ALBUM REVIEW: Underground Lovers – A Left Turn

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Underground Lovers
A Left Turn
Rubber Records
★★★★

Underground Lovers are back with their ninth studio album, their third since they reactivated after a hiatus through the first decade of the 21st century. That return showed they were still in fine form with their blend of psychedelic indie rock and electronica and they’ve again produced a strong album that brings those elements together in perfect hypnotic harmony.

Their last album Staring At You Staring At Me focused on the guitar sound of the band, giving it more of a rock feel. This time around they’ve ushered their electronic explorations back into the fold, placing the album close to the work they produced on Cold Feeling at the end of the ‘90s. 

Early on, Bells sets the psych controls for the heart of the mind and just as viably, the dance floor, with its droning Krautrock sprawling across more than six wonderful minutes. They have the ability – like Spiritualized and Wooden Shjips, to find the sweet spot of a groove and ride it endlessly. Hooky ups the rock ante yet still in a warm embrace with the melodies of Glenn Bennie’s guitar and Vincent Giarrusso’s vocal incantations.

Shoegaze has always been another mainstay of the band’s sound and on Dunes and Lusher, Philippa Nihill sounds like a dream sister to My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins as the music shimmers, glows and gently shudders behind her. The single Seven Day Weekend is anthemic in its drum machine-powered rhythm and distorted see-saw guitars as Giarrusso trips out in full Shaun Ryder mode on the ode to carefree socialising. 

By the time we reach the conclusion of the epic nine minute closer Rocky Endings, there’s a sense of post-rollercoaster exhilaration in the wake of the album’s propulsive peaks and floating valleys. The song winds its wistful way for four minutes before taking off into the stratosphere on an interstellar space-rock mission of chiming guitars, pulsing bass and metronomic drumming that billows and expands gorgeously. A Left Turn is another sonic gem from one of Australia’s psychedelic finest.

Chris Familton

 

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

EXCLUSIVE ALBUM STREAM: Fleeting Persuasion – Forever Caught

 

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We’re very pleased to be able to premiere a stream of the brand new album from Fleeting Persuasion, the latest nom de plume of Melbourne songwriter James Spencer Harrison. He’s previously released music under the name J M S Harrison but now, with a richer and denser full band sound on Forever Caught he’s launched it under Fleeting Persuasion.

Sonically persuading it is too, with echoes of The Cure, tightly woven post-rock and Australian acts such as Bluebottle Kiss filtered through Harrison’s own brand of heart-on-sleeve melancholia. It’s indie rock but the kind that resides in the shadows, always carving out new angles and creating interesting dynamics. Whether it’s the chiming sounds and clever shapes of ‘Written Out’, ‘Set Afoot’s urgent, aching melodies or ‘Make Plans’ which recalls the dark rock of Afghan Whigs, there’s plenty to explore and go deep with on this strong new iteration of Harrison’s music.

TOUR DATES:

Sept 7th – Labour In Vain, Fitzroy VIC with Del Boca Vista
Oct 18th – Botany View Hotel, Newtown NSW with Donna Amini and Foxlore
Oct 19th – Gasoline Pony, Marrickville NSW with Buddy Glass and The Finalists

NEW MUSIC: Slowcoaching – Between The Walls

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Here’s a nice new slice of sophisticated indie guitar pop out of Melbourne, Australia. Slowcoaching (the project of Dean Valentino) have a touch of Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever in their music through they mix it up with a sun-kissed and prettier melodic approach. This track sparkles and shines quite wonderfully and it follows their 2017 debut EP.

 

NEW MUSIC: Bollard – TSINA

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‘TSINA’ has an unsettling start, it feels off kilter and slightly disorientating. Then things fall into place as guitars drench the song in warm and fuzzy distortion. There’s a really nice blend of styles going on in Bollard’s music. Part, jangly rock, part post-rock and post-punk deconstruction and the verve and carefree noise of 90s rock pioneered by bands like Swervedriver and Sonic Youth.

The song follows their 2018 LP Trawlers and is set to appear on a new forthcoming EP.

Gathered round the soft light of the screen,

Talk until words such as these,

Leave no mark on the places they have gone,

In the darkness there remains a light on,

In a downtown apartment, in the coolest of scenes, where each morning they tell you what they saw in their dreams.

And all around you thoughts are endless, just as you speak they leave. Til it all just crumbles away

I’ll tell you something – they don’t know what it’s like. Come to think nor do I!

I answer your strange fascination for where the virtue goes with a smile for I don’t know.

Our desires they are twisted and they unwind in the breeze. It’s all just plastic you can shape it as you please.

Whenever I come round and no-ones there,

I wonder ‘why did evan dando cut his hair’?

In a downtown apartment, in the coolest of scenes, where each day is a reminder of what you could have been.

And it hangs around your neck, and in the doorways and in the things they just won’t say.

I’ll tell you something – they don’t know what it’s like. Come to think nor do I!

I answer your strange fascination for where the virtue goes with a smile for I don’t know.

And I’m looking out the curtain as I star across, they’ll never know. From the garden I peer into their vacant home.

A crowd is gathering up this road. It is nothing, it is nothing, it is just and empty sack of blood and bones.

NEW MUSIC: Mantell – Can I Set It Right

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Last year we posted Mantell‘s single ‘Lulu’ and now they’ve gone and upped the ante with this excellent new single ‘Can I Set It Right’. The tempo is brisk and breezy with cascading guitar melodies over a lazy and choppy Strokes-ish rhythm. The chorus is totally theirs even if it sounds like one of those eternally familiar, catchy indie rock refrains. Since their last single they’ve expanded to a five-piece and it’s served them well.

NEW MUSIC: Hercules & The Bricks – Gena Rowlands

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This track (named after the American actress Gena Rowlands) by Melbourne group Hercules & The Bricks, snuck up on us and burrowed into our synapses over the last week or two. There’s a post-punk cabaret vibe, a dramatic noir aesthetic that gives the song a timeless feel. It could have come out of the 80s art-pop underground yet it draws a line right through Melbourne bedsits across the decades, right up to the knowing styles of Jack Ladder and Alex Cameron. Get lost with The Bricks.

NEW MUSIC: Diana Radar – Growing

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A new track and clip from Melbourne quartet Diana Radar. ‘Growing’ is their third single this year, taken from an upcoming LP or EP from recording sessions engineered by Lachlan Wooden (Primary Colours, Archie Roach), and mastered by Mikey Young (Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring). ‘Growing’ is a tumbling cache of sparkling and jangling guitars and melodically rolling bass. It has that New Order, Smiths kind of vibe, definitely placed in an Anglophile 80s world but also in the same orbit as Real Estate.