ACL Gimme 5: The Wombats

Austin City Limits weekend one wrapped up on a high note Sunday evening and we have some incredible coverage coming very soon. Prior to our full recap, let’s have another playlist featuring ACL bands which will hopefully improve your dragging Monday. My second ACL Festival featured playlist comes from Liverpool based indie rock band The Wombats. The boys made some interesting choices from the entire lineup and hopefully you can enjoy this short five song playlist. Hit the jump for words from the band and for the playlist.

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Fest Preview Friday: Frontmen Worth The Hype

One week! We’re one week away from another weekend of fun times, great tunes, tasty beverages and tastier foods at Austin City Limits 2018. Have you figured out which bag you’re going to take to comply with the new bag rules? Have you scoped out the list of food vendors so you know what local restaurant you’re gonna support when you stumble through a crowd of hungry people for the goods (hello, yes, I’ll take 8 orders of Kimchi fries plz)? Do you have appropriate rain shoes/gear on deck for when Zilker inevitably becomes a mudpit at the first drop of rain? No? Get to stepping, the time is almost here and to the best of my knowledge our Amazon overlords won’t be delivering to the fest via drone. On a musical note, I’ve got a preview for you today of some performances that I’m expecting to be dynamic and exciting not only because of the sweet tunes they’ll be playing, but because of the men and women who will be commanding the stage. Read after the jump for this lady’s hot take on which performance are must-see for weekend one.

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Day For Night 2017

Let’s get this out of the way. No, I did not get to shoot Day for Night from the photo pit. In fact, my “media” approval amounted to a discounted 3-day wristband. It was disappointing, if I am to be honest; I was truly looking forward to shooting this year. The organizers saw it differently. I guess one day we’ll have to relent and buy fake followers on social media as an insurance policy.

Alas, the hotel was bought and paid for already, so off I went to make the most. Saturday, I left the camera behind as there was confusion, too much of it, about camera policies, etc. Turns out, I had a great time wandering aimlessly through the cavernous space, spending much of my time in the art installations, occasionally paying attention to the stages. I had no schedule and stumbled into people, sometimes standing in the crowd only to look to my right and realize a friend had been right next to me for a half an hour. Sunday, I mounted the trusty 55/1.8 to the a9 and revisited the installations and took in way more music.

The art ruled the weekend – I went to an art show and caught some bands. Pop through and read about highs and lows and discoveries and disappointments…

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Top Albums of 2017

Lists are arbitrary and burdensome, but why not join the fun everyone else is having? We gathered our lists, separate lists for all of us, then combined them into one that had 50 albums. What you get here are the four writers/contributors of ATH, giving you their meaningless opinions on what we thought was the jam in 2017. It’s alphabetical, and we put the initials next to it so you could track down your enemy!


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Stream This Pfarmers Debut FOR FREE

pfarmersHey man, we’re always just looking out for y’all here at ATH, so I wanted to let you know that the lovely folks at Jurrasic Pop records are letting you stream the new Pfarmers LP, Gunnera, for free for a limited time. Pfarmers is the project of The National’s Bryan Devendorf, Danny Seim of Menomena, and Dave Nelson of St. Vincent…so really with all that talent you should probably give it a listen. Everyone likes free, legal music, right?

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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

St. Vincent – s/t

St-Vincent-album-coverRating: ★★★★☆

Recently quoted, when Annie Clark was asked why her fourth full-length solo album was self titled, she responded with something along the lines that this record felt the most like who she is. If this is the case, the version of St. Vincent that the public eye can see has undergone a sort of metamorphosis since Strange Mercy. Call it touring with David Byrne, or whatever you will, but Clark has gone regal in her style. If the pastel-bleached untamable curls or her seat atop a throne on the cover wasn’t enough to show this, just start listening.

“Rattlesnake,” opens the album with the classic sound that audiences have come to know with St. Vincent: buzzing and eclectic guitar work. What are new, however, are some jazzy sounding synth riffs that make up the backing soundscape. Clark then spins a tale of broken isolation with her distortedly beautiful vocals that are a mirror to the instrumentation; it’s choppy and sporadic, as if you were to take a hammer to a cohesive synth-rock song and break it up into pieces. Regardless, it’s a hell of an opening track, peaking the interest of newcomers and established fans alike.

If the opener was choppy and up and down, the follow up and single-ready “Birth In Reverse,” is an all out cohesive triumph that combines Clark’s turbulent style with the qualities of a pop song. From the start, you have the gritty guitars, but it is joined with a rapid pace beat seems to hold everything together. Even as we are lead through the up’s and downs of the jumps from verse to chorus, it feels like a natural path to be taking, and will make you dance—what more could you want?

I could go on about the other single, “Digital Witness,” with it’s jazzy horns and killer grooviness, but chances are you’ve probably heard it, and if not, get to it. A later track on the record that captures the overall sound of this release and that will have you grooving right along with Clark is “Psychopath.” It’s a softer, more approachable tune, but it is not devoid of the rough prowess you’ve already grown fond of. Instead, the vocals are pushed further back in the mix, letting it sit on equal footing with the instrumentation and the driving synth beat, so that when Clark enters the choral arches of the song, the effect is a gentler build and an interesting balance unparalleled by the other tracks.

At the end of this record, one thing is clear—St. Vincent has indeed turned herself inside out—the ferocity that once seemed buried beneath the innocent softness of an alternative-rock star is no longer hidden, but cherished. The result will have you playing this album on repeat for days; all-hail Queen St. Vincent.

New (ish) Track from Cate Le Bon

I know this track’s been floating around for a little bit now, but I wanted to give it some love, as I really felt like Cate Le Bon won me, as well as many others, over during her recent performance opening for St. Vincent.  She’s solidified details for her upcoming record, CYRK, which will hit stores on January 17th. It’s great hearing her voice in this setting, as live, she seems so endearingly fragile, but you can clearly see her talent soar on this track.  Her voice sounds remarkable, and the arrangements that accompany the track really bring her songwriting to the forefront.  Give the gal a chance; it’ll be worth your time.


Download: Cate Le Bon – Puts Me to Work [MP3]

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