Stream A New One From Earlimart

Earlimart has been away. They are back.

The band is back with the track “97 Heart Attack” which is available to stream on soundcloud (below) and costs you your email address for the privelege to download it at their website. Smooth higher register vocal with the loving echo. The album, System Preferences is due in September.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/55638074″ params=”show_comments=false&auto_play=false&color=ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /]

Admiral Radley – I Heart California

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Odds are you know more about Admiral Radley than you think you do.  Comprised of Grandaddy members (namely Jason Lytle) and Earlimart members, the band has concocted an album titled I Heart California, which has left the Internet hounds wondering precisely what would come of this collaboration.  Well, if you know these artists, then you know precisely what the sound will be, and you’ll either love it or hate it, depending on your attachment to aforementioned parties.

Kicking things off is this Grandaddy-esque “I Heart California.”  It’s laden with pounding piano, blended with textures from electronic land, and it blossoms during the chorus with that trademark wall of euphoria. Odd lyrics, well, for a song about California, such as “fake tits in the symphony” make one wonder about Lytle’s dedication to his homestate, especially after his move to Montana.  Nonetheless, it’s the catchiest number of the collection, and one worthy of so many repeat listens.

But, bubbly software pop is not all that fills the minutes on I Heart California.  Aaron Espinoza takes the lead vocal on several tracks throughout the duration, and his soft touch gives tracks such as “Ghosts of Syllables” a warmer, less-quirky sound.  It’s an interesting dynamic, providing listeners with a substantial bit of deviation between songs, although this might lead some to look at a lack of cohesion, or perhaps a schizophrenia within the writing process. Aaron isn’t the only Earlimart member to share his voice here, as Ariana Murray gets her own number with “The Thread.”  It’s something that seems to fit with her own personal style, using a certain light-hearted approach to the crafting of the melody, which really takes control of the song itself.  However, it seems oddly placed smack in the middle of the record, and it kind of breaks up any momentum the album had.

All their appearances aside, Jason Lytle is really the mainstay, or the big ticket here.  His presence alone provides Admiral Radley with a substantial amount of credibility from the get go, and it pays off with songs like “GNDN.”  Skeletal piano holds the song up, as quiet guitar strumming and light percussion build the landscape of the song itself.  Electronic beeps and blips, a Lytle staple, are largely absent, at least in the final mix, which actually makes a strong argument for Jason as a songwriter.  There’s something in the fragility of his voice here, something unnamed that makes it all extremely affecting.

Most listeners will likely find the last four songs the most enduring in their playtime of I Heart California.  “End of Me” starts the final run, and if you could strip the casio keyboard effects away, it might succeed as the best song on the album.  Beginning quietly, it erupts into a pretty solid rocker.  In fact, the more you listen, the more this might be  your favorite song here.  From there you go to “GNDN” all the way to “I Left U Cuz I Luft U.”  All if makes a strong closing statement, providing some structure and cohesiveness that seemed a little bit scattered from the beginning.

Casual listeners of Admiral Radley will definitely find some really rewarding moments on I Heart California. They’ll find pop gems waiting to make your day brighter; they’ll find the attraction to Jason Lytle many discovered years ago.  Those who fell in love with Grandaddy and Earlimart might be a bit disappointed, however, as you expect these four to knock it out of the park, blasting us all into sunshine.  Instead, they give us a good record, not a great one.  There’s nothing wrong with that in the long run, as good records are often rare nowadays, and, besides, isn’t it just nice to have Lytle still around writing music?  One listen here, and you’ll be sure to agree.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/1-I-Heart-California-1.mp3]

Download: Admiral Radley – I Heart California [MP3]

New Tunes from Admiral Radley

I”ve been waiting to actually get a listen to Admiral Radley for sometime, as the band is made up of two of my favorites, Grandaddy and Earlimart, so when this jam surfaced Friday (via ThaGum) I jumped on it.  It’s everything you sort of expected it to be, with Jason Lytle singing over electronic infused pop, seemingly longing to be back in California?  While it’s not the best work lyrically, it shows a lot of promise, and only furthers our anticipation for what the band’s album, I Heart California, hits stores July 13th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/1-I-Heart-California-1.mp3]

Download: Admiral Radley – I Heart California [MP3]

Telekinesis – Telekinesis!

teleRating: ★★★½☆

Telekinesis is more or less made up of one man, Michael B. Lerner, who gathered what one can assume is a group of close friends to flesh out his debut album.  The self-titled album, well, save for a change in punctuation, is the first most will hear from Mr. Lerner, and with such a solid album, we’re sure to hear more from the man and his band in the future.

“Rust” is the album opener, and it sets the mood, or revels in the setting of the music, as it would be hard not to place the music on this album somewhere in the Northwest.  Here, you’ll find the band sounding a bit like old Earlimart bedroom recordings.

Then listeners will come across what we will call the meat of the album, which is probably the most consistent tracking on any album this year.  Kick starting our hearts is “Coast of Carolina,” which begins with gentle acoustics before kicking right it in with its energy legs. There is an element of lo-fi recording to this song, and to the majority of the songs that appear on this album, but they also have a surefire pop sensibility.  Rock songs like “Look to the East”  will remind some of us of early Ben Kweller recordings before he thought coke and country was where its at.

