6/14 – White Rabbits @ Emos

whiterabbits01Fresh off the release of their It’s Frightening, White Rabbits returned to Austin, riding the wave of praise heaped upon them by various media outlets, ATH included. We ventured to Emos salivating at the chance to hear “Percussion Gun” live, as that clearly is one of our songs of the year. Local Austin band The Boxing Lesson opened up the evening, but they were practically done with their space-electronica when we made it into an empty indoor Emos. Follow the jump to read the full review.

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White Rabbits – It’s Frightening

whiterabbit

Rating: ★★★½ ·

Brooklyn via Columbia, Missouri six-piece the White Rabbits rose to critical acclaim seemingly out of nowhere with their debut album, Fort Nightly.  This time around, the band has enlisted Spoon frontman (and sometimes Austinite) Britt Daniel for production duties on their latest album, It’s Frightening.  You’ll find his touch on a lot of the songs, but ultimately, this sophomore effort is worthy of your attention on musical merit alone.

One of the runners for song of the year, at least up to this point in time, opens the album. “Percussion Gun” with its dual drumming technique climbs into your ears as the tribal element of the song bombards you.  But, this isn’t the only trick the band has, as the piano work provides a much needed backbone that allows the song to go beyond just a mere rain-dance.

You’ll find the influence of Britt Daniel marking “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong.” This songs is reminiscent of pre-Gagagagagaga Spoon, with a bouncing bass line accompanied by a meandering piano.  The guitar stutters along the song as the vocals arrive in that croon come falsetto that Britt uses to perfection.  Now, we’re not assuming that this is just a knock-off because the song definitely warrants repeated listens; we’re just stating you can find Britt’s fingerprints on it.

“Comapny I Keep” is the slow summer jam come early.  It’s a mostly acoustic number with light percussion walking along the backbone of the song.  It’s the warmth of they lyrical content here that makes the song ultimately rewarding.  Sure, it might not be the most exciting of this batch of tunes, but you’ll definitely find this as one of the ones worth putting on your summer mixtapes.

One of the things that’s lacking from this album, however, is a little bit of pacing.  It’s not that there is poor pacing in so far as the organization of the songs, rather that the majority of the songs don’t seem to have too much movement to them, often becoming entirely too subdued for their own good.  Oddly, the only songs that have movement seem to rely upon the drum stylings of “Percussion Gun” with just a softer quality to them.

Still, there is something to be said for the quiet presence of this album. It provides for the easy listening experience now that you need to focus on new projects.  It’s an album full of songs constructed precisely for headphones and mellow moments in this time of your life.  A decent effort, though much stronger on the front end.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/03-they-done-wrong-_-we-done-wrong.mp3]

Download: White Rabbits – They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong [MP3]

Crazy Music Tuesday 4/21

black_tuesdayIf you live here in Austin, tomorrow is one crazy day for live music options in our town.  We’re not sure we can remember a day that was so packed as this one as far as music goes.  So packed, in fact, that we can’t fit all these shows on our main page.  Follow the jump to see full details on all the great shows going down Tuesday.

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From The Closet: Spoon

spoon_gaWe all know and love Spoon here in Austin, and if you don’t, well you can just geeeet out!  Our From the Closet song “Everything Hits at Once” appears on the band’s 2001 breakthrough release Girls Can Tell. If you don’t own that album, take your ass to the record store and buy it before someone finds out.  This album is arguably the most important in Spoon’s career.  It’s their first in a long series of releases with Merge.  It’s the first time Mike McCarthy gets credit for producing.  In my mind, it’s the first record that really sounded like a Spoon record.  Damn I love this album.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/01-everything-hits-at-once.mp3]

Download: Spoon – Everything Hits at Once [MP3]

FT5: New Austin Music Icons

0403top5cover1As we are well into the year 2009, it’s time we take a good look at what makes the Austin music scene work so well.  We’d like to say that it’s us, but we know that a whole lot more goes into the scene than the many writers and fans in the city limits.  Instead, we turn your eyes to those Icons, those heralded heroes of our town; the ones that make it all run so smoothly.  Be it a musician or producer, these are our favorite Austin Icons.  We also excluded those who made Austin music famous, and then left the town for not-so-better waters. Yea, I am looking at you Britt Daniel! Why did you leave us? Just for that, you aren’t an Austin Icon; these next five characters are!   Not only that, but these aren’t your grandparents Austin Icons.  This isn’t Stevie Ray playing guitar, nor is this the Janis playing at Threadgills; these are your new Icons, paving the way for the new artists and the new scene!  Follow the jump for our top 5 new Austin music icons.

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FT5: Songs with the Word Valentine

0213top5coverSeeing as the Hallmark Holiday is hours away, I thought I would browse through my collection and throw out my Top 5 Favorite Songs with the word “valentine” in the title. Sure, one would think that songwriters have better things to do than sing about a nonsensical holiday with little or no meaning, but then again, they are just love songs in the end, aren’t they? Some of these bands have made appearances on our lists before, and some you might not be aware of, until now that is. So here is to you and yours on this most sacred of holidays. I hope your Valentine’s Day is as good as these songs.

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