Friday, 30 September 2011
Its been a while since a good cover has graced these Friday pages, but I have an all-out goodun to reignite the passions. Australian Music Prize winning Melbourne four piece (and one of the best bands on the planet) Eddy Current Suppression Ring are bringing out So Many Things on October 21 through Fuse Records - which is not so much the anticipated follow up to their incredibly well-received 2010 effort Rush To Relax, as it is a 22-track collection of ECSR's out-of-print singles and a few other rarities. That is in itself some of the best news we have heard all year. Amongst these offcuts are a few covers, including versions of Aussie punk legends the Chosen Few’s "There’s A Lot Of It Going Around" and The Go-Gos’ "We Got The Beat". So to finish off the week, before I blow my eardrums out with Akron/Faimly and Moon Duo, I want you all to crank the below Go-go's cover right up - it is incredibly unhinged, somewhat childish, and altogether ace! Go on then - get the beat!
Eddy Current Suppression Ring - We Got The Beat by Fuse Group Australia
Over at Melodic, there is movement at the station. On Monday 3rd October will be the release of the debut single by Manchester band Patterns (on Melodic). Made up of Ciaran McAuley (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Alex Hillhouse (bass/samplers), Jamie Lynch (drums) and Laurence Radford (guitar/samplers) – Patterns emerge out of the darkness with both ‘Induction’ and ‘Throwing Stones’ echoing through their rural hideout’s open terrain and almost cinematic space, evoking a setting where time becomes irrelevant, cast aside as the manmade creation it is, and days become lost in quiet reflection, a melancholic tinge affecting the tracks as a result.
The Induction 7" will be available, all 500, clear copies of them! Pre-order it here.
Patterns - 'Induction' by Melodic Records
HERE IS THE NEWS YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!
Your favourite blog Sonic Masala has finally come out from behind the laptop and into the live venue arena!
On Saturday October 2011, Sonic Masala will be hosting its first ever live showcase. The venue is ultra intimate - The Waiting Room on Browning Street, West End. The sow is small, about 100 people absolute max, and at $10 a pop it will be amazeballs. Oh, and its BYO, with the bottle shop for the Melbourne Hotel RIGHT ACROSS THE ROAD! So no excuses!
Oh and there are some bands playing, just in case we forget...
NOVA SCOTIA are those crazy kids who started off fiddling their inner Malkmus before advancing into a true behemoth of giddy angular grunge pop (my words - quote em if you want...). Their self-titled debut LP is soooo good, freakishly good, and as it should, was nominated for Best Album at this year's Queensland Music Awards. They haven't ever put on a bad show, and as headliners of the first Sonic Masala Presents... promise something extra special for your aural pleasure. (The below clip is a good indication of the band - it was filmed at the same venue too!)
PSY ANTS are a band that only know one thing - how to use a sonic pestle and mortar to crush you into their sordid ways of being. This three piece are purveyors of insidious noise, penetrating your airspace in a rough yet ultimately energising way so that you are happy when they pull their pants back on and throw a balled up tenner at your face - trust me, you'll be begging for more...
CHARLES CURSE & THE CODEINE CHOIR is yet another chapter in the coalescing disparity that is local shadow Greg Charles' musical career. Making amazing noise with Blonde Cobra and expanding the boundaries of convention with his Ex-Catholics, it has been as Charles Curse that his skewed ruminations have found more of a home, with ambient, rambling concoctions echoing as far as Brooklyn. No one knows the mysteries that lie therein, but rest assured it will be an exclusive!
So make sure you tell EVERYONE about this momentous inaugural event - click here for more deets. It's going to be one hell of a time...
Ive spent the past week in central coastal Queensland - it's been lazy, it's been sweet, but it has all come to an end - even though I still have three allotted days left on my imposed holiday. So why would I come back to the leafy confines of Brisbanetown early?
The genre-bending rockers are gracing the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) to end off its Surrealism Up Late series (and supporting latest album S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT), which is a major coup! I saw Sydney band Parades open the series earlier this year, and they were sublime - if the sound is as pristine as it was that night, my mind is going to melt! And as that would mean I wouldnt have to go back to work, then Im praying for it...
Akron/Family - So It Goes
Thursday, 29 September 2011
Coming up on a year since their debut self-titled LP release, The Soft Moon presents Total Decay (via Captured Tracks). Out on Halloween, this LP promises to be just that little bit warped, Luis Vasquez's synths and drums creating their own shrouded gravitational pull. This was never an intentional sound - it has coalesced out of ambient intent to become something that is amorphous and tenebrous - it could either black out the sun or dissipate. I dont think even Vasquez knows where The Soft Moon will end up - just that he will ride it to the end. Rest assured, we'll be on that white horse alongside him.
