New Music from Meridene

Anyone who spent the late 90s and early 00s jamming away to indie rock and post-emo tunes definitely will appreciate Meridene.  You’ll find that the group has a lot of nostalgic indie references, but you’ll also notice that nothing feels antiquated, as their sound is entirely fresh.  This track comes from their upcoming record Something Like Blood, which will hit stores on September 28 via Amble Down Records.  Give this a spin or a whirl or a tilt-a-whirl, but be sure to give it a listen.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/meridene_gonebabygone.mp3]

Download: Meridene – Gone Baby Gone [MP3]

Free Tunes from Mars Field

Mars Field is an old Irish group who never seem to have reached a lot of acclaim over in the United States, which is kind of a bummer.  Their sound is sort of that melodramatic slow-core that we adored in the late 90s.  It’s heartfelt, sometimes tragic, but always beautiful.  The good news is that you can now get all three of the band’s albums: The Blue Buildings are Burning, Upwards Like a Well and Talking Makes Things Worse.  You’ll want to do this immediately, as they’re all FREE!  Just visit the band HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/04-Michael-1.mp3]

Download: Mars Field – Michael [MP3]

Jaill – That’s How We Burn

Rating: ★★★★ ·

It seems like Sub Pop is on a roll lately giving us lots of rock n’ roll to pump really loudly in our cars, and Jaill is no exception.  The guitar work on their new album, That’s How We Burn,” is meant exactly for that, kicking you in the face.  Okay, so they aren’t mean enough to kick you in the face, but one listen to this record and you’ll find yourself indulging in heavy foot stomping, possibly some air drums.

This year hasn’t seen an album open with such a ridiculously powerful guitar/bass line as “The Stroller.”  It begs  you to get on board right away, pushing you to the limit from the get go.  While singer, Vincent Kircher, might not have a harrowing yell, but his vocals provide the perfect accommodation for the guitar licks. Then you get sucked in with the super-angular guitar pop of “Everyone’s Hip.”  For some reason the vocal delivery recalls nerd pop of the nineties, like a heavy-footed They Might be Giants. All albums should begin with such energy.

“Thank Us Later” demonstrates that Jaill don’t just have to push the limits with pacing and clever guitar chords.  Instead, they allow for space and Kirchner to sprawl all across this song, giving you a bit of time to absorb the tones the group has to offer up. Surely they could amp up this song live to keep the step going, but the fact that they slow it down, gives the album more of a groove.  Following is “Summer Mess,” giving the listener that breather, but in a different manner than the preceding song, going with a more roots folk appeal of strumming guitar, met later on by an ambling electric guitar that walks you to the end of the track, right back into the energy fueled tracks.

“She’s My Baby” brings you back to the rock element of the rock, with quick slicing guitars and steady drum work.  Kirchner seems to go with a bit of a higher pitch here, which might be aided by backup singer Austin Dutmer, who is playing those solid drums.  It’s even got a surf rock guitar line cutting in at the end of the track, probably included to stay on top of the trends.  But, That’s How We Burn is meant to be a well-balanced machine, so while you have those rockers, you also find that slower tracks serve as a counterbalance to the record, like “Baby I.”  It’s got the feel of a high school prom band, but one that’s really good, playing nice jangling guitar lines with a bit of boogie to it all.  Everything here just works perfectly.

By this point in the year, you’re searching for an album that erases the ones before it, and for just a minute, That’s How We Burn will cleanse your soul.  It erases popular trends, focusing on what it’s all about, solid drumming and great guitar lines.  Jaill have now established themselves as a band to be reckoned with, and we should welcome them to the fold, as this piece of work shows they deserve it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/01-The-Stroller-1.mp3]

Download: Jaill – The Stroller [MP3]

Miniature Tigers – Fortress

Rating: ★★★½ ·

A couple of EPs and a full-length under their belt sees Miniature Tigers returning to the fold, offering up another gem of an indie pop record for the masses.  Fortress has the band coming off confident as ever, backed by popular demand and praise from the blogosphere, not to mention classic print media like Rolling Stone.

A little bit of tinkering with percussive elements brings the listener’s ear closer on the album’s first track “Mansion of Misery,” just before the drums bounce in, along with Charlie Brand’s vocal presence.  It climaxes with a crashing bit of cymbals, right before piano and rising vocals carry us into the end.  It’s a formula indicative of where the band lives, switching things up to meet their fancy.   They employ it again on “Rock n Roll Mountain Troll,” going in three different directions in just over a minute, but the chorus is where you’ll grab the most pleasure from this track, not that there’s a bad spot in it.

Single “Gold Skull” has the benefit of working with Neon Indian, though you have to admit that a producer can only do so much, you know, if the song isn’t actually there.  Electronic blips raise the bar on the band’s pop elements, giving it a bit more of a pulse.  Warm melodies come in and out of the song, putting this group on a competitive level with every other band out there.  However, this song just has a certain something that rises above the rest, making it a favorite for many lists come the end of the year. From here they go right into another grand number, “Bullfighter Jacket.”  Aside from the somewhat annoying “yayayayaya” throughout the song, there’s this ridiculously glorious drum work that accompanies every harmony created by the band.  It’s like a more elaborate version of the Dodos, working with better melodies and higher pitches.

