Junior Boys @ Mohawk (10/19)

junior-boys1

Date Monday, October 19th
Location Mohawk
Doors 800p
Tickets $12 @ the Door

If you need a little bit of dancing this Monday evening, then there is only one place you absolutely have to be, and that is at The Mohawk. Danceable duo, Junior Boys will be breaking it down all night with Circlesquare and Missions, guaranteeing you a rocking night of killer dance tracks.  And if that’s too early for you, the band will also be DJing over at Beauty Bar after Midnight. Put those dance shoes on and hit the floor.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/05-In-The-Morning.mp3]

Download: Junior Boys – In The Morning [MP3]

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Summer of Fear

mbarsummeroffear-coverRating: ★★★☆☆

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson burst onto the scene a few years ago with the support of the New York hierarchy.  Now, as he releases his second album, Summer of Fear, which is his first for Saddle Creek, he goes and grabs Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio to aid in production duties.  Would having such a producer ultimately effect the aesthetics of our new favorite troubador?  How would Malone put his own touches on the record, or would he?

Upon first listen all the way through, you can immediately tell the difference between Summer of Fear and Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.  Sure, there are ecclectic touches, no doubt influenced by the presence of Malone, but there is a certain sesnse of urgency lacking in these songs.  “Shake a Shot” opens the album without making that statement you expected, although you can still feel the passion in the lyrics.

“Always an Anchor” is the second song, and it happens to be one of the more powerful song on the record. You can hear the struggle of daily life in the guttural power behind MBAR‘s vocals, which is precisely what made his first effort so powerful.  This time around, it’s a bit more sparse than you would otherwise want, or rather, expect.  If you listen to it closely, you can almost hear the “Wolf Like Me” guitar chug in the background.

What does seem more pronounced on this album, or perhaps clearer due to the clarity of the voice is the clarity of the lyrical content.  We all know by now about MBAR‘s struggles, but it’s how he spins those around to churn out great tunes which is admirable.  Not only that, but he sings about the despair of humanity, but in doing so, he seems to sing it with such conviction and understanding that you can’t really be worried about it any longer.  It’s as if he has come to accept it more as fact, and the listener should too.

Listening to this album, you will find your songs that you like, and you’ll find flourishes of things un-MBAR, such as the various string elements, seen in songs like “Hard Row,”  that occasionally seem out of place mid-song.  Still, the more songs this guy churns out, you feel as if the better off we all are, as Summer of Fear, though hindered by various elements, demonstrates the songwriting capabilities of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson; we should all be grateful for such an emerging voice.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/03-The-Sound-1.mp3]

Download: Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – The Sound [MP3]

New Tunes from Phantogram

phantogramUsually on the weekends I browse the net for new tunes to bring your way, and I found this little gem from Phantogram to share with you.  It was the killer bass groove that initially got me hooked here, but after awhile, the fuzzy female vocals just kept getting stuck in my head.  You’re sure to dig on this track, and we’ll keep you posted on more news from the group.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/02-When-Im-Small-1.mp3]

Download: Phantogram – When I’m Small [MP3]

Pinback @ Emos (10/19)

Pinback

Date Monday, October 19th
Location Emos
Doors 900p
Tickets $14 @ the Door

I’ve been in love with Pinback since I was a young budding music fan, so now that the band is older, as am I, I always take in a chance to go see one of my favorite bands play a solid set.  Their intricate maneuvering behind their songs always gets me moving, so maybe since there wasn’t much going on last week, you’ll jump at the chance to catch a great band tonight.  Bellini, the opener, will hit the stage at 10 PM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/10-Seville.mp3]

Tim Williams – Careful Love

twcl-coverRating: ★★★☆☆

Tim Williams has a slew of releases under his belt, and the acclaim he earned off the last album left many lying in wait to get their hands on Careful Love. It’s hard to classify the man and his tunes, but press releases lean towards the description of coffehouse pop meets classic singer/songwriter. This is a fairly solid description, but you can see flourishes of musicianship that push beyond those stereotypical boundaries.

