Day For Night: Saturday In Photos

day-for-night-sat-201Nathan has our summary post duties. Nailed it.

Day for Night is a very ambitious festival; it over-reached a couple times this year, but all in all, it was a success. We’ll be giving the organizers some real talk feedback, but hot damn, last weekend was photogenic AF. The giant LED backgrounds used either for artists synchronized art or for excellent festival graphic design or complimentary colors to appease the lighting directors whims, all with a Houston skyline looming.

Aside from tons of environment pics, Saturday’s gallery features Lower Dens, Jesus and Mary Chain, Blood Orange, Tycho and Aphex Twin. I mean, look at that list. And this was the easy and chill day.

Click through y’all. Please?

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The ATH Top 50 Albums of 2015

Albums ListYear-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.
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Air Waves Release New Single and Album Today

Air WavesFriday’s got some good releases coming out, but I think one of my favorites this week has to be the new effort from Air Waves. I really enjoyed their debut, and have had Parting Glances on a steady rotation for the last few weeks. Today you can grab that record from Western Vinyl, but it comes with a new single to share as well…another that features Jana Hunter of Lower Dens fame. I like the darker undertones of this record, and song, especially when the track takes a pulsing turn on the latter half, anxiously pushing you towards the ending. Buy this album…you’ll be happy you did.

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Show Pics: Lower Dens & Jamie XX @ GvsB 5

Jamie XXThis appears to be the summer of The Mohawk for me. At least once a week, more like twice a week right now and that probably won’t stop on average for the duration of the triple-digit season.

Most recently, I was around for a mini-festival presented by our blog friend Gorilla vs. Bear up in Dallas. The Granada played host up IH35. The peeps at The Mohawk agreed, why not play host to all involved and give the bands another date while in Texas before heading their separate ways? Austin’s lineup was Jamie XX, Lower Dens, Bop English, Tei Shi, Yumi Zouma, Prince Innocence and DJ Sober. Not a bad little way to occupy a Saturday night, a night that had a SxSW showcase feeling without the day-drunk post-buzz.

Click through for a few comments and plenty of pics.

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Show Preview: Lower Dens @ the Parish (6/26)

Date Tuesday, June 26th
Location The Parish
Doors 800 pm
Tickets $12 from Frontgate

The next few weeks are going to be chocked-full of great shows, but this one here on Tuesday night over at the Parish is an absolute must see.  Lower Dens, who feature Jana Hunter from Texas, are one of the strongest acts around.  Their recent record, Nootropics, is pretty phenomenal.  They’re crafting this darkly tinged emotional post-rock, and you’ve got to be there to hear it.  But, opening the night is No Joy, who should have a record for us all shortly.  They’ve come through town a few times, and I promise you that this group will rock your socks off.  Get there early to catch Alan Resnick kick things off properly.  Seriously, you have to be at this show if you know what’s good for you.


Download:Lower Dens – Tea Lights [MP3]

New Song from Carter Tanton

You might have seen this tracking floating around last week, but I wanted to give it some more attention, as it’s such a deserving track.  Carter Tanton spends a lot of his time playing with Lower Dens, but you wouldn’t be able to tell after listening to this lead single from his upcoming record, Freeclouds; the record will be in stores on November 1st via Austin’s own Western Vinyl. From the get go, there’s this brightness to the song filtering beneath the vocal.  There’s something really familiar about it, though I can’t place it precisely, greatness perhaps?  Regardless of what it reminds you of, this song will surely be playing around you for the rest of the week.


Download: Carter Tanton – Murderous Joy [MP3]

Chaos in Tejas Highlight: Lower Dens

Of all the bands playing at Chaos in Tejas, this is one that I recommend for pretty much everyone, not just those that are looking for punk rock goodness.  Lower Dens features Austin’s own Jana Hunter, and a solid backing band.  It’d be easy to focus on Hunter’s vocals as something beautiful to focus on this Friday at Emos, but the band is so much more than just that.  There’s this dense sound filled with guitars, often a bit fuzzy, and minimal drumming; it’s like if you wanted to find a darker version of Beach House.  If you haven’t gone and listened to their latest record Twin-Hand Movement, then you’re doing yourself an injustice; you need that record in your collection.  So if you’re looking for that one show that is solid, yet not necessarily loud, then you’ll need to find your way to see the group on Friday night.


