Well ladies and germs, it’s here, our friends over at Margin Walker have yet again outdone themselves this year with an incredibly impressive lineup. Simply looking at the big names of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear, Iggy Pop, and The Shins should be enough to get your butt out there. Digging deeper we’ve got Cloud Nothings, Japandroids, my teenage self in various forms via Taking Back Sunday, and holy hell… Cannibal Corpse! Even the small names near the bottom are impressive with Hoops and Girlpool just to name a couple. Something here for everyone. Well done guys, well done. The festival will again take place out in Sherwood Forrest on November 10th-12th.
I’ve got a soft spot for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Sounds. I got into both acts super early, as they provided a bit of hooks blended with a powerful punch; it’s the same sensation I get when I listen to Kuzin. The vocals definitely harken towards Karen O, especially during the little inflections. For the most part, the rest of the tracks is a straight forward pop rock track, and I hope you’ll enjoy it at your stereo’s loudest levels. This Spring Kill Canyon will be releasing her debut, Cavity; it’s just the sugary touch your Tuesday needs.
There’s been a whole slew of releases coming out lately, so if you missed one or two, we wouldn’t blame you. Here’s one that caught my eye, so I wanted to share it with you all. The band is called Hunters, and of course, they’re from NYC. They just releases their Hands on Fire EP, and while at first you’ll hear some steady punk synergy, there’s a bit of sex appeal brought in by singer Isabel Almeida. Oh, and if you need any further proof that the band’s a big deal, they had a hand in mixing by Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Pretty big deal and pretty exciting track.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/03-Headache.mp3]
Download: Hunters – Headache [MP3]
At a time when we are all witnessing the CD’s imminent demise and the convenience of digital files running rampant, thankfully from an art perspective, a vinyl re-emergence is upon us. While sound quality is obviously seen as the most important reason why we are seeing audiophiles jumping back on the vinyl bandwagon, album artwork is also getting a much deserved close-up. With the vinyl album requiring more elaborate artwork packages, bands are re-thinking the overall aesthetic and producing some great work, which only enhances the overall music experience. 2009 has been a great year not only for the ears, but for the eyes as well and below are my picks for the Top 5 album covers from 2009 (so far). Honorable mentions go to Animal Collective’s cover for making me dizzy from staring at it too long and Neko Case for badass picture of the year. Obviously art is about as subjective as subjectivity can get, so give us some feedback. Who’s your number 1?
I must admit: I am definitely biased towards anything based on or has anything to do with Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, as, I am sure, most people in my generation are. The story of Max resonated in my young and precocious heart, so when I heard of the cinematic adaptation a few years ago I was both excited and fearful. That is until the names Spike Jonez, Dave Eggers, and Karen O became attached to it.
The motion picture soundtrack for ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ while not perfect as an independent release, fits perfectly with the story of Max and the Wild Things. It is fragile and joyful and dangerous all at the same time. I couldn’t think of a more perfect performer to bring this story to life through sound. Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is herself a wild thing. She conveys this on the single ‘All is Love’ through ecstatic yelps along side an untrained children’s choir. This craziness carries through other tracks like ‘Capsize’ with it’s frantic hand claps and screams, and the overall joyousness of ‘Rumpus’. But there is a softer side to these wild things. On the somber ‘Hideaway’ and ‘Food is Still Hot’ Karen O and the Kids recall the emptiness Max felt being away from home.
Something must be said about Karen O’s backing band ‘The Kids’, because they are just as much responsible for the magic of this soundtrack as O is. ‘The Kids’ consist of a who’s who of indie rock musicians: Brian Chase and Nick Zinner (The Yeah Yeah to Karen O’s Yeah), Bradford Cox (Deerhunter and Atlas Sound), Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence (The Dead Weather & Raconteurs), and others, including that omnipresent children’s choir.
This is an incredibly fun release whose magic probably won’t be fully realized until a complete viewing of the film, but if you have kids in your life you will want to keep this on hand, because it is an infectious listen.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/karen-o-_-the-kids-all-is-love.mp3]
Download: Karen O & The Kids – All is Love [MP3]
So we survived the weekend that was the dillo dirt sludge of ACL and we’re ready to provide a bit of reflections from our experience. We’ll start things off with a quick recap of some of our favorite acts from the festival and who impressed us the most. This is only our list and we based it on our time and taste so let us know if you saw something great we forgot about. Follow the jump for our Top 10 acts of ACL.
Today we focus on some of the lesser known bands of ACL with an interview spotlighting relatively new Brooklyn band Suckers. We spoke to the man simply known as Pan this week via phone to find out a little bit about this new project. I think you will all be glad to know that Pan is in full support of my Pearl Jam pick for ACL. So there. Follow the jump for full interview.
In the year 2002 and 2003 the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit the indie scene with a certain verocity and vitality that kept us all on the edge of our seats, seething with anticipation for future releases. Fever to Tell, for the most part, lived up to the expectations, though it still felt a little clean in comparison. Jump seven years ahead, and we have It’s Blitz, the latest effort from the band. The distance couldn’t be greater.
One of the first elements that you will notice upon listening to the first track “Zero” is that frontwoman, Karen O, seems to have lost a bit of her animalistic prowess, as if she has been caged in a zoo. The ferocity in her voice on the opening track, and the entirety of the album is rather lacking. Where we once lauded her for her passion and energy, we’re now left confused by what seems a sort mild indifference. Still, she does demonstrate her ability to carry a note here, but we saw such abilities on “Maps.”
Much will be made in the press for this album about the entirely new sound the band has come to take upon themselves. The brashness and angular guitar work from previous efforts has completely disappeared; electronics samples and tired beats have replaced the fervor that once existsed as a tractor beam for listeners everywhere.
Mellow songs, such as “Skeletons” do show the band willing to explore that sonic range outside of their traditional forays, but such moments don’t seem as well mapped out this time around. It’s difficult when listening to such tracks to figure out where the band was going, which loses some listeners, encouraging them to skip ahead to the next track. “Runaway” is another such song, and the piano structure just isn’t enough to psuh the song in any new direction.
“Dull Life” is one of the few songs on the album that seems to recall the past greatness of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Still, even when this song picks up the pace, where are those demonic guitar licks from Nick Zinner? It’s as if the man traded in his trusted axe for a child’s hatchet, a bejewled one nonetheless.
All in all, the album has some moments that every listener will most likely enjoy, but it doesn’t seem like this is really enough to warrant repeated listens. The band shows their maturity as a group, but they discard everything that made them abrasive and frightening, exchanging them instead for a bunch of furry rabbits that you keep in a cage behind your house. Sure, electronic moments make for great sound, but this band isn’t the one that was supposed to be giving those to us. We asked them to break us down with passion and voice, but instead they just want to hold hands and walk along the beach.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/yeah_yeah_yeahs_-_zero.mp3]
The first taste of new music from Yeah Yeah Yeahs is hitting the interwebs like wildfire today. The new track is called “Zero” and will appear on the band’s upcoming LP It’s Blitz due out on April 13th of this year.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/yeah_yeah_yeahs_-_zero.mp3]
Download: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero [MP3]