TR/ST Flexes On You

It was SxSW a few years back and I had just seen TR/ST for the third time. Having exchanged pleasentries side stage at Mohawk and in passing during the week, I worked up the nerve to ask for a quick portrait. His immediate response was, “No.” Magical moment. Right?

TR/ST, aka Trust, aka Robert Alfons, has captivated mindshare since I happened across “Candy Walls” six years ago. I think I listened to it seven times, over and over. It led the way for the record TRST in 2012 that still gets pretty heavy rotation in my house. It has been three years since Joyland and it is about time for a new track. And here it is. I planned on making this part of a have a nice weekend post, but it is too good. Maybe I was just tired and brain-fried when I listened to it yesterday, but damn. He tells Fader that “Bicep” is about “…the struggle between accepting and resisting shame, as well as an expression of sexual fantasies.” Perhaps, but this is brilliantly dark and danceable, just as you’d expect with that familiar edge lurking in the waveforms.

We’ll be waiting impatiently until 2018 for the new record.

Electropop Vibes from Black Fly

This new tune from Vermont’s Black Fly is really getting me ready for the weekend. It has this darkened electropop vibe, prompted by heavy synth lines and a natural hook in the song’s craft. The vocals have the tendency to spin things slightly differently, almost more geared towards anthemic indie rock; it serves to give the tune a bit of contrast between the melody and the driving rhythm. It’s a fun little number that definitely will pick up your spirits…if you dig TRUST, then this is your new favorite jam.

New Music from Gambles

Gambles-Far-From-Your-Arms-EP-COVER-highresThe last time we heard from Gambles he has released his album, Trust, which we fawned over.  Checking in on him the other day, I found that he has quietly been building new songs for us all, though they’re different in sound, showing his growth as a songwriter. His first effort had him working with the power of his voice over a strummed guitar, for the most part.  Now, he seems to have been experimenting, adding extra layers, percussion, etc; it’s an interesting progression, yet just as striking as his earlier work.  Both tunes are said to come out on a new record, which we’ll keep you posted on.

Ski Lodge Clearly Still Has It

lodgerI’m greatly surprised that the new Ski Lodge single is getting less attention than their last effort, despite leaving listeners with two really great songs.  We’ve already tossed out the A Side, “Trust,” but I think the B Side is even stronger.  It’s a quieted piano ballad, opening softly with croon of Andrew Marr, washed over by a nice electronic touch.  There’s true emotional power in the first chorus, before the song takes on a more emphatic ballad form.  Honestly, as big as a fan as I was of their first album, this might just be the best thing the band has done…if my two cents count for much.

Ski Lodge Return to Smooth Out the Edges

skierIt’s been a bit since we’ve heard from Ski Lodge, and I’m glad to see the band’s return…I loved Big Heart.  While their first effort seemed to hold tight to the realm of indiepop, they look to go with a smoother, larger pop sound behind the efforts of main songwriter, Andrew Marr.  You’ll still hear huge harmonies and melodies bursting forth, though in a different fashion…those touches have been polished to sound more like a band working in a hi-fi studio. The “Trust” 7″ will be available for pop fans on February 23rd.

Trust Is Playing SxSW

artworks-000067282197-cquqei-t500x500TRUST is back with some strength.

I think this will be a busy year for Robert Alfons and Maya Postepski. The new record Joyland is due March 4th on Arts & Crafts, just before what I assume will be a very busy SxSW. I have a sneaking suspicion that this track is a preview and not a highlight. “Rescue, Mister” is about as good as this young year gets. Take a listen; dark dancing bliss.

…and that finish. We love this band.

UPDATE: You can preorder Joyland here in double LP, CD and digital formats.

Gambles – Trust

gam

Rating: ★★★★½

Admittedly, I’m a music consumer on a massive scale.  It means that I get to enjoy tons of great bands, but on the downside, it takes a lot to emotionally move me.  In 2013, I’ve had that happen once with Majical Cloudz; it’s happening again as I spend repeated listens to the debut album from Gambles, Trust.

