As we are well into the year 2009, it’s time we take a good look at what makes the Austin music scene work so well. We’d like to say that it’s us, but we know that a whole lot more goes into the scene than the many writers and fans in the city limits. Instead, we turn your eyes to those Icons, those heralded heroes of our town; the ones that make it all run so smoothly. Be it a musician or producer, these are our favorite Austin Icons. We also excluded those who made Austin music famous, and then left the town for not-so-better waters. Yea, I am looking at you Britt Daniel! Why did you leave us? Just for that, you aren’t an Austin Icon; these next five characters are! Not only that, but these aren’t your grandparents Austin Icons. This isn’t Stevie Ray playing guitar, nor is this the Janis playing at Threadgills; these are your new Icons, paving the way for the new artists and the new scene! Follow the jump for our top 5 new Austin music icons.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better place to play than the current state of things in Sweden. One of those bands who hasn’t gotten too much press, but who deserves a great deal of praise is The Mary Onettes. Their upcoming Dare EP is set to come out digitally, with a physical release slated for June. Here is a taste of the title track off said EP.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dare.mp3]
Download: The Mary Onettes – Dare [MP3]
Everyone spent all day Thursday, and a better part of the early week trying to find the new single , Stillness is the Move, which is coming out on the new Dirty Projectors album, Bitte Orca, which comes out later on Domino Records. Either you love them or hate them, but everyone out there is really looking forward to this release, us included.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/dirtyprojectors_stillnessisthemove.mp3]
Download: Dirty Projectors – Stillness is the Move [MP3]
Ruta Maya is a venue that probably doesn’t get enough coverage on our site, so we thought we’d throw some love their way for a sweet event they’ve got going down Saturday night. The show is a special one that features several of our favorite local up and coming acts doing nothing but Kinks covers. Lineup includes ATH favorites Golden Bear, The Bubbles, Bankrupt and the Borrowers, Tunnels, Zookeeper and a mess load of other bands that won’t all fit on this page. Music starts at 8:30 with a cover charge of $7. You can get more info on the attached poster or on the Hoot Night myspace page.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/goldenbear-nightlights.mp3]
Download: Golden Bear – Night Lights [MP3]
So as many of you may know, a huge new compilation disc called Dark Was the Night was recently released by the 4AD record label and Yeasayer laid down this track for it. We’ve loved ‘Tightrope” since we first saw it on The Current and then again on La Blogotheque so we were excited to hear that the band was giving the jam a proper recording session. But then bummer, the Dark Was the Night version just didn’t compare to the live tracks. Maybe the band felt the same way and maybe that’s why they played/filmed yet another version of the song for the fine folks at 4AD (or maybe they can’t make up their damn mind). This new version brings in the banjo with some melodica and can be heard/seen over on youtube. It’s way cooler than this studio version.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/yeas_tightrope.mp3]
Download: Yeasayer – Tightrope [MP3]
Well, it’s not exactly a traditional from the closet, as The Mozz is still around and kicking out great tunes, but we here at ATH feel like we need to honor the man this week with his very own segment. Morrissey will be making his way to Bass Concert Hall this Sunday night to belt those songs out to all you lovers, and odds are you won’t regret the price of the ticket. Whether you love him from the Smiths or his solo work, we all have to give in to the fact that his voice alone influenced hordes of indie kids for years to come. For that, and for your great songs, we bring you Morrissey, out from the closet.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/19-the-more-you-ignore-me-the-closer-i-get.mp3]
Just found a song by this band Headless Heroes over on LHB and immediately thought it needed to be on our site. The song appears on the album The Silence of Love which features nothing but unique and obscure cover songs. Band mastermind Eddie Bezalel handpicked some of his favorite musicians to play on the project and also tabbed incredible folk star Alela Diane to provide vocals. The combination of stellar musicianship and Alela’s vocals create something really beautiful. Check out “True Love Will Find You in the End” or stream the whole new album on the Headless Heroes website.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/true_love_will_find_you_in_the_end.mp3]
Download: Headless Heroes – True Love Will Find You In the End [MP3]
Occasionally the overseas hype makes its way to these Eastern shores, and in those cases it rarely amounts to much. This time, I Was a King, aim to put all that hype to rest, as they have an album of such quality that it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with every single song on the album.
From the opening moments of the album, there is a definite haziness to the production, as if the album was washed in a dense Irish fog; that sentimentality will remain throughout the record, though the album definitely breaks through in a major way.
More than likely, you will find that this album borrows largely from the late 90s Brit-pop as the guitars carry a certain amount of fuzz, and you would be hard pressed not to find some similarities between the band and Teenage Fanclub. There’s elemental grit on almost every single song that comes your way, but beneath it sleeps that great pop beast that is near and dear to our hearts.
One issue that some might take upon immediate listens is that the lyrics are not openly decipherable; one must listen closely throughout the entire album in order to get a hold on the precise subject matter. But isn’t this what we all want from our music? Does music have to be so immediately accessible? No! This album answers that time and time again, as it unfolds with rewarding moment after rewarding moment. And those vocals are so warm and inviting that they recall little known band The Comas, so much so that one might confuse the singers as the same man, but alas, there is a great distance between the two.
It’s difficult to describe such an album that goes all over the place and yet remains stationary. The album artwork in this case is a sufficient descriptor of the album, as each song is full of different colors and sounds. In part the album is 90s power-pop, but psychedelic moments shine through from the same core, only to be outdone by the space fuzz guitarmonies that cradle the vocals. This is an album that refuses to be defined, and it refuses to sit in one place. Here you have ADHD recorded, perfected, and sold to appease your ears.
No matter what you find enjoyable, you will find that this album is perfectly suited for you and your listening. It’s not overtly abrasive where you can’t sleep with it at night, nor is it near mellow enough where you don’t want to crank it all the way to eleven; you won’t be able to put this one down. Please, spin it again and again.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/14-norman-bleik.mp3]
Download: I Was A King – Norman Bleik [MP3]
Here’s a chance for all you fans who couldn’t make it out to the expensive as hell Leonard Cohen show last week to dry your tearful eyes. You can attempt to recreate the live experience you missed with your very own copy of the recently released Leonard Cohen Live in London DVD. The live performance features 2 hours of classic Cohen hits at London’s 02 Arena during his 2009 world tour (Amazon has more details and a video sample from the DVD). Our contest is simple. Simply leave a comment telling us about your favorite Leonard Cohen song and why it’s the best in your mind. We’ll pick winners and announce them on Tuesday of next week. Don’t forget to leave a valid email address so we can get in touch with you if you win. May the biggest fan win.
Ariel Pink is one of those artists who is fairly unpredictable when it comes to the live show and you never really know what the hell the guy is gonna do. Make your way out to Mohawk on Friday night to catch Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti along with blog hyped band Vivian Girls and opener Yellow Fever. If nothing else, Vivian girls proved by their SXSW sets that they can put on a decent show. Tickets for this show will be sold only at the door with music starting around 9:30.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/vivian_girls_-_where_do_you_run_to.mp3]
Download: Vivian Girls – Where Do You Run To [MP3]