The Soft Moon - Total Decay
I don't know much about Brisbane's Lovely Legs, but have been listening to the 4 track EP Never Learn on and off for the past four months and need to purge. These shambolic country-punk hoedowns (or as they state, "cunt-punk")are as dirty as they are frivolous, and you cant help but feel drunk and crazy just from listening to them. Plus Lovely Legs - formed from members of the Sulphur Lights, Keep On Dancin’s, Velociraptor, the Chokes and Foreign Junk - claim Cheater Slicks as an influence - Im sold.
Grab Never Learn from the Bandcamp here.
Lovely Legs - Holy Bore
Melbourne's Iowa have another tune for us, and this time around it doesn't reference SY or Dinosaur Jr insomuch as it resembles the shoegazers of early 90s England - think Adam Franklin covering Souvlaki. Its another ace tune, but it begs the question - with so many influences flying, how will Iowa piece it all into a coherent whole when it comes to a longplayer? Well, hopefully we will find out soon. Until then though, hand over the controls to these guys and enjoy...
Iowa - Complete Control
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Just spent the day in Bundaberg. Went out to Bagara to the beach, ate fish and chips, had a couple of rums... That was it. Not much to do out here except marvel at the sugar cane. That said, what the hell is with the polar bear being the mascot for Bundaberg Rum? Its bloody hot around here. That bastard should have perished by now. Unless they use the rum as some kind of embalming fluid - which makes some kind of sense...
Enough of the crap, on with the vids! First up are Ohio native Times New Viking and a lo fi effort to promote their 'Try Harder' single. It's just a killer song, like all of their Dancer Equired album, and is here based on that. The video has replay quality too, so its pretty much irresistible.
New Jersey quirksters Big Troubles are launching their new album Romantic Comedy through Slumberland Records, and its a very interesting, and somewhat difficult , listen - a fair leap from the excellent slacker effort of last year Worry, that's for sure. Im going to live with it a little while longer before making a decision, but this video for single 'Sad Girls' is pretty damn ace regardless. (And please visit their page above - its an Angelfire site so crappily amazing!)
Auckland, New Zealand's Cool Cult have made their first ever video, for the track 'Tomorrow'. The track itself is a little more sinister than we generally get from this noise pop act, has a slight A Place To Bury Strangers vibe due to the abrasiveness of the guitars, and this can only be a very good idea.
Finally, Apparat can do no wrong! His The Devil's Walk album is seriously good, and this video for the new track 'Song Of Los' is another stellar indicator of this. Seriously, people, take note! This is some great stuff right here!
NOW GET BACK TO WORK!
I haven't always been the biggest supporter of cassettes as being the only form of media that music can come out on. Sure, the retro value is pretty gold, but its more annoying (in my opinion) than a CD, with none of the retaining value of its vinyl counterpart. That said, I won't ignore anything that comes out on tape exclusively, hence trying New York act Sarongs' first tape (on Prison Art Tapes). Its quite a clear recording, a bit different that many bands take, and it pays enormous dividends. This is evil dissonant black surf weirdness, with a wicked sense of humour, enough sleaze to fill a high heel boot and give you eighteen forms of VD.
Only 50 copies exist, which is balls, so hunting the digital recordings down of the net are a must. There is word of vinyl pressings and a re release though, plus an LP, so keep the flame burning for this wicked release - it's insidiously rad.
Sarongs - North FaceSarongs - Pixel
Its been a great week for small acts coming out of the woodwork with great lil releases, and Minneapolis duo The Bombay Sweets are intent to let the good times roll. Im really diffing their new 6 song 'S/T', which showcases many categorical touchstones without standing still long enough to get pigeonholed - other than the lo-fi nature of the recordings, which to me sound more of a necessity than a trendy career move. Possessing many elements of stripped down garage, minimal proto-punk, primitive Americana/rockabilly, and volcanic surf - The Bombay Sweets (out through Phantom Form on a stunning split color light pink/lime green split, single sided 12") is an energising set of tracks that will soundtrack the incoming season, regardless where you are in the world right now (although the Australian summer certainly feels the best fit - but I may be a little biased there...) Grab the EP here.
This week is big on the Crash Avenue-endorsed recordings. Yesterday we had Color Radio, and later in the week we have a couple more. Today, though, it's all about Nerves Junior.
As Bright As Your Night Light is the Louisville quartet's debut LP, it came out earlier this month, and its a nice slice of left-of-centre shimmering rock, shuffling along with the right amount of cool whimsy before it either explodes in electric fury, implodes into introspective weariness, or swaggers into the sunset, six-shooters and disco balls slung over the shoulders. Think Women with more theatrics, or My Morning Jacket with a little less bombast. The title track is a bit Kasabian yet with the arrogant bullshit dialled down - an immensely good thing. This joint goes hard - its a killer debut.
