Kevin Morby‘s made quite a name for himself with Woods and the Babies, but the last year has really seen him step into a world of his own. He released Harlem River, which received rave reviews, then put on a killer set here at the Mohawk in Austin. And, he’s back again, this time agreeing to a fresh new single with Suicide Squeeze Records; it’s set to be released on August 5th. There’s an intimacy to his performance on this track, with careful guitar work and a solemnity in his voice; you can even here a bit of imperfection in pieces, which is a nice nod. Enjoy listening to this one.
Earlier this year we brought you the great tune from Guantanamo Baywatch for their new split 7″ on Suicide Squeeze, so we’d be in trouble if we didn’t share both sides of the coin, right? Besides, I’ve always enjoyed listening to Shannon and the Clams. She’s got this soulful voice that just seems huge, whether it’s in the live setting or coming through your speakers. Personally, I love how the Clams switch to this swinging ballad to a jittery boogie that’s sure to get crowds riled up; it’s one of the many staples of the group’s sounds. This new single will be released on April 29th, but make sure you get your hands on it early.
Honestly, I didn’t expect this from the Coathangers. The group’s always been a blast to jam to, but in no way did I expect these ladies to offer up such a complete record as Suck My Shirt. Four albums into their career and this is far away their best record, and for what it’s worth, the best thing I’ve wrapped my ears around.
From the opening moments of Suck My Shirt, the album offers a bit of gritty rock n’ roll that’s juxtaposed perfectly with tiny bits of pop. “Follow Me” features drummer Stephanie on vocal duties, offering her gruff rasp over a precision drum beat. But, the simple entrance of “whoas” in support give that catchy touch that makes the group so endearing at the moment. Personally, I love the way Stephanie’s vocals battle back and forth with her counterpart, Julia Kugel. Take, for instance, “Adderall,” which pops up later on in the album. The vocals are strained while the guitar work slides up and down the scales. It would seem like the drummer has the key with her performance, but then Kugel slides in with just a the slightest yelp of “yeah” or “what” during the chorus; it completely takes a good song to the next level.
But, one thing remains the same with this modern version of The Coathangers: the ladies still bring bubbly fun to their tunes. Sure, there’s a dark edged propulsive rhythm on “Springfield Cannonball,” but as the cymbal crashes and the guitar knifes through like a siren there’s still an element of frivolity to what they’re doing. They’ll even get you bouncing and moving when you go ahead to the next track, “Merry Go Round.” High-hat work coordinating with the way the guitar’s played would be enough to get you tapping your toes, but the vocals are both bratty and driven by an inherent hook. Just imagine yourself rocking to a surf-pop act, only this time it’s fueled by ladies with a sinister sense of humor and fun.
Still, it’s not all pop spun on a knife’s tip; there are some generally sweet songs lurking throughout. For one, you can take the quieted effort on “Zombie,” which has one of the most gentle vocal displays the band has to offer. Even when they jump the pace up a bit, there’s an element of enchantment coming through your speakers. It works well with a song like “I Wait,” that offers almost a jazzy crooner feel to it, though done in the vein of an evil temptress. It’s just a sign that the group has it all at the moment.
I’m not generally one to fawn too much over a record, but I don’t know why anyone would have anything negative to say about Suck My Shirt. It’s playful in all the right spots, yet filled with ballsy rock n’ roll moments that will please any listener. For what it’s worth, The Coathangers have been building toward this for a long time, but it feels like this is the culmination of all their hard work coming together perfectly. I dare you to disagree.
Ah, yes, it’s time for the Suicide Squeeze Singles to start rolling out, and they’re starting with a bang. Their new series begins with a split between ATH favorites Shannon and the Clams and Guantanamo Baywatch. Last time I heard from GB, they were rocking a sweaty punk style, but this new jam seems like the perfect fit for a shared 7″ with Shannon. It’s a country-tied garage jam with a slow pace and lyrics that will allow you optimal sing-a-long fun. This single will hit stores on April 29th, but you can catch the band playing throughout Austin during SXSW, including the SS Party with our friends at Hardly Art on March 14th.
The Coathangers are really going all out with their latest record, pulling out all the stops to really blow away their audience. Their latest track is a bit different from its predecessor, sounding more like what we’ve come to know from the ladies, though with an improved recording. Guitars are ringing quickly and the hook created by the lyrical delivery is going to leave you anxiously awaiting more from the band. Luckily, you won’t have to wait too long, as the group’s Suck My Shirt comes out in a little over a month courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records.
