Chiming guitar chords ring out, stepping through a melody that conjures up the sound of New Zealand indie rock of yesteryear, the skewed pop-nugget quality of Sonic Youth’s most accessible moments and the melodic brilliance of Australia’s Underground Lovers. The jangle is balanced by a warm guitar fuzz while a keening, nonchalant vocal rides the sonic wave.
Great stuff all round from Charlie Woods and Jake Mac, who have clearly also been influenced by fellow countrymen on labels such as Creation Records.
Japanese genre-destroyers Boris return with a new album, NO, due out July 3rd, self-released on Bandcamp. Check out the searing, careening distortion punk-fest that is ‘Loveless’.
A message from BORIS:
“International borders are ‘closed’ now.
All kinds of anxieties, fear, sadness, anger, and hatred have arisen to drive the world apart.Everyone is in a process of trial and error, doing what they can to live.The critical state of the world has placed culture, art, and other means of expressing ourselves into a dilemma as well.We decided to start managing our band ourselves again a few years ago, so we even more keenly aware of the current situation.
It was our actions up to this point and our methodology, various cultural influences, as well the connections and support we received from people around the world that led us to create this latest album.
Culture is lore that is not bound by blood, in other words ‘Non Blood Lore.’
We have put all of our influences and connections into this album so that they may be passed on circulated.That is our current stance now as Boris, our role and mode of action.
The title of this album is NO. People have a system whereby they unconsciously grow accustomed to things and adapt to them.But, this same system is also cursed in the way it allows inconvenient or troubling things to be disregarded as if they were never there to begin with and goes by other names such as ‘resignation,’ ‘subordination,’ and ‘forgetfulness.’We renounce this system.‘Is this something I felt on my own? Is this idea something I came up with on my own? Is this something I chose to act upon myself?’Everything begins with questioning and denying oneself.That is the proper stance for people to adopt.
Music and culture possess incredible power.The anger and discontent we had no outlet for in our youth shone through in our music, helping us to channel negative energy channeled towards creative ends and leading us to new means of expression and artistry.We hope this latest album can be a mirror that gathers and reflects people’s negative energy at a different angle, one that is positive.That is the power and potential of the dark, extreme, and brutal noise music that we have experienced up to this point.Today’s society is littered with words that may or may not be true, making it easy to want to just not listen to what anyone has to say.But, that’s all the more reason why we hope that you will at least open your ears to these songs sung in the language of another land.These shouts that have no proper meaning as words will help release the raw, unshaped emotions within you.This is ‘extreme healing music.’
International borders are ‘closed’ now.When we’re able to travel again, it will be proof that the world has moved forward.We pray for the day when we can share the same time and place again.
North Wales’ Kidsmoke released their single ‘The Bluest You’ back in April and it’s a wonderfully bright and sparkling slice of indie guitar pop that billows and cascades on the back of a pliable rhythm section and guitars that aren’t afraid to hit the effect pedals and soar above the clouds.
“This song is a live favourite of ours. It is a fly on the wall look into a household where one person’s depression is affecting everyone else who lives there. The song doesn’t address the feelings of the person suffering with depression, it is a sort of commentary from the viewpoint of the rest of the family.”
The band have released EPs and a string of singles over the last few years, in the process gaining great recognition from the likes of BBC 6 Music and NPR, was well as an invitation to play at the Robert Smith (The Cure) curated Meltdown Festival. Kidsmoke also have a new single out called ‘Layla’s Love‘ which reminds us of the pure, pristine melodies of Prefab Sprout and The Boo Radleys.
Hailing from Chicago Illinois, Koalra cut some fine indie rock shapes on this single ‘Dear Daylight’. There’s the rough and tumbling guitars – part jangle, part visceral screes – post-punk rhythms and a voice that hollers and sings with a beautiful melancholic angst. It all fits together just right on the single, one of many great tracks on their EP Surprise Lights.
Koalra call themselves a noise punk band and there’s undoubtedly that in the abandon and frantic pace of their songs, but they also dial into that sweet spot between energetic flailing and clever, twisting guitar shapes, in the lineage of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and No Age.
New Media are an indie rock quartet from who channel a shoegaze sound reminiscent of Ride, the rhythmic influence of Manchester and the heavier guitar sounds of bands like The Cure.
‘Tunnel Vision‘, their second single of 2020, winds its way around knotty drums and guitars that squeal and squall, adding to the rising sense of tension before it jumps the tracks in the last minute and heads for the highest windswept sonic vantage point.
““Tunnel Vision”, is about the link between insomnia and inspiration. It’s that 3 o’clock in the morning feeling, when the subconscious mind is at its most active. Every car outside, every seemingly insignificant noise or stimuli steals your focus towards it, like a magnet. Watching (and hearing) the sound of traffic gliding up and down “rain soaked streets” from an obscured hotel window and that intellectual tug of war that plays out, between wanting to capture it and letting the thought pass. It’s that intense obsessive compulsion of chasing an idea to its creative fruition, that feverish intensity that can take on a kind of “tunnel vision”, where the mind has the desire to wade ever-deeper into the waters of the subconsciousness, while one foot remains in the shallow edge of the water.”
Last year we shared Prudence’s track ‘Smile & Nod’ and now the Sydney artist has released his first 2020 single in ‘Heart Sways’. It’s got a wonderfully immersive, dream-like quality with gently propulsive bass and climbing guitars. Think Ariel Pink in a hazy dream sequence with an 80s dream-pop/post-punk band. It’s that delightful blend of simple pop and arthouse sophistication – blurred and stirred.
Prudence is multi-instrumentalist Tom Crandles with Aleesha Dibbs (Divebell, Lorelei), bassist Kat Harley (The Laurels, Mezko) and drummer Steve West (Obscura Hail).
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.
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).