As we see it, we’re about midway through the year as far as record releases go, seeing as how no one really puts albums out in December for fear of being left off year-end lists. Since we’ve hit the half-way mark, we thought we would throw out a list of our Top 5 Records so far this year. Keep in mind, this list is subject to change, should something mind altering come our way, or should we just get bored with one of the following records.
It’s no surprise that Sub Pop has been able to stay atop the game as one of the leading independent record labels since its inception. To this day they continue to release albums that always matter; let’s just say that the label is known for its good taste. They’re here to offer you a brand new sampler full of songs that you can get later this year, such as a track from Grand Archives, or songs you should already own this year. Grab yourself a copy of this fresh new sampler here.
Jason Molina has taken a few years off, though we can assume he’s just been laying low and biding his time. Now he’s ready to unleash a new Magnolia Electric Co album, Josephine, on the masses in July on Secretly Canadian. We’re here to offer you the title track from the album for your enjoyment.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/magnolia-electric-co-josephine.mp3]
Download: Magnolia Electric Co – Josephine [MP3]
Your Twenties is a London based group who we probably won’t get to see on our shores for quite some time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy one of their most recent singles from afar? This song “Caught Wheel” sounds a little bit like some of the recent French pop stylings from bands like Phoneix, but it also has a California sunny twist. Regardless, it’s definitely enjoyable.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/01-caught-wheel.mp3]
Download: Your Twenties – Caught Wheel [MP3]
Needless to say, the more that flows through the usual news channels concerning The Twilight Sad, the more excited I get about the release of their new album, which is slated for this fall. Now, I’ve only got a link to this, so you’ll have to travel via the Internet, but once you see this video featuring another new track, “Made to Disappear,” hopefully you’ll start salivating just as I am. The only thing that needs to be added is the usual walls of sound that the group is known for with their albums. Check out the video at FlyTV.
Friday night was a great evening for an outdoor show; the cool breeze of the impending rains allowed the crowd to remain cool during what would normally be considered a hot Texas night. Til We’re Blue or Destroy opened up the evening just before The Shaky Hands, which led us into the night’s main event, The Thermals. Follow the jump for full show review.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we love Jay Reatard. RayRay has posted about him numerous times, and we even rocked out to his eardrum busting show last year at Red 7. Now, news comes our way that Matador Records will be releasing his new album, Watch Me Fall, on August 18th. Here’s to you Jay, and future coverage.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/jay-reatard-it-aint-gonna-save-me.mp3]
Download: Jay Reatard – It Aint Gonna Save Me [MP3]
Years back nothing seemed as bubblegum delicious as B.L.O.W. , so when one of the members parted ways to form YACHT, everyone took notice. Now it seems that the one man show of Jona Bechtolt has evolved into a duo, including Texan Claire Evans. Since the new line-up is set, it would only seem appropriate that the group release a new album on July 28th titled See Mystery Lights. Here is a hint as to what that album might sound like, as this is the first released single.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/yacht-psychic-city.mp3]
Download: YACHT – Psychic City (Voodoo City) [MP3]
Portland, Oregon duo Viva Voce spent the past few years building, creating new things. First, they created their own backyard studio, perfect for the husband/wife combo to record new tracks. They continued the building process by adding two permanent members to their line-up, solidifying the group for the recording of an entirely new album. That new album is titled Rose City, and it demonstrates a band experimenting with their proven recipe for tunes, as the band travel to sonic regions not explored in the past.
Once the album opens with the lead track “Devotion” it becomes rather clear that this isn’t the same group you came across back in the day. Distortion billows from the guitar this round, and the percussion has this permanent beating echo that seems ominously powerful. For the first time, Kevin Robinson sounds like someone other than himself, as his voice comes across like a man covering Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It’s fitting to the music, which explains the change in delivery, as the sound has clearly changed.
“Die a Little” seems a tad bit like what you would expect from this band. It’s rather catchy, and the bobbing bass lines that go throughout keep you tapping your foot at the base of your chair. Also, vocal duties are split between Kevin and Anita Robinson, so it approaches the aesthetics of the male/female vocal a bit more. Even so, there exists a boundary of sound and feedback the band has yet to explore.
Once you come across a song like “Midnight Sun” you can imagine what the songwriting process was like; the band seems to be painting sounds upon a blank canvas, filling empty space with various elements so that the album sounds full, yet not repetitive in the least bit, allowing for the empty space to resonate with a sound all its own. But, you can juxtapose that with “Good as Gold,” which seems to take a line or two from the Pixies closet of bass lines, not that anyone could get upset by that. This song takes on a more traditional Viva Voce feel since it doesn’t seem to have as much of the sonic exploration even though some of the guitar parts have a new sharpness to them. Just make sure you save yourself for “Flora,” a song that comes at the butt of the album. There is something spectacular about this song that just yanks at your emotions. It’s one of the moments that really makes this album worth listening to for repeated listens.
There are some misguided moments here and there throughout this album, which one owes to the band’s desire to explore new sonic elements. You have to respect that, and you have to hope that the promise that clearly exists on this album will only be pushed further with future recordings, as this album clearly has great moments worthy of your ears.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/09-flora-1.mp3]
Download: Viva Voce – Flora [MP3]
In further antcipation of their upcoming album, Horehound, ultra-hip group Dead Weather are offering you a chance to hear yet another new single off said album. This one definitely has that rocking element, and it features vocals that seem to be predominantly Jack White. Either way, the hard hitting track, “Treat Me Like Your Mother,” is a sign of more good things to come.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-treat-me-like-your-mother-1.mp3]
Download: Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother [MP3]