NEW MUSIC: Engine Summer – Outside The Curtain

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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!

NEW MUSIC: Mantell – Can I Set It Right

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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.

NEW MUSIC: Walking Bicycles – ESP

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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!

NEWS: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard announce new LP ‘Fishing For Fishies’

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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…

NEW MUSIC: Lucille Furs – All Flowers Before Her

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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.

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NEW MUSIC: Tallboy – Invisible Hand

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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.

ALBUM REVIEW: The Beasts – Still Here

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The Beasts
Still Here
Bang! Records / Rocket

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.

Chris Familton