INTERVIEW: Cable Ties

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CABLE TIES, LONG JAMS AND LOUD AMPS

Between festival appearances and European tours, Cable Ties’ Jenny McKechnie chats with Chris Familton about their new album Far Enough and explains the band’s 30-minute riff test.

Picture three figures, closely grouped between numerous amps and drums, hunched over their instruments in the middle of a large warehouse as heavy guitars at full volume fill the voluminous space and make their way through cables to an analogue desk. That was the scene as Melbourne trio Cable Ties laid down the tracks that make up their second album Far Enough.

With engineer and producer Paul Maybury (Rocket Science) behind the controls, the band knew they were in good hands after working with him on their debut album. “We love Paul so much,” enthuses singer, songwriter and guitarist Jenny McKechnie. “Personally speaking he’s really good at knowing what you’re capable of. When we went in and recorded our first 7” he got us playing it again and again and I think that made the single something that we couldn’t foresee at the time. On this record he’s both the recording engineer and the producer so he knew how far he could push it to get the best out of us and when to tell us to shut up and that we got the best take.”

The band have built up a strong reputation over the last half decade for their blistering and impassioned live shows and McKechnie identifies the essence of those performances as something they’re always striving to embody when they’re in the studio. “What we always want to do with a record is achieve that similar live feeling of excitement and capturing those emotions obviously has to be done in a different way because you can’t feel the bass in your lungs when you listen to a record.”

Sonically there’s a clear progression and evolution with Cable Ties’ sound on Far Enough. It’s heavier, more primitive and they’ve added a weightier 70s rock framework to their punk sensibilities. As McKechnie explains, it’s a sound born of experience and a deep and intense exploration of the power of the riff. “From recording the first album to recording the second one it was a matter of having a lot more miles under our belt, playing a lot more and getting a sense of who we are and what we wanted our sound to be – which was different to the first record. This one’s got a bit more of the primitive rock ’n’ roll thing going on,” says McKechnie. “It’s a bit heavier and that came out us going into the rehearsal studio and jamming on a riff for at least 30 minutes. If you can’t do it for half an hour it’s not worth it!”

The synchronicity of McKechnie’s playing with drummer Shauna Boyle and bassist Nick Brown is key to their sound and how astutely they can turn three minute punk songs into six minute hypnotic workouts. “It comes from jamming a lot and we’re all obsessed with repetition, the build and release of tension and chasing that cathartic rush and feeling that you can get from long jams and loud amps. That’s what we love about rehearsals and being in the band and so that’s what comes out on the record.”

Anyone who has heard Cable Ties is left in no doubt that this is a band who wear their hearts and beliefs on their collective sleeves. McKechnie populates her songs with intelligent, poetic and passionate commentary on a range of social, cultural and political topics. It’s something she’s always done as a form of catharsis and raising of awareness. “Even when I was writing folk songs in my bedroom as a teenager I’ve always written about political issues because I’ve always gotten really upset about them and needed a way to process them. That’s what I’m continuing to do to this day,” she explains, before adding “With this album it’s taking a bit of a jump from the last one in that it’s doing that and also starting to be a bit more self-reflective as well.”

With international and national tours ahead of them, including an appearance at SXSW in the USA, Cable Ties’ first priority is the release of their new album, says McKechnie proudly. “We worked really hard on it and I put all my feelings on it. I don’t really hold back much!”

Far Enough is out now on Poison City Records and Merge Records.

NEW MUSIC: bdrmm – Happy

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With a bass-line straight out of The Cure and Joy Division handbook, this track from bdrmm is undeniably the sum of its influences, but they’re great ones and they approach the music with reverence and respect, keeping all the elements of mood and texture in check. The result is a wistful, melancholically propulsive and free-flowing track that draws from shoegaze, post-punk and dark pop. icon1@2x‘Happy’ is the Hull/Leeds-based band’s first single from their debut album Bedroom, out July 3rd. The album was produced by Alex Greaves (Working Mens Club, Bo Ningen) and mastered by Heba Kadry (Slowdive, Beach House).

NEW MUSIC: The Klubs – Pastors Dance

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We featured a track by The Klubs a while back on DS and ‘Pastors Dance’ is another single from their EP Cult Party, Part 2: Bow Down. The South African trio are an amalgam of loose limbed death-disco funk and flailing post-punk, where the rhythm section is the accelerant and the vocal is a wired narrator hanging on for dear life, imploring the masses to ‘dance like each other” before the guitars enter the fray in a Fugazi fuzz storm.

The new EP follows last year’s EP Cult Party, Part 1: Male Plague.

