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: 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: Caoilfhionn Rose – Being Human

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‘Being Human’, by Manchester songwriter and producer Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin) is one of those tracks that combines mystery, beauty, lush production and a voice that possesses effortless melodic qualities. It comes from her debut LP Awaken, out now on Gondwana Records.

Mixing pastoral folk, light psychedelia and indie sensibilities the song is a good reflection of the overall strength of Awaken as an album. Recommended!

NEW MUSIC: Easy Street – Get On

Australian band Easy Street throw a Dylan-like urging vocal and some loose-limbed exuberance into the musical blender on this new track ‘Get On’. It’s one of those songs that feels purpose-built for the fast approaching warmer months.

Hailing from Sydney, the quintet have a great carefree and melodic, garage psychedelia going on in their sound. We’re looking forward to hearing more from the band.

NEW MUSIC: Federale – Trouble

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Here’s some cinematic, widescreen psychedelia courtesy of Federale, a seven-piece ensemble based in Portland, OR. Spearheaded by longtime Brian Jonestown Massacre bassist Collin Hegna, the band was conceived as an outlet to channel inspiration from 60’s & 70’s European soundtracks, particularly those from Italy made famous by the Spaghetti Western & Giallo genres.

They certainly hit the mark on ‘Trouble’, a song that swaggers along with dark intent, a smokey atmosphere akin to Calexico on a desert road trip with the Bad Seeds and Lee Hazlewood behind the steering wheel. Horns and strings enhance the mood before the  operatic sound of Maria Karlin sends things skyward.

‘Trouble’ comes the new album No Justice, due out on November 8th.

 

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.

 

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.