Pleased to Meet You: No One Mind

noonemindNo One Mind grew out of previous projects, The Love Language and Birds of Avalon, so the songwriting is familiar, though the sound is entirely new. There’s a brooding sensation in the tones of the guitar/bass as the song pushes forward, taking on a tone of bleakness that relates to the path that led to the formation of the group. I love the way the song fades out with a cool vocal repetition that starts just before the 3 minute mark. Looking forward to what the band brings to the table when they release their eponymous debut on September 9th via Third Uncle Records.

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Top 50 Albums of 2013

albums banner 2013 procMaking our year-end list of Top Albums is never something we take lightly.  We realize that it’s rather arbitrary in the grand scheme of things, but we realize that our role is to at least toss out our opinion, however meaningless it may be. In the long run, we had to take the tastes of several people, and whittle it into a list of 50 great albums that we think are vital to your listening experience.  We know it’s a matter of personal tastes, but the records below are reflective of our tastes and our site, so don’t get mad, they’re just opinions. But, feel free to tell us where we went wrong, or what we might have missed.  If you click on the album titles, you can also read our full reviews of each album, save the ones that we didn’t get to in time. Sorry we don’t like Kanye.

50 – WampireCuriosity
49 – Dot DashHalf Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles  – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed CastIllumination Ritual
46 – Bad SportsBras
45 – Part TimePDA
44 – Dick DiverCalendar Days
43 – Math and Physics ClubOur Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica FallsWaiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely WildThe Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love LanguageRuby Red
38 – Gun OutfitHard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le BonMug Museum
36 – Daughn GibsonMe Moan
35 – Andre ObinThe Arsonist
34 – ArpMore
33 – Gap DreamShine Your Light
32 – The Black WatchThe End of When
31 – Ty SegallSleeper
30 – The StevensA History of Hygeine
29 – Of MontrealLousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror TravelMexico
27 – Local NativesHummingbird
26 – Girls NamesThe New Life
25 – GRMLNEmpire
24 – Small BlackLimits of Desire
23 – AudacityButter Knife
22 – Mikal CroninMCII
21 – Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty
20 – FoalsHoly Fire
19 – Radical FaceFamily Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth LagoonWondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry MaltsNobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out LoudsOptica
15 – Kurt VileWaking on a Pretty Daze
14 –  BraidsFlourish//Perish
13 – Crystal AntlersNothing is Real
12 – TyphoonWhite Lighter
11 – Ski LodgeBig Heart

10 – GamblesTrust

Admittedly, this album makes nods to folk troubadours of Christmas’ past, but what grabbed me from the moment I heard this record was the sincerity in what’s being created.  In leaving us with a stripped down listen of folk tunes and incredible poetry, we’re asked to look into the history of American songwriting tradition; it’s been awhile since it was executed so well.

9 – The GrowlersHung at Heart

I’d put this album on any list for one song alone, “Someday.”  But, it just so happens that the rest of the album maintains the sensation that’s established on the opening track.  I’ve heard it referenced as a surf-psych opus, but what’s been assured in my mine is what an incredible listen we’re all be treating to when we put Hung at Heart on our record players.

8 – Wax IdolsDiscipline & Desire

Hether Fortune seems to scare people.  Her work is in your face, never making an excuse for who she is or what she believes.  That attitude carries on into her music, allowing listeners to experience a musical world void of any pretense.  The songs on this album are angular, dark and abrasive; the vocals have Hether dominating the scene of modern lady rock warriors.  If you don’t dig it, she doesn’t care, but I do because this record rules.

7 – Parenthetical GirlsPrivilege

While many of the songs on this effort leaked out before under various EPs, the whole masterpiece exists in the way it was tied together as a complete work.  It’s operatic and grand at every corner, but it’s also undeniably a pop record.  The emphasis might revolve around the more artful spectrum of pop music, but this is an album you can play for everyone in your family, and they’ll all find themselves swept up in the wonderment of Privilege.

