Wilco Announce Ode to Joy

I know that I’m supposed to love all the sonic adventurism of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and I do, but hearing this new tune from Wilco is right where I want the band to be. Jeff’s voice has this real careful softness to it, hanging onto every syllable like its his last one. Behind him, there’s a lightly strummed guitar piece, accentuated by the fun noodling lines that dart in and out. All the while, the drums seem haphazard, just rolling along casually as if they didn’t have a care in the world. This is where I love my Wilco; I’m looking forward to Ode to Joy, which apparently is being released by dBPM Records on October 4th.

Digging This New Monomyth Tune

monomythI’ve been trying to identify some signature points to ascribe to Monomyth, and while I agree that the band has their own sound, you can also look at nods to the Wrens or Wilco for a hint at their sound. The chorus of this track is pretty enchanting, with a nice little upswing that grabs you, while the rest of the tune provides steadied folk-influenced bedroom pop. You’ll hear a bit of the current indie mood via the song’s noodling, though that incessant guitar ring in the background helps sets the band apart. Sounds to me like Happy Pop Family is going to find it’s way into a lot of people’s collection; it’s released on November 4th via Mint Records.

Simon Joyner Offers Simple Solemnity

joynerSimon Joyner‘s unique career has seen him travel all over the singer-songwriter map, sonically, but I think this newest single is precisely what will bring hordes to his doorstep.  It’s a tune with little more than guitar, some accompaniment, and Joyner’s soulful croon.  There’s a Western flavor, which I’m glad to see is reinserting itself into the indie realm.  At first listen, this tune sort of exhibits an old Wilco vibe…when Tweedy was just working out the kinks.  Look for Grass, Branch & Bone to come out on Woodsist on March 17th.

ACL 2013: The Big Post of Good Stuff

We are wrapping up Austin City Limits 2013 coverage with this giant summary of links and a massive amount of photos not previously shared. We had a ton of coverage, from tweets galore to interviews of ATH faves. You can see plenty of pics from Weekend One. I didn’t have the fancy wristband that gets you up close and personal for big camera fun. I did have the most fun of any ACL I have ever been to thanks to a group of amazing friends I call fambly.

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ACL 2013 Recap – Saturday (10/5)

Fridays tend to ease you in, Saturdays tend to beat you down. Or at least the odds of self-inflicted wounds go up exponentially. You have a little hangover, perhaps you start the day with a bloody mary, but by the end you are shirtless, missing a flip-flop and wondering why your hand is blue. For me, it was a pretty non-stop run at awesome; I won at Festival.

Click-through for a few notes on the first Saturday. *spoiler alert* The Cure wins in the end.

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Wilco – The Whole Love

Rating: ★★★½ ·

After a string of moderately received albums, many wondered if The Whole Love would be the record where Wilco return to form.  If you ask long time fans, you might get some skepticism, but by and large, this is probably one of the most enjoyable listens for the band since the days of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

“Art of Almost” opens with bits of sporadic noise gurgling through your speakers.  For those familiar with Wilco‘s foray into bits of experimental Americana, this might seem like a throwback.  Instead, light string arrangements open up to Tweedy’s voice, with him sounding as confident as he’s sounded in years. There’s an open density to this song, and the band does a decent job of filling in the spaces, though some editing might have been sufficient.

“I Might” demonstrates the great strides the band has made since their beginning, with a bit of a stomp pushing the number forward.  It’s about as far away from their early days as one could get, but if you can’t enjoy Jeff’s delivery during the chorus, then you might want to get your ears checked. Similarly, “Dawned on Me” has a very modern feel, with a an emphatic bit of bounce meeting up with guitar bits that slice through the steady melody of the track.  For all their soft moments on the last two records, The Whole Love seems to show a revitalized group just kicking out solid numbers.

While a great bit of the record focus on these decent pop numbers, there’s a bit of casual warmth that breaks up the possible monotony that listeners see coming.  “Open Mind” is about as slow a track as you’ll find from Wilco on this outing, and its got the powerful Tweedy owning the song, with a gentle slide guitar riding in the background.  Admittedly, its far from spectacular, but it serves a great purpose breaking up the pacing just enough to allow a bit of a breather for the record.  It’s a tactic the band use well, and they go at it again with “Red Rising Lung,” which follows the rocker “Standing O,” in so much as the band give us an all out rocker.

One of the interesting things about listening to The Whole Love is that there seems to be an odd sense of comfort in the band’s songwriting.  After several albums, and several more, Wilco seems intent on just enjoying the process of writing a good song. It’s not a record that breaks new ground or challenges record labels, but it’s full of great songs that you can go back to time and time again, each instance finding yourself a new favorite track. It all makes for one of the better listens in the band’s recent catalog.


Download: Wilco – I Might [MP3]

New Song from Country Mice

If you’re looking for something that seemingly fits the perfect seasonal change between Spring and Summer, then perhaps I’ve found the perfect track for you to toss up.  Country Mice are preparing to release their debut album, Twister, on June 7th via Wao Wao Records.  Listening to this latest track, it lives somewhere between casual country stomper and YHF-era Wilco.  Now, I don’t want to say they sound too much like the latter band, as they definitely have a much more clean country sound, especially when guitars aren’t knifing through everything. This is precisely the kind of music I love to listen to while those Spring showers try to save us from Texas heat.  Get into this now, you’ll be better off for it.


