NEW MUSIC: Damien Binder – Everything But

Following the release of his first single for 2021, ‘Here It Is’, Perth-based New Zealand singer-songwriter Damien Binder releases its follow-up ‘Everything But’.

The new single ‘Everything But‘ continues Damien’s exploration of a new stylistic direction. He’s taken his proven credentials as a consummate songwriter and married them with the acclaimed production nous of Matt Gio (Katy Steele, Birds of Tokyo, Abbey May, Rudimental). The melodies sound even sweeter, the songs more poetic and the overall sound is one that defies categorisation by way of its universality.

Both of Damien’s new singles are the first taste of his fifth solo album currently in production with Gio. It’s been five years since Damien released his last album, the critically acclaimed A New World – years in which he relocated from Sydney to Perth, refocused on his songwriting craft and has now returned with renewed intent and exemplary songs. 

As Damien explains, as “Everything But’ started to take shape in the studio it was the instrumentation that shaped the sound and feel of the final recording. “When we started out building the track Matt got this drum and keyboard feel going which reminded me a little of  some parts of ‘Tunnel of Love’ (Springsteen) – Not a bad thing I thought!”

On the surface the track emanates a warm glow, the perfect counterpoint to the gentle sway of acoustic guitar and the clipped accents of an electric guitar.

The sound the pair conjured up is one that perfectly reflects the idea and sentiment behind the song. “We decided to follow that vibe keeping it spare but atmospheric and driving forward. Originally while writing this I was looking back a bit at the path that brought me to this point in the last 5 years, about the idea of growth & independence and one’s intuition, of learning to listen to and trust it,” Damien reveals. “I wanted to try and capture the mood of that journey while still looking forward.”

The feel of ‘Everything But’ is one of classic melancholic indie rock as Damien reflects on his personal journey while casting his eyes to the horizon. The War On DrugsThe PoliceNeil Finn and widescreen 80s pop are all sonic and stylistic touchstones on this evocative new single from an artist who continues to explore and develop his world-class songwriting craft.

NEW SINGLE: The Finalists – Hunting Knife

The third single from The Finalists‘ debut album First, ‘Hunting Knife’ finds the band digging into a big bright sound that showcases their love of chiming and dreamy guitars, lively drums, melodic bass lines and melancholic hooks aplenty. Across its three minutes, songwriter Mark Tobin sings of a catastrophist who starts smoking again because he believes the world will end before he gets cancer.


All we need’s fresh water 
A magnesium fire starter
A hunting knife 
Marlboro Lights 
And a big box of Amoxicillin

The band’s debut single, ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)‘, which was a featured single of the week on 2ser 107.3FM, is an understated slice of melodic melancholia, draped in acoustic and electric guitars that sparkle and gently jangle. In contrast, their second single ‘Learn To Live Without You, whichpremiered on the AU review, is a concise and infectious, garage and jangle-pop guitar nugget, harking back to the golden age of the two and half minute pop song. The track was selected by The Guardian for their Best New Australian Music column and playlist for November 2020.

NEW MUSIC: Bandicoot – Dark Too Long

‘Dark Too Long’ is a song that Swansea, UK band Bandicoot describe as a “frenzied cry of desperation from the depths of excess and loneliness, influenced by the driving rhythms of NEU! and Can.” After the initial ambient drift of the intro, it tumbles along in synchronous perpetual motion. There’s the unhinged end of the Radiohead spectrum in play here, as much as a swaggering art pop aesthetic in the production and precision of it all.

They’ve since released another new single Fuzzy which heads in a fun glam direction and which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Supergrass record.

NEW MUSIC: Scowl – Lord Porno

Interesting angles in aggressive music is what floats our boat and Kent UK trio Scowl tick that box with this track, their second single, charmingly titled ‘Lord Porno’. In the punk-fuelled chorus the widescreen wall of distorted guitars crash and careen between the speakers while the rhythm section ushers the song along in the verses with a rolling, tumbling post-punk feel. Over it all, the singer howls and castigates the listener with a sense of anthemic desperation.

As the band explains, the song (named after bassist Sadie’s first band) “is an anthem, borne out of the deep seated anger and frustration one feels when you come to terms with a situation that’s irreparable.”

For fans of Eagulls, Slaves, Idles.

NEW SINGLE: Dinosaur Jr – Garden

photo by Cara Totman

For single #2 from the forthcoming new Dino Jr album, Lou Barlow takes centrestage with his song ‘Garden’. The video clip for the song was directed by Lou and Adelle Barlow, with illustrations by John Moloney and animation by Chloe Hemingway.

