ACL WE2 Sunday in Photos

acl-we2-3021Hi.

Austin just went through another “festival” with what appears to have been a rather successful Formula One race weekend. I am an F1 fan and the three days out at the circuit are treated as a staycation for the wife and I. Why am I telling you this? I do not know.

Back on topic, The final batch of photos from ACL are ready for your consumption. Sunday was a sleeper day. The fest was sneeky-fun and I had a great day with my photo friends. The weather was amazing again and we had some big WE2 exclusives.

First, I did not go anywhere near that crowd for Willie. It was INSANE!!! A friend went up in a cherry picker and took twenty some-odd wide angle photos and stitched them together into an impressive panorama. Instead, I watched the set via festival TV and relaxed. Ra Ra Riot, on the other hand, was an early in the day highlight of festival hits. Amasa Hines was the surprise, think blues guys doing Interpol covers. Also on the BMI stage, Atlas Genius drew the biggest crowd I have ever seen at our favorite stage at ACL. NF did an Eminem impression, just grabbed photos on the way to Pete Yorn. Local Natives ooh-ahh’ed straight into our hearts. St. Paul and The Broken Bones brought the soul review to life, though I was concerned the Saint’s jaw would unhinge and swallow one of us whole. Miike Snow filled a gap; too much fog. Young the Giant got sexy and dirty to a fanatical crowd obsessed by frontman Sameer Gadhia while the band seemingly went through the motions.

And finally the second bucket-list shoot, LCD Soundsystem gave us the end-of-the-fest dance party. Seeing their set two weekends in a row, you realize that it is scripted and I guess that is understandable given the number of synth, percussion and instrument changes required. Didn’t stop WE2’s dance party from being any less awesome…

Click through for the pretty photos.

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Local Natives – Sunlit Youth

sunlit-youth

Rating: ★★★½ ·

In 2010, Local Natives, then a four piece, now a five piece, released their first studio album, Gorilla Manor,here in the United States to thunderous approval from the masses– their lush harmonies, wild yet clean percussion, and orchestral elements made their pop stand far above the masses whilegenerating a wide fan base. Three years later, they followed withHummingbird, which saw the band furthering their percussive reaches and treading into more emotional territory with a little production help from Aaron Dessner. Once again, three years have passed, and the band has pushed themselves into yet another territory: unabashed pop. The result is is Sunlit Youth; a fairly triumphant third release that refuses to apologize for its pop warmth and youthful glow. Read more

Can’t Not Share New Local Natives!

13063015_10154004937181278_640210931557770896_oThis song broke out a few days ago, but to hell with it! Local Natives, your favorite band that blends raucous percussion and lush harmonies have victoriously returned, and while they haven’t officially announced a new album, they have shared with us “Past Lives,” which is a song that I’ve had on repeat for the past three days. You’re greeted with the familiarly soaring vocals of Taylor Rice, accompanied by some swelling synths that their sophomore record, Hummingbird employed so well. The track gives you Local Natives as you’ve known them before, but some changes are also traceable in the mix as well; the guitars are more angular, sharper as they cut through the song. Of course you still have that staccato drum rhythm, but the vocals, while still beautiful, have some bite of raw emotion to them when the song builds to its end. Take a listen and look out for news about their third album, which should hopefully be gracing our ears within the year.

Premiere: Pistachio Prep You for Springtime

pissedachioWe’re turning the corner on that Winter weather here, and we’ve got to have a soundtrack for those breezy days and warm afternoons.  I’m thinking you’re all going to want to put on quite a bit of Pistachio as that time nears; they’re offering you up this infectious new single…it’s equal parts Local Natives and early Vampy Weeks. You’ll hear tight guitar chords cutting at an angle, filled with some infectious bits of percussion and a hook that’s naturally built into the delivery of the vocals. I appreciate the fact that these guys rock it out for just over five minutes, cheering you on with a nice rhythm all the way until the end. These Berkeley boys release their Tehuantepec EP at the end of February, but get your sample on right here.

