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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Show Review: Arcade Fire @ The Frank Erwin Center (09/27)

Last Wednesday night had a large crowd flooding to the Frank Erwin Center for a night of music indie rock legends by the names of Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. If you’ve been around or even somewhat paying attention to the music of the past decade, it feels like it would be an impossible feat to not recognize at least one of these two household names. While Wolf Parade has lived a fairly tame existence in terms of constant rock goodness, Arcade Fire have admittedly dabbled in controversy as of late. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the evening: would the infamous band that created Funeral and Neon Bible force its fans to pay 75 dollars to hear only new material off their less-than-good latest release Everything Now, or would they delight fans to the music that made them famous?

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Enjoying This New Imaginary People

There’s something ultimately familiar about the new Imaginary People single; it’s something that perked my ears, thus encouraging me to share. Perhaps it’s the slight quiver in the vocal delivery or the hi-hat work from the percussion, but it all reminds me an awful lot of early Wolf Parade. I also appreciate that the band are employing all sorts of instrumentation to flesh out this tune, which illustrates a bit of daring in the recording process as they leap for the pop fences. Look for the release of October Alice from the band on April 28th via Five Five Diamonds.

More From Operators

unnamed-13-1At this point in his career, Dan Boeckner can really do no wrong in my mind. Regardless of how is making music or who with, he continues to churn out hit after hit. Today I’ve got another new track called “Blue Wave” under the Operators band name. As I mentioned previously, this is truly some great music that could easily rival his early work with Handsom furs. Carry on friend.

Operators will releaseBlue Waveon April 1st via Last Gang Records.

Operators Kill It

unnamed (13)I’m realizing as I type this that several big sites posted this song yesterday, but if you’re like me and sort of anti huge music websites, well maybe you haven’t heard this yet. So Operators is the current project of Dan Boeckner who many of you know from his glorious days in Wolf Parade and his later projects with Handsome Furs and Divine Fits. Basically the guy churns out hit after hit regardless of the current name or project he’s going with. Today we have yet another gem to add to Boeckner’s hit machine with this new song “Cold Light”. As a straight shooter and a guy who is sometimes too honest, I mean it when I say that this is some of the best sounding music I’ve heard from Boeckner since his days in Wolf Parade. Count me in.

Operators debut album entitledBlue Wave will come out on April 1st via Last Gang Records.

Operators

640I’m not sure how we have yet to report on this, but better late than never they say right?  Operators is the current project of Dan Boeckner who many of us know for his time in Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits, and a slew of other projects.  When the man makes music, the world needs to pay attention.  The new group just released a new EP about a month ago (purchase here) and today we’re getting a listen to brand new single “Start Again”.  Get ready for the dance floor.

Divine Fits – A Thing Called the Divine Fits

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When there is a collision of famous indie artists, it’s not really an exaggeration to say that the internet world blows up a bit. So a few months back when this project between Indie darlings Dan Boekner, Britt Daniels, Sam Brown and Alex Fischel came to the surface everyone was abuzz with excitement for their debut album. As a fan of Spoon and Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs, the main projects of which Daniels and Boekner are frontmen, I jumped right on the excited bandwagon. How could this much creative genius combine to equal something less than amazing?

First up on the album is the much hyped single “My Love is Real,” which features Boekner taking the lead on vocals and a heavy amount of synthesizer and other electronic sounds. It’s an interesting start, as it is a pretty straightforward song, lyrically and sonically. You have the steady drum machine beats, some thick synth lines and Boekner iterating that “[his] love is real…until it stops;” a tangible one liner that can get itself stuck in your head for hours at a time. Next up is “Flaggin’ a Ride,” on which Daniels takes vocal lead. Noticeably, it sounds a lot more like Spoon, as the first song exhibited signs of Handsome Furs. Apart from the vocal similarities, you have the signature guitar lines that takeover the song and the overall rockier sounding song.

The album progresses gradually, with most of the tracks ringing true to their titles, which are often repeated quite frequently. Another standout, and perhaps the most cohesive song for this group comes on “Baby Get Worse,” on which Boekner has the lead in the beginning and the focus is strong on synth lines and buzzing beats. However, instead of leaving on a one note status, a break comes late in the song with electric guitar surging through with Daniels shortly following, giving it the magic touch of both of these guys. “Shivers” also possesses such a factor of intrigue as “Baby Get Worse,” despite it being an altogether Spoon-ish sounding effort. The lyrics on this ninth track walk a bit on the somber side, but are no less than the brilliance that we’ve all come to know, doling out lines like “my baby’s so vein she’s almost a mirror,” and other quirky darkness that adds to the overall appeal of the Divine Fits.

While this is by no means a bad album, it is a bit of a disappointing one. I was expecting the powers that combined on this work to be greater than the sum of their parts, culminating to an excellent new super group I could get behind. However, A Thing Called the Divine Fits comes across as a mixture of slightly altered songs from the original bands of these gentlemen, but when it’s such talented artists, who’s really complaining?

New Rock from Tribes

Man, you’ve got to love it when a band throws caution to the wind and actually goes into the studio without a bunch of pre-programmed tracks to build on.  This is just such the case with UK outfit Tribes, who’ve just released their We Were Children EP, which is the precursor to their album, Baby, which should make its way over here in January.  From the get go, it’s got a bit of that off-kilter warble that you might remember from early Wolf Parade tracks.  Still, they have a gentler side that you’ll find a bit further along in the track, which is where they stay for the most part in the remainder of the song.  All in all, there’s definitely a bright side to this offering, so check it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/WeWereChildren.mp3]

Download: Tribes – We Were Children [MP3]

More New Music from Handsome Furs

Today we were greeted with yet another new track from Handsome Furs off their upcoming record, Sound Kapital, which will be released by Sub Pop on June 28th.  Again, this is a really electronic driven track from the duo, with Dan B. taking the majority of the vocals, giving his throaty vocals to the rhythmic track.  It’s a reminder of just what Dan’s voice can really do when he’s given the chance to take control, as he occasionally does for Wolf Parade.  It’s a wonder with songs like these, and the many project of Spencer Krug that WP haven’t been able to blow us away like they once did on Apologies. Oh well, at least we have this killer track to enjoy all weekend.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/07_Repatriated.mp3]

Downlaod: Handsome Furs – Repatriated [MP3]

New Music from Handsome Furs

As reported earlier today (via P4K) there is a new record coming out from Handsome Furs, yet another side-project from one of the key members of Wolf Parade.  This one’s definitely one of the finer pieces the duo have put together, with the focusing revolving around electronic beats and Dan’s voice, which sounds really strong and polished, for him at least, on this outing.  You’ll be able to get this electronica-influenced record titled Sound Kapital on June 28th from the good people over at Sub Pop Records.  Listening to this track, sounds like this could be the most focused work the duo has compiled, leaving us as excited as ever for their work.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Handsome_Furs_-_What_About_Us.mp3]

Download: Handsome Furs – What About Us [MP3]

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