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.
Farmertan might be a new name to our readers but they’ve been treading the boards since the early 90s, working away at their rootsy, indie rock n roll sound. This song ‘Madness’ comes from the Connecticut band’s brand new album Captains Of Industry (out now) and captures that parched melodic sound that bands like Big Star, The Replacements, The Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom and others perfected in their heyday.
Drens are a band out of Dortmund/Cologne Germany and this song, ‘Yellow Teeth’, is one of five singles they’ve released in 2018. They’ve got a slacker surf/psych punk sound. They have bits Of Jay Reatard and Girls in their music and like those acts they’ve got a knack for balancing noise and harmony.
West Australian psych-punks Hideous Sun Demon have unleashed this new track on us, the psychotic swagger of ‘Ssppuunnkk’ which staggers across the speakers, drops to its knees and crawls deeper into a drug fever. Slashing guitar shreds sonic holes through the song, above the pummelling rhythm section and Vincent Buchanan-Simpson ’s ferocious lead vocal.
Here’s some searing panoramic dust storm countrified rock from The Original Cowards, a trio from Northampton, MA whose self-proclaimed influences include Dinosaur Jr., Neil Young and Crazy Horse, sacred herbs, garage and psych, fuzz, The Who, and thunder. They live up to those lofty aspirations on ‘Curse Of The Commander’, a seven minute track that rumbles, sways and lumbers along with paint-peeling solos and a bedrock rhythm section. They call this song a sonic flip-off the orange American Satan in chief.