SXSW Watchlist: Jeremy Jay

jjIn case you didn’t follow our list of best albums of 2008, odds are you missed one of the gems of the year, Jeremy Jay. He’s got a new record slated this Spring off of K Records, and its been kicking around in our heads over here at ATH for the last few weeks. It’s a slow-burner, but as with all Jeremy Jay outings, it reveals more each listen.

This time out, he’s got a bit more of a step to his tunes, which is sure to delight audiences, as his unique stage dancing is one of the many reasons he’s so endearing. His understated speak-sing delivery is reminiscent of Calvin Johnson. His reliance upon classic R&B musical stylings, is more than just a throwback, as no one seems to do it with more passion. Simply put, its this passion and classic tinged tuneage that makes Jeremy Jay worthy of your time during SXSW.

He’ll be playing Wednesday, March 18th at the Beauty Bar at 1 AM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/05-slow-dance.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Jay – Slow Dance [MP3]

Car Stereo(Wars) @ Beauty Bar (2/14)

carstereoOur favorite resident DJ man Car Stereo(Wars) is bringing down the house with a special Valentine’s Day show at The Beauty Bar this Saturday night.  Doors for the dance party open up at 9pm.  Forget your silk panty rose and take your girl to the dance party!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/car_stereo_wars-ghostface_observatory.mp3]

Download: Car Stereo(Wars) – Ghostface Observatory [MP3]

Frantic Clam EP Release @ Beauty Bar (1/14)

One of our favorite new Austin bands, Frantic Clam, are celebrating the release of their new Anatomica EP with a show at Beauty Bar this Wednesday.  The guys will be joined on the stage by Austin outfit Focus Group.  Music looks to get started around 10pm with no cover charge!  If you’ve read our review of the band’s new EP, you know we’re excited about the future of this upstart.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/korean-beauty-queen.mp3]

Download: Frantic Clam – Korean Beauty Queen [MP3]

Frantic Clam – Anatomica EP

Rating: ★★★★ ·

This is the second EP from new Austin band Frantic Clam, and this one easily demonstrates that the horizon could be endless. Anatomica screams of a young band progressing, moving beyond their influences in order to discover their own sound.

Opening stomper “We Own the Night” still maintains the roots rock remedy of their first album, but the increased focus on the vocals show the band pushing beyond the boundaries they faced on their previous effort. But, they don’t just rest with their old styling, as they push forward into “Korean Beauty Queen.” Many will see a TV on the Radio vocal similarity, but there is more beneath the vocals. Slick guitars seem to cut through the song, creating space for the rest of the band to fill out the sound with various elements.

Then you encounter a song like “Indiana,” which goes in a completely different direction than the earlier tracks on the EP. It’s a mellow number that shows a band who knows when to hold back, bringing in the listener closer. The chorus gets a little muddy in the middle, but each verse really is able to stand on its own as a perfect piece of modern pop. The title track “Anatomica” is unlike any song on this short collection. It’s a bit like early Kings of Leon, emotionally, but it has it’s own attitude-an attitude altogether Frantic Clam. Throw in a sing-along element, and you have an inspiring song.

Lyrically, you can tell that the band has fallen upon hard times, which is unfortunate, as we wish that upon no one, but perhaps this has led to the focus of this new EP. One thing for sure, is that this band is set upon leaving themselves with varying directions to pursue. You can tell by listening to this effort, along with their last, that they are not eager to be pigeonholed, which is refreshing in and of itself. Congratulations to the band for another positive step forward.

Stop by the Beauty Bar this Wednesday, January 14th, to get your hands on this new EP. Not to mention a slew of other shows they have lined up for your listening pleasure.

Built by Snow – Mega

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When it comes to the Austin music scene, it’s pretty difficult to break into the scene out of nowhere, as most bands that make it out have spent years winning over audiences in our town. Built by Snow is set to be one of those bands, as they release their album Mega on January 20th.

