ALBUM REVIEW: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways To New Italy

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Sideways To New Italy
Ivy League

Since the release of their debut album, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have traversed the globe, playing numerous headline shows and music festivals. Now those experiences and the associated dizzying dislocation have fed into their second record, a consistently superb collection of songs that matches the hit rate of their debut.

All three singer/guitarist songwriters again contribute songs, managing to stamp their own style and  personalities without bending or breaking the symbiotic jangly guitar rush and heady pop clamour that defines their sound. You get a sense of homesickness – both geographically and emotionally, a searching for place and context after the last few years of the band. 

Joe White’s She’s There and The Only One are love songs, the latter introducing a 80s indie pop sound reminiscent of Prefab Sprout while the former tumbles forth with irresistible guitar riffs. Fran Keaney’s Cars In Space is both urgent and intricate, like The Smiths at their most nimble. Sunglasses At Night imagines itself as a lost You Am I ballad, while the guitars of Not Tonight swoon and dive before the band hits one of their most divine pop choruses to date.

The heady rush of the band’s sound is still intact but there’s an additional sense of wistful reflection and a wider musical palette on Sideways To New Italy that takes their sound to even greater heights. 

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: HYG – Be Here

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HYG are a Canberra psych band who’ve already released an EP a couple of years ago and now have this cool new single out. ‘Be Here’ finds its groove and rides it for all money. It’s big and