New Gritty Pop From Campfires

Here’s a short and sweet gritty pop number called “Fortune Teller” coming your way from Portland based indie pop band Campfires.  The band is basically a one man job by Jeff Walls who recently moved from Chicago for greener skies in the Northwest.  Jeff and his band moniker have a new album called Tomorrow Tomorrow coming out on February 19th via Fire Talk Records.  You should definitely check out a pre-order of the album if this one tickles your fancy.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/campfires-fortune_teller.mp3]

Download: Campfires – Fortune Teller

Cool New Tune from Pictorials

We don’t typically associate Portland with post-punk sounds; that seems to be more in line with their friends nearby in Seattle.  But, I’ve been really enjoying this new track from Pictorials, a band that came together after other projects failed to meet their needs.  The group gave up on their trained instruments, trying to create a sound all their own.  If this is a good example, then their debut Learning EP is shaping up to be quite a gem.  I’ve enjoyed the mood, which has created a slight swaying of my arms and body, giving me a nostalgic feeling for my appreciation of good old fashioned art-pop.  Bet you like this jam.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/01-Sense-of-Vanity.mp3]

Download:Pitcorials – Sense of Vanity [MP3]

New Psych Tune from Wooden Indian Burial Ground

One of the my favorite things about listening to psych rock, at least as it stands today, is the way the lyrics are sometimes delivered–sort of brought to you by angst ridden Halloween heroes.  That’s the feeling I get when I listen to this new tune from Wooden Indian Burial Ground, who I’ve recently taken a liking to.  Musically, they sound similar to the jams that Thee Oh Sees might toss out in a live setting, using cutting guitar solos and screaming walls of feedback.  This is definitely more forceful than a lot of the psych fare out there, which might be just the reason I’m digging it so much. They’re debut self-titled album is out October 30th via Mon Amie.

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

Download:Wooden Indian Burial Ground – Sparklerella [MP3]

New Beautiful Folk Number From Alameda

While endlessly searching for new music on the interwebs, I came across this band from Portland called Alameda that caught my ear for a minute.  They seem to fit in nicely with the Portland scene as they have that sort of cool folk sound reminiscent of North Westerners Fleet Foxes.  I could even see them being a nice mix of our locals Balmorhea (if they had vocals) with that now super famous Portland folk grou.  The song below “Summer Dharma” appears on the band’s upcoming LP entitled Procession due out September 15th.  Maybe now we can get them down to Austin for a show.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/04-Summer-Dharma.mp3]

Download: Alameda – Summer Dharma [MP3]

Sad Bastard Songs from Mbilly

It’s been awhile since I’ve revisited the quite side of my listening tastes; I’ve been delving into the rock n’ roll lately.  However, Portland’s Mbilly really sunk in with me today, especially listening to the following tracks from his upcoming LP, Malheur (June 5th).  My favorite of the two at this instant is the soft beginning of the album’s title track, strolling along gently with pure emotion.  The latter of the two tracks is more of a duet that demonstrate’s singer Helfrich’s ability to pull every ounce of his soul out through his voice.  Maybe you’ve been looking for some softer music to go and get lost inside; I hope this does the trick.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/mbilly_malheur.mp3]

Download: Mbilly – Malheur [MP3]

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/mbilly_allliveslived.mp3]

Download: Mbilly – All Lives Lived [MP3]

SXSW Interview: AU

We’re continuing our SXSW coverage with one of the more creative bands coming to Austin next week, AU. Luke Wyland is the main man behind the project, but he brings in his friends from time to time to flesh out the sound.  I can’t wait to catch these guys live, so read on to hear what they had to say about SXSW and other such things… Read more

Blind Pilot – We Are The Tide

Rating: ★★★½☆

Finding an ever-present spot on the list of premier indie folk cities in the country is Portland, OR, with it’s country and folk roots, laid-back vibe, and organic character. The latest release from Portland natives, Blind Pilot, ‘We Are the Tide’, is quintessentially northwest, reeking of lush forests soaked in a summer rain as the sun emerges from the cloud coverage. It begins with the kind of rain that allows you to be meditative, creative, and above all, hopeful. Like watching the water drops on a window pane and connecting the dots as they ebb and flow. Later on, when the sun finally appears, life returns to the forest.

