New Instrumental Jam from Balmorhea

So I’ve been hitting you in the face with rock n’ roll today, so perhaps I should pull it back a little.  Good thing this great Balmorhea track is cleared to post.  It’s an interesting listen, really giving you two different songs in one, but that’s what we’ve come to appreciate about one of Austin’s most revered acts.  I love the way the song slowly inches its way along, then with the lightest of switches, the guitar picks up a touch, the percussion moves in, and the song begins to move in a faster direction–they continue going off in this fashion as only they can. If you dig this, you can pick up the band’s new record, Stranger, on Western Vinyl October 2nd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Balmorhea_-_Pyrakantha.mp3]

Download:Balmorhea – Pyrakantha [MP3]

Show Review: Balmorhea @ The Parish (1/13)

On a chilly and regrettably less than spooky ‘Friday the13th’ evening, the Parish and Western Vinyl hosted a sold out event of emerging and established local talent.The audience was full with family and friends, young and old, who were treated to a sonic experience of the highest order and the way in which Balmorhea, in particular, presented their craft might have caught a few of them off guard.  Follow the jump for the full review. Read more

Show Preview: Balmorhea @ The Parish (1/13)

Date 1/13/12
Location The Parish
Doors 9pm
Tickets $11 @ Frontgate

Some great shows are going down this weekend to get all of you crazy kids back into the swing of things after a long free week in Austin.  Let’s start the long holiday weekend off right with a show by Austin band Balmorhea at The Parish.  Joining the talented band on stage are Peter and the Wolf and Botany.  This should be a great venue to hear all the intricacies of some great local and talented musicians.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/WV80.CL4M0R.192.mp3]

Download: Balmorhea – Clamor [MP3]

Balmorhea on Daytrotter

Everyone needs to have Daytrotter on their favorites, as their attention to detail and their selection of some of the best bands around is always a constant on the site.  Today, the site offered up new tunes from local Austin favorites, Balmorhea.  The majority of the set comes from the latest Candor/Clamor single release by the band, but they also tossed up an unreleased song that I’ve been enjoying all morning long.  If you’re a fan of the band, and you should be, then you’ll love hearing new music from the group as we all await their next great release.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/004-Untitled.mp3]

Download: Balmorhea – Untitled [MP3]

Show Preview: Balmorhea @ Mohawk (2/25)

Date 2/25/11
Location Mohawk
Doors 8pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

Those looking for some solid local shows this weekend have a lot of good options and one can begin their quest with a set by Balmorhea at Mohawk on Friday night.  The show has local support provided by The Eastern Sea and Danny Malone.  It should be a great weekend to be outside for a show on this incredible outside venue.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/WV80.CL4M0R.192.mp3]

Download: Balmorhea – Clamor [MP3]

New Tunes from Balmorhea

Austin’s favorite, well one of the many, instrumental band, Balmorhea, are releasing some new tunes for you to grab. The Candor/Clamor 7″ is hitting the streets on Western Vinyl, and it shows a newer sound for the group.  They’re including new instruments, such as marimbas.  It definitely makes them sound a bit more exciting, although part of me wants to see them just get really dark and mess things up, but that’s just one man’s love for discordant instrumental moments.  All in all, the band continues to show interesting progressive moves forward, making this an interesting purchase, as it will clearly document the band’s exploration of new sonic territory.  Never a bad thing.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/WV80.CL4M0R.192.mp3]

Download: Balmorhea – Clamor [MP3]

Show Preview: Balmorhea @ Mohawk (9/15)

Date 9/15/10
Location Mohawk
Doors 7pm
Tickets $10 @ Frontgate

One of Austin’s finest up and coming bands Balmorhea are playing another show at Mohawk on Wednesday evening.  Fellow local buzz bands Mother Falcon and Lost River/Old River will be in support.  For a Wednesday night in Austin, this is the place to be.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/02-Bowsprit-1.mp3]

Download: Balmorhea – Bowsprit [MP3]

Balmorhea – Constellations

balmorhead

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Last year, Austin’s Balmorhea released their grandiose coffee-core album , All is Wild, All is Silent, to much critical acclaim. Its epic sprawl captivated listeners.  Celebrating the dynamics in the title, it was an album of polar opposites, sometimes soft, and other times more upbeat. However, with their newest album, Constellations, there is nothing for the musicians to battle, only the black emptiness that is dotted by billions upon billions of sparkling stars.

For the most part, the band succeeds in fulfilling the aesthetic instilled in listeners who pay close attention to the title of the album.  Everywhere you look, there seems to be empty space on the album, or places the band could have easily filled with limitless touches of their inspiring instrumentals.  But, where as they chose to let those moments loose on All is Wild, All is Silent, here they show restraint, barely letting the control out of their crafty hands.

