Royal Headache – S/T

Rating: ★★★★½

Lo-fi recordings and accompanying jangle pop rock have been the rage for sometime, and that’s all well and good, but sometimes you just want to have a little bit of a twist on tried-and-true fashions. When you head to your local record store, and you should do so immediately, to pick up the self-titled record from Royal Headache you’ll find exactly what you’ve need. This album’s furious and fun, but just different enough to make the group stand out among the masses.

Side A of this excellent LP opens just as you would expect from a band with garage leanings, furiously paced by the gritty guitar sound.  But, then enters frontman Shogun, using his voice to take you back to the nostalgic soulful recordings of the 50s/60s.  Perhaps you’ll hear bits of angular post-rock similar to Cloud Nothings, but the vocals take you somewhere else entirely.  Oddly, the powerful dynamic between Shogun and the rest of the band fits the mood of Royal Headache perfectly.  From start to finish, Side A is a winning adventure of six incredible tracks, with the frenetic “Girls” remaining my personal favorite.  That being said, the exuberance isn’t always a pummeling in-your-face affair as evidenced by the somewhat slowly paced “Kinds of Love.” The fact that there aren’t any lyrics might come as a surprise after the first five tracks, but it’s the perfect cleansing before you flip the record on its backside.

If you fell for Side A then Side B is absolutely going reaffirm that Royal Headache  are your new favorite band.  “Down the Lane” definitely fits into the modern musical spectrum though it has a tendency to sound dated–in an absolutely good way.  At times, Shogun even sounds a bit like Robert Pollard stretching his vocals to the maximum; it’s perhaps one of the most emotionally captivating songs on the entire record.  Plus, you don’t want to miss the closer, “Pity,” another track that seems to have ingrained itself in my mind.  I definitely enjoy the steadiness in the vocals on this number, leaving you with the sentiment that the group has evolved with regards to the conceptual aspect of the record.

Nowadays it seems that a lot of people can record in their bedroom or make an album of lo-fi tracks that quickly burst into a huge success, but you’re not going to find anything at all like Royal Headache.  That alone is one reason that you need to get your hands on this LP, but you couple that with the fact that there’s not a single track on this record that you could skip, and you have a winning group of songs that you might not ever escape.  Each song is infectious, whether you base that on the inherent hooks or Shogun’s performance; you’re not going to want to listen to anything else for some time to come.  Yeah, I said it; it really is that good.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/RoyalHeadache_Girls.mp3]

Download:Royal Headache – Girls [MP3]

More New Tunes from Royal Headache

A little less than a month ago I brought you THIS sweet new jam from Royal Headache, and now we’ve got another awesome number to toss your way.  While their first number had a bit more ferociousness, this new track has a bit more of a relaxed feeling to it; still, it offers up a great bit of soul from vocalist, Shogun, which is just another reason people are so excited for this group. You’ll find yourself loving the self-titled debut when it comes out May 8th, courtesy of What’s Your Rupture.  And, if you love it like I do, then you’ll have the opportunity to catch the band as they hit the States this summer (including Austin dates!).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/royal-headache-down-the-lane.mp3]

Download: Royal Headache – Down the Lane

Super Rad Jam from Royal Headache

I’ve known this number was coming down the pipeline for a bit, and I just couldn’t wait much longer to share it with you!  Royal Headache is an Australian quartet destined to break out with their blend of joyous garage-soul fusion.  Royal Headache is fortunate to have their self-titled album picked up for US release by the always excellent folks over at What’s Your Rupture; they’ll have it ready for you on May 8th.  There’s this infectious energy in album track “Girls,” be it the steady pop streaming guitars or the playful crooning of Shogun on vocals.  We’ll all be fortunate to witness their invasion in June, after they stop by Austin to play several  Chaos in Tejas dates.  Get ready to fall in love with rock n’ soul.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/RoyalHeadache_Girls.mp3]

Download: Royal Headache – Girls

Great New Reissue from the Tronics

Just in time for Valentines Day, you can pick up this incredible reissue of the Tronics classic Love Backed by Force. Sure, it came out decades ago, but you can definitely throw it right into the current mix, and it would fit right along side bands like Beat Happening or Television Personalities–both solid bands in my book.  The good people over at Whats Your Rupture will be releasing the album February 14th for all you fans of art-pop, and if you’re in love like I am, they’ve also got a sweet shirt from the band’s heyday that you can pick up as well.  Start your day off right with this track.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/03-Theyre-Talking-About-Us-1.mp3]

Download: Tronics – They’re Talking About Us [MP3]

Fresh Punk Rock from Throwing Up

Our good friend Kevin is legit.  Not only does he run What’s Your Rupture and Krazy Punx, but he always manages to send me these great tracks when I’m feeling like a sad bastard.  That’s not at all what he’s got on his plate when he releases a new 7″ titled Mother Knows Best by UK punks Throwing Up.  Immediately it’s brash and abrasive, banging away furiously at your ears.  All of a sudden, the vocals kick in, and you’re hooked on the female vocals, giving it a bit of jubilance along with lo-fi ferocity.  Turn it up and let it blast…then grab it from What’s Your Rupture on November 28th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/MOTHERKNOWSBEST.mp3]

Download: Throwing Up – Mother Knows Best [MP3]

Comet Gain – Howl of the Lonely Crowd

Rating: ★★★★☆

For years I felt like my adoration for Comet Gain was unjustified, as very few, if any, of my friends had even listened to the band. But, with the release of Broken Record Prayers, their singles collection, the group slowly seemed to gain ground with the masses; I say rightfully so. Now, we welcome the newest recording, Howl of the Lonely Crowd, which appears to have a two-sided story–one filled with jangling pop of the usual sort, the other slowing it down just to spread some introspection.

