NEW MUSIC: Mercvrial – Pink Frost

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‘Pink Frost’ stands as one our favourite singles, certainly a contender for our favourite New Zealand song of all time. With that in mind we approached this cover by Mexican quartet Mercvrial with caution but they definitely pull it off. They retain that haunting, swirling melancholic mood, inject some electronic elements (sounding like mid-period Depeche Mode) but without sacrificing the sad heart of the song.

The cover comes from their new EP The Stars, Like Dust, out now.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Life Strike – Dear Life

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Melbourne post-punk trio Life Strike have a way of combining that genre’s obtuse angles and edges with a jangly lo-fi aesthetic. It positions them somewhere between the Dunedin underground guitar pop merchants of the 80s and a darker, more garage rock attack and smear. Here’s their brand new single and video from the album Primitive Future which came out last month. ‘Dear Life’ clears away some of the grit and grime and reveals a melancholic slice of downbeat hooks and heartwarming chord changes as  Patrick McCabe muses on environmental degradation.

Nick Pratt, a New Zealander who used to be in Deaf Wish, and McCabe (Dollar Bar), along with new drummer Scotty Brique are heading off for a run of East Coast shows over the next month.

TOUR DATES:

  • September 14 – Upstairs at the Gasometer, Melbourne w/ Chook Race, If So Why, Vale of Lights
  • September 20 – Tanswell’s, Beechworth w/ guests TBA
  • September 21 (arvo) – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney w/ Shrapnel, The Good Boys, S-Bends
  • October 12 – The Eastern, Ballarat w/ Lymes and guests TBA

Sunny Flynn Hugo, live @ Sonic Sherpa

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Brisbane band Sunny Flynn Hugo first impressed us with their self-titled 2018 album which artfully and seamlessly blended Americana and indie rock sensibilities. Songs that sparkled and chimed with melancholy and warm melodies. Since then they’ve released the EP City Always lets You Down, which continues their exploration of introspective mood-driven songwriting.

They recently played an in-store at the fine Sonic Sherpa record store in Greenslopes, QLD. Check it out below…

 

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: Waldo’s Gift – Kaleidoscope

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Here’s some wild and freakish playing and composition from UK trio Waldo’s Gift. Jazz, post rock, avant prog and more combine on this fluttering, frenetic, precise yet freeing instrumental track that features an equally compelling video clip by Waveform Media. This beast grows and mutates, centred around that incessant metronomically pummelling rhythm. Hypnotic and thrilling stuff!

Their debut album ‘Improvisations’, released May 10th consists entirely of music composed on the fly, performed live at The Gallimaufry in Bristol on December 19th 2018. The album art was also created in the moment by artist Holysseus Fly. Speaking on the release the band share “We love playing improvised music together. It really is so cathartic to just play. To express your emotions in that moment. This album honestly captures that process, the three of us expressing. No overdubs or edits. We simply chose our favourite compositions from the performance as a whole. Having Holysseus Fly creating the artwork at the same time ties it all together.”

ALBUM REVIEW: Aldous Harding – Designer

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Aldous Harding
Designer
4Ad / Remote Control

Aldous Harding’s artistic trajectory continues to billow skyward on her third album, the second produced by John Parish for the 4AD label. Long gone is the stark and fragile folk of her debut, though it still lurks under the surface of what is now lush and detailed avant chanteuse pop music.

The quirkiness of Harding’s vocal delivery has always been debated but it is a crucial component of what makes her music so compelling. She’s dialled it back on this album, ironing out some of the quirks and as a result the overall impact of this record feels slightly diluted. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of highlights. Early on, the title track is a light tripping affair with a brief chorus that dismantles the flow and gentle funk feel (reminiscent of Devendra Banhart) before it resumes for a summery run to the end of a song that seems to question the retention and spark of creativity. 

Baroque psych folk sounds enhance much of the record and come courtesy of woodwind instruments on songs such as ‘Zoo Eyes’ while ‘Treasure’ draws Harding’s vocals to the foreground. It’s good to see that the focus remains on Harding and her voice and that any temptation to make thing bigger and busier have, for the most part, been resisted.

First single ‘The Barrel’ is prime Harding with its almost hip hop backbeat over a brass sounding instrument and piano, which features widely across Designer. The song deals in issues of conformity, settling down and having parameters placed on one’s situation. Much of the album seems to one of questioning and doubt, looking for a strong moral compass to guide one through the vagaries and vulnerabilities of life. “I don’t know how to behave” Harding sings on the exquisite closer ‘Pilot’. Riding on a Tears For Fears melody and a bare piano she intones her concerns and fears. It may be decorated in almost theatrical avant-folk details but it’s a remarkably bold statement to end another strong and intriguing album from the New Zealand songwriter.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: The Klubs – Loosen The Crown

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For fans of Protomartyr, METZ, Viagra Boys, Pissed Jeans

Lay down a rhythm section that has the heft and swing of Jesus Lizard, guitar that scissors and slashes across the speakers and a suitably belligerent and unhinged post-punk vocal and you’ve got a damn fine song from South African band The Klubs.

It’s a hell of a bass line that drives this thing, leading it down a sleazy laneway on a hot summer night. Great stuff. It comes from the Pretoria trio’s new EP Cult Party, Pt. 1: Male Plague.