Scott Hutchison Found Dead

No official cause of death, but recent tweets and a note from the family have alluded to mental health instability. I have lost friends to depression. If you need help, it is out there. Just tell one person. It doesn’t have to be a friend. I want to take a moment to remind everyone in the Austin music community that SIMS and HAAMexist

Here is a happier memory with the rest of Frightened Rabbit. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on lounge act sessions when WOXY would come to town. Here is their performance of “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.”

A Festival, A Parade Share Dark Alt Rock Single

afapA Festival, A Parade are a four piece out of Newcastle Upon Tyne who have got a Frightened Rabbit meets Preoccupations vibe with their heavy dark rock. This new single below, “If Dogs Could Talk,” has all the elements you’d expect from an alt-rock song: cutting riffs of electric guitar that duel throughout, furious drums with lots of cymbal crashes, and the deep vocals of Joe Allen that keep the song in that grumbling, low tone. This band has only been at it for about a year, so you can expect a bright future from these gents.

Bonus points if you can guess which track by The National that it appears this band has generated their name from.

 

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/282529404″ params=”color=00aabb&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

SxSW: The Flaming Lips @ The Belmont

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Flaming Lips.

…and Guards, Surfer Blood, Atlas Genius, Frightened Rabbit, The Joy Formidable, and Alt-J.

I told you all last year that I pick at least one night per SxSW to camp at a bigger venue. Last year, it was The Belmont for Jesus and Mary Chain. This year, same venue for The Flaming Lips. Other than a weird unannounced show, when would I get any where near this close to Wayne and the boys? …save for holding up the plastic ball thing as Wayne walks out over an audience. Add to that several bands on the rise or with a prize, some I have seen before, some new to me, and one that I was massively apathetic towards. What did I discover? Read.

Oh and a massive shit ton of photos to go with everything…

Read more

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]

New(ish) Track from Conversion Party

So we might be a few weeks late to this, um, party, but make no mistake, we’re fully getting behind Conversion Party over here at the ATH offices. The band is putting out their Favors EP, and will have a nice little show to celebrate in New York on May 7th, but the rest of us can still enjoy the band’s tunes.  This track has the feel of a Scottish act, namely that of Frightened Rabbit, but that jagged guitar that cuts through the entirety of the track gets me each time.  If you look hard you can find the rest of the tracks floating about, but we suggest you go ahead and get your hands on Favors, as it’s just a stepping stone to something really exciting.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/16-Teeth-Phil-Final.mp3]

Download: Conversion Party – Teeth [MP3]

Show Preview: Frightened Rabbit @ Stubbs (10/20)

Date 10/20/10
Location Stubbs
Doors 7pm
Tickets $15@ Frontgate

Those Glasgow boys from Frightened Rabbit are stopping in town at Stubbs this Wednesday evening.  Joining the Scots on stage are solid openers Plants & Animals and Bad Veins.  For only $15, that’s a pretty awesome lineup for a pretty low price.  I say spend the cash and make it out.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/swim-until-you-can_t-see-land.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land [MP3]

Foals – Total Life Forever

Rating: ★★★★☆

When Foals first came around the United States they barely made waves over here with their debut Antidotes, but having a few more years of growth has allowed them to push their sound in a much more confident manner, creating a wonderfully unassuming pop record.  Total Life Forever never really hits you in the face, but that doesn’t seem to be the band’s point of emphasis here, choosing instead to relax and let the good times come as they please.

When the opening moments of “Blue Blood,” the distinctive vocals of Yannis immediately bring to mind bands like Frightened Rabbit, but as you hear building percussion and guitar in the mixture the song quickly breaks into a rhythmic piece of pop.  Ringing guitar chords give it a bit of a shimmy, but as mentioned before, it never just comes out and hits you over the head with power chords, nor jangly guitars.

Perhaps some might be averse to submerging themselves in the rhythmic vibe of this record, but if you’re only searching for something that gives a swing to your step, then this might not be the album for you. “Miami” has a slow paced groove with a simple structured chorus, but there’s definitely a groove lying beneath it all.   And sure, “Total Life Forever utilizes angular guitar work throughout to accompany the gang vocals, but Foals seem more willing to focus on slowing things down just a bit, as they do near the end of the song.  In a sense, it allows for a much better energetic release for listeners, as you’re not spent after listening to the first three tracks, as you are with other similarly categorized groups.

