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:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Fever.mp3]

Download: Night Panther – Fever [MP3]

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

Download:Gold Fields – Treehouse [MP3]

Golden Calves – Collection: Money Band + Century Band

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Those of you familiar with Wooden Wand will surely recognize the work of James Jackson Toth, but it’s possible that his early project as Golden Calves might have slipped under your radar.  Luckily for you, Woodsist has run a small reissue of of his two releases, combining them into one double LP collection.  While there’s definitely some enjoyable moments on places, many listeners will find the tinkering a bit too much at times, and seemingly self-indulgent.

I’m not going to sit here and praise Toth and his Golden Calves for some incredible creation, as a great deal of this album seems like meaningless dribble.  In fact, there’s barely a completed four songs on the first half that is comprised entirely of Money Band.  That record comes off as an elementary attempt to create something artful and completely off the beaten path.   That being said, there are some elements that clearly come through on that side, such as “Seraphim Radar Rallies.”  It’s still a bit basic and experimental, but there’s an endearing quality in the composition, much like the early works from Elf Power.  By and large, however, the first half of this record can be wholly discarded. It’s a specialty collector’s piece for fans of JJT, which is understandable, but no more than that.

What’s interesting is seeing the evolution from Point A to Point B, which comes through in the Century Band 12″ recordings.  There’s a bit more of a conscious effort to compose structures, albeit in the slightly confounding manner that Toth’s early work took on.  Still, Toth’s comments seem to acknowledge his faults in the compositions, as he clearly realizes that this was a starting point for a budding musician.  You’ll find a song like “Mod Bacteria,” however, a pleasurable tune; it’s one you can actually find yourself listening to again and again, including the faint haunting vocal in the background.  “Atrium 5: The Absinthe Labyrinth” is another such track, with carefully picked guitar and Toth carefully plodding along with his vocals. These are where we hope his talents began, as clearly there’s a background for a strong future in these songs.

All in all, I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I hate this.  There’s just enough of an oddity within that really grasps the young indie rock listener in me, shaking him awake again.  Back in my early days when I was blown away by things just because they were weird and different, I was on top of the world, and that’s sort of the sentiment you get from Toth in these recordings.  He was young and ambitious; he just wanted to put it all on tape.  For what its worth, you’ll find some gems, and you’ll find some trash, but mostly you’ll find a special recording that you should be able to enjoy if you remove your blinders and get lost in the experience.

Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

Rating: ★★½☆☆

It’s strange; sometimes, bands that have been around for a while often don’t change their sound, be it for fear that they will lose those who became enraptured by their original sound, or that they just don’t see themselves as anything else than what they were before. This seems to be the case with Blitzen Trapper on this album, as their only shift seems to be to a bit more of a bluesy spin on their Americana craft.

American Goldwing is one of those albums that just don’t have enough chutzpah to keep me focused and interested in for more than five songs. It starts out fairly strong, even though nothing novel, but progressively ceases to retain my interest as the songs drag on and on to its close. The first song, “Might Find It Cheap,” sums up this phenomenon in a single swoop. Yea, it’s a good song and I can get down with those fuzzy guitars and the traditionally tangy vocals, I just feel like I’ve heard it from Blitzen Trapper before. Their distinct crookedly country Americana rock sound works against them in that the sound from previous albums resonates deeper and makes it hard to listen to these tracks when I know there are astoundingly better renditions on Furr or other prior albums.

My favorite track on this record comes third, at a time where I’m looking for something to spice up this album. “Love the Way You Walk Away,” takes a new stance that I’ve been longing for this band to take. Even though it is of a country note, which I don’t often find myself enjoying, there is new territory to be covered at last. Bluesy undertones patter in the background while harmonies swoon in the foreground. If you listen carefully, you can hear deep bass drums at some points and of course there is that steel pedal guitar that pushes the song around in dominance. Late in the track, this band slows things down with a little harmonica and it’s easy to find yourself singing right alongside Eric Earley and the rest of the gang. It’s simply the song with the most redeeming and interesting qualities to be found on American Goldwing.

By all means, if you are a Blitzen Trapper addict, you’ll love this album. It has everything that you’ve already been shown, perhaps with one or two tracks that take a new direction. As for me, and I’m sure others, I’m in need of something a little bit fresher to keep me intrigued in this band’s sound. Perhaps it is coming on their next release, or perhaps I just need to revisit those old gems in the catalog of this band.

ACL Interviews: Fool’s Gold

In our continued goal to bring you as much pre-ACL coverage as possible, we bring you our second interview of the festival season from L.A. based indie-pop group Fool’s Gold.  We’ve been following these guys since their inception, and have particularly enjoyed their new album Leave No Trace. Leading up to their appearance at ACL in a couple weeks, we sat down with Fool’s Gold front man Luke Top to ask him about his band’s tunes.  Follow the jump for full interview.

