• Top Albums of 2021

    Honestly, I’m pretty over lists at this point. They’re arbitrary and don’t really reflect anything but someone’s tastes, except here where they reflect the tastes of three individuals…because that’s how

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  • Show Pics: Idles @ Stubb’s

    After over 2 years of being a home body and living with anxiety, mixed with a dash of unease, it was an overwhelmingly cathartic experience to get out of the

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  • Fest Pics: ACL 2021 In Review

    We are a little bit clear of ACL 2021’s two weekends. We dealt with the mental gymnastics required to attend both weekends during a pandemic. Proof of a negative test

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  • Rock n’ Recipes: Quivers

    Earlier this year, Quivers released the most excellent Golden Doubt, receiving rave reviews all over the globe…not to mention ATH adoration. So, having followed the band, we reached out to

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Summer Mix Series

Yes we know that summer has been dead and gone for a while now, but summer mixes can be enjoyed all year long!  The Yewknee Blog has compiled a massize website with every summer mix tape they could find on the internet.  Trying to count all the free mixes and free mp3s on the Summer Mix Series website would just give you a headache so don’t even try.  Head over to the site and download all the free music of summer you can fit on your hard drive.

Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping

Rating: ★★★★☆

Of Montreal have been purveyors of cool for quite some time now, and they are a group, or a man, continuing to push the boundaries of pop music. Here, Kevin Barnes, does his best to deconstruct pop structure in order to make Skeletal Lamping one of the more interesting listens of the year.

Let’s rid ourselves of the main flaw that is present on this album, and in fact, I’m quite disappointed with the lyrical output. Much has been made of Barnes’ alter-ego, a super-sexed black transsexual, but the presence of that person destroys a lot of the album’s credibility. Lyrically, this album pushes the limits of acceptance beyond it’s barrier, and although I’m sure various people’s will claim that “we can do it softcore, if you want,” but that doesn’t make the sexual innuendo worthy of our attention. Typically, Of Montreal albums maintain credible lyrics, in some manner, and sure, they exist here and there, but most will be turned off by the ridiculousness present.

Now, the band has continuously been moving towards an electronic sound since Satanic Panic in the Attic, and this album is what one can assume is the last step. For the most part, it’s difficult to find where full-band participation might come into play, as the majority of the skeletal instrumentation is electronic. However, the group, as per usual, splices their elements carefully throughout the backbone of electronic sounds. One of the highlights might be the horns on “An Eluardian Instance,” where they blast in with perfect accompaniment.

One of the most spectacular aspects of this album, based merely on Barnes’ attempt to tear down the walls of modern pop, is that listening to the entire thing is like going on a scavenger hunt for perfect pop gems. Harmonies abound, hopping in and out of the core of each song, hiding around the corners of our hearts. You must carefully follow through each song in order to get the most out of this album. It’s a daunting task.

Therein lies the problem most listeners will encounter. Can you stomach the hours of careful listening to find one of the most gratifying listening experiences around? It’s a hard choice for most, and one that most people will not be able to make until several listens of the album, and by that point it’s too late, you’ve already put it aside for the rest of the year. But, if you hold on for a couple more listens, you will be making some of the stranger mix tapes among your groups of friends, based solely on the fact that you used clips from the 47th second on when you decided to include “Death is Not a Parallel Move” on your year end mix.

It’s not an easy listen by any means, but weeks into your listening experience you will find that there are more and more elements you missed, ultimately asking you to return again and again to one of the more interesting listens of the year.

Other Lives

It’s Friday afternoon, you’re painfully waiting for 5 o’clock and Austin Town Hall wants to throw a new band your way. Maybe your brain isn’t working anymore from the stressful week almost behind you, but why not take some new music to your pre-pre-halloween party this weekend? Today we bring you, Other Lives, who hail from Stillwater, OK. The band, formerly know as Kunek, will be dropping their debut self-titled EP on the 21st of October. Here’s the single from that EP “Paper Cities”.

