I know we’ve all got our eyes on the Fun Fest prize, but let’s not forget that there are some great things happening in town, leading up to the night. There’s a great album release, a good local show, and some traveling bands that deserve some attention. If you check below, you can see some of the places on your list…there’s something for everyone. If tickets are available beforehand, you can pick them up by clicking the price. Enjoy your Tuesday. Read more
Wampire burst into my personal subconscious when I caught their rad set over at Mohawk this past year; I was immediately hooked. They had this weird blend between catchy hooks and surfy pop songs, which led me to immerse myself in their first LP. Now they’re back, though it seems that they’re playing with a bit more urgency, and possibly a slight bit more noise. The single below has them playing louder than I’ve heard, though you still can’t escape that they’re operating from within the confines of pop structures. It always make me feel like just letting go, driving fast and pumping my fists in the air. I expect more of the same when we get to hear Bazaar on October 7th via Polyvinyl.
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Making 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 – Wampire – Curiosity
49 – Dot Dash – Half Remembered Dream
48 – Mantles – Long Enough to Leave
47 – The Appleseed Cast – Illumination Ritual
46 – Bad Sports – Bras
45 – Part Time – PDA
44 – Dick Diver – Calendar Days
43 – Math and Physics Club – Our Hearts Beat Loud
42 – Veronica Falls – Waiting for Something to Happen
41 – Eat Skull – III
40 – The Lonely Wild – The Sun as It Comes
39 – The Love Language – Ruby Red
38 – Gun Outfit – Hard Coming Down
37 – Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
36 – Daughn Gibson – Me Moan
35 – Andre Obin – The Arsonist
34 – Arp – More
33 – Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
32 – The Black Watch – The End of When
31 – Ty Segall – Sleeper
30 – The Stevens – A History of Hygeine
29 – Of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar
28 – Mirror Travel – Mexico
27 – Local Natives – Hummingbird
26 – Girls Names – The New Life
25 – GRMLN – Empire
24 – Small Black – Limits of Desire
23 – Audacity – Butter Knife
22 – Mikal Cronin – MCII
21 – Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty
20 – Foals – Holy Fire
19 – Radical Face – Family Tree: The Branches
18 – Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse
17 – Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This is Nowhere
16 – Shout Out Louds – Optica
15 – Kurt Vile – Waking on a Pretty Daze
14 – Braids – Flourish//Perish
13 – Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real
12 – Typhoon – White Lighter
11 – Ski Lodge – Big Heart
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 Growlers – Hung 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just a bit ago I caught Wampire opening up for Foxygen and Unknown Mortal Orchestra; I said it then, and I’ll say it again: Wampire were the best band that night. They have this combination of California sun-pop with a bit of R&B swagger…even throwing in some alternative rock jamming moments. They’re definitely one of those bands who I’ve been waiting to hear more from, which is a good thing since their debut Curiosity is coming out in two weeks from Polyvinyl Records. It’s shaping up to be a pretty perfect record for summertime party jams.[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Wampire-Trains.mp3]
Download: Wampire – Trains [MP3]
Just a few weeks ago we caught Wampire over at the Mohawk, and I actually felt like they were the most interesting band of the evening…this song definitely lives up to that promise. It’s got a slow steady build, displaying the group’s knack for wrapping solid harmonies around their carefully constructed tracks. This number is a lot less forceful than it was live, but I dig the fact that they’re not just playing the song by song progression live. You can check out their debut album, Curiosity, when it comes out on May 14th via Polyvinyl; it’s going to be the perfect record to jam to this summer. And if you’re in Austin for that one festival, they’ve got seven shows, so keep your eye out.
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Rainy weather won’t keep us down, especially if we’ve got rock n’ roll on our minds. The Mohawk gradually swelled to capacity with Foxygen and Unknown Mortal Orchestra having a huge draw in town, both touring behind pretty solid album releases in 2013. I even stuck around to watch our friends Tiger Waves do their thing on the indoor stage afterwards.
Read on for brief thoughts and Brian’s rad photos.
It’s contest time yet again here at ATH and today we’ve got some tickets for a show that we’ve really been looking forward to for a long time. Below you can find some deets on the contest:
Up For Grabs: One spot on the guest list with +1
Show time: Doors @ 6:30pm
How to enter: Leave a comment with why you should win and we’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday morning.[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Foxygen-Make-It-Known.mp3]
Download: Foxygen – Make It Known [MP3]