Killer Tune from So Many Wizards

This new track popped up on Stereogum yesterday, and I just had to post it.  We’ve heaped praised upon So Many Wizards since back in early 2011, and I’m still supporting, especially as their sound continues to grow.  In February I kind of gave them a nod to old school Shins, and they still have that propensity to dig into the pop realm from a very dense arena; these are the sort of things that always make us happy here at ATH. You can find this song as well as others we’ve raved about on August 14th when the band releases their album, Warm Nothing, via Jaxart Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/So-Many-Wizards-Happy-Birthday.mp3]

Download:So Many Wizards – Happy Birthday [MP3]

New Jam from King Tuff

It’s crazy that Sub Pop just released this track by their newest signee, King Tuff, because I just bought the 3 7″ singles collection from Suicide Squeeze yesterday afternoon. KT used to jam with Happy Birthday, and he’s been banging around on his own for a long time as well.  The label will be releasing his self-titled debut on May 29th of this year, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to have a lot of fun jamming out to this.  Garage rock with hooks galore, just like the track we’ve got featured for you below!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/King_Tuff_-_Bad_Thing.mp3]

Download: King Tuff – Bad Thing [MP3]

Show Pics: Junior Boys @ The Mohawk

You could tell who was from Austin at ACL by their reaction to the rain. While I loved seeing the bits of green, yellow and red on the radar Wednesday night, we had an outside show at the Mohawk to hit. Junior Boys were in town and I will freely admit that since I first heard “In the Morning”, I have been a big fan.

The rain fortunately parted sending water from the skies to areas just North and South, leaving a wall of clouds filled with lightning as a backdrop for those on the upstairs patio. And while you could sense the weather kept the crowd down a bit, I think it only kept the lesser fans away as everyone at the Mohawk was way into it.

Egyptrixx opened, more on the show and a few pics after the break…

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Show Preview: Hex Dispensers and King Tuff @ Mohawk (1/26)

Date Wednesday, Jan 26th
Location Mohawk
Doors 900p
Tickets FREE w/ RSVP

Okay, you have to go to this.  First, The Hex Dispensers are one of the great bands in Austin, and I think they’ve been vastly overlooked.  It’s cool, you totally have the chance to make up for it.  Then, you can also catch opening act King Tuff, who’s been around for a bit kicking out the garage-y jams.  He recently put out a record with some friends as Happy Birthday, so if you remember that, you remember it being pretty solid.  And, you want the icing on your cupcake? It’s absolutely FREE, all you have to do is RSVP.  So, to recap, you get awesome tunes, and you don’t have to free. No excuses.  Here’s a track from Happy Birthday to get you in the mood.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/01-Girls-FM-1.mp3]

Download: Happy Birthday – Girls FM [MP3]


Happy Birthday @ USAA (8/6)

Date 8/6/10
Location United States Art Authority
Doors 8pm
Tickets $8 @ Door

Sub Pop kids Happy Birthday are making a stop in town this Friday at United States Art Authority.  Making the show more enticing, recent Hardly Art signee and locals Woven Bones will also be on the stage.  Rounding things out and opening the show up for everybody are Residual Echoes.  Should be a great option to see some good music on the cheap Friday night.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/01-Girls-FM-1.mp3]

Download: Happy Birthday – Girls FM [MP3]

Happy Birthday – s/t

Rating: ★★★ · ·

One of the most recent signees to historic Sub Pop is a relative newcomer to the music scene.  Happy Birthday, for those of you stumbling upon the band, just formed in 2008, and their self-titled album is their first official recording.  This album fits nicely into the new fascination with fuzz-riddled guitar pop, though the band isn’t just a one trick pony.  While the majority of the album is filled with charm, there are a few missteps that keep it from taking off.

Happy Birthday kicks off their debut with one of the catchiest tunes of 2010, “Girls FM.”  Jangling guitar rings hollowly in the background as Kyle Thomas wails a bit, just before the drums are added.  Once you get to the chorus, where Ruth Garbus joins Thomas, you can’t escape the sugary sweetness.  Placing this song up front establishes a lot of the music as surf-pop, though the group does go in different directions at times.

One of the tricks the band employs to great effect is to have Kyle’s vocals carefully backed by the warmth of Ruth’s voice.  “2 Shy” utilizes this tool, and it moves the music away from garage band to polished power-pop.  Such a combination creates blissful moments for the band, and they pull it out just often enough to make it memorable. You’ll see the same elements in “Maxine the Teenage Eskimo,” which might be the secret gem of this album.  It’s late in the collection, and this general sweetness comes in a bit later in the song; stay with this one folks, as you’ll be rewarded greatly.

Interestingly, there are some odd Marc Bolan-esque vocals floating throughout spots on this record.  “Subliminal Message” has that trademark T. Rex guitar, and Thomas seems to channel a bit of Marc’s vocal inflections on his delivery–this actually makes for a really fixating slow jam.  Unfortunately, they return to this same formula for “Pink Strawberry Shake,” at a point in the album when you’re really looking to be revitalized by something new; you might find yourself bogged down at this point.

Still, a new band has to have some drawbacks, right?  Well, this is true of Happy Birthday.  At times, they seem to have a little bit too much simplicity in their songwriting, which can be translated to childishness.  “Zit” is just one of those songs that demonstrates some of these weaknesses; it’s a juvenile song, both lyrically and musically.  While the lyrics throughout definitely hint at the unpolished quality of the group, this song takes it a bit too far.  Clearly, there is room for simplicity and youthfulness, but it kind of goes too far at points on the album.  This is just another factor the band will eventually work out on the next album, as they sometimes don’t seem to know when to hold back, pushing songs beyond a point of impact for the listener.

However, don’t end the album without listening to closer, “Fun.”  Yes, it does use that recently popularized style of mundane lyrical songwriting, but there is a touch of real brilliance here.  Some might recall Superdrag or Teenage Fanclub, and fans of those bands will surely love the ending to this album.  All things considered, Happy Birthday‘s debut has demonstrated room for growth, with touches of brilliance throughout, so we should expect a solid second outing based on the charms of this beginning.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/01-Girls-FM-1.mp3]

Download: Happy Birthday – Girls FM [MP3]