Ah yes, the full length effort I’ve been waiting for from The Coathangers is just around the corner! I love the bratty vocal approach that works in conjunction with the jagged buzzing guitar chords, but just as that puts you into a stomping trance, the ladies blast off into a catch little chorus featuring classic “whoas.” Like most great things, it flirts with hooks and danger, yet remains focused throughout the song. Suicide Squeeze Records will be releasing the new album, Suck My Shirt, on March 18th.
Make no mistake about it, garage rock is best when blended with punk rock enthusiasm and pop sensibility. If you take a listen to Butter Knife, it’ll only take you a few minutes to realize that Audacity has mastered the art form, leaving those of you thirsting for a solid rock record with the solution to what ails you.
Sure, “Couldn’t Hold a Candle” is the perfect way to open the record, and it might convince others that Audacity was going to bring more of a pop sensibility to this outing; it’s got these great hooks from both the anthemic lyrics and the guitar playing, but what sold me on my infatuation with Butter Knife was the following tune, “Pigs.” Furiously the drums pound, pushing the pace of the track into more of the classic punk rock realm, but, please do hold on here. Just after the 1.5 minute mark, the song breaks down; it turns itself on its side, bringing more of a power-pop sound into the fold. For me, it’s the best of both worlds!
The next big hit you’ll find is “Cold Rush.” It begins with a twanging guitar that rings, then moves into this bouncing swing of energy and brattiness. Using backing vocals from the far off background is another nice touch that really makes this tune a straight-up winner. Even as the longest track on the album it never ceases to lose its accessibility, making one of my favorite tunes. And if you skip ahead just a bit, you’ll find “Rooster,” which is another track that’s worth your time (although they all are really). One great thing about this track is not just the pacing, but the clarity of the vocals that allows you to really sink your teeth into the tune.
When listening to Butter Knife, you’ll see that every song has something to offer listeners. Those of you looking for a classic pop sound can find yourself nodding along to tunes like “Onomatopoeia” or “Dancing Under the Soft Light;” they both offer great ballad stylings, though done in Audacity‘s fashion. Or there’s the harder edged tunes like “Tell Yourself” and “Watered Down,” so you get the best of both worlds: punk and pop. The band moves between the two so easily that it’s clear they’ve mastered the form, better than many of their peers.
As garage rock continues to make its push, it’s easy to get weighed down by all the countless names coming in and out of the genre. But, every once in a while you stumble onto some group that’s doing it just right. It’s not too punk, it’s not too pop. Butter Knife walks a fine line between the two, and in doing so, Audacity have left us with a record that we’ll be bobbing along to for quite some time.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/01_Couldn_t_Hold_A_Candle.mp3]
Download: Audacity – Couldn’t Hold A Candle [MP3]
Wasn’t it just last week I posted one of the latest singles from Audacity? Well, that was from a split release, but this new tune is from their brand new LP! The album is titled Butter Knife, and it’ll see a release by Suicide Squeeze on October 29th. These guys always seem to energetic in their songwriting, yet, like all good punk, it’s got a nice dosage of hooks to grab your ears. If you listen to this track, you get the feeling that big things are in the making for the band, as you’ll find a hard time ignoring just how good the track is. One of my favorite acts of the moment![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/01_Couldn_t_Hold_A_Candle.mp3]
Download: Audacity – Couldn’t Hold A Candle [MP3]
Earlier in the month I posted a Coathangers song that was going to be featured on a split 7″ with Audacity, and now I’ve got the other side of the 7″ to swoon over. The pummeling pace from the drums is enough to stir my punk rock emotions up, but I freaking love the guitar work here too. It’s sharp and still holds onto the furious edge that’s provided by the percussion. It blasts through, creating a riotous mood that sinks into your bones before it fades out of your speakers. You want to get amped up? Then pick up this split 7″ from Suicide Squeeze Records. The band will also be popping in Austin on October 24th, and we plan to be there jump up and down with the group!
I’ve backed the power of the Coathangers for some time now, and things won’t change now that the group have announced an up-coming split with Audacity (another ATH fave). On this split, the girls offer a gruffer vocal, which is actually a welcome touch; it makes the girls seem a touch more hardcore, not that they really needed it. But, I also like the steady approach of the songwriting; it has a resemblance to the ferocity of early YYYs, yet they pull back in their own way. The split 7″ will be available from Suicide Squeeze Records on October 15th.