NEW MUSIC: Sugar Factory – Birdie

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Sugar Factory (Greece) is the solo project of Stelios Gagaris, who has been releasing 7″, cassette and digital recordings for the last decade. ‘Birdie’ comes from the new seven song cassette release Home and finds him digging into some propulsive and angular instrumental psych rock sounds. It’s heavy but the dynamics give it weight and relief in all the right places. Elsewhere the release contains some really nice post-rock/indie rock guitar workouts with similar energy and twists and turns.

All official releases, as well as live recordings, demos etc. are free to download through Sugar Factory’s Bandcamp page – http://sugarfactory.bandcamp.com

The project’s live performances are accompanied by visual material, which harmonically complements the industrialized sounds and ‘sweet’ melodies, creating a complete atmosphere. Sugar Factory has opened concerts for God Is An Astronaut, Wovenhand, Piano Magic, Hidden Orchestra and The Underground Youth among others. In 2014, Sugar Factory opened for the international music documentary film festival ‘In Edit’, projecting original visual material. Later on, Sugar Factory played the Loop Festival in Lefkosia, CY in March 2017 and the Let Me Know Fest. in Athens, GR in September 2018.

NEW MUSIC: George Gaudy – Mother (Reprise)

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London based Greek singer/songwriter George Gaudy has released this new track of dark, bluesy alt-rock that also draws on North Africa desert-rock and Greek folk in it’s wandering psych grooves. The song comes from his new album Little Pieces, released in April 2020.

Mother (Reprise)‘ is a loose-limbed smoky affair, brimming with sonic diversions into horn-fuelled hypnosis and blank-eyed vocal mantras, twisting and writing over seven minutes.

NEW MUSIC: Strange Things – I Feel Fine

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Strange Things from Vancouver, British Columbia recently released their Sunshine EP and one of its highlights is ‘I Feel Fine’, a tumbling cascade of distorted guitars and howled vocals that flies along on sustained notes of electricity and an endless groove. The heavier psych end of shoegaze is the order of the day here.

NEW MUSIC: Blue Canopy – Keys to The Garden

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Blue Canopy, the moniker of Portland Oregon musician Alex Schiff, has recently released his debut EP called Mild Anxiety, featuring this track – ‘Keys To The Garden’, a shimmering slice of psychedelia with a hazy tropical bent.

According to Schiff, ‘Keys to the Garden’ was written about the New York Knicks, cloaked with fantasy lore imagery.

“At that point in my life, I knew that my wife and I wanted to start a family, but we had no idea where we were going to live. That was causing a lot of anxiety and feelings of being unsettled. Everything was up in the air. I started writing lyrics about that, but was struggling. The Knicks were kind of similar in the sense that they too were directionless with an uncertain future. I think emotionally it was easier to write about the Knicks, and as soon as I made that the decision the lyrics came together quickly.”

Formerly the keyboardist and co-writer for indie band, Modern Rivals, Alex has shared the stage with bands such as Ra Ra Riot, Stars, and The Black Keys. The EP’s lead single, “656” enlists the four other members of Modern Rivals (performing drums, guitar, bass, synth and backup vocals) as an official send-off to a relationship that was a formative part of Alex’s youth and time living in New York City.

‘Mild Anxiety’ was produced by Alex Schiff & Patrick J Smith (A Beacon School/Modern Rivals).

 

NEW MUSIC: André Uhl – I Care About You, Just Not Right Now

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There are some serious sci-fi dark sonic forces at work on this new track from Berlin-based German musician André Uhl, who holds a master’s degree in futures studies and works as a futures researcher during the day. He dials into  an ominous and forbidding sound that pulses, throbs and pushes and pulls against the speaker cones. Everything is rhythmic, like the heartbeat of a city, the bass like a subterranean world of digital interconnectivity while the synth melodies teem above like a busy yet alienated metropolitan organism.

‘I Care About You, Just Not Right Now’ is the first single from Uhl’s upcoming album Relax and Implode, to be released on Berlin-based label Martin Hossbach on October 16th 2020.

According to Uhl: “The song deals with emotional confusion in a complicated relationship. It’s about proximity and distance, push and pull, and the struggle with toxic communication behavior. It tells about the kind of relationship you can’t escape from although you know you should.”

NEW MUSIC: Holy Wave – Escapism

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Hazy, rolling sonic waves are the order of the day on this blissed-out new psychedelic track from El Paso TX band Holy Wave. It slowly builds, layer upon layer of chiming, effects-laden guitars and astral voices, droning and intoning as it heads skyward.

‘Escapism’ is the 2nd single off Interloper, Holy Wave’s fifth album, out July 3, 2020. You can also listen to the title track and ‘I’m Not Living In The Past Anymore‘.

ALBUM REVIEW: New War – Trouble In The Air

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New War
Trouble In The Air
Heavy Machinery Records

Last year Sarah Mary Chadwick released an album that she’d recorded on the Melbourne Town Hall Organ – the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. New War had already ticked that box in 2017 when they recorded this new live album.

While Chadwick created a grand widescreen soundtrack to her songs, her Melbourne contemporaries use the instrument in a much more varied way by utilising drones, pulsing rhythms and haunting melodies. Played by Jesse Shepherd, the instrument conjures up images of gothic churches, demented carousels, horror soundtracks and shadowy circuses. Those moods are enhanced by the cold electronic drums of Steve Masterson and Melissa Lock’s post-punk bass playing. Topped off by Chris Pugmire’s sinister incantations, the overall effect is one that draws a line back through Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire to Suicide, Nico and the dark side of Krautrock.

Nearly all the songs include a colour in their title, the exception being the accessible opener Bang On. I Am Position Yellow is a highpoint, wonderfully combining atmosphere, rhythm and melody, while Cocaine Blue is a beautiful piece of Joy Division-esque melancholy. 

The album no doubt had immeasurably more impact and resonance when experienced live, with the imposing Grand Organ imposing but never overwhelming the rest of the musicians. This recording serves as a fine document of the occasion.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: HYG – Be Here

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HYG are a Canberra psych band who’ve already released an EP a couple of years ago and now have this cool new single out. ‘Be Here’ finds its groove and rides it for all money. It’s big and fuzzed-out with heavy stomping drums and bass that provides the repeating melodic phrasing amid the noise and heavy riffage. There’s a simple idea at the core of the song but they know how to stretch it out, adding and removing elements to create the feeling of droning perpetual motion. It’s dark and ominous like an approaching electrical storm.