Top 50 Albums of 2013

albums banner 2013 procMaking 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 – WampireCuriosity
49 – Dot DashHalf Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles  – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed CastIllumination Ritual
46 – Bad SportsBras
45 – Part TimePDA
44 – Dick DiverCalendar Days
43 – Math and Physics ClubOur Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica FallsWaiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely WildThe Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love LanguageRuby Red
38 – Gun OutfitHard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le BonMug Museum
36 – Daughn GibsonMe Moan
35 – Andre ObinThe Arsonist
34 – ArpMore
33 – Gap DreamShine Your Light
32 – The Black WatchThe End of When
31 – Ty SegallSleeper
30 – The StevensA History of Hygeine
29 – Of MontrealLousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror TravelMexico
27 – Local NativesHummingbird
26 – Girls NamesThe New Life
25 – GRMLNEmpire
24 – Small BlackLimits of Desire
23 – AudacityButter Knife
22 – Mikal CroninMCII
21 – Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty
20 – FoalsHoly Fire
19 – Radical FaceFamily Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry MaltsNobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out LoudsOptica
15 – Kurt VileWaking on a Pretty Daze
14 –  BraidsFlourish//Perish
13 – Crystal AntlersNothing is Real
12 – TyphoonWhite Lighter
11 – Ski LodgeBig Heart

10 – GamblesTrust

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 GrowlersHung 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.

8 – Wax IdolsDiscipline & Desire

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.

7 – Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege

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.

6 – The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

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.

5 – LegsPass the Ringo

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.

4 – Warm SodaSomeone for You

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.

3 – Coma CinemaPosthumous Release

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.

2 – Bubblegum LemonadeSome Like it Pop

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.

1 – Magical CloudzImpersonator

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.

 

Show Review: Local Natives ACL Taping (10/10)

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Riding high on the waves of their stunning sophomore release, Hummingbird, Local Natives, from Los Angeles, took the familiar stage of the Moody Theater to a fairly enthusiastic crowd. Sandwiched between the two ACL festival weekends there was chitchat amongst those who had seen the group on the big stage last Friday, who would be seeing them the second weekend, or those who were just lucky enough to catch them at such an intimate venue. Having taken advantage of this bands’ delight in playing in Austin, I knew we were in for a real treat, as these gentlemen pack a great deal of passion and energy into their live shows, and Thursday night was no disappointment.

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Sprawling Pop Rock from Gang of Youths

gangofyouthsOne of the great things about SXSW, despite the whining of DIIV, is that you get to make communications across the globe you wouldn’t have made otherwise.  Such is how I met our friend Meg, who pointed me to Gang of Youths, who will soon be relocating to the USA.  They’ve just released the following single, which is reminiscent of acts like Local Natives, though this group shows a bit more restraint in their songwriting, holding back where others have gone on to explode.  I like what the group is doing, and I hope you do as well; keep an eye out for them, as they’ll be making their way to the States very soon to warm your ears.

More New Music from TORCHES

tochesIf you’re looking for creative indie rock in the vein of Local Natives, or like-minded bands, then perhaps you should try on TORCHES.  While their sound has some striking similarities, it definitely is able to go off on it’s own spectrum, aided by the trading back and forth of male/female vocals harmonies.  Listening closely to this new tune, you can hear some percussive rim shots built in to aid in the song’s progression.  The group’s headed out on the road in a couple of week’s to promote the release of their If The People Stare EP, so be sure to see if they’re coming to your town.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/02-If-the-People-Stare.mp3]

Download: TORCHES – If the People Stare [MP3]

SxSW 2013: The Rest of the Showcase Pics

Nothing quite like figuring out that you still have 1600 shots to go through after six posts already up for SxSW…

Sorry, SxSW seems like a distant memory, but I may just rekindle some fond memories of the smaller shows that you should have gone to. Official SxSW stuff, I have already shared the shots of The Flaming Lips headlined party and Iggy and The Stooges. This gallery has shots of Mompox, Young Galaxy, Local Natives, Gold Fields, Shout Out Louds, Shout Out Out Out, GEMS and more. If you click, you will also get a few quick notes on winners and losers.

So do it. Sing with me, MEEEMMMOOOORRRIIIEESS!!!11!shift+1

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