NEW MUSIC: Lu – This Is Kangaroo Court [video]

This recently released track from Lu (a Colombia born drummer and electronic musician based in Philadelphia, PA) hits a fine line in dark Krautrock-flavoured electronic music. Heavily rhythmic and propulsive it gathers momentum and heads for the stratosphere on a psychedelic lunar mission.

The song comes from his album We Are Luminous Fragments Shining In The Dark, out now via Bandcamp.

NEW SINGLE: Dinosaur Jr – Garden

photo by Cara Totman

For single #2 from the forthcoming new Dino Jr album, Lou Barlow takes centrestage with his song ‘Garden’. The video clip for the song was directed by Lou and Adelle Barlow, with illustrations by John Moloney and animation by Chloe Hemingway.

Of the song and video Lou says:

“Everyone seemed to want a disruption in the order of American life, it seemed necessary. Then it happened. It began as a bitter lamentation but as I was finishing the lyrics, singing over the instrumental version of the song while driving to J’s through the miles of farmland that separate his studio in Amherst and my home in Greenfield (Massachusetts), I saw a sign on a shed: Back to the Garden. I was looking for a resolution, where do we go when faced with such dramatic confusion? Back to basics, back home, back to the garden. Luckily I was able to complete the vocals and instrumentation for the song just before the quarantine. 

There wasn’t a video planned for the song but since my wife Adelle and I had started making holiday ‘specials’ for my YouTube channel this past December, we thought we could knock one out for Garden. I wanted to capture the two of us holding hands on a levy overlooking a scenic bend in the Connecticut River (very close to where the first Dinosaur video, Little Fury Things, was filmed!). Adelle thought we should incorporate the whimsical paintings of Dinosaur Jr’s tour manager John Moloney. He routinely dashes off caricatures of J, Murph and I when we travel. I told John about our ideas and he thought it would be easy to video the band playing the song. So, John and Adelle quickly captured the band playing the song on their iPhones on a cold February afternoon and I edited it all together in iMovie. Then we had Chloe, the real vid expert at Jagjaguwar, put the paintings by John and Adelle into the mix, and that’s it! Thanks for watching.”

The new album Sweep It Into Space will be released April 23rd via Jagjaguwar.

NEW SINGLE: Squid – Paddling [video]

photo: Holly Whitaker

UK avant post-punk group Squid have released another single from their forthcoming new LP Bright Green Field, out May 7th on Warp Records.

“Written from two different perspectives, Paddling is a song about the dichotomy between simple pleasures and decadent consumerism. Recounting a familiar scene from Wind & The Willows, the song reminds us that although we are humans, we are also ultimately animals that are driven by both modern and primal instincts and how that has led to vanity and machismo around us in the everyday.”

“We started writing it when we were but kids still living in Brighton. Last summer we really got into playing this together again. Straight away we started to work the tune into new places whilst we were writing at the Old Road in Chippenham, the track became an important part of Bright Green Field for us. Recording Paddling was great, it was quite hot so naturally the tempo was upped a fair bit too. Dan Carey’s modular synthesizer is definitely the 6th band member in this one, turning Louis & Anton’s guitars into racecars from about the 5 minute mark.”

Formed in Brighton, Squid is the brainchild of Louis Borlase (Guitars & Vocals), Ollie Judge (Drums & Lead Vocals), Arthur Leadbetter (Keyboards, Strings, Percussion), Laurie Nankivell (Bass & Brass) and Anton Pearson (Guitars & Vocals).

NEW MUSIC: Mt. Mountain – Peregrination (Official Video)

Perth, WA quintet Mt. Mountain released their new album Centre last week and earlier this year this great clip for the record’s second single ‘Peregrination’ was posted on YouTube. It shows the slow-build mastery of dynamics and interplay that the band have built into their music. Elements of post-rock, stoner, psych, Krautrock and more. They all intertwine and combine to form a wonderfully immersive and hypnotic listening experience where the power comes from the metronomic groove, not needing to hit a multi-pedal crescendo – but knowing they can if they want.

They say of the song: “‘Peregrination’ is a classic example of how we write together. Songs like this one generally start off as a ‘jam song’ that evolves slowly over months of playing with no real direction in place until it finds its own structure. At the end of recording, the path to get there has been stretched so long that there is barely any recollection of how the song came into existence in the first place.”

Mt. Mountain is Stephen Bailey (vocals/organ/flute), Thomas Cahill (drums), Glenn Palmer (guitar/synth), Brendan Shanley (bass), and Derrick Treatch (guitar). Centre is the band’s fourth album.

Centre is out now via Fuzz Club Records

VIDEO PREMIERE: Balcony’s Paradise – Outta My Way

Ahead of the release of the new self-titled album tomorrow, we’re pleased to premiere the video clip for Balcony’s Paradise single ‘Outta My Way’. Featuring a German (Lorenz O’tool) and an Australian (Jeremy Tayler), the duo set up on a balcony in Victoria, looking towards Tasmania and captured their shared experiences on 4 track.

‘Outta My Way’ reminds me of Darcy Clay, the much missed Auckland, NZ songwriter. It’s lo-fi and woolly, gloriously ragged around the edges, grizzled and bleary eyed but still rhythmically right in the pocket. It squints and nods with a homespun and organic feel. A sweetly infectious and dusty pop song.

The album features covers of songs by The Beatles, Toots and the Maytals, Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash – all given the laidback balcony treatment, with minimum overdubs. “We didn’t do many overdubs, just some piano, solos and backups. One day we visited Jeremy’s mother in Melbourne – a classical violinist – and overpowered her with a one take,” says Lorenz.

