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.

NEW MUSIC: Milly – Talking Secret

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Some woozy, slow moving shoegaze sounds for you today. ‘Talking Secret’ is a new track from Milly, a Los Angeles band fronted by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Dyer. The song blends UK and US styles really nicely. There are echoes of post rock and grunge in the mix. I guess a band that you could draw some parallels with would be Swervedriver and the way both acts combine texture and rock.

NEW MUSIC: The Klubs – Loosen The Crown

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For fans of Protomartyr, METZ, Viagra Boys, Pissed Jeans

Lay down a rhythm section that has the heft and swing of Jesus Lizard, guitar that scissors and slashes across the speakers and a suitably belligerent and unhinged post-punk vocal and you’ve got a damn fine song from South African band The Klubs.

It’s a hell of a bass line that drives this thing, leading it down a sleazy laneway on a hot summer night. Great stuff. It comes from the Pretoria trio’s new EP Cult Party, Pt. 1: Male Plague.

NEW MUSIC: Domiciles – Sinking Sun

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Domiciles (Fife, Scotland) have released this new seven minute slab of hypnotic psych rock. ‘Sinking Sun’ is the second single taken from debut album This Is Not a Zen Garden, set for release this Friday (16/08/19) via Last Night From Glasgow.

The vocals are subdued, buried in the shadowy corners of the song as the rhythm section does the heavy lifting, laying the foundation for guitars that spark and spiral across the stereo landscape leaving sonic chemtrails and deep riff furrows. It’s compelling stuff that draws as much from post-punk, Krautrock and shoegaze as it does from the dark art of bands like The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Horrors.

NEW MUSIC: Cross Dog – Scars

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Cross Dog are a self-described heavy, noisy, feminist punk band from Peterborough Ontario, Canada and man they deliver a blistering slab of noise/punk metal on this track from their new album Hollow. There’s the raw, unbridled fury of the first Hole album bleeding into the hardcore of a band like Refused. It’s unrelenting and built on only bass, drums and vocals but the dynamics they build into the track make it fascinating, layered, brutally heavy and visceral. Check it…

NEW MUSIC: Paso Viejo – Kitsune

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We’re always on the hunt for great post-rock that settles in that sweet spot between textural exploration and epic sweep, without heading too far into metal territory or getting too technical at the expense of heart and soul.

Argentinian band Paso Viejo definitely caught our ear in that respect, with this track ‘Kitsune’. It sparkles and swells, painting details in the shadowy, mood corners and allowing movement and graceful patterns of sound to flourish and evolve in an unhurried fashion before the final adrenalised sprint to the finish.

The track comes from their second album Agua de Oro.