Man, as the sun warms us up, pop songs are where it’s at! This new track from New Zealand outfit, The Phoenix Foundation, is just such a hit. It’s got this blissed out synth beat bursting throughout, with Lukas Buda voice dancing atop it. I love the change to high notes around the 2.5 minute mark, adding some loftier moments to an already stellar track. If you like what you’re hearing, then you should check out their new album Fandango when it hits stores on May 14th courtesty of Memphis Industries.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we get a lot of cold music submissions on ATH and many of them are fairly mediocre. So it’s nice when we get some great music from relatively unknown musicians like singer/songwriter Tim Guy from Australia. Now Tim has been doing his thing for over a decade having written music in New Zealand, Spain, and the aforementioned Australia. He’s also done quite a bit of touring in his native land as well as some stints throughout Europe. His music brings forth images of fellow folk songwriter Bonnie Prince Billy with the down home country style feel to the songs. It’s a very real and heartfelt type of sound that makes me dream of what it might be like in the countryside of the land down under to inspire such beautiful music.
Tim is currently working on putting out a new album entitled Dreaming of a Night Mango which he plans to get to his fans sometime in early 2013.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/04-Armour-Weight.mp3]
Download: Tim Guy – Armour Weight [MP3]
Sherpa have actually been on my radar for some time, so I’m excited to see that the New Zealand act has just put out a new single for their excellent album, Lesser Flamingo. The entire record is full of this inherent catchiness that’s provided with a power-pop act, yet they mix things up with just a hint of psychedelia to throw you off course. You’ll listen to this record, and it’ll have you bobbing your head and tapping your feet; you’ll also be excited because you’ve discovered a new favorite band. Get on it.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/01-Turner.mp3]
Download:Sherpa – Turner [MP3]
Not too long ago I brought you a sweet single from New Zealand’s The Eversons, discussing the gems off their recent album Summer Feeling. I was stoked today when they offered up a free B-Side from that recording session, and it’s more blissful pop to warm your heart (as if I needed that hear in Texas). You can find this song on their 7″ for Could It Ever Get Better, which you can pick up straight from the band if you offer them a generous (and helpful donation). There’s a youthfulness to the tunes coming from this quartet, and right now, it’s precisely what I need to get ready for summer![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/TheEversons-I-Dont-Wanna-Be-Your-Friend.mp3]
Download:The Eversons – I Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend [MP3]
Recently I caught on to the Eversons, another great act from New Zealand. They’ve just released their latest record, Summer Feeling, and it’s exactly the sort of album that gets me excited for warm weather. It’s got energy, it’s got hooks, and honestly, it’s got a little bit of homage to a lot of other acts. My first run through, I sort of have the impression that the band’s putting their own sort of spin upon Los Campesinos or even Art Brut. If you’re like me, just mentioning the name of these two acts in one breath should definitely get you excited![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/The-Eversons-Summer-Feeling-10-Marriage.mp3]
Download:The Eversons – Marriage [MP3]
Everyone loves Oceanic music right? Well, here’s another great outfit you should give some love to: Sherpa. They’re from New Zealand, and they’ve just put up their new album, Lesser Flamingo. Everything about their sound is winning me over today, combining vocal harmonies with ramshackle indie pop. One of the reasons I really appreciate this track is the fact that they take a simple approach, running straight ahead with the song–no pretext or extraneous flourishes. In the end, you’re left feeling uplifted and excited to have come across a band writing such fantastic gems. Pleased to meet you guys![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Lunar-Bats.mp3]
Download:Sherpa – Lunar Bats [MP3]
It’s been a great year for the Oceanic music to break big all over the world, from Twerps to Geoffrey O’ Connor and now to Opposite Sex. Their self-titled album is something that should definitely make it into your weekly playlist, otherwise you’re going to be missing some special goodness. In my mind, the first run through, I thought of a cleaner, more playful version of Love Is All, which is one of my favorite acts. It’s got a little bit of an off-kilter stutter to it, and that definitely provides the playfulness that I hear when it comes through my speakers. Singer Lucy definitely has my attention, but the solid backing of the rest of the group is what makes this listen really fulfilling.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Opposite-Sex-Opposite-Sex-02-La-Rat.mp3]
Download: Opposite Sex – La Rat [MP3]
Getting out of the shadow cast by a famous father is a difficult feat. Just ask Julian Lennon or Jakob Dylan. In not quite the same extent, Kiwi Liam Finn feels their pain. Finn’s father, Neil, the widely respected and renowned musician from Crowded House, luckily has spread his musical genes on down the line. In cases like these, it’s uniqueness that divides the father/son relationship. There will always be members of the media that dwell on that fact, raising never ending comparisons. What Liam brings to the table for his sophomore release, FOMO, is pure unbridled musical creativity spanning genres as well as blood lines. Now, enough talk about fathers and legacies. Liam is trying to build his own, and he’s certainly on the right track where we find him at the moment.
