KIng Tuff – King Tuff

Rating: ★★★½☆

In the brief bio on Sub Pop‘s web page for King Tuff, and his new self-titled album, it alludes to the fact that the entirety of the record is just rock n’ roll and that you can’t really listen to it with critical ears.  For what it’s worth, the bio is pretty spot on, as King Tuff is something you’re just going to have to experience for yourself.  But, I’ll do my best to point out some highlights.

While “Anthem” is the official song to kick off the record, the best served song to begin your listening experience might be “Alone & Stoned;” it’s a bit on the poppier side, which could ease you into the listening experience.  King Tuff‘s vocals have a slight resemblance to Nobunny or Hunx, and his musical style is definitely similar, though this track does show you a nice bit of polish–though there’s still that element of playfulness.  That light-hearted attitude is something that definitely benefits the record, coming through on other songs like “Keep Movin” and “Baby Just Break.”

But, while KT can come across as setting out to have fun, he’s also got a penchant to infuse a bit of traditional garage rock into his tunes, just as he does on the album’s standout track, “Bad Thing.”  It’s fueled with guitar solos and an angrier moment that’s not present anywhere else on the record.  Personally, I dig the way the he slows the chorus down just a bit before blasting off into “I’m a bad thing” one last time.  It’s the hit single for sure, but stick around as this thing is full of other noteworthy tracks.

There’s softer ballad-ish moment lurking here and there, such as “Swamp of Love.”  It’s built around a strummed guitar and a piano backbone, but it illustrates that King Tuff might not be as tough as the name indicates.  He’s got other moments that come earlier, although possibly too short to be completed ballads, like “Baby Just Break.”  I think these are the tracks that standout the most to me, as I expected the whole record to have an certain amount of ferocity like “Bad Thing,” but aside from album closer “Hit and Run” there’s really nothing that’s just a straight out rocker.  Personally, it fits better this way; you get peaks and valleys on the journey, all with different bits of enjoyment, depending on the listener and what he/she is looking for in King Tuff. 

While it may not need critical ears to listen to this self-titled record, most of the audience will surely find it successful because of its ability to keep you from finding the songs stale.  You can get a quick rocker or a ballad; you can find hints of garage rock; you basically can find gem after gem waiting for your own personal discovery, so it’s probably best to get on it now–go pick up this album from King Tuff.


Download:King Tuff – Bad Thing [MP3]

Show Pics: Father John Misty @ The Mohawk (5/26)

The day after Ty and Suckers, I “had to” go to The Mohawk to see Father John Misty with Har Mar Superstar and Dana Falconberry.

It was a very contrasting set of bands. Dana Falconberry‘s solemn folk melody gave way to Har Mar‘s jams and cock buffet invites led to J. Tillman’s mix of the two. To PYAITK, Father John Misty is J Tillman‘s project after leaving Fleet Foxes. He also played drums for Har Mar during their run out on the road.

It was a strange evening. And I got a decent Har Mar headstand pic, finally…

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Folk Jam from Communist Daughter

I’m really falling in love with this new song from Communist Daughter, which just popped up yesterday.  The group is the project of Johnny Solomon, who has been working the scene in Minneapolis, but this new track should help him reach out to a broader audience. For me, I love the way he delivers the vocals, casual and heartfelt; I also have to admit that I love the lyrics themselves.  You’ll find gentle backing vocals and strummed guitar to make the song come to life.  Pick up your copy of this song, and more, on the band’s Lions & Lambs EP, which hits stores on July 10th.


Download: Communist Daughter – Speed Of Sound [MP3]

New Music From Lawrence Arabia

Here’s a brand new breezy feel good number from Lawrence Arabia called “Travelling Shoes”.  The song is an easy listen that’s sure to fit in well with your summertime plans this week.  A new album from the songwriter/producer entitled The Sparrow will be out July 24th on Bella Union.


Download: Lawrence Arabia – Travelling Shoes [MP3]

Old Jam (but new to many) from Silver Jews

Make no mistake about it, Silver Jews has definitely left a mark on the indie scene, especially considering the line-up of Dave Berman, Stephen Malkmus and Bon Nastanovich–they’re the only ones playing on this track.  Drag City is digging deep and releasing Early Times on June 19th, which is comprised of tracks from the group’s early EPs.  Just listening, you’ll notice the recording isn’t necessarily the best, but that’s what makes it such an interesting song, as it contains the talent the band went on to display, but also those tiny imperfections that endeared us to Berman and Malkmus in the first place. Hope you like it.


