Marnie Stern In Austin

Marnie Stern, the current master of finger-tapping guitar play, will be playing a couple times in Austin this week.  First show comes this evening(11/18) at the Mohawk in Austin with tickets available now for only $8.  Marnie is accompanied by local Austin band’s Ume and The Sour Notes.  The following day, Mrs. Stern will be playing one of Waterloo Records weekly in stores at 5pm.  Do I need to mention the free keg beer?  If you haven’t heard any of Marnie’s insane guitar work, here’s a dandy called “Transformer”.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/marnie-stern-transformer.mp3]

Download: Marnie Stern – Transformer [MP3]

Peter and the Wolf – Mellow Owl

Rating: ★★★★☆

As the winter weather wanders down the street and into our open windows, we’re all looking for that perfect album to accompany the complete change of the seasons.  We need something subtle, something soothing, yet something that challenges and thrills.  Enter Red Hunter.

Red Hunter is the local Austin legend, also known as Peter and the Wolf, who has just recently released another beautiful listening experience.  He’s known from playing on the edges of the world, where the water drops off into a great abyss of silence; he plays to the small crowds who still believe in mythical beasts.

Pacing is immediately established by the lyrical content and the title of the opening track, “Supermellofied.”  It speaks of a simpleness that most will not be able to describe, yet all yearn for from time to time.  Guitar track atop guitar track creates the effect of gentle rain dripping down from your roof and into the cracks in the sidewalk.

For some reason, the quietude of the album is the one thing that will speak to most listeners.  It’s Red’s simple approach to writing and crafting songs that allow us all to focus on the mundane details of our own world, allowing us all to realize the beauty that exists in every corner that we walk through.  It’s an album of simple folk songs and simple pleasures, such the things that should be in our lives.

Listeners may find it difficult to absorb the vocals of Red Hunter, as they seem to be sung through a can, clearly an echo of some sort resonates. But, the focus in his songs doesn’t revolve merely around his lyrics; it is the entire aesthetic appeal of these songs that sneaks into your soul.

Other hits that many will adore on this album are songs like “Trainhopper” and “Ballad of Redhook.”  Pleasant guitar strumming melds with overlying electric guitar, begging all to focus upon the minutest detail of this record; surely a metaphor for how one should approach their own life.

Several hundred years into his career as Peter and the Wolf, Red Hunter still has what it takes to craft some of the most personal songs many of us will come across this year.  If you miss him now, don’t worry, for he will surely go down in Austin lore.

Buy his album on Peter and the Wolf’s Myspace Page.

10/17 The Wedding Present @ Mohawk

Many in Austin seemed to have forgotten about the decades of hard work that David Gedge has put forth for our ears. Since 1984 he has consistently provided us with a plethora of guitar-driven pop music set to ideas of loss and love. Perhaps we consider it cliche now, but Gedge has been at the helm for a long time, and he brought his group The Wedding Present to the Mohawk Friday, October 17th. Follow the jump to read about the show.

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Wolf Parade @ La Zona Rosa 7/25

Our Canadian friends Wolf Parade will be bringing their rock to La Zona Rosa in Austin on Friday night. The show is set to kick off at 9pm and you can get your tickets now for only $20 bucks. ATH will be on hand covering the event with pictures and a full show review a couple days after the show. Read more about Wolf Parade on their myspace page and preview the track “Call it a Ritual” off their 2008 release At Mount Zoomer below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/02-call-it-a-ritual.mp3]

Download: callitaritual.mp3

King Khan @ Mohawk (7/6)

King Khan & The Shrines will be putting on a sure to be ridiculous show at Mohawk on Sunday night the 6th. The band is touring in support of their recent compilation The Supreme Genius of King Khan & The Shrines. Look at that picture! This show is not something to be missed. You can buy some tickets on the Transmission Entertainment website for only $10. Doors are set to open at 7pm. No Regrets!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/no_regrets.mp3]

Download: noregrets.mp3

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Rating: ★★★★★
When one is confronted with the repeated hype of a band across the Internet word, as we all were with Fleet Foxes Sun Giant EP, you want to find one thing, anything, that proves them wrong. You almost want to hate the album, but I’m sorry, this is not the album.

Personally, I wouldn’t have started the album with “Sun Giant,” since it may have appeared somewhere in the past, but it still sets the mood for this album. By the time “Drops in the River,” the third track, rolls around, this band already had me won over–I actually didn’t like the EP. Sure, its a gentle track from the beginning, but once it gets rolling its hard not to find yourself bobbing your head here. Then they go straight into “White Winter Hymnal,” which definitely is a stand out on the album.

Actually, its not a stand out at all because I am struggling to find the one song on here I can dislike, or at least dismiss. There isn’t one. I double-checked. Not a one.

Each song on this album has carefully crafted instrumentation, and it all fits so perfectly with the harmonies of lead singer Robin Peckfold, who at times is harmonizing with every one else in the band. It is quite an interesting effect–though I admit at times it makes the lyrics somewhat indiscernible. Still, you can’t hide the fact that each arrangement on this album seems to fit perfectly with the rest of the song–with the rest of the album for that matter.

My biggest complaint about this album is the timing of the release. This is just me being selfish, but where was this album during the winter? Everything on here screams perfect winter album to me. I know I know. I could easily enjoy this sitting around a campfire with my best friends, but I don’t have time to go camping right now. Still, it would be perfect for that.

My favorite songs are “White Winter Hymnal,” “Mykonos,” “Quiet Houses,” and “Oliver James.” Now, I could ramble off thousands of comparisons to this band, but I’m sure you could find more adequate ones elsewhere on the Internet. My vote is for The Clientele comparison, but that is just me.

I hope this little review gives you enough insight into this album, but to be honest, its really hard to write about such a solid album. See for yourself.

Fleet Foxes will also be bringing their live act to the Mohawk in Austin on July 2nd.  Get your tickets at The Mohawk’s website.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/02-fleet_foxes-white_winter_hymnal.mp3]

Download: whitewinterhymnal.mp3

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