As the band say… “Don’t be thrown off by the noise of birds, mates dropping in, conversations, landcruisers and mowers. Just let it in and surrender to the mood!”

Balcony’s Paradise is released on vinyl/digital on March 5th via Half A Cow Records

ALBUM REVIEW: The Lemonheads – Lovey (30th Anniversary Edition)

THE LEMONHEADS

LOVEY (30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

FIRE RECORDS

In 1990, Lovey was a huge step forward for Evan Dando and his Boston band The Lemonheads. It was their major label debut on Atlantic Records after releasing their first three albums in the previous three years. Those records were a collision of noisy melodic punk rock. Part Black Flag, part The Replacements. Co-founder Ben Daily had left the band prior to Lovey and that gave Dando the opportunity to rejig the band’s sound to more of a country and indie/alt-rock blend. 

This reissue has been superbly remastered to give Lovey a greater warmth and sonic richness, further accentuating the sense that this was the start of a new chapter for Dando. The album contains absolute classics such as ‘Half The Time’ and ‘Ride With Me’ as well as their version of the Gram Parsons’ ‘Brass Buttons’. The variety of Lovey is what really elevates it – with the alt rock swerves of ‘Ballarat’ and ‘Lil Seed’ and the tumbling remnants of their punk past on ‘Left For Dead’. It was a turning point for the band and one of the landmark early releases of 90s alternative rock.

The 2xLP/CD formats come with a deluxe book with expanded liner notes and unseen photos as well as an eight song triple j Live at the Wireless session from their tour of 1991. 

Chris Familton

Dry Cleaning Announce debut album New Long Leg

photo by Steve Gullick

Following their run of sublime EPs, Dry Cleaning have announced details of their debut studio album and have shared a new single ‘Strong Feelings’. I’ve been a huge fan of their releases to date and the way the blend deadpan poetry with taut post-punk riffs and rhythms. ESG meets Life Without Buildings meets Black Country, New Road.

The South London group of Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass) and Florence Shaw (vocals) will release New Long Leg on 2 April via 4AD / Remote Control Records. The 10-track long-player, which includes ‘Strong Feelings’ and last year’s single ‘Scratchcard Lanyard’, was recorded over two weeks last summer at Rockfield Studios in rural Wales with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding).

Following on from their 2019 EPs Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks and Sweet Princess, New Long Leg is more ambitious and complex, with Shaw’s spoken vocals tightly intertwined with the band’s restless instrumentals. With lyrics preoccupied by themes like dissociation, escapism, daydreaming, complicated feelings of love, anger, revenge, anxiety, the kitchen, lethargy, forgetfulness, and survival, Shaw says, “the title is ambiguous; a new long leg could be an expensive present or a growth or a table repair.”

New single ‘Strong Feelings’ is a love song, of sorts. Shaw says, “it’s about secretly being in love with someone who doesn’t know it, and Brexit’s disruptive role in romantic relationships.” Its accompanying visuals, directed by guitarist Dowse, came about after Google searches brought together an informational video on road building basics from New Zealand and Massachusetts-based glitch artist, Sabato Visconti. Watch the video here.

Dry Cleaning was formed by friends Tom Dowse, Nick Buxton and Lewis Maynard after a karaoke party in 2017 inspired a collaboration. They wrote instrumentally to begin with until six months later Florence Shaw, a visual artist, university lecturer and picture researcher by day – with no prior musical experience – turned up to a band rehearsal armed with reams of her own collected writing and a copy of Michael Bernard Loggins’ Fears Of Your Life to read out over the music. Before long she was the group’s frontperson, contributing words of her own, and serving as the perfect foil to the band’s music.  

New Long Leg will be released on 2 April digitally and on CD, cassette, standard black vinyl and limited-edition yellow vinyl. 

NEW MUSIC: Simon Robert Gibson – Song For Gyn

Gynia Favot was a much loved and respected Sydney musician (DisneyfistHalf Miler,Modern Giant) who sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2020. There was an outpouring of love from her fellow musicians and friends, both during fundraising efforts for her treatment and in the wake of her passing. 

Simon Robert Gibson, who firstplayed with her in Disneyfist, was compelled to write and record this heartfelt tribute to Gynia, initially in stripped-back solo form. Upon hearing it, John Willsteed of Halfway and The Go-Betweens (one of Gynia’s favourite bands) contacted Simon and added some stunning guitar parts and atmospheric elements. The memory and spirit of a departed friend, immortalised in song.                                  

“Gyn and I were close friends and bandmates for my whole adult life. I first met her when I joined the band that would become Disneyfist in the early 90s. I loved that band, great chemistry and I thought we were pretty special live. That was mainly due to Gyn’s presence on-stage. Off-stage she was extremely warm and funny. We got along from the first moment and stayed close until the end. We played together in various bands, swam together, travelled together, lived together, wrote together…she was a constant in my life in one way or another since we met. (I was still sending her my demos for her opinion right up to the final couple of months). Even though she had been sick for a couple of years, her passing last year still came as a massive shock, one that I still haven’t fully processed. I don’t remember writing the lyrics of this song, I guess I scribbled them down in a cafe quickly. When I wrote the whole thing a few days later, it all came very quickly. I didn’t second guess, just sang and played what felt right. Played it into my phone, left it a few days then recorded it. It was emotionally very tough to do it but I knew I needed to and I felt better once I had. I did it for me really, but then I sent it to my brother, who also loved Gyn, and he was overwhelmed. That’s when I realised it might be something special that a lot of her friends might also appreciate.”

“One of the last things she said to Mark Hyland (Disneyfist bass player) was “Don’t forget me”, I guess this is my way making sure she’s not forgotten.”– Simon Robert Gibson