Of the song and video Lou says:

“Everyone seemed to want a disruption in the order of American life, it seemed necessary. Then it happened. It began as a bitter lamentation but as I was finishing the lyrics, singing over the instrumental version of the song while driving to J’s through the miles of farmland that separate his studio in Amherst and my home in Greenfield (Massachusetts), I saw a sign on a shed: Back to the Garden. I was looking for a resolution, where do we go when faced with such dramatic confusion? Back to basics, back home, back to the garden. Luckily I was able to complete the vocals and instrumentation for the song just before the quarantine. 

There wasn’t a video planned for the song but since my wife Adelle and I had started making holiday ‘specials’ for my YouTube channel this past December, we thought we could knock one out for Garden. I wanted to capture the two of us holding hands on a levy overlooking a scenic bend in the Connecticut River (very close to where the first Dinosaur video, Little Fury Things, was filmed!). Adelle thought we should incorporate the whimsical paintings of Dinosaur Jr’s tour manager John Moloney. He routinely dashes off caricatures of J, Murph and I when we travel. I told John about our ideas and he thought it would be easy to video the band playing the song. So, John and Adelle quickly captured the band playing the song on their iPhones on a cold February afternoon and I edited it all together in iMovie. Then we had Chloe, the real vid expert at Jagjaguwar, put the paintings by John and Adelle into the mix, and that’s it! Thanks for watching.”

The new album Sweep It Into Space will be released April 23rd via Jagjaguwar.

NEW MUSIC: Nonagon – The Family Meal

See-sawing tension and a mix of post-hardcore and post-punk styles makes this new track from Chicago trio Nonagon a real delight. On ‘The Family Meal’ there’s the knottiness and angles of Fugazi mixed with the reaching melodies of Sunny Day Real Estate as the song lurches and churns.

This new single comes from their full-length LP They Birds, released on March 3rd, 2021.

NEW MUSIC: The Lonesomes – Dog Days

‘Dog Days’, the brilliant new track from The Lonesomes starts off as post-punk by numbers with it’s straight drums, bass pulse and doom-laden shadowy vocal but then, after the straight-line/tension-build it all goes snaky riffs and a lull in proceedings before a dark 80s video game synth takes over proceedings and ratchets up the intensity, kicking the song into sonic pulverising overdrive. Intense and manic like a robot on a spiralling bender, it all crashes down in monolithic hard rock chords before the final oxygen-depleting run to the finish line.

The Lonesomes are a trio from the Gold Coast, QLD and as vocalist/drummer Matt Callan explains, the songs direction a marked change for the band. “We wanted to write an atmospheric track, that kept toying with the idea of gradual additions of sound. Starting the song with a robotic drum-beat that just rolls along and a bass line that follows the same structure as each element gets added the song gets more intense and climaxes into a wall of heavy sound. We wanted to create a dark sense of unease in the track, A car in a forest driving through the fog, coming or going, running from something or towards it. Nobody knows. As dumb as it sounds that’s the visual we got from it straight off the bat.”

ALBUM REVIEW: The Lemonheads – Lovey (30th Anniversary Edition)

THE LEMONHEADS

LOVEY (30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

FIRE RECORDS

In 1990, Lovey was a huge step forward for Evan Dando and his Boston band The Lemonheads. It was their major label debut on Atlantic Records after releasing their first three albums in the previous three years. Those records were a collision of noisy melodic punk rock. Part Black Flag, part The Replacements. Co-founder Ben Daily had left the band prior to Lovey and that gave Dando the opportunity to rejig the band’s sound to more of a country and indie/alt-rock blend. 

This reissue has been superbly remastered to give Lovey a greater warmth and sonic richness, further accentuating the sense that this was the start of a new chapter for Dando. The album contains absolute classics such as ‘Half The Time’ and ‘Ride With Me’ as well as their version of the Gram Parsons’ ‘Brass Buttons’. The variety of Lovey is what really elevates it – with the alt rock swerves of ‘Ballarat’ and ‘Lil Seed’ and the tumbling remnants of their punk past on ‘Left For Dead’. It was a turning point for the band and one of the landmark early releases of 90s alternative rock.

The 2xLP/CD formats come with a deluxe book with expanded liner notes and unseen photos as well as an eight song triple j Live at the Wireless session from their tour of 1991. 

Chris Familton