Fresh Tune from Lunar Gold

We first met Jason Morris back in the early days of The Clouds are Ghosts, but over the past few years he’s really been focused on his Lunar Gold project…today we’ve got a new one from said project. Of late, the project has focused on crafting these thoughtful pop numbers, and this one is much the same. Morris’ voice has this angelic tone, accented by layered vocal accompaniment as it hangs gently in the air. Musically, there’s this understated elegance; it reminds me of the orchestral moves that Other Lives made…like a dreamscape that transports you to some celestial world. The band celebrate the release of their new single on June 21st over at Stay Gold!

Infectious Pop Tune from The Golden Age of TV

We’re midway through our week here, and why not enjoy the spirited pop of The Golden Age of TV. The music’s vibe works in contrast to the song’s message of holding on to what’s passed, but even the happiest songs sometimes have a message we all need to hear. I think Bea Fletcher’s vocal performance is spot-on, especially as she stretches her voice to reach those higher notes. It seems like this Leeds-based project is just getting started, so expect to hear more from them in the near future…I promise I’ll help you out.

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ATX Spotlight: Golden Dawn Arkestra

music_play-2 You should probably already know about Golden Dawn Arkestra in some capacity, as they’re one of Austin’s own, but have you heard this new single, “Stargazer,” yet? No? Well, press play below and get ready to take a journey with this group into past, present and future, or perhaps another dimension. This song starts slowly and mysteriously, the female vocals entering the mix like heavy fog, as subtle guitar winds its way through the song, and the elements begin to join in. Then, the band launches in full force into the 70s swirling disco that simultaneously makes you want to dance and watch a crime-fighting action show. They’ve got a new LP coming out next February, and if it’s anything like this first single, we’re in for a real treat. Take a listen.

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Show Preview: Wednesday in Austin – Growl, Lunar Gold, Nic Armstrong

austin_mainMidweek Show? Why not. There’ s a bunch on the bill this week…some local, some travelers. Hotel Vegas has Growl and Que Pasa, but I’d also like to point out that Winter is coming in from Cali…and that band was incredible during SXSW (Show starts at 10). Or, you can head on out over to Spiderhouse for a slew of great acts…Sailor Poon, Lunar Gold, Bloody Knives; it’s a night of great local acts that you should already have on your radar (Show starts at 7). Also, those of you looking for something a little different might want to see Nic Armstrong and the Thieves doing their thing at Hole in the Wall (Show starts at (9:30).  I’ll toss out some jams below to give you some insight as to where you might want to go tomorrow night.

Winter: 

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Lunar Gold:

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Nic Armstrong:

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Gold Bears – Dalliance

dallianceRating: ★★★★☆

When I first received Dalliance in the mail I had to go back and listen to the debut, Are You Falling in Love.  It reminded me of just how great the songwriting was, though I felt the first LP was a bit uneven in spots.  On the return for Gold Bears, this is not the case; the songs here are successful in every single way, with not a single throw away of the eleven tracks present.

Dalliance opens where Are You Falling in Love left off, starting things with “Yeah Tonight,” but this round you’ve got an immediate winner.  The idea has been shortened, pounding away from the instant you press play.  It doesn’t hurt that singer Jeremy Underwood is balanced out here by Emma Kupa (formerly of Standard Fare), as her presence provides a nice sugary dosage to a track noisily rocks from the get-go.  Screeching guitars await around the bend with “Chest.” It’s reminiscent of The Thermals at their best, offering up punk intensity with hints of pop sensibility that make the song an undeniable hit; you’ll want to blast this with the windows down.

But, while this new album from Gold Bears kicks you in the face, musically speaking, you’ve got to have a proper amount of balance; they accomplish that perfectly with “I Hope They’re Right.”  It’s a ballad with a distorted guitar rocketing through the background, while a female vocal harmonizes perfectly with Underwood.  It’s a nice bit of respite, allowing listeners to catch their breath for a short instant.  Surely the gentle quality of this tune will illustrate just how far the songwriting has come since the band’s inception.  It’s similar in approach to “Hey, Sophie,” at least in so far as both songs are meant, in my eyes, as breathers.  They introduce soft moments, though “Hey, Sophie” uses more of a ringing circular guitar approach as opposed to a stretched out ballad with guitar accents.  These songs tie the record together; they still hold to thematic points, but they give you a different approach from which to view the band.

Still, Dalliance succeeds the most when it’s loudest, and no song illustrates that point more so than “For You.”  As soon as the words “you’re a mistake” are uttered, the song comes crashing in.  Drums pound and guitars course through your ears with ferocity, though I think there’s a definite infectious quality in the delivery of the vocal.  At the point of writing, it’s probably one of my favorite tracks of the last few months.  I especially appreciate how the song’s energy fades away into the back of the track; it’s a touch that I wasn’t expecting, but that caps off the tune in way that’s indescribable.

