New Music from Yellow Ostrich

Yellow Ostrich is primarily the work of Alex Schaaf, but he’s just trying to get by with a little help from his friends, and a little bit of help from you.  If you’re into low-end bedroom recordings, in the manner of folk music, you’re going to have to take a listen to his stuff over on his BANDCAMP page, where you can download lots of his tracks for a price of your choosing.  He’s just put up The Mistress, and there are some great finds all over the place there, including the below track, which I hope you enjoy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Yellow-Ostrich-The-Mistress-04-Hold-On.mp3]

Download: Yellow Ostrich – Hold On [MP3]

Friday Top 5: Top Five Song Spots

In a conversation with one of our local blogger friend’s, Sonic Itch Mike, I decided that I really needed to take a close look at which spots on any given album are the killer spots to put your hits.  Some people think that the immediacy really makes Track 1 the best, but I’m going to look a little closer at this idea.  I mean, there are hundreds of classic albums out there, and surely they ascribe to this great song placement formula.

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Drag the River on Daytrotter!

I first got into Drag the River through a bunch of friends who were all about ALL.   You really can’t go wrong with a bunch of pop-punk heroes going country singing about whiskey, Jesus and such.  Luckily, the band, rumored to not be working anymore, just went up on Daytrotter.  It’s got all tracks from an up-and-coming session called 2010 Demons, which are supposedly demos of work that has yet to be finished.  Regardless, one listen to this track below and you’ll see why I love these guys.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/006-Other-Side-Of-OK.mp3]

Download: Drag the River – Other Side Of OK [Mp3]

FTC: T. Rex

Seems like forever since we’ve run a proper From the Closet, so what better way to start things back up than with a little coverage of one of our favorites, T. Rex.  You can get a piece of the band’s collection brand new starting October 26th, as Fat Possum is re-issuing the catalogue, one LP at a time, beginning with The Slider.

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New Music from Northern Portrait

We talked about how much we loved Danish band Northern Portrait just after the release of their latest full-length, Criminal Art Lovers.  The group is back now with an amazing new 7″, which features album track “Life Returns to Normal” and B-Side “Some People.”  Sure, there’s a bit of a Morrissey sound in the lead single, but you’ll find that the vocal delivery is actually more fulfilling.  I know, bold statement, but you’ll have to see for yourself.  The swirling jangle of the guitars on “Some People” creates an effecting mood, sure to be loved by all modern pop fans. You can get your hands on the new 7″ by heading over to the Matinee order page.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/06-Life-Returns-To-Normal-1.mp3]

Download: Northern Portrait – Life Returns To Normal [MP3]

New Music from Jim Bryson and The Weakerthans

Honestly, I don’t know too too much about Jim Bryson, other than he’s heralded as one of the great songwriters of Canada.  What did catch my attention is that he’s recorded an album with one of my all time favorites, The Weakerthans.  They combined to record a collection of songs during the Winter of 2010, and it’s titled The Falcon Lake Incident.  I mean, the wintry landscape of Canada probably makes for some pretty solemn numbers, but with the acclaim these two groups get, well, Jim is just Jim, you can imagine how special this all might be. Get your hands on it now.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/JimBrysonAndWeakerthans-WildFolk.mp3]

Download: Jim Bryson And the Weakerthans – Wild Folk [MP3]

The Extra Lens – Undercard

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Now that John Darnielle has signed up The Mountain Goats to be part of the Merge Records roster, it seems only fair that he give the label a little sampling of his magic.  Instead of throwing a 7″ or a single out, he collaborated with longtime friend, Franlkin Bruno, to complete only the second full-length, Undercard,  by the duo known as The Extra Lens.  Frankly, Franklin’s participation doesn’t go too far to stretch the sound of the typical Darnielle work, but its his subtle touches here and there that give a bit more depth to the normal acoustic strumming of old JD.

If you travel the path of a normal MG release, you’ll find that “Adultry” isn’t far off from that place, except the slightest noise in the background, that of a nicely distorted guitar chopping its way through the melodic strumming of Darnielle.  It’s a shortened number, but what would come off as a short-penned song, now holds a new layer.  It’s these ever so subtle touches that alter the work throughout Undercard. “Cruiserweights” just uses the most basic piano tinkering off in the far horizon of the track, and even using that doesn’t really alter our perception of The Extra Lens as being yet another venue for Darnielle’s songs.  Basically, they’re the same old same old, only much much prettier.

You’re probably reading this, thinking that its just some boring re-hash of Mountain Goats material, but what it truly is, is just a man adding those finishing touches to his usual maseterpieces.  John Darnielle has to be one of the finer craftsmen of song, and instead of leaving those magnificent pieces raw, he’s opted to use his friend Franklin to finish everything off, add a little gloss, and give it a hint of sheen.

You know, the world really needs more songs like these, especially if they’re given the Criterion treatment by Bruno.  “Some Other Way” originates as a general unrequited love song, but an organ touch here, a far off strum in the background shifts it all, providing the song with the same sense of yearning that is created by the narrator’s words.  There’s even somewhat of a Western feel, almost as if a cowboy has lost his herd, and aches to get them back.  Such things are welcome in the great catalogue of JD.  And you’ll find odd pieces to fall in love with as well, much like “In Germany Before the War,” which employs nothing more than a whispering John, a down-trodden piano line, and perhaps a bit of accordion.  It’s a heavy emotion created, perhaps meant to accompany such a heavy-themed song.

You’ll find that Undercard, though beautiful in its entirety, really doesn’t venture too far off the beaten path of The Mountain Goats.  But, that being said, does it really hurt you to have more polished beauty from Darnielle, especially when he’s got Bruno paying keen attention to the most important details?  The answer to that question is probably no, so you should probably do what’s right, and go get your hands on the new Extra Lens record.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/The-Extra-Lens-Only-Existing-Footage.mp3]

Download: The Extra Lens – Only Existing Footage [MP3]

New Music from Poor Bailey

The indie folk group Poor Bailey have set out on an extraordinary adventure; they’re writing 31 songs, one for each day in October.  For now the work is being titled The October Project, but we’re not sure if the group will slim things down and make it some sort of official release.  We’re bringing you the first track from the project, which has this incredible feel of old Jeff Mangum to it, maybe even a touch of J. Mascis.  Each day the band will offer up a new song for download, and they’ll continue on until they’ve completed the project.  If all the songs sound this good, then we’ll be grateful to have it all on November 1st.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/01-Angel-in-Disguise.mp3]

Download: Poor Bailey – Angel in Disguise [MP3]

New Music from Pujol

Pujol is an up-and-coming band out of Nashville, and they’ve already received lots of praise all over the Interwebs.  Their sound uses a bit of that garage recording, which apparently is the technique of the year, at least for me.  But, they include a lot of melodies, likely to make you bounce about your room jubilantly.  They’ve just released their EP, All at the Same Time, and though its short, its got quite a punch.  Give this track a try to see if this is your bag.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/02-Butterflyknife.mp3]

Download: Pujol – Butterflyknife [MP3]

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