Download:Silver Jews – Secret Knowledge of Back Roads [MP3]

More New Music from Poor Moon

It’s clearly a chilled out week on the Internet, as shown by us over here at ATH; this new track from Poor Moon is just another such example.  There’s an element of tropicalia/lounge act going on in this song; it’s got a similar touch to Jens Lekman‘s work of late.  After recently releasing an EP, the group is slated to unleash a self-titled full-length via Sub Pop on August 28th, and I’m hoping it all shapes up to sound just like this here.  Something about summertime and warm weather makes this song really come alive down here in Texas, or it’s just a great song all around.  I’ll take it either way.


Download:Poor Moon – Holiday [MP3]

Show Pics: Suckers @ Red7 (5/25)

And so we run feature/show pic stories back to back, what? No big deal.

After the Lost In Austin session, Suckers decided they might as well play a set at Red7. We all decided to entertain Ryan and Nathan’s bromance by attending and I took some pics, naturally. I am still trying to warm up to the inside stage at Red7, my biggest gripe now being the lights. I missed Boyfrndz, caught the last bit of Young Man and was surrounded by friends for Suckers. Last Friday night was a great night.

Anyway, hit the read more for a few thoughts and pics…

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Lost In Austin: Suckers

Nathan and I were just discussing the other day when it was that we really got into Brooklyn based experimental pop group Suckers.  We think it was way back in 2009 when we sent out an email interview to the band for ACL fest and then left very impressed with an amazing live show from the upstart band.  From that point, Suckers has landed on year end lists for music, appeared on award’s lists for performances during SXSW, and eventually played our SXSW show this year.  All this culminated in a love affair with the band that has turned into a major bro-mance.  All that being said, we of course had to ask these guys to take part in our lost in Austin takeaways while they were in town at Red 7 last Friday.  The resulting video is a beautiful take on their new song “Chinese Brail” from the just released Candy Salad.  Follow the jump for video and more info.

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Sweeping New Track from Arthur Rigby and the Baskervylles

There’s always something fascinating from grand music that rises and falls, especially when it has elements of folk wrapped inside.  When I heard this new track from Arthur Rigby and the Baskervylles, I immediately fell for it; I particularly like the string accompaniment that ties this song together.  The entire new EP, Tales from Pegasus Wood, is chock full of songs just like this one, which should have any one that enjoys this sort of grandiose folk tunes salivating.  Take a few minutes and lose yourself in this song for a bit.


Download:Arthur Rigby @ the Baskervylles – One Stormy Night [MP3]

Grass Widow – Internal Logic

Rating: ★★★★☆

Judging by the bio that Grass Widow throws up, you’d expect them to be sort of your run-of-the-mill post-punk girl group, but that’s a whole lot of cliche in one sentence; there’s so much more to the group’s album, Internal Logic, that it stands against your attempt to pigeonhole the group.  No matter what, this is something you’ve got to get behind, and you’ve got to do it right now.

All in all, the album clock in at just under 30 minutes, so you don’t have too much time to dwell on particular songs, and that works in the favor of this San Fran trio.  There’s a dark bubbling bass that opens “Goldilocks Zone,” the record’s first track, and the sparse guitar lines provide an added level of demonic pretense; it’s completely offset by the female vocals–possibly the best of the female vocals I’ve heard this year.  Near the end of the track it shoots off in a more guitar driven direction–it’s a nice little touch. For my money, I think the only thing that makes these girls post-punk is the fact that they’re writing songs thirty years after the initial explosion; these girls write punk songs.  “Milo Minute” is probably one of the most enjoyable punk rock songs I’ve heard in awhile, but I suppose some detractors might say the vocals are anything but punk rock.  That’s the attitude Grass Widow seems to take for the entirety of this album; they use what they have (3 girls singing) and apply it to the punk rock they love.

Of course, that’s just one dynamic on Internal Logic.  Other times, these girls don’t seem to have any interest in punk rock, rather they steer in a more alternative direction with warm vocals and somewhat discordant guitar sounds.  “Under the Atmosphere” utilizes some similar skills from earlier on in the record, but the construction of the song definitely lends to a more pop-centric feel: one that will surely win adoring fans. Still, they have the ability to combine both their favorite worlds, which is why the record’s such a refreshing bit of music to play over and over again.

The second side of the affair hits a lot harder and faster, yet still holds onto the girlishness that makes Grass Widow so endearing.  And in playing faster, they also illustrate some remarkable musicianship, shifting pace and styles within songs.  For some reason, I listen to songs like “Advice” or “Disappearing Industries” and I hear bits of Wire with the modern popularity of girl-pop thrown in to it.  It’s a unique combination of sounds, and one that makes listeners of Internal Logic beg for more.  We all love a lady and her guitar, but give me three chicks who can clearly outplay a lot of the boys, and I’m blown away.  Do yourself a favor and turn this up on the old stereo, and witness the prowess of a band at the top of their game.


Download:Grass Widow – Milo Minute [MP3]

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