New Music from Pinkunoizu

I suppose the best thing about the Internet is the availability of musicians from around the world, and though I suppose it’s been like that to an extent, you didn’t have access to the smaller bands.  Luckily, we can now, which is how I heard of the new signing of Pinkunoizu by Full Time Hobby.  The Danes are about to ready their Peep EP, and I’ve really enjoyed their song construction today.  It’s similar to the structure of a Fleet Foxes tune, if one were in a field as opposed to a forest, but there’s restraint, allowing for everything to build contiuously.  It works to great effect, so we’ll see where these guys go from here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/01_Time_Is_Like_A_Melody.mp3]

Download: Pinkunoizu – Time Is Like a Melody [MP3]

New Music from Big Troubles

This band is one of those that I’ve really been jamming to lately, going back to their last record from 2010, and looking forward to the new one they’ll be releasing.  Romantic Comedy, the new record from Big Troubles, will be released by Slumberland on September 27th, and it’s probably going to be a pretty big deal around the ATH offices.  This new track has a bit of that softness that’s often associated with their label, but I hear Jason Quever of Papercuts in the vocals–not a bad thing in my book, by the way.  Should be another good outing from the group.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Big-Troubles-Sad-Girls.mp3]

Download: Big Troubles – Sad Girls [MP3]

Show Preview: Bloody Knives @ Scoot Inn (8/23)

Date Tuesday, August 23rd
Location Scott Inn
Doors 900p
Tickets $5 at the Door

One of the bands that seems to have flown beneath the radar in the Austin scene is Bloody Knives.  Their fusion of shoegaze, post-punk, noise, ambient, etc is hands-down one of the most unique sounds in our nation, let alone our little town.  They’ll be putting on an exciting show over at Scoot Inn, and before hordes of Longhorns begin to fill out the bars, you should jump at the chance to see these guys; they can’t be our little secret for too much longer!  Also on the bill are other great local acts, The Vessel and Real Book Fake Book. Come on folks, now’s our time to get behind our local scene.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/02-I-Was-Talking-to-Your-Ghost-mastered.mp3]

Download: Bloody Knives – I Was Talking to Your Ghost [MP3]


Her Space Holiday – s/t

Rating: ★★★½☆

It seems like just yesterday that Marc Bianchi began his Her Space Holiday career, when in fact it was 15 years ago.  Finally, the sun is setting on the project, and with this close, Marc’s releasing his final album with the moniker, Her Space Holiday.  It’s perhaps his most complete work, leaving us all with one final album, but so many memories.

“Anything for Progress” begins with a soft-spoken Bianchi singing over light instrumentation; it’s a solemn beginning for a farewell.  But, as the drums march in, arrangements rise and fall, giving us a splendid pop venture fitting for our goodbye as Marc sings “this is all I know.”  Even with the sadness of giving up Her Space Holiday, the explosion of joy and melody at the end of the track is evidence that Mr. Bianchi has come to terms with his decision, aiming to go out with one last momentous affair.  He even follows this up with “Black Cat Balloons,” a song that seems to follow with similar construction.  Gentle beginning, exuberant chorus, wash, rinse, repeat; well played sir.

Despite the bright beginnings, there are some more somber moments throughout Her Space Holiday, though they eventually evolve into well-crafted pop.  “The Candle Jumped Over the Spoon” offers up lightly strummed guitar, Marc’s quiet singing, nice female accompaniment, but it really takes off with the influence of accordion, turing the quiet affair into a piece of swinging good fun.  It’s interesting, as none of the tunes on this record completely give into one style or genre, even with prolonged entries.  Like the aforementioned tune, “The Bullet, The Battle, The Trigger, The Barrel and Me,” presents us with some quiet time with Bianchi, but it can’t last forever, can it?  Well, in short, the song ends with a burst of light, stomping until the sound has subsided.

Perhaps one of the best things about Her Space Holiday is the attention to detail; every sound is purposeful, being used to flesh out each song.  It’s made Bianchi one of the stronger songwriters, oft-overlooked by his peers.  Hopefully as the curtain closes on this chapter of his life he’ll finally receive some recognition for this characteristic.  “Death of a Writer” employs subtle touches of string arrangements, and while it would be easy to see this as fanciful fleshing out of bare tunes, it’s clear that Marc left space in the music for such bursts of accompaniment.  It could be horns, strings, backing vocals; it could even be empty space, but it’s there for a reason: that’s craftsmanship.

I’m sure that somewhere in the future we’ll hear from Marc Bianchi again, and we’ll all be grateful for his return.  That being said, it’s sad to say goodbye to something that has been a part of our lives for so long, especially when it’s executed as well as we find on the last proper release of Her Space Holiday.  We bid you a fond farewell, and we hope to see you soon.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/01-Black-Cat-Balloons.mp3]

Download: Her Space Holiday – Black Cat Balloons [MP3]

Friday Top 5: Post-Show Munchies

This may not seem like the most important subject in the world, but you’re wrong.  Nothing is more important than what one must do after they’ve spent hours pickling their livers and watching a good old rock show.  Admittedly, I probably hit up the JITB or Whataburger far too often out of convenience, but I definitely have my favorite places to hit up in Austin after a good show. Read on for my suggestions on where you should go after you’ve hit the town for some booze and rock n’ roll.