But, you should know that this isn’t all about pop goodness and sweeping melodies.  Miniature Tigers have a bit more to offer you here.  You can take “Dark Tiger” and the fragility in Brand’s vocal display, and you’re in some different world entirely, as if you’ve gotten lost in a world of lollipops and gumdrops, finding yourself reflecting in a bit of solemnity.  Sure, there are some light touches of multiple harmonies within this track, but for the most part, it’s lightly picked guitar and a fragile lead singer.

In the end, Fortress is exactly what you wanted it to be; it’s an album with crafty melodies in the pop spectrum, but leaning to the left of the main vein in American music culture.  Listening to this album, it seems to have the same craftiness of Grizzly Bear, using delicate touches here and there to build the sonic element within the tracks, but at the same time, Miniature Tigers are a lot more accessible in the long run.  This is an enjoyable listen, giving you a sense of positive emotions listen after listen.  Definitely a good place to find yourself as summer winds down, and you need a little revitalization.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/play.mp3]

Download: Miniature Tigers – Gold Skull [MP3]

New Music from Les Savy Fav

See that naked guy on top of another man in the picture?  That’s Tim from Les Savy Fav, one of our favorite bands, hands down.  But, this isn’t about Tim’s live antics, it’s about the band’s new album Root for Ruin, which comes to your home stereo on September 14th via Frenchkiss.  You’ll love the angular guitar lines, and the production is simply the best yet from the group.  Be sure to stop by and drop off your email so you can keep up to date on all the news from Les Savy Fav, which you will have to do because this new album is too good to miss.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/04-Lets-Get-Out-of-Here.mp3]

Download: Les Savy Fav – Let’s Get Out of Here [MP3]

Best Coast – Crazy for You

Rating: ★★★★ ·

You had to be hiding under a rock if you haven’t heard the huge buzz surrounding the California duo Best Coast.  Now Crazy for You is seeing the light of day, and for the most part,the record does its part to make sure that band keeps riding the California waves with you and your friends throughout the rest of this summer, and hopefully into the new year.

This record is full of cymbals and snare drums, jangling surf guitar and dream-girl pop references like in “Our Deal,” but you knew that already, right?  Well, simply put, this could sum up the entire album, which isn’t a knock, but rather a blanket statement that describes what you’re in for here.  What you don’t know is that the execution is precisely what makes this a winner, as no one has been able to completely capture this sound the way that Best Coast have done it.  Songs don’t go on too long, and while they live in the same sonic spectrum, they aren’t around enough to wear you down with monotony.

“Boyfriend” begins the staple subject matter of dating, love and what not, offering up various different dream states that singer Beth Cosentino really wants you to listen to while you’re making out with your lover on the beach, preferably in California, as she’s clearly a supporter of the state’s tourism industry (see the cat’s rear on the artwork).  It’s when you come to title track “Crazy for You” that you realize this album is going to win you over no matter happens.  The bubbling bounce kicks in immediately, while Beth’s vocals fit perfectly with the tone of the guitar work.  Crashing cymbals will remind you of crashing waves, or in the case of the song, crashing dishes of a lover who’s hard to love.  Nonetheless, you’ll adore this song, forever.

Given that these songs reflect the group’s locale, it’s refreshing when you come to a song like “Goodbye,” which maintains a touch of sand, while pushing the genre more towards 90s alterna-girl rock, a la Juliana Hatfield. It’s this sort of mixture amidst the sunshine that keeps listeners returning for more time and time again.  A similar effect is used on “Honey,” a song full of dark textures, and a vocal that really floats across the song with emotion.  Cosentino’s vocals go between dark and light, creating a strong dichotomy within the song, though at times she has sort of that drawn out drawl of Courtney Love.  It’s this edgy quality in her voice that makes Beth so endearing; you can’t dismiss her as a girl coated in reverb or any of that.  Pristine and edgy, that’s the way you should enjoy your female leads.

Those who enjoy the art of the mixtape, or .ziptape as it might be known now will definitely want to include the gem “When the Sun Don’t Shine” on their next collection for an admired one.  It has a really simple drum beat, but vocals and lyrics are really what make the song stand out above anything else.  Give it a listen, and surely you’ll agree. “When I’m with You” is probably another one of those songs, if you’re in need of a slow burner near that carries the sentiment, but it’s a bonus track, so be sure to get on it.  Place it at the end, and its the perfect end piece to this record, serving as a reminder that you’ll adore everything on Crazy for You, and you do.  It’s hard to find a good records that always live up to the hype, but Best Coast will surely see more high marks for this one.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/19-Our-Deal.mp3]

Download: Best Coast – Our Deal [MP3]

New Tunes from Oberhofer

Oberhofer makes the perfect music for a Friday afternoon, well, any afternoon, but its pertinent, seeing as today is Friday.  You’ll find his single, “I Could Go” builds with a bit of throbbing samples and moving rhythms, designed to lift you up out of your office chair, albeit for a five minute span.  As his chanting vocals come in, bouncing in the seeming background of the song as cymbals crash, you’re hooked; you’re stuck with this song in your head.  It’s a good Friday after all.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/I-Could-Go-1.mp3]

Download: Oberhofer – I Could Go [MP3]

New Tunes from Young Man

Chicago native Colin Caulfield is going to be blowing you away this year.  He’s playing under the name of Young Man, but there’s nothing that sounds entirely young, so to speak, as the melodies go way back in the history of American pop music.  His debut Boy EP will be coming out on Frenchkiss on October 12th, so you better accustomed to hearing him now, as we’re sure that he’s just beginning to rise into the forefront of it all.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/02-Hands.mp3]

Download: Young Man – Hands [MP3]

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