Gritty Pop From Gross Relations

300After several spins of this new track “Cut the Final Scene” from Brooklyn based outfit Gross Relations, I’m ready to give it the ATH seal of approval.  It’s a rock pop number with a touch of garage noise in there somewhere that doesn’t seem to let up its intensity until the track culminates after roughly two and a half minutes.  Welcome to fun times.

You can pick up the band’s debut self-titled album on August 20th via Old Flame Records.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/09-Cut-the-Final-Scene.mp3]

Download: Gross Relations – Cut the Final Scene [MP3]

Twin Tigers – Death Wish

twin-tigers-death-wishRating: ★★★☆☆

It seems like forever since we last heard from Twin Tigers; it’s been almost 3 years since we first got our hand on Gray Waves.  But, the wait was pretty well worth it, as Death Wish sees the band holding onto some of their old sound, while still forging ahead with new ground.   There’s still that expansive wall of noise, though the band has refined it a bit, allowing their pop sensibility to completely shine through with a darker edge.

The brooding sensation from the band is still intact, witnessed by the impending doom that opens Death Wish on “Racecar.”  Atmospheric noise opens before the drums roll heavily through the mix.  Vocals have a dark dosage of echo-y distance placed atop, which provides listeners with the sensation of impending doom.  I fully expected the band to blast off into a wall of noise at some point, yet they don’t; I like the use of restraint. However, almost immediately they flip things on you, giving you the poppiest song they might have written to this day.  Matthew Rain’s vocals seemingly hang in the hair, while the off-kilter drumming is blended with dashes of electronics.  It’s a sign of things to come, at least as the album is considered.

“Opana” opens with an electro pulse, before the song takes on a completely macabre throb to it.  It’s a sensation that seems designed to mess with your head, as shattering noise occasionally bursts through the background.  But, Rain enters with a vocal swagger that displays the new territory where the group aims to venture towards: pop meets death.  My personal favorite on the album comes when Twin Tigers unleash “Death Wish,” the album’s title track.  Aside from the first track, it’s the only other tune where I really feel like I can expect a barrage of noise in the live setting.  The sharp-edged guitars and the drum work, along with Rain’s voice, seem primed for a full on explosion.  Perhaps this was the middle ground where the group thought they could best excel, and they’re right; the song is not entirely noisy, yet not entirely pop–therein lays one of the problems that exists on Death Wish.

Too often the band finds their record treading that middle ground between heavy-handed noise rockers and pop-experimentalists. While it makes the brighter moments on the record stand out strong, it also lets a little too much light on the weaker spots such as “Transition.”  Of course, this is just an opinion, as I’m curious as to where the future of the band goes from here.  They’re straddling a bit between two genres, and it’s successful at times, and not so much at others.  It makes Death Wish a great listen, but also one that’s perplexing, especially to old fans.   If you need a light at the end of the tunnel, make sure you make it all the way to “Holiday.” It flirts with the band’s balance between their musical hearts, sprawling with sharp guitar chords, soft vocals and that explosive energy the band harnesses for too long on the record; it also closes beautifully. Here’s to hoping that Twin Tigers find that perfect mixture, as the majority of this album shows they’re still a band you’ll want on your playlists.

Welcome Back Twin Tigers

twintigers

Man it seems like it’s been way too long since we last heard from Athens based noise rockers Twin Tigers.  Since the release of their incredible 2010 album Grey Waves, it seems like the band has been extremely quiet while recording their follow up.  Well the wait is over and the band is sharing a brand new song today called “Racecar”.  It has the same noise/fuzz element to it, but with an added touch of new wave beats thrown in that we have never really seen from the band.  Interesting and delightful all at the same time.

New album Death Wish will be available on April 9th via Old Flame Records.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/TwinTigersRacecar.mp3]

Download: Twin Tigers – Racecar [MP3]

Hooks Galore from The Pharmacy

Our boy Rob Mason runs the label Old Flame, and while it might not get all the press of some of the smaller heavy hitters, I’m pretty sure he’s got one of the best stables of bands, and he’s just added another one I know you’re going to love. The Pharmacy is a Seattle trio who are about to release their record Stoned & Alone via Rob on November 19th.  I hope it’s filled with pop ditties like this one; it packs a powerful punch in just under 2 minutes.  There’s no need with a hook like this to labor on forcefully; I like the restraint these dudes are showing.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/09-Baby-Be.mp3]

Download:The Pharmacy – Baby Be [MP3]

Catchy Pop Jam from Your Youth

We here at ATH had a late night last evening, bouncing between one of the busiest nights I’ve seen, so I’m in need of energetic tunes today.  Jumped on the punk rock wagon this morning, and now Your Youth is just giving me a good old alternative kick in the ass.  At first, you’re really sort of expecting some sort of radio pop tune to come out, especially with the casual intro, but trust me, the song blasts off loudly, bringing the jams straight to your head.  Such energy is fitting considering this tune is on the group’s five song Battery EP, which is being put on by Old Flame Records on October 23rd.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Your-Youth-Thick-Gold-Bodied.mp3]

Download: Your Youth – Thick Gold (Bodied)

Chilled Tune from New Animal

I’m always down to help represent for our friend Rob over at Old Flame Records.  He’s just released this new single from Atlanta’s New Animal, and I’m really digging this lead single.  For a duo, it’s got a real dense feeling to it, with multiple layers, both instrumentally and vocally.  As the song slowly unfolds, the two pile upon more sounds, creating a rather interesting pop collage.  If you like what you hear, you can grab the single from Old Flame, or you can wait a bit, as they plan to release a limited edition tape soon.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/51164424″ params=”auto_play=false&show_artwork=false&color=ff7700″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Show Preview: Alcoholic Faith Mission @ Mohawk (5/22)

Date Tuesday, May 22nd
Location Mohawk
Doors 900 pm
Tickets $10 at the Door.

It’s going to be a great week for rock shows in Austin, and I have the perfect way to start off your week in the proper fashion. Danish pop group, Alcoholic Faith Mission are coming into town in support of their recent record, Ask Me This.  They crossbreed straight pop with elegant songwriting, giving listeners hooks galore.  Plus, they’ll be joined by Old Flame Records labelmates, You Won’t.  The Massachusetts group blends indie pop and folk, in a fashion that has garnered them accolades for some time.  School’s out for a lot of people, so let’s all go and enjoy the music folks.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/07-Ask-Me-This.mp3]

Download:Alcoholic Faith Mission – Ask Me This [MP3]

Introducing Alcoholic Faith Mission

Danish bands always need a little love over here in the United States, especially when they’re on small labels like our good friends over at Old Flame Records (we’re looking at you Rob!). We’d like to give you a nice little introduction to Alcoholic Faith Mission, the newest Danish export, crafting some really elegant pop tunes that head straight for the soft spot in your soul. My personal favorite is the one below featuring Sune on the lead vocal, with her raspy vocal recalling hints of Emily Haines.  That being said, the band also crafts more dynamic tunes as well, all which will be featured on the band’s upcoming release, Ask Me This, that comes to stores next week.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/07-Ask-Me-This.mp3]

Download:Alcoholic Faith Mission – Ask Me This [MP3]

SXSW Interview: Letting Up Despite Great Faults

Los Angeles outfit Letting Up Despite Great Faults released their Paper Crush EP last year on Old Flame Records, and we jumped all over it.  It had this really warm feeling lurking beneath the dream-like pop that the band crafted.  As they prepare to head down for SXSW, band member Kent took some time out of their schedule to fill out a brief interview…check out their responses.  Read more

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