• 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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  • SXSW: 6 Bands To Watch

    Well SXSW music is officially here, and as I sit and ponder my existence while at work, I thought it would be fun to share some advice on bands to

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  • RayRay’s Top Songs – 2018

    When it comes to ATH and our areas of expertise, I like to think I’m the go to guy for song lists and bad ass playlists. If you’re doubting me,

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  • Best of Indiepop 2018

    Everyone has their own definition of indiepop; but I tend to ascribe to the original craft where DIY aesthetics and a softer response to punk were all the rage. But,

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  • ATH Top Albums – 2018

      This is our year end list for albums of the year. There’s four of us here, so it’s hard to come to a consensus, but we did our best.

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Art Brut – Art Brut vs. Satan

artb

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Art Brut burst onto the music scene a few years back wtih their stellar Bang Bang Rock N Roll.  The band was energized, and Eddie Argos self-deprecating wit came out swinging.  Now, three years down the road, Art Brut are preparing to take on the devil himiself for their third full length, Art Brut vs. Satan.

Round three has the band coming out with a barrage of tightly wound rock fury; the flare is back again, and you can feel the power in the chords.  Interestingly, the driving force does not appear to be the music, however, as singer Eddie Argos is pushed way up front in the final mix.  For some artists, this might not be a bad decision, but I don’t think Argos dead-pan delivery warrants such a focus, despite the cleverness of his lyrics. Often, the band brings a tour de force like Les Savy Fav pummeling our ears with a frenetic pace.  Angular guitars cut through thin air with sharp turns of melodious guitar chugging around each corner. Still, the focus has been, and always will be, on Eddie Argos.

Opening the album, Eddie tries to rehash his evening of drinking in “Alcoholics Unanimous” by sending out a group text, as he is sure he was up “all night making mistakes.”  Clearly he has no problem with calling himself out, as he continues to do so on “The Replacements” where he admits he hasn’t heard of The Replacements at this point in his life; this is a bit sad, or at least it seems like some egregious error. Even so, you’re left to question whether or not he trying to good you into buying into everything he has to say.  Perhaps this is his point.  Argos wants us to question the way we listen, or why we listen, or even who we listen to these days.

Altogether, the album comes together quite nicely; it’s as consistent as their debut album.  One will always wonder what would come of the band if they ever had a full-fledged singer at the mic stand, but even now, without such a person, they band sound as brash and enjoyable as ever.  This is an album that will hold your attention through to the end.

New Tunes from Shugo Tokumaru

shugOkay, admittedly I have no idea what on Earth Shugo Tokumaru is singing about, but I do know that every time he creates his grandiose gems I fall in love.  Shugo has a new EP coming out, though you’ll probably need a translator to get your hands on it.  But, you can check out this cool site to listen to more tracks.  Here is “Rum Hee.”

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-rum-hee.mp3]

Download: Shugo Tokumaru – Rum Hee [MP3]

ATH Interviews: Pretty & Nice

prettyandniceWe brought Boston band Pretty & Nice to our SXSW showcase at Victory Grill and have been awaiting their return to Austin for a proper show.  We are in luck, because the band has a show lined up next week at Emo’s on Thursday (4/30).  We’ll remind you about that next week, but for now, check out an interview with band member  Jason Mendicino.  It’s quite insightful.  Follow the jump for full interview with Jason from Pretty & Nice.

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New Tunes from Sonic Youth

soniceNews has slowly been drifiting about the newest Sonic Youth release, The Eternal. Matador Records even gave us a little bit of a teaser by throwing out some 7″s on Record Store Day featuring the band so as to whet your appetite.  Now, to further your interest, we have the first complete single, with Kim manning the wheel here.  If you ask me, this is a good start. Let’s hope it all sounds this good on June 9th, the album release date.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/sonic-youth-sacred-trickster.mp3]

Download: Sonic Youth – Sacred Trickster [MP3]

Wye Oak

wye_oak-warningBaltimore two piece Wye Oak just dropped a new single that we’ve been spinning around the ATH offices over the last few days.  The new track will appear on upcoming album The Knot due out July 21st on Merge.  What do you think of the new material?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/03-take-it-in.mp3]

Download: Wye Oak – Take It In [MP3]

