File this one under psychedelic but it’s not of the manic garage rock or pop variety. ‘Fingers Radio‘ by the Gold Coast’s Black Rabbit George locks into a liquid bass and metronomic drum pattern right from the start and averts its gaze. That synchronicity and anchor allows Paul George (Tijuana Cartel) to wander vocally, like he’s negotiating a trip or a dream, drifting in blissed-out awe through a fog. Guitar lines intertwine and curl themselves around the rhythm section – a subtle blend of North African and Asian influences that dial straight into the psych feel of the track.
The utterly hypnotic single is the first taste of his new album Warren, due for release on August 28th.
“I spent a lot of time isolated at home toying with ideas I’ve had over the years. I’ve pretty much lived in the studio for the last 6 months, just toying with where I can take the things I’ve learnt and how they all make sense together. ‘Fingers Radio’ is one of the songs that came from these sessions.”
Straight outta the gates come The Earnest Spears with four-to-the-floor drums, wired, frantic, distorted and heavily reverbed guitar that flails and hammers in equal amounts. The vocals are pretty much indeciperable but hey, it’s all about the energy and the post-hardcore, psych-punk riff and pummel on ‘Liar‘, the first of a run of singles the Worcester, UK group have got coming in 2020.
Today we’ve got a new track from the Sahara and El Djerid region in the south of Tunisia. Azu Tiwaline is a producer who blends dub-influenced and psychedelic desert electronica that moves and flows with a real fluidity and sense of spirit.
There’s a wonderful techno minimalism to her sound. Dark and precise, heavily percussive and spacious and intimate at the same time. The atmosphere she builds across the track is both tribal and sci-fi as the sound-effects spark and scatter across the stereo spectrum, above the winding hypnotic melodies and ominous percussive march – of which ultimately is a soulful sound built on amazing sonic architecture.
Lewis Goldmark is the name of the new project from Liam Judson, best known for his work with Belles Will Ring and his production work with bands such as Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and Cloud Control. ‘Twilighting‘ is his debut single and the first taste of a full-length album, set for release in 2020.
The single is a warm and wistful slice of indie guitar pop. There’s a nostalgic and atmospheric psychedelic streak winding through the chiming six-string action that recalls the more subtle moments of Sonic Youth. There’s also a super-catchy chorus that hits the melodic heights of bands such as The Chills.
“Twilighting is a way of me describing the moment just before sleep where your brain wanders off into the craziest thoughts and you accept them – only to realise how crazy they are if you happen to snap out of it and wake up. The fact that you don’t see them as strange thoughts when they’re happening is interesting to me. It’s the twilight of going to sleep. The guitars are meant to glow and represent the purple and pinks of late sunset.”
There’s a wonderfully deadpan, stylised quality to this new single from Oakland CA duo Abracadabra (duo Hannah Skelton and Chris Niles). It’s pure 80s synth pop – the good kind where robots and fashion were the future, Kraftwerk were kings and neon was a colour.
There’s also a playfulness to the music of ‘Dirty Pan’, a day-glo utopian sound built on lush washes of keyboards such as The Fairlight CMI and pulsing, robotic drums. It’s like Stereolab and Cabaret Voltaire jamming on the international space station.
“Many of the songs reflect upon our fragility as humans, our inability to predict or control the future, and the struggle to remain stable despite the chaos of urban life on a deteriorating planet.”
Abracadabra’s self-titled debut album will be out on July 24 via Anniversary.
The jangly art-pop factor is high on this new track from the new project based around James Madden and Ryan Murphy of Liverpool indie pop quartet, Hooton Tennis Club. The horns are the clincher, giving it a soft soul sound before a fuzzed out guitar solo brings the song to an abrupt halt. Infectious as hell too. Reminds us a bit of a cross between The Phoenix Foundation, Parquet Courts and The Coral.
‘Sinful City’ explore the themes of capitalism, modernisation, and escapism touched upon on Seatbelts’ previous EPs. Big city living has its drawbacks – one can fnd themselves in high demand. How is our sense of self influenced by the temptations found in the shimmery delights of the modern city? “A lifestyle on constant trial… Despair and desperation take hope”, sings James Madden (vocals/guitar), his urgent vocal delivery painting a picture of an inner drama unravelling: a final attempt to seek beauty, hope, and clarity within a sinful metropolis.
After a busy few years touring and riding the wave of attention that their last album Con Todo El Mundo brought them, Khruangbin retreated to their Texas studio to begin work on their third album. Earlier this year we got a mixed bag EP with Leon Bridges but that was a stop gap. Mordechai is the band spreading their wings wider and drawing together stronger thematic qualities.
The other noticeable change on Mordechai is that most tracks feature the vocals of bassist Laura Lee Ochoa. Previously they were predominately an instrumental trio but here they’re playing vocally-enriched songs without losing any of that wandering, free-spirited musicality that has defined them. Ochoa’s lyrics are fragmentary in nature, mantra-like and perfectly in keeping with the drift and hypnotism of the music. Thematically, many of the songs deal in the idea of memory – Time (You And I), One To Remember, So We Won’t Forget all deal in the concept of remembering.
Musically, Ochoa, Mark Speer and drummer DJ Johnson cast their poly-sonic net even wider. From African and Asian guitar funk to Jamaican dub, cosmic jazz to tropical psychedelia, they pull from all manner of pan-global sounds. It’s still a thrilling concoction that sounds otherworldly, eternally infectious and upbeat in spite of its melancholic soul.
Premiered on UK website Backseat Mafia, ‘The Dirty Game Of Art’, a dark dive into temptation and sin, is the first taste of a full-length album that Meares and Dymke are currently writing and recording.
“‘The Dirty Art of Game’ is epic, cinematic musical prose that has a satisfying air of a life steeped in indulgence, pain and joy. Utterly cathartic. An album is in the cards, which I, for one, cannot wait to hear.” – Backseat Mafia (Arun Kendall)
Meares’ evocative and poetic songwriting, combined with Dymke’s musicianship and production have resulted in an immersive sound that blends elements of post rock and psychedelia with a widescreen cinematic quality. One can hear the ghost of Leonard Cohen and the artistry of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis in Meares and Dymke’s compositions.
“Anth Dymke is, to my mind, one of Australia’s greatest bass players,” says Meares. “He does not simply play the bass but create a whole mood and atmosphere with his playing. It was a great honour in 2019 when he put his hand up to play bass with my band. There was an immediately musical connection and the whole performance of the band was lifted by his playing and energy,” recalls Meares.
“What I did not realise is that Anth is also a brilliant producer. I started to send him files of songs I was working on and he would turn those fairly simple recordings into something quite brilliant, but always preserving and expanding the aesthetic I had presented to him,” Meares explains.
Likewise for Dymke, the process of applying his compositional abilities to Meares’ songs has been a particularly rewarding experience. “The first time I heard Joe’s music I immediately felt a cinematic presence in it. Joe tells stories in his music and I was keen to start shaping some ideas around those stories of love and loss. Joe had always used very talented players in his previous recordings, and I was keen to slightly move away from that to a more synthesised, bleak, but glorious terrain. Landscapes created by an array of different textures feels like a good palette in which to ground Joe’s evocative storytelling skills.”
The visual component of Meares’ music is always an important part of his artistic vision and he has paired the song with a video that was filmed between the Spanish cities of Bilbao and Gernika as he returned from a gig. The evocative cover art for the single is a photo of Meares’ face superimposed on a 3-D printed sculptural bust of himself, creating an otherworldly, Lynchian quality.