ATH Curates SXSW Playlist

sxswfm_LOGO-stacked-4CI’ve been fortunate with this site, and such fortunes continue with some friends reaching out to have me curate an hour of music featuring SXSW Official Austin acts that I wanted to rest of the world to know about. It also features my horrendous voice, though only for like 30 seconds total. I kind of went all over the map, trying to be as diverse as possible within the realm of my own tastes.  The little show will run three times today on SXSWFM (9 AM, 3 PM, 9 PM), which is a great place to get to know some of the artists, not just the Austin ones.  Here’s the artists I chose to include: Flesh Lights, Sour Notes, Jess Williamson, Roger Sellers, Mirror Travel, Shivery Shakes, Grape St, Ramesh, A Sinclair, Love Inks, Hundred Visions, Abram Shook, Ssleeperhold, The Zoltars, Warm Soda and The Eastern Sea. Just doing what I can to give a little love to our friends.  Special thanks to Brett and Rory for this rad opportunity.

Top 15 Austin Albums of 2014

Top LocalsIt’s that time of year when we all toss up our arbitrary lists of what we think is best, and seeing as we’re based here in Austin, we opted to go with our Top 15 Austin Albums first.  Why 15? Well, there were a lot of great releases all over the place, covering different styles, and appealing to our different writers. Sure, the list isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t reflect singles and EPs, as that could get entirely too crazy.  I included links to the labels so you can buy these albums from the hard-working folks in our town.  Also…there are two releases on our label, but I have no qualms about that; I didn’t set out to put out a bad LP, so obviously, they’re going to be in here.  And without further meaningless words…here’s the best records from Austin that you should already own!

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Love Inks – EXI

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

A little less than a year ago, Love Inks gave you Generation Club, a synthesizer filled mix of tracks that took on the minimalist electro-pop genre well. Not even taking a moment to breathe, the band has lined up another album for purveyance and EXI is a stripped down approach to contrast their last work, playing with space instead of filling every empty crack with sound.

As I’ve just mentioned, this album feels like an inverted take on the sound that Love Inks doled out last go-round. The dreamy-electro pop is still there, but it’s subtler in the approach. First track, “Shoot 100 Panes Of Glass,” gives a little taste of this style, breaking in the minimalist style. Sherry Leblanc’s velvet vocals fill most of the track, but there is also a soft drum machine, bubbling bass, and traces of guitar here and there to compliment the deep vocals. The beauty is in the details here, and the minute guitar work at the end of “Regular Lovers” is a perfect instance of this, with just the faintest hint of a riff coming through at the end to top off the song.

Along with the vocals becoming even more so the central element to this band’s sound, so, intrinsically have the lyrics. The title track is a testament to this theory, with the track becoming a story, starting out with the tale of a female protagonist and then follows this character through the whole track. For the chorus, it turns personal, as the lyrics twist and turn, embodied in the Frankie Rose-esque vocal fashion. In the chorus, which comes across as a chain of word association, Leblanc chastises a former lover: “You were never there when you should have been/You could never see what was right in front.” As the song goes along, it starts to loop on itself, but then comes to an abrupt and sudden halt in which the music is replaced with what sounds like a skipping record, perhaps mirroring the end of the aforementioned relationship.

All in all, Love Inks wear this minimalist approach with effortless grace and beauty, though it becomes a little repetitive at points. However, I still find myself falling into tracks left and right, and letting the quietness of the album take me away with its soothing subtleties. Once again these locals prove that Austin is home to some great bands in every genre.

Austin Spotlight: Two Weeks Until the Love Inks New Album!

inkblotterWe’re just a short distance away from the release of Exi (September 9th), the newest album from Austin’s Love Inks.  I’ve always appreciated the group’s work, but I really enjoy their use of space on this latest single.  Sherry’s voice is the dominant focal point, while there’s very light bass movement in the distance, accented by little guitar pieces and synthesized beats.  The song walks this fine line of feeling huge and empty at the same time, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself.  Those living outside of Austin will again get a chance to see the band perform live, as they’ll be touring the States throughout September.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/08-Regular-Lovers.mp3]

 

 

Austin Weekend Show Spotlight

Austin, I love you.As the weather unfortunately heats up, that means there’s also a music scene heating up.  There’s tons of shows this weekend in particular, both local and traveling.  I won’t bore you with details, but remind you to show up early to catch openers, especially the local ones like Sweet Talk playing at Mohawk tonight. Here you go: Read more

Austin Spotlight: Love Inks at it Again

loveinksIt’s been a great week for Austin acts, with Basketball Shorts and Letting Up Despite Great Faults all releasing new tunes, and now we have another one of our beloved locals returning to the fold, Love Inks.  Of course, the star of this slow-core show is going to be Sherry, who’s vocals dominate all the bands work, but I personally love the restraint that’s being shown.  Guitar lines are relaxed, moving beneath the pulsating electronic beat; it’s a great atmosphere for the group to showcase just how powerful they can be, without actually being, powerful, in regards to volume.  Their new album, Exi, will be out on September 9th.

Show Preview: Love Inks @ Mohawk (4.28) – FREE

showoffWhat’s better than a free show at one of Austin’s best venues? A free show with three incredible electronic bands, and that’s precisely what you’ll get if you head out to Mohawk tonight.  First up you’ll get Silk Rodeo; they offer a dark bit of electronica with an ability to build their sound to swelling heights of pop delight.  Then, there’s Whiite Walls; this is perhaps one of Austin’s biggest rising electronic based stars, though they play with a full-on band, making their sets remarkable.  Closing the night will be Love Inks, who affirmed their place in the local music scene with last year’s Generation Club.  I hear they’re working on brand new tunes, so you might get a set full of new tracks for your ears.  In the end, it’s a great local bill, and one you’ll be sore about if you don’t take advantage of this FREE SHOW.

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Download: Love Inks – Solar Diary [MP3]

Show Review: Cate Le Bon @ Mohawk (1/29)

Cate Le BonLike most shows I’ve attended as of late, I was pretty familiar with the acts playing.  But, that being said, I hadn’t caught a set from Cate Le Bon in several years, so I was interested in the performance, as I feel that she’s had a small transformation, in both sound and appearance.  It didn’t hurt that the openers were both excellent, making it an easy night to enjoy music. Read on for more thoughts and some photos. Read more

Show Preview: Cate Le Bon @ Mohawk (1/29)

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Date Wednesday, January 29th
Location Mohawk
Doors 9:00 PM
Tickets $8 from Mohawk


If you paid any attention to our year end list from 2013, you probably noticed that Cate Le Bon was on there for her wonderful, Mug Museum.  It’s actually one of those albums that grew on me more, even after I raved about it.  Plus, when she comes into town, she’ll be coming with Kevin Morby of Woods/Babies, who just released a pretty solid record of his own right at the end of 2013.  Both musicians will surely draw a large crowd, but don’t overlook local openers Love Inks, who’ve clearly done just fine with their own recent release, Generation Club.  It’s a great bill from start to finish, so be sure to show up early and join in the fun.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/01-I-Think-I-Knew-feat.-Perfume-Genius.mp3]

Download: Cate Le Bon – I Think I Knew (feat. Perfume Genius) [MP3]

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