The young duo of Israell Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski gathered their musical and lyrical strengths as evidenced on the critically acclaimed debut, 3 Rounds and a Sound. For their latest release, We Are the Tide (released September 13th via Expunged) the duo took their sound to a more mature nature once again with the help of a long list of their talented friends. Here’s a group coming to grips with their sound and along with that, the arrangements feel more confident, surefooted, and optimistic.

On the opener, ‘Half Moon’, Nebecker’s vocal strength’s are remarkably solidified. The polished sound allows for more consistency in the whole release, working towards a stronger unified theme. ‘Keep You Right’, the first single on the album, is a pleasant meditation on a one sided relationship. The wonderful dichotomy of banjo and piano ballads, push the song along with harmonies and a harmonium following along to wrap it all together in a wonderful little package. The title track on the album, ‘We Are the Tide’, is much more playful in nature with an upbeat rhythm with Nebecker and company providing the vocal punch which has become the obvious trademark of the young group. This strength again is seen on ‘The Colored Night’ which is one the most complete tracks on the album, contrasts and changing styles all fluidly working together. The final track on the release, ‘New York’ utilizes the harmonium once again, providing a vacillant soundscape paired with desolate vocals with intermittent crescendos like crashing waves.

Since its release, We Are the Tide, is an album I have been consistently turning back to when I need a boost. The lows are not too low, yet the highs are not too high. It’s the perfect level of enthusiasm while still remaining slightly reserved. I think that in itself is a perfect philosophy for life. The fact that a release can affect the listener in such a manner is noteworthy in itself. Blind Pilot will be in Austin next week at the Parish on October 5th as well as a free in-store at Waterloo earlier in the day.

Decemberists – Hazards Of Love

hazards-of-loveRating: ★★★½☆

The Decemberists will never sound totally current. Colin Meloy’s antiquated poetry, coupled with the Portland, Ore. five-piece’s intricate story-song structures, grandiose arrangements, and maudlin, medieval subject matter place the band’s poppy, orchestrated folk-rock in a bygone era. To listen to a Decemberists album is to submit to the past, to a period in history as much as a series of songs.

The band’s fifth LP, The Hazards of Love, with a loose concept following its protagonist Margaret through various travails-“Won’t Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga),” “The Abduction Of Margaret”-is, as expected, not a straightforward rock record. Its intricacies and shifting narratives demand attention and patience, as do most concept albums. And Hazards’ faults are the same ones that afflict most concept albums: the listener wants the song, not necessarily the story.

To that end, “The Hazards of Love (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone), and “Isn’t It A Lovely Night,” and, of course “Prelude” and “An Interlude” function more as set pieces than stand-alone songs. That Meloy had planned The Hazards of Love as a musical is not a surprise; often, the songs feel as if they are supporting a set change, preparing for a grand entrance.

But when those entrances occur, as on “The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid,” “The Rake’s Song,” “A Bower Scene,” the band shows a refreshing and previously unheard muscle and conviction. “The Wanting” is the album’s cornerstone, a blues stomp with a huge De Stijl-era White Stripes riff. The indignation and force of the lyrics, sung by My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden, is explosive. “Won’t Want For Love” again squares Worden’s vocals over a simple and effective heavy-blues riff. The simplicity pays off.

“Bower Scene” and “The Abduction Of Margaret” highlight the successes of The Hazards of Love. The songs share the exact same melody-a concept-cohesion tactic employed throughout the album. Yet it’s the simple, unaffected propulsion of the music, and not the tale being told or the witty lyrical wordplay that has the greatest impact. The band is still stuck in the past, but by flexing its muscles and eschewing its grandiose tendencies, it has kept itself a present musical presence.

[audio: https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/thedecemberists_therakessong.mp3]

Download: The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song [MP3]

Win The New Black Keys DVD

Word on the street is that The Black Keys are releasing a live DVD of their performance at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland this week. Lucky for you, we here at ATH have a copy to give away to one lucky reader. 1st place receives a copy of the new DVD and 2nd place gets hooked up with a signed copy of the band’s latest effort Attack & Release. All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite Black Keys song and why it means so much to you. We’ll be contacting winners by email on Monday so get the entries in by this weekend and be sure to leave a valid email. The DVD features 17 live and gritty songs performed at their Portland show earlier this year.  Watch the trailer for the DVD or follow this link to make a purchase (if you aren’t feeling so lucky).  We’ve also got an MP3 of the song “I Got Mine” from the DVD below.  Based on this Mp3, the DVD should be a must have for the holiday season.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/blackkeysigotminelive.mp3]

Download: The Black Keys – I got Mine(live) [MP3]

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