a song like “The Flower.” Still, even with his songs having this shady quality, a track like this reminds you of dark crooners such as Richard Hawley, giving you dense pop songs in a simply beautiful format. Similarly, “Ledgerdemain” operates in the same spectrum, using a heavy vocal to discuss themes of love as seen through one man’s perspective. The light piano touches and floating female vocal accompaniment definitely bring an extra punch to this number.
But, perhaps the most notable style present on Magic Trick are the allusions to the psychedelia of years past, only viewed through a more modern lens. It’s hard to go through listening to a track like “The Spirit’s Inside” without noticing the cascading guitars that go with the moody electronic piano. Not only that, but it hints back at those low-budget movies during the black-and-white era where your hero has a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve. “Season of Fires” definitely has some California vibe to it, almost as if it’s the long lost Doors demo, except a tad bit better, as Cohen’s a better poet in my mind.
One of the remarkable things about listening to Magic Trick in its entirety is that you want to put some many songs in certain generic boxes, pushing influences onto the Tim Cohen, but where he seems to have progressed greatly on this album are the darker pop tracks, like those mentioned above or the album closer, “I Looked Up.” Such touches of songwriting demonstrate that he’s more than just a one-trick pony. While it may seem that Cohen’s been around for quite some time, this record is the first one that really shows he’s heading in the right direction, even if we didn’t see them coming right away. Tim Cohen might be a man who loves the past, but he’s certainly the man of the moment.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Tim-Cohen-Dont-Give-Up.mp3]
Download: Tim Cohen – Don’t Give Up [MP3]