• 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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Ben Kweller – How Ya Lookin’ Southbound…

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Long forgotten Texan, Ben Kweller, has finally released some new music, coming our way this time with a tour EP that you can pick up here. No matter where you find it, its good to have new tunes from this guy.

From his first days in Radish, it seems as if Ben has been trying hard to find his own voice. Sometimes it seems to depend on where he’s living, or who he’s hanging with at the time he’s recording. His last album definitely seemed to have a NYC vibe to it. This time, we find him going, dare I say, Ryan Adams. Although, you can definitely feel the influence of the road on this album, it seems almost as if BK has returned to Texas.

“Fight” is a twangy little number, accompanied by some slide-guitar. Of course, the lyrics are every bit Ben Kweller, using clever rhyming couplets a la Conor Oberst. The end half of the song has a definite honky-tonk feel to it as the piano solo courses through the latter half of the song. It’s strange hearing Ben’s voice on this track.

He continues the country-tinged efforts with “Things I Like to Do.” It’s almost exactly like the first song, at least in instrumentation, but this is the first song when you can clearly make the distinction between Ben Kweller and any other alt-country singer. There’s possibly a little too much slide-guitar on this song, but it’s one of the more warming songs on the EP.

“Sawdust Man” is the only song on this album that just doesn’t fit. It’s ridden by a piano throughout, which definitely makes it seem as if he is trying to pull of a little Dr. Dog. There are several moments when his voice clearly struggles to hit its note, which is really disheartening. For some reason, this some just doesn’t come across the way one would hope. We all make mistakes.

He scores a definite winner, however, with “The Biggest Flower.” This song maintains a little bit of that coutnry sensibility that has been driven into this EP, but at the same time, it brings back the pop element that made Ben Kweller so endearing to us all. This is probably one of the more mature songs hes written, which makes it the stand out track on this EP.

The EP is closed off with “Somehow,” another fine tune. One might describe this as a whiskey song. It seems as if the song is full of longing and loneliness, just judging the feel of the vocals. That’s not surprising considering this is an EP written around Ben’s most recent touring scheduling. It’s a fine close to a pretty decent offering from one of our favorite Texans.

And speaking of that touring schedule, Ben Kweller is coming to Austin on November 2nd. You can buy yourself a set of tickets over at Frontagate Tickets.

Bloc Party On Take Away

If you haven’t seen the video yet of Bloc Party performing an acoustic version of “This Modern Love” behind a bar in Paris, I suggest you watch it now.  The video was shot and produced by the La Blogotheque website as part of their excellent Take Away Shows series.  The older tune is a reminder that Bloc party wrote some outstanding songs for Silent Alarm and their new album pales in comparison.  Maybe they should’ve just made an acoustic album and not the techno/dance rubbish that is Intimacy?

Cruiserweight CD Release @ Emo’s (10/31)

Cruiserweight will be giving you one of many options for shows on Halloween night here in Austin.  The local act will be playing at Emo’s with tickets on sale for only $10.  The show is in celebration of the band’s recent LP release Big Bold Letters which came out on the 7th of this month.  Check out “Balboa” from that release below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/irdd-cruiserweight-balboa.mp3]

Download: Cruiserweight – Balboa [MP3]

Eef Barzelay On Daytrotter

So maybe just maybe we talk about the Daytrotter website too much, but we’ll keep posting about ’em as long as they keep bringing us gems like this.  For the second exceptional live set this week, we get Clem Snide front man Eef Barzelay.  Eef performs two songs from his recent release Lose Big and two other previously unreleased tracks.  Download MP3s of the performance now.  Thanks again Daytrotter, you’re cool.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/eefbarzelay2_daytrottersession_1.mp3]

Download: Eef Barzelay – Make Another Tree(live on daytrotter) [MP3]

Magnolia Electric Co. @ Mohawk (10/30)

Ah the tough decisions you must make living in Austin…  If you aren’t a supporter of TV on the Radio, you’ve got another choice this stacked Thursday night.  Magnolia Electric Co. will be making a stop at the Mohawk in Austin on Thursday as part of their rare tour of the US this fall.  Another favorite artist of ours, Will Johnson (Centro-Matic), will be opening things up for the Stockholm band around 9:30 or 10.  You can buy tickets now for only $8 or I’m sure you can get one at the door.

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