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.

 

NEW MUSIC: The Wednesday Night – The Perfect Scene

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Sydney group The Wednesday Night follow up their 2018 LP Music Club Volume Two with their new single ‘The Perfect Scene’.

Over tumbling drums and bass that wanders with curiosity and a free spirit, Laura Murdoch relays the scenario of a perfect scene (of two tales) through a hazy lens of psych-pop melancholy. Like Mazzy Star filtered through a tougher 60s aesthetic, the guitar of Rob Young hangs in the air, all shimmering, ringing chords and atmospheric melodies, particularly the chiming, six-string sparkle of the chorus.

Murdoch and Young, the core of The Wednesday Night, say of the new single…

“The Perfect Scene paints two dark film noir tales. The stories hang in limbo with no resolve, encircled in reverse looped guitars so you’re not sure if it’s the beginning, the end or even if the tales intertwine. Either way, you get the eerie feeling we’re all in it together.”

‘The Perfect Scene’ is out now via Half A Cow Records

NEW MUSIC: Novelty Island – The End Of The Whirl

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Here’s some lush and immersive psychedelia courtesy of London-based musician Tom McConnell who records as Novelty Island. Recorded at the Abbey Road Institute’s studio, ‘The End Of The Whirl’ is an infectious cosmic trip that draws on the pop heavy explorations of The Beatles and more obscure English psych acts. The winning ticket is in the way he blends the hooks with a glam stomp – a warm and suitably warped cousin to Oasis, stripped of the posture and bombast.

‘The End Of The Whirl’ comes from the new Novelty Island EP Welcome To Novelty Island which takes in the art pop that Field Music do so well, Neil Finn’s bottomless well of melodicism, plus some dreamy electronica.