Download: Country Mice – Morning Son [MP3]

FT5: Music DVDs

We’ve been running ATH for awhile now, and honestly, getting ideas going for my scheduled Top 5 this week has been a little tougher than usual.  I guess that’s just another reason to be excited for the future since we’ve brought on some new talented writers recently who can stir up the pot and help me break through my creative block.  So as I started brainstorming for this week’s list, I was shocked to see that we’ve never created a list of Music DVDs.  Sure it’s a massive topic, but I’m narrowing it down with things that hit home with me and may not necessarily be “the best” by traditional standards.  For inclusion in this swanky list, I’ll stick with DVDs I actually own or borrowed for an extended period of time.  I’m also a stickler for sound quality and personal touches, so you’ll be seeing those in each spot.  Creativity and forward thinking in presentation also can’t hurt.  Follow the jump for full list.
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FTC: Uncle Tupelo

While recently pondering the music world and my depression with the current state of Wilco, I started thinking back to a time when I really dug Jeff Tweedy’s music.  A time when Tweedy used to write music with current Son Volt front man Jay Farrar in the alt-country group Uncle Tupelo.  Now I can’t obviously claim that my young self was around when this band started up in the late 80s, but I do know that I’ve been smitten with them ever since I heard the twang of “Screen Door” off their rough edged debut LP No Depression.  That record introduced a band to the world with some young kids who couldn’t decide on punk or country, so they just decided to fuse the two.  Of course Uncle Tupelo is long since gone after many years together and many country jam filled albums under their belt.  With that huge discography, it’s tough to choose a favorite, but I’ve got to stick with their final album of 1993 Anodyne.  I’m also going with the album closer “Steal the Crumbs” which sort of seems right as a send off to the band since it appears as the closing track on their last recorded album together.  Sad…

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/12-Steal-The-Crumbs.mp3]

FT5: Greatest Disappointments of the 00s

0108top5coverAlright, so we just finished wrapping up the 00s, and it’s left some of us (namely me) feeling a bit nostalgic for a decade that went by way too quickly.  It left me thinking about things I ruined or things I succeeded in, but most of all, it’s left me reflecting upon the most disappointing moments in my life.  Oddly, I deflect my own animosity for my life, and turn to the world of music.  Below is the five most disappointing things for me, musically, in the decade that passed.  Some have a chance at redemption, but others, well, you blew it big time.

bengibbardstolemygirlfriend5. Ben Gibbard stole my girlfriend

Look, I know that this happened only recently, but I also have come to believe that Zooey‘s hotness has only increased exponentially in the past few years.  All that aside, it’s not just that Ben stole my girlfriend (really, he did!), but he stole the dreams of me and my many like-minded friends.  Out of nowhere, he popped up his now skinny head, and crushed the dreams of many.  Shame on you Ben Gibbard.


thewrens_meadowland4. The Wrens don’t put out another album

The Wrens put out Meadowlands, which is absoltuely one of my all time favorite albums, and that feeling of joy when I put the needle to the record will never fade away.  What did fade away was the feelings of joy I had in regard to The Wrens.  Lead man Charles did a little bit of work, most recently with Will from Okkervil River, which means dudes were getting work done.  Why didn’t I see any of it at all?  Why did they leave me just as I was falling in love? Nearly a decade with no new tunes? You fail.


wilco-yhf3. Wilco couldn’t replicate Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

You go against the odds and record one of the most brilliant masterpieces in modern pop music, one which everyone still talks about, but then you slowly decline all the way towards 2009s Wilco, the Album.  You can’t entirely blame the guys, as they lost Jay Bennett (as did we all, RIP), but they went from such great heights to such a low.  Not only this, but people somehow kept believing in them, as if they could bring back the magic.  I admit it! I was a sucker; I fell for it.  Never again Wilco!


weweredeadbeforetheshipevensank2. Modest Mouse sold out

Sure, this is the age-old debate about whether or not you deem it okay to allow your favorite secrets to better themselves and move their careers forward.  My answer? No!  Modest Mouse had the control of the indie world after Lonesome Crowded West; they could do no wrong.  Sure, a lot of people think Moon and Antartica was their best, but those people are wrong!  Modest Mouse went to the majors, lost their luster, and they lost a fan (though I know I’m not the only one).


ryanadams_cardinology1. Ryan Adams

I’ll admit that I was a little bit late jumping on the Ryan Adams train, but I jumped all the way on.  It baffles me how the guy that made Whiskeytown brilliant, then put out Heartbreaker, can rush down the hill of mediocrity so quickly.  I know he landed Mandy and all, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I willingly sat down to listen to things like 29 or CardinologyRyan Adams was my biggest disappointment.


Look, I know you all disagree with some of these, and I get that, but I had to let you know how disappointed I was in these things; isn’t time to be reflective, at least for another week? If you had a bigger disappointment, or want to tell me why I am wrong, we’re all for it! Leave a comment.

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