As a new listener, you can easily breeze right into the opening three tracks of the record, fueled with the usual bit of jangling pop and David Feck poetry.   Depending upon where your allegiance lays, you’re either going to adore opener “Clang of the Concrete Swans,” or its successor “The Weekend Dreams.”  Personally, I’m going with the former, as I love Feck’s affecting vocals, not to mention the stuttering guitar/vocals just before the 2.5 minute mark.  However, Rachel Evans has a sweet melody behind her occasionally raspy vocals, so “The Weekend Dreams,” will definitely get your attention.  What’s interesting in both tracks, and many that follow, is the production quality, which still sounds busy, but so much more clear than previous works, allowing the true spirt of the band to prevail.

Of course, Howl of the Lonely Crowd has that bit of forlorn love to it; it’s the kind of thing David Feck seems to have perfected.  It’s first appearance via slow jam comes in on “She Had Daydreams.”  For me, it’s the storytelling and the lightly brushed female vocal accompaniment that allows this track to excel, giving Comet Gain a new dimension they haven’t delved into thus far in their career–not much anyways. “Some of Us Don’t Want to Be Saved” is another such number, but Feck takes more of a spoken word for this track, allowing the guitar playing, which is lighter than usual.  The fact that such a song can win you over without ever really taking the typical approach this group has displayed speaks loudly to their fans, and hopefully to newcomers as well.

You’ll find that listening to all of Howl of the Lonely Crowd might paint two different pictures. You’ve got the pure pop moments of the opening tracks, not to mention the power-pop of a song like “Working Circle Explosive” (reminds me of CG circa Realistes), and then you’ve got these somber closers on the latter half of the record.  Knowing Comet Gain, as I think I do, you’ll have to realize they don’t take the typical approach to songwriting, especially when it comes to album construction.  For all I know, Feck and friends could have jammed out and recorded the first half, which is likely since songs featuring Herbert Huncke have been floating around for some time, then gone back and recorded the second half at a later date.  But, none of it really matters in the end, as no one’s going to write a better indie pop record than this group.  The more you listen to the lyrics, the more they suck you in, and the more you fall in love–which is how it should be with your favorite bands.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/03-An-Arcade-From-The-Warm-Rain-That-Falls.mp3]

Download: Comet Gain – An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls [MP3]

You can grab this from What’s Your Rupture now!

Still,

New Music from Comet Gain

I’ve known this project was in the works for some time, and I’m super excited to bring you all new tunes from one of my most beloved bands, Comet Gain.  You’ll find this new tune, as well as twelve others, on their latest effort, Howl of the Lonely Crowd, which will be released in the US on October 4th by the incredible folks over at What’s Your Rupture.  In my mind, this is one of the most under-appreciated bands in the whole world, as they always have infectious tunes.  Perhaps the fact that Edwyn Collins from OJ helped produce this record will give the group the extra push it needs to be the next big thing in indie pop.  If you love this, and realize you’ve been wrong by ignoring this band for so long, I suggest you go to Whats Your Rupture and order Broken Record Prayers (their last LP) or Cinema Red and Blue (a hot joint featuring Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts members).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/03-An-Arcade-From-The-Warm-Rain-That-Falls.mp3]

Download: Comet Gain – An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls [MP3]

New Music from Cinema Red and Blue

Odds are you haven’t heard much about Cinema Red and Blue, yet many of you will be familiar with the players.  The group, which is said to be just a brief project, is comprised of members of jangle-pop darlings The Comet Gain and dark post-punk outfit Crystal Stilts. Upon playing together, they created a beautiful collection of songs that will likely live on in the canon of underground music for years to come. Personally, David Feck’s voice will always hit me right in the heart, and I hope it does the same for you.  The self-titled album will hit stores on September 28th via the hard-working folks over at Whats Your Rupture?.  I can hear this playing around my house for years to come.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/08-Same-Mistakes.mp3]

Download: Cinema Red and Blue – Same Mistakes [MP3]

New Tunes from Comet Gain

This band has been one of my favorites for the longest time, and I’m super excited that they have a new 7″ titled I Never Happened.  It features the Comet Gain trademark jangle pop, which just grows on you time and time again.  This 7″ also shows some promising leads as to the new work of the band, as it features two songs that were started by the band, then finished by Love is All and Crystal Stilts.  If this is any indicator of the work to come from the band in the future, then it looks like I might have another incredible record to enjoy for years to come.  You can get the 7″ HERE.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/01-I-Never-Happened.mp3]

Download: Comet Gain – I Never Happened [MP3]

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