The first actual track, “Something in 3D” immediately catches any listeners ears, as their angular pop melodies infectiously invade your head. The backing vocals of “whoos” and “whaas” add the perfect compliment to the song’s structure. It’s a song reminiscent of early Rentals material.

Another solid track, “All the Weird Kids Know,” follows with a similar strength, as the band goes all the way back to traditional 80s pop sytlings as they create a number that most bands would kill to create on their own. This is one of those songs that everyone yearns to hear, and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser as they seek to etch out their place in the local Austin market. Besides, who doesn’t love a well-done gang vocal?

They slow it down a little in the middle, allowing space and Nintendo-esque keyboard work to provide the skeletal workings of their gentler numbers. Sure, there are some gaps here that show a necessity for further song exploration, but even the base of a song like “A-Beta” shows a band that is willing to work on all aspects of their album, rather than just settling for the same patterns over and over.

In all actuality, the band has reference points left and right, though they never seem to rest solely on the forefathers of their sound. Hints of The Rentals dash in and out due to the keyboard work, but then they push you in another direction. “Invaders” recalls a less catastrophic version of Los Campesinos, as the band spins you around your room with fists in the air. Once again, they win you over with their willingness to keep it simple and clean, all the while keeping it as catchy as possible.

One of the best things for this band’s album has to revolve around the fact that they don’t misstep once. It’s possible that the infectious hooks might not be for everyone, but for those that adore this genre, they will be pleased to know that it’s solid through and through, which is a great accomplishment for any band, especially such a small fish in a large pond. At the end, we can all be thankful for a new band worthy of our time and adoration here in our home town.

Look for the band around town as they have sets this Thursday at Beauty Bar and their CD release party on January 24th at Club Deville.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/03-all-the-weird-kids-know.mp3]

Download: Built By Snow – All the Weird Kids Know [MP3]

New Years Eve

So tomorrow is the big day.  You don’t think that $100 NYE party sounds worth it.  Downtown scares you.  Maybe you don’t even really care about a midnight makeout session and just want to party.  Here are 3 parties that combine good music, cheap covers, and swanky locals.  Have a happy new year and we’ll catch up with you on Friday with our free week guide.

Beauty Bar – Your favorite old hipster kid hangout features DJ Mel inside along with The Strange Boys, Dans La Lune, The Ugly Beats, The Boxing Lesson, and Petals outside.  Not sure on a cover charge, but drink prices should be the same as always.  Beauty Bar tends to get overly crowded on nights like these so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Mohawk – The Transmission run venue features indie karaoke and DJ sets by Car Stereo(Wars) all night long.  Cover is only $5 with drink specials and a midnight champagne toast.

Spider House – Not usually known as a live music venue, Spider House brings you music from The Strange Attractors, Wine & Revolution, and a few other local acts.  Cover is only $10 with champagne all night for the same price.

These are only a few options and I’m sure you’ve got some crazy party going on and your mom’s house.  Drop us a line if you’ve got a hot tip.

Great Nostalgic @ Beauty Bar (12/20)

A promising new Austin band, The Great Nostalgic, are gettin’ down at The Beauty Bar on Saturday evening and it might just be worth your time.  Being so new to the Austin scene, you might not know that the band’s debut LP, currently in the works, was recorded by Erik Wofford(Black Angels/Octopus Project) and features guest vocals by Pink Nasty.  They’ll be playing Saturday evening in support of DJ Go Go Garcia.  The Beauty Bar website says things will get going around 9pm and go on till 2am so make a night of it!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/07_county_line.mp3]

Download: The Great Nostalgic – County Line [MP3]

Mash-up Clinic @ Beauty Bar (11/15)

If King Khan and Ghostland Observatory aren’t your thing, head out to Beauty Bar on Saturday evening for two masters in the art of the mash-up with Car Stereo (Wars) & The Hood Internet. Not sure what the cover charge will be, but things should get started around 9pm and go on till 2. Click on the fancy poster for more information, and don’t forget you can still download The Hood Internet’s new Volume 3 mixtape from their website.

1 2 3 4