Free Album From Todd Snider

Portland alt-country great, Todd Snider, has a new album you can download free of charge from his website.  The album, Peace Queer, features 8 songs and is only available until October 31st.  Download it now before time runs out!  You can also check out one of the better tracks of the album “The Ballad of Cape Henry” right here on our website.

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Download: Todd Snider – The Ballad of Cape Henry [MP3]

Stream New Kaiser Chiefs

The Kaiser Chiefs just made their new album Off With their Heads available to stream on the last FM website.  The band’s latest effort doesn’t hit stores until October 20th so try it now before you buy it.  This would also be a good time for us to post the UK boys latest single “Never Miss a Beat” which dropped on October 6th.  What do you think of the new tunes?

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Download: Kaiser Chiefs – Never Miss a Beat [MP3]

The Rosebuds – Life Like

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Last time around the Howards, also known as The Rosebuds, offered us a swirling bundle of disco beats and dance tracks.  Beneath those bubbling hooks layers of darkness soothed out of the stereos, making melancholy danceable. This time around, they’ve stripped out of those disco clothes, revealing a straight-forward moody album titled Life Like.

Opening title track, “Life Like” presents a somber Ivan Howard looking back on his life, or his current state, warning those to come that there are more just like him.  The hollowed guitar work seems to mimic the emotive vocals, continually building an underlying darkness.

Juxtaposed to the opening track comes “Cape Fear,” which features Kelly singing in place of her man.  Despite a darkness in the search for a man-eating catfish, the vocals don’t quite seem to match that of her counterpart, making her feature tracks seem more positive.  It seems odd to have such a juxtaposition, but this is the one thing that makes the dynamic between the two so strong, on album, and life like.

One of the more special moments comes by way of “Nice Fox.”  It’s a pleasant ballad driven by chugging guitar strumming and darkened saloon piano.  The entire affair is made more meaningful with the presence of a backing choir full of the who’s who of the band’s various musical friends. Then comes “Black Hole,” which seems to have the band emulating the late great Grandaddy in a supremely slow fashion.

In the end you find that this album is full of storytelling, which is most likely due to the fact that the band owes the imagery in this album to their respective grandparents.  It reflects a band that is willing to look anywhere for their creativity, relying, always, on what they know best, or in the case of this album, what they feel.  Life Like is not coated in the past, and as it moves into the future, The Rosebuds continue to progress, always keeping their best elements as the focal point.

Pretty & Nice – Get Young

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Sometimes a picture sums everything up, which is precisely what the cover art for Pretty & Nice‘s new album, Get Young, does.  The girl frivolously jumping in the air seems to have been listening to this album for quite sometime, as this is exactly what the band prescribes to listeners with their most recent effort.

Influences are abundant, and a trip to the band’s Myspace page yields one key influence that seems to dominate the band’s sound, albeit in an entirely different light; that is the listing of Q and Not U. Several of the more straightforward tracks definitely dwell in that post-punk aggression made famous by the Washington D. C. scene. But, influences don’t always give you a starting point for a conversation.

A band not listed, but definitely in the same vein, is Of Montreal. A few listens to the album and you will find that the vocal inflection of Kevin Barnes is definitely a shared characteristic with Pretty & Nice. It’s not just the vocals that emulate the allusion, but the mixing of electronics inside a rock-fueled song structure.  This tactic is used to extremes in the latter half of the album.

Oddly, that contrasts with the hard-hitting punch of the first few tracks, which makes the listening experience unfortunately imbalanced.  The opening power definitely draws your attention to the speedy guitar licks and hard-hitting drum sound.  It’s this fury and vigor that immediately warrants a positive attitude in regards to the Get Young.

But, the strength of the first five songs wanes as the band begins to sink into a bit of repetition.  Each song seemingly blends into the other as the album draws to a close.  It’s this element that leaves a question mark on this release.  As the band carries you towards the end, it’s almost as if they wore you out too quickly, leaving you with less passion in the end than they offered at the beginning.  Sure, they’re still going strong, but it just becomes a bit redundant.

Brash and courageous, Pretty & Nice come out of the gates swinging for the fence, but you can only jump around for so long before your legs go weary, along with your ears.  Too good too quick, and then its done all over again, much to the possible demise of this album.

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