New Tunes from Free Energy

freeenergyFree Energy busted out their self-titled 7″ off DFA recently, and we brought you that track, and all its glam-rcok swagger, but we’re here now to throw you the other side of the coin.  “Something in Common” is the B-Side, but it’s completely different, wearing the tag of maybe an Albert Hammond Jr. pop influence, which knowing us, is sure to win our hearts. Get into it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Free-Energy-Something-In-Common.mp3]

Download: Free Energy – Something In Common

Frightened Rabbit @ Mohawk (9/24)

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Date 9/24/09
Location Mohawk
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 from Frontgate

Mohawk is the place to be on Thursday night with solid bands playing on both the inside and outside stages.  The outside stage features headliner Frightened Rabbit along with The Twilight Sad and We Were Promised Jetpacks.  After the outside festivities shut down, the inside stage lineup includes locals Corto Maltese and buzz band Division Day.  Now that’s how you get your monies worth.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/frightened-rabbit-last-tango-in-brooklyn.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Last Tango in Brooklyn [MP3]

Roman Candle

RomanCandle-11I know very little about North Carolina band Roman Candle, but I do know that I really dig this track “They Say”.  I would dare say that we may have missed this one when discussing our songs of summer.  This song appears on the band’s most recent release Oh Tall Tree in the Air which hit stores back in May.  If you like this one, you can stream more tracks from the band on their website.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/they_say.mp3]

Download: Roman Candle – They Say [MP3]

New Music From Devendra Banhart

devandraEccentric folk singer songwriter Devendra Banhart has been a bit quiet in the music world as of late, but he’s about to release another album of new material.  His new LP will be called What Will Be and is hitting stores October 27th via Warner Bros.  Here’s first glimpse of that new album with “Baby”.  Anyone want to offer some first impressions?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Baby.mp3]

Download: Devendra Banhart – Baby [MP3]

Volcano Choir – Unmap

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

Speaking of collaborations, Wisconsin’s Volcano Choir brings together Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Collection of Colonies of Bees (which features former members of the mighty Pele).

The nine tracks that make up their JagJaguwar debut, Unmap have more in common with ambient music than either of Volcano Choir other parts.  Using tape loops and minimal vocals, and restrained traditional instruments Unmap plays more like a score to a film than a traditional indie rock release.  That’s not to say that it’s not good, because it is.

What is so bold about this mostly quiet record is the lack of traditional vocals.  You would think having the current indie golden boy, Justin Vernon, in the band you would feature him prominently in as many tracks as possible, Volcano Choir do quite the opposite with only two of the nine songs having traditional vocal arrangements (Island, IS and Still).  It’s no surprise that these tracks are the glue that holds this whole release together.  You’ve previously been introduced to Island, IS, but you might surprised how familiar with Still you might be.  You probably remember it as the autotune (take it easy, Jigga!) vocal track, Woods, at the end of Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP, but here it backed up with a full band.  I must admit, I like this version better.

The rest of the songs rely on the human voice as an instrument, an additional layer to the already lush soundscape.  Many bands have attempted such things before and it has always come off as pretentious and over produced, luckily that is not the case on Unmap.  The songs on Unmap come across as an organic progression of a group of individuals who have a true passion for the music they are producing.

For some this record will be hard to get into, but if you just give it some time you will be greatly rewarded.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/03-island-is-1.mp3]

Download: Volcano Choir – Island IS [MP3]

White Denim @ Antones (9/23)

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Date 9/23/09
Location Antones
Doors 8pm
Tickets $15 from Front Gate

It’s been some time since we posted about a White Denim show and we’re excited to see the incredible live band on the bill for Wednesday night at Antones. Hot new artist band Harlem will also be taking part in the night’s event. On the subject, here’s a new track from White Denim called “Wet Sand” that went up a few days ago.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/White-Denim-Wet-Sand.mp3]

Download: White Denim – Wet Sand [MP3]

New Tunes from Fresh and Onlys

fresh-and-onlysMan, this song seemed like it was everywhere today, popping up on Pitchfork and Stereogum, so lets just throw it out there…what a rad song.  Fresh and Onlys have just released their album Grey-Eyed Girls, and you can’t help but love some of the tunes off this one. It’s chock full of solid hits, which definitely makes the album worthy of your purchase. Check it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/The-Fresh-And-Onlys-Dudes-Got-A-Tender-Heart.mp3]

Download: The Fresh And Onlys – Dude’s Got A Tender Heart [MP3]

Castanets – Texas Rose, The Thaw And The Beast

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

If you were hard pressed to find our generations Tom Waits, a deserving nominee would be the Castanets main singer/songwriter Ray Raposa.  Raposa’s vocal delivery is more akin to Will Oldham’s than Waits’ own whiskey-soaked growl, but the ability to change his bands, Castanets, persona from release to release is downright Waitsian.  Raposa’s work in the Castanets has been called everything from noise to freak folk, but, to these ears, the Castanets, like Waits, is pure American music.

On the bands most recent Asthmatic Kitty release, Texas Rose, The Thaw and The Beast, the Castanets have made one of the most consistent releases in their career.  It’s hard to describe this release, so if you wouldn’t mind humoring me for a bit I will explain what I see in my head as I listen to this album: imagine an almost dead planet with a sole survivor (stick with me!). This sole survivor, let’s call him Ray, composes a set of songs about all that he has lost. From the opening track, ‘Rose’, he sings about a lost love and falling in love with the world and in the closing refrain sings “I am left here to worship on my own”.  The record flows seamlessly from one track to another, sometimes allowing for vast open spaces without ever being boring.

In it’s short 39 minutes, Texas Rose, the Thaw and the Beast traverses from the tuneful Americana of ‘Rose’, the clipped beats of ‘Worn From the Fight(with Fireworks)’, the booze-soaked dirge ‘No Trouble’, and Phil Collins-esque ‘Lucky Old Moon’ (some how, with that description, this song is fantastic).  I know this sounds like an eclectic blend of styles, but trust me, it works better than you could ever imagine.

Ray Raposa and his Castanets have not only released a cohesive album of Southern Gothic hymns, but also a truly enjoyable listening experience in Texas Rose, the Thaw and the Beast.  This is a night-driving must.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/01-Rose-1.mp3]

Download: Castanets – Rose [MP3]

As Tall As Lions On Luxury Wafers

img_0170It seems like these new live performance blogs are the hot new thing as a new one pops up almost weekly.  This new one we just found is called Luxury Wafers and has already featured some solid in-studios by Cursive, These United States, Tiny Vipers, and several others.  This one comes from Long Island band As Tall as Lions.  Video and MP3s of their performance can be found on the Luxury Wafers website or we’ve got a taste of it below.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/AsTallAsLions_WesBeenWaiting.mp3]

Download: As Tall As Lions – We’s Been Waiting (live) [MP3]

New Music From Julian Casablancas

JulianCasablancas2This brand new Julian Casablancas track has been tearing up the interwebs over the last few days and I figured I could share it with anyone who hasn’t heard it yet.  It’s called “11th Dimension” and will appear on the famous front man’s upcoming solo debut album Phrazes for the Young out October 2oth on RCA.  Upon first listening you may cringe at the trendy 80s beat, but give it some time, it grows on you fast.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Julian-Casablancas-11th-Dimension.mp3]

Download: Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension [MP3]

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