Missed This Matthew Lee Cothran Ditty

Somehow this track slid by my DMs, but not to worry; I’m here to make amends. As I listen to this wonderful track from Matthew Lee Cothran, I can’t help but be appreciative of his solo work…especially after he called it a day with Coma Cinema. It’s a pretty simple song, seemingly, but the special way that Cothran turns a line always charms me; I’m partial to the line ” we’ll get there together/on the other side of all this pain we feel.” It’s great to see Matthew doing everything on his own terms and his own way; it will always be special to me. Looks like he has a new mini-album titled My First Love Mends My Final Days, dropping next Friday and featuring the gem below.

Bedroom Pop from Starman Jr

Not sure why folks aren’t looking at Starman Jr as the next big thing behind the likes of Coma Cinema and Alex G; he’s writing a very similar style. But, he’s been writing pretty non-stop since 2015, with several records to fill that space. Here on his latest, you’ll hear a warbling guitar and murky vocals soothing your ears. I’m a fan of the fuzzy guitar line that helps the track fade out near the end; this is the pop music of my future. I plan on grabbing a copy of Daydream at Bethel, which you can also pick up now from Muscle Beach Records.

Warped Pop from Starman Jr.

starmanSometimes it amazes me what songs get the most love while others get overlooked. In my mind, this track from Starman Jr. seems like something that’s perfectly aligned with modern acts, playing as melodic bedroom pop with hints of warped vocals. This tune is brand new, but begs listeners to go look at the recent catalog, including the January release of Muscles. It seems like it falls in the vein of artists like Coma Cinema or even early Alex G, so if those are markers for your taste, you’ll want to play this over and over.

Warped Pop from Soft Fangs

softI’ve always loved singer-songwriter tunes, but I hold a special place in my heart for the sort that seems to take on the oddity of the world, distorting the genre into something much different. Names like Coma Cinema and Liam Betson come to mind most recently, and now I’m ready to add Soft Fangs to that list. Of course, the warped aspect is reserved for the opening choruswhile a pop explosion fills outthe space that follows, closing the track towards the end. His new album The Light will be out on March 18th via Disposable America and Exploding in Sound Records.

Shelf Life Sounds Pretty Stellar

shelfsFor the last several years I’ve had a penchant for bedroom pop, wrapped in warped tape sounds, mixed with oddity a la Coma Cinema. This project from Philly’s Shelf Life reminds me of that, though the recording is a bit stronger, relying more upon the craftsmanship of the songwriting than on the process of lo-fidelity. The project is set to have its debut, Everyone Make Happy, released in September via Lefse, and this first single indicates a pretty remarkable start.  Tracks like this don’t just spring up every day, which is why I’m going to fawn on this all day long. You with me?

Told You Guys Elvis Depressedly Was Legit

cothranA few years ago I got the Mat Cothran bug, consuming everything associated with the songwriter.  It first came with his solo project, Coma Cinema (reaching our Top 3 albums of the year).  In that mass consumption, I threw out some demos from his Elvis Depresedly project…it’s more of a full band affair; I raved about it after catching them open for Alex G this past summer.  Now, the world is following suit, with tons of people flocking to hear the band’s new project.  There’s a casual vibe to this tune, and it almost feels unfinished, but that’s what’s so intoxicating and intimate about anything Cothran pens.  The group titled their album New Alhambra, and it’s out in May on RFC Records.

Top 50 Albums of 2013

albums banner 2013 procMaking our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly.  We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience.  We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed.  If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.

50 – WampireCuriosity
49 – Dot DashHalf Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles  – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed CastIllumination Ritual
46 – Bad SportsBras
45 – Part TimePDA
44 – Dick DiverCalendar Days
43 – Math and Physics ClubOur Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica FallsWaiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely WildThe Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love LanguageRuby Red
38 – Gun OutfitHard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le BonMug Museum
36 – Daughn GibsonMe Moan
35 – Andre ObinThe Arsonist
34 – ArpMore
33 – Gap DreamShine Your Light
32 – The Black WatchThe End of When
31 – Ty SegallSleeper
30 – The StevensA History of Hygeine
29 – Of MontrealLousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror TravelMexico
27 – Local NativesHummingbird
26 – Girls NamesThe New Life
25 – GRMLNEmpire
24 – Small BlackLimits of Desire
23 – AudacityButter Knife
22 – Mikal CroninMCII
21 – Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty
20 – FoalsHoly Fire
19 – Radical FaceFamily Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry MaltsNobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out LoudsOptica
15 – Kurt VileWaking on a Pretty Daze
14 –  BraidsFlourish//Perish
13 – Crystal AntlersNothing is Real
12 – TyphoonWhite Lighter
11 – Ski LodgeBig Heart

10 – GamblesTrust

Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created.  In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.

9 – The GrowlersHung at Heart

I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.”  But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track.  I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.

8 – Wax IdolsDiscipline & Desire

Hether Fortune seems to scare people.  Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes.  That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense.  The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors.  If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.

7 – Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege

While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work.  It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record.  The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.

6 – The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

What else really needs to be said about The National.  They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts.  I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party.  Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.

5 – LegsPass the Ringo

When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve.  Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.

4 – Warm SodaSomeone for You

Someone For You came our way in January.  On my record player, it hasn’t left since.  This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record.  You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.

3 – Coma CinemaPosthumous Release

At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners.  You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.

2 – Bubblegum LemonadeSome Like it Pop

In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers.  But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music.  This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special.  Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.

1 – Magical CloudzImpersonator

This album is about Devon Welsh.  From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note.  The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow.  It made us believe in great music again.

 

Top Songs of 2013

best songs ath 2013We’ve put our pretty little heads together ladies and gentlemen to bring you our favorite songs from this past year.  It was a difficult task with our ever growing staff, but we feel like this list best represents the diverse taste of our staff.  Love it or hate it, it’s ours to call our own.  Hit play and put your head down or dance or shimmmy or drool or whatever works. Most of all we hope you hear something you missed, something you want to buy or something you want to see live.

Scroll past the playlist for full the run of the bestest songs ever this year.

Read more

Another Gem from Mathew Cothran

mathewIf you haven’t listened to Mathew Cothran in any of his various projects then I’m going to force you to admit you’ve made some mistakes! Well, okay, I won’t be that forceful, but I’ll continue to promote his work on these here pages.  Recently, the man behind Coma Cinema unleashed a few short songs for our enjoyment on his Failure EP.  I don’t know what it is about his songwriting, but I get completely wrapped up in everything he has to say.  There’s something I can’t put my finger on, but I love every minute I spend listening to a song he’s penned. Join me, won’t you?

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/mathew-lee-cothran-it-had-to-happen-it-had-to-be.mp3]

Download: Mathew Cothran – It Had to Happen(It Had to Be) [MP3]

I’m Enjoying Elvis Depressedly

elvisdepressedlyPlease pay attention to the punctuation here, I’m listening and enjoying Elvis Depressedly. Not, as it might be misconstrued listening to Elvis, Depressedly.  The South Carolina group is another project from Mat Cothran, the man behind this year’s beautiful Coma Cinema release.  This project is more of a full group, though the construction is still fairly minimal. Earlier this year the group put out Holo Pleasures 7″ EP, which is just now making it’s way into my hands.  I’m pretty sure Cothran’s voice can do me no wrong at this point. You should rush out and donate to the cause, picking up the group’s EP…it’s currently at the name your own price special.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/elvis-depressedly-holo-pleasures-02-pepsi-coke-suicide.mp3]

Download: Elvis Depressedly – Pepsi/Coke Suicide [MP3]

 

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