The whiskers on Finn’s face scream folk, but on FOMO, there’s none to be seen. What we get is a mixture of the purest pop, solid psych guitar riffs (as always), and a little R&B thrown in for good measure. Compared to his debut I’ll Be Lightning, there is certainly much less aggression and more bubbliness, with the exception of ‘The Struggle’. The vibes could almost be opposites on the spectrum between lead single ‘Cold Feet’ and ‘Lead Balloon’. However, the psych influence is still placed at the base of FOMO’s pyramid, seen especially on ‘Chase the Seasons’.
Finn starts us off slow with a buildup of heavy feedback and his divine vocals on ‘Neurotic World’. Inclusions of piano and synth layer into a much more complete sound than were used to from Finn in the studio and certainly in the live setting, where he’s known for his raucous performances. ‘Don’t Even Know Your Name’ picks things up where I’ll Be Lightning left off, exhibiting the slow crescendos of vocal and guitar work with a steady beat churning the number along like a runaway train before busting through the station about a minute and a half in. The vibe gets smooth on ‘Real Late’ with Finn channeling his best inner Marvin Gaye. It’s by far the sexiest track on the album and unsurprisingly is a fantastic track to play as the night winds down.
It seems that for this release, Finn channeled all of his aggression into ‘The Struggle’, and in the overall scheme, it works well placed sixth as a palate cleanser of sorts. Otherwise, we find almost too much pop and not enough substance. Always one to end with a barn burner, rock anthem ‘Jump Your Bones’ finishes off the album with heavy feedback and a theme that even the most unaware of people could pinpoint. This is surely the track that audiences will find the live power prowess that they’ve come to expect in Finn’s live performances.
Overall, FOMO is fantastic from front to back and is certainly a grower. Every time you go back, there’s something else pulling at you that was missed in previous listens. We Austinites are lucky to have Finn in our city for a show on October 12th at the ND. Who knows that next chance we’ll get to see him in town, so be sure not to miss what will surely be an awesome show. You just might want to bring some plugs. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
It’s been some time since we’ve broken out a band for our From the Closet feature, so I figured it was high time to do a little bit of revisiting. It seems like the last few runs were all about emo, so I thought I bring back a thing or two that illustrated the higher brow interests of my musical tastes. Here you go gang: Tall Dwarfs.
Our recent love for the music of New Zealand has been quite apparent recently to anyone who checks out this site often (seriously search “New Zealand” and see all those posts in November). Continuing on with more great music from the area, we bring you the tunes of Auckland band Debutantes. The 4 piece group have been around since 2005 and currently only have a 3 song self-titled EP and this other single below “It’s Not Too Late”. They’ve been reminding me of a raw, and more reverb laden version of Los Campesinos! without the ladies and British accents of course. Debutantes have yet to make it out of New Zealand but promise to get to the States when the money is there, so help them out kids! You can also hear 3 more of their tunes over on bandcamp.[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Its-Not-Too-Late.mp3]
Download: Debutantes – It’s Not Too Late [MP3]