The longer I run ATH Records, the more proud I am of the work we’ve done. It seems like each release makes me happier, and I’m not sure if it’s because we’re putting out better records (I love them all) or if I’m just happy with the work. Regardless, we are really really really excited for the new Growl LP, Won’t You. It’s a great little album filled with guitar pop hits that are built for endurance. It’s likely to be the album that makes you happiest in the Spring and plays at all your pool parties during the Summer; you’ll likely be so stuck that it’ll be in heavy rotation from there on out. So, why not listen to the band’s latest single, the title track from this great new LP. Order it from us or look for it on April 7th.
The first 30 seconds of this track already had my ears, drifting vocals carefully over distorted guitar, but it wasn’t until the drums jumped in that this new Mrs. Magician tune really grabbed me. They’ve always had a knack for big hooks, and I think the production quality on this tune really allows for the group to layer the vocals of “someday I’ll fall in love,” ultimately leaving you with an emphatic piece of guitar pop. You’ll want to check it out, and look for this new 7″ on Thrill Me Records, which hits just a day or so before the New Year rings in.
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Well, you had to know this was coming, and you had to know I was going to be the one to remind you about this new Teenage Fanclub tune. It just popped up yesterday, offering that classic TF sound, bringing heavy distorted guitars into a melodious zone while the vocals carry your heart home. I’ve listened to their new album Here quite a bit lately, and I think anyone remotely interested in the finer side of guitar pop will want to get their hands on it; it’s available via Merge on September 9th.
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For years I’ve followed the path of local boys, Growl. They’ve been writing super-infectious guitar pop songs since their inception, and while they’re in the studio working on a new album, they’ve just given us all a glimpse of what’s to come in the near future. Fighting guitar chords, crashing drums and Santi’s captivating voice. It’s too late to call these guys a buzz-Austin band, as they’re just continuing what they’ve always done best. We’ll keep you posted on forthcoming album news.
I’ve hit you with several of the tunes of Tam Vantage, one of the former members of Pop Singles. It looks like Tam’s rounded out the perfect line-up for his songs, and gone in to record the tracks for his forthcoming LP, Life in High Definition…doing it now as T.V. The band’s latest single, “Do You Remember,” seems to hold true to the sounds of other Melbourne acts like Dick Diver or Twerps, but the recording (and the band for that matter) seem to have grander orchestration in mind. They’ve added some solid piano backbone to the track, lifting it just a hint above Aussie guitar pop. Look for this highly anticipated effort come September.
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Pop centric sounds are being spun all around the Internets nowadays, but I really like what the folks in Panther Ray are offering up today. They’ve got a brand new single that vaguely resembles the enthusiasm of early Pains of Being Pure at Heart, though they’re relying less on classic indiepop tropes and more on the guitar-infused alternative stylings. The track has just enough noise to blow out your speakers, but comes home to roost with the cool quality of the vocals. You’ll be able to hear their new album, Ripple, on April 24th via Forged Artifacts.
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Twerps self-titled debut was something of a marvel. It hit the US with little fanfare, but won over the hearts of many listeners and scored them a tour opening for Real Estate. Me, personally, I fawned over the LP for the entirety of 2011. There was something in the relaxed attitude the band employed, and yet often offset with their jangling Aussie guitar prowess. Range Anxiety picks up where that album left off, though there’s touches with the vocals that elevate this effort above its predecessor.
While there’s a statement instrumental opener, Range Anxiety officially begins with “I Don’t Mind.” I hesitate to call it a true piece of slacker pop, though the pacing would suggest such. My issue with that revolves around the song’s time, spanning over 5 minutes. That’s not a slacker band running out of ideas, but rather a comfortable approach to well-crafted pop music. They follow it up with the bouncy “Back to You,” which sounds like a spritely version of the Go-Betweens. I love how the backing vocals don’t join instantaneously during the chorus, but rather build into it…that’s a nice touch.
Speaking of nice touches, I like how Jules has a more prominent role on this LP, particularly in the standout track, “Shoulders.” It’s a tune that features that shimmering guitar work, but her voice offers a different tonal quality than that of her counterpart, Marty. It actually harkens back to a time of more pristine female voices, void of auto-tune and all that other technological hoopla. Her presence on “Adrenaline” adds a continued softness that really smooths out the edges for Twerps; it’s still the same act, just a slight bit more leaning towards classic sounds of pop beauty.
In the end, I’m going to still fawn over this album for it’s guitar playing. Sure, everyone has praised the Oceanic influence on guitar over the last decade, but I don’t think there are many that do it quite as authentically as these guys. Listening to “Cheap Education,” I was pushed way back into my own record collection, at least mentally. There’s a spirit to it that’s hardly been matched, and it always make listening to the group a joy. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t invest a sentence or two in “Love at First Sight.” This song is unlike much of those that precede it, though I’ve found myself gravitating towards it again and again. There’s something ramshackle that’s set amidst a really subdued performance.
Those that first fell in love with Twerps will surely find every song on Range Anxiety to have a redeeming quality. But, I think they’ve put in enough finishing touches to really surpass their debut in many ways. It’s a different listen, but one that exemplifies growth whilst staying grounded to what got them their in the first place. Going to keep playing this album again and again.
By now you know that one of my favorite labels is Art is Hard Records, and one of the founding men behind the label has his own act, Thalassocracy. As a follower of the label I’ve been quite impressed, as the band’s work equals that of the group’s on the label. The newest tune from the group has this chugging guitar with these distant vocals coming in with a mellow semi-shout. There’s nothing particularly mind-blowing about the tune other than the fact that I just want to turn it up really loudly and blast through my speakers! Join me won’t you.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Art-Is-Hard-Records-Thalassocracy-Shimensoka.mp3]
Download: Thalassocracy – Shimensoka [MP3]
We’re drawing nearer to the release of the new album from Happy Diving, and their new single is really keeping me going today. It’s got an old school feel to it, in regards to guitar pop, which reminds me of a more rocking blend of what Austin’s the Impossibles were trying to do in their later days. Sure, there’s an ode to Weezer in that and an innocence in the lyrical content, but wait until the song’s screeching guitars feedback into your ears, crashing down through your speakers; it’s a special bit for your listening pleasure today. Big World is released on October 21st via Father Daughter Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/05-Sad-Planet.mp3]
Download: Happy Diving – Sad Planet [MP3]
I have a sneaking suspicion that this tune will get a lot of play on my list for the next few weeks. It’s the perfect sort of guitar pop, using distorted guitars to wrap the band’s pop sensibility in a gentle blanket of noise. There’s even a nice balance between male and female counterparts in Pity Sex. This song features on the group’s new split 7″ which they will be sharing with Adventures; it’s slated for a October 7th release via Run for Cover Records. It’s a nice jam to wrap up your Friday listening.
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