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More New Music from Future Islands

The more I listen to this band, the more excited I get about their upcoming release for Thrill Jockey. On the Water will hit the street on October 4th, and it’s shaping up to be an album for everyone.  There’s little hints of atmospheric ambiance thrown in here and there; you’ll find pop goodness all over the place.  Even those with love for the electronica have to feel that this could really go their way.  It’s hard to find a band that can wrap it up in a nice little package and win everyone over.  Pretty sure that one listen to Future Islands, and we’ve all got to get on board.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Future-Islands-Balance.mp3]

Download: Future Islands – Balance [MP3]

New Music from Kathryn Calder

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that Kathryn Calder burst onto the scene once she joined up with the New Pornographers.  But, while that might be her staple, she’s been slowly crafting her own career on the side, releasing a record last year, and prepping a new one for the month of October.  This record’s going to be called, Bright and Vivid, and based on this first single, there’s a bit of a different approach to her writing.  Yes, those great vocals you expect from her are there, but there’s definitely some programmable beats being used here, giving Calder a bit of punch to her pop du jour.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/kathryn_calder-who_are_you_.mp3]

Download: Kathryn Calder – Who Are You [MP3]

Mister Heavenly – Out of Love

Rating: ★★★☆☆

What do you get when you take 1 part Modest Mouse, 1 part Islands/Unicorns, and 1 part Man Man? Well, the ultimate supergroup in my opinion; you get Mister Heavenly. Out of Love is the name of their first work together, and while the edgier voice of Ryan Kattner might not seem like the best fit for Nic Islands, it’s a surprising juxtaposition, leaving listeners with an abundance of solid tracks.

When Nic begins the brief verse for “Bronx Sniper,” you wonder just how his notable pitch will fit with Kattner’s banging style.  Once Ryan joins in, you can rest assured that the two fit well together, with Nic’s tendency to exaggerate his vocals at times blending interestingly with his throatier counterpart.  If you were looking to see how the two would fit, this isn’t the best example, as “Mister Heavenly” seems to be the best statement from the group of Out of Love. Ryan begins with his organ-stomp, but then Nic throws in his smooth delivery and a nice guitar line.  When you expect Nic to burst forth on the chorus as he would with Islands, instead you find Kattner.  And back and forth they go, successfully.

Perhaps what seems to have worked best for Mister Heavenly is that the group seems to have reawakened Nic’s noisier side, as he hasn’t seemed this endearingly frantic since the late days of Unicorns.  His last few releases have seen him become really polished, cleaning up his delivery a bit.  But, he’s always had this dark side, which you really get to see resurface on songs like “Doom Wop.” There’s a coat over the vocals, yet you can still hear both singers belting out their lines distinctly.  It’s a revitalized energy that longtime fans will be happy to see. Also, Ryan does deserve praise at this point for his own vocal range, which seems to be go anywhere he wishes (see “Diddy Eyes)–to great effect.

And at the heart of the whole project for Out of Love is Joe Plummer, the group’s unsung hero.  All those familiar with both Islands and Man Man will surely be aware that the groups have vastly different styles to songwriting, so you’ve got to have a solid kit-man to hold it all down, and Plummer does a great job keeping the group together.  Each member tosses his style in and out of every song, with those dirtier piano based parts coming from Kattner, and Nic’s penchant for stellar guitar hooks, so Plummer’s ability to keep it all sounding tight is with a doubt the band’s saving grace.

There’s a gem here and there, like “Pineapple Girl,” living on the higher pitches, but one thing that might hold back praise from some is that there’s nothing outstanding.  Every song written by Mister Heavenly has the potential to be extraordinary, but it’s mostly standard fare, which is sort of a letdown. You want everything to be incredible, and instead it’s all just good.  That being said, there’s not really a throwaway track on Out of Love, so the group has that going for them.  Who knows where they’ll go from here, but as of now, this is a solid start for a much-hyped supergroup.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Pineapple-Girl.mp3]

Download: Mister Heavenly – Pineapple Girl [MP3]

New Music from Pony

Do you ever just find one of those songs that immediately takes you over?  For some reason (because it’s good), the simple trickling piano of Pony did precisely that, and has since been absorbed to the max. It’s all the work of songwriter Audrey, and she just released her album I Forgot to Turn You On.  It’s a very simplistic record, full of brief ballads and haunting melodies; sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the greatest impact on us.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/01_Lost_Sun.mp3]

Download: Pony – Lost Sun [MP3]

New Music from The Great Nostalgic

Make no mistake about it; we’re huge fans of Austin band The Great Nostalgic.  Just recently they released their second album, Hope We Live Like We Promised, but they’re not stopping there.  Currently the band is holed up, hard at work on a brand new EP.  You can clearly tell the band’s sound has changed from their first effort, sounding tighter here than they have in the past, throwing out a melding of sounds in the middle of the track to bring you effortless brilliance.  It’s about time more people start taking notice of this great act.  Heed my warning folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/01-Doomsday-Radio-1.mp3]

Download: The Great Nostalgic – Doomsday Radio [MP3]

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