My Jam of the Week: Arp

arpWent to the record store and picked up some sweet jams this week: Growlers, Rat Columns, So Cow and then I also got the new Arp.  Sure, it’s an EP, but man, there’s some really great gems on the album, like the one below.  The last full-length that Alexis G. put out was pretty right on, though there were some developmental moments in the LP.  The Pulsars and Quasars EP might be a little stop gap, but it definitely shows progression in what he’s been able to accomplish since last year.  The EP is available as of this week via Mexican Summer, so if you like what you hear below go grab that stuffs.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/04-UHF1.mp3]

Download: Arp – UHF1 [MP3]

New Music from Arp

arpI’ve been waiting to play this wonderful new track from Arp for you for a couple of weeks. I fell in love with his last album, More, and it seems that with his new EP, he’s got a slew of great new songs for you.  There’s a bit of fuzz bursting from the background on this track, but there’s this plodding pop hook that runs throughout; it’s no wonder he’s signed on to work with Mexican Summer.  While it’s not quite a full-length, the Pulsars e Quasars EP is really going to win a slew of new fans.  I really can’t stop listening to this track.  You can get the EP on September 23rd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/02-Pulsars-e-Quasars.mp3]

 

Top 50 Albums of 2013

albums banner 2013 procMaking our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly.  We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience.  We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed.  If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.

50 – WampireCuriosity
49 – Dot DashHalf Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles  – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed CastIllumination Ritual
46 – Bad SportsBras
45 – Part TimePDA
44 – Dick DiverCalendar Days
43 – Math and Physics ClubOur Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica FallsWaiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely WildThe Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love LanguageRuby Red
38 – Gun OutfitHard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le BonMug Museum
36 – Daughn GibsonMe Moan
35 – Andre ObinThe Arsonist
34 – ArpMore
33 – Gap DreamShine Your Light
32 – The Black WatchThe End of When
31 – Ty SegallSleeper
30 – The StevensA History of Hygeine
29 – Of MontrealLousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror TravelMexico
27 – Local NativesHummingbird
26 – Girls NamesThe New Life
25 – GRMLNEmpire
24 – Small BlackLimits of Desire
23 – AudacityButter Knife
22 – Mikal CroninMCII
21 – Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty
20 – FoalsHoly Fire
19 – Radical FaceFamily Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry MaltsNobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out LoudsOptica
15 – Kurt VileWaking on a Pretty Daze
14 –  BraidsFlourish//Perish
13 – Crystal AntlersNothing is Real
12 – TyphoonWhite Lighter
11 – Ski LodgeBig Heart

10 – GamblesTrust

Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created.  In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.

9 – The GrowlersHung at Heart

I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.”  But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track.  I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.

8 – Wax IdolsDiscipline & Desire

Hether Fortune seems to scare people.  Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes.  That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense.  The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors.  If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.

7 – Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege

While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work.  It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record.  The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.

6 – The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

What else really needs to be said about The National.  They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts.  I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party.  Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.

5 – LegsPass the Ringo

When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve.  Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.

4 – Warm SodaSomeone for You

Someone For You came our way in January.  On my record player, it hasn’t left since.  This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record.  You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.

3 – Coma CinemaPosthumous Release

At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners.  You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.

2 – Bubblegum LemonadeSome Like it Pop

In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers.  But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music.  This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special.  Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.

1 – Magical CloudzImpersonator

This album is about Devon Welsh.  From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note.  The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow.  It made us believe in great music again.

 

Arp – More

arp

Rating: ★★★★ ·

One of the great things about reviewing music is discovering an act that’s been around, but that you hadn’t given much attention to in the past few years.  For me, Arp is that group; I’ve devoured More, the latest release, and hunted down the rest of his catalogue.  From the opening track to the closing moments, it’s just remarkably moving, and if, like me, you ignore it, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice.

“High-Heeled Clouds” opens More with one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard this year.  A gently playful piano line works with the bass to open, before Alexis G enters with his vocals.  While one would seem to bounce at the musical mannerisms, there’s this perfect restraint that encourages solitary swaying.  But, it’s the slightest details within the track that really push the song into the realm of “stand-out;” there’s this sunny guitar solo that works its way in, fading into an atmospheric end.  But, while the opening moments slowly move forward, the following track of “Judy Nylon” creates the perfect counterpoint.  There’s a fuzzy guitar, and a heavier pounding on the piano, leaving you with loftier emotions, yet still in the spirit of the opening tune.

Suddenly, Arp leaves you in the mood for more ethereal pop moments with the warmth of “A Tiger in the Hall at Versailles.”  This tune’s more of a spiritual track, using the vocal as an extra instrument.  While you might not find yourself as attached to this song, it serves the album, overall perfectly, offering insight into the songwriting process.  It’s similar, in approach, to “Gravity,” which includes string arrangements for emphasis. The layering of each moment in these tunes gives you clues as to the way future songs are constructed, such as “Light + Sound.”  There you’ll find a similar formula, but what interested me are the faint horns flourishes or light keyboard notes that elevate a traditional pop-writing formula.

Of course, some of the other tracks are momentary throw-aways, thus why I can’t quite toss the perfect score towards More. I don’t mean one should toss these songs aside, as the little snippets of noise and samples provide detail to the storytelling of the record as a whole, but I was thirsting for more great pop moments.  I get it; I know why they’re there, but it shortens the album, leaving me hungry for more of Alexis’ word play and craftsmanship.  That being said, it’s part of the beautiful journey of this release.

Having barely been acquainted with Arp up to this point, I couldn’t help but fall in love, as if this was the first release.  The careful artistry of every track, even the snippets, overwhelmed me, washing me with emotions that are rare in a consumable musical age.  I can assure each and every person that reads this that you’ll find few records this year that are as rewarding and magnificent as I found More.

Playful Pop from Arp

arpThe more I listen to the latest single for Arp, the more I just want to fall in love with the band; you know give myself over to their grandeur.  This track begins on the backbone of a nice little piano bounce, with airy vocals plodding along atop.  A distant guitar meanders through in the distance about midway through the track, leaving an emotional touch that really steps up the song’s level of achievement, emotionally speaking.  More, the new album from the group, will be available for everyone to enjoy on September 17th via Smalltown Supersound. Can’t wait.

Something New from Arp

arpI know I’m usually the one with a tendency towards power-pop or punk rock here, but I couldn’t resist posting this incredible song from Arp.  The project of Alexis Georgopoulos has been quiet since 2010, though he’s popped up here and there.  This piece exemplifies why Arp is such a special listen, revolving around the voice for the most part, though the entrance of horns and organ definitely take the song into another level of beauty.  I’m in love with Alexis’ voice throughout the tune, softly operatic and accented by the light guitar work backbone.  His new record, More, will come out on September 19th via Smalltown Superound.

Show Preview: Caribou @ La Zona Rosa (10/14)

Date 10/14/10
Location La Zona Rosa
Doors 8pm
Tickets $18 @ Frontgate

Dan Snaith and his band known as Caribou will be stopping by La Zona Rosa in Austin for a highly anticipated show.  Joining Mr. Snaith on the stage is New York band Arp.  I would recommend starting your weekend right and making it out to this one before them tickets sell out.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/04-Found-Out.mp3]

Download: Caribou – Found Out [MP3]