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: 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!

NEW MUSIC: Raave Tapes – Stabs

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The Newcastle group Raave Tapes are back with a new track that hits a bristling post-punk streak of frenetic drums and some fine yelping from bassist Lindsay O’Connell. The guitar sweeps over the songs in washes of hazy distortion, punctuated by interjecting dotted notes. Great energy and a dynamic arrangement on this song that deals with the often crippling onset of anxiety.

“We’re aiming to convey the emotions that cloud your judgement in that anxiety-inducing moment. It centres on the feeling of being exposed and how it’s possible to internalise and misinterpret the glances and proverbial ‘daggers’ that get thrown your way,” says vocalist/guitarist Joab Eastley of the track. 

NEW MUSIC: Wild Wild Wets – Now Wow

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We’ve been coming across a few new psych acts of late and this track by San Diego group Wild Wild Wets is one that caught our ears. ‘Now Wow’ rides a laidback rhythm with rolling bass and some widescreen guitar that bends and distorts through melodic squalls. Singer Mike Turi has one of those dark voices that recalls Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Verve with his chanting incantations. A really nice track.

The track comes from their 2018 LP Prisom, available on Bandcamp.

NEW MUSIC: Black Camaro – Out In The Rain

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This track from Las Vegas quintet Black Camaro kicks off with a mean streak of post-punk, tumbling and angular rhythms courtesy of a great bass-line. Things straighten up after that – more melodies, ringing guitars and atmosphere enters the fray. It’s knotty, dynamic and burns a hole in your synapses with its blend of dark vibes and the lighter elements courtesy of the guitar and electronic sounds they utilise.

‘Out In The Rain’ comes from their brand new LP Protocol Of Dreams. Out now on streaming platforms and Bandcamp.

NEW MUSIC: These New Puritans – Inside The Rose

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UK group These New Puritans return with ‘Inside The Rose’, the second single (and NSFW video) from their forthcoming new LP of the same name, due out March 22nd. It’s their first album in six years and saw the band record in Berlin, London and Southend-on-Sea, before mixing it in Los Angeles.

The group have reverted to the original duo of brothers Jack and George Barnett and from the sound of this track, the album could be quite a special set of songs, built on heady, emotive dynamics and a blend of organic and digital instrumentation that bring to mind Wild Beasts, Japan and Depeche Mode.

LIVE REVIEW: No Age @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

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No Age

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.

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ARSE

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.

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Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys

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.

Chris Familton