Grab As Bright As Your Night Light here - it's pretty much an imperative.
Nerves Junior - Champagne & Peaches
Nerves Junior - Get Left In The Dark
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
The love pouring forth from Crash Avenue continues. Chicago's Color Radio are releasing Architects, and its an album that is awash with 90s math indie rock, some kitschy organ and a lot of spunk. You hear Blonde Redhead in the opening third, a splash of Cold War Kids or Tapes n Tapes in their early years before they lost their way, and a striving for a English-style sonic tapestry (especially on tracks like 'Sharks [in a sequence]') that enriches the sound of Architects tenfold. Its an immersive listen, and one that rewards repeatedly - a nice little surprise from a small, little known band.
Architects is out in October - pre-order it here.
Color Radio - Vespers
Color Radio - Sharks [in a sequence]
Another day, another bad moniker... I have discussed this with members of Boston band Soccer Mom in the past (read the 7" review and interview with Dan Parlin here), and true to their word they have stuck to it. What's in a name? Sometimes, not a lot. And when you hear the first strains of '(A) Natural History', the opening track to the band's new EP You Are Not Going To Heaven, it is clear that any conceived notions of what to expect are about to be shattered. Sonic Youth, Swervedriver and Dinosaur Jr influences are worn liberally on the sleeve - Parlin's vocal delivery is so much like Thurston Moore it's chimeric - yet such aping is not intrusive at all. There is a real sense of nostalgia here that rather than have you hankering for the masters, has you asking the question, "When will Soccer Mom stop mucking about and put out an LP already???" 'American Shirt (Eagle Flag 911)' is the truest sense of an amalgam of musical stylings that sounds so 90s that it MUST be from the 21st century - and it's these notions littered throughout that are exciting.
You Are Not Going To Heaven is out next week - pre-order this sucker here!
Soccer Mom - (A) Natural History
Those Brisbane ladies in love with the reverb pedal, Feathers, have a new album out in a couple weeks. Hunter's Moon - that title alone should be a fair indicator of what to expect, and why they have supported the likes of Best Coast, Vivian Girls and Dead Meadow in the past. Recorded in a few hours (!) in an empty hundred-year-old movie cinema, Hunter’s Moon is the band’s first release in their current line-up, marking a transitional period in the band’s history. The LP presents a collection of songs spanning from upbeat surf inspired pop love songs (like opener 'Darklands'), to hazy, reverb obscured ballads about lost dreams and tales of phantoms (the closer 'Wild Horse Mountain' is the perfect example of that). The Rolling Stones' 'Play With Fire' also makes an appearance. Its a lovely languid release, and just another reason to take not of what's happening in this under appreciated Australian city.
Hunter's Moon is out October 7 through Bon Voyage Records, and is limited to 100 pressings - tiny! So get here and get in quick!
Feathers - Darklands
Feathers - Wild Horse Mountain
Monday, 26 September 2011
Devon Williams is a wily musical beast - for better or for worse. Having dipped his toes in varies shades of indie waters in the SoCal region, he steps out on his own for second solo LP Euphoria - and boy, what a bunch of mixed reviews it has received! What I don't understand is how these same people can like Destroyer. The consensus for this album is that it is very dreamy, up in the clouds, soft rock - a loft, ambitious, but ultimately unrewarding listening experience. Yet Destroyer - despite his brilliant lyrics - writes songs that even Kenny Loggins left on the cutting room floor, and these same people would eat his shit for breakfast! Objectivity, huh?
Well, I think Euphoria is a heady trip amongst short fizzy pop trips, and yes, whilst not all the tracks are welcomed, overall I find the album far more fun than saccharine. 'Your Sympathy' is a great pop track, whilst songs like "Tower Of Thought' and 'Revelations' are shiny, happy numbers. Overall the album succeeds in crafting throwaway pop with shimmering guitars and vaguely meaningful lyrics that will float along in the background with the occasional hook kicking you in the heart and making you smile - and to me that sounds like mission accomplished.
Euphoria is out via Slumberland Records.
Devon Williams - Your Sympathy
Last year there was a little EP called Distressor that really blew us away here on Planet Masala (read my excited review here - and the notorious cover art of Nicole Kidman a la Eyes Wide Shut is above in multiple form...). The band responsible for the loud and fast shoegaze magic was called Whirl out of California. They had put the record out themselves (with help from Bridgetown Records), and its blend of modern grunge with the English shoegaze of yore was a breath of fresh air, even for this obvious MBV acolyte.
