The Fresh & Onlys – Play It Strange

Rating: ★★★★½

Let’s face it, a lot of the stuff coming down the pipe from San Francisco is going to be labeled with some sort of psychedelic tag, but as we’re all likely to see, a great deal of the bands are starting to mature, crafting stronger songs, music that’s meant to be deemed nothing more than that, music.  The new record from The Fresh & Onlys, titled Play It Strange, still holds hints of the psych-tag, but listening closely, you’ll surely notice the great strides this band has made with this effort.

“Summer of Love” probably doesn’t do much to move the band out of the San Francisco sound, but what it does show, upon first listen, is a cleaner sounding band, though there are still haunting effects on singer Tim Cohen’s vocals.  The guitars sound much sharper, the drums have a bit more clarity, and you’ve got a winner already.  Pushing forward, “Waterfall” seems to have the faintest hint of “oohs” secretly hiding in the far background, but that’s just one extra touch to make you fall in love.  The chorus is perfected, with the slightest echo as Tim sings “fall with me into the water,” but the greatest part is that spaghetti western guitar line beneath the group’s normal jangle.  This is perhaps one of the brightest moments on Play It Strange.

If you’re looking to see the band bring on something a bit more headstrong, look no further than “All Shook Up.”  You’ll get pounding drums in your ears as soon as you press play, highlighting one of the oft overlooked factors in the band’s success, their rhythm section.  While it may not be the strongest performance by Cohen, the intermingling guitar lines fit perfectly into the fuzzy bass lines and steady beat.  It’s reminiscent of classic 50s rock n’ roll, just cowering beneath a hazy fog of darkness, sort of like the cover art. It’s funny, but if you remove some of the recording processes from The Fresh & Onlys, you’d probably find a really solid pop band lurking somewhere.  “Fascinated” brings to mind various lesser-known Brit pop groups of the early 90s, but the band bring it out through a lens of their own.  The melody is catchy as you would expect, but you have to listen closely, digging deeper into the relevant nostalgia the group offer up to your ears.

While the majority of the songs on Play It Strange fall under the 3 minute range, there are some real slow-burners, none more special than “I’m a Thief.”  Cohen has this coy vocal walk through during the verses, pleading for his lover to remain faithful to her heart, which he claims to have stolen.  But, the chorus is a bit brighter, not lyrically, but emotionally, providing a bit of swing to the song, just before they close it out in instrumental fashion. Such songs clearly illustrate that the band has gone back further than the psychedelic era, drawing from more classic rock sounds as their influence, but they’re coating it in the dingy atmosphere of dive bars and seedy hole-in-the wall establishments.  It’s clear that The Fresh & Onlys are growing, and with the prolific songwriting of Tim Cohen, Play It Strange is just a sign of greater things to come.


Download: The Fresh & Onlys – Waterfall [MP3]

Show Preview: Mimosa @ Aces Lounge (10/14)

Date Thursday, October 14th
Location Aces Lounge
Doors 1000pm
Tickets $20 HERE

This might not seem like our typical run of the mill left of the dial indie post, but we’ve been hearing great things about this recent Mimosa tour, so we had to offer up a chance for you to at least hear about it.  The man behind the sound has been compared to the likes of other electro-dub-dance-step acts such as Burial and Flying Lotus, and while they might not sound exactly the same, we know there is a huge audience in Austin for this sort of thing. Take a listen to this track below, feel the vibe, and make sure you get to Aces Lounge to catch his set.


Download: Mimosa – Pushing Little Daisies [MP3]

ACL Wrap-Up: The Top Ten Acts

Well, we’ve finally recovered, and we hope your sunburn is peeling and your liver is resting quietly in a tub of water.  After a long weekend, filled with good memories, tunes and pretty much anything else we needed, we got down to the nitty-gritty. That’s right folks, after careful collaboration, and tireless hours of discussion, we bring you our Top Ten Acts of Austin City Limits 2010.

New Music from Stereolab

So, while we were out performing our ACL duties, we neglected to notice that there were still things going on in the rest of the music world.  Luckily, I was able to catch up by heading over to MBV, and those kids had tossed up a new track by one of my faves, Stereolab. The group has a new record titled Not Music coming out November 16th on Drag City.  Rest assured, it is music, and if you’re a fan, you’ll have to admit, it’s pretty much always good music. You be the judge folks.


Download: Stereolab – Sun Demon [MP3]

The So So Glos – Low Back Chain Shift

Rating: ★★★★☆

The So So Glos recently made the move to become part of the ever growing, and solid, Brooklyn music scene, but don’t let your preconceived notions get the best of you just yet.  Low Back Chain Shift, though short, is filled with promise of a ramshackle good time.  Surely this is going to be a band to keep your eyes, and ears, on as the future unfolds for this young band.

“Fred Astaire” kicks off this party with soft vocal from singer Alex Levine, but even early on you can see there is a gleam of trouble lying in wait.  Soon, you meet that, as Levine gives off a bit of a growl, as guitars cut through the steady drumming.  It’s not a bad way to start off an EP, and although the songs do hold pop tendencies, perhaps Levine can take the group to new boundaries.

