Return To Form From Rogue Wave

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It’s no secret around these parts that the ATH crew wasn’t exactly in full support of the last Rogue Wave album Permalight from 2010.  Nothing against the band, as everyone is entitled to change their sound as they see fit, but we just didn’t get the move towards a full on experimental dance band.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’m excited to share this new song “College” that appears to be a return to the poppy goodness that we used to love about this band.  Welcome back guys.

New album Nightingale Floors will be available on June 4th via Vagrant Records.

Eels – Wonderful, Glorious

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

It’s extremely hard for me to dismiss anything E puts down in the studio, even if I’m always a touch unsure of exactly where he’s going, musically. After his musical trilogy, Eels returns with his 10th studio album, Wonderful, Glorious.  The music by and large has a jittery, upbeat feel, though E’s lyrics remain forever self-deprecating and introspective.

Wonderful, Glorious immediately starts things off with an almost circus-pop appeal, using what sounds like a kazoo to break up the fuzzily affected track.  E reminds us that he’s been quiet for a bit, but that he aims to blow things up on “Bombs Away.”  It’s an interesting track, though it teeters on the verge of being a bit too long.  Honestly, by the time you get to the second track, “Kinda Fuzzy,” the album has already grown a bit weary.  The everything but the kitchen sink approach is just difficult to digest consistently, though there’s a beautiful moment that begins near the 1.22 mark, and quickly fades into the distance.  But, you’ve got to stick around to get to the goods; Eels always has the goods.

“On The Ropes” is the personal material that makes E a special songwriter.  Quietly he plays the guitar and opens up to the listener about his struggles, though he vows to continue the good fight in the future.  His voice is memorable, and his lyrics are wry; this is the Eels that I’ve come to enjoy since my obsession with End Times.  If you dig deeper into the album, you’ll find “True Original,” this time pulling at your heartstrings with a strained vocal performance.  The beauty in this track fully enters as light orchestration gently dances about the strummed guitar; you’re not going to find too many tracks of this vein that sound so perfect.

Wonderful, Glorious definitely lives by its own ebbs and flows.  The high points are some of the best writing E has done in recent years, yet the lows revolve around my personal indifference to his monkeying around in the studio; he’s most successful when he’s straightforward and sincere. “I Am Building a Shrine” is another such song that stands out in my mind for the slow introductory moment, pushed into bliss by added musical accompaniment, before returning to the solitude of percussion and vocals.  Looking back over the 10 years of Eels albums, and this might be in my top 5 favorite tracks.  Yep. Number 4.

I struggled with where to go with this album, mostly because I’ve taken a strong liking to the quieter, more personal Eels.  It’s definitely present on Wonderful, Glorious, but it took some time to get there.   If perhaps the sequencing would have been different, pulling that 5.25 opener and putting it somewhere else, I can see myself enjoying things a great deal more.  It weighed down the opening, but once you move beyond, you’ll find spectacular songs that remind you why E has been able to continue to reach an audience 10 albums into his career.

New Dance Jam From Reptar

We first got wind of this new band Reptar sometime last year when they dropped new song “Houseboat Babies” our way and it has since been on our ATH DJ playlists ever since.  Well now the band has just announced their debut LP Body Faucet which will be released May 1st via Vagrant Records.  Prior to that date, we were just sent this new dance jam “Sebastian”.  It’s sure to appear on DJ set lists in the very near future.

Hey and they’re also coming into town on Saturday evening at Stubb’s for the low low price of only $10!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/01-Sebastian-1.mp3]

Download: Reptar – Sebastian [MP3]

New Song from The Elected

It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard anything from anyone aside from Jenny Lewis in the Rilo Kiley camp, but it seems that the once retired Blake Sennett has put down some tracks of his own. He’ll be releasing his newest record under his The Elected moniker for Vagrant Records on May 17th titled Bury Me in My Rings.  Listening to this song reminds me of the early work of RK, when used solid harmonies to provide a bit of summery pop to listeners.  I’ve always liked Blake’s voice, ever since his early days on Boy Meets World, so I’m happy to hear him back doing what he does best.  Lets hear it for Joey the Rat.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Babyface.mp3]

