NEW MUSIC: Vanessa Van Ness – True True Shot

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“Molly Ringwald was my saviour…”

Gothic guitar pop with a post-punk twist is the order of the day on this new track from Vanessa Van Ness, a Melbourne-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer from Venice Beach, Los Angeles. There’s a roll call of influential women in the song, over a minimal backing of guitar and percussion. ‘True True Shot’ has a really nice mantra-like quality to the it. Slightly ominous yet meditative.

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Chastity Belt – Chastity Belt

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Music is about mood and the way it sonically hits the ears, heart and mind just as much as it’s about the stories and ideas conveyed by the lyrics. The appeal of Chastity Belt’s new self-titled album lies in both elements but it’s the overall sound and the warm dreaminess that billows out of the speakers that provides the strongest appeal and connection point.

All four band members share lead vocal duties and they’ve spoken of adding more dynamic harmonies and violin on this record. Those changes are key to the overlapping, drifting and lightly psychedelic sound across the ten songs. Structural experimentation, such as the drums taking a minute and a half to enter the fray on Elena, take the song structures away from standard rock shapes and closer to post-rock or a dream-pop version of Sonic Youth, bereft of their sharper edges. In a way the album sounds like lo-fi jangly guitar songs recorded in high fidelity, given the rich and lush treatment given to the recordings. The result is immersive and, once the listener lets go, quite immersive.

Many of the songs unfurl slowly, gently revealing their melodies on repeat listens as they seep in. A distant descending guitar riff on Rav-4, the counter playing on Half-Hearted that works like a beautifully disembodied version of Verlaine and Lloyd duelling in Television. Split is another gem, bathed in reverb and a tumbling verse that breaks through the clouds into a skyward chorus, it again shows the band quietly pulling at the threads of guitar pop – like The Smiths and some of the bands that emerged from the underground scene in ‘80s New Zealand.

The album never reaches the peak and immediacy of the single Different Now from 2017 but taken as a whole and listened to accordingly, there’s a beauty in the textural nuance and overall gentle hypnosis of the album.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Nina Harries – Will, I’m Not

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Nina Harries is a British double bassist and vocalist hailing from Northampton and trained in classical music at the Royal College of Music. She dials into a nice dark and moody trip-hop vibe on this track. “I’ve got a bad feeling” she sings in a haunted, Portishead style before the skies darken and thunderous percussion arrives and her vocal is blasted with distortion. The production comes courtesy of Peter Miles.

NEW MUSIC: Flaccid Ashbacks – On and On

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What at first sounds like a generic noisy indie rock song from New York psych-pop explorers Flaccid Ashbacks takes some really interesting twists and turns over its five minutes. From a Sunny Day Real Estate emotive outlay through to a mid section with sharper edges and into its contrasting country strum that sounds like Pavement. It adds up to a restless yet still captivating sound and comes from the Flaccid Ashbacks’ new album Come On Come On, a record that jumps all over the place, normally with constantly inventive and appealing results, like The Strokes and Mac DeMarco covering Arctic Monkeys songs through a hallucinogenic lens.

NEW MUSIC: Mercvrial – Pink Frost

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‘Pink Frost’ stands as one our favourite singles, certainly a contender for our favourite New Zealand song of all time. With that in mind we approached this cover by Mexican quartet Mercvrial with caution but they definitely pull it off. They retain that haunting, swirling melancholic mood, inject some electronic elements (sounding like mid-period Depeche Mode) but without sacrificing the sad heart of the song.

The cover comes from their new EP The Stars, Like Dust, out now.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Life Strike – Dear Life

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Melbourne post-punk trio Life Strike have a way of combining that genre’s obtuse angles and edges with a jangly lo-fi aesthetic. It positions them somewhere between the Dunedin underground guitar pop merchants of the 80s and a darker, more garage rock attack and smear. Here’s their brand new single and video from the album Primitive Future which came out last month. ‘Dear Life’ clears away some of the grit and grime and reveals a melancholic slice of downbeat hooks and heartwarming chord changes as  Patrick McCabe muses on environmental degradation.

Nick Pratt, a New Zealander who used to be in Deaf Wish, and McCabe (Dollar Bar), along with new drummer Scotty Brique are heading off for a run of East Coast shows over the next month.

TOUR DATES:

  • September 14 – Upstairs at the Gasometer, Melbourne w/ Chook Race, If So Why, Vale of Lights
  • September 20 – Tanswell’s, Beechworth w/ guests TBA
  • September 21 (arvo) – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney w/ Shrapnel, The Good Boys, S-Bends
  • October 12 – The Eastern, Ballarat w/ Lymes and guests TBA