There’s a strong LCD Soundsystem sound on this track from the Chicago band Engine Summer. It comes from their recently released EP Indiana. There’s more than just that particular influence going on here though. Bits of post-rock and post-punk are built into the DNA. Skronking guitar notes warble and scatter and the groove is of the utmost importance, much as it is with other contemporary acts such as Parquet Courts. There’s also a Kiwi connection here with the mastering of the new EP done by Dion Lunadon of A Place To Bury Strangers, The D4 and Nothing At All!
Last year we posted Mantell‘s single ‘Lulu’ and now they’ve gone and upped the ante with this excellent new single ‘Can I Set It Right’. The tempo is brisk and breezy with cascading guitar melodies over a lazy and choppy Strokes-ish rhythm. The chorus is totally theirs even if it sounds like one of those eternally familiar, catchy indie rock refrains. Since their last single they’ve expanded to a five-piece and it’s served them well.
Here’s some psychedelic rock courtesy of Walking Bicycles out of Chicago IL. ‘ESP’ comes from their forthcoming LP Chooch (April 26th), their fifth album from a 15 year career.
There’s a cool production approach to the track with an echo chamber kind of vibe giving it a noisey, hard-surfaced clatter that adds a post-punk tension which complements Jocelyn Summer’s anguished recitation. Great rhythm section too!
After their massive five album onslaught of 2017, the band played some massive shows and tours through last year before consolidating and recording their new LP Fishing For Fishies which is set for release on April 26th via their label Flightless Records.
They’re calling this 14th album a blues-infused blast of sonic boogie. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”
We’ve already heard the synth epic Cyboogie, here’s the title track from the record…
Lucille Furs are set to release their new LP Another Land, this Friday, March 15th. Here’s the song from it that caught our ears, the 60s psych pop rave up that is ‘All Flowers Before Her’. Sure it’s a retro sound but these guys do it authentically and without a sniff of dress-up pastiche. Listen to the way the track puts a softer psychedelic sheen to a West Coast garage rock sound that harkens back to The Zombies, yet the Chicago group also colour and beautify the music with baroque pop flourishes.
It’s a catchy and strangely refreshing sound, standing apart for the dark psych rock that has been so pervasive in recent years. The other tracks we’ve heard from the album sound just as compelling. You can check out a few of them on Bandcamp, ahead of the full album release this Friday.
Tallboy hails from the Philadelphia-area and is the one-man recording project of musician Nick Rossi. ‘Invisible Hand’ comes from his seven track EP Life is Terrible and Everyone is Insane which casually and energetically throws quick-fire guitar songs into the aether, overflowing melodies tumbling over the edges of the songs that recall Husker Du, R.E.M. and Buffalo Tom. Invigorating and concise songs that cut to the chase.
A new album from the remaining members of the Beasts of Bourbon (under the name The Beasts) is a bittersweet thing in light of the passing of bassist Brian Hooper and more recently Spencer P. Jones. The name of the band and the album are self explanatory and though there’s enough to justify the band coming together to record new music and tour, there’s the unavoidable sense of a band operating on dwindling returns.
The album was recorded only a couple of weeks after their last gig with Hooper and is made up of songs formed from, in their words, sketchy ideas plus some jams and covers. Jones is there, but he only made it onto one track, the slow and swampy blues crawl of At The Hospital.
Things get off to a good start with the one/two punch of Perkins’ On My Back and Kim Salmon’s heavy grunge/garage-rock track Pearls Before Swine. Both possess the right amount of grit and sleaze, worthy additions to the Beasts’ canon of work. Warren Zevon’s My Shit’s Fucked Up gets a passable workout, as does Zappa’s The Torture Never Stops, which fares better with its loose and queasy sound.
It’s All Lies and Your Honour sound like half-baked ideas – one-riff jams that were fleshed out long enough to justify calling them songs. The flip-side to them is the shadowy drone and grind of Don’t Pull Me Over, a sign of the band’s willingness to still effectively explore the avant garde end of primal rock n roll, an inner city cousin to Springsteen’s Nebraska.
What The Hell Was I Thinking sounds like a late-night Rolling Stones jam and gloriously so. Searing electric slide and acoustic guitars weave a drunken dance while Perkins laments his actions in his wonderful country howl and croon.
All in all Still Here is a flawed beast but I guess they always were weren’t they. That was, and remains, the band’s charm. A collective throwing together of ideas that works often and fails sometimes.
No Age, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Arse, Basic Human
Oxford Art Factory
February 14th, 2019
Almost ten years to the day that No Age last played Sydney, at the 2009 Laneway Festival, the Los Angeles duo return on the back of their critically acclaimed album of last year, Snares Like A Haircut.
A fine four-band lineup had been put together for the evening and all four local acts impressed. Basic Human kicked things off with their primitive punk rock, built on a relentless rhythm section and topped off with the endlessly pacing singer’s half-sung, mostly shouted vocals. They were catchy and a good balance of noise, attitude and humour, with each song introduced as “This is a love song”, given it was Valentine’s Day.
Arse have to be one of the best named bands to come out of Sydney in a long while and you kind of expected great things from them before they’d even played a note. Collared shirts, tight trousers, swagger and volume. The trio started with a gloriously mangled take on Advance Australia Fair before unleashing distorted bass, guitar sounds pulled from a metal album and minimal post-hardcore drumming. It was like Cosmic Psychos cutting all kinds of Jesus Lizard angles with the noise punk dial on 11. They topped it off with a Revolting Cocks’ish lurch and stagger through John Paul Young’s Love Is In The Air.
Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys played a Surry Hills gig with No Age back on that 2009 tour and here they were again, essentially still doing the same thing but seeming much more comfortable in their musical skin as a band. The songs rolled and tumbled with less consternation and more flow. Plenty of tracks from their 2017 album Rot were played including the super catchy pop song Plastic Tears, Away and Expanded Horizons and on stage and with volume it showed how well they’ve shaped their Replacements meets melodic garage punk sound over two albums.
No Age still do what they’ve always done, from those early days at The Smell in LA to their latest album, they’ve always found inventive ways to dig noise and melody from the single construct of drums, a guitar and a couple of mics. They still seem a relaxed pair, chatting with the audience, exchanging jokes about old songs being new, unravelling the mystery of Vegemite and talking up the observed ease of living as a vegan in Sydney.
Their dynamic is basic but with the subtle interplay of Randy Randall’s guitar effects, Dean Spunt’s punk breakbeats and other avant garde interjections like the experimental ambient typewriter chatter of Snares Like A Haircut, their songs rarely end up regressing into same-sameness. One quickly forgets they’re a two-piece when the full throttle wall of Dinosaur Jr sound bursts forth. It’s a clever blend of energy and inventiveness, equally directed at the mind and the feet of the audience and Randall seemed equally lost in a sea of hair and leg kicks as he wrestled all kinds of sounds from his guitar. When they dialled back the frenzy on the song Send Me they sounded like a lost Flying Nun band – beautifully wasted, wistful and melancholic.
Spunt and Randall left us with perhaps their finest song, Teen Creeps, with its Sonic Youth chug and shoegaze wash of guitar, a cathartic way to send the audience back out into the night, fully vibed on No Age’s dissonant sonic hypnosis.