Download: Lower Dens – Tea Lights [MP3]

Show Preview: Lower Dens @ Club Deville (9/10)

Date 9/10/10
Location Club Deville
Doors 10:00PM
Tickets $8 @ the Door

If you’ve been following the Austin music scene for some time, you surely know the name Jana Hunter, but you might not be aware that she’s moved up to Baltimore for a bit to work with a new band, Lower Dens. They are touring in support of their latest album, Twin-Hand Movement, which is full of fuzzy guitars and Hunter’s remarkable voice.  Opening bands Balaclavas and Black Congress will be getting you prepared for the phenomenal tunes of the headliner. I mean, it’s Friday, and I feel like a cheap show, so I’ll be there.


Download: Lower Dens – Tea Lights [MP3]

Lower Dens – Twin Hand Movement

Rating: ★★★½☆

It’s unfortunate that people have given Texan Jana Hunter the freak-folk tag, as clearly she’s done a lot to move beyond her early days, clearly trying to establish her own sound.  We find her now leading the Baltimore group Lower Dens, and if you can look beyond her darkened voice, you’ll find that there are no remnants of folk on Twin Hand Movement.

“Blue and Silver” immediately begins to indicate that the sounds within the group’s album will fill up quickly with dense discord, sprawling in which ever direction Hunter leads the band.  Metronome-like drumming keeps the pace steady, allowing for the guitars to seek out their own direction, cutting back and forth across the landscape of the song, all the while Hunter moves in and out to fill empty space with her voice.  Arriving at “Tea Lights” you see some similarities with label-mates The Papercuts, especially in the way the pop element is darkened, leaving just enough room for melody to spring up.  At times, Hunter’s lyrics aren’t necessarily decipherable, yet their appeal exists in the ability for them to alter the mood of the song.  One listen to this track and you’ll gladly take a journey with Lower Dens.

While one might still complain about Hunter’s vocals, there are some performances on Twin Hand Movement that really demonstrate her range as a singer.  “I Get Nervous” is quite the subtle number, barely moving along without the presence of high-hat and snare, but in the middle of the song Hunter takes complete control of the track.  Something in the way she delivers in such an understated manner is extremely appealing, and she uses the song as a showcase for herself.  You’ll find the same scenario on “Hospice Gates,” though the song does have the benefit of a bit more pacing in comparison.  Ringing guitars provide the true backdrop to this track, leaving room for Hunter to give her best vocal performance, mostly based on the fact that the clarity is probably the strongest of all album tracks, excluding the slow-burner “Truss Me.”

Lower Dens is also willing to throw you some surprises in the mixture, utilizing the brooding track “Plastic and Powder” to give the listener a bit of a haunt if you will.  There’s is an eerie quality here, perhaps in the way guitars seemingly bounce quietly in the background, or in Hunter’s dark croon as the song trickles passed. “Rosie” also has a far away feel to it, almost as if it’s meant to be a soundscape song, that is until you hit the 1:15(ish) mark.  Steady drumming accompanied by the typical ringing guitars gives listeners the chance to hear a focused group in the midst of possibly their best work to date.

Twin Hand Movement lives up to the promise of lead single “Tea Lights.”  Hunter’s vocals keep a sense of brooding throughout, but the guitar work as it pokes and prods in the listener’s brain keeps the you wrapped up in the wall of sound Lower Dens has created.  If you’re in search of a dark-tinted album with ringing guitars that will echo in your bedroom, then I suggest you get on it.


Download: Lower Dens – Tea Lights [MP3]

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