One of the greatest things about Total Life Forever seems to be that these five lads just aren’t too interested in meeting expectations.  This album carries three songs over the six minute mark, which isn’t odd, unless you consider their last effort didn’t have a single song meeting that mark.  “Spanish Sahara” creates a sort of a really quiet bedroom pop number, the sort my older sister jammed too in the late 80s.  It’s full of nothing at points, which is a remarkable feat considering that most bands love the excessive layering nowadays. Very similarly, “After Glow” lives in sort of an art-punk dance pop realm, and while it resembles the other six minute numbers, it pushes things in a bit of a different direction with some cacophony and a quicker pace.

Don’t get me wrong, I, too, enjoy an upbeat number, much like the single “This Orient,” though in contrast to a lot of stuff out there, its probably not an over-the-top pop track.  Steady drumming, and awkward chanting vocals in the background create an odd effect, but that swirling hook in the chorus is really sublime.  This is probably as close, however, as you’ll get to really straight ahead pop tunes.  Even with that in mind, there are some minor missteps, like “Fugue,” which is only 49 seconds, and doesn’t add a single thing.

Everything about this record is quiet, and yet it’s really vibrant at the same time. The rhythmic elements slowly unfold when you least expect them to, and you’ll find yourself exploring for various levels of hook and texture while listening to Total Life Forever. In sitting back to construct this record, rather than pushing their sound in your face, Foals have created a far more meaningful second album than any had come to expect, but expectations will only get higher from here lads. Cheers to that.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/06-This-Orient-1.mp3]

Download: Foals – This Orient [MP3]

Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Riding the waves of praise since the release of their last album, The Midnight Organ Fight, Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit are poised for their breakout album.  They’ve amassed a large following built on their recordings and a knack for delivering powerful shows to audiences across the globe.  The Winter of Mixed Drinks finds the group middling between intimate club group and powerful arena-ready rock band.

The Hutchison brothers, Grant and Scott, remain the core focus of the band.  It’s Scott’s vocals that dominate throughout the record, and Grant’s drum tracks that foreshadow a blistering live show.  But, at times, it doesn’t appear as if too much musically is going on within the songs aside from these two, despite three other members now being part of the entourage. Take “Things” or “The Loneliness and the Scream,” for example, which don’t actually have too much traditional songwriting to them, at least as far as the instrumentation dictates the song.  In the latter, it seems as if the guitar is merely there to keep Scott on pace.  This isn’t a huge knock against the band, as Hutchison’s voice can carry the band alone, but it does lead you to wonder precisely what the songwriting process was during recording.

“The Wrestle” is the first song where you can hear a bubbly bass line just beneath the surface of the vocals.  In creating this underlying tension, along with a staccato-sort of guitar strumming, the vocals really pull at you.  It’s such a song where you can picture the band belting it out on stage to throngs of adoring fans who all sing along simultaneously.  These are the type of moments you came to expect from Frightened Rabbit.

Guitars finally begin to crash upon your ears when you come to “Nothing Like You,” which is the fastest song on The Winter of Mixed Drinks.  This is the sort of song that has the pacing and drum work to really win over fans in the live setting, but for some reason it doesn’t really seem to fit into the collection of songs here.  Most of the songs have a slower, almost folk approach, so it feels sort of lost.

Much should be noted of the possible influence of fellow Scots The Twilight Sad.  Many songs seem to be coated in atmospheric noise, but only as an extension of the song.  “Not Miserable” has sort of a slow, drawn-out beginning, fleshed out by a fuzz in the background, whilst piano lines sputter along.  It’s something that leads you to focus on the lyrical content, which is perhaps a very current Scottish trend.  Then again, it seems like using atmospheric backing all about is just a general fad in the industry.

Once you finish your listening experience, it’s hard to sit down and think back to superb moments on The Winter of Mixed Drinks.  Every single song is pleasant, and some might say they are all good tunes, but none of them really achieve that feeling of exceptionality one expected from Frightened Rabbit this time around.  They filled the record with decent tunes, but leave you feeling somewhat indifferent, which is something you surely can’t say at their wonderful live shows.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/swim-until-you-can_t-see-land.mp3]

Download: Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land [MP3]

1 2