Download: The Elected – Babyface [MP3]

New Tunes from Electric Owls

Andy Herod was always one of my favorites, especially when he fronted the Comas.  Now, he’s still working on his latest project, Electric Owls.  They combine a lot of his rootsy folk elements with flourishes of electronics.  The band has just released the new Cullowhee Songs EP on Vagrant, which features members of Band of Horses and other Comas remnants.  Herod always had this way of connecting with me as a listener, and based on this track, it seems like he still has that special touch.  Give this track a spin, and if you likes, then go back and check out all the old Comas stuff, as well as the last Electric Owls record.  I bet you’ll be pleased.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/ElectricOwlsIWasaFlood.mp3]

Download: Electric Owls – When I Was a Flood [MP3]

New Music From School Of Seven Bells

Man, I’m really diggin’ this new School of Seven Bells tune “Babelonia” that popped up on The Gum Yesterday.  It’s got it all if you ask me; driving guitars, a tight backing beat, and some sweet female vocal harmonies.  Hellz yeah.  The band’s upcoming LP, Disconnect From Desire, hits stores on July 13th via Vagrant Records.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/05-Babelonia-1.mp3]

Download: School of Seven Bells – Babelonia [MP3]

Hurricane Bells

171Not really sure how we originally missed Hurricane Bells, the new solo project from Longwave lead singer/songwriter Steve Schiltz.  The band/side project of Mr. Schiltz just released a debut album on Vagrant this week called Tonight Is The Ghost and we’ve really been enjoying what we hear.  Before we make some time to give the album a proper review, check out this single “This Year”.  It starts as a bit of a slow burner and then builds up into a poppy little tune that should sound nice to your ears.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/thisyear.mp3]

Download: Hurricane Bell – This Year [MP3]

Two Tongues – s/t

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

When Say Anything‘s Max Bemis decided to join forces with Saves the Day‘s Chris Conley, kids all across the globe were salivating as they awaited the first proper release from Two Tongues. Releasing the album via emo stalwart, Vagrant Records, meant that the union was destined to find an eager audience.

The best thing one could hope for in this union is for the lyrical content, as Bemis and Conley have long been penning amazing lyrics for their respective bands.  Their efforts here are, as expected, nothing short of their individual accomplishments, each coupling great rhyming moments, often pairing them with one another effortlessly.  This is precisely how it was supposed to be done.  Sure, they’re still tackling the same old issues, but they do it well.

Moving beyond, it would be difficult not to comment on the vocal compliments these two offer to the other. Conley’s high pitch is counter-balanced by the heavier, deeper tones of Bemis. Their intermingling of vocal parts adds a musical element to the album that is difficult to come by outside of Kanye‘s studio.  Not to mention, the combination of vocal harmonies definitely keeps the album fresh, which the gentlemen have been unable to do in recent efforts with their mainstays.

Musically, you just have to combine the stylings of both groups.  Sure, it sounds simple enough in theory, but to fuse these two songwriters, and their distinctive styles, one must jump leaps and bounds.  The heavier elements almost certainly owe to Conley, as Bemis’ forte seems to be in crafting bouncing pop-punk elements along with angular guitar chops.  At times, the combination creates some unique moments, such as the Weezer-esque “Don’t You Want to Come Home.”  It might even have a little bit of Billy Corgan in the vocals, but you’ll have to see for yourself.

Perhaps the best moments come on this album when they keep it short, as in under three-minutes, as some of the songs can drag out just a little bit much.  But, when they keep the elements contained and simple, they hit hard and fast, just as you would want from a band of this ilk. It’s a solid album for those searching for a more upbeat sound as Spring rolls itself out, which apparently isn’t for another six weeks. Hopefully this will get  you there with your spirits up.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/02-if-i-could-make-you-do-things.mp3]

Download:  Two Tongues – If I Could Make You Do Things [MP3]

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