• Top Songs of 2019

    Phew, the end of the year really snuck up on me this time and it’s crazy to think we are moving on from the 2010s. Before we do so, Nathan

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  • Top 25 Albums of 2019

    This is the list you’ve all been waiting for, well, sort of. This is my Top 20 LPs of the year. Admittedly, there’s none of the high profile hitmakers on

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  • Levitation 2019: A Reflection

    Team ATH has been covering Austin Psych Fest/Levitation since its early inception, probably in the second year at Radio Room (sorry we missed the first year!), so we’ve seen the

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  • ACL WE2 in a Nutshell

    Another Austin City Limits is behind us boys and girls and it’s always a good time to reflect on the music and experiences from the weekend. I considered myself very

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  • SXSW 2019 – A Recap

    Yet another SXSW is in the books and it’s time for the ATH crew to reminisce a little and offer some highlight from the week behind us. I think we’ve

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New Music From Tiesto

tiesto_jet1So I’m not really sure who this DJ Tiesto guy is, but apparently he was some sort of big deal in the techno/trance scene in the 90s. We bring him up because he’s about to drop a new album with a star studded guest list including indie popsters (and ATH fave) Tegan & Sara. We haven’t heard much from the Quinn sisters recently, so we’ll have to settle for this dance hall jam with DJ Tiesto. You can also expect brand new LP Sainthood from the twin sister duo in late October. This track, “I Feel it in My Bones”, is not confirmed for the girl’s album but will appear on Tiesto’s upcoming album Kaleidoscope due out October 20th.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/i-feel-it-in-my-bones.mp3]

Download: Tiesto (ft. Tegan & Sara) – I Feel it in My Bones [MP3]

Whitman @ Beerland (8/20)

beerland_poster_webThis week is full of great local shows for you Austin music fans and Thursday night at Beerland is jam packed with local and upcoming talent.  The lineup features headliners Whitman along with Frantic Clam, Colour Wheel and Salesman.  Door cover is only $5 and things start around 10pm.  Don’t forget to keep voting for Whitman in the Sound and Jury contest!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/light-it-up.mp3]

Download: Whitman – Light It Up [MP3]

New Music From Swell Season

homepagelive2After their huge success from modern musical Once, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova decided to record an album together under the new moniker Swell Season.  The groups first LP will be hitting stores October 27th and will be called Strict Joy.  Check it out and let us know what you think in da comments section.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/swell_season_in_these_arms.mp3]

Download: Swell Season – In These Arms [MP3]

New Tunes from Headlights

headlightsOne of our favorite new bands, Headlights, has a new album coming out soon.  The album is titled Wildlife, and it comes out October 6th on Polyvinyl. This new track has a bit of a different touch, although it’s still brimming with pop, there is a certain element of lo-fi fuzz added.  You can try out the song, and check out the band on tour this fall.


Download: Headlights – Get Going [MP3]

Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend


Rating: ★★★½ ·

Lately, we’ve seen more of Brendan Benson trading licks with that one guy from the White Stripes, but when he first came onto the scene, he was a pop crooner.  His album Lapalco remains overlooked, despite all the gems it offers listeners. Now he returns with a new record, My Old, Familiar Friend.  It’s a return to form, for the most part, though you can see the shift in his writing if you’re familiar with his work.

Opening the album, you see a glimmer of the Brendan of the past on “A Whole Lot Better.”  His vocals start low, as they always go, and change to the higher tones mid-syllable.  Even the lyrics seem to recall some of the old territory, but it’s the choruses that remind you of the old songwriter of yesterday.  But, noticeably, the structure of the songs themselves have begun to change a bit, which is good, considering we all admire growth with our favorite artists.

“Eyes on the Horizon” is yet another example of his growth.  It just seems that so much more is going on within the song, and while it may not be as clean as his previous output, you can glimpse the familiar, especially in the chorus. Perhaps the inclusion of guitar solos, of the classic rock sort, give away his most recent act The Raconteurs.  It’s a more mature songwriter we find here, which explains a lot of the lyrical content, as the story line in the album seems to revolve around reflection of a lost love.

Just as you thought you had a collection of b-sides from The Raconteurs sessions, at least the ones Brendan wrote, he kicks it up a notch near the end of the album, starting with “Poised and Ready.”  While he once sounded similar to the early Ben Kweller, he appears more like a rocking version of A.C. Newman. This second half of the record though is chock full of straight ahead pop rock songs of the most sublime sort. It’s the sort of stuff you know you’ll be singing along to during your days at work.  The catchiness of “Don’t Wanna Talk” will surely have you and your friends singing along in your cars. From there you can slide right into “Misery,” which is probably one of the best songs that you’ll find here on the album.  As far as song construction goes, it’s probably one of the more open songs, and the extra space allows for Brendan to work his magic for his audience.

Nothing on this album will blow you away with creativity, but if you’re the kind of person that cherishes solid pop rock to go along with a nice long drive, then you will definitely find something for yourself here.  Brendan Benson has a quality voice that will keep you coming back for more, as he churns out pop gems with his crafty songwriting and vocal inflection.


Download: Brendan Benson – Misery [MP3]

Pissed Jeans – King of Jeans


Rating: ★★ · · ·

On their third album, King of Jeans, Pissed Jeans come out firing, as you would expect them to do. It’s high energy barroom brawling, but in order to really dig deeply into their album, you would have to listen to the whole record extremely closely, which is often difficult to do given the intensity of the sonic force on display.

One of the difficulties in approaching this album is that you really can’t discern the relevance of the album.  It’s grounded in 90s hardcore, or even further back if you want to dance around with some of the influences. Still, a barrage of noise is not necessarily something that you find on the scene nowadays.  Perhaps this is refreshing in a certain regard, but in the end, you’re more than likely to lean back to teenage angst and nostalgia, or be turned off altogether.

Like most of the music the band wears upon its sleeve, you can barely follow the lyrics throughout the album.  Most of the vocals seem to waiver upon the screaming of various syllables, though the liner notes indicate otherwise. Even looking at the lyrics, you can’t really decide whether or not to take them too seriously.  It’s as if they come straight out of the notebook of a teenager, or some disgruntled youth trying to find his or her way.  Barking the lyrics doesn’t do much justice for the listener either, making the majority of the songs somewhat unlistenable.

Still, the album isn’t all filled with negativity, as this review may lead you to believe.  You have to be refreshed at the idea of a band bucking modern musical trends in pursuit of their own rewards.  Such a ferocity has not come across these ears in quite some time, and while that is probably due to age, albums like this tend to bring you back to your own angst-ridden collection, if you haven’t discarded everything at this point.

Probably one of the most enticing aspects, for those traveling the road of their past, is that the riffs even seem reminiscent of every hardcore band you listened to when you were at that phase of your life.  It comes off as a familiar rendition, yet done with a little bit more of an edge.  The ominous chords persist, and the growling vocals remind you of the band you always dreamed of making when you were in 9th Grade. Such is King of Jeans, fueled in the anger of our past dreams, turning and burning all the way.

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