New Music from Big Harp

We’re just a few weeks away from the release of the new album from recent Saddle Creek signing, Big Harp. Their album is titled White Hat, and it’s going to be in stores on August 30th, surely winning over a lot of new fans for the band.  I like the trickling melody of this single, and of course, the deep quality of the vocals definitely attracts me.  I’m also appreciating the dichotomy between the vocals and the underlying pop sensibility of the song’s construction.  Things looks to be a really promising debut for the husband and wife duo from Nebraska.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/02-Everybody-Pays.mp3]

Dwonload: Big Harp – Everybody Pays [MP3]

Cut Off Your Hands – Hollow

Rating: ★★★★☆

With their first album, You & I, you sort of had the feeling that New Zealand outfit Cut Off Your Hands might have been yearning for the British Isles, but with their release of Hollow, the band has completed their maturation, giving fans a full-on venture into the sounds of the Oceanic region of the world.

“You Should Do Better” begins with a rolling drum beat, and chiming guitars, before Nick Johnston’s vocals soar above it all.  Sure, people will hear remnants of the Smiths influence, but I hear Lucksmiths delivery, and the sharpness of the guitars employed by the Go-Betweens. Trust me, these are all good things.  It’s furthered with “Nausea,” the second track on the record, where the chorus has this incredible melody that totally beats out anything the band has done to date (no offense fellas).

What might stand in the way for some of the long-time fans of Cut Off Your Hands is that the energy is markably different on this outing, in comparison to past works.  Where you once found sharpness and angular cuts of the knife, the band has slowed things down, clearing the way for much warmer guitar sounds.  Don’t get confused here, as the guitars on tracks like “Hollowed Out” definitely maintain an edge and brightness, but instead of forcing riff into riff, the guitars ring loudly throughout Hollow, providing listeners with a sound that has much more durability.

Still, there are several tracks available for those looking for a quicker pace, and the group’s more traditional sound.  “Fooling No One” bounces in your ear, before the vocals swing in to provide that melodic approach the band rely upon.  This is much more of a stomper than anything up to this point on Hollow. They follow it up with “Down and Out,” which relies upon ringing guitar chords in the background to provide that energetic punch you’re begging for the band to give you.  Both tracks show the band still has what it takes to offer powerful pop gems with bits of fuel behind them.  Just because you clean things up, doesn’t mean you can’t unleash a good solid rocker, right?

When they close out this album with “Buried,” it’s the perfect summation of Hollow.  The track is drawn out slowly, though with the guitars maintaining their melodic sharpness.  Johnston slowly works his way through his vocals, caring to emphasize every emotional point in your listening experience.  Much like this song, the entire new record from Cut Off Your Hands is a bit of a slower burn, with longer songs, allowing the band to get the maximum quality out of all nine tracks.  If anything, their maturity displays the group’s songwriting capabilities, giving listeners an experience that will surely leave a lasting impression.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Cut-Off-Your-Hands-You-Should-Do-Better.mp3]

Download: Cut Off Your Hands – You Should Do Better [MP3]

New Smooth Pop from The Sunshine Factory

I came across this beautiful new track from The Sunshine Factory when I was browsing the excellent blog, When the Sun Hits.  This is the first new music we’ve heard from the group since the release of their LP, Sugar, which came out at the end of 2010. The song has this unassuming beauty, with lightly strummed guitar filling in the space left by the atmospherics of the background.  You’ll have a hard time convincing me Sally Robertson doesn’t have one of the most enchanting voices around. Give it up for this Alabama crew; they’re crafting some kind of wonderful.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/The-Sunshine-Factory-Chainsaw-Girl.mp3]

Download: The Sunshine Factory – Chainsaw Girl [MP3]

New Music from Blind Pilot

There’s something about bands that craft pop melodies around folk/country elements, such as banjos and pianos, that really just grabs me.  It’s always been this way, and it’s much the same when I first heard this new track from Blind Pilot.  This is the first single from their upcoming record, We Are the Tide, which will be released to the masses on September 13th.  Thanks to the rolling drum beat, the song swiftly moves along in pace, while still allowing you enough time to absorb the lyrics.  I have a feeling with music like this coming out, it’s going to be a busy month for us here at ATH in September.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Blind-Pilot-Keep-You-Right.mp3]

