Sporadic MP3age: Joe Pug + Strand of Oaks + Hold Steady (All Tonight!) + Sarah Jaffe + Voxhaul Broadcast + More

Wow. It’s been way too long since I did this last (October, I think?), and so there’s an honest-to-God flood of MP3s cluttering up my Inbox, 90% of which I haven’t even ever had a chance to listen to. Argh.

But hey, seeing as I’ve got a couple of spare moments (yeah, right), I figured I’d take a listen and ramble a bit about a few of ’em. Read & download away:

Joe Pug – “Hymn 101”
Meant to post this the last time Joe Pug came to town but ran out of time; which is a shame, because it’s a beautifully haunted, confessional folk song that brings to mind Appalachia in a way that’s totally real and unfabricated. It’s a live track, which makes it better, in a way — I love it when Pug apparently moves away from the mic, his voice and guitar growing more and more distant, like a train rolling off down the line.

Strand of Oaks – “Bonfire”
With Strand of Oaks“Bonfire,” you think you know where the track’s headed, off into the wintry, Fleet Foxes-y indie-folk wilderness where everything’s soft and fuzzy and unthreateningly sweet. Then the oddball ’80s synths come in, and suddenly I’m drifting along in a track from M83’s paean to ’80s synth-pop, Saturdays = Youth; float along a little further, and…wait, how did we end up in a Band of Horses song? Think I need to listen to that again…

Joe Pug & Strand of Oaks are both playing 4/1/11 at McGonigel’s Mucky Duck.

The Hold Steady – “Hurricane J”
I’ve done the slavering-fanboy thing repeatedly in this here blog over The Hold Steady, so I’ll skip that except to say that this is seriously one of my absolute-favorite bands, and that frontman Craig Finn is quite possibly the best story-song writer since either Springsteen or Tom Waits, I’m not sure which. Heaven Is Whenever, the band’s latest album, is honestly not my favorite — it can’t really hold a candle to Boys & Girls in America or Separation Sunday, sadly — but “Hurricane J” is one of those songs that make you sit up and think, “oh, yeah — that’s what an anthem’s supposed to sound like.”

The Hold Steady is playing the NCAA Big Dance 4/1/11 at Discovery Green.

Sarah Jaffe – “Clementine”
I thought I’d already posted this one, but apparently not… Again in a folky vein, but more bleakly bitter and raw, Sarah Jaffe plays awesomely driving, unapologetic indie-folk, her half-cracked vocals meandering along over the top like H-town native Jana Hunter; it sounds like she’s sitting alone in her room, resignedly pouring her heart out to her guitar and wishing things were different, and it’s pretty great.

Sarah Jaffe is playing 4/15/11 at the House of Blues, in the Bronze Peacock Room.

Voxhaul Broadcast – “Leaving On The 5th”
Well, um, wow. Voxhaul Drummer drummer Kurt Allen‘s galloping, Adam Clayton-esque beat is easily the most damn addictive beat I’ve heard in a few months now. Holy shit. I literally cannot force my limbs to stop moving while I listen to this, and that’s a weird, weird feeling…

These four guys from the OC don’t really break a lot of new ground, it’s true — think Bloc Party or The Strokes if either band hung out more with those cheery surf-popsters Surfer Blood, and you’ll be close. The guitars are crystalline and glacially pretty, the bass bumps along over those great, great drums, and then frontman David Dennis yelps like Julian Casablancas over the top. Weirdly, this reminds me of local (and possibly sadly defunct) boys Hungry Villagers, particularly in the solid, can’t-escape groove of it all.

Voxhaul Broadcast is playing 4/26/11 at Warehouse Live, along with Rooney & The Skybombers.

Sarabeth Tucek – “Get Well Soon”
This one’s a little odd, honestly; it’s a gorgeous, shimmering, beautiful track that unfolds like The Sundays’ classic cover of the Stones’ “Wild Horses,” but then you realize that Ms. Tucek‘s talking about her trees and how she doesn’t want the gardener to cut ’em. O-kay…if there’s a deeper meaning in there than that, it’s flying way, way over my head, but even still, it’s a little gem of a song.

The Chemical Brothers – “Escape 700”
Okay, so this isn’t a download, but rather a SoundCloud stream. I normally shy away from posting links that aren’t downloads, because, well, I know I personally like to be able to put the music on a player or phone or something and not be tied to a browser to listen.

In this particular case, though, I’m totally sucked in by the Chemicals‘ grinding, menacing robo-funk (from the soundtrack to the excellent-looking movie Hanna, btw), so much so that my feet are working out the freaking beats all on their own (no, seriously). This is like some dark alternate-universe version of the duo’s Surrender, with all the lush, layered gorgeousness replaced by crunching, Parts & Labor-esque noise; paranoiac and desperate as all hell.


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3 Responses to “Sporadic MP3age: Joe Pug + Strand of Oaks + Hold Steady (All Tonight!) + Sarah Jaffe + Voxhaul Broadcast + More”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Sarah Jaffe + Sleeping in the Aviary + Fake Problems + The Examples + Toadies + More on April 15th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    […] about Sarah Jaffe and how awesomely great she is, and while I won’t go back into it now (look over here for more details on her), I’m psyched to see her back in town this evening at the House of […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Sarah Jaffe + Benjamin Wesley + For The Community III + Electric Attitude + More on September 15th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    […] off like a cross between Chan Marshall and Margo Timmins with the best parts of each. Heck, we even posted “Clementine” a while back for download, before fucking Mediafire deleted all the damn files, but that’s a […]

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Something Fierce (Reviewed!) + The Hold Steady + Joe Pug + Del Tha Funky Homosapien + More on April 1st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    […] flat-out freaking blows me away and the latter of which intrigues the hell out of me. Click on over here to snag an MP3 of […]

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