Fast forward 12 months and a lot has changed for the band. They are now called Whirr (as most cases stand, due to some legal issues), have signed with Tee Pee Records, and have an exclusive 7" (250 copies only!) in coca cola bottle green vinyl - sexy! The 7" is a gift to tide us over whilst they step into the studio to record their debut LP. 'Junebouvier' is a slight departure in that the aggression and suspense have been toned down a little, but due to its adherence to the woozy nature of its predecessors Id say it's still a hell of a lot to get excited about.
Buy the 7" here - this limited edition piece of wax will fly out of the Tee Pee, so do it now!
Whirr - Junebouvier
Its a day for sellin wares!
This time next month independent label Smalltown America will cap off ten years in the business with the tenth volume of their Public Service Broadcast compilations. Featuring a couple of Sonic Masala regulars (United Fruit, Blacklisters) and some great up and coming artists, Public Service Broadcast #10 is available in 12" vinyl, but there are only 500 copies worldwide so pre-order it here!
1. Three - United Fruit
2. King Prick - Blacklisters
3. Faces - Event Horses
4. Coal My Lips Are Sealed - Rams' Pocket Radio
5. Spirit Animal - Daily Life
6. Strange Blood - VVolves
7. Sunlight In The Ashes - Our Krypton Son
8. The Bottom - General Fiasco
9. He-Man Womun Haters Club - Battle For Paris
10. Shallow Goals – Mnemotechnic
I don't think I have ever publicised a book here at Sonic Masala before (other than Shakey, the best biography ever...Neil Young is a god), but there is a first for everything. Besides, when the author is none other than G.W. Sok, who in 1979 co-founded the brilliant Dutch genre breakers The Ex, its useless to try to resist. After almost 1,400 concerts in Holland and abroad, and 25 record albums later, Sok left the group at the end of 2008 (hence the new vocalist for last album Catch My Shoe - which worked very well, and the live show I saw them play last year is living proof of that). A Mix of Bricks & Valentines showcases the lyrics G.W. Sok wrote during his three decade period of Ex-istance. More than 250 songs of agitprop lyrics, poetry, and rantings are included along with an introduction by the author discussing his development as a writer, and a foreword by John Robb. Ive put my pre-order in, you should too.
And now for something dissonant and irreverent...
The Ex - Maybe I Was The Pilot
Yeah, those capitals were warranted...
I remember the first thing I knew about Electrelane. I randomly bought Axes from the local record store, Rockinghorse Records, heard 'Bells' and that was it, I was in love. I immediately went out and bought second album The Power's Out (not bad) and first LP Rock It To The Moon (amazing). As luck would have it, the Brighton quartet played Brisbane a few months later. It was a sweaty night at the Zoo, but Mia Clarke was so hot, rocking out on her guitar with her Ramones T-shirt on. The rest of the band were so tight and it swirled around my head for days. I didnt get to meet Mia (sigh...) but I did catch up with bassist Rachel Dalley, and as I expected she was really cool. They released No Shouts No Calls (pretty good) after this...then broke up.
Then as we mentioned earlier in the year, the girls (Clarke, Dalley, Verity Susman and Emma Gaze) got back together. They played London's Field Day. They played the Euro summer festivals. And from all reports, they have been killing it. This makes me so happy that it's very hard to articulate. Anyway, they havent announced plans to tour to Australia yet, but whilst we continue to wish and hope, here is the entire performance they gave at the French rock festival La Route du Rock (complete with setlist!). In short - amazing!!! Happy Monday people!!!!!
Sunday, 25 September 2011
What a week! Ive had time off as I sit in between contracts, so have spent the vast majority of that listening to music, culminating in seein the legendary double act of Sebadoh and Smudge. Couldn't make the secret Sink Shit Naked On The Vague boat cruise on Friday, which sucked (me missing it, not the show, Im sure it killed), but managed to make Ben Salter's launch late Friday night. Then a wedding on Saturday - wore a proper suit (as in not found in the street) for only the second time in my life. And now Im in Biggenden, a town of less than 1000 people about an hour south-west of Bundaberg. At my parents' newsagency, listening to old people grumble about the weather, or the price of newspapers, or children not working the salt mines or some other gripe. So that means in between selling a plethora of Golden Casket tickets to the dreamers, wizened and disenfranchised, I can write this, the 35th Hits From The Box...
Differo are a duo frpm New Haven, Connecticut who interweave acoustic and electronic elements in order to craft eclectic indie pop melodies. The only track I have heard from Differo is 'Rain', and there is a lot of potential here. They are recording new material at the moment, so we'll keep an eye out for news about that as it comes to hand...
