FFF 2012: Sunday In Pictures

Final day. Your feet, lungs and liver have taken a beating, but the pain feels good now.

I had a busy slate of things I wanted to check out on Sunday. I started bright and early to catch favorite locals on the upswing and kept after through the headliner. Final installment of shots from FFF7 will bring you Flesh Lights, Ume, Balmorhea, Cult of Youth, Bleached, A Place to Bury Strangers, Class Actress, Trust, Deerhoof, The Promise Ring, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Black Angles, De La Soul and Edward Sharpe.

Tons of eye candy after the break.

Read more

Fun Fun Fun Fest Preview: The Promise Ring

It’s two weeks away from one of our favorite festivals, if not, our favorite Austin festival, so it’s time to take a look at some of the acts we’re really anticipating taking the stage.  For me, the first nostalgic nod has to go to the Promise Ring.  Yeah, I was 17 during their hey-day, so it makes perfect sense that I would have fallen in love with their music, labeled as emo at the time (though with no association to the current range of emo).  Their highlight, in my eyes, definitely has to be Very Emergency.  Whether you want to label it with a genre or not, it was a great pop record, and one that still holds a special place in my heart.  Unfortunately, I never had the chance to catch the group live, as I was living in Oklahoma (the land of no shows) during my peak of adoration, so I’m overly excited to see these guys.  Glad Transmission got them to break out and bring the rock.  Whether you’re nostalgic or just curious, this is a must see band for my two cents.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/01-Happiness-Is-All-The-Rage.mp3]

Download:The Promise Ring – Happiness Is All The Rage [MP3]

They’ll be playing Sunday on the Orange Stage at 6:05 PM.

Stellastarr – Civilized

stella

Rating: ★★★ · ·

For their third album, Stellastarr opted to go it on their own and release the record, Civilized, on their terms, and their label, Bloated Wife Records.  However, nothing about the band seems to have changed at all since their previous efforts, which is either a good or bad thing, depending upon which camp you sleep in with regards to your opinion on the band.

Kicking off the album is “Robot,” and Amanda Tannen’s presents the most throbbing bass lines to date for the band.  While the guitars shatter in some other worldly angular atmospherics, Shawn Christensen repeats the lyrics “by design/you’re going to hurt yourself.”  The lyrics appear to have less of an impact than on previous efforts, but the cutting edge guitar riffs show that the band means business.

When track three, “Tokyo Sky” sets off, you’re tossed back into that classic new wave sound, with clean jangling guitars, but just as you get comfortable and nostalgic, they press down on the distortion pedal, they pull out some “Today”-era Smashing Pumpkins guitar miming.  While the guitars continue to swirl about the song, Christensen does his best to fall somewhere between himself and Davey of The Promise Ring.  Oddly, the lyrics refrain of “my Tokyo sky” recall the same refrain of “My Coco” off the group’s first album.

“Graffiti Eyes” probably has the most bounce of this set of songs, which is sad, since the band has been successful with such styles.  However, Tannen’s backing vocals provide a great counterbalance to the jagged yelp of Christensen.  In the chorus we find the band nearing their most straightforward pop approach to date, although the music doesn’t seem to comply necessarily.   Although this is the single for the band, this isn’t necessarily the best song on the album.  That award goes to “Prom Zombie” with its entirely playful singalong moments between Tannen and Christensen.  It’s the one song on this album that just seem like they’ve been rehashing themselves entirely.  And, there are horns! Horns bro.

The latter half of the album is much like the first half, with it all ending in “Sonja Cries,” the one song when you can clearly hear Christensen’s vocals.  Surprisingly, this seems like the exact direction the band should have gone to begin with, or at least built into the album as a whole.  By this point, the airy atmospherics of the guitars have grown weary after listening to them for three straight albums.  In the end, the band has created more enjoyable numbers for you to add to your collection, though they might not be the most memorable moments in the Stellastarr‘s history.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/1-06-prom-zombie.mp3]

Download: Stellastarr – Prom Zombie [MP3]