Some listeners might yearn for the more moving moments of the past, but Balmorhea seem keen not to repeat themselves, which is an honorable stand for an up-and-coming group; Constellations is not the same album, and it refuses to be such.  Instead of forcing violins and piano work into the organic construction of the songs, these kids hold back, filling the spaces with just the right amount of music necessary to hold onto listeners.  The most spirited you find them is on “Bowsprit,” a song you will adore if you love to hear the sounds of a string instrument (even guitar or banjo) plucked properly.  But, if you came in search of a repeat performance from last year, then you will be severely disappointed, as the one thing this album lacks if proper movement; at times it seems far too stagnant for its own good.

But, one thing that made their debut album so convincing was the way the songs built upon little moments, creating a voyage for listeners to take.  Constellations, which is a fantastically cohesive grouping of tunes, doesn’t seem to operate along those same lines at all.  Where you expect to find a rapid pace, or just a guitar that rolls you along, you find Balmorhea pulling back upon the reins.  Where they could increase volume, they instead choose to hide in the vastness of the night sky.

Perhaps this is what the band expected of their performance.  They wanted to dot the night sky with their own inspirations; they wanted to fill the void in our listening experience with their own light touches of instrumental genius.  If it is to be read as such, then Constellations is one of the most successful concept pieces you will find as of late.  It is a record that defines looking into the night sky with your telescope whilst putting musical notes inside your head.  Balmorhea have filled that black canvas in the night, or in our lives, with generous drops of light, and for that much we can be thankful.

Balmorhea @ Central Presbyterian Church (2/19)

balmorhea06

Date 2/19/10
Location Central Presbyterian
Doors 8pm
Tickets $12 from Waterloo/EOE

A unique and interesting show opportunity comes to Central Presbyterian Church on Friday with a set by Western Vinyl locals Balmorhea.  To make the show even more interesting, Damien Jurado will be opening things up at 9pm.  Tickets for this one are limited and only available at Waterloo Records or End of an Ear.  Some tickets can be bought at the door if a sell out doesn’t happen prior to Friday night.  Here’s the band’s most recent single “Bowsprit” which appears on the band’s recent album hitting stores now, Constellations.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/02-Bowsprit-1.mp3]

Download: Balmorhea – Bowsprit [MP3]

The Album Leaf – A Chorus of Storytellers

thealbumleaf

Rating: ★★★ · ·

A Chorus of Storytellers is Jimmy LaValle’s third album for indie label Sub Pop, and at it’s finest moments, it proves that this is the most cohesive Album Leaf record to date.  While it maintains many of the electronic flourishes that existed on past works, the latest piece somehow comes together a little bit tighter, forming stronger collection of songs.

For me, it all starts with the title, and for that part, the cover art.  Artists of this ilk can rely upon these mediums to further their message.  Sure, all artists should do this, but it’s even more important with acts that remain instrumental.  And the title,  A Chorus of Storytellers, should really say it all.  While I’ve lambasted electronic music in the past, it is works such as this that strive to make a coherent story, to create a plot within their music.  Such is the story within this record, as illustrated on the cover.   It just begs you to create your own story of the man ashore while his boat drifts aimlessly away.

Of course, one thing that differentiates this album from purely electronic or post-rock music, if you wish to call it that, is the inclusion of songs which use lyrics.  “Falling From the Sun,” for example, is a pleasant enough tune, and you can easily follow as the melody rises and falls, especially in the vocal performance.  But, moments such as this make things to clear for the listener; this is something that detracts from the overall listening experience.  Lyrics, in this case, push a story upon you when you’d rather just float off into your own world.

You can take a song like “Within Dreams,” which in itself recalls the ability to drift off with your own thoughts.  Slowly, you can feel the song fall asleep on you, as if you too are going into that deep REM sleep.  Then you can hear the faint touches of string instruments, and you’re off an running in a dream of your own.  It is here where LaValle succeeds the most, as he allows you to immerse yourself in the song, and take the song wherever you want to go.  Happily, it’s not constructed of mere loops, and the national progression lends itself to the telling of tales.  “Until the Last” is another such song; it is along the lines of Balmorhea or even a less-dangerous version of Mogwai.

Up until the middle point of the album, the record is really strong.  It has its ups and downs, but it also adds enough diversity for you to be invested wholly into the album.  However, towards the end, there are a bit too many songs with vocals.  This isn’t a disaster by any means, as the songs are actually really good, “Almost There” in particular, but it does break up the flow of the album.  Still, A Chorus of Storytellers provides many listenable moments that prove Jimmy and The Album Leaf still can concoct magic out of their post-rcok potions.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/05-Falling-From-The-Sun.mp3]

Download: The Album Leaf – Falling From The Sun [MP3]

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