What do you get when you take psych and blend it with elements of late 90s indie rock? I think your answer is here with Battlehooch and the band’s new single. It’s like this weird blend of Grandaddy and Muse (maybe even Rooney) mashed up together, then drizzled with a little dosage of psychedelic heritage via harmonicaflourishes here and there. It might possibly be the most accessible psychedelic-tinted track. File this track as another feature in the band’s growing repertoire of well-crafted hits for their clamoring fans.
Coachella is again using the two weekend format and will feature Outkast, Muse and Arcade Fire as headliners. I get Outkast and Arcade Fire, but please stop booking Muse at every festival. Please. It has to stop. I walk out when I hear Muse; it is my “you’re drunk, go home” alert. Or maybe that is why they are booked as headliners. “Hope you had fun, this is your queue to leave and rest up for tomorrow.” So many lasers. So many.
The festival is getting spendy, passes are $375 and $435 with daily shuttle service. Yikes. Weekend One only has the passes with shuttle service available. VIP will run you $799 with $150 more for parking.
Notables for me on the lineup, as with most festivals, are further down the list: Flume, Jagwar Ma, Dum Dum Girls, Wye Oak, Holy Ghost!, Blood Orange, Mogwai, Chvrches, STRFKR, Daughter, Poolside, Surfer Blood. Mid-levels I’d be stoked on are Bryan Ferry, The Knife, Pet Shop Boys, Beck, Neutral Milk, Motorhead and Little Dragon. You going to the desert? You wearing flip-flops?
Honestly, I’m not a huge connoisseur of the air waves in our nation, but occasionally there are those days when I rush out the door without my iPod and I have to suffer the pain that is radio. Recently, with my hectic schedule, this has happened more and more, so it left me to ponder why on Earth some bands still get ready play, and more so, some certain songs. I thought of my top five, and while some are song specific, others just need to leave the airwaves in general.
As I prepared for my evening at Stubbs, I pored through several different albums. A few tracks from Silversun Pickups, all the Against Me, and the solid new album from Henry Clay People. I didn’t know what to expect necessarily, caught in nostalgia for my punk days, but not so amped for the main course. Still, I love a good live show, so I just had to be there. Follow the jump for more.
I’ve always been impressed by musical groups who encompass only three artists and continue to rock as hard as the next. It blows me away that a three-piece can create such a forceful sound that some bands can’t find within five or six members. I know this list doesn’t do justice recognizing some of the greatest trios of all time; however, these are five of my favorite.
Let it be said; this album is full of amazing songs. Sure, that’s a weird way to start off a review, but one would have to listen to this album to understand why it receives a less than stellar rating. Sun Gangs, the new album from London’s The Veils, is a vibrant affair, switching at every change of song. It drags influences from all across the globe; it does this without sounding overtly banal. Yet, something is amiss here.
On opening number “Sit Down by the Fire” singer Finn Andrews comes off like a cross between the hallowed voices of Win Butler and Will Scheff, though the music definitely lends itself to a more Arcade Fire styling as pounding piano work is maxed out with accompanying percussion and guitar strumming. You’re ready for an album full of such tunes, such great tunes, but then they put a bag over your head; you’ve awoken in a completely different place.
Title track “Sun Gangs” is a wonderful tune. It is the second track on the album, but it doesn’t have a lot of relation to the place where your journey began. Melancholy moments like this make one remember the sweetness of Spirtualized, and Spaceman’s ability to pull at your heartstrings with his voice alone; Andrews does the same, even with his lyrics. So maybe we’re in for a solemn album, and the opener was just a bit off. Wrong again.
All of a sudden we’re thrust into a space-rocker of sorts with “The Letter”, in a somewhat Muse meets Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sort of way. Sure, it sounds like quite an awkward affair, but it’s a striking song nonetheless, one worth listening to on repeat, at least a couple of times through. The next song is sort of a rocker, with definite leanings toward Muse. Then we’re back again to the mellower moments as the band goes into “It Hits Deep.” Once again, this song tugs at you emotionally, and that really has a lot to do with the spectacular voice of Andrews.
Still, this is the variety of songs that you are presented with in the first moments of this album, and you still have another half of the album to go, which follows the same pattern more or less. This is precisely the issue that many listeners will find when listening to the album from start to finish. The songs do not seem to connect to one another there is not a fluid movement from one place to the very next. The schizophrenic nature of the album detracts from the overall quality; this record needs some cohesiveness. Individually, there are some ridiculously good songs, but they don’t work together as a whole. Otherwise, The Veils constructed a solid effort of tunes worthy for any mix tape.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/07-the-house-she-lived-in.mp3]
Download: The Veils – The House She Lived In [MP3]
For influences, local Austin band The Boxing Lesson could do much worse: the songs off Wild Streaks & Windy Days reveal an appreciation for the hypnotic swirl of The Secret Machines (“Lower,” “Muerta,”), the pop-prog-trips of MuteMath (“Timing,” “Dance with Meow,) and the grandiosity of Muse (“Dark Side of the Moog,” “Scoundrel”). And like these bands, and Minus the Bear, another group with nonsensical song titles, The Boxing Lesson attempt to synthesize these influences into something greater and original.
What The Boxing Lesson is lacking is not simply talent, restraint, or any lyrical insight at all – although throwaway songs like “Hopscotch & Sodapop” and “Freedom” would suggest they’re missing those too. Their most notable problem is they have no direction. With songs like “Scoundrel” and the title track lasting nearly seven minutes but offering no payoff, no climactic build, The Boxing Lesson aren’t giving us more, they’re making us wait longer for less.
Encompassing Pink Floyd synth washes provide pleasing backdrops for clean guitar lines on nearly every song, but when it takes more than two-and-a-half minutes to get to the opening verse of the title track, only to have it rip off the music and lyrics from the title track of The Secret Machines’ “The Road Leads Where It’s Lead” – albeit slower and with less passion and intent – you can’t help but feel cheated. The Boxing Lesson seem to have their hearts and ears in the right place, but singer Paul Waclawsky’s lyrics go nowhere, and without something to set his voice apart – aggression, passion, any feeling – the album ends up getting carried away, lost in the large-scale but rootless sweeping effect they created.