New GRMLN is Catchy As Hell

You can say it all you want, but you’ve all been waiting for someone to pull off the Strokes with the same infectious quality the band had…especially in their first two releases. Lucky for you, GRMLN seem to have done it perfectly, and while it might be a touch of a rip-off, I’m still going to blast it super loud. I mean, that swagger in the vocals with those guitar-monies working in the background…don’t tell me you’re not excited by the execution alone! Look for the band to release their latest offering, Discovery EP, this Friday, filled with expected hooks and repeat listens.

Nice Rocker From The Britanys

unnamed (1)Many folks in the music world are crowing New York rock band The Britanys as saviors to rock n roll music in an industry increasingly filled with DJs and electronica. Now I’m not sure I’m ready to call them the next Strokes, but I do rather enjoy their music. Maybe you will enjoy it as well when you listen to this new single from the guys entitled “Get My”. Funny thing is, the new single was produced by legendary producer Gordon Raphael who produced The Strokes ground breaking debut This is It. The guys will also be working with Raphael on an upcoming EP. Stay tuned.

ACL Fest Preview: The Top Ten Strokes Songs

THE STROKESIt’s ACL Weekend One, and after all the hubbub, the festival is upon us. Initially, I was surprised at the choice of offering up the Strokes as the Sunday headliner, but upon further consideration, I can see how easily they fit in. They’ve spent the last 15 years as a relevant musical act, whilst filling my own personal collection with hit after hit. People will rave about Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse, but when I think of the quintessential band of the 2000s, I think of these guys. Their first two albums alone could be played from front to back, and never miss a beat as far as enjoyment goes. I might be in the minority, but I think this is one of the best headliners the fest has had. So, I went through the catalog and picked out my Top Ten Strokes songs of all time, which should not only cement them as a great band, but as a great closer of Austin’s revered festival.  If you click on the track title, you’ll get a video link to hear the songs for yourself. Read more

ACL Lineup Is Here!

untitledThough the lineup unofficially leaked yesterday, we were holding off to make sure everything was all official and whatnot before posting anything.  So if you haven’t seen it yet, the ACL lineup was just announced this morning for both of the festival weekends.  Of course ATH is excited about seeing The Strokes again, but as usual, we’re enjoying the undercards with groups like Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Talk in Tongues, Jose Gonzalez, etc.  Check out the full lineup here and form your own opinions.

You can also pick up a 3 day pass at 10am central time by following this link.  Do it.

Love This New Track from Barkhouse

barkThere’s two reasons I’m in love with this track from Barkhouse.  Part of the work, particularly the drumming, reminds me of great Walkmen tracks.  On the other hand there’s a Casablancas indifference that’s been recorded in the vocals.  Together, the song packs this huge punch that’s fairly gritty, with just enough pop sensibility to keep listeners tapping their toes throughout the day.  If you dig this song, as you should, look for an EP titled Wolves at the Wall to come your way very very soon.

What Do You Think: The New Albert Hammond Jr Single

albertThis track has me a bit perplexed, so I figured I’d reach out to you faithful readers.  On one hand, I love both the Strokes and Albert Hammond Jr, but on the other hand, there’s something that seems amiss in this track.  There’s some great guitar work and catchy harmonies that I’ll definitely back any day of the week, but the stuttering piece at the opening few seconds of the verses sort of rubs me the wrong way.  Even the vocal there sounds odd, but that’s why I’m asking for your help.  Am I just a disgruntled aged blogger?  Regardless, I’m still looking forward to his AHJ EP, which will be released by Cult Records…which is run by some Julian Casablancas character…never heard of him.