Differo - Rain
Netherlands are a Southampton born–London based five piece with the ability to craft stunningly beautiful pop songs. And just like their LP Places To Haunt suggests, their brand of folk seeps into your marrow. There is a real charm to these tracks that evokes grandiose notions that they will learnt to harness as their reputation and relationships grow and expand.
Netherlands - Something Or Nothing
Deluxe is another duo out of the New Haven area (weird, huh?), Jayson Munro (vocals) and Dave Brook. Their sound involves multiple instruments including a couple of analog synths and software that uses granular synthesis, alongside more "tradition" notional tools such as guitars and bass. An EP is in the mix, with a release date in the next few months. Here is their main offering...
Deluxe - Plastic Glass
New Orleans-based Sun Hotel have a strange amalgam of sunny pastoral folk, more traditional Americana and some darker psychedelic flourishes rolled up into their sound that makes them a somewhat familiar yet altogether different listen, which throws up a little bit of comfort and discomfort simultaneously. Whether these conflicting notions are intended or an accidental byproduct Im not sure, but it works. Tyler Scurlock's vocals (a mixture between Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock and Menomena's Brent Knopf) really tie the whole thing down, ensuring that this aural tug-of-war doesn't become too disorienting. Their latest release is Gifts and is pretty special. Talks is the first taste off it, although 'Alchemy' is where the true indicator of what this band is capable lies.
THe band has a release party coming up for it - check out the details here.
Sun Hotel - Talks
Sun Hotel - Alchemy
Lefse Records will be releasing the debut EP Wasted Youth Blues on October 11th from Denver's The Morning Clouds. The Morning Clouds consists of Josh Wambeke, who has created a sound that emulates the bedroom pop dreamscapes that have become poipular in the current musical climate whilst infusing it with enough cosmic chemistry that the pop/gospel elements at play here are cast in an otherworldly light.
The Morning Clouds - The Wrong Things
“The Reminding Ideas are brought about by the use of pressure, command, and authorization. There are good ideas and bad ideas. There are rules, and there are animals. Some vegetables can bring you happiness. Others, give you just one final remaining idea. This is where we all take a deep breath and wait for August to appear. Understand?”
Not really, but this is the illustration that Michael Magnum and Matt Soule, co-creators of last HFTB band The Reminding Ideas, has set in front of us with their House of Weather recording. The Reminding Ideas incorporates electronic and classical elements, adding reverb, playing through pedals, mixing programmed and live drums, and orchestrating, most of the songs written spur of the moment, built up, destroyed and rebuilt. And for the most part, as 'Vegetables' attests, they largely succeed. At what, Im not sure - but they have succeeded...
The Reminding Ideas - Vegetables
Not sure what it is about the maudlin folk that English duo The Skeleton Dead dole out, but it gets me every time. And now you can get the album for free from their Bandcamp! Have at it here - or listen below - either way, kick back this Sunday and let Tom & Claire take you away on their steamship of forlorn dreams...
Saturday, 24 September 2011
I have been privy to Ross Campbell AKA Silver Wren's output in the past year, and whilst he did promised an 8 track release, the result is more concise yet no less considered. Window In The Wreath is a five-track release that extends Campbell's penchant for plaintive meanderings that coalesce into a bubbling sound collage of subtle emotions into a more cohesive whole. This guy is only finding his feet, yet the ideas are coming thick and fast and there is a true gem brewing just under the surface... Until then, we have these delectable tracks to sate us.
Grab Window In The Wreath as a free download here.
Silver Wren - Crystalline
People, sad, sad new. One of my favourite bands of recent times, Baltimore's Double Dagger, are calling it a day. The trio - Denny Bowen, Nolen Strals, Bruce Willen - provided one of the most electric, immersive, and insane live performances ever, and were able to somewhat recreate it in recorded form, especially on their LP More and their Masks EP. Below is a statement from the band themselves:
"We've accomplished a lot in those nine years, playing some incredible shows with bands we love and in places we never thought we'd get to play. We've been fortunate enough to have several great labels support us along the way, starting with local friends Hit-Dat, and later Chicago-based labels Stationary (Heart) and Thrill Jockey, as well as hometown labels Toxic Pop and Terra Firma.
To answer the inevitable question about why we're breaking up: Like any relationship's end, it's complex, but for us it mostly comes down to time. As the band got older and grew and changed, the people in it did too, and our individual lives are pulling us towards other pursuits. With this in mind, we decided to focus on playing a few final shows in some of our favorite cities, and go out on a high note instead of slowing fading away. We still like the music, the shows, and each other, and we think it's best to bring things to a close while we can still devote our full energy to this music.
We've been taking time off from playing live to finish a few new songs, which will be released posthumously in some format (the details are still being figured out). We've also been planning a string of final shows in some of our favorite cities next month. Those dates are at the end of this and are also posted at www.posttypography.com/doubledagger and www.thrilljockey.com.