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

Download: Other Lives – Paper Cities [MP3]

Girl Talk @ Emo’s (10/20)

Girl Talk, the master of all things mash-up/dj releated, will be bringing the noise at Emo’s on Monday night. Unfortunately, tickets for the show have been sold out for a while now, so try searching craigslist, buying one from a “street vendor”, or entering the Austin Sound Check contest.  Music should get started around 10pm with opening acts Hearts of Darknesses and Grand Buffet. Don’t forget you can still pay what you want for Girl Talk’s latest effort Feed the Animals.

Ham1

I read a little blurb about this band, Ham1, on MOKB and thought we’d give them a little love as well.  The band hails from Athens, GA and plans to release their third LP, The Underground Stream, sometime this fall.  If you aren’t feeeling to spendy, you can downloaded a free copy of this album on the band’s website! While there, why not pick up the entire Ham1 catalog?  It’s also free.  Find out what this band is all about with opening track to their new album “Will You Ever See Me Again?” below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/01-will-you-ever-see-me-again_.mp3]

Download: Ham1 – Will You Ever See Me Again? [MP3]

Portugal. The Man @ Emo’s (10/18)

One of the few bands to come out of Alaska, Portugal. The Man, are making the huge trek to Austin on Saturday night.  The Emo’s show will only cost ya $12 and gets started around 9pm.  Get your tickets now and be in attendance for a band that everyone will know about real soon.  Latest single from the band “Lay me Back Down” can be heard below.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/01_lay_me_back_down.mp3]

Download: Portugal. The Man – Lay me Back Down [MP3]

Maker Faire This Weekend

The premiere event for grassroots American innovation, Maker Faire, will be going down for the second year this weekend in Austin.  Maker Faire takes place this Saturday and Sunday with tickets running $25 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children.  The weekend’s events include crazy things like rockets, robotics, a life-sized mouse trap, Mentos fountains, fire acts, catapults, arts and crafts, a ton of bands, and loads more madness sure to delight.  El Tule, Foot Patrol, The Dialtones, and The Hero Cycle are just a few of the numerous bands playing over the weekend.  Full Schedule of events can be read on the Maiker Faire website.

I’m From Barcelona – Who Killed Harry…

I’m From Barcelona – Who Killed Harry Houdini?

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Did you have any idea that the Swedish supergroup I’m From Barcelona had another album hitting stateside?  Don’t worry, no one really covered it, but sure enough, we now have Who Killed Harry Houdini?.

Opening tracks pretty much establish the mood for all albums, no matter what we say; that’s the job of the person who sequences the songs. “Andy,” the album opener showcases an entirely new aesthetic for the group, most noticeable is the absence of sprawling pop infectiousness. It’s quiet, almost as if it’s the choir score to a Tim Burton film. The artwork, along with the album title, hint at this darker underbelly.

Remnants of the last album do remain throughout this new effort.  Many of the songs hold tightly to the choir backing vocals, a la Polyphonic Spree. Still available is the landscape sounds created by piling layers and layers of instrumentation and vocals upon one another.  You can even find handclaps and shakers here and there. BUT, it’s missing a key ingredient!

SPIRIT! When that guy from Barcelona introduced me to all his friends on his last album I remember being really excited.  Not only had a collective of musicians united to make zany-pop fueled extravagances, but they were good at it too!  Songs like “We’re From Barcelona” or “Treehouse” oozed with pop sensibility, creating listening experiences even hippies could groove too.  Here, it’s gone.  It’s as if they put all that energy into the first album, and now they’ve run completely out of gas.  Also, the level of horn work has been greatly diminished.  It’s strange considering the frequent usage of the horns on the last effort. It’s just another thing  that indicates an entirely different direction for the group.

This album isn’t an awful attempt; it actually has some redeeming moments, albeit slower moments.  Unfortunately, they’ve gone so far the other way that it is difficult to find any correlation between this Who Killed Harry Houdini? and Let Me Introduce My Friends. One album is fully shimmering joy, the other lacks emotion; compare and contrast; go!

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