New Tunes from Spiral Stairs

stairsSpiral Stairs is Scott, one of the founding fathers of Pavement, so you can already label us stoked on the news of his solo release this October on Matador Records.  The album is titled The Real Feel, and it features various artists making guest appearances, including Austin’s own Ian Moore.  Some guy named Kevin Drew is on there as well. Sit back and enjoy the brightness of this new tune by Spiral Stairs.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/spiral-stairs-maltese-terrier.mp3]

Download: Spiral Stairs – Maltese Terrier [MP3]

New Tunes From Avett Brothers

avettbrothersThe indie-folk music has been getting a lot of attention on our site recently and a new Avett Brothers song just means that the genre will be getting more attention from us.  This new song “I and love and You” will appear on an album of the same name due out September 29th via Columbia.  Anyone want to offer some first opinions?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/the-avett-bros-i-and-love-and-you.mp3]

Download: The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You [MP3]

Fool’s Gold

foolsgoldNo not that terrible movie with Kate HudsonFool’s Gold is a brand new collective/band hailing from the big city of Los Angeles.  We call the band a collective because it started out as more of a side project of sorts and has since moved into a huge band full of artists with mixed musical influences.  You’ll find members of Foreign Born, a former We Are Scientists drummer, a member of The Fall, and tons of other talented musicians.  You can expect debut self-titled full length from the band September 29th via IAMSOUND Records.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/01-surprise-hotel-1.mp3]

Download: Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel [MP3]

New Tunes from Hiawata!

hiawata Suffice to say that I really enjoy really clean indie-pop, especially when it’s done like the band Hiawata! does.  They’re another Scandinavian bunch just pumping out good tunes, and the track we’re throwing out below will come out on their new album These Boys and This Band is All I Know. This track put me down sounds a little bit like taking the vocals from Beulah and making them run through a maze of 90s radio pop like Tripping Daisy.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/04-put-me-down-1.mp3]

Download: Hiawata – Put Me Down [MP3]

Scorpion Child @ Beauty Bar (6/24)

scorpionchildbyallisonnarro_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85If you’re ready for a night of face melting rock for cheap, head over to Beauty Bar for a set by local boys Scorpion Child.  The shows kicks off around 10pm and will run you $5 at the door.  Fellow local rockers Ringo Deathstarr and Spain Colored Orange will be providing your opening entertainment.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/scorpion_child-a_million_lines.mp3]

Download: Scorpion Child – A Million Lines [MP3]

Rock Plaza Central – At the Moment of…

rock-plazas Rating: ★★★½☆

You have to give it up to Toronto’s Rock Plaza Central; not only have they just finished their new album, but they managed to make it the most long-winded title: At the Moment of Our Most Needing or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Were Not Alone. Yet again, it’s a record that begs to be listened to from start to finish, and if you make it the entire way through the album, you’re destined to be rewarded.

“Oh I Can” creates an emphatic opener worthy of grabbing the listener’s immediate attention.  Slowly, almost inaudibly, percussion sounds inch along the recording, creating a tension which begs the band to let it all loose.  And they do, chanting out the song’s title in gang vocals, before singer Chris Eaton focuses a little bit more on the traditional verse tactics. And before you know it, you feel as if you CAN too.  Then the song goes off into the distance, replaced instead by an instrumental number.

This is one of the more noticeable additions to this album, as Eaton and Co. clearly worked to construct a concise album with all the pieces ornately put down with purpose.  Every song carefully melts into the next, flowing like a river through an orchestral valley in the country of Americana. It’s here that you see the band share a lot of resemblance to Theater Fire.  “Them That are Good and Them That are Bad” is a song that uses layer upon layer of musicianship and craftwork to carefully flesh out every bit of the song; this is a song that exemplifies the band doing their best work to date.

While Chris Eaton’s voice might steer some listeners in the wrong direction for it’s cross between Jeff Mangum and Will Johnson, it definitely falls directly in line with the patchwork of the band.  String instruments are abundant, as well as various horn elements, and non-traditional instruments such as a banjo play a great role in the hodge-podge construction of this album.  Sure, it lies somewhere in line with the folk/americana aesthetic, but there is more at work here.  You really get the feeling that Eaton has put a lot of thought into the composition of every inch of song, much as he would his novels, of which he has written two.  Interestingly, there aren’t a lot of stand-out moments on this album, just a lot of great craftsmanship and organization; in the end, that makes up for everything, as the record is as complete an album as they come, filled with beauty and inspiration.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/07-them-that-are-good-and-them-that-are-bad.mp3]