Indeed, Levine will carry the band, not to disregard the contributions of the other three members, but “Live Like TV” definitely uses a nice little blend of surf guitar jangle entwined with precision garage drum antics.  Such songs are fairly typical nowadays, but Alex has this whiskey grit to his delivery, much like Hives frontman Pelle Almquist.  It brings a level of excitement and energy needed to make any band of this genre relevant.

“New Stance” is definitely an outlier in this brief collection of five songs.  It’s a slow dance number, using limited percussion, minor guitar strumming, and Levine.  It’s probably not the most creative song the band has written, but somehow, cleverly placed in the middle of the EP, and short, it works really well.  Once again, we can’t discount incredibly distinct voices, so Levine’s getting more points.

When you arrive at “Here Goes the Neighborhood,” the band has left there direction quite open, purposefully. They’ve got dirtier surf-pop and mellow tracks, but here, they take the surf-pop in a much-welcomed direction, giving the sound a nice bit of The Clash.  Damn you Alex Levine! Your voice is fitting to every stylistic change on this EP.  Towards the end, you just get a bit more of a nice rock-steady beat and groove, which never hurts.

“Lindy Hop” is the single track off the Low Back Chain Shift EP, although further listens reveal that any number could take that place.  This is probably the grittiest version of the band, with a nice little rattling percussive beat in the back, and Levine doing his best to bring some post-punk flavor to the band’s sound.  There’s a little bit more fury in this track than in previous numbers, especially with that little no-wave saxophone blast, but it just goes to show you that the band are willing to travel in any direction they choose, as long as it sounds good.

Your short visit with Low Back Chain Shift will surely leave you begging and pleading for more.  The So So Glos have slowly built a name for themselves, and a release with this much quality and diversity is not going to hurt that reputation much either. There’s something for us all in here, giving us grit and pop all mixed up. You won’t know what to do.


Download: So So Glos – Lindy Hop [MP3]

New Music from Cheap Time

I’ve really been enjoying the great work by In the Red Records this year, as they’ve been putting out some really solid releases, at least in the vein of garage pop bands.  The newest record from Cheap Time, Fantastic Explanations (and Similar Situations), is just another gem waiting to be grabbed up by everyone.  For some reason it reminds me, vocally, of that old punk band The Saints, but the music is a bit slower, and a little bit more straightforward.  You can get your hands on these sweet tunes now!


Download: Cheap Time – I’d Rather Be Alone [MP3]

New Music from John Wesley Coleman

Austin’s full of great songwriters, so occasionally you pass by one that you wish you had spent more time with during their career.  Sure, this guy is in the killer local outfit The Golden Boys, but I don’t have time to listen to every release put out in town (I’m Sorry!). Luckily for all of us here in Austin, John Wesley Coleman is alive and well. So well, in fact, that he’s going to release a new solo record later this November on Goner Records titled Bad Lady Goes to Jail. I’ve been jamming out to this release all day, and it’s got a bit of classic rock n’ roll sound, with little hints of garage-style recording throughout.  One thing I won’t call it is lo-fi.  The recording, while possibly on the low-end is brimming with solid work, so JWC should be proud of this recent effort.  For all our readers, you can catch John traveling the country; go check his tour dates HERE.


Download: John Wesley Coleman – Bad Lady Goes to Jail [MP3]

New Music from Kisses

We premiered “Bermuda,” the debut single from Kisses earlier this year, but now we want to bring you another great track from the band.  This jam is a little bit more of a mellow club banger, but it’s got this understated little bubbly bass popping in the background.  Personally, the vocals are pretty groovy–sort of up my alley. All this is in preparation for their release, The Heart of the Nightlife, which comes out in stores on November 16th.  We have a feeling that a lot of people will be slowly getting behind this as we get closer to the release date.


Download: Kisses – Kisses [MP3]

New Music from Discodeine

Last week I raved about my man crush on former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, so I couldn’t resist running this track.  Sure, its not exactly what one thinks of with relation to JC, but his voice is so perfectly fitting to the electro work of Discodeine.  This is what all dance music should be like, if I made in my room on my laptop.  I’m just tossing this out there because Jarvis is one of the Guys I’d Go Gay For, so check out this song, and just chalk up another sweet tune that proves the sexual prowess of one of my favorite musicians.


Download: Discodeine – Synchronize (feat. Jarvis Cocker) [MP3]

New Tunes from Talbot Adams

What do you do when your rock n’ roll career is hampered by the birth of children? Well, in the case of Talbot Adams, you retreat to your home, turn the amps down from 11, and start writing kick ass songs.   His new Jack and Jesse EP, which is possibly inspired by the birth of his twin boys, contains four tracks, all of which are really short, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot of spirit and heart!  You can get said business by visiting Douchemaster Records, who consistently put out solid records for us all. Here’s a sample of Talbot’s new work.


Download: Talbot Adams – Life is Good When Cinematic [MP3]

1 878 879 880 881 882 980