We could fill a book with the people we want to thank for everything they've done for us over the years. Those who helped us out in any way from putting out our records, helping us screenprint record covers and t-shirts, taking a chance on booking us in other cities we'd never played before (or booking us time and time again), roommates who sat through countless hours of practice (and sometimes recording), strangers who made us meals in their homes, let us sleep on their floors, drove us around, put up with our bad jokes, lent us equipment (though more often it happened that we were the lenders), absorbed the onstage insults, didn't sue us when getting hit in the head with drums, gave us good advice, bought the records and came to the shows and flipped out which gave us the energy to better do the same, and most importantly the girlfriends and wives who let us take the time to do this, all of you made everything we've put into this worth it.
We're all creative dudes so this isn't the last you'll hear from us, but it is (almost) the end of the line for hearing from us together as Double Dagger."
If you are lucky enough to be in the following areas of the US in October, I implore you to do the world a favour and GO. They are an amazing act, and will be sorely missed. The last few Double Dagger shows:
Wed, October 12 - Baltimore, MD - Charm City Art Space w/ Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Holy Tongues (ex-Ruiner)
Thu, October 13 - Detroit, MI - The Berkley Front
Fri, October 14 - Chicago, IL - Ultra Lounge w/ Call Me Lightning
Sat, October 15 - Chicago, IL - TBA
Sun, October 16 - Cleveland, OH - Now That's Class w/ Megachurch, Clan of the Cave Bear
Wed, October 19 - Washington, DC - Black Cat w/ Imperial China
Thu, Oct. 20 - Brooklyn, NY - Death By Audio w/ AIDS Wolf, Zomes
Fri Oct. 21 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar w/ awesome secret guests!!!
Vale Double Dagger.
Double Dagger - Pillow Talk
Double Dagger - The Lie/The Truth
Double Dagger - Camera Chimera
Friday, 23 September 2011
Heavy hitters Tee Pee Records have a couple of releases this month that Im really looking forward to. The first one is by Brooklyn belters Elks, releasing their debut LP Destined For The Sun. It supposedly features an abstract conceptual theme chronicling "the history of a tribe of nomadic Space Vikings", telling the story of "peaceful inhabitants of a planet colonized by an expanding empire," incorporating a myriad of strange sci-fi ephemera including a "super computer" at the end of the universe dubbed "The Wizard." Ok...all I know is that it sounds pretty amazing, a sludge punk effort that remains true to their lean, sinewy form, clocking at at under half an hour. Try these two slabs of fury below.
Elks - Destined For The Sun
White Fang Learns To Hate by Bill Goodman
London skunks Pet Scenes have an EP of sorts for your listening pleasure - if you're a masochist, that is. Idle Children is four tracks of sonic disgust and disdain. It lulls you with mild vitriol before spitting bile at your newborn, with no explanation or apology. None needed.
If you are in London and want all of this aural evisceration in a live setting, head down to Borderline next Thursday (29 September).
Idle Children by Pet Scenes
My first week of a "break", and how have I spent it? Doing this, mostly. Watching Breaking Bad. Seeing Lou Barlow, Sebadoh and Smudge kill. Buying a suit (as you do...). Drinking. Yeah, that's about it... So tonight I end the week by going on a boat cruise that holds the likes of Blank Realm, Cobwebbs, Nite Fields and Naked On The Vague. I may not come back alive. At best we will end up marooned on an island and revert back to the basest of the human condition, a situation William Golding foresaw aeon's ago. And at the end Charlton Heston will stumble across the Statue of Liberty...but that's my pop culture references getting confused. I think drinking copious amounts of alcohol and watching copies episodes of a show about meth cooks is doing its dastardly works... Time to get on the boat and sail to my destiny then? Ill leave you with these four videos as my last will and testament.
First up is guitarist Glenn Jones. His album The Wanting is just to be released on Thrill Jockey, and this video for 'Of Its Own Kind' reminds me of the Kelly Reichardt film Old Joy with Bonnie "Prince" Billy for some reason. Its a great little track anyway. You can pre-order The Wanting here - in the meantime, lose yourself in immaculate guitar and rustic vistas.
Next up, Cuckoo Chaos. This video for 'Jamb Song' is pretty goddamn ace of base. These San Diego kids really are coming along, surfing a wave of their own idiosyncratic making, and this comic-strip video is the perfect complement to their musical stylings.
Those two dazed kids that form High Places recorded this video at Spahn Ranch, the one-time home base for Charles Manson and the Family. It shows. This track is off the forthcoming Original Colors LP, on Thrill Jockey.