Download: Rock Plaza Central – Them That are Good and Them That are Bad [MP3]


Oxford Collapse Call It Quits

oxford_collapse_2A sad day in the world of indie music news as one of our favorite bands of 2008 Oxford Collapse have decided to call it quits after over 8 years in existence.  We’ve enjoyed this band ever since we caught their show at Mohawk several months back and had the chance to interview them before their set.  You can read an official statement about the break up over on the Sub Pop blog.  Take some time today to check out the last single from Oxford Collapse called “Birthday Wars” or read our positive review of the band’s last album Bits.  Let’s hope the guys keep making music outside of this project.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/birthdaywars.mp3]

Download: Oxford Collapse – Birthday Wars [MP3]

Contest: Hockey On Vinyl

hockeyHockey are a band straight out of hot music scene Portland Oregon who have been receiving a ton of positive attention recently for their unique take on indie-pop/rock.  The band is fairly new to the game so check out their most recent single “Too Fake” below if you aren’t familiar with their sound.  To help spread the word about their music, Hockey want to give away some free music to the new fans they are creating.  Two lucky fans/winners will receive their very own copy of the band’s newest LP Mind Chaos on old school vinyl.  To enter, simply leave a comment about what’s on your mind or tweet us and mention something about the contest in your tweet.  Contest will close on Tuesday of next week (6/30).

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/hockey-too-fake.mp3]

Download: Hockey – Too Fake [MP3]

Talib Kweli @ Emo’s (6/24)

500x333_12925630talib-kweli1It’s rare that the ATH gives much mention to hip-hop, but when an artist like Talib Kweli comes to town, we’ve got to get the word out.  Having seen the man in action before, I can tell you that a ticket will be well worth the cost of admission and not at all what you’d expect from the usual boring rap show.  Several openers are involved including Strong Arm Steady, Zeale, Traygod, and local Bavu Blakes hosting the thing.  Tickets are on sale now for $15 and music starts at 10pm.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/get-by.mp3]

Download: Talib Kweli – Get By [MP3]

Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer

dragRating: ★★★½☆

Let’s face it, Spencer Krug is a prolific guy.  Not only does he have the time to put together hits with his friends in Wolf Parade, but he also has made several records under the Sunset Rubdown moniker. Dragonslayer is his third proper album under the title, and it’s being released by Jagjaguwar Records.

Since the release of his first album, Shut Up I Am Dreaming, Spencer has enlisted various other members to flesh out his sounds.  The most noticeable change on this new album is that Camilla Wynee Ingr plays a more prominent role in singing backing vocals.  Her voice does a great job to compliment the sometimes wavering voice of Krug, providing a solid balance to the sound.

Of course, since the first release, we’ve come to expect that the songs of Sunset Rubdown would be grandiose affairs, almost epic in a sense.  This album gives you much of the same as almost every song sprawls over the five minute mark. Opener “Silver Moons” is your traditional piano driven Krug tune, and the restraint he uses in staying within the boundaries of the song definitely provide the listener with some of the album’s finer moments.

But, the opener is followed up by three raucous numbers, which those in search of a faster pace to accommodate Spencer will enjoy. While “Idiot Heart” slowly builds towards a calamitous ending, “Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Oh” takes off from the minute it picks up.  One of the detractors from this period in the album is that at times there seems to be too much going on in the space of the song. Spencer’s softer side seems to be the most fitting for his voice in this setting, and when he goes into other territory, the songs seem a bit strained. “Black Swan” is one of those numbers that seems to struggle with too much going on within the song.

As always, this man can pen some absolutely wonderful songs within the span of an album.  “Paper Lace” is one such song where you realize just how perfect he can be.  Keyboard and guitars seem to just hang in thin air, while his voice never seems to falter one single bit.  If only he could consistently knock out ballads like this every time out. And it also serves as the song that kicks off the best moments of the album.

“You Go On Ahead” and “Nightingale/December Song” are some of the best moments on this album.  Here the band finally has all the pieces of the cryptic puzzle put together.  Tribal drums dully rumble beneath the songs as Ingr’s vocal accompaniment displays the depth of the line-up.  When the sprawling tunes sound this strong it’s hard to see look back and see where the album ever took a misstep.

Then we close it out with “Dragon’s Lair.” It’s the ten minute epic that caps off this record perfectly.  It combines all the elements that you’ve witnessed on the album early on, and it puts them in a one-song extravaganza to encapsulate all the ideas posed by Spencer and the rest of Sunset Rubdown.  It’s a fitting end to a splendid story.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/05-paper-lace.mp3]

Download: Sunset Rubdown – Paper Lace [MP3]

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