6 – The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

What else really needs to be said about The National.  They consistently make great albums that are lauded then often overlooked, but we didn’t want to do that to one of our favorite acts.  I mean, if they played 8 shows in 8 days, we’d be at every one, and the DJ set after party.  Their accolades and recognition are warranted, and it’s especially clear on this, their latest release.

5 – LegsPass the Ringo

When listening to Pass the Ringo, I thought of one thing: this is the sort of record that makes a small label, like Loglady Records, a household name. It’s spun around garage rock and psych rock structures, whilst still maintaining an accessibility that few people working in that genre achieve.  Some albums can play in the background of your house, and might be happy to do so, but Legs created something that made me stop and listen at every turn; I’m thankful for that.

4 – Warm SodaSomeone for You

Someone For You came our way in January.  On my record player, it hasn’t left since.  This is one of the most rewarding power-pop records I’ve gotten my hands on, and trust me, I’ve gotten my hands on a lot of great records. Each song is filled with innate hooks and garage rock grit, encouraging you to tap your toes for the entirety of the record.  You’d think after a full year our interest would have waned, but with time we’ve only grown to appreciate the record even more.

3 – Coma CinemaPosthumous Release

At the moment, there’s not too many people releasing music that’s the quality of Mathew Cothran and Coma Cinema. There are elements of the bizarre, similar to the work of early Elf Power, yet there’s this intimacy that artists like Eliott Smith were able to create with their listeners.  You wrap that up and put it in a package of pop sensibility, and you have an album that can’t be ignored.

2 – Bubblegum LemonadeSome Like it Pop

In today’s musical climate, we buy into the fact that artists have to be doing something strange, or something that’s vastly different from their peers.  But, in the grand scheme of things, we often forget what it’s like to take enjoyment out of the music.  This album was one of the many reminders that music, when it’s good, can be quite special.  Every song here is a single, and worth your time; it’s the best thing Laz has done, and I feel like he’s just really getting started.

1 – Magical CloudzImpersonator

This album is about Devon Welsh.  From the first instant I heard his voice, it took hold of me. Throughout the year, Impersonator, consistently played on my radio. His voice was mesmerizing, captivating audiences on several occasions in Austin, convincing us to be as quiet as a mouse, so as to hear every note.  The unique quality of the album will reward listeners for years to follow.  It made us believe in great music again.


The Love Language – Ruby Red

The-Love-LanguageRating: ★★★★☆

It’s that time again in Austin: the weather is unbearably hot, and the days seem to last forever as the sun sets late, and the kids, out for the summer, frolic in public pools and sprinklers while you count the days until the oven breeze turns to just a warm breeze. Yes, that’s right, the dog days of summer are upon us. But never fear, The Love Language has just the release to give you a new lease on summer; Ruby Red is just about as refreshing as a cool plunge into Barton Springs.

On this third studio release, The Love Language, headed up by Stuart McLamb, have put together an album filled with straight up rockin’ jams that will have you coming back again and again. First up is one of these infectious tunes, “Calm Down,” which begins with a groovy bass line and a frenzied drum beat. A few seconds into the song, you get McLamb coming in with his echo-y vocals and the words “don’t look back now…” right before they launch full speed ahead into the song. It seems like a fresh start for the group and an invitation for you to come right along with them and forget the past in a blur of garage rock mixed with a hint of lo-fi coming through; the dual vocals on the chorus give it that lo-fi flare, grounded in the jangly, all out explosive instrumental ending. And that’s just the first song.

Continuing on this positive start, up third seems to be the song that has made it’s way into my favorite slot: “Hi Life.” It’s one of those numbers that just seems to shine and glitter, with its layers of instruments, horns included. These layers help each song stick out from the next: every track battling for more depth of said layers than the track before it. Right in the middle of things, you get a number like “For Izzy,” that slows down the roaring pace, but McLamb keeps you right there with him with his vocals that may not float atop the mix, but whose far away quality makes you hang on to his every word, while the slow, waltz-esque beat dances next to him. This number especially reminds me a bit of The Walkmen, which is never a bad thing.

