New Tunes from Grass Widow

There’s few people in the blogosphere I truly trust, so I’m always happy when Toby over at Finest Kiss gets a chance to sort through his emails and get me hip to things I might have glanced over.  He’s run a bunch of singles today, and my favorite of the batch has to be this new track from Grass Widow.  The San Fran trio has self-released a new 7″ with this track Milo Minute.  There’s definitely a post-punk pogo to the track, but the harmonies between the ladies provide allow the song to transcend your typical rehash of styles.  I get the feeling that this will be spinning around here all week.  You can get your copy HERE, which features two covers as the B-Side (Wire and Neo Boys).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/GrassWidow-MiloMinute.mp3]

Download: Grass Widow – Milo Minute [MP3]

Pure X – Pleasure

Rating: ★★★★★

At this point in time, it would be difficult for one to ignore Pure X (formerly Pure Ecstasy) based entirely on the amount of press that has seemed to surround the Austin trio over the last few months.  After listening to Pleasure over and over (and over and over) again, you’ll soon realize that the group is no joke, and they’ve crafted the slow-burning record of the year, if not just the straight up record of the year.

The instrumental “Heavy Air” begins the record with sort of the ominous feeling one would associate with bloated oxygen, weighed down in trickling bits of guitar reverb and harrowing sounds that fill every inch of space necessary.  It’s the perfect precursor to “Dream Over,” a track that begins with a little bit more light, as “oohs” gently float you through the intro.  Once the vocals come in, the echo effect of created by the band refraining from polish stains the track with every inch of passion Pure X possess, especially clear as vocals strain in the background to wrap up the song.

You’re going to be hard pressed to discover such a one-two punch as “Twisted Mirror” and “Easy.”  The former slowly builds with discordant guitar sounds carefully cutting through the space, all before we’re presented with even a hint of vocals.  Honestly, while the depth of the vocals on this track, and on Pleasure for that matter, elevate each song, the craftsmanship of the sound itself doesn’t even require singing at all.  With “Easy,” the appeal for the masses is immediately noticeable as drums mellowly pound the rhythm, vocals uplift you, and squalls of noise filter in and out of the song.  If you play it on repeat, you’re bound to get lost in the simple beauty expressed here.

Every song on Pleasure is a listenable gem, each with twists and turns of its own.  The seemingly instrumental “Surface” fills out a void in the record, with Pure X providing you a sense to further allow immersion into their dense sound; oddly, it’s not dense at all. The use of sound and structure fills every inch of recording space, creating the juxtaposition of hollow, yet dense; it’s a sensation you must have for yourself. There’s short tracks like “Stuck Livin” that seem like heartfelt laments about life, yet much like San Francisco’s Girls, there’s a bright light glowing beneath the stark reality of our world. Even the single “Dry Ice” is worthy of every inch of praise its received.  It’s quiet at times, yet the group’s approach swallows you whole, forcing you into some sort of melodramatic trance from which you never want to escape.

People will always be skeptical of bands with great hype, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any second of this record, though the band would probably disagree.  Pleasure is, to me, reminiscent of Spiritualized, utilizing the band’s creativity within the studio to extract every bit of sound possible, yet not filling it with indulgences.  Like Jason S., Pure X has crafted a delicate listen, one that whole-heartedly enthralls you track after track.  If there’s such a thing as modern classics, this one might well be on its way.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/08-Dry-Ice.mp3]

Download: Pure X – Dry Ice [MP3]

New Music from Big Wave Riders

Apparently it’s going to be sort of a Scandinavian type day in my house, as I’ve just gotten another gem from the region via Finland’s Big Wave Riders.  The band is prepping their digi-EP for new label, Soliti Music, which will also be home to the new work from Cats on Fire.  They posted a great track to their last.fm page, and I just fell in love.  It begins with sort of a washed out guitar vibe, one that you’d expect from a California beach group, but then the pace picks up, and it turns into momentary dance-pop, and returns once again to the beautiful wash.  This is definitely something new and exciting from a great prospect for 2011.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Big-Wave-Riders-Skate-or-Die.mp3]

Download: Big Wave Riders – Skate or Die [MP3]