When you listen to the first track, it seems at first as if the vocal inflection of Tim is leading you towards a stronger identity.  “I Hit the Wall” lies somewhere in the vein of Telekinesis or Spoon, catching you with a bobbing hook.  This all leads you into “Ozone Street,” which sounds an awful lot like a cleaner version of Tim Kasher’s early work with The Good Life.  By this point, one thing that is disappointing is the lack of realism that stems from the recording of the drums.  Sure, programmable drums are easy to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go get some solid work from somebody in a studio.

Still, if you can step aside from that factor, you’ll find some songs on here that definitely grab your ears, due mostly to the gentle voice of Tim Williams.  Sure, it sounds awfully clean and polished, but with the rest of the musical accompaniment, that works to great effect here. Songs like “Oceans”or “8 x 10” have infectious grooves and tonality that find a way to lodge them inside your head.  The latter track is probably one of the most exceptional on the album, but you’ll find me yearning for a stronger drum track to back this.  A crashing cymbal here or there could have made this song brilliant; instead, it’s just pretty damn good.

Listening to Tim Williams new album, you find something for almost every taste.  Slow moving songs with touches of piano and female backing vocals are abundant, as are the pop gems that most people associate with Tim’s work.  This is just another solid example of a man who is crafting his own path, and what a bright path that proves to be when listening to Careful Love.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ihitanotherwall.mp3]

Download: Tim Williams – I Hit Another Wall [MP3]

FT5: Fictional Supergroups

1016top5coverAfter being underwhelmed (and I’m the only one) by Them Crooked Vultures, I began to look ahead to the Supergroups that I would create.  Sure, this is all conjecture, and some are jaded by my own personal tastes and connections.  It’s an interesting topic.  Who is your favorite musician, and who would you like to see them playing with?  Make your own supergroup, and tell me about it.  While I wait, I’ll throw out mine. And, I apologize for my lack of originality in naming bands.

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New Tunes from American Princes

princesNot sure how I missed this last month, but one of my favorite acts, American Princes, have tossed up some new songs on their site, which leads us to anticipate a new album coming out sometime in the near future. If it’s anything like Other People, I think we’ll all be quite pleased with the output.  Here’s one of those new tunes to get you excited, but be sure to check out the other one on their site as well.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Rock-And-Roll-.mp3]

Download: American Princes – Rock And Roll [MP3]

New Tunes from Horse Shoes

horseSo I was stalking The Drums earlier today, and I came across another band that I think I could love equally as much, if not more so.  They sound sort of similar, but instead of that whole surf affiliation Horse Shoes are rocking an 80s club sound.  You can catch this song now off their Imperial School EP.  And if you find a better picture of this band, let me know, as there’s just about as much info on this group as there are photos.  

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/02-hey-come-back.mp3]

Download: Horse Shoes – Hey Come Back [MP3]

Lucero – 1372 Overton Park

luceroRating: ★★★☆☆

This now their umteenth album, Memphis band, Lucero are up to their old tricks again.  On 1372 Overton Park they go the tried and true route of giving their local abode a little representation.  With this record, the band continue to push themselves beyond the country-punk roots that often get thrown at the band, forging ahead into just classic American rock.

Sure, you hear Ben Nichols’ voice, and you can tell that the man has been smoking or drinking or screaming for years, or maybe all of the above.  It’s a voice with a story, which is precisely why so many fans have attached themselves to this band, not to mention Ben’s role in the Revival Tour (which I love to death).   And with a voice that carries such a story with it, you expect the vocals to reach deep and tell a story themself; this is precisely what they do.   Most people will probably see the lyrics across this album as a descendent of Springsteen, but those not familiar with the Boss will also see similarities with the more modern Hold Steady.

