NEW MUSIC: Empasse – Ultraviolet

Let’s kick off the new week with some really nice post-rock sounds out of Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) in New Zealand. If you dig the type of music created by Mogwai and Jakob then this will be your kind of thing. ‘Ultraviolet’ is moody, dark and ominous even when it’s not heavy. It’s cinematic too, but still operates in a compositional rock format.

Empasse is the work of Nick Johnston, a local government bureaucrat by day and musician by night. Some of Nick’s previous bands include post-rock band Sora Shima, and indie pop bands The Changing Same and Dynamo Go.  

Nick describes the Ultraviolet EP as a “soundtrack to a story that is not well known in New Zealand outside the Waikato Region where I live” – the story of the town of Rotowaro, a former mining village that was entirely removed in the 1980s to make way for an opencast coal mine. The mine fuelled the Huntly Power Station, the largest thermal power station in New Zealand which has been identified as responsible for over half of New Zealand’s carbon emissions from electricity generation. 

“Ultraviolet is about the damage and wounds that we cannot see – in this case, it is the rural communities that have battered over many generations to grow and power our larger cities, as well as the carbon emissions damaging the health of our planet.” 

NEW MUSIC: Sunny Disposition – Rain On Your Parade

Melbourne band Sunny Disposition have that certain Australian indie rock of the 00s sound in their veins. That mix of jangly guitars, angular shapes on the fretboard, jerky, curious rhythm section explorations and a fine balance between raw emotion and intellectual musings in the lyrics and vocal delivery. ‘Rain On Your Parade‘ twists and sonically wrestles with itself quite wonderfully and brings to mind Antipodean bands such as Purplene, Jebediah and elements of Something For Kate.

Sunny Disposition formed in the early-2000s and actively played regular live shows in Melbourne and Sydney. They released their debut EP ‘Drifting by a Scene” in 2005 and have now reconvened to release their new EP Full Of Reasons, recorded over a decade ago.

NEW MUSIC: Chateau Chateau – I Saw Your Face

Synchronised guitar and vocal melodies are the winning tickets on this new track from Chateau Chateau out of Tucson, AZ. There’s an indie pop sound at play but with just enough melancholy and post-punk depth to the rhythm section to make it stand out above the plethora of other indie pop acts plying their trade in 2020.

This song in particular sounds like a cross between LCD Soundsystem and The National. A catchy song that never overplays its hand.

Chateau Chateau released their debut full-length album, Princess, independently on all streaming services July 31st, 2020.

NEW MUSIC: Boy Pablo – Honey + Rest Up

Last month, Norwegian pop-wunderkind Boy Pablo released ‘Honey‘, the second single from his forthcoming new album Wachito Rico (out Oct 23rd).

The stylised video for ‘Honey’ continues the story of his romantic adventures with girlfriend Sofia who heads to Antwerp to continue horticulture studies, as well as his ongoing rivalry with arch-nemesis Nacho. The videos feature narration by Tiger King star Rick Kirkham.

He’s also just dropped the brand new single ‘Rest Up‘, yet another hyper-melodic ear worm of a track that sounds like the lovechild of Beck, Phoenix and Mac DeMarco.

NEW MUSIC: The Fainters – Guide Me To Beauty

The jangle is strong on this one, the new single from Melbourne band The Fainters. Vocals flow like Belle & Sebastian branded honey as the band sit back on the beat and let the guitars chime over high-in-the-mix drums. ‘Guide Me To Beauty’ has a loose, melancholic feel that works a treat.

Just as you think it’s going to roll on in the same fashion there’s a soft distortion that enters the fray giving some grit and sonic caffeine. Lovely, unassuming stuff all round.

NEW MUSIC: Tristan Welch – Asset / Defect

Tristan Welch‘s track starts with a keening, searching feel. Slow vaporous tendrils reaching up and out into the aether. There’s an insistent quality to ‘Asset / Defect‘ but one that takes the uplifting route rather than a dark and foreboding path. As time ticks by, the sonic layers deepen and widen, with a dawning quality – the first rays rising slowly from the horizon.

Gradually the celestial peak is reached before Tristan retreats from the digital waves and a more tentative place of solitude takes centre-stage. Across 11 minutes he achieves what the best ambient and drone music does – take the listener on a journey, drawing them into a certain headspace.

Tristan Welch is a musician, artist and activist based in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. His focus is creating soundscapes via electric guitar, treated with electronics and loops that are drenched in reverb, delay, and distortion. He likes to call his compositions; heavy ambient movements.

NEW MUSIC: Slark Moan – The Shore

Slark Moan is the clever twist of a name that Nashville musician Mark Sloan records his solo material under. Pre-pandemic he spent a bunch of the time on the road as a hired gun for acts such as Kelsey Waldon, Margo Price, Sam Outlaw, Erin Rae and more, but when he’s at home he creates his own musical universe – writing, playing, recording and producing his songs.

You can hear a cosmic country streak running through his music but the dominant sound is a lightly psychedelic melodic one with lush instrumentation adding to his melancholic musings. There’s mention of artists such as Harry Nilsson, early Todd Rundgren and Emmit Rhodes and you can definitely hear them in his sound.

The single follows his two full-length albums – Superstition for the Consumer Romantic (2019) and Imperfect Music For Imperfect People (2017).

TMSV – Abyss Watcher

Drum & Bass is still alive and well, though it resides in the underground for the most part. That’s where it belongs too. Whenever it’s poked its head above the electronic parapets it gets thrown to the commercial wolves and loses it’s heavy heart and deep soul.

TMSV (Tomas Roels) is one producer who is keeping it righteous and real and this new cut, the debut release Sub Merchants label, is a dark and dextrous beast of a track. It hits hard, drops deep and rolls like a thing of beauty. Apparently the track is going to be one a number of singles that will make up a full compilation EP exploring the contemporary evolution of jungle music. 

TMSV has already self-released ‘jungle vol.1-4’ EPs and a number of other singles.