New Music from Wye Oak

Having been a long time fan of Wye Oak, of course I was looking forward to this track, and any ensuing goodness they had to offer up.  But, when the song appeared on TheGum I had no idea just how good it was going to be.  Jenn’s voice sounds phenomenal here, and part of me has this tingling feeling I got when I first heard “Zebra” by Beach House last year.  If that’s any indicator, then Civilian, the new album out on March 8th from Merge is going to be one incredible animal.  Just listen to that squalling feedback near the end! It’s like steamy sex in the woods, then Sonic Youth reckless abandon. Yes, I realize that might be a bit redundant, but go with it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/05-Civilian-1.mp3]

Download: Wye Oak – Civilian [MP3]

ACL Wrap-Up: The Top Ten Acts

Well, we’ve finally recovered, and we hope your sunburn is peeling and your liver is resting quietly in a tub of water.  After a long weekend, filled with good memories, tunes and pretty much anything else we needed, we got down to the nitty-gritty. That’s right folks, after careful collaboration, and tireless hours of discussion, we bring you our Top Ten Acts of Austin City Limits 2010.

FT5: Albums Of The Year (So Far)

Seems like this time of year everybody makes their own version of the best of (so far) albums list.  You think we’d sit back and let everyone else have all the fun?  Think again.  I’ll get this out of the way now and say that this is MY list.  This is in no way a comprehensive list created by all us ATH staffers.  This is ‘ol RayRay’s list full of what I’ve been spinning this year more than anything else.  Now obviously it’s difficult for a music writer to condense a list down to just five, so some very worthy albums will be left off this list.  Of course we’ll put our heads together and make a huge list at the end of the year… Follow the jump for full list.

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Beach House @ Emo’s (4/22)

Date 4/22/10
Location Emos
Doors 9pm
Tickets Sold Out suckahs!

It’s a busy weekend in Austin and a show by Beach House at Emo’s on Thursday should kick starts your weekend the right way.  Opening support will be provided by Washed Out.  Unfortunately friends this one is sold out so try your hand at craigslist or scalping.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Beach-House-Norway.mp3]

Download: Beach House – Norway [MP3]

Contest: Beach House @ Emo’s (4/22)

Oh Schnaps!  As promised last week, we’ve got even more rad show contests coming your way this week!  So huge buzz band Beach House are coming to Emo’s next week. The show is SOLD OUT, and we’ve got a couple passes to give away to 2 lucky winners.  Deets are as follows:

– Since the new album from Beach House is called Teen Dream, leave us a comment or Tweet us with the best song you can think of with the words “teen” and/or “dream” in the lyrics and/or title.  Ex: “Teenage Wasteland” – The Who.  Bonus points awarded if both words are used.

– Make sure to leave a valid email when filling out the comments form so we can get in touch with you.

– Winner will be contacted by Wednesday afternoon!

That’s about it.  Simple right?  Don’t forget, we always appreciate some creativity!  We’ll leave a comment about who won on Thursday morning.  Ready, steady, go!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Beach-House-Norway.mp3]

Download: Beach House – Norway [MP3]

Free Sub Pop Sampler

subpopSub Pop is at it again with another free sampler featuring some of their best tunes from last year along with a few previews of upcoming material.  You’ll see staples like Beach House, Grand Archives, The Ruby Suns, and tons more.  You’ve probably seen a lot of these songs here on our site, but isn’t it easier to get them all in one big zip file?  Si!  Oh and your favorite 1990s internet graphics are back and ready for some fun!

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

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

Beach House – Teen Dream

beach-house_teen-dream

Rating: ★★★½ ·

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t quite gotten on the Beach House bandwagon. In the past, their dreamy bedroom pop has just seemed far too dull for me to ever fully absorb; I’ll admit that’s a fault of my own and not the music.  Yet listening to Teen Dream, something else unfolds.  There isn’t some grand gesture that comes out of nowhere; it’s just that the logical progression of the group has finally caught up with my own personal tastes.

From the opening moments that the guitar comes into play on “Zebra” I found myself captivated immediately.  Gentle “ahhhs” in the background create a perfect introduction to the song, allowing for the vocals to carry the song the rest of the way.  Sure, it’s not the most moving song in the world, but it holds the listener with an emotional appeal, one that is only heightened by the percussion that comes in near the end of the song.

When you come upon “Norway,” it’s obvious why this would come out as the single for the record.  Electronic maneuvers bring life to the album, although it’s odd that those little flourishes seem somewhat out of tune (anyone else?).  The “ay ay aay” of the chorus is playful in the manner that it strings out the mono-syllabic moments into perfect resonant melodies.  This song is backed up by “Walk in the Park,” which seems a lot like a Papercuts track.  Programmed percussion atop those echo-y vocals builds the perfect cascading pop moment, which shows that the band, though often stuck in one place, can evoke quite a bit of emotion.

“Better Times” wears the influence, seemingly, of Chairlift, using electronic structures to build the backbone of the song wile waiting for the rest of the song’s sound to come together.  Vocals definitely carry this song, and you can tell that the focus on achieving the perfect tonality definitely aids the tune as a whole.  It’s at this point where you start to see the past and the present finally start gel, bringing the best moments out of the duo, especially when the quickened vocal delivery starts in with about two minutes remaining.

Coming into the last song, it honestly is hard to find a throwaway track.  All the songs on the album work cohesively, and finally the music seems to have shown some movement overall. “Take Care” captures all the little moments from the album, throwing them together in Teen Dream‘s final chapter.  Yet, there are some moments here that illustrate the one detractor I still have in listening to Beach House.  Near the three minute mark the percussion could easily pick up, or let loose, yet the band restrains itself.  In doing so, they lose the propensity for sending the listeners off on an ultimate high note of euphoric musical waves, instead leaving them to rest precisely where the album began.

In conclusion, Teen Dream is a really good record, one that all Beach House fans will surely fall in love with after purchase.  For  those like myself, who largely ignored the band(though I’ve seen them three times), this might be the record that forces you to go back and look a little closer at the group’s catalog.  Personally, I still find that they don’t take enough musical risks, choosing to hold back when I’d like to see them let go a little bit, but that’s just my preference.  For the rest of you, you’ll find that this record is more than just one to go to sleep with at night; it’s an album to be played at all times, which is really all you can ask for from Beach House. Move over folks, I’m ready to jump on the wagon now.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Beach-House-Norway.mp3]

Download: Beach House – Norway [MP3]

New Tunes from The Cave Singers

SUN0124 Cave SingersLong ago there was this killer band called Murder City Devils. They had this one guy who ended up in Pretty Girls Make Graves, who then left to start The Cave Singers. Now that I’ve name dropped enough, let me tell you that Derek Fudesco’s new outfit resembles neither of his past efforts, not even close. Still, it just goes to show you that punks like to folk it up. So, the new tunes are slated to appear on the next Cave Singers album, Welcome Joy, which is slated for an August release. Here you go folks.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/the-cave-singers-beach-house.mp3]

Download: The Cave Singers – Beach House [MP3]

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