New Music From Frightened Rabbit

Here’s a new single we just happened upon called “Fuck This Place” by one of our favorite indie bands Frightened Rabbit.  According to the internet worlds, the song is part of a 3 song EP being sold only on the band’s current tour.  The two other songs from the EP “The Work” and “Scottish Winds” can be heard as streams via Music Ninja.  We chose this slow burning jam to share with you guys because it features some superb vocals from the lovely Camera Obscura leading lady Tracyanne Campbell.  Scotts unite!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Frightened-Rabbit-Fuck-This-Place.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Fuck This Place [MP3]

Seapony – Go With Me

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Jen Weidl and her posse in Seapony definitely have something wonderful going on in their debut for Hardly Art, Go With Me.  After lots of critical acclaim on the net, it would be easy to throw this band aside as just another band making bedroom pop, which they do for the most part.  But, if you can discard similarities to various other bands, you’ll find that lay in wait, waiting to carry you off.

“Dreaming” begins the entire affair with what is probably the most energetic you’ll find the band, and at times, the guitars emulate Mike Sniper and Blank Dogs.  Those pounding drums, twanging guitars, well, they’re all nice and clean, but what will really get you is the pop sensation.  You can forget about comparisons, as Weidl’s voice definitely gives a new spin on things here.

There are easily a lot of tracks on this record that one might identify as ripping off various other acts, or at least being easily influenced, but a special song is a special song, regardless of whether it was made by Seapony or various other bands out there.  “Into the Sea” is one such track, with guitars maneuvering along the sunny coastal region, and the hazy Jen warmly singing atop it all. In all honesty, Weidl is the savior of Go With Me.  She does it again on “Go Away,” which sort of sounds like a cross between Best Coast and Girls Names, but her girl-group approach to vocal delivery, not to mention the nod to such things with her lyrics, makes tracks standout beyond the masses.

There’s tons of comparisons that can be made all over the place when listening to Go With Me.  You might find a Best Coast reference here, or even a Wild Nothing allusion, but what probably sticks out the most is how similar Seapony comes to sounding like a happier version of Blank Dogs.  The recording of the angular guitars in songs like “Always” or “Where We Go” almost plays like a Sniper remix, but perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to dig this record.  Everything sounds familiar, and yet it doesn’t sound familiar at all. Lyrics aren’t typically this adorably put together, and girls usually don’t work well, at least not as of yet/late, in this genre.

Even with all these noticeable nods to the indie landscape of today laced across this album, I’ve found myself spinning it again and again.  Part of me has a soft spot for any music of the ilk, part of me finds some odd connection between Camera Obscura and bedroom pop of the now.  It’s precisely the kind of record you can listen to while swinging your significant other around the living room instead of hitting up the bars. For that alone, Seapony and Go With Me deserve a nice little spot in your collection, not to mention the fact that you can include any number of tracks all across your summer mixes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SP_BlueStar.mp3]

Download: Seapony – Blue Star [MP3]

New Tunes from Spectrals

After lots of early hype this week, I decided to grab a hold of this over at Waterloo last night, and I’m grateful that I did.  I’ve been spinning the new 7″ from Spectrals all night long.  It doesn’t hurt that our faves Slumberland Records put the release on the streets here in the US.  For some reason it sort of reminds me of Camera Obscura smashing into Girls.  It’s got a little bit of a haphazard approach with that old 60s pop group twist.  It’s nothing short of enjoyable, so get on it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/spectrals-7th-date.mp3]

Download: Spectrals – 7th Date [MP3]

Contest: Camera Obscura @ Emo’s (4/9)

One of our favorite bands Camera Obscura is stopping in town again on Friday night at Emo’s.  Of course you know we’ll be there, but we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on a guest list spot that we’re offering up to a lucky reader.  Deets for the contest are simple: leave a comment below or tweet us with your favorite Camera Obscura song.  Easy right?  Our one lucky winner will receive a spot on the band’s guest list with a +1.  Winners will be contacted at the end of the day on Wednesday.  Please also remember to leave a valid email address so we can get in touch with you.  Our non winners can check out Ticketweb for tickets going for $16.  Doors are @ 8:30pm.  Go!