NEW MUSIC: Unwed Sailor – Camino Wheel

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Find a riff, nail it down and wear it out. That’s the approach from the best psych-rock and shoegaze bands and the central guitar chords and bass in Unwed Sailor’s track ‘Camino Wheel’ is a perfect example. They know how long to stretch it out for, peppering with adjacent sounds before opening up the music with a sweeping gesture of held electric notes akin to clouds parting on a summer’s day. Elsewhere the bass is given the spotlight to dig dark grooves over this varied and compelling track.

Unwed Sailor are led by Johnathon Ford (ex-Pedro The Lion) and they carve out a fine sound that recalls Swervedriver with elements of the darker, more cosmic end of Krautrock as well as English post-punk. The album Look Alive will be released June 12th by Old Bear Records via Light In the Attic Records.

NEW MUSIC: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Announce New Album and Single/Video

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have announced their second album Sideways To New Italy will be released on June 5th and to mark the news they’ve released the video clip for their new single ‘She’s There’. It’s jam-packed with their now trademark busy rhythms, heady strums and jangly guitars. Wistfully melancholic, it’s a great precursor to the new full-length album.

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NEWS: Light In The Attic Announce Livestream Festival

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This Friday from 4pm PST (Saturday morning 10am Australia EST) The label Light In The Attic are presenting a livestream Covid-19 relief benefit festival featuring an amazing line-up of label artists and friends.

In hopes of bringing some much-needed joy to the planet, acclaimed archival/reissue label and distribution company Light in the Attic will be presenting a free charity concert this Friday (4/3), streaming live on their Twitch and YouTube channels beginning at 4:00 pm PST. Light In The Attic & Friends at Home will feature new performances from legendary artists whose music LITA has re-released over the past 20 years, along with a handful of talented friends from the around the globe, each covering songs from the label’s renowned catalog. 100% of all donations will go towards MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, assisting those in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

While quarantined at home – from Rio to Tokyo; Cardiff to Austin; Barbados to Italy – each musician will be doing what they do best, sharing the gift of song, maybe in their pajamas and maybe with their kids, and wherever feels comfy and cozy in the privacy of their home.

The artist lineup for Light In The Attic & Friends at Home includes:

Texas soul queen Barbara Lynn
Fred Armisen
British folk legend Michael Chapman
Jarvis Cocker
Italian composer Gigi Masin
Devendra Banhart
Brazilian great Marcos Valle
Jim James (My Morning Jacket)
Sandy Dedrick of sixties soft-psych outfit The Free Design
Japanese ambient pioneers Inoyama Land (Kankyō Ongaku)
Alex Maas (The Black Angels)
Money Mark
Singer-songwriter Lynn Castle
Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)
Leonard Sanders of modern soul-gospel group the Supreme Jubilees
Jazz giant Azar Lawrence
Grant & Frankie Olsen (Gold Leaves / Arthur & Yu)
Beach Boys poet and lyricist Stephen John Kalinich
Mark Lightcap (Acetone)
Sessa
Ben Gibbard

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NEW MUSIC: Jacaszek – November Late

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Polish composer Michal Jacaszek has just released his new album Music For Film on the Ghostly International label and it’s a wonderfully immersive and contemplative collection of compositions that showcase his amalgamation of ambient, classical, and musique concrete styles. He deploys field recordings, acoustic samples, poetry, and baroque instrumentation to paint pictures, oftentimes melancholic, nostalgic, tragic.

‘November Late’ begins tentatively before slowly morphing, swelling and rising into a dramatic invocation of both an intimate space and a grand scale that traverses the tone and texture from ambient to modern classical. That ability to weave disparate moods and contrasting, yet coexisting, emotive entities is impressive. His work is custom-made for soundtracks but it also is a wholly rewarding solo listening experience where the music creates the imagery rather than accentuating pre-existing visuals.

 

NEW MUSIC: Pinball – Skies

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Post-rock is a genre that in its finest moments has boundless possibilities, multiple genres instrumentally intertwined to create moods and atmospheres that range from the intimate to the widescreen. Pinball are a France-based group comprised of Australian expats Melissa Cox (violin) and Alex Stuart (guitar), and French musicians Benjamin Body (bass) and Simon Clavel (drums).

‘Skies’ is a track that builds evocatively over four minutes, Cox’s violin making it impossible to avoid comparisons with fellow countryman Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three. The quartet employ a wonderful sway and gently propulsive motion, gradually lifting the music into a headier place without ever overplaying their hand. Lovely stuff.

Their debut album, recorded live in the studio in one afternoon, is due out March 27th.