New Pop Hit from Oh No! Yoko

The great part of being involved in little music communities outside the blogosphere is that you always discover fun little gems that you mightn’t have found otherwise. That’s where I discovered this fun little track from Vancouver group, Oh No! Yoko. They just released a nice little album full of similarly fun tunes titled Pau Pau, so if you dig what’s going on below, it’s worth taking a hard look at.  For me, I kind of get the feeling of Passion Pit or Harlem Shakes, but I think a lot of that has to do with a serious vocal link.  So sit back, take it in, and enjoy yourselves.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Ohnoyoko-90skids.mp3]

Download: Oh No! Yoko – 90’s Kids [MP3]

New Track from Pallers

If you’ve been reading our blog for some time, you probably already know that I’m a huge fan for the Labrador label.  They’ve already put out some great records this year, and it looks like we’re soon going to have another gem on our hands.  Pallers is a duo, as noted in the picture to the left, and they’ll be releasing their record, The Sea of Memories, on September 27th.  The music is filled with melodic slow paced electronic tinkering, but the wispy quality of the vocals really makes this song the charmer that it is.  You can pick this up in the single format at the end of July.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Come-Rain.mp3]

Download: Pallers – Come Rain, Come Sunshine [MP3]

FT5: Albums of the Year…so far

Let’s face it, every site is doing it, and perhaps we’re a little late on the run in, but technically, we just got to the midway point of the year, so I was holding off until the exact date–I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  So, in all honesty, this is going to be sort of a list of my 2011 albums of the year up to now, but I reserve the right to drastically change my opinion on any, if not all, of these choices. Come on, it’s just now July, so I’ve still got six months to hammer things out in a fully functional list.  Please remember, this is one man’s opinion, not the site as a whole, nor do we disagree with your opinions, unless you like that new Beyonce.

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New Track from Canon Blue

Our writer JWag turned me onto this great track, and I’ve been playing this track all morning long. Daniel James is the man behind the project Canon Blue, and he’s worked in the past with Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear (who seems to work with everyone). This time round, he’s been hanging with Efterklang, prepping the completion of his new record, Rumspringa.  It’s going to come out on August 16th on Temporary Residence, and you’re going to love the craftsmanship of the songs on this collection, both orchestrated carefully and maintaining a clever pop lineage.  Trust me, you’ll love this track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Canon-Blue-Indian-Summer-Des-Moines.mp3]

Download: Canon Blue – Indian Summer (DesMoines) [MP3]

New Jam from AM & Shawn Lee

If you were working hard partying, you might have missed the buzz at SXSW about the recent collaboration between AM (LA based pop artist) and Shawn Lee (British songwriter).  Regardless, now is your chance to get into the brilliant work that has come about by way of their union. They’ve signed a deal to release a record with ESL Music, and they’ll be releasing a 7″ on ESL July 19th.  We’ve got the title track, and it’s got me in a rather good mood today.  It opens with sort of a soundscape-electronica-pop feel, but when you get to the chorus, I swear you’ll hear the ghost of Grandaddy.  That doesn’t sound too bad to me.  Hope you kids like it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/04_Dark_Into_Light.mp3]

The full length, Celestial Electric, comes out August 30th on ESL.

New Summer Jam from Hoop Dreams

That’s it. I’m going to throw my hands up as my new obsession definitely has to be Hoop Dreams.  They’ve just released a superb 7″ track on Captured Tracks, and I can’t help but just press repeat over and over again.  There’s this weird hint of Orange Juice, but with a more modern feel that will definitely appeal to any current listener in the indie music spectrum.  Perhaps it’s too short, but that makes it all the more powerful, as you can’t help but get this song stuck in your head the minute it comes on; it’s likely to remain in your head for some time to come, making the band your new obsession as well.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Hoop-Dreams_01_XCPR.mp3]

Download: Hoop Dreams – XCPR [MP3]

Show Preview: Literature, Grape St. and more @ Beerland (6/29)

Date Wednesday, June 29th
Location Beerland
Doors 900p
Tickets CHEAP

Beerland is perhaps my favorite place in Austin during the summer, mostly because I can actually go their shows since I have a summer break. Wednesday night’s show though, it’s bringing together all my favorites in one small space, and you know it’s going to be cheap.  They’ve got my favorite local act, Literature, who of course are going to kill it.  Grape Street, featuring members of Harlem, and they always win.  Some man named Wes Coleman, who you should definitely know by now. Oh, and The Wolf and Warren Jackson Hearne too.  All this, air conditioning, good beer prices, and I’m sold. So you know where to be if you want to have a good time in Austin on Wednesday night.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/01-Its-Cruel-1.mp3]

Download: Literature – Its Cruel [MP3]


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