Last year Rules released their self-titled album, which was an undeniable surprise hit for me, compiling joyous electric pop sounds and hyper literary references into gem after gem. Today, they’re back with their first new music since the album, an enthusiastic electro cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So!” They keep the hooks, so don’t worry that by stripping the song of guitars that you’ll lose something; they stretch it instead with heavy synth work and booming voices! Plus, you get a sense of the band in their natural habitat, as they roll about for a nice evening with director Pekka Harkonen. The band release this tune with another new single on Friday via Soliti!
I’ll admit, as an older, once super-emo, music fan, I’m not always sold on what’s coming out of the new resurgence. Some of it just seems so commonplace, such a rehash, but not Mo Troper. My ears here elements of the hooks that made things like Ultimate Fakebook endearing, yet still making nods back to the first two Weezer records. Sure, maybe it’s derivative in a sense, but that never hurts when it’s executed so perfectly. Look for Mo Troper to release Beloved on April 29th via Good Cheer Records.
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The latest single from White Reaper has been floating around for a few days, so I’m circling back hoping you didn’t miss the band’s new tune. Guitars build here in alternative fashion that recalls some of the work that Weezer was doing upon their reformation, chugging down on those heavy riffs. But, even if that’s not your thing, you should wait until the 1.5 minute mark where the song erupts into the chorus; it’s an emphatic punch that continues to build on the band’s bombastic live shows. You’ll get to hear the group’s new album, White Reaper Does It Again on July 17th when it sees a release from Polyvinyl Records…so get yourself ready.
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When you press play on the tune below, you’re going to think it’s your run-of-the-mill indie rocker; it’s got a decent pace, but it’s mostly relaxed college rock (not that that’s bad by any means). Still, you’ve got to hold on as Van Dale unleashes some crunchy guitar that brings a boisterous bit of noise to the typical affair. It takes on a tone of what I always dreamed and hoped Weezer would become…they didn’t…so we’ve got these guys to bring it instead. On March 31st, the trio will release their self-titled album via Fleeting Youth Records.
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We’re drawing nearer to the release of the new album from Happy Diving, and their new single is really keeping me going today. It’s got an old school feel to it, in regards to guitar pop, which reminds me of a more rocking blend of what Austin’s the Impossibles were trying to do in their later days. Sure, there’s an ode to Weezer in that and an innocence in the lyrical content, but wait until the song’s screeching guitars feedback into your ears, crashing down through your speakers; it’s a special bit for your listening pleasure today. Big World is released on October 21st via Father Daughter Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/05-Sad-Planet.mp3]
Download: Happy Diving – Sad Planet [MP3]
I know that you may have seen this tune elsewhere last week, but when a song is as sweet as this one, I will post it despite my tardiness. To keep this brief, The Rentals have always been a big favorite of mine and I’m super excited that they are returning this year with their much delayed 3rd LP. This track called “Thought of Sound” is a preview of the new album and it’s proving that the wait for new music was well worth it. Seriously, these guys have a distinct sound that is just like no other. YES.
New album, Lost in Aplhaville, is due out August 26th on Polyvinyl Records.
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Don’t get sucked into the fact that this tune opens up as a semi-folk number; it’s nowhere near that. It takes a few seconds, then driving guitar riffs and crashing cymbals echo throughout your ears. It’s a weird cross between Weezer‘s pop sensibility and the oddball song construction of Built to Spill. It’s another great tune from LVL UP, which will be offered to the masses via a split with Porches. These young New Yorkers definitely have something rad going on, so we’re interested to see where they’ll be going in the very near future. With catchy tunes like this one, I’m sure they’ll have no problem winning us over.
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Nathan Williams, better known as Wavves, may have crossed your radar at some point, be it through the media realm of the indie music world, or through his music; either way, Wavves is one of the most buzzed about bands. Back in 2010 he released a full length album, which seemed to take the buzz to a whole new level and his relationship with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino made for his place as the title within his 2010 release: King of the Beach. Now that it’s been a few years and the buzz has died down some, will Nathan Williams come back swinging from the fade?
The answer isn’t so straightforward, as this is decent album, but the honeymoon stage for fans may be long gone. Afraid of Heights begins with some tinkering instrumental, feeding the anticipation of audiences. The first track, “Sail to the Sun” bursts into life quickly, though, the guitar wailing along with Williams’ vocals, as he kicks straight into it. Fast paced and laden with lyrics classical to the California punk lifestyle that Wavves has always explores. It’s a short and sweet track, but reminds audiences that this guy knows how to rock.
