ATH & SXSW: 3 to Watch Pt. 5

sxsw-part-6

I would love to say that I’m ready for next week, but in reality, my brain and body can never be fully ready for what’s about to take place.  To help myself, and you faithful readers, ease a little of the stress coming our way, we’ve got another artist preview coming your way.  As always, we’ll tell you a bit about the bands and also post shows we see listed.  Follow the jump for more.

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Top Albums of 2012: 100-51

It’s really hard to narrow down a list of Top Albums of 2012, especially when you have four contributors with different opinions.  We gave the reins to Nathan.Lankford and Nicole Baumann on this one, since they write the majority of the album reviews, but we all have a little representation within this.  Now, we do realize that our site has specialized tastes, so please realize that these are our OPINIONS.  You’re welcome to disagree, and, in fact, we encourage that process.  Also, we’re doing a Top 100 because so many records came out this year, it wouldn’t be fair to narrow it down.  Not to mention it might lead you to discover some hits you hadn’t heard about yet. Oh, and we don’t really like Frank Ocean or hip-hop…just a personal choice…here’s the first segment.

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Top Live Shows in Austin in 2012

Our year end coverage begins with the three chiefs over at the ATH offices reveling in what was an incredible year in Austin, musically speaking.  Tons of rad bands blew us away with their live sets, and, well, there were just tons of bands.  I think we did more show coverage this year than in previous years, but as always, the great thing about our site is diversity.  We’re also linking back to our full reviews and photos of some of these nights, so you can get more of a feel of our thoughts, not to mention, checking out Brian’s great photographic 2012. Read on for thoughts on live acts from the three main contributors.
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Natural Child – Hard in Heaven

Rating: ★★★★ ·

After catching Natural Child several times over the last year, I’ll gladly say I’m a huge fan of their live sets.  I was hoping that they’d capture that raw intensity on their latest effort, Hard in Heaven, and for the most part they do push that onto listeners. But, when they decide to hold back and slow it down, just a touch, it might just make the record more enjoyable through and through.

When I pressed play the first time, I got exactly what I wanted with “Laid, Paid, and Strange.”  It begins with a furious guitar riff, and the group’s two man approach to vocal delivery snaking their way through lyrics about, well, getting laid and making money. They even add a crunchy guitar solo mid-track just to keep it interesting.  “Rock Bottom” bangs in next featuring fuzzed out guitar stomping and guitar soloing as the rhythm section pounds out a groove that definitely fuels the live energy of the trio.

Then they mix it up, slowing things down for a few, though the next tracks are actually growing to be some of my favorites. “What You Gonna Do” is almost a garage rock ballad, but it’s even slower, with the bass work stealing the show throughout.  And those wild vocals, from the earlier tracks, sounds smoother and polished, in just the right spots–these guys can do it all!  The title track from Hard in Heaven isn’t even close to a ballad; it’s a long, drawn out blue-y jam with some quieted vocals just walking longingly through the song.  Listening to this track will definitely give you more appreciation for the group’s abilities as musicians; there’s not to many people doing it up this way anymore.

And then Natural Child is back at it again with “B$G P$MP$N.”  Sure, the lyrics are sort of juvenile, but it’s clear just listening to the song that the band is having a blast just banging songs like this one out. This is the sort of song that has made these guys so endearing live; they’re passionate, no matter what they’re doing on stage, and I can appreciate that.  Still, the rest of the record is full of more surprises that show the band evening out their sound throughout Hard in Heaven.

“Derek’s Blues” nears the end of the record with a Soutuhern rock influenced jam that nears 6 minutes.  It’s almost like a party rock type, but for those that like to drown their sorrows and good times in cases of beer and bottles of whiskey.  Or there’s the group sing-a-long that ends the record, “Let the Good Times Roll.”  It still has a playful lyrical approach, but even then, there’s a classic storytelling aspect to what their doing.  The song’s mostly a guitar strummed affair, but it’s got bits and pieces of that new Natural Child flare, making it another pleasant winner that keeps me playing the record all the way through.

