New Tunes from Inlets

This is Sebastian.  He’s in My Brightest Diamond, but more importantly, and as I witnessed at SXSW, he’s got his own group, Inlets.  They were one of the bands I wish I had seen more of during the festival, but that one set entirely won me over.  This definitely is a bit more for the art-rock constructionist side of things, but you have to love the usage of all those instruments. The band’s album, Inter Arbiter is out April 20th, but if you want to get a listen to it now, you can head over to the group’s web site and give the whole thing a listen.

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

Download: Inlets – In Which I, Robert [MP3]

New Tunes from Beach Fossils

After SXSW we brought you news of one of our favorites, Beach Fossils.  At the time, they only had a 7″ and an Insound session, but now we’ve got more to offer you. Their self-titled album will be in stores on May 25th via Captured Tracks. This sneak peak has a lot more of a lo-fi tendency than I remembered live, but those pounding drums that one me over are very evident. All in all, this should definitely be an album full of consistently good jams.

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

Download: Beach Fossils – Youth [MP3]

New Tunes from Jaill

Jaill is one of the recent signees of our friends over at Sub Pop.  They’re from the Northwest, but their sound, especially on this tune, recalls a lot of the 90s indie rock, which we all acknowledge is the hey-day of the genre.  Be sure to keep an eye on the band, as they release That’s How We Burn on July 27th.

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

Download: Jaill – Everyone’s Hip [MP3]

New Tunes from The Love Language

While researching fun things to buy this Saturday, I remembered that North Carolina’s The Love Language not only have a 7″ coming to us for Record Store Day, but also their debut album Libraries will hit stores July 13th via Merge Records. We have the first single from the album, and it promises good things to come, so get ready.

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

Download: The Love Language – Heart to Tell [MP3]

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt

Rating: ★★★★½

To begin, I knew very little about Kristian Matsson and his project The Tallest Man on Earth.  But, his second album, The Wild Hunt, will not only change that for me, but for many listeners across the globe.  It’s easy to place the Swede’s work in a certain genre, even under a certain association with a famed folk hero, but throughout the duration, Matsson makes this album all his own, creating a beautiful piece of work to be played over and over again.

You’ll start The Wild Hunt with the two things that will stick with you eternally: incredible finger-picking and the uncanny resemblance to a young Boy Dylan. The former is one of those things that enables Kristian to pull out every single emotion from his tunes, carefully plotting where his fingers go with ease.  The latter is something that might plague him, which is unfortunate, as every song on here stands on its own merit, creating a great collective song cycle.

A lot of folk music has the capability to seem redundant, especially when you feel as if you have heard the singer before, but a few deviations make The Wild Hunt rise above typical folk revivalists.  For one, his songs are rather short, in comparison to similar artists.  It allows him to make really succinct songs such as “Thousand Ways” or “Troubles Will Be Gone.”  These songs will breath fresh air into your listening experience, and they’ll leave before you grow tired of hearing them blend into the next number. Then there is the tiniest vocal inflections he puts into his recorded performances that make Kristian stand out in what can sometimes be branded a stale world. Every slight move up or down on the scales, or every little yelp allows the vocals to stand on their own, rather than live in a world of comparisons.

Listening to this album time and time again, I found it difficult to discover a favorite track, as each listen, each mood evoked something different for me.  At first, it was “King of Spain,” which comes off like a folk song written by a steam engine.  On top of that, the subject matter of the song wins me over with its nod to the Iberian Peninsula. But, “You’re Going Back” took me in a different direction.  It has hints, at least in the song structure of a lot of old punks who’ve turned to country, such as Chuck Ragan, with it’s throaty yell of “driver please don’t go that f**cking way” near the last minute of the tune.  Here you find The Tallest Man on Earth getting carried away with his own passion, and that definitely makes each song a winner in my book.

Fortunately for me, this album came across my desk while I was in search of something calming, yet something challenging.  The gentle moods created by songs like ‘The Drying of the Lawns” fit perfectly into what I needed at the time. Then I looked back at the whole of The Wild Hunt, and I found that each song had something to offer, and nothing to throw out the window.  The Tallest Man on Earth has made a complete record worthy of repeat listening, now and forever.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/06-King-of-Spain-1.mp3]

Download: Tallest Man on Earth – King of Spain [MP3]

New Tunes from The Mary Onettes

Long have I followed the rise of Sweden’s The Mary Onettes.  Ever since I first got a hold of their self-titled debut, I’ve been hooked on their wintery pop sounds.  Their last record, Islands, ran in my stereo for months, and now the band are bringing a new 7″ to us all for Record Store Day.  If you can’t get your hands on one, then you better just get the digital version, as this band continues to impress.  Here’s the new tune titled “The Night Before the Funeral;” it’s one of the best songs I think the band have written to date.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/The-night-before-the-funeral-1.mp3]

