Golden Calves – Collection: Money Band + Century Band

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Those of you familiar with Wooden Wand will surely recognize the work of James Jackson Toth, but it’s possible that his early project as Golden Calves might have slipped under your radar.  Luckily for you, Woodsist has run a small reissue of of his two releases, combining them into one double LP collection.  While there’s definitely some enjoyable moments on places, many listeners will find the tinkering a bit too much at times, and seemingly self-indulgent.

I’m not going to sit here and praise Toth and his Golden Calves for some incredible creation, as a great deal of this album seems like meaningless dribble.  In fact, there’s barely a completed four songs on the first half that is comprised entirely of Money Band.  That record comes off as an elementary attempt to create something artful and completely off the beaten path.   That being said, there are some elements that clearly come through on that side, such as “Seraphim Radar Rallies.”  It’s still a bit basic and experimental, but there’s an endearing quality in the composition, much like the early works from Elf Power.  By and large, however, the first half of this record can be wholly discarded. It’s a specialty collector’s piece for fans of JJT, which is understandable, but no more than that.

What’s interesting is seeing the evolution from Point A to Point B, which comes through in the Century Band 12″ recordings.  There’s a bit more of a conscious effort to compose structures, albeit in the slightly confounding manner that Toth’s early work took on.  Still, Toth’s comments seem to acknowledge his faults in the compositions, as he clearly realizes that this was a starting point for a budding musician.  You’ll find a song like “Mod Bacteria,” however, a pleasurable tune; it’s one you can actually find yourself listening to again and again, including the faint haunting vocal in the background.  “Atrium 5: The Absinthe Labyrinth” is another such track, with carefully picked guitar and Toth carefully plodding along with his vocals. These are where we hope his talents began, as clearly there’s a background for a strong future in these songs.

All in all, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I hate this.  There’s just enough of an oddity within that really grasps the young indie rock listener in me, shaking him awake again.  Back in my early days when I was blown away by things just because they were weird and different, I was on top of the world, and that’s sort of the sentiment you get from Toth in these recordings.  He was young and ambitious; he just wanted to put it all on tape.  For what its worth, you’ll find some gems, and you’ll find some trash, but mostly you’ll find a special recording that you should be able to enjoy if you remove your blinders and get lost in the experience.

New Tunes From Good Field

It’s new band hype time here at ATH, and today we’re here to build some hype for newish Austin band Good Field.  The band has an impressive resume featuring former members of Brazos, The Early Tapes, and even local legends Voxtrot.  Paul Price originally started the band as a solo project but has since expanding to enlist the help of several friends and putting together a 4 track EP (Said EP is actually available to stream for free on the band’s website). At their core, the band is a shoegaze pop group, but they also offer a bit more with catchy hooks that can’t be denied.

Also of note, the band has an album release show planned for Saturday at Baby Blue Recording Studio with Jesse Woods and Sleep Good both offering support.  Doors are at 8pm for that one.  $5 cover and free keg beer.


Download: Good Field – These Dreams [MP3]

Show Preview: Matt Pryor @ Antones (2/1)

Date Wednesday, Feb 1st
Location Antone’s
Doors 700 pm
Tickets $14 from Frontgate

If you’re looking for a show to take you back in time, all the way back to the late 90s Emo scene, then perhaps this is where you’ll need to be.  I can’t vouch for some of the singers doing their solo gig, but I hear they were a big deal.  However, I can advise you, if you can afford to go check out Matt Pryor and Chris Conley.  Chris is part of Saves the Day, where a small part of me still has a bit of love.  Matt Pryor, however, has continued to step outside his work with TGUK and promote his solo work.  His latest, May Day, is just another step in the right direction for a man who clearly knows his way around an acoustic track that warms your soul.  I’ll be there for Matt for sure.


Download: Matt Pryor – Your New Favorite

New Music From Beat Radio

It’s been awhile since we last heard from our friends Beat Radio out of the NYC area.  They dropped us a line the other day and sent us links to a new EP entitled Hard Times Go, Part 1 which is available to stream and download for free over on bandcamp.  It features this poppy number “Dreaming Wide Awake” and 5 other similar tunes filled with catchy beats.


Download: Beat Radio – Dreaming Wide Awake [MP3]

More New Bowerbirds Tuneage

Earlier today another wonderful new Bowerbirds track began to circulate around the Internet.  I might be late, but my adoration for the band never wanes, so I’ve got to toss out support for their excellent The Clearing; the album hits stored on March 6th via Dead Oceans. Beth Tacular takes the lead on this track, but she’s not alone for long, as the song drifts in and out with multiple vocal accompaniments.  If this track isn’t stoking the flames of your musical fire, then I don’t know what to tell you.  This track is great, this record is great. Deal with it.


Download: Bowerbirds – In The Yard [MP3]

Smooth Folk Hit from Y La Bamba

For as much as I go on about rock n’ roll’s return and punk rock, I still enjoy well-crafted folk music, especially if it comes off a bit quirky.  This was precisely the case when I listened to the new track from Y La Bamba, who will be putting out their latest, Court the Storm, on February 28th via Tender Loving Empire.  As you follow along the track, there’s trickling moments of regular folk, but then there’s intricate moments started off each time with a nie set of handclaps.  Suffice to say, this isn’t your run of the mill folk, which is precisely why it caught my ear.


Download:Y La Bamba – Squawk [MP3]

New Tune from Radar Eyes

I’ve been hearing about Radar Eyes for some time now, and I especially loved their track “Miracle.”  Now the band’s signed on with Hozac Records, and they’re about to release their long awaited debut this February.  For those of you that like your rock n’ roll with a bit of an emotional haunt, then you’ll surely find pleasure in the off-beat wash of noise that accompanies the rather nice pop undertones of this track.  If you’re looking to do more research on the Chicago act, you can find their album closer that was released last week.  This track is left of the left of center, so maybe that’s why we’ve got a bit of “disconnection.”


Download:Radar Eyes – Disconnection [MP3]

Show Preview: A Lull @ Mohawk (1/30)

Date Monday, January 30th
Location Mohawk
Doors 800 pm
Tickets $10 from the Door

As the music season starts to head into full-steam here at the end of January, the Mohawk has a nice little show to offer you this Monday evening: A Lull.  The constructionist pop outfit is bring their excellent effort, Confetti, to the live setting for all of you to enjoy, and I promise you that the band’s got a great deal to give in the live setting.  It’s similar to the work Animal Collective has done, just a lot less spastic, and a touch more sentimental. Opening the show will be Deleted Scenes and Tape Deck Mountain, so get there early to enjoy all the musical tastiness.


Download:A Lull – Pot Luck [MP3]


Great Gem from The Mary Onettes

I’ve never wavered in my adoration for The Mary Onettes, and with the upcoming Love Forever EP, it looks like I won’t have to change my position.  You’ll probably notice a slight change if you’ve been following the band, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  On this track, there’s a bit more of a studio polish to the daunting pop number, giving more clarity to the lyrical element than you might have found on previous effort Islands.  You can find this track, and three others when the EP debuts via Labrador on February 28th.  Try to hate this song; you just can’t.


Download:The Mary Onettes – Love’s Taking Strange Ways [MP3]

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