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.

NEW MUSIC: Daymaker – Mpc

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Chicagoans Daymaker recently released their new album Let The Sun Fall and this is one of its highlights, the jerky, yelp and howl of ‘Mpc’.

The start of the track reminds me of Hot Snakes and then they throw their jagged-edged guitar shards across the song before Erin Delaney lets loose with her strident holler. She’s part Siouxsie Sioux, part Carrie Brownstein  as she leads the song into the open framed chorus – tautness still intact as the song churns and spins dizzyingly on its post-punk axis.

 

NEW MUSIC: Burning House – Her Vowel No

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A blistering sonic harmonic scree is the order of the day on this new track from the Southampton, UK band Burning House. You can hear the spirit and verve of bands like Swervedriver, Trail Of Dead, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth as they careen across the speakers, leaving vapour trails of melody and distortion.

‘Her Vowel No’ comes from their debut LP Anthropocene which came out mid year.

 

NEW MUSIC: Charcoal Burners – The Verlaines and Husker Du

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We posted another Charcoal Burners track earlier this year and this one also hits the spot with its warm buzz and jangle of guitars, interlaced with piano (that reminded us of Able Tasmans). I like that they reference the sound of the song in its title, you can definitely hear both bands that they mention, more so their Dunedin counterparts. I’d also throw in a comparison with the less caustic side of Swervedriver in the way the song gently churns and drones.

‘The Verlaines and Husker Du’ follows their 2019 album The Best Day You Could Imagine.

 

NEW MUSIC: CJ Stranger – Strange One

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“A stream-of-consciousness ramble of a day living in the inner-west”

Hooks and riffs abound with laidback verve and hypnotic charm on this new single from Blue Mountains, NSW resident CJ Stranger. That’s the nom de plume of songwriter and guitarist Cameron James Henderson and on this track he hits a sweet spot between The War On Drugs and Kurt Vile with a cool blend of his voice and the guitars that surge and swagger beautifully.

Expect an album called Hey Stranger in 2020 and you can catch Henderson playing these upcoming shows:

November 14 – LazyBones Lounge, Marrickville
w/ Gavin Bowles, Liam Gale (fb event)

November 21 – Django at Camelot, Marrickville
w/ Pat Tierney (fb event)

ALBUM REVIEW: Refused – War Music

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Refused
War Music
Spinefarm/Search and Destroy
★★★½

With the band’s split in 1998, it took 14 years for them to spread their various music wings (including the excellent International Noise Conspiracy) and re-set their personal lives before reconvening for live shows and then delivering the strong comeback album Freedom in 2015. It showed they were still vital and able to conjure up fire-in-the-belly forward thinking heavy music. 

War Music solidifies the band’s return to active duty but it’s a more refined and compact take on the modern rock album. Trimmed of any excess, it rips and roars across ten songs in 35 minutes. There’s little diversion into synth interludes or overly prog workouts. Instead it keeps things locked tightly around the precise and knotty guitar riffs and that rhythm section that still kicks and drives with metronomic muscle.

Not everything works though. Malfire swaps intensity for more melodic commercial rock shapes and it just sounds overplayed. Likewise the punk-pop melody of the chorus in I Wanna Watch The World Burn. The second half of the album is where they really find their feet, Turn The Cross tumbles violently with tangled breakneck playing from all band members. It sounds truly thrilling, a band on knife edge, right on the lip of the wave. They follow that with Damaged II, a song that would fit on any Rage Against The Machine album. When they re-enter the maelstrom after coming to a halt momentarily it’s like the swing of a sledgehammer. The Infamous Left is an exercise in old school thrash metal before the band closes the album out with the stomp and swagger of Economy Of Death.

The themes of War Music are still the same with Dennis Lyxzén howling and screaming about protest, struggle, revolution and inequality. With Refused it’s the sound though. That hurricane of distortion. militant rhythms and the combination of primal physicality and intelligent application in the band’s intoxicating noise.

Chris Familton

 

 

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.