We’ve long supported the work of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They captured our attention early on, changed some things going forward, and still won us over with every little release. They’re one of the acts at Fun Fun Fun Fest we’re really looking forward to seeing, so we caught up with Kip via the Interwebs in order to toss together a quick interview discussing the festival and the expanded release of their latest album, Days of Abandon. Read more
Fun Fun Fun Fest snuck up on me quite a bit this year and it’s hard to believe that we are just one short week away from Austin’s best festival. Good times will be had by all I’m sure and of course ATH is here to ensure that you will be aptly prepared for the weekend of fun. Today we’re continuing our coverage of the fest with a look at 13 bands you definitely shouldn’t miss out on. Why 13? Because it’s Halloween and we’re cool. Follow the jump for the list in no particular order.
There’s something about Line & Circle that sounds both nostalgic and current; that’s a hard feat to capture, and this is only the group’s first album. I like how the vocals stand out far upfront, while the angular guitar noodles about in the background. Surely people will take notice how they play upon the same ground as the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but hold a bit more reservations in their sound, which allows the band to stand on their own ground. If you’re a fan of huge pop rock sounds, then look for their eponymous EP on October 28th.
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It’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun. But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man. We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014. Read more
It’s been a little bit of time since we’ve posted anything from the group Ablebody, the project of the Hochheim brothers, who you’ll occasionally see as members of Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Anyways, these guys are great, creating these perfect pieces of wistful pop, such as the track below, which is the A-Side to their forthcoming 7″. The warmth of the backing “ahhs” do a wonderful job to add to the dreamy pop sensibility that is already present in the tune. You can catch the band on tour supporting PoBPaH throughout the end of Spring, and order the 7″ HERE.
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The kids in Joanna Gruesome are already having a great year; they should be happy to find a home on such an incredible label like Slumberland Records. That being said, the more I hear from the band, the more likely it seems that it’ll be a banner year for the group. Sure, you can see similarities to label mates Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but they do it with their own sense of reckless abandon and added flare. While the song trots along, you’re not ready for the noisy outro that takes place just beyond the two minute mark. Like every band, they make nods to their heroes, but in doing so, they also make it entirely their own; I applaud them for that. Their album Weird Sister will be out on September 10th.
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When a new label starts up, it’s great to have a stable band you can rely upon; a band that can write ridiculous hit after ridiculous hit. After spending the last few weeks with Legs, I’m pretty sure that 3-year-old LogLady Records have found just that band. There’s not a bad song on Pass the Ringo, leaving listeners with an astounding record that will carry your spirit for months and beyond.
“Friday Afternoon at the Zoo” is the perfect start to this listen, hazily drifting with bits of gypsy guitar and a slightly atmospherically affected vocal. It’s a patient number, and the slightest bit of tonal change in the vocals really adds a dreamy pop element. But, perfect openers only work if they can be followed by more perfect songs, so Legs are lucky they do just that with “Go Ask Your Mother.” I don’t want to knock the band by any means, but this tune has the energy and passion of early Pains of Being Pure at Heart tracks if you forced them to run a psychedelic decathlon. Guitars here aren’t glistening with as much jangle and distortion, and there’s an organ being used, as opposed to the electronic keyboard element. Altogether, this is the perfect one-two punch to kick off Pass the Ringo.
Personally, I’m partial to the swinging style of “Two Colours.” It’s one of the few tracks that features a female vocal, which adds a different dynamic to the album. Lofty guitars float you in through the opening moment, while the drums continue to rhythmically pound their way into the ringing guitar sound. I’d could take a nice helping of this tune any day for the rest of my life. Another track that uses the vocals of Amelia Adams successfully is the heavier “Time to Face the World.” While Adams maintains that soft pop chanteuse quality, the song here has a muddier sound, in that endearing sort of way. It’s like you’re trudging along through a murky swamp, all the while your mind thinks upon the love of your life. Soft and hard work well in this case.
