Another One From Gruff Rhys

Hey just last month I was excited to share news of old favorite Gruff Rhys putting out a new solo album this summer. Today I am again pleased to share with you another new single from his forthcoming album with a video for “Limited Edition Heart”. Similar to the last track I shared, this one again has a very lounge act vibe to it with the always comforting and soothing vocals of Gruff. This might go down as one of my most played albums of the year.

This track, along with 9 others, will be available on an LP entitled Babelsbergdue out on June 8th via Rough Trade Records.

Gruff Rhys Is Back Again

Thought not mentioned much by us over the last several years, Gruff Rhys is one prolific dude who pumps out all kinds of art via music, film and even literature. Assuming all of you, or most of you, know the guy a bit, you won’t be surprised to find this new track “Frontier Man” is pretty typical of the style we know and love from Gruff. It is a bit more americana/folk than some of his previous efforts but that lyrical playfulness and extreme baritone voice are both still present. Ya dig.

Gruff Rhys will release new album Babelsberg on June 8th via Rough Trade Records.

Here Comes That New Parquet Courts Album

I think I needed a break from Parquet Courts after their first couple of albums; they were everywhere, putting on killer shows and releasing pretty solid tracks. So I took a break, but this great new single definitely has me ready to devote myself to being a Parquet Courts fan. As ever evolving, they still have their distinct sound, though it’s unfolding in different ways, perhaps hard-hitting at moments…this tune in particular seems to have definitive sections…so, diverse, brash and weighed down by hooks…yeah, I’m in. Wide Awake! will be released on May 18th via Rough Trade.

Stream the Long Lost Mick Trouble EP

I’ve been on a huge TVP kick, thanks to the Beautiful Music dropping their latest collection of TVP tribute albums. So, with that, it would make sense that I’m salivating whilst listening to the long lostMick Trouble 7″ EP. Those bouncing bass lines, steady drum work and that British vocal delivery simply charms. It amazes me how something recorded in 1980 can still sound so incredibly relevant…and so bad ass. And I’ll probably kick myself for this, but it’s coming out in very limited quantities; Rough Trade will have 100 copies in the UK, while Emotional Response will do a limited run of 50. Regardless of whether you get your hands on this or not, these songs are nothing but jams.

Fresh New Bill Baird Video

Okay, so this video surfaced last week, but I’m always going to support Bill Baird. He was a vital part in making Austin a creative space as the Internet blew up (we were there!), and he’s continued making incredible music…even as he’s moved on to new pastures. Honestly, I’d buy into his new music on the chorus of this track alone, but the video and the expansive swath of psych meets pop is pretty brilliant. The video takes Bill on an odd journey through the dark, daily life of a cleaning maid. Look to grab Earth into Aether from Rough Trade.

Did Someone Say New Jeffrey Lewis?

JeffreyLewisPMVH280711I’m really surprised that Jeffrey Lewis hasn’t gotten more acclaim throughout the world. He’s been writing some of the best lyrics for some time, with musicality to match, so I expected more people to be on board now that Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts have a new record to their name. Still, it’s been quiet out there, which is a shame as this song below illustrates just how much fun we’ll all have if we delve into Mr. Lewis’ catalog a little bit. From what I can gather out there, the new record is titled Manhattan and is set for a worldwide debut this Friday via Rough Trade.

Lanterns On The Lake Offer Up A Track

Lanterns on the Lake have put out some beautifully spell-binding tracks in the past and the new album is on my I-can’t-wait-to-not-do-anything-but-listen list of records. Until The Colors Run lands September 9th on Rough Trade.

If you haven’t heard of the band, take a listen to a few other tracks over at their Soundcloud. I like to think of them as a non-digitally affected (and effected) Still Corners with tracks building behind an airy vocal provided by Hazel Wilde. This track is slightly stripped down, recorded live but sounding studio produced. Talented lot.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Lanterns-on-the-Lake-The-Buffalo-Days.mp3]

Download: For the price of an email… [MP3]

Mystery Jets – Radlands

Rating: ★★★★½

The boys in Mystery Jets have come quite a long way, staring first with their angular guitar pop and moving forward into a full-fledged pop group.  But, with all their success, the band needed a move to Texas for a different perspective, leading to their most accomplished album to date.  Radlands, despite some roots in Texas, remains a uniquely MJ affiar, one that shows the group far advanced in their songwriting prowess.  For my ears, they’ve crafted a pop album that hits on almost every note, from start to finish, a feat worthy of high praise alone.

“Radlands” opens the album with just the echo of a guitar, soon joined by Blaine Harrison’s vocals.  It takes a moment before you hear the slight introduction of strummed guitar, which then bursts into a full-band affair.  As the guitar rings, you hear Blaine take control with his soaring vocals, but then the group settles back down to the vocal/guitar approach again; few people are making such well-crafted pop songs like this. And it doesn’t just stop here, with the first several tracks from Radlands easily being called knockout punches.  You’ll find a bit of a Texas jangle when you listen to “You Had Me at Hello,” which features perhaps one of my favorite choruses from the group’s career.  Personally, I dig the fragility in Harrison’s voice on songs such as “Someone Purer.”  He can belt out a chorus with great strength, but a great deal of his power comes from his ability to reign that in when it’s needed most.  If you’re looking for a traditional pop moment with verse chorus verse chorus, just give this track a listen to find yourself pure pop gold–it even has some “ooh oohs.”

One thing I’ve always appreciated about Mystery Jets is that while there’s some elements of high brow music, they still remain youthful and playful.  This album’s playfullness comes via “Greatest Hits.” It’s a song for writers, answering the age old question of the influences for the band as a whole; at one point, the group gives a nod to Neutral Milk Hotel, Belle and Sebastian, The Kinks and the Minutemen all in a twenty-second span.  There’s whimsy all over these tracks, which is one reason why I think the group writes some of the best pop tunes around–they’re songwriting is serious, but their heart still says music should be fun. Radlands also indicates the band’s willing to takes risks, especially when you look at the duet between Sophie Rose and Blaine.  It’s definitely a tune that seems influenced by the group’s recording in Texas, and like all songs on this record, it succeeds; it’s clever, and yet heartfelt. 

Sitting here writing this review, I’m trying to think of how to include every single song in this review, as I know I left off some hits like “Sister Everett.” But, it’s probably too long-winded to try and touch on all the highlights of this album, although  I easily could do so.  Radlands is one of the best simple pop albums to come my way in a long time.  There’s no spectacle, there’s no hype, it’s just great songwriting wrapped up in the perfect way.  For this reason, and a ton of others, Mystery Jets remain high upon my list of best pop groups; cheers to you lads.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/03-Someone-Purer-1.mp3]

Download: Mystery Jets – Someone Purer [MP3]

New Music from Richard Warren

Richard Warren first caught my attention with his album, Laments, and I hope he’s about to grab your ears as well. His new album, The Wayfarer, just came out on Rough Trade, and it’s the type of sad-bastard music that makes your gut hurt, but in a way where it makes you feel alive. British press has sort of given him a David Lynch attitude with that lone highwayman spirit; you can definitely see that in the title track from the record which we’ve got for you below.  This is definitely a listening experience worth your time.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/03-The-Wayfarer.mp3]

Download: Richard Warren – The Wayfarer [MP3]

New Music From The Strange Boys

Somehow we missed out on this new tune “Me And You” from one of our favorite Austin bands The Strange Boys.  The tune is set to appear on the new album Live Music due out October 25th on Rough Trade Records.  I’m sure you’ll want to pick this one up as it’s likely to be on of the better Austin albums out this year.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/meandyou.mp3]

Download: The Strange Boys – Me And You [MP3]

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