ALBUM REVIEW: Underground Lovers – A Left Turn

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Underground Lovers
A Left Turn
Rubber Records
★★★★

Underground Lovers are back with their ninth studio album, their third since they reactivated after a hiatus through the first decade of the 21st century. That return showed they were still in fine form with their blend of psychedelic indie rock and electronica and they’ve again produced a strong album that brings those elements together in perfect hypnotic harmony.

Their last album Staring At You Staring At Me focused on the guitar sound of the band, giving it more of a rock feel. This time around they’ve ushered their electronic explorations back into the fold, placing the album close to the work they produced on Cold Feeling at the end of the ‘90s. 

Early on, Bells sets the psych controls for the heart of the mind and just as viably, the dance floor, with its droning Krautrock sprawling across more than six wonderful minutes. They have the ability – like Spiritualized and Wooden Shjips, to find the sweet spot of a groove and ride it endlessly. Hooky ups the rock ante yet still in a warm embrace with the melodies of Glenn Bennie’s guitar and Vincent Giarrusso’s vocal incantations.

Shoegaze has always been another mainstay of the band’s sound and on Dunes and Lusher, Philippa Nihill sounds like a dream sister to My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins as the music shimmers, glows and gently shudders behind her. The single Seven Day Weekend is anthemic in its drum machine-powered rhythm and distorted see-saw guitars as Giarrusso trips out in full Shaun Ryder mode on the ode to carefree socialising. 

By the time we reach the conclusion of the epic nine minute closer Rocky Endings, there’s a sense of post-rollercoaster exhilaration in the wake of the album’s propulsive peaks and floating valleys. The song winds its wistful way for four minutes before taking off into the stratosphere on an interstellar space-rock mission of chiming guitars, pulsing bass and metronomic drumming that billows and expands gorgeously. A Left Turn is another sonic gem from one of Australia’s psychedelic finest.

Chris Familton

 

NEW MUSIC: ACUA – Keep Spinning

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ACUA are a post-punk band from Cologne who sit somewhere in the sweet spot between the aforementioned genre and the more hypnotic side of dream-pop, shoegaze and indie rock. ‘Keep Spinning’ is the their latest single and finds the fairly new band blending synths and guitars into a really nice sound (reminiscent of RIDE), balanced between drift and drive, where texture is everything.

NEW MUSIC: Mofer – Sometimes

You know when you hear something that sounds so familiar, the sum of their influences but you can’t nail them down to any degree of specificity? That was how felt on hearing this track from German band Mofer. It’s steeped in the history of post-punk, with the anguish-tinged, staring-at-the-horizon vocal, that Stephen Morris-like drumming and guitars that skate across the surface of the song. It has a great 90s melancholic indie guitar rock vibe to it too.

‘Sometimes’ comes from the band’s recently released EP Ghosts.

NEW MUSIC: Dear Boy – Heaven Moves

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“A really nice, new English indie guitar tune” I thought to myself when I first heard ‘Heaven Moves’ by Dear Boy. I was wrong though! The band hail from Los Angeles and they’re starting to gain some attention with their mix of English jangly post-punk and pop-tinged melodies. They recently finished a run of dates with James and Psychedelic Furs which gives a further idea of the kind of sound they have. ‘Dear Boy’ reminds us of Ride and Boo Radleys with a dash of Prefab Sprout thrown into the mix. A really nice tune.

Dear Boy released The Strawberry EP earlier this year and this track is a bridge between that release and a full-length album.

NEW MUSIC: Vanessa Van Ness – True True Shot

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“Molly Ringwald was my saviour…”

Gothic guitar pop with a post-punk twist is the order of the day on this new track from Vanessa Van Ness, a Melbourne-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer from Venice Beach, Los Angeles. There’s a roll call of influential women in the song, over a minimal backing of guitar and percussion. ‘True True Shot’ has a really nice mantra-like quality to the it. Slightly ominous yet meditative.

 

VIDEO PREMIERE: Life Strike – Dear Life

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Melbourne post-punk trio Life Strike have a way of combining that genre’s obtuse angles and edges with a jangly lo-fi aesthetic. It positions them somewhere between the Dunedin underground guitar pop merchants of the 80s and a darker, more garage rock attack and smear. Here’s their brand new single and video from the album Primitive Future which came out last month. ‘Dear Life’ clears away some of the grit and grime and reveals a melancholic slice of downbeat hooks and heartwarming chord changes as  Patrick McCabe muses on environmental degradation.

Nick Pratt, a New Zealander who used to be in Deaf Wish, and McCabe (Dollar Bar), along with new drummer Scotty Brique are heading off for a run of East Coast shows over the next month.

TOUR DATES:

  • September 14 – Upstairs at the Gasometer, Melbourne w/ Chook Race, If So Why, Vale of Lights
  • September 20 – Tanswell’s, Beechworth w/ guests TBA
  • September 21 (arvo) – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney w/ Shrapnel, The Good Boys, S-Bends
  • October 12 – The Eastern, Ballarat w/ Lymes and guests TBA

MEW MUSIC: Intenso – Meek

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Short-circuiting digital post rock and scattered fragments of jazz inhabit this track from Intenso, a trio from Perth, Western Australia. ‘Meek’ starts glitchy – insistent yet tentative – before swelling and morphing into a heaving polymorphic mass of synthetic scree and noise manipulation. Fascinating, disturbing and hypnotic sounds that will pummel you into sonic oblivion over seven intense(o) minutes.

EXCLUSIVE ALBUM STREAM: Fleeting Persuasion – Forever Caught

 

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We’re very pleased to be able to premiere a stream of the brand new album from Fleeting Persuasion, the latest nom de plume of Melbourne songwriter James Spencer Harrison. He’s previously released music under the name J M S Harrison but now, with a richer and denser full band sound on Forever Caught he’s launched it under Fleeting Persuasion.

Sonically persuading it is too, with echoes of The Cure, tightly woven post-rock and Australian acts such as Bluebottle Kiss filtered through Harrison’s own brand of heart-on-sleeve melancholia. It’s indie rock but the kind that resides in the shadows, always carving out new angles and creating interesting dynamics. Whether it’s the chiming sounds and clever shapes of ‘Written Out’, ‘Set Afoot’s urgent, aching melodies or ‘Make Plans’ which recalls the dark rock of Afghan Whigs, there’s plenty to explore and go deep with on this strong new iteration of Harrison’s music.

TOUR DATES:

Sept 7th – Labour In Vain, Fitzroy VIC with Del Boca Vista
Oct 18th – Botany View Hotel, Newtown NSW with Donna Amini and Foxlore
Oct 19th – Gasoline Pony, Marrickville NSW with Buddy Glass and The Finalists