LIVE REVIEW: Ride @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney 2019

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Ride @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW Sept 6th 2019

It’s been a long time between drinks for Australian fans of English band Ride but the timing felt just right with the band re-established for a couple of years now and with two solid new albums under its belt.

It’s most likely that the members of openers Shiva & The Hazards were probably not even born when Ride first emerged from Oxford in 1988. Listening to their music with that in mind casts their sound in an interesting light given how in thrall they are to bands such as Verve, Oasis and The Stone Roses. Unfortunately they were given the demoralising support band treatment with flaccid lighting and a sound mix that imagined a rock band without bass guitar and a lead guitarist whose tone sounded like it was being transmitted through a portable AM radio. They persevered unperturbed and seemed to be enjoying the thrill of a big stage gig. A song of theirs such as recent single ‘Angkor Wat’ is a strong release in it’s recorded form, ticking all the boxes of psychedelic English indie rock albeit 20+ years past its heyday, but on the Enmore stage it all sounded too disconnected and lacking warmth and depth. That said there was generous applause from those early arrivals hugging the stage barrier.

Ride have always had the ability to sound both intimate and widescreen on their albums but in the live realm they’ve made the decision to focus firmly on the latter, employing colourful stadium lighting and maximum projection, mainly from Mark Gardener. You got the sense that the newer songs they played were written with that in mind. Big riffs, repeated and pushed out into the room with emphasis on dynamics over texture. Of those new ones the two that resonated most strongly were the Primal Scream’ish ‘Kiill Switch’ and ‘Future Love’, an absolute gem of a song, easily the equal of the best in their catalogue. Live, its jangling riffs and near perfect vocal harmonies lit up the room and provided relief from the more overwrought moments on the setlist.

Of course nearly everyone was there to hear songs that thrillingly illuminated a particular corner of their musical youth nearly 30 years ago. Songs from the seminal Nowhere album and its follow-up Going Blank Again. The dense and agile baggy noise of ‘Seagull’, the chiming perfection of ‘Vapour Trail’, the cascading heavy-lidded hypnotism of ‘Dreams Burn Down’ and the interstellar gospel psychedelia of ‘Polar Bear’ from their debut album all gloriously lived up to expectations, as did ‘Leave Them All Behind’ and the dystopian light-headedness of ‘Chrome Waves’ from Going Blank Again. ‘Twisterella’ from the same album was great to hear but it hasn’t aged as well as their other songs, sounding timestamped and with a whiff of nostalgia about it.

As a band they were firing on all cylinders, tight and in the pocket. It was overwhelmingly evident that they’re the sum of their parts, even if Mark Gardener takes on the frontman role, clearly relishing his position as interlocutor for the band. Listen closely though and it quickly became clear how essential Andy Bell’s guitar playing is. Those riffs that define the golden moments in the songs, the twists and turns that add the colour and sheen that made Ride the great band they were (and still are). Steve Queralt (bass) and Loz Colbert are an underrated rhythm section too. The former with feet planted and rooted to the spot, playing it straight for the most part, occasionally delivering defining bass lines such as the central hook of ‘Seagull’. Colbert too is essential, the anchor and the engine in perpetual rhythm and motion.

Ride in 2019 are a band who have navigated the reunion process better than most. They’ve reignited the creative spark of their songwriting and recording and put together a show that pleases fans new and old. They remain vital and energised, and even though they at times overcooked the ‘rock show’ aspect of the gig, the songs and sounds they built their audience and acclaim on remain intact, and gloriously so.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Milly – Talking Secret

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Some woozy, slow moving shoegaze sounds for you today. ‘Talking Secret’ is a new track from Milly, a Los Angeles band fronted by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Dyer. The song blends UK and US styles really nicely. There are echoes of post rock and grunge in the mix. I guess a band that you could draw some parallels with would be Swervedriver and the way both acts combine texture and rock.

NEW MUSIC: Domiciles – Sinking Sun

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Domiciles (Fife, Scotland) have released this new seven minute slab of hypnotic psych rock. ‘Sinking Sun’ is the second single taken from debut album This Is Not a Zen Garden, set for release this Friday (16/08/19) via Last Night From Glasgow.

