Top 50 Albums of 2014

TOP 50 ALB 14These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year.  Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry.  So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more

Thus Far….Albums of 2014.5

docIt’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

Ticket Giveaway: Protomartyr @ Holy Mountain (5.30)

chaosChaos in Tejas and Transmission are bringing some incredible bands into town this week, and we’ve got yet another chance for you to win a pair of tickets. Under Color of Official Right is one of the most rewarding listens this year, and the group dominated the SXSW post-hype machine with several great performances.  You’ll get a chance to see the band perform in a fairly intimate setting over at Holy Mountain, supported by two incredible local acts: Xetas and Simple Circuit.  Just because you love Protomartyr doesn’t mean you can’t get there early to catch these two remarkable bands too.

It’s the midway point in the year for all intents and purposes, so leave your Favorite Album of 2014 (so far) and I’ll pick a winner that most closely aligns with our tastes.  Contest ends Thursday at Noon.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Scum-Rise.mp3]

Download: Protomartyr – Scum, Rise! [MP3]

Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

It’s weird to try to put the entirety of the Protomartyr record into any category.  For all intents and purposes, there are no true comparisons to Under Color of Official Right, though there are nods here and here.  The album’s refreshing in that it doesn’t ever seem stuck in a genre, rather it’s defined solely on the fourteen songs included in the collection.

When “Maidenhead” kicks things off there are some stabbing guitar parts that reflect the little nuances within the realm of indiepop, but as soon as you hear the voice of Joe Casey, you know that you’re in a darker world, even emphatically pushed there when the cymbals crash behind the pounding rhythm.  It’s a sign that while you listen to UCoOR you’re likely to hear bits and pieces of everything you love, just spun in an entirely original manner.  You just have to go to the next stop on the record, “Ain’t So Simple.”  Casey’s vocals steady the work of the band, but the rest of the group offer this bit of pro to-punk oddity, keeping listeners on their toes.

For me, I think the presence of Joe’s vocals throughout is what really makes this album something to write home about; he seems to work against the approach of his band mates, cooly releasing vocals while they offer their own interpretations of songs.  His lyrics are never rushed, even when the band’s pushing ahead quickly, as they do on the short track, “Pagans.”  Still, somehow his approach to delivery fits for Protomartyr, especially when you take in tunes like “What the Wall Said.” This is a track that feels almost as if J. Casey is singing, as his minimal melody slides nicely into the punishing drum work and the ringing guitars.

If you’re looking to pick up a single you’ve got options though I suggest you go all the way through.  The two singles “Scum Rise” and “Come and See” both are great options, thus they were chosen as the promo tracks.  Personally, I think you’d do just as well to stop at “Violent,” which is the track I think I’ve come back to most often.  This song exemplifies the band’s sound the most to me, with Casey offering a great vocal performance while the drums heavily roll in the background and crisp guitars ring out.  I’ve also taken a liking to “Trust Me Billy,” which offers up the most pop sensible music, for my two cents.

However, your listening experience with Under Color of Official Right will revolve around careful scrutiny of each lyric and each tempo change within the album. No one song stands next to a copy of its predecessor, and each movement sounds fresh, making the whole of Protomartyr sound like a well-oiled machine intent upon creating music on their own terms.  There’s no historic embellishment and no ties to their home; it’s an album living out on its own, the way a great album should.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Scum-Rise.mp3]

Download: Protomartyr – Scum, Rise! [MP3]

Under Color of Official Right is available now from Hardly Art.

 

More New Music From Potomartyr

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Protomartyr is a group that we’ve really jumped on board with over the last couple of months.  Their dark pop tunes have this haunting quality to them that seem to find a place in your brain and replay over and over.  Here’s another new tune for you today that I’m sure we’ll be doing just the same thing.

New album, Under Color of Official Right, is due out on April 8th via Hardly Art.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Come-See.mp3]

Download: Protomartyr – Come & See [MP3]

Rocking Out with Protomartyr

protomartyrWe don’t want our good friends at Hardly Art thinking we forgot about them, but they make things easy by putting out such solid jams as this one by Protomartyr. Their latest signing, Protomartyr, have this great darkness in their approach, which owes a great deal to how the vocals were recorded.  Me? I love the angular approach to the guitar playing, pushed right up against this bouncing rhythm section.  You’ll find the tune only gets better as the band jumps off energetically from time to time throughout the track.  The excellent label will release Under Color of Official Right on April 8th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Scum-Rise.mp3]

Download: Protomartyr – Scum, Rise! [MP3]

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