Pushing onwards, you’ll find that it’s not all full speed ahead on Afraid of Heights. The second song, “Demon to Lean on” evokes a sound that reminds me of a grungier, wilder, Weezer, which isn’t a bad thing. Tempo slowed, you can focus on the details that Williams has to offer, which include small nuances within the verses. Other strong moments on this album include, “Dog,” which gives listeners a break from blasting guitars and offers a catchy chorus to sing along. Later on, “Cop,” continues this milder, less garage-rock style, with mini-builds inside of it to explode into choruses, but as on “Dog” there aren’t those waves of dominating electric guitar. Some fans may detest this, but Wavves may be gaining some new fans.
What works against Wavves on Afraid of Heights is time—the album just feels long. With songs that are so repetitive and similar to each other, it seems like a few could have been cut from the track list that would have simplified the album and made for a snappier overall sound. Williams’ music gets a bit sluggish toward the end, and so did my interest, which may be the biggest problem for listeners on here.
Regardless of length, there are some excellent garage rock tunes on this album, which should feed the buzz just enough for Wavves.
Very few duos really seem to pack a punch, the last one I recall that really killed was DFA 1979, but the latest release from Jeff the Brotherhood is definitely a record that will lightheartedly kick you in the teeth. This is a good thing, as summer needs some rock n’ roll, and that is precisely what We Are the Champions gives it listeners. Want to have a good time, then run out the door, pick this up, and blast it as loud as you can!
Like various other bands taking this arena rock approach, namely Free Energy, you can feel the studied past of classic rock and punk flowing through the veins of the Orrall Brothers. But, what seems to put Jeff the Brotherhood far ahead of their peers is that they actually seem to be enjoying their portrayal of the sound. “Hey Friend” spends the first half of the opening track giving you one hell of a gritty rock jam, but then it sort of breaks into something entirely different; its part Weezer, part Ramones, part arena ready rock. It’s just plain good.
Sure, you could take a knock at the band for giving you some fairly juvenile song titles, and possibly lyrics, but occasionally, the execution matters far more than the actual thought process; such is the case on We Are the Champions. “Cool Out’ speeds through, with a pace that would probably force Joey Ramone to think twice, but it’s got sort of a power-pop-punk feel, like early Queers albums. Perhaps it’s the fact that the band is just a duo, forcing them to focus on their simplicity when it comes to songwriting, giving their sound something rather refreshing and clean. “Bummer” has buzz-saw guitars and just a steady drum beat keeping time, but it’s the “whoa-ohs” and vocal harmonies that make it such a killer track. The louder the song gets, the more you just want to have fun.
But, it’s not all fast-fueled punk-ish sounding arena rock, but there are some momentary allusions to stoner-rock as well, or sludge-rock, like “Ripper.” It just opens with this filthy jamming moment (one of the few times I like a jam), and of course it blasts off into a furious energetic blast, but the sound of the guitar definitely is filled with dirt and grime, unlike some of the cleaner sounds on earlier tracks. Really, these guys are all over the place throughout the entirety of We Are the Champions, but in an endearing fashion that makes you want to pump your fists and sing out loud.
Album highlights for me include the heavy hit “Mellow Out,” or the oddball psychedelia-hints from “Health and Strength, and definitely the closer “Wastoid Girl.” Once you give a listen to this release from Jeff the Brotherhood, you’ll be thumbing through lyrics sheet, or pressing play over and over again, as the band has crafted an entire record full of sing-a-long hits that are sheer fun. You’re looking for the perfect record to blast loudly while you get ready for the night? You need look no longer, as there’s nothing better today than listening to We Are the Champions.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/04_Shredder.mp3]
Download: Jeff the Brotherhood – Shredder [MP3]
Despite what we see in jewelry commercials this time of year, life and love isn’t all hallmark moments and wonderful memories. Sometimes we make mistakes, big mistakes. Mistakes so big that simply buying your loved one aforementioned jewelry can’t help. When that happens, being true to your heart and honestly apologizing is always best. With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, poor (dumb) souls can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone; after all you’re only human. If your heartfelt apology is not enough to smooth these rough waters you are sailing, consider a mix tape. After all, God created mix tapes for this exact reason; to tell someone through song, what you are feeling inside. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few tracks to hopefully ease the pain and invoke the love back into your Valentine just in time for a romantic day. Commence sappiness in 3…2….1…