From the instant that “Angel” came through my speakers, the sincerity in the work of Matthew Siskin, aka Gambles, was extremely clear to me.  There’s a slight echo in the way his vocals have been recorded, as if your best friend had you recorded his rooftop ramblings.  However, these aren’t ramblings; these are well penned lyrics of life, love and all the things in between.  I guess it’s no surprise that the following track is titled “Rooftops,” though the strumming of acoustic guitar on this track is much more intimate and softer than the opening tune.  An entire verse seems to be sung via whistling, aligning Siskin with troubadours of our hearts from days of old; it’s striking how such a simple touch can seem so personal.

The incredibly moving moments from Trust continue into the third track with “So I Cry Out.”  It was this song that really made me fall in love with what’s being created within the confines of this album.  As that music consumer, some moments of creation have become predictable to me.  So much so that I can typically figure out where a lyric or note will start and end.  This is not so here, as Matthew holds on to notes for his own sake, often elongating syllables for the emotional effect; this slight personal affectation has allowed him to stand out among many of his peers, if not all of them.

But don’t think that this debut album by Gambles is short on solid listening after the powerful opening tracks.  It’d be easy to write and fawn over everything on the record, but I’ve taken to loving “Penny for a Grave” the last few days.  The humming is a nice alternative to the traditional whistle, but the lyrical substance is really great.  My personal favorite line from the track: “is it the smell of your old bones/calling me home again.”  Even more personal to me is the fact that you can’t simply decipher the lyrics, they’re shrouded in metaphors that I dare not attempt to uncover.  But, that’s what makes it personal, that’s what makes it special; I can ascribe my own meaning to these tracks.  “265” is another such tune that I’ve taken a liking to, as well.  There’s a rise and fall to the song, in both the vocals and the musical accompaniment.  Siskin does well too with his guitar playing, alternating between soft strum and heavy-handed stroke, and always with purpose.

It’s difficult to see past the bullshit sometimes, and even more difficult when you’re only working with your guitar and voice.  But, somehow, somewhere, Matthew Siskin has created a gift for listeners.  You can rush to rip off the wrapping or you can choose to go slow, but one thing can be assured: you’ll never ever regret the day you picked up the first full-length from Gambles.  May Trust be our first introduction to a long and remarkably affecting career.

 

Tearjerker From Gambles

Gambles-Far From Your Arms-EP-COVER-highresMatthew Siskin, and his musical project known as Gambles, has been on our minds over the last year with the release of his stellar EP Far From Your Mind.  With that EP already under his belt, Siskin is returning later this year with a highly anticipated full length LP entitled Trust.  To get us even more amped up for that release, new song “So I Cry Out” has been made available as a new single.  My description as a tearjerker will immediately become apparent after you give the track a few spins.  Sheer Beauty.

New album Trust will be out October 1st via GMBLS.

Show Review: The Faint @ Emos (11.28)

For me, seeing The Faint was a necessity and a desire, nostalgically taking me back to early 2000 and my discovery of the group via Saddle Creek fandom.  They came into a packed house at Emos on Wednesday night to relive the hits from Danse Macabre.  They brought with them Icky Blossoms and Trust, so it was a solid line-up for all.

Read on for thoughts and photos.

Photo Guy Note: We had access to shoot the entire show. Tons of pics, Icky Blossoms were photogenic so enjoy.

Read more

Show Preview: The Faint @ Emos East (11.28)

Date November 28
Location Emos East
Doors 7:00 PM
Tickets $19.50


Way back before it was cool to be doing elctronica music, The Faint were mixing dance beats and punk rock attitude, which birthed Danse Macabre; it’s one of my favorite records of the early 00s.  They’ll be bringing that excellent record back to the stage at Emo’s on Wednesday, along with some other rad bands to make those dance-aholics happy.  Label mates Icky Blossoms will be opening the evening, followed by our new favorites from Fun Fest, TRUST.  It’s going to be a night to revel in the joys of bands touring behind old records and a night to don your dancing shoes. Let’s do this.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/01-Agenda-Suicide.mp3]

Download:The Faint – Agenda Suicide [MP3]

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