Download: Blind Pilot – Keep You Right [MP3]

New Music from Megafaun

What? You don’t want more new music from the bearded lads in Megafaun?  Well, too bad! They’re prepping their self-titled double LP, Megafuan, which will land in your lap on September 20th via Hometapes.  As more new songs leak out, you can’t help but hope that the mastery these guys have shown in their gentle song construction will be replicated throughout the entire album.  There’s bits of banjo, which the band promises is the only time its used on the record, and the whispering vocals compliment the emotional quality of the song.  Is September here yet?

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

Download: Megafaun – State/Meant [MP3]

New Dream Jam from The New Division

I’d regret not giving a shout out to my ladyfriend who raved about The New Division months ago, and due to my need for heavier music during the Spring, I sort of put it off, until now. This Cali group will be releasing their new album, Shadows, on September 27th, furthering my belief that September is going to be a killer month for music. Hearing this first single, “Opium,” I feel as if the band is going for sort of a Cut Copy feel, but with a darker tint, rather than the sharp edges of the aforementioned. Still, you can definitely shake it to this track, or just let it wash over you, either way is acceptable.

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

Download: The New Division – Opium [MP3]

New Jam from Gross Magic

I hadn’t really heard of Gross Magic until earlier today, but browsing through the net often leads to great finds.  Sam McGarrigle is the man behind these sounds, and his tastes are sort of all over the place on his Teen Jamz EP, but that’s sort of what makes it so wonderful; you get to listen to a sound that never bores.  His effortless moments of cool on this title track are just one styling he offers, so feel free to check out the rest of the tracks on this five song EP before your judgment is final. Trust me, it’s definitely been blasting in my house all day.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Gross-Magic-Teen-Jamz-EP-02-Teen-Jamz.mp3]

Download: Gross Magic – Teen Jamz [MP3]

New Music from Library Voices

Perhaps those in Canada are hip to Library Voices, but the word is slowly starting to spread South about this great little pop band.  They’ve just signed up to release their record, Summer of Lust, via Dine Alone Records on October 18th.  It’s a seemingly busy track, filled with hooks and beeps, and even a bit of Win Butler-ish yelping during parts.  All signs at the moment point towards this band completely winning over the States, bringing us more infectious pop tunes that will never fail to please our ears.  Hello Library Voices, welcome to the States.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/03-Generation-Handclap.mp3]

Download: Library Voices – Generation Handclap [MP3]

New Track from Big Wave Riders

We talked about Finnish starlets, Big Wave Riders, a bit ago, but as the date nears closer for the release of their Behind These Walls EP, which will be available to you on September 7th, they just keep releasing more tracks. You’ve got to check out the latest, especially with hints of high-stepping grooves laying just beneath the surface, then exploding during the chorus–even with a screeching bit of guitar solo to wrap the song up nicely. There’s just this bit of craftiness living beneath the feeling of fun that you’ll probably associate with this song, and who doesn’t like to see those two things meet up? Enjoy folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/02-behind-these-walls.mp3]

Download: Big Wave Riders – Behind These Walls [MP3]

New Music from Super Melody

Those in New York need to get ready, as Super Melody is set to invade the United States, with the majority of the dates slated in NYC.  The group is made up primarily of James Cecil, formerly of Architecture In Helsinki.  He’s coming to support the release of his record, Destination Unknown (which is not a reference to Rancid lyrics, sadly).  You’ll notice that there’s still an influence of AIH here, just with some of the samples, but the song below will show you a more electronic feel, reminiscent of bands like Hot Chip.  So, even if we’re not all in New York or California, at least we can appreciate a little dance party action.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/1.-Tinder-Hearted.mp3]

Download: Super Melody – Tinder Hearted [MP3]

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