Live Music

Album Review of Live Music by The Strange Boys.

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Live Music

The Strange Boys

Live Music by The Strange Boys

Release Date: Oct 24, 2011
Record label: Rough Trade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

72 Music Critic Score
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Live Music - Very Good, Based on 9 Critics

New Musical Express (NME) - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Now shorn of the barbed sax notes that graced breakthrough song ‘[b]Be Brave[/b]’, Austin’s Strange Boys get back to being the best fuck-ups in town, obliquely odd dealers of great songsmithery that they are. There’s a latent funk feel to ‘[b]Live Music[/b]’ that you feel would do the vintage Stones proud, and like that band’s greatest output, lashings of death, doom and haughty kinkiness are the order of the day here. “I’m surprised you’re still alive”, leader Ryan Sambol howls believably at one point, while ‘[b]Me And You[/b]’ is – shout it out loud – one of the coolest songs of the year.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

The Strange Boys take a big step out of the garage murk of their early days with Live Music, yet somehow end up sounding even more like a part of Austin, Texas than ever. The band recruited fellow Austinite Jim Eno to produce the album’s first half and ventured to Costa Mesa, California to work with Mike McHugh on the second half; though Live Music's actual sound is free of the grit that marked albums like Be Brave, it rambles like a bar crawl, and Ryan Sambol's voice is as smoked as Austin barbecue. As on Be Brave, Sambol and company spend most of the album chugging along at an amiable strut, particularly on “Me and You,” “My Life Beats Me,” and “Doueh.

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Drowned In Sound - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Arriving at an understanding of a band is obviously something that happens in stages. There is, of course, always the music to listen to. But there is so much else that contextualises the music and sometimes the music alone is not enough. Or not good enough. On first listen, Live Music (as in, .

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Filter - 76
Based on rating 76%%
76

xo, Taleen.

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Pitchfork - 62
Based on rating 6.2/10
62

Cleaning up your act is tricky for any fuzz-minded garage band, and Austin's the Strange Boys have been weathering that transition a bit roughly. Their demented 2009 debut, The Strange Boys and Girls Club, combined punk and country and even doo-wop into a bold and bird-flipping sound that proved fast wasn't the only way to convey agitated. On last year's Be Brave, they tidied up their sound and refined their songwriting, but lost so much of what made them strange in the first place.

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Pitchfork - 62
Based on rating 6.2/10
62

Cleaning up your act is tricky for any fuzz-minded garage band, and Austin's the Strange Boys have been weathering that transition a bit roughly. Their demented 2009 debut, The Strange Boys and Girls Club, combined punk and country and even doo-wop into a bold and bird-flipping sound that proved fast wasn't the only way to convey agitated. On last year's Be Brave, they tidied up their sound and refined their songwriting, but lost so much of what made them strange in the first place.

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PopMatters - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

It’s oddly exciting when a band doesn’t arrived fully formed, fully accomplished, and fully matured. And it feels slightly wrong, and almost voyeuristic, to watch them mature and grow into themselves, developing, evolving, and making mistakes. But, all the same, over time it makes for intriguing listening. Such is the case with Austin, Texas combo the Strange Boys.

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BBC Music
Their review was positive

Twisted Americana with more frills than one might expect. John Aizlewood 2011 There's a strand of American music that lauds ‘authenticity’ above all else. Essentially this ‘authenticity’ involves eschewing such accoutrements of the modern world as keyboards (organ and piano are okay, of course) and remixing. Much as North Mississippi Allstars and Wilco have touched the hem of greatness, the cloak of ‘authenticity’ often disguises mind-numbing dreariness.

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Austin Chronicle
Their review was unenthusiastic

The Strange Boys always make it look effortless – as in putting in less effort. It's part of their slick slacker charm, daring listeners to dismiss them based on their lackadaisical lilt, which belies just how precisely arranged and executed the Austin quartet's Garage&B sound is. Third LP and Rough Trade debut Live Music – the first half recorded locally in April at the home of producer and Spoon drummer Jim Eno, and side two of the studio LP cut last December in Southern California – opens with the roguish piano line of "Me and You" that simultaneously pops like a spark and settles lazily into Ryan Sambol's moaning vocals, setting up the freewheeling aura that permeates the A-side.

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