ALBUM REVIEW: Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today

Protomartyr

Ultimate Success Today

Domino

Once more Protomartyr take the four elements of rock ’n’ roll – guitar bass drums and vocals, and twist, caress and mangle them into a new version of the band’s ever-evolving sound. On their fifth album that sound is more urgent, disillusioned and anxious amid the record’s dystopian assessment of modern America.

There’s a desperate, pleading quality to singer Joe Casey’s words and the band complement and elevate his voice perfectly. With thrilling sonic veracity they lay down high velocity, post-punk textures, with balanced amounts of nuance and noise. 

Jazz legend Jameel Moondoc guests on alto sax as well as other horn and cello players. On ‘June 21’ the female voice of Half Waif is a symbiotic foil to Casey’s wearied mantras as they work up a clanging krautrock noise. ‘Processed By The Boys’ documents the insidious creep of authoritarianism, the brilliant rush of ‘Michigan Hammers’ rails against exploitation for financial gain, while closer ‘Worm In Heaven’ is Casey looking back from the other side, contemplating one’s legacy.

There’s a lot to bum out the listener on this record yet musically it’s full of life and life-affirming creative protest. It’s a band finding new and thrilling ways to channel their music and convey their hopes and fears. It’s a full-blooded state of the nation address from the heart and soul.

Christopher Familton

NEW MUSIC: Drens – All My Friends Got Time

Super catchy summer vibes on this recently released track from Drens, who hail from Dortmund, Germany – apparently Europe’s capital of moustache style!

‘All My Friends Got Time’ is a bouncy, slacker surf track which comes from their new Pet Peeves EP. I can hear bands like Girls and Black Lips in their sound and they pull it off well, never forgetting the simple joy of hooks and killer melodies. A mad gaming-themed video clip too. Surf’s up!

NEW MUSIC: Strange Things – I Feel Fine

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Strange Things from Vancouver, British Columbia recently released their Sunshine EP and one of its highlights is ‘I Feel Fine’, a tumbling cascade of distorted guitars and howled vocals that flies along on sustained notes of electricity and an endless groove. The heavier psych end of shoegaze is the order of the day here.

NEW MUSIC: HYG – Be Here

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HYG are a Canberra psych band who’ve already released an EP a couple of years ago and now have this cool new single out. ‘Be Here’ finds its groove and rides it for all money. It’s big and fuzzed-out with heavy stomping drums and bass that provides the repeating melodic phrasing amid the noise and heavy riffage. There’s a simple idea at the core of the song but they know how to stretch it out, adding and removing elements to create the feeling of droning perpetual motion. It’s dark and ominous like an approaching electrical storm.

 

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.

NEWS: Protomartyr Announce New Single/Video And Album

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Protomartyr, one of our favourite bands of the last decade, have today announced that their new LP Ultimate Success Today will be released by Domino Records on May 29th.

It follows the re-release of their debut album All Passion No Technique last year and their 2017 record Relatives In Descent. They’re one of those bands that keeps developing and evolving and from the sound of the first single ‘Processed By The Boys’, they’re continuing that sonic adventure.

“The re-release of our first album had me thinking about the passage of time and its ultimate conclusion, says singer Joe Casey of Ultimate Success Today. Listening to No Passion All Technique again, I could hear myself hoping for an introduction and a long future, but also being cognisant that it could be one and done for us. So, when it came time to write Ultimate Success Today, I was reminded of that first urgency and how it was an inverse of my current grapple with how terribly ill I’ve been feeling lately. Was that sick feeling colouring how I felt about the state of the world or was it the other way around?”

“This panic was freeing in a way. It allowed me to see our fifth album as a possible valediction of some confusingly loud five-act play. In the same light I see it as an interesting mile marker of our first decade of being a band – a crest of the hill along a long highway. Although just to cover my bases, I made sure to get my last words in while I still had the breath to say them.”

NEW MUSIC: B. Hamilton – North San Juan

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This new track from the band B. Hamilton (Oakland, CA) has one hell of a chorus that bursts forth from bluesy soul verses like a tornado touching down and gathering up everything in its path in a swirling storm of epic rock.

‘North San Juan’ comes from their recently released album Nothing And Nowhere. On the song, songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist Ryan Christopher Parks Parks describes the fall out of 1960’s San Francisco’s “Summer of Love” in contemporary Northern California.

NEW MUSIC: Salad Boys – This Issue

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New sounds from New Zealand band Salad Boys. ‘This Issue’ is a fine blend of hypnotic rhythms and guitars that tease and twist themselves into fascinating melodic shapes. At times the guitars reminded me of the warped brilliance of the 3Ds but the rest of the song is on a different trip. Heavy-lidded mantra-like vocals. It’s all wrapped up in a caustic and brittle lo-fi kinda mix which adds to the scratchy psychedelia of it all.

The single also features the track ‘Onwards and Downwards’ and is the follow-up to last year’s This Is Glue LP.