Download: The Mary Onettes – The Night Before the Funeral [MP3]

MGMT – Congratulations

Rating: ★★★½ ·

After the surprising success of Oracular Spectacular, all indications from MGMT would point towards a different direction.  They had no need to reproduce a singles-heavy album in search of hordes of fans; if anything, they acknowledged that the new record, Congratulations, might be off-putting for many of the fans who came their way after hits such as “Kids” or “Time to Pretend.” While the band jump as far away as possible, this record, for musical accomplishments is by no means a letdown.

Opening moments of the album show a more developed group.  “It’s Working” immediately demonstrates that while they’ll remain playful, they won’t simply rely upon access to simple hooks, choosing instead to allow the joy in their work unfold as the songs carry on to their end.  For some reason, MGMT just sound more complete at this point.

Along the same lines as the first number, “Song for Dan Treacy” resembles the early works of Islands.  It uses odd time stops and oddball effects to draw you into the tune while refraining from becoming over-indulgent in the electronic backbone of the music, as some might have said in regards to their last album.  Similarly, MGMT use slow pacing for “Someone’s Missing” to let the song unfold before the listener’s ears, and unfold it does with 45 seconds to go, as the euphoric chanting of the song title with improved percussion bring the song to its end.

“Flash Delirium” is probably the best “single” on the record, if that’s what you’re looking for here.  It recalls the storytelling of Grandaddy, along with the approach of using space-age electronic sounds to build up the chorus.  Once again, the use the ending of the song to tell an entirely different musical story, so be sure not skip ahead, as you might miss some of the musical message hidden beneath.

One of the joys of this album is in the evolution of the band.  Their last album hit you hard in the beginning, but left you sort of bored near the end (at least for me), but the slow-burners on Congratulations have a much larger impact here.  “I Found a Whistle” just seems to trudge along, and while a bit of vocal inflection might have improved it a touch, it’s still one of those songs you’d put on a chill mixtape for a buddy.  You could even include it right along “Congratulations,” which is certainly a great song. All those slow moments that bored last time around, are somehow more interesting here, and that may be due to the well thought-out ordering of songs.  They’ve spaced out the slower moments between pop elements and experimenting (see “Siberian Breaks”).  You have to give them credit; it’s a much more effective approach, and infinitely more rewarding.

One problem with Oracular Spectacular lay in the fact that you enjoyed it immensely upon first listen, but the hooks wore out the more you chose to spin the record.  In contrast, Congratulations is a much different affair.  It’s not set out to make you dance in the same manner, nor does it intend to rely upon singles to boost album sales.  Instead, MGMT have chosen to focus on their writing, which not only make the songs better, but make the record itself much more durable.  It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/mgmt-flash-delirium.mp3]

Download: MGMT – Flash Delerium [MP3]

4/8 The Big Pink @ The Parish

For those who had recently been following the rise of The Big Pink, Thursday night’s show at The Parish was much anticipated.  As fans of the band’s A Brief History of Love, we were determined to witness the show in order to make a definitive statement on just how much we love the band.  Opening for the evening was A Place to Bury Strangers, who initially seemed like an odd pairing.  Follow the jump for full review.
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New Tunes from Klaus & Kinski

You’ve probably never heard of Klaus & Kinski, and that’s okay, as I don’t really think too many people have.  I’ve been tracking the Spanish group since their last album, and now that they’ve got new tunes coming out on their new record, Tierra, Tragalos , I really wanted to share them with you.  If it weren’t for the fact that the band sings in Spanish, you’d probably find them right alongside a group like The Postmarks.  This song is all about not wanting to college, and you should trust us, as RayRay teaches Spanish.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/02-Mamá-No-Quiero-Ir-Al-Colegio.mp3]

Download: Klaus & Kinski – Mamá, No Quiero Ir Al Colegio [MP3]

New Tunes from In Tall Buildings

Erik Hall has had his share in the music biz, playing with NOMO and Saturday Looks Good to Me.  Now, he’s set to release his own album under the name In Tall Buildings, which comes out this week on Whistler Records.  This track sort of has the old feel of Rogue Wave, but you can tell that Hall spends his time dabbling with every instrument possible.  It’s full of layers, but in the sort of way that doesn’t weigh you down. Listen up.

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

Download: In Tall Buildings – Monsters Lair [MP3]

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