Playful Pop from Seagulls

gullsThere’s a certain little genre that perfectly wraps hints of garage and surf rock, spins them in a washer with traditional pop structures, and spits out great tunes.  It’s the sort of music that made me love our boys Shivery Shakes, but now I’d like you to take a nice listen to Seagulls. The band have been hard at work in a remote cabin, trying to make sure their debut is perfect.  If you listen to this track, you’re bound to think, like me, that the group is onto something special,which should make for a great listen when Great Pine is released on February 3rd via Yellow K Records.

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More New Jams from Teen Mom

A short bit ago I tossed out the upbeat “I Wanna Go Out” from DC’s Teen Mom, but this time around, I’m offering you a different insight into the band’s blissed out pop numbers.  On “You and Me” you can see that the central melody is holding the song together, and with a slower pacing, the song has the ability to unfold rather carefully before your expectant pop ears.  If you dig what you’re hearing then you should definitely check out the group’s new Mean Tom EP, which hits the streets on November 27th via Analog Edition Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/01-You-and-Me.mp3]

Download:Teen Mom – You and Me [MP3]

I Was Wrong: The Walkmen’s You & Me

We’re starting a new feature today, one that we hope you really enjoy.  The section is titled “I Was Wrong,” and it’s based on things we’ve either said or reviewed on the site that we’d like to apologize for, since we’ve come to realize now that we were wrong.  I know some people want me to apologize right off the bat for my Vampire Weekend review, but I’m not there yet, sorry.  The first edition goes to The Walkmen and their album You & Me.  When it first came out, I wrote this REVIEW.  I found it boring and uninspired, especially after listening to “The Rat” on repeat for years.   Now, as time has gone on, and I’ve invested more time in the record, and seen the band perform the songs live, things have changed up a whole lot.  There are songs sprawling with emotion, catchy basslines that walk you through the songs, and then there is “In the New Year.”  Sharp edged guitars ring in your ears before Hamilton’s vocals crash into the scene.  Listen to this song, now!  For that matter, go back and listen to the record, and see what I failed to see upon the first ten listens.  I made a rash decision based on hurried listening, and I’ve come to regret that entirely.  To you, dear reader, I’m sorry, I was wrong.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/the_walkmen_inthenewyear.mp3]

The Walkmen – You & Me

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

A few years back The Walkmen released an amazing sophomore album in Bows and Arrows, but as time has gone the by and by, the band has found it difficult to reclaim the strength of that album. Now, a few albums later, they were supposed to come back at us with everything back in place. Unfortunately for us, and more so for them, You & Me doesn’t get anywhere near that point.

In reading promotional information on their label’s web site, it said they wanted to approach the similar styling of bands such as The Modern Lovers, featuring Jonathon Richman. Upon listening to this album, you can tell that they did indeed approach that style, with the vocals put in the front of the mix, meant to carry along the songs.

The sad part is that Richman has a voice, that although not the greatest, still has the ability to carry his entire band along through his vocals. The Walkmen, in their attempt to take a similar approach, don’t quite achieve, which falls upon Hamilton Leithauser. His Dyalnesque leanings just don’t quite hold up to the songs, rendering the majority of this effort kind of pointless. It’s one thing to reference Orbison, Holly and Elvis in a press release, but it’s an entirely different thing to pull it off.

For me, the fault of the band is not so much their reliance upon Hamilton’s vocals, but their lackluster performance as his backing band. The music on this album just doesn’t seem to have a great deal of enthusiasm, nor does it get anymore creative than their previous efforts. In all honesty, their just isn’t a lot to hold on to musically, which does achieve the purpose of making us listen closer to Leithauser. I just don’t understand how there isn’t any effort in the music.

The one redeeming factor for this album could be in the song “In The New Year,” which was one of the first songs that they released to the public. It’s jangling guitar lines do add to this song, and the percussion is pretty solid, but they misstep when they claim “its going to be a good year.” I can’t imagine how putting out a record like this will make it a good year, but I’ve been wrong before.

For those of you who have never strayed away from the band during their tenure, you will probably find some redeeming qualities to this album, especially when it comes to some of their reference points. But, the majority of us, who have stood in the stands watching the band with skepticism, will continue to watch from afar in hopes that they one day recapture their long-lost magic.

New Music From The Walkmen

The Walkmen have a new song available called “Red Moon” off their upcoming album You & Me due out on August 19th of this year. This song shows the band possibly returning to their sound from their 2004 release Bows + Arrows and not the atrocity that was A Hundred Miles Off from 2006. Enjoy!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/07-red-moon.mp3]

Download: redmoon.mp3