And because I love Thrill Jockey and cant get enough, here is the new Future Islands track, 'Balance'! As if I wasn't going to show this... Their newie, On The Water, is also due next month. TJ know no bounds...
NOW GET BACK TO WORK!
Brisbane's Oh Ye Denver Birds take an innovative approach to pop music with songs that develop on sonic layering and percussive rhythms, the outcomes for each band are quite stark. Their support of Toro Y Moi in March this year perfectly showcased this, underpinning a transformative adventure in their songs, pulling out hypnotic harmonies and delicate synths at all stops. The band release the first single 'I Believe In Love, Kid, from their debut album Good Ivy (on Golden District/Inertia). They are an energetic bunch and have been doing the hard yards, as is evidenced from their scoring the coveted support slot of the Baths show in October.
Queensland dates are as follows:
Friday, 23 September | Solbar, Sunshine Coast
w/ Special Guests
Saturday, 24 September | Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
w/ Special Guests
Wednesday, 19 October | Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane
Supporting Baths (USA)
**Oh Ye Denver Birds only**
Oh Ye Denver Birds - I Believe In Love, Kid
Thursday, 22 September 2011
To celebrate the release of new album The Quickening on 26th September (through Rock Action), Scottish pop experimentalists Remember Remember are delighted to announce a number of live shows for this month, with London being on the agenda tonight at the Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston.
Recorded in early 2011 at Chem 19 Studios, Scotland against a background of tumultuous global events, The Quickening sees Remember Remember return with the same seven piece group heard on last year’s RR Scorpii EP, yet further embellished on by the nylon string guitar talents of R.M. Hubbert and a full string quartet. Whilst still a playful, colourful record, a lot of the toys have gone and the music dives deeper into darker, psychedelic territories hinted at on RR Scorpii: pagan waltzes, apocalyptic Egyptian surf and Middle Eastern modes mingle with sombre pianos and bleak string interludes, concluding with a duo of songs – ‘One Happier’ and ‘John Candy’ – both bittersweet and stratospheric, creating an ending made of pure, bright light.
Remember Remember‘s musical journey, which began as one guy on stage with a loopstation and a bag of toys, now finds them here with The Quickening, a powerful and exciting listen that promises live experiences just as thrilling. Pre-order the album here.
REMEMBER REMEMBER // John Candy (Radio Edit) by TheArtOf...
It has been a while since Sonic Masala got in touch with that great indie label from the southern enclaves of England, Art Is Hard. It was their first birthday a few weeks back, on which they announced their sixth release (confusingly catalogued aih005).
I was meant to be part of the coverage as it took place but unfortunately got caught up in other miscellaneous shit, so am mega bummed, but we won't dwell on spilt guilt (or something...) Art is Hard have always had two main ambitions:to release music in new and interesting formats, and to promote music from the south west on a national/international level. Dry Route to Devon is the result - a compilation released as a screenprinted A3 map of Southwest England. In the place of each of the 11 bands there is a QR code, which when scanned with a smart phone will take listeners to an individual page where they can stream the song whilst also reading interviews, lyrics, information about when and where the track was recorded and tons of exclusive content. Such an incredible idea, right?
The aim with such an initiative is that AiH can further promote the great stuff happening in the southwest and build up more of a community whilst also changing the way in which people discover and listen to music (making them more actively involved!). The compilation is due for release on the 26th September and Art Is Hard are throwing a free release party in Plymouth on the 22nd (today in other words!). The full compilation is here.
Three Mogwai remixes within the week! We are truly blessed... This time around its for fellow Glaswegians Laki Mera and their track 'Crater' off their quirky electronic miasma The Proximity Effect. This LP itself is inventive and exciting, but with Barry Burns et al tweaking the edges this track is delectable! You can download the track for free here.
Laki Mera - Crater (Mogwai Remix) by Just Music label
There seems to be a long list of exciting local releases this year, and soon there will be another to tack on there. Psych trio Dreamtime impressed the hell out of me when they supported Harmony and The Gin Club earlier this year, and their release promises to live up to that early promise. Taking inspiration from psychedelic bands from 1968 – 1971 among other places, the self-titled LP comes out 22 October. Dreamtime was mixed and recorded by Donovan Miller (he mixed the amazeballs No Anchor release amongst many others) You can pre-order it here, and whilst you wait with sweaty palms for its imminent arrival, sate yourself on this track, 'Robe'. Its bloody great.
I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am! A month or so ago my sister and good friend Leigh went to see seminal lo-fi rockers Sebadoh play in London. They had just re-released Bakesale (my personal fave Sebadoh album), so the anticipation was very high. The report coming back were overwhelmingly positive, and now, tonight, I get to taste it all for myself as the trio play here in Brisbane at the Hi Fi Bar. What's more, 90s Australian stalwarts Smudge are dragging themselves out of the sandbox to join them! If you haven't yet (and Im not sure you still can...), try to buy tickets here. Pay in rent money, the barter of your children, in blood if necessary, just ensure you are there!