I guess some might be taken aback at first by this new Natural Child.  But, you can see their mark all over the record, even when they break out a blue-influenced jam.  They’re never going to take themselves too serious, and we all benefit from that. Hard in Heaven isn’t as balls to the wall as I wanted it to be, but after getting to spend some quality time with the album, I’m glad it’s not.  This version sounds more complete than what I had in my head, and I base that on the group’s ability to balance their sound from start to finish, leaving you with a refreshing amalgam of garage, punk, blues, and Southern rock that you won’t want to put down.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/05-BG-PMPN.mp3]

Download:Natural Child – B$G P$MP$N [MP3]

More New Jams from Natural Child

This last year has seen us fall head over heels in love with Natural Child, and we’re glad that the release date is drawing close for their latest release Hard In Heaven, which hits stores next week.  This new track appeared yesterday on Diffuser.fm, and I particularly love the live feeling in the recording.  It’s got the raw energy that surfaces when the band takes the stage, yet it’s got that clear Southern rock nostalgia in the songwriting that is sure to make these guys a hit with anyone who has ears. Next week you’re going to have a great record in your hands, I guarantee it.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/08-Dereks-Blues.mp3]

Download:Natural Child – Derek’s Blues [MP3]

Show Preview: Natural Child @ 29th Street Ballroom (9/2)

Date Sunday, Sept. 2nd
Location 29th Street Ballroom
Doors 800 PM
Tickets $10 at the Door

I know it’s Labor Day weekend, and I know a lot of people are traveling around town, but if you’re not going to skip out on the city, then you need to head over to the bash at 29th Street Ballroom, featuring one of my favorite acts, Natural Child.  I can’t say enough about how great these guys are live, and with their latest record, Hard in Heaven, coming out on 9/11, they’re sure to bring a whole new set to get you nice and sweaty.  Just because they’re headlining doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be tons of bands worth your time. They’ve got Birdcloud, The Bad Lovers, Golden Boys–and more, so be sure to show up early folks!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/05-BG-PMPN.mp3]

Download:Natural Child – B$G P$MP$N [MP3]

Show Review: King Tuff @ Red7 (7/9)

I had back to back nights this week of the louder beer-throwing types. The first show was at Red7 featuring King Tuff as the headliner of a four band blast of in your face southern rock tinged punk. The King brought along Natural Child, who killed as an opener for Hunx, and asked locals The Vomettes and The Best to open.

There was a little crowd surfing towards the end of the night, everyone departing sweaty and satisfied.

Thoughts and pics if you click the Read More. Do it.

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Show Preview: King Tuff @ Red7 (7/9)

Date 7/9/12
Location Red7
Doors 9pm
Tickets $10

Some great shows are sneaking up on us in the middle stretch of July…

The next we’d like to highlight is King Tuff headlining a four band loud-and-fast at Red7 next Monday night. Supporting King Tuff on the tour is Natural Child. They put down a bad ass set opening for Hunx & His Punx at Mohawk a few months back. Really looking forward to seeing them again with a King Tuff chaser.

Also on the bill are The Vomettes and The Best.

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

Download: King Tuff – Bad Thing [MP3]

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/05-BG-PMPN.mp3]

Download: Natural Child – B$G PIMP$NG [MP3]

New Southern Punk From Natural Child

Nashville southern punk rockers Natural Child have been favorites of the crew around the ATH offices since the release of their LP For The Love of the Game earlier this year.  Well now the band already has new album details coming our way today with news of second LP this year Hard In Heaven coming out way September 11th on Burger Records.  A preview of the new album can be found below in the form of new single “B$ig P$mpin”.  It’s just what you’d expect from the band, fast and furious indie punk with a touch of their native state’s souther rock.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/05-BG-PMPN.mp3]

Download: Natural Child – B$G P$MP$N [MP3]

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