Show Preview: NYE 2 @ Cheer Up Charlies (12/31)

Date 12/31/11
Location Cheer up Charlies
Doors 8pm
Tickets $5 @ Door

New Years Eve is upon us, and I doubt any of you people have really solid plans for what you’re doing to celebrate.  Well, let us assist you in that department with news of a party we’re helping sponsor going down at Cheer Up Charlies on the East Side.  The show features an awesome “locals only” line-up in the form of Gold Spine, TV Torso, Ringo Deathstarr, Young Girls, Marmalakes, Sleep Good, The Zoltars, The Sour Notes and a Mouthfeel DJ set to end the night.  Giveaways will also be handed out out in between each set by Fricano’s Deli, Strut Boutique, Birds Barbershop, Tiffs Treats, and The Highball.  More information on this badass event with complete set times for each band can be seen over on the event’s facebook page.

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/02_Hot_Pink_Flares.mp3]

Download: Sour Notes – Hot Pink Flares [MP3]

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/MEXICO_IN_DECEMBER.mp3]

Download: Young Girls – Mexico in December [MP3]

Top Songs of the Year (50-1)

Yesterday we brought you some of our favorite hits from the last year, but now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. Time to test ourselves against the best, and see what you guys think of our Top 50 Songs of 2011. Regardless, these are ours, so we’re not changing, but I think there’s tons of hits on this list. Follow the jump for list.

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Show Review: Holy Ghost! @ The Parish (11/17)

The busy show season winds down.

Third night of the week at The Parish, Holy Ghost! for a change of pace after seeing AABondy w/Gold Leaves and Real Estate. Alex is the frontman, Nick lurks behind the drumkit. By bringing along four more, their songs come to life. These guys have opened for Chromeo, LCD Soundsystem and Cut Copy. Big shows. How did they do as a headliner? How did they handle the room?

Jessica 6 opened, Eli Escobar spun, I took pictures.

Jump past…

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Friday Top 5: Instruments

We spend a ton of time on this site covering music and musicians, but rarely do we ever set our focus on the tools of music-maker’s trade. Excluding voice, clapping, whistling, etc. as instruments, which were almost certainly the first true musical tools, several apparatuses have left indelible marks on human society. Without instruments, some of the finest art and music in the recorded history of man would cease to exist.  The romantic image of a child and a piano becoming the next Chopin lead parents around the world to push their children into musical apathy, but sometimes a musician needs an instrument to find their voice, not the other way around. Throughout the history of music, a few instruments stand out as more important than others, so here is the FT5 of influential instruments.

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Mohawk 5th Anniversary Begins Tonight

Date 9/29 – 10/2
Location Mohawk
Doors Varies
Tickets 4 day Passes or Day Passes Available

The best little venue in town is celebrating their 5th anniversary starting tonight with some great shows planned all weekend long.  You can check out individual shows, or pony up $42 for a 4 day pass of badass music.  Here’s a quick list of what’s going down, door times, and where you can buy tickets.

THURSDAY – 9/29 – Doors @ 7pm.  Tickets Right here

Les Savy Fav, The Arm, Canoe, Christian Bland & The Revelators, Shapes Have Fangs, The Vitamins, Johnny Hottub

FRIDAY – 9/30 – Doors @ 8pm.  Tickets over here.

Grupo Fantasma, Soul Happening DJs, Master Blaster Sound System, Peligrosa All Stars

SATURDAY – 10/1 – Doors @ 8pm. Tickets in the same spot.

Lucero, Moonlight Towers, Frank Smith, Mike & The Moonpies, East Cameron Folkcore

SUNDAY – 10/2 – Doors @ 6:30pm.  FREE fools!

My Education,Transmography, Marriage, Golden Bear, Lean Hounds

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/04-Lets-Get-Out-of-Here.mp3]

Download: Les Savy Fav – Let’s Get Out of Here [MP3]

Light for Fire – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

At this point in time, there probably aren’t too many people familiar with the Portland outfit, Light for Fire.  Honestly, that’s probably the biggest tragedy we’ll come across, as their self-titled debut is chocked full of brilliant pop moments, fusing moments of great indie-pop with arrangements created by a singer-songwriter format.  It’s just flat out golden.

You’re going to struggle to find as good a one-two punch as the opening tracks on Light for Fire this year.  “The Huckster” appeals to those interested in the craftsmanship of a singer/songwriter, with the majority of the song revolving around strummed guitar and J. Nicholas Allard’s great vocal performance. From here the band joins Allard with the stomper, “NY (By the Hand),” which is in the running for one of the greater tracks of the year.  There’s a hint of a scratch to Allard’s voice, but with the banging piano and his storytelling, there’s not much that sounds better coming through your stereo speakers.

If you’re looking for some sort of generic marker to throw at Light for Fire, you’ll easily find comparisons to Spoon.  But, that being said, the band has cleaned up some of the noisy meandering that’s been associated with Spoon, instead allowing the poppier side to push on through.  Take “The Letters,” and you’ll have that semi-stomp, with Allard doing his best to give that scratchy croon perfected by Britt Daniels.  Even “Green Life” seems to take a bit from the comparison, using hints of piano to craft their tune, reminiscent of some of the singles off GaGaGaGaGaGa.  This isn’t a bad comparison, as few people write great pop numbers in the vein of Spoon. But, I suppose someone’s bound to get caught up in the similarities.