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
So my sister got married on Friday. This is amazing, and Im still gutted to have been stranded on the other side of the world when these festivities took place. Regardless, I now have a good mate who is part of the (let's say Masala) family, so i have this special midweek Hits From The Box in his honour (he'll probably hate on all these bands, but he's my bro - I can't stay mad at him...)
Otro Mundo kick us off, and these Arizona haze merchants waste no time in destroying the ragged excuse for a soul you may have had clinging to the remnants of your consciousness. Jellied is their taped purging, which they released after a stellar show with ace acts The Men and Milk Music (seal of approval there!). A nihilistic slice of fuzzy dread, Jellied can be gleaned from the band for chump change here.
Otro Mundo - Midnight Oil Burner
Otro Mundo - Heart Thrush
Sea Pinks are a three piece from Belfast, formed by singer and guitarist Neil Brogan when he began to write and record songs as a side project from his other band Girls Names (in which he is the drummer). Live Brogan recruits the other two members of Girls Names, yet it is an entirely different beast. The release of this outpouring is Dead Seas, and it is damn tasty. The first song to be taken from the new album is 'Fountain Tesserae', a "not entirely serious but not entirely unserious" song about a girl who (quite possibly on acid) jumps into a fountain while mistaking a mosaic tile pattern for diamonds, and cracks her head open, is the jumping off point. Fair enough then...
Sea Pinks - Fountain Tesserae
Sneakpeek is a female fronted lo-fi/garage/grunge/psych band from Echo Park, California. Featuring former members of The Willowz, a more folk oriented band, Sneakpeek only have demos to show their wares, yet the band describes themselves thus: "our music has been described as a 'nostalgic ride through a sea of flannel' with "lazy, reverb-drenched bassy guitar riffs, perfectly juxtaposed with the sweet (but never sickly so) female vocal'". Heady times ahead... They are currently prepping a seven song EP that will hopefully see the light of day very soon. And if this track is any indication, it should be a growling rocker.
Sneakpeek - Walk All Over Me (Live)
Throwing Up is a London punk mess that consists of Ben Rayner, Clare James Clare and Camille Benett. We got in contact after I posted the killer track 'Teeth' by Fever Fever. Rather than tell you about them, I've left it up to Camille...
"Me and Ben were born in the same month, in 1985, good year for movies and maybe wine, he used to go out with a girl who lived next to my school but I never met him til we were older. He thinks I'm pretty gross, but that might just be something he thinks about all girls that aren't Lauren, his wife, or it might be because sometimes when I'm drunk I take my clothes off in public or lie in the street crying. At any rate, he's adopted me now for better or worse and I think I've given him my cold so at least on a microbial level we're related. Clare I think I’ve known since i was 19, but maybe before that I used to turn up at nights she worked at and demand to be let in free. She hated me for it until one day we just became best friends and moved in together. That was pretty tempestuous and we tried to kill each other so we moved apart, now we're older and wiser and spend just enough time together to uphold the fragile balance between psyched and psycho. She lives in this warehouse where we have a rehearsal space, it's decorated with paper skeletons and silk flowers and we share it with Mazes and Male Bonding. Our rehearsals usually just involve messing around and drinking beers and blue wkd, we have short attention spans and smoke too much and I'm always late. Sometimes I think it's a bit embarrassing but mostly I just write songs about boys and being mental with boys, or people who piss me off, they're kind of the same thing. I'm also really preoccupied with the idea of having nothing to say or saying meaningless things and being a fake or a liar. I feel like everyone's lying to everyone and themselves all the time. Maybe I'm paranoid."
Throwing Up - Mother Knows Best
Featuring Greg Fox (Liturgy, GDFX), Alex Drewchin Jr, Turner Williams Jr and a continuously rotating cast of guest performers, Guardian Alien follow the road to enlightenment previously trod by the likes of Hawkwind, Boredoms, and Sun City Girls. Their self titled debut LP, released by Swill Children, features a live set recorded at Brooklyn's Shea Stadium, and collaged soundscapes culled from live and studio recordings. Below is an excerpt of what to expect. It sounds bloody exciting in my opinion...
Guardian Alien - Guardian Alien (excerpt)
Finishing off, we have Minneapolis band The Chambermaids. The perfect mix of dream, noise and pop. 'China Blue' is the first cut off their next album, it swims in the waters of Slowdive and Rise, and is a fitting end to today's HFTB, methinks...
The Chambermaids - China Blue