Even the songwriting recalls both the previously mentioned bands, though it probably leans towards the former more.  Take “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo,” a song that features a full on horn section, creating a huge sound you might not usually associate with a bar band who owes a debt to punk.  The great thing about this album is that it’s not trying to being anything particular.  It relishes in the fact that the sum of all parts is precisely what the band is offering their audience.  Their is no pretentious assocation with a particular genre, nor any desire to do so.  It’s just a sprawling record of classic American rock n’ roll; it’s the kind you all know you can love.

Perhaps the best songs come at the slowest moments, when Nichols can pull at your heart strings, and yank that emotion out from your innards.  “Goodbye Again” probably says enough for those looking for a heartbreaker in its title alone, but even such a song probably won’t do as much for you as “Mom.”  Yes, it’s a song for dudes; you just have to deal with it on this occasion because this song is great.

Whether you find straightforward rock your thing or not, you can’t deny that Lucero has the makings of a group who can go far with their particular style of music.  Their fans follow them anywhere, and now that you have a chance to hear the work on 1372 Overton Park, perhaps you’ll be one of those diehard followers.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/11-Hey-Darling-Do-You-Gamble_-1.mp3]

Download: Lucero – Hey Darling Do You Gamble [MP3]

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

EMBRYONIC TRAYRating: ★★★☆☆

I’ll be the first to admit that after listening to At War with the Mystics a few years back, I fully expected Embryonic, the new album from The Flaming Lips to be one of the worst albums I would come across this year.  Yea, I lost the faith, and like others, I was pleasantly suprised when I got my hands on the album.  A few spins in, and I dug it.

For the first few moments, you can tell that the shift of the group has gone towards a less pop-centric approach to writing.  Gone from the opening moments are the anthemic pop songs one would expect to hear coming from Wayne’s mouth as he walked across a crowd in a bubble.  Still, the one thing that makes me reluctant to go full on into this conglomerate of sounds, which is really what the first few tracks are, is that I heard this all before.  Sure, the Lips can pull it off, but it reminds me an awful lot like that Battles album from a few years back.

Then comes “Evil,” which starts out as mere noise samples, then goes into traditional song structure, and then fades back into the samples once again. Unfortunately, it’s not really a classic song approach for the band, and you won’t get a chance to really hear them pull off in that direction again until “I Can Be a Frog,” but you really don’t get too far into the song itself, due to the fact that you’re spending most of your time trying to catch the noises that correlate to Wayne’s lyrics.  Even “Silver Trembling Hands” isn’t a straight-forward song, and it was the single.  Take out the vocals, and you have the rest of the album in your hands.  No lie.

So what makes up the majority of this album you might ask?  Well, if I were The Flaming Lips, and I were constructing this album, or explaining away its secret recipe, I would do it as such:  2 Parts Flaming Lips, 1 Parts M83, 1 Parts Battles, 1 Part Liars/Deerhunter, 2 Pandering to Noise Fans, 1 Part Throwaways.  You probably bake it in the studio for several years just to make it come out the way you want.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the lack of originality on this album, as far as where my ears hear the sounds coming from, is that very few people could execute an album precisely the way this group did.  Their fusion of sampling, pop, psychedelia, jazz, noise, etc comes off successfully, without really exhibiting  a lull in the album.  If anyone could construct such a concept in their mind, and then pull if off, it had to be the guys that put together Zaireeka.

Sure, there aren’t any classic gems, like most of us really wanted to get the band to toss our way, but there is no denying that beneath the sinister construction of this noise, something beautiful will come to fruition.  Will I be the one to see that beauty?  Maybe so.  As of now, I’m still trying to figure out who on Warner Brothers tried to explain Embryonic to the bosses on behalf of The Flaming Lips because I’m having trouble enough explaing it to myself, let alone anyone who reads this.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/03-silver-trembling-hands-1.mp3]

Download: Flaming Lips – Silver Trembling Hands [MP3]

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