Gold Bears had the tunes long ago, but I feel that Dalliance is the record where it all seems so right.  There’s a vitality in the album that provides a connection with the audience; it refuses to fade.  You can turn it up loud when you need to rock out, or you can have it as the perfect  background to a backyard gathering, but regardless, you’ll feel this record crawl beneath your skin, inserting itself, permanently, into your consciousness.

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ATH + SXSW: Father Daughter, Small Plates, & Gold Robot Showcase @ The Grackle (3/15)

SXSW2013_SPR-FD-GRR

You know it’s SXSW time right?  Well it is fools and ATH has gotten together with some fine folks all over the country to sponsor some incredible showcases here in Austin next week.  Today we’ll start off with a show we are helping sponsor with incredible national indie labels Father Daughter, Gold Robot, and Small Plates.  Here are some deets for what is sure to be the best day party you’ll ever hear about:

Date: Friday, March 15th

Time: Doors @ 11:30/music @ 12:15

Lineup (in order): Gems, Mutual Benefit, Body Parts, Night Panther, Monster Rally, Day Joy, Roman Ruins, Conveyor, Francisco the Man, and Levek

Location: The Grackle @ 1700 E 6th Street (MAP)

Free and open to the public for 21+ RSVP Here

Musical preview:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Fever.mp3]

Download: Night Panther – Fever [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/GEMS-All-I-Ever.mp3]

Download: GEMS – All I Ever [MP3]

Golden Grrrls – s/t

gg frontRating: ★★★★☆

Sometimes things just feel right, and that’s precisely the feeling I get whenever I play the self-titled album from Golden Grrrls.  With warm weather hitting my city, I needed something that would be both energetic and creative, and this album fits neatly into that box.  Bring on the Spring, and bring on more spins of this record.

“New Pop” opens up the album for this Glaswegian trio, and there’s not a better way to start things off than by combining multi-part vocal (male and female) harmonies.  The distorted guitar, the cymbal play and the frenetic pace of the vocal delivery provides a perfect beginning for one of the brightest records of the year.  And it doesn’t stop when Golden Grrrls move into “Past Tense.”  There’s definitely a bit of a more folk feeling bubbling underneath this track, with less distortion being pushed to the front of the mix; it’s probably one of the tracks that wears the badge of Flying Nun Records influences. Ruari’s vocal appearance during the chorus might actually steal the show a bit, but the whole tune’s simply splendid.

Almost every track provides listeners with something to tap their toes to, even when they choose to go in a softer direction.  “Wrld Peace,” for instance, maintains the warm aesthetic of the multi-part harmonies, but the rolling movement of the drums on this song really stands out to me.  After going back over the record again, I realized that the drums standout on almost every track, at least in some regard, but there’s some many layers of sound going on in each track, that occasionally your attention drifts elsewhere…just be sure to give the drumming some props! Sometimes, all three members join in to offer counterattacking vocal parts, like on “Date It,” which might have been why I drifted away from the superb percussion.  You’ve got to have a careful ear to catch everything going on, which I think is one of the many successes within Golden Grrrls; the formula might appear simple at first, but the subtleties of the craftsmanship really is what allows for repeated listens.  You’ll find that same approach on almost every song.

But, that might be a drawback for some, as many of the songs can bleed together just a bit.  Still, it’s a slight blemish on an otherwise marvelous listen.  You’re not going to find a bad track on this record; it’s simply not possible.  There’s casual tracks of summery pop like “We’ve Got” or there are songs that grab you energetically from the get go such as “Take Your Time,” and they all give you a sense of inner joy.  For my two cents, the record is refreshing, taking a popular format, adding more harmonies and a little bit more focus.  It makes Golden Grrrls one of my favorite acts of the moment, and I’m sure it’ll be yours too.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/02-Past-Tense.mp3]

Golden Grrrls is out now on Slumberland Records.

 

 

New Pop Star Tune From Gentleman Reg

Gentleman Reg is the kind of guy that could easily be labeled an indie pop star. His style is completely over the top, he creates catchy pop tunes, and he seems to take himself entirely too seriously. Check, check, and check. The new song I’ve got for you below called “Waiting Around For Gold” is the latest single from the pop hit maker and features the eccentric sound fans have always enjoyed from Reg. This new song appears on the first of 3 EPs planned for this year entitled Leisure Life Vol.1 which is out as of yesterday. A full LP collecting the 3 EPs and some additional material will be out later this fall on Arts & Crafts.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/01-Waiting-Around-For-Gold.mp3]

Download: Gentleman Reg – Waiting Around For Gold [MP3]

New Pop from Gold Fields

It’s Friday, so I wanted to start off the day with something springy that will give us all a bit of a pick-up.  So I’m here to offer you this kicking new track from Australia’s Gold Fields.  By their account, they’ve worked hard to make everything sound different on their self-titled EP, switching it up from track to track.  This song has a solid groove, accentuated by the extra percussive elements throughout.  Those of you clamoring for more will get to hear a whole album worth of material later in 2012, but also look out for the band at SXSW and a few other scattered shows throughout the states in the next month.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Gold-Fields-01.-Treehouse.mp3]

Download:Gold Fields – Treehouse [MP3]

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