Wire were originally planning to release 10:20 on Record Store Day this year, but like so many things, we’ve got to make adjustments, so they’re rescheduling the release for the end of June. But, that means they’ve got to tease our interest, as if they needed it, by offering up another single from the LP. This tune seems like just a good old-fashioned guitar pop song; it’s got a driving rhythm and this guitar line that seems to be running laps around my living room as we speak. Softened vocals from Newman caress the slightest hint of rough edges into these smooth little doses of pop for easy consumption. 10:20 is out on Pinkflag on June 19th.
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!
It’s not like you should expect anything less, as Wire have been consistently been rocking out the last few years (well, the last 30+ really), so I’m going to get a few short words up on the band’s new single. This one feels slightly different than what they’ve brought to the table the last few times; it’s a wholly accessible jam, whirling guitars swimming through the speakers as the vocals are deliver in a rather matter-of-fact manner. I think the calming tones in the voice work against the music, which illustrates the band’s continued focus to mess around with modern musical tropes. Look for Silver/Lead on March 31st via Pink Flag.
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Time for your weekly Australia feel, and I couldn’t think of a better way to dip my toes into Oceania than to turn up this rad new track from Scott & Charlene’s Wedding. While it definitely wears the influence of the current Aussie guitar scene, my ears hear it throwing things all the way back to late 80s college rock; I can almost hear Wire in the way the vocals are delivered too, emphatically shouted at various syllables. This tune will appear on their brand new album, Mid Thirties Single Scene, which is coming out on September 9th via Fire Records.
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Another week, another great song being released by Trouble in Mind Records, but this time the band is Omni. They’ve got a new album titled Deluxe coming out in July on the label, and I think it’s one one of those really special musical pieces…at least for those of that grew up listening to a lot of punk. It seems to take all the genres of punk, and the after-punk years (glam, no wave, post, proto) and combine them to create an amalgam of great sounds. Watch their video for the new track below, and be ready for the official release come July 8th.
I think it’s time that we put aside the past of Wire at this point. It’s not that they haven’t been culturally significant since the late 70s (one of the reason’s this is an obligatory post), but I think it puts an unfair focus on their early work, and not on the excellent albums they’ve been putting out since their resurgence (the last three LPs are must own albums, in my opinion). On this brand new track, you can tell that it’s Wire; you can hear the playing style coming through, but it still feels as if the band are taking on new sonic territory. There’s shades of dream-pop, in angular post-punk sense, providing a texture of darker emotions that’s quite fascinating. This is the title track from the band’s forthcoming Nocturnal Koreans mini-LP, which will be out on April 22nd via Pinkflag.
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The punk history books always look towards the Ramones or The Clash, but the one group I always gravitated towards was Wire. Sure, Joe Strummer brought in some Jamaican influences, but I always felt that Wire were the one group that really pushed the boundaries. 30 years and more later, they’re still crafting music we can find vital to our daily listening lives. This new single has the band working with their anxious angular guitar cuts, but the vocals provide a softness that offers the song a strength that very few, if any, bands can master. It’s a tune from their forthcoming self-titled album, which is slated for a April 13th release…and just another reason why music nerds will look to the band as one of the best constants in history.
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I won’t lie about my adoration for Wire; they’ve been the soundtrack to my life on and off for over a decade (yes, I was late to the party). But, they’re revisiting some old tunes laying around, and this one sounds so good. This jam has the perfect blend of pop warmth and steady punk pace-making that really indicated the band’s branching out. You’ll find this gem on Change Becomes Us, which is filled with a bunch of tunes the group never got around to recording. Glad they got it to us now; the new record comes out on March 25th.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Wire-Love-Bends.mp3]
Last time out, Fergus and Geronimo seemed intent upon playing themselves into the artier side of the garage rock game, but such attributes will rarely be seen on their newest effort. They set off to make Funky Was the State of Affairs a complete album, and after spending days with this record, their work has revealed a group intent upon making their own way in the indie sphere, compiling bits of proto-punk with hints of Devo and snippets of enhanced messages for the listener.
“No Parties” is the first traditional song, following the album’s opening bit of quirky messaging. While there’s a bent towards the proto-punk of Wire, Fergus and Geronimo are intent early on to reveal their notes to the fans. Themes of mass-consumption and indifference to the greater Earth seem prevalent, and it’s something that only grows stronger as the record progresses. “Roman Tick” soon follows with a brattier rock n’ roll moment, but this time the boys are aiming their guns at the trials and tribulations of modern dating. I like the propulsive drum beat and the vocal delivery on this note, harkening back to one of my favorite periods in music history.
You could probably skip around on some of the tunes, or tidbits, from Funky Was the State of Affairs, but you might miss some of the elements that run through the entirety of the album. For instance, “Roman Numerals/Wiretapping Muzak I” wouldn’t make much sense when listened to by skipping the snipped that precedes it, but when it’s all tied in, it makes for a special moment where listeners can see the dedication to tying everything together. Would “Earthling Women” make any sense if we ignored “Earthling Men?” In truth, probably not, but that’s just one of the special attributes of such an intellectually accomplished effort.
I mean, if you’re looking for solid songs from Fergus and Geronimo, those definitely exist within the woven fabric, and it’s not like you have to search for them. Aside from the previously mentioned tracks, “Drones” is another solid track you’ll find yourself tapping your toes to while you press play. Nice work on the high-hat gives the song it’s rhythm, and the vocal delivery is sort of spoken word, matching the pace of the track itself. This one here is probably one of my favorite songs. Or, maybe you’re looking with something funkier? You’ll find that in “Marky Move,” a track that opens with handclaps and a bobbing bass line. Just to keep things interesting, the group throws in a nice horn solo to coincide with the stomping delivery of the lyrics. These are just a few moments of the clever songwriting present throughout.
Funky Was the State of Affairs is probably one of the first records to be put out there that really sticks to the point. Fergus and Geronimo set out to make a record with thematic elements that hit the listener from start to finish, and their execution is spot on; each song ties into the album somehow, somewhere. It might not be the album for everyday listening, but it’s an album that requires your attention and dedication to completing your experience from start to finish. Should you accept the mission, you’ll be rewarded.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/02-No-Parties.mp3]
Download: Fergus & Geronimo – No Parties [MP3]
Funky Was the State of Affairs is now available from Hardly Art.
It’s hot outside, finally. I’m hanging inside getting my Olympics on and trying to discover new tunes. My favorite hit today comes from DC’s band Dot Dash, a band who win in their Wire reference alone, but they’ve also got the hits to back it all up. Honestly, I think this tune from their most recent record, Spark>Flame>Ember>Ash, has a bit more of a Jam/Futureheads feel to it, but they’ve got some other tracks on their Soundcloud that give way to the reference point. It’s all like a mod/punk blend of goodness that really deserves a lot of respect (and love); I miss people making music like this. Check em out.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/01-The-Color-and-the-Sound.mp3]
Download:Dot Dash – The Color and the Sound [MP3]