“Foreign Room” is another song that clearly locates the album and its narrator, as Lerner does his best to emulate Eliott Smith; the wavering in his voice will be the first key to this comparison.  But, he doesn’t just rely upon Smith’s old tricks, instead pushing forward with a quick paced guitar.  It’s like the entire Northwest went pop as the rain made way for a years worth of sunshine.

Just as you get used to the harder moments on the album, or the faster elements one should say, Lerner slows it all down with “Great Lakes.”  His voice is pitch-perfect here, and the space on the song is all filled in such a fashion that one would be hard pressed not to adorn the band with praise just like the rest of their cohorts along the Northwest Corridor. And so the album closes with an acoustic number that bookends the album precisely the way one would expect.  Through all the peaks and gorges, it’s hard not to appreciate such a subtle ending as this.  A love song no less.

And with the entirety of this album, each listener will find something that they can appreciate, as Telekinesis appeals to many different styles and many different tastes.  It’s an album that many will appreciate, a few will love, and most will respect; the best thing about the album is it leaves the door wide open for future accomplishments by Michael Benjamin Lerner.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/05-awkward-kisser.mp3]

Download: Telekinesis – Awkward Kisser [MP3]

RAM On L.A.

front-cover4-finalOne of our favorite blog reads, Aquarium Drunkard, has created a really sweet compilation disc full of some of the great indie acts out of L.A.  Not just a compilation, the album features each band’s take on a song from Paul McCartney’s 1971 solo album RAM. The album is free to download, but The Drunkard is suggesting that you say thanks by donating to his favorite charity No More Land Mines.  With a compilation full of artists like Parson Red Heads, Earlimart, and Bodies of Water, why not donate a little?

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/09-eat-at-home.mp3]

Download: The Broken West – Eat At Home [MP3]

Earlimart On Daytrotter

Cali band, Earlimart, just did a a short performance for the Daytrotter website.  You can stream all the songs or download each one now.  You can also check out one of the live tracks below called “God Loves You the Best” which appears on the band’s latest effort Hymn & Her.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/earlimart_daytrottersession_2.mp3]

Download: Earlimart – God Loves you the Best [MP3]

Earlimart @ Waterloo/Mohawk – 8/5

California’s Earlimart will grace us twice tomorrow evening. They will first play a free set at Waterloo Records at 5 PM. Then they will be off to play a full set at The Mohawk with Austin bands Zookeeper and Silent Sunset (featuring Bill of Sound Team). I’ve seen them several times before, and they always put on an enjoyable show, and you have two chances to see them – don’t miss out. 

Tickets for the Mohawk show will be sold through FrontGate Tickets.

You can also check out our review for their latest album Hymn and Her.

Earlimart – Hymn and Her

Rating: ★★★½☆

California’s Earlimart has released their 4th studio album, this one coming just a year or so after the release of Mentor Tormentor, which was one of my favorite releases of 2007. I found it an odd choice to release another album so quickly, but I wasn’t let down by this effort.

“Song For,” the opening track, begins with some bouncing percussion, as the music crashes in behind it, you are reminded of similar California acts such as Grandaddy or early Rogue Wave-neither of which is a bad comparison in my book.

Aaron Espinoza has a perfect voice for the melodic sounds of his band, as he gently sings through this album, resembling the softness of his friend Eliott Smith. It’s a comparison I am sure he is sick of at this point, but one that creeps up time and time again in his music.

“Before it Gets Better” introduces the audience to equally strong voice of Ariana Murray, the other mainstay member in the Earlimart lineup. Backed by the softness of a piano, she sings about the realization that before anything gets better, its bound to get worse. Despite the undertones of this song, Ariana allows the listener to empathize with her feelings–a good feat I dare say. Her lead role on “Time For Yourself” makes it another bright spot on the album, which I think has a lot to do with her voice in contrast to Espinoza. At some points I just find her more fitting, but that could be due to her songwriting on such songs.

Unfortunately, I found that there were some spots that missed their mark–for me as a listener. Tracks like “God Love You the Best” or “Cigarettes and Kerosene” found me searching in earnest for the uniqueness that opened the album. Even when the guitars burst in on “Cigarettes and Kerosene” I found it lacking the personality of other songs that are present. Even the title track, “Hymn and Her,” seems like a track that blends into the background of this album.

However, I found a beautiful gem on this record in the song “For the Birds.” It has the gentle quality of Espinoza, backed by the “ooohs” from Murray, all thrown into the mix with a quiet backing of piano and a strumming acoustic guitar. This is the most special moment on this album.

At times, Earlimart waiver from their focus, and it is that tendency to operate on musical tangents that has always hurt their albums. Their strengths come in when they combine Espinoza’s voice with Murray’s, using carefully constructed soundscapes to back the vocals. Lucky for us, there are plenty of those moments on this record.

Listen to the first single off the album “Song For” below:

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/01-song-for.mp3]

download: songfor.mp