One of the attributes on Pass the Ringo is that while the narrative remains the same in a musical sense, the band never seems to get stuck wholly in one place, providing enough variance in the album to keep your attention whilst still pushing the envelope artistically. It’s hard to skip a single song, especially when you have great hits like “Don’t Say a Word” hanging about at the end of the record. Something about the guitar sound, and its movement, really makes this just another standout track on a solid outing from Legs. It’s clear to me at this point, that the Oakland group is clearly a band you can rely upon, be you a label or just a consumer of great music. Do yourself a favor and be sure you don’t skip over this most excellent release.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/02-Go-Ask-Your-Mother.mp3]
Download: Legs – Go Ask Your Mother [MP3]
I love coming home to really great tracks, such as today when I came home to an email from Christoph Hochheim, who has worked with POBAH and the Depreciation Guild in the past. He’s out on his known using the Ablebody moniker, creating floating indie pop tunes that seem perfect for a relaxed evening at home. There’s floating bits of electronics coming in and out, coordinating a sublime melody with the vocals. Christoph is going to be releasing his All My Everybody EP on January 29th, and fans of this song are going to be more than pleased with what’s coming your way.
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When I first stumbled upon DC’s Dot Dash, I had the impression that the group was aiming follow in the footsteps of their namesake, which might have been true on the first record. But, with Winter Garden Light, the group has altered their sound, creating a warmer collage of pop tunes infused with melody and excellent guitar sounds.
From the instant that “Faraway” blasts through your stereo you can see that the softer side of Dot Dash is about to break through. Terry Banks’ vocals have a softer tone on this opener, and the guitars seem to have a brighter quality in comparison to the earlier work of the group. But, at times you can still hear the jagged edge of the band in their sound, fueled by the buzzsaw guitars near the end of the song. At first, I had to alter my perception of the group, but after the opener, “Countdown” sold me on the group’s progress. Light backing vocals add some emphasis to Banks’ voice, which soars during the chorus. I feel as if there’s an Oceanic vibe in the guitars, and once it’s combined with the group’s pop leanings, it comes close to perfection.
One of the songs that really sticks out on Winter Garden Light is “Live to Tell.” Beginning with a sort of spoken word atop minimal percussion and faint guitars, it then jumps into a swirling bit of guitar that captures you emotionally as Terry moves into his singing stance. But, what I really like is how the band juxtaposed this track in the sequencing with “The Past Is Another Country,” which is one of the heavier hitters on the record. While there’s a punk rock urgency to this number, it still holds some semblance to great pop writing, especially in the vocal approach. Together, these two tracks are a perfect one-two punch that demonstrates the bands abilities to go back and forth between traditional indie rock and lofty pop.
Personally, when listening to Dot Dash I like the element of restraint they’ve shown in their songwriting. Amidst today’s musical landscape, they somehow manage to hold back on just filling your ears with walls of controlled feedback on the guitars. You can see hints of all-things-gaze in tracks like “Lateral/Vertical” or even “Two Octobers,” but they hold it down in the mix, which really allows for the other elements to push through. Using such techniques shows me that they’re not aiming to be just another band behind Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but rather a group with their own definitive sound, albeit one you can trace back through various lineage.
At the end of the day, I’m happy to have stumbled upon Dot Dash, as they have proved to me that they’re a group with their own distinctive voice. It’s great to have influences, and even to wear them on your sleeve, but when you make it your own, that’s when you’ve proved your mettle. In my eyes, Winter Garden Light is just that sort of record, giving you glints at the band’s record collection, but begging you to look at them as their own entity. Consider that mission accomplished.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Dot-Dash-Winter-Garden-Light-01-Faraway.mp3]
Download:Dot Dash – Faraway [MP3]
It seems like it gets increasingly difficult to discover new music others haven’t hit upon yet, so when a friend mentioned The Hobbes Fanclub in reference to Slumberland Records, of course I had to check it out. Currently the group is offering up a compilation EP on their site for the “Name Your Price” bargain deal (we always suggest supporting the artists you love!); it’s comprised of now out of print singles. The reference to SR was right on, as you can easily see this group sitting right alongside bands like PoBPaH. There’s hints of shoegaze with the knifing guitars pushing through from the background, and melodic hooks that ring true to the heart. Really glad I fell into this.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/The-Hobbes-Fanclub-The-Hobbes-Fanclub-EP-01-The-Boy-From-Outer-Space.mp3]
Download:The Hobbes Fanclub – The Boy From Outer Space [MP3]