The vocals are subdued, buried in the shadowy corners of the song as the rhythm section does the heavy lifting, laying the foundation for guitars that spark and spiral across the stereo landscape leaving sonic chemtrails and deep riff furrows. It’s compelling stuff that draws as much from post-punk, Krautrock and shoegaze as it does from the dark art of bands like The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Horrors.

NEW MUSIC: Charcoal Burners – Winged Bird

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Taken from their album The Best Day You Could Imagine, released earlier in 2019, here’s Charcoal Burners‘ excellent song ‘Winged Bird’.

The Dunedin, New Zealand band (the vehicle for songwriter Andrew Spittle) blend some fine dense and distorted guitars into lacerated and weary indie rock music that recalls Sebadoh, Husker Du and Swervedriver and JPS Experience. The brilliance of the song lies in its cascading wash of melody that both soothes and discombobulates the senses with its mix of psych and shoegaze elements.

 

NEW MUSIC: Paso Viejo – Kitsune

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We’re always on the hunt for great post-rock that settles in that sweet spot between textural exploration and epic sweep, without heading too far into metal territory or getting too technical at the expense of heart and soul.

Argentinian band Paso Viejo definitely caught our ear in that respect, with this track ‘Kitsune’. It sparkles and swells, painting details in the shadowy, mood corners and allowing movement and graceful patterns of sound to flourish and evolve in an unhurried fashion before the final adrenalised sprint to the finish.

The track comes from their second album Agua de Oro.

NEW MUSIC: The Laurels – Sound System

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The Laurels are back with a new single/video, ‘Sound System’, their first with new member Kat Harley (Mezko) on bass and vocals.

As usual they’re working that hazy and fascinating space between genres that they’ve always navigated so well. Indie rock with art-pop melodies filtered through shoegaze and psych. This time round the song has a distinctly futuristic sheen to it, in keeping with its subject matter.

“High rise apartments and rent prices loom large over this paean to a future dystopian city, the inhabitants of which are doomed to a lifetime of evenings spent in queues waiting to eat at fine dining restaurants after a round of putt putt golf.” He continues “Sound System finds this group of part-time disc jockeys loading up their van with generators and loud speakers as they seek to reignite the street party.”
– Luke O’Farrell

The Laurels have Sydney and Melbourne shows happening soon:

The Lansdowne, Sydney
Saturday, July 20th
TICKETS

The Gasometer, Melbourne
Saturday, July 27th
TICKETS

NEW MUSIC: Windy & Carl – Forest Trails

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A while ago we posted about a track from Joey Beltran called Childhood Memories which was our first taste of this new compilation Pure Sounds of Michigan, an ambient album that invites listeners to take a sunrise-to-sunset tour of Michigan from coast to coast as interpreted by some of the state’s most talented musicians. The album came out a few weeks ago on Detroit-based Assemble Sound, and was imagined, created, and released by Michigan’s tourism arm, Travel Michigan.

This track is by ambient stalwarts Windy & Carl, and it’s a beautiful piece, soaked in environmental sounds and melancholic wanderings through a real and digital landscape. There’s a sense of wonder and curiosity that permeates the sounds coming out of the speakers.

“I am a musician. I am in love with sound, and parks offer me so much of what i am in love with. […] To this day, Carl and I would rather be outside than in. We would rather see the wind cause the trees to sway and dance, listen to all the voices of the forest animals, and hear the chorus of insects, than be stuck inside […] I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have been invited to be involved in a project to celebrate the anniversary of State Parks in Michigan– To have been given a way to say THANK YOU to everyone along the way who said that this space needed to be preserved and protected; to every one who understood how a human body and mind needs to sit in the trees and see the sky and listen to the sounds of a park; listen to the sounds our body knows and understands. What a wonderful gift we have all been given in the creation of our state and local parks. It’s a gift we can all share in, everyday, all year long. We are all so lucky.”

– Windy Weber of Windy & Carl