Straight Pop From Decorations

unnamedThe ATH crew here loves us some good pop music when it comes our way and this new track called “Girls” from L.A. based Decorations is perfect.  It’s a straight pop number with some louder guitars and some super slick synth parts thrown in to really brighten things up.  Seriously, I’d find it hard to believe if anyone told me they didn’t enjoy such a hit as this.  So hit play and treat your ears.

Debut EP, Girls, is due out October 16th via Frenchkiss Records.

Drowners Give Us Even More Great Pop

140116-drownersBack in October I shared with you guys our first taste of NYC band Drowners in the form of new track “Luv, Hold Me Down”.  Today the band are offering up another free track called “A Button On Your Blouse” found below.  We are yet again treated to some great garage rock inspired pop music from these young gents.  I expect more great things with the full album.

Pick up the new self-titled album on January 28th via Frenchkiss Records.

Crocodiles – Endless Flowers

Rating: ★★★½ ·

A few years back, Dan Treacy of Television Personalities used Crocodiles as his backing band, and that’s when I first caught wind of the group.  I trust Dan, so I scoured the net in search of news, only to stumble upon a group that I thought was unfairly being compared to Jesus and the Mary Chain.  Sure, I see the similarities, but as evidenced by Endless Flowers, the group has a lot more in relation to jangling art-pop than JMC.

“Endless Flowers” does utilize some squalling guitar wailing to kick off the whole affair, but vocally, it harkens back to the musical re-imagining of early 00s band such as Longwave; there’s a simple melodic tone that gives listeners that soft-footed shuffle.  “Sunday” again has that atmospheric guitar sound, so everyone’s going to already toss the JMC comparison back onto Crocodiles, but mentally I’m stripping the sound off these tracks, choosing instead to focus on the bright quality of the vocal delivery; it provides a youthful exuberance akin to Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

As Endless Flowers evolves, you begin to see the gentler side of the band, offering a steadier dosage of pop melody as preferred to noise.  “No Black Clouds for Dee Dee” is definitely a heartfelt ballad, considering the band’s relation to Dee Dee (not Ramone).  It’s a standout song, demonstrating that the group’s not always content with upping the noise quotient. Interestingly, as they begin to unleash a lighter side, they also begin to let that element fully collide with their noisier moments.  It leads to some of the longer tracks, such as “My Surfing Lucifer” and “Dark Alleys,” with the latter remaining as one of my favorite tracks on the record.

They break through it all to wrap up the record quite nicely, giving you a rollicking stomp track in “Welcome Trouble.”  The jagged guitar line cutting in the background just builds you to the raucous stomp that ups the ante during the chorus.  It’s got a bit of post-rock swagger to go along with the energetic chorus, and it definitely helps illustrate the group’s progressive direction. Closing out with the quieter “You Are Forgiven” again finds Crocodiles in a steady ballad form that should leave no doubt that the band is capable of affecting songs without having to fill each track with noise.  Admittedly, the chirping of the birds in the background of the recording might make it seem like a B-Side or an afterthought, but the strength of the song itself warrants its inclusion here.

I can see the Internet still hyping up the JMC connection, but perhaps when I listened to Endless Flowers, I was hoping for more, so I forgave its presence and looked closer at the core content in the songs.  If you approach listening to the latest from Crocodiles then I have the feeling that you’ll understand where I am coming from.  Regardless, I’ve had a lot of fun listening to this whole album, especially when you turn it up to 10 (11 is so cliche).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Crocodiles-Sunday-Psychic-Conversation-9.mp3]

Download:Crocodiles – Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) [MP3]

More New Jams from Suckers

You know we’re supporters of Suckers, so we’re happy to offer up a nice stream of the band’s second single from their upcoming record, Candy Salad.  Said record, the group’s second, will be out on April 24th on Frenchkiss Records, and you can expect a little bit of a different sound this time.  The group seems a lot more focused in the recording of this effort, offering up a tightened sound this go around.  It does lose a little bit of the magic from their debut, yet you’ll definitely find plenty to fall for on this effort, such as the band’s favorite accompaniment–a nice heartfelt whistle.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/04-Chinese-Braille.mp3]

