Girls Names rode a wave of hype that seems to have crested and left few of the bands on that ride remaining, but not so for this bunch. They’ve continued to develop their sound on their own terms, and with this new, almost brooding track, they seem to really have found that sweet spot. The rhythm section gives the song a dark underbelly, while the guitar shimmers in an almost atmospheric way before adjusting to insert careful guitar lines that float across the mix. As usual, the vocals generally operate in these deep tones, though the moments of perceived chorus do give them a chance to rise into dreamier vibes. I’m glad this group is still going about their business, and we’re looking forward to Stains on Silence, which drops June 15th via Tough Love.
Oh Girls Names, how we’ve missed you. The long time ATH fave has just announced their return with this dense new single, opening with this brooding post-punk for almost two minutes before vocals even enter the picture. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot of movement following that, but I love the group’s ability to evoke maximum emotion with such simple structures. I can even hear a slight King Krule influence on the way the vocals come across during the verses. It’s an interesting entry into an already stellar catalog, so I look forward to seeing what comes out of it all when Stains on Silence is released on June 15th via Tough Love.
We had representation form the Brits, Scots, Irish, Bloomingtonians(?) and, of course, Brooklyn and LA.
Read More for images to relive the past or learn what you missed.
After a lot of hard work and tweaking of some components, I’m finally pleased to share the news of a show we have going down on Tuesday, March 15th at Nomad Bar in Austin. Personally I think this might be one of the best lineups we’ve ever been able to put together. Find some deets below and we’ll see ya there. Facebook event link.
Time: ATH Happy Hour with music by us 5pm-7pm.Music @ 7pm.
Free & Open to the public. 21+ only. Sorry kids.
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Year-end lists are everywhere…and I can see why they’re important to people. But, seeing as we generally walk off the beaten path more often than not, our list of the Top 50 Albums of 2015 is in no particular order, save alphabetically. It seems pointless to rank one piece of art higher than another, especially when the four of us at ATH all have varying tastes. We just put this list together of the albums we loved the most this year. Are we saying they’re better than records by Grimes or Kendrick Lamar? No, we’re just saying that these are the records we loved more than others. So, you can read on for what we thought was hot.
Also…put links to individual stores where you can buy the albums from the bands…as that’s how we all survive in this music world.
Hmm. Do I like this? Well, I do like it, but I also have to see it as a completely different version than the Girls Names I originally came to love. Honestly, it seems like an entirely new band, though we’ve had hints with recent singles and 10″ coming from the band. What was once atmospheric and brooding now takes on the full focus, thrusting the band into a darkened world of filled negative space and slowly unraveling rapture. It sort of reminds me of what’s become of Iceage…though it seems like they’re getting a lot more out of their approach. Their new effort, Arms Around a Vision will be out on October 2nd. My final thoughts…yes, I like it.
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Admittedly, I think I’m partial to the Girls Names debut, Dead to Me. There was something in the simplicity of the songwriting that the band now seems to have discarded for the most part. Their newest single, like their 11 minute 12″ tune from earlier this year, goes beyond simplicity, filling in space with sonic exploration. Still, what I’m liking from this new effort is the band’s adherence to pop tropes within the confines of their new direction; while it borders on a touch too long, there’s still evidence of a pop song in every moment. It’s our first listen to the band’s new album, Arms Around a Vision, which will be out in October via Tough Love.
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I’ve been way into Girls Names since they first hit the shores via Slumberland Records, and while they’ve changed their sound, their music has still been relatively compelling. Enter the new chapter for the band, the result being an 11 minute exploration into the space where bands may soon take their post-rock approach. The track opens with digitalized foreboding before the settles into it’s circular guitar work, pushed forward by the drum work. Don’t be worried, as the band have disguised their pop-centric leanings beneath carefully crafted swells of guitar. Look for this new Zero Triptych 12″ via Tough Love Records on May 11th.
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Mondays always start off a little slowly, so I wanted to make sure you had something really noisy and amped up to get you going while you roll into the office. I stumbled across this tune from Cruising and realized that it absolutely has to make its way into your rotation this morning. Rumor on the street is that the band is made up of various members of September Girls, Sea Pinks and Girls Names, which means we’re guaranteed to love them. All that matters is that the song is this female-fronted sludgy rocker; vocals are shouted from a distance, breaking through the wall of noise. Gotta get rad this morning, then pick up the single from Soft Power Records.
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Making 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 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
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 Growlers – Hung 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.