Overall, Ruby Red seems to be a step in a more garage, and more colorful direction for The Love Language. On their last album they seemed to stick to a milder path, but Ruby Red is pure rock n roll. Have a listen and enjoy the rest of summer. Perhaps this is even an album to carry you right on through the rest of the year.

New Music From The Love Language

The+Love+LanguageThe Love Language is a band that has long been a favorite around these parts, so we deemed it necessary to share their new song with you even though we may be a little late on reporting it.  This new track “Calm Down” features a bit more rock n roll, driving force behind it than what we are maybe used to from the band.  I don’t really see that as a bad thing and could even call it a bit more of a grown up sound.  That’s cool.

New album Ruby Red is due out July 23rd on Merge Records.

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Show Preview: Love Language @ Emo’s (9/14)

Date 9/14/10
Location Emos
Doors 9pm
Tickets $8 @ Ticketweb

A promising new band on the Merge label The Love Language are bringing their sweet pop music to Emo’s on Tuesday night.  Our very own December Boys will also be on hand along with Matt Oliver from TV Torso opening things up.  For only $8, I’d recommend making it out.


Download: The Love Language – Heart to Tell [MP3]

The Love Language – Libraries

Rating: ★★★★☆

It sounds like things in North Carolina couldn’t be any better. The Love Language recently signed to Merge Records, and then they followed that up with the release of Libraries.  At first listen, you might find sonic touches of other bands, you might even think you recognize vocal qualities of singer Stuart McLamb.  In the end, you’ll find that this record is full of well executed songs, all of which provide repeated listening pleasures for every individual who puts down the cash to get this well crafted pop opus.

“Pedals” starts off slowly, before guitars begin to ring in backed by light keyboard strokes.  Enter Stuart, carrying his melody high above the rest of the band’s swirling sonic display.  There’s an edginess to all this beauty, and every movement within the song feels sharp, yet incredibly uplifting, especially when the strings arrangements enter during the latter part of the song.  You can’t start off much better than this.

During “Brittany’s Back” you start to get a hint that McLamb has a bit of Hamilton from The Walkmen in his voice, but during this song, his voice seems much more controlled than his vocal contemporary.  But, on “This Blood is Our Own” you really see a similarity, as Stuart reaches for that high spectrum of his own pitch, wavering just a bit at the top.  Still, this song, aside from the piano, doesn’t really sound all that much like the aforementioned band; it has a much more cinematic quality, one that would fit nicely in the wooded regions of the Carolinas.

“Summer Dell” starts off a slew of songs that don’t sound as crowded, musically, and they really take Libraries to the the top tier of indie rock.  Steady guitar strumming, and really sharp drum hits, give it a strong emotive quality, yearning for you to get lost amidst the finer details of the song.  “Heart to Tell” takes a like-minded approach, as its similarly stripped down, though you’ll find a more upbeat group, giving you a little bit of swing as you listen.  McLamb’s vocal performance here is one of the strongest of the whole collection, and creative production from the percussive section adds an extra level of enjoyment.

Something about the approach to the writing in “Wilmont” will forever stick with you.  After an album that seems filled, cleverly, with every inch of space, you have a slow number that is carried by light strumming and McLamb, that is to begin the song.  Once the drums kick in, and the guitar seems to be chasing the stars, you try to follow, yet you’re distracted by the vocals, almost haunted.  It is hard to pull yourself away from this song; you simply can’t do it.

That’s precisely the way you’ll feel listening to Libraries, especially after the third and fourth listen.  Details will begin to emerge, melodies will seep inside you, and you’ll discover that crooning sounds coated in wooded effects can be successful.  In fact, it’s so much so, you will keep coming back to The Love Language just to take a different look around the indie world. You’ll be better off for it.


Download: The Love Language – Heart to Tell [MP3]

New Tunes from The Love Language

While researching fun things to buy this Saturday, I remembered that North Carolina’s The Love Language not only have a 7″ coming to us for Record Store Day, but also their debut album Libraries will hit stores July 13th via Merge Records. We have the first single from the album, and it promises good things to come, so get ready.


Download: The Love Language – Heart to Tell [MP3]

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