 

More New Music From The Dodos

So I’m a bit late on posting this other new song from the Dodos new album, but I don’t really care as it is growing into one of my favorites of the year.  If you haven’t heard the track elsewhere yet, it’s called “Don’t Stop” and is featured on the new Dodo’s album Color. You’ll be able to get your hands on that one during your trip to Waterloo during SXSW on March 15th via Frenchkiss Records.  I’m seriously not sure how I’m gonna handle this busy ass spring.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/The-Dodos-Dont-Stop.mp3]

Download: The Dodos – Dont Stop [MP3]

New Tunes from Young Man

Chicago native Colin Caulfield is going to be blowing you away this year.  He’s playing under the name of Young Man, but there’s nothing that sounds entirely young, so to speak, as the melodies go way back in the history of American pop music.  His debut Boy EP will be coming out on Frenchkiss on October 12th, so you better accustomed to hearing him now, as we’re sure that he’s just beginning to rise into the forefront of it all.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/02-Hands.mp3]

Download: Young Man – Hands [MP3]

Suckers – Wild Smile

Rating: ★★★★½

For over a year, people (including us) have been salivating at the thought of having a full-length album from Suckers.  Finally, the time for Wild Smile is upon us, and it will go down as one of the top records of the year, fulfilling on all the promises and praise.  There’s no way around it; this record is fantastic.

“Save Your Love for Me” opens the album slowly, almost dragging out the melodies while the band introduces you to their gang-vocal approach that will woo you throughout the duration. Around the 3+ minute mark, the band bursts into a little bit of a yelp and high pitched squeal, offering up another dynamic to listeners.  Then it fades softly away, bringing you into “Black Sheep.”  As soon as the hi-hat is kicking, and those guitar chords cut in, your bobbing your head, tapping your feet, ready to memorize the words so you can sing along.  When Quinn Walker goes off, you get a sense of the wildness that goes along with their tunes, and their live shows.

Suckers aren’t just a group intent on blasting you away with in-your-face melodies; they can offer restraint at times.  You’ll find “You Can Keep Me Running Around” builds the groove in a rather slow manner, and still the dynamic of the band’s vocal approaches keeps your focus on the enjoyment at hand.  Similarly, “King of Snakes” has a sharp guitar line that slowly walks itself through the song, while various layers slowly build themselves into the song.  Careful listeners of Wild Smile will appreciate the variance in the song sequence, as the moments that let up slightly, allowing you room to breathe, certainly serve their purpose, all the while offering great music for your ears.

Although the entire album is superb, there will always be a standout track or two that simply rise above the rest.  “A Mind I Knew” is one of those songs, building slowly from the start until the rest of the song starts to catch up with the vocals.  It sort of stays there for a minute or so, but the band is intent on providing the maximum listening experience, as the gang-vocals rise in the middle creating an enjoyable sense of cacophony that grooves and bangs all the way to the end.  Personally, the one-two punch of “It Gets Your Body Movin'” and “Martha” are my favorite recorded moments of music to come out this year.  Part of me attaches that with the incredible live performance of the former I’ve witnessed on several occasions, and the fact that the recorded version aligns itself with my memories make it a wonderful piece of pop.  “Martha” is nothing short of exuberant fancy.  If you can refrain from bobbing your head and tapping those toes here, then you’ve won some sort of promise.  This track attaches to every happy muscle in your body, encouraging you to use them all at once.

One could go on and on about how amazing Wild Smile is as a complete album, but then again, those are just the words of an obsessed scribe.  Suckers have constructed album that you must absorb on your own, create your own reactions and be carried away by its power.  Rarely do we get to experience records like this that push boundaries and encourage exploration that will differ from person to person, but rest assured, all reactions will be positive, as these songs ask for nothing if not positivity.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/05-A-Mind-I-Knew.mp3]

Download: Suckers – A Mind I Knew [MP3]