Top Albums of 2017

Lists are arbitrary and burdensome, but why not join the fun everyone else is having? We gathered our lists, separate lists for all of us, then combined them into one that had 50 albums. What you get here are the four writers/contributors of ATH, giving you their meaningless opinions on what we thought was the jam in 2017. It’s alphabetical, and we put the initials next to it so you could track down your enemy!

 

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Robert Early Thomas of Widowspeak Goes Solo

I’ve always appreciated the work of Widowspeak, but it’s also nice to see the members step out into their own light, as Robert Earl Thomas is doing here. You’ll find that it does resemble elements of War on Drugs or the Boss, but there’s a dreamier tone to the songwriting. It almost has this acoustic post-punk vibe to it that would have been a huge hit with the kids back in the 80s. So, it doesn’t seem like a huge stretch to find Robert in this musical place, but it’s a nice little dose of pop that never fails to warm you. Another Age will be released by Captured Tracks on February 16th.

Show Preview: Widowspeak @ Sidewinder (10.3)

Feel like we might all be taking Widowspeak for granted, but luckily Austinites have the chance to remedy that by heading to Sidewinder tomorrow evening. Through four albums, the band has been nothing but an example of musical consistency, though I feel it necessary to mention that Expect the Best might be their best release. There’s such depth to each track, brooding and coated in delicate vocals…and added textures of strings/accompaniment build to make swelling pop opuses. It’s an early show, with doors at 6:30 PM, with Clearance schedule to open just after 7. Buy yourself a ticket HERE. Stream the entirety of their latest release for Captured Tracks below.

Dreamy New Track From Widowspeak

The Brooklyn music scene am I right? It’s like a new band comes our way from the area almost everyday and it continues to shock me. We represent Brooklyn again today with this track called “The Dream” from Widowspeak. It’s definitely a dream pop number reminiscent of pioneers like Beach House or even newbies like Alvvays. You are sure to sink in and be swept away with the beauty of this track.

Widowspeak will release Expect the Best on August 25th via Captured Tracks.

Yesterdays News with Widowspeak

Just wanted to be sure that we ran this remarkable Widowspeak tune, or else I’d feel like I’m letting you all down. Perhaps my favorite thing about this track is the way it seems to unite the sounds from the band’s previous 3 releases; it takes on some of the dreamy pop and blends it with some of that folk-driven guitar sounds the band has employed. I even hear a touch of Mazzy Star coming in just after the 2.5 minute mark; this tune’s beautiful for long drives at night with nothing but stars on the horizon and the wind in your hair. Look for Expect the Best on August 25th via Captured Tracks.

Show Preview: Widowspeak @ Lamberts (10.17)

widowsOctober is the show season in Austin, with tons of bands filing into town. I’ve had this show with Widowspeak on my calendar since its announcement a few months back, and after spending a lot of time with the group’s new effort, All Yours. It’s probably their best work, depending upon who you ask; it shows a great deal of maturity in the songwriting. The intimate setting of Lamberts offers up a perfect place for fans to catch the band live. But, more important is that you show up early to catch Reservations take the stage. Their one of the best Austin acts playing write now, and their debut effort, just recently released is one of Austin’s best records this year. Give a listen to the two below, and we’ll see you Friday.

Doors are at 9:30. Tickets are $12 from C3.

New Music Monday: Stream These Three Albums

unnamedWe’re all about giving you the best, so when we see that some great new albums are streaming and readily available for you to consume, we like to let you know. I’ve got three brand new streams for you today, one of which can be found below and two that are a short click away. Below, you’ll find Cold Beat‘s upcoming album, Into The Air, which is an indie rock gem with lush vocals. You can also stream Widowspeak‘s All Yours over here which is a hazy mix filled with tons of guitar hooks. Last, but certainly not least, check out Woolen Men’s album, Temporary Movements that is lo-fi jangle treat to delight all. Keep it real and enjoy the bounty of albums available for you today.

Dreamy Slow(ish) Jam From Widowspeak

unnamed-3Widowspeak have made their place in the indiesphere, so I was quite pleased when I got word that they’ve got a new album coming out pretty soon. This album, All Yours, is out September 4th and the track below comes from that new record. If it’s any sign of the caliber of that album, it’s safe to say we’re in for a treat: “Dead Love (So Still)” is a straightforwardly great indie song. The vocals are profoundly hazy and lush, while the guitar sounds are both cutting and soft at the same time– the balance of acoustic and electric creates an effortless balance. The chorus has that perfect pop hook to it, and the vocals show their gentle power. It’s a great track, so won’t you have a listen?

 

 

Widowspeak – The Swamps EP

widowspeak-ep

Rating: ★★★ · ·

The Swamps isn’t nearly as gloomy as its cover and title might indicate.  Although the EP begins with a slow, somewhat melancholy introductory track, it soon gains momentum.  By the time the penultimate track, “True Believer” rolls around, the mood on this record could almost be called optimistic.

Musically, The Swamps is a bit more eclectic than Widowspeak’s first two albums.  At times, the band almost strays from the smooth, dream-pop sound of their previous work.  “Smoke and Mirrors” feels a bit like surf-rock, while “Calico” and “Brass Bed” are much lighter, folksier tunes.  Still, the band is instantly recognizable due to lead singer Molly Hamilton’s dragging, breathy vocals.  Hamilton has an effortless way of rising up into notes that reminds me strongly of Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval.

Lyrically, these songs combine the imagery of a swamp with both nostalgic and hopeful sentiments.  “Calico” and “Brass Bed” are about simple, domestic pleasures and reflect a lost sense of normalcy in a relationship, while “True Believer” is a more direct appeal for understanding.  “True Believer” contains a grand, sweeping chorus and is, for me, the best and most memorable song of the group.

I’m not the biggest dream-pop fan out there, and the songs on The Swamps might not be as strong as some of Widowspeak’s earlier tunes, but there’s something very compelling and soothing about the vocals throughout the record.  

ACL 2013: Weekend One In Pictures

I’ll take things seen at a festival for $1000, Alex.

Weekend One of ACL was nothing but fun. Hopefully, you followed along on the intarwebs with the Twitter and Bookface. Me and the people I like a lot spent time in the sun, luckily. It was like a fest of two halves split by a cold front. Oppressing heat and humidity dominated until about 3pm on Saturday and after that, Chamber of Commerce. I will be making a #dontmovehere flag for next year just in case the stars align to give us that glorious cold front of blue skies.

I loved Wild Cub, Electric Six, Lionel Richie, Depeche Mode and The Cure. The collection of photos includes plenty of random revelers that we know as festival people. Click through for a couple extra notes and plenty of pics. See if you can find yourself…

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