Austin based band The Lennings, who we love love love for their ability to brilliantly manipulate an impossible thread of continuity that links folk to rock to Americana to indie pop, have a few laughs up their sleeves to share with you.
They send word this morning that comedy troupe The New Movement will be joining them on stage for a handful of Saturdays. Here’s the scoop, straight from the mouths of Lennings:
We’ve joined forces with a very talented improv comedy group. Or is it a troop? Or is it a troupe?
The shows will go like this:
We will play our songs and tell the stories behind them. The audience will pretend to care and we will feel famous. Then The New Movement will improvise sketches based on those stories. The New Movement Theater is located at 1819 Rosewood Ave. Parking is ample. Not sure of the cover, but someone at (512)788-2669 will know. Hope to see you there on the following Saturday nights:
January: 23, 30
February: 6, 13, 20, 27
P.S. New Movement spin-off, Dallas Comedy House, will be hosting the Dallas Comedy Festival this March from the 24th thru the 27th!
Though it is no secret I’m a fan of Austin’s The Lennings and the band’s first effort, Big Beige Car, I was nervous when they asked me to review their latest release. See, it has been my experience that many bands, at least when it comes to creating their sophomore release, suffer from an illness I like to call BiggerLouderBolder. I can only suppose this may sometimes be caused by insecurity, an over-inflated ego, or a combination of the two. Fortunately for The Lennings, it would seem they are thus far immune to this malady.
While everything about The Lennings’ Big Beige Car was beautifully produced, gorgeously orchestrated and perfectly polished, their new endeavor, Geographic Tongue, is a five song study in the band’s unflagging confidence, a paring down of the superfluous and a deliberate sandpapering of shiny edges – and it pays off.
Recorded in just six days, the EP’s five vignettes are rough hewn in all the right ways and brought to life with solid songwriting and warm vocals.
Geographic Tongue opens with ‘Section C,’ a delightfully folk poppy tune, tinged with big bright banging piano and drum marchiness that rivals Mick Avery’s best work on The Kinks’ Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire). Add to this a touch of cranky cello and guitar, and you have a song that swells into a lustrously lazy bridge before going out with a bang. It’s a big song to open an EP with, but the subsequent body of work stands up strong – delicately hopping between Americana, rock and indie folk - closing with ‘I’ll Make a Scene,’ an OK Computer-esque epic that could’ve easily gone wrong if it weren’t for the band’s ability to harness the power of subtle urgency. The full bore, contrived, arena rock build-up that painfully plagues the end of so many albums these days is absent. In its stead we are left with solid climactic craftsmanship which gives both the song and album powerful closure.
For me, Geographic Tongue is as lovely as it is provocative and acts as a reminder of the thing I admire most about the band, both recorded and live: The Lennings, vocally and musically, continue to brilliantly manipulate an impossible thread of continuity that links folk to rock to Americana to indie pop. And it makes my ears ‘asplode with joy.
I know this review reads like a love letter, and I’m not at all ashamed of that. So there.
Listen to ‘Section C’ now:
If you live in the Austin area, be sure to visit Waterloo Records for a copy. Otherwise, you can buy the EP on CDBaby.com or iTunes for just five bucks. Better yet, go to a show and buy it directly from the band, so they aren’t financially assaulted by evil distro people!