New Rocker from The Trillions

Virginia’s The Trillions might not be on your map just yet, but they’re definitely a band you’ll want to familiarize yourself with today.  With named influences such as the Strokes and Big Star it’s easy to lump the band’s sound in with the masses, but I think the vocals give them an extra touch that sets them outside the usual realms.  I hear a little bit of Dr. Dog in the vocals, giving a softer underbelly to their rock tunes. They’ve got a new record coming out called Tritones, and this track below is the lead single, so wrap your ears around this goodness.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/05-The-Experts.mp3]

Download: The Trillions – The Experts [MP3]

New (ish) Music from Howler

Every once in awhile the Brits steal our homegrown bands beneath our noses, promoting some of the best in America without us even knowing.  It happened with the Strokes, and now it’s happening with Howler, a Minneapolis group.  They’re record America Give Up comes out next week via Rough Trade, and it’s a pretty solid collection of pop tracks.  NPR even praised it as an album full of stand alone singles, so I had to give it the good old college try. The number below is definitely one of those tracks with hooks galore, giving listeners a bottle full of fun. Surely this tune will make your day just a little brighter.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/backofyourneck_radio.mp3]

Download: Howler – Back of Your Neck [MP3]

Bright Dance Pop from Black Taxi

This song is a real throwback to those early 2000s when we could all just join up in a club and dance for fun.  Black Taxi are a Brooklyn foursome, currently working towards the release of their record in January 2012.  On this number you’ll find that steady guitar jangle stomp often heard in the likes of Franz Ferdinand or The Strokes.  I can already tell that this is one of those numbers that will have you and your friends dancing about late at night after the bars.  And if you like what you hear, the band will be playing the Zombie Ball at ACL Live this Saturday in Austin.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/01-Tightrope.mp3]

Download: Black Taxi – Tightrope [MP3]

The Strokes – Angles

Rating: ★★½ · ·

You might remember the Strokes as the saviors of rock n’ roll who quietly disappeared into the night, only to form several side-projects, hinting that they might never return.  Well, they’ve returned now, and while there are definitely bright spots, Angles isn’t the album of triumphant return that we all pined for during their absence.

“Machu Picchu” is a reserved album opener, with half-hearted guitar lines opening up the entire affair.  Julian Casablancas’ voice still sounds familiar, enough to give the song some credence, although the continuing trickling guitar work just holds the song back.  But, “Under the Darkness,” the second track, is that gem of a Strokes song that we’ve been missing for quite some time.  It’s filled with those sharp guitar cuts and fantastic bass work, just a bit more polished than earlier works off Is This It.  Julian has a great performance here, getting gruff and angry during the chorus.  In fact, this might go up the charts as one of the better tunes they’ve recorded, in one man’s opinion. Then, they recover back into mediocrity.

“Two Kinds of Happiness” is a cheesy little number, reminiscent of a band trying to break into the MTV culture of the 80s; it’s lacking creativity and sharpness, with Casablancas coming off as disinterested, more so than his usual stance. “You’re So Right” doesn’t do too much to change that, although the middling section is a lot more endearing than that buzzsaw guitar churn that serves as the backbone of the track.

Still, this album goes back and forth between being catchy and boring, which makes it a hard record to really get your head around. “Taken For a Fool” features Julian providing some charming vocals, and that bass line is something that they’ve always done well, so it’s no surprise it sounds so good here.  And the chorus of this track is probably one of the brightest moments present in all of Angles.  “Call Me Back” reminds me of the tracks off First Impressions of Earth that seemed more like a place for Julian to prove doubters wrong in regards to his voice, as it’s nothing more than an exercise for him, with the rest of the band just sort of standing in the background while he takes the lead.

Then comes a track like “Gratisfaction,” which definitely has a bit of swagger to it, something we all appreciated about the band, though it has a more modern pop twist. It will make you yearn for similar tracks, the kind that could have easily saved Angles, making it more than a sub-par effort. Toss that in with Angles’ closer, “Life is Simple in the Moonlight,” and you wonder if the band does indeed have more to offer us, as these are some of the better tracks on the collection.  The last track, especially, sounds like the band’s natural progression, something we might have been able to foresee after all this time.

You see, the problem with The Strokes is that a lot of us probably feel like have a lot invested in the band; we might even believe that it helped bring us back to rock n’ roll back in the early 2000s.  All of this makes it harder to digest Angles, as clearly there are some solid tracks, but overall, it just doesn’t live up to our expectations of what the band should sound like in our minds.  With that, many listeners will find themselves disenchanted, losing faith in the band that helped us believe all over again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Under-Cover-Of-Darkness.mp3]
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