New Pixies Album

pixies2_wideweb__470x3460Okay, so we’re not completely sure about all of this, but as of this point, it seems pretty legit.  Last night, a few sites showed this site , which seems to indicate that a new album, titled Minotaur, will be released by the band at some point this summer.  You can pre-order starting June 15th.  But, we have no news on singles or who is going to release it, although the majority of Pixies releases came our way via 4AD. I’m not going to lie; I’m a wee bit excited here.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/10-la-la-love-you.mp3]

Download: Pixies – La La Love You [MP3]

Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

Something seems to exist in the Glaswegian waters these days, as more and more substantial music sets sail for America via Scotland. The newest album, My Maudlin Career, from Camera Obscura is just another example of a country that is pushing out superb tune after superb tune.

Long has the band been haunted by their kinship to Belle and Sebastian, but here we see them completing the step away from such association, much as they did on their last album, Let’s Get Out of This Country.  They’ve stepped away from the modest pop stylings of their earlier days, immersing themselves instead in a history of 60s soul and R&B.  This time around, the band has gradually drifted into the perfect dance halls from historic days long gone.

Tracyanne Campbell is the focal point of this entire album, as it should be.  Her delivery, especially in songs such as “French Navy” is nearly perfect, spinning masterful webs of melody at every turn.  She finally seems comfortable in the limelight, and that confidence shows through and through.   But, she’s not the only vocal presence here, as there are some carefully placed “oohs” and “ahhs” visiting the landscape of this album (see The Sweetest Thing).

Musically, the album is quite close to its predecessor. It’s as if the music was crafted carefully in the Motown studios; all the arrangements are done with such precision that you’d be hard pressed to find a point in this record when anything seems off-kilter.  One thing that might be lacking for some listeners, however, is that the music doesn’t have the pace, or some of the urgency, that went with the last album.  Sure, songs like “Swans” and  “My Maudlin Career” have a sligth pace, and a certain vibrance, but there is no “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken.” But, this serves the album sufficiently well, as the album comes across with a lot more balance than the previous effort.  Its nostalgia is fitting, and the album is the most even output in the band’s history.

Through and through, the album comes across with moments of meandering melody and a whispering sense of longing, which, afterall, seems to be the lyrical focus of the album.  The very mention of “maudlin” recalls a certain sense of emotional sentimentality, as if you’re looking back with a sense of longing.  It’s no mistake that the lyrics match this focus; the music seems to further the intent as well.  And of course, the ever present ideal of love, and loves past, present and future.

Listeners be sure to make it all the way until the end of the album, as “Honey in the Sun” is one of the most rewarding songs on the album.  It’s the bookend that sums up the thematic elements of the lyrics, and adds further detail to the growth of this very talented group of musicians from Glasgow.  Nicely done Camera Obscura.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/11-honey-in-the-sun.mp3]

Download: Camera Obscura – Honey in the Sun [MP3]

New Music From Sunset Rubdown

sunsetrubdownSpencer Krug continues to work hard outside of his steady Wolf Parade gig as his side project Sunset Rubdown readies their next release.  The Canadian outfit will be dropping Dragonslayer on JagJaguwar later this year on June 23rd.  First single from the new album “Idiot Heart” is available for download and stream below.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/02-idiot-heart.mp3]

Download: Sunset Rubdown – Idiot Heart [MP3]

Crazy Music Tuesday 4/21

black_tuesdayIf you live here in Austin, tomorrow is one crazy day for live music options in our town.  We’re not sure we can remember a day that was so packed as this one as far as music goes.  So packed, in fact, that we can’t fit all these shows on our main page.  Follow the jump to see full details on all the great shows going down Tuesday.

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Contest: Black Kids/Mates Of State @ La Zona Rosa 4/28

matesbktourThis is one of those shows most of us have been waiting a while for and the time is finally here.  On Tuesday April 28th, Mates of State will bring their tour with Black Kids to the famous La Zona Rosa in Austin.  If you don’t feel like shelling out the cash for the show, we’ve got a couple tickets to give away to one lucky winner.  Let’s keep things real simple like on this one.  Enter a comment about why you should be the lucky winner and be as creative and crazy as you can.  We’ll pick our winners on Thursday.  Don’t forget to enter a valid email address so we can get in touch with you.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/matesofstate.mp3]

Download: Mates of State – My Only Offer [MP3]

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