But, the more you listen to these eleven tracks, the more you see the band has definitely attached themselves to the songwriting of Allard, and rightfully so. “Where I Was Born” is a track for storytellers, with the narrator giving a brief summation of his life.  There’s restraint in the guitar playing, that is until the band jumps in, making it a passionate Americana rocker. And with “4th of July,” you get a quiet number that evokes other songwriters from the Portland area.  Allard’s voice takes on a more gentle quality, and the guitar lines barely trickle into your ear.

One of the best things you can do for your day is to get your hands on this wonderful effort by Light For Fire.  Yes, there’s touchstones of modern indie stars, but beneath those allusions lives great songwriting.  It’s executed to perfection, providing listeners with eleven tracks, not one of which begs to be skipped. For a band seemingly coming out of nowhere, this is the perfect place to start.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/nybythehand.mp3]

Download: Light for Fire – NY (By the Hand) [MP3]

A.A. Bondy – Believers

Rating: ★★★½☆

For years now, A.A Bondy has been riding the waves of undiscovered artist; while garnering some devoted fans, he hasn’t exactly achieved instant fame and success of the independent world. However, as per the intrigue of his last album and the original detailed work of his very first effort, this hasn’t seemed to hurt Bondy in the slightest; he is still a master at his folksy craft.

There isn’t a song on this album more dauntingly beautiful than “Skull and Bones,” which crops up third in the listening experience. From the moment it begins, there is a foreboding feeling instilled by the effervescent bass and guitar combo. It’s an unsettling sound that gives a sense of instability and then A.A himself jumps in with those cautionary vocals that add to the darkness of this twisting song.  At a little over three minutes long, it jumps right in and grabs your focus right from the start, and then pulls you further and further in, and by the time the looped vocals of the chorus flood your ears, you can’t help but notice the elegant poignancy that the track dangles out there for you to snatch up on repeated listens. A.A Bondy knows this, and includes a short, cleansing song after it, as to break away from its quiet resonance and move back to his more traditional folk style.

This is a lovely change for Bondy, and though it’s unparalleled on this album, it is certainly not the extent of good songs to be found on Believers. You have late stunners such as “The Twist,” that is just dripping in delectable folk elements and yet it still has a quick pace that doesn’t allow it to be as heavy as earlier songs. This pacing allows it to sink in slower, and not become a bogged down album. By no means is it fluffy pop fuzz, but it is not so thick that it becomes a drag to listen to.

For a third release, this album is very consistent, at least at first glance. It seems that Bondy is just destined to remain under the radar in his work, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as he is currently a man with three solid albums, each of which with its golden moments. This being said, I can definitely see Believers becoming more with time as it ripens in the minds of listeners. Regardless, it’s still worth a good listening to; time will tell if it will be something extraordinary.

Low – C’mon

Rating: ★★★½☆

Low has definitely been around for a while: since 1993 they have been crafting their signature slow core beats for the world to enjoy. Hailing from Duluth Minnesota, this three-part band certainly knows how to spin beautiful tales of whatever they fancy and if nine studio albums wasn’t testament enough to this, than this tenth should seal the deal.

To start things off, Low showcases their most distinctive quality right up front on “Try To Sleep.” Sounding distantly akin to that of some Mott the Hoople song, the album begins with the male/female harmonies of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. The light percussive tinkling in the background combined with the slow strumming of the thick guitars comes together to make for a killer groovy jam. Despite the predictability of this sort of sound, you can’t help but take comfort in the peaceful elegance that they create. They are able to drift from a grungier kind of sound to that of clear and compact, forming their own kind of musical genre. From the first to the second song you can see this transition fairly well. On “You See Everything,” Parker takes lead vocals, and her buttery voice just coats everything in a golden light of majesty. The song meanders its slow churning way along, with Parker putting her touch of sweetness upon the topmost layer.

For an album that doesn’t have a big change in tempo, it manages to stay interesting until the very end. “Nightingale,” the third to last track, leaps out as dark and formidable, but twists into a peaceful, but still somber lullaby-esque song. Sparhawk has this sour drawl-like quality to his voice that makes everything drenched in emotion; it’s easy to tell that this man puts a lot of himself into his music. His deep and powerful voice is similar to that of Matt Berninger from The National. Like Mr. Berninger, Sparhawk can convey maximum emotion with his minimalist style.

While C’mon does not falter in its strength, it does get a bit heavy after a while. It’s not too heavy that it would deter from further listening, rather, it grows on you. Low leaves with the feeling that this album was a long-term work that this band really strived to perfect. For a group that has been around for so long, this is true evidence of their talent and longevity and it is another great edition to their ever growing catalog of albums.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Try-to-Sleep-1.mp3]

Download: Low – Try to Sleep [MP3]

C’mon is out now on Sub Pop.

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