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Gold Leaves – The Ornament

Rating: ★★★★½

Every once in awhile, you come across a record that fits into your life perfectly, filling the empty emotional space, revitalizing your spirit.  Just one listen to Gold Leaves is all it takes to find that The Ornament seeps into your soul, establishing itself as an album that meets all your musical needs.

“The Silver Lining” is one of those perfect pop songs, carefully constructed for the maximum benefit of listeners.  It’s a gentle number, similar to the recent work of Camera Obscura (in construction at least).  But, what makes the track stand out is Carl Olsen’s voice.  It waivers somewhere between Ward and Banhart, touching every emotional chord for those with a hankering for all things sad-bastard.  While there’s a bit of solemnity to the opener, “The Ornament” provides a bit of brightness with just the slightest change in pacing.  You’ll find that same careful arrangement with every bit of accompaniment propelling the song’s essence. It’s not a track to be taken lightly, echoing in your memory long after the song has skipped onto the next.

“Endless Dope” opens a new chapter for Gold Leaves.  While other tracks have featured lush arrangement, this track seems more sparse in those regards, though elements still remain.  But, Olsen’s vocals play the main role here, drawing you into his poetic verse, as opposed to letting you get washed away with waves of pop brilliance. Similarly, “Cruel & Kind” refuses to rely upon the maximum arrangements, carefully meandering through your mind.  Inside this track you’ll find yourself getting lost, but in a manner that only the best of music can accomplish; it’s simplicity lets you drift in and out of consciousness, always drawn back by the inherent melody built within the tune.

Even when The Ornament doesn’t draw itself out with meandering tracks, a great deal can still be accomplished.  For instance, “Hard Feelings” is one of the shortest songs on the record, but in a short span you’ll find trickling guitar lines, string pieces swirling in the background, and Olsen at the center of it all.  Eventually, it crashes spectacularly in the middle, switching things up just slightly. There’s a denseness to this number, as it seems filled to the brim, but in writing in that fashion, Gold Leaves still leaves room for the melody and the emotion to find its way to your inner ear.

If you haven’t found room in your day for this collection, then you need to put down everything immediately.  The Ornament is the kind of album that begs to be listened to, begs to be played over again and again.  After one listen, you’ll end up clearing your schedule, finding yourself lost inside the depth and emotional pull of everything Carl Olsen has managed to put together for this outing. Not a note goes wasted, and that in and of itself, is something to praise–but this record is so much more. So stop reading this now, and drift away with Gold Leaves.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Gold-Leaves-Cruel-And-Kind.mp3]

Download: Gold Leaves – Cruel/Kind [MP3]

Gold-Bears – Are You Falling in Love

Rating: ★★★½☆

With summer break looming over us all, it’s the perfect time for a twee-punk band like Gold-Bears to make their debut. As this is their first ever album released, this band is brand new to the music scene and looking to win a spot in your heart as well as your stereo. Surely you have room left for some jangly guitar and hazy percussion in there?

From the very first song, you can hear the clear alternative punk soundings of Gold-Bears. “Record Store” begins with flat sounding drums along with gentle acoustic guitar, and then some raging, yet even-toned, electric guitar streams in. Then the song picks up, and you have the carefully placed cymbal crashes along with breaks in the raging melody to that of the delightfully soft beginning. Meanwhile, the suiting vocals blend together with the instrumental aspects of the jam. After this lovely opening tune is finished, the band moves to “All Those Years.” On this one, some gang vocals continue the energy and are instantly reminiscent to bands like Ted Leo and Pharmacists. They’ve got that crash pop beat mixed together with the percussion of a more punk style band, which is noticeable on the third song.

After a pretty positive and upbeat start for Gold-Bears, they slow things down as they approach the middle of the album. The title track certainly stands apart from the rest of the songs in this body of music, as it is filled with foggy feedback and jingling tambourine that is sure to serve as an appropriate break from the quickness of the fast paced start. It’s the perfect placement of such a song that slows the listener back down for a breather, if only so they can jump back in at double time on the next number, “East Station Attendant.” This one is the direct opposite of its predecessor, fast, short and rocking.

Gold-Bears continue this impressive debut with more standouts like single “Tally,” that relies on gang vocals once more to carry the streaming beat. They close strong, yet delicate, and leave their listeners happy to have taken a chance on this band. For a first album, it is nothing short of appealing. So when you reach the end with them, and reflect on Are You Falling In Love?, you can answer with a yea, I’m pretty sure I am.

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

Download: Gold Bears – Something To Think About [MP3]

Ringo Deathstarr @ Emo’s (9/4)

Date 9/4/10
Location Emos
Doors 9pm
Tickets FREE!!

So those looking for a fun time on Saturday night need to be heading out to Emo’s for a totally free show by some of the best bands Austin has to offer.  The lineup includes ATH favorites Ringo Deathstarr, She Sir, White White Lights, and New Roman Times.  You can’t beat that for local talent.  This awesome event is being put on by us, Heineken, Indierect Records, and Ultra8201.  Be there!

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/She-Sir-Golden-ways-iatc.mp3]

Download: She Sir – Golden Ways [MP3]

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