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

Download: Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career [MP3]

New Tunes from The School

Cardiff, Wales group The School will definitely have people dropping all sorts of names for comparisons to their pop sound, but I doubt many will hit it right on the head.  I’ve already heard the Camera Obscura reference, and while they have a girl singer, I’m not sold on the idea.  Still, having loads of reference points will definitely garner interest abroad, which is what the band have surely accomplished.  This track comes from their album Loveless Unbeliever, which hits stores April 19th.  This is one of the few songs that doesn’t sound entirely like a 60s girl group, so I chose this one up to offer you a preview to the band. You dig?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/04-I-Want-You-Back.mp3]

Download: The School – I Want You Back [MP3]

2009 Top 50 Albums

bestof2009cover_albums

Creating a Top 50 Albums list is never easy.  You have to battle with what you think the world believes, and what you truly believe in your heart, to be solid jams.  We have even more trouble because we have to three writers, all who have different ideas, and we have to make those ideas fit into a neat box.  Well, we got it done, and honestly, our criteria was based on two things: how great we thought the album was, artistically speaking, and how long we listened to it without getting bored.  That’s it. It’s fool proof; you might not like it, but it’s our list, so here it is… Read more

Free Sampler From 4AD

4adThe huge UK record label 4AD are back in action again at the end of the year with another free sampler that highlights their releases from 2010.  You’ll see ATH favorites Camera Obscura, Big Pink, M. Ward, and a slew of others.  You’ll also find this gem from The National called “So Far Around the Bend” which appeared on the Dark Was the Night compilation.  The sampler is free to download for the price of an email address.  While you’re at it, check out the sampler released by 4AD around this time last year.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1-05-So-Far-Around-The-Bend.mp3]

Download: The National – So Far Around The Bend [MP3]

FT50: Songs of 2009

bestof2009cover_songsWe have to start this list off with a disclaimer.  We have three writers, all with different tastes, so the list should reflect that a little bit.  Also, these are our opinions, and by no means, are they meant to be seen as an “end all be all” to the question of what were the best songs of 2009.  That being said, we like our list quite a bit.  Sure, it’s got some expected numbers at the top, but the rest of the list is genius.  We’ve got some of the songs streaming for you, and the rest take you straight to youtube.  Follow the jump for full list.

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FT50: Albums of the ’00s

0828top5coverWhat?   You still listen to THAT album?  That record is so 2004!  Well, that’s okay, because we really like that one too, which is why we decided to come up with a list of our favorite albums of the last decade (2000-2009).  Sure, these might not be YOUR favorite records, or the most critically acclaimed, but we sat down and really thought out every record from the past ten years that we keep coming back to in our collections.  You’re likely to disagree with some of these, and we won’t tell you we’re absolutely right we just know that these happen to be OUR favorites.  If you think we totally blew it here, feel free to tell us so, but be nice, as our egos are kind of fragile.  Follow the jump for more.

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The Postmarks – Memoirs at the End of the World

memoirsRating: ★★★☆☆

Last year, The Postmarks threw a collection of covers out to the world, and the year before, they hit us with their self-titled debut.  Oddly, they garnered little press, though their sound, resting somewhere between early Camera Obscura and slow-jam Stars songs seems like it would be all the rage.  Will Memoris at the End of the World be the album to get the group over the hump?

When opening up with “No One Said This Would be Easy,” you start to get the feel of the band; they know it won’t be easy carving out a niche, but their destined to do it all on their own terms.  You’ll find that the string arrangements being used here will draw some to conclude that The Postmarks have a place in the land of the twee, but there seems to be some sort of solemnity underlying here, which takes it somewhere else.

“My Lucky Charm” is the group’s nod to Camera Obscura, although singer Tim Yehezkely recalls a young Jenny Lewis from long ago.  Polite horn flourishes dance in the background bring that gentle tropicalia feel to the song, perhaps an aesthetic quality ingrained in the band from their hometwon in Miami.  But when you get to “Don’t Know Till You Try” you can see a slight addition of electronic touches here and there, which is where you might get a Stars meets Headlights sort of quality.

Still, once you get to this point, you start to see one of the unfortunate drawbacks to the album as a whole.  Every song is absolutely listenable, although “Theme from ‘Memoirs'” lacks a bit as far as interest goes, all the way until the album draws to a close.  However, none of these tracks absolutely have to be listened to at any given point in time.  You could skip around; you could buy one song on iTunes; or you could ignore it altogether.  Nothing on Memoirs at the End of the World stands out to differentiate itself from other like-minded groups.  You can easily enjoy listenting to the entire album for an extended period of time, but the question begging to be asked is do you really have to listen to it?

To be frank, you don’t have to listen to it.  It’s not something you absolutely have to have in your collection, but if you do happen to find it, and you’re into bands listed above, you would do well to pick it up.  Honestly, The Postmarks made a beautiful record, just not one that is begging to be listened to over and over again. You’ll probably love it, but then again, you might soon discard it. Pick your poison.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/01-No-One-Said-This-Would-Be-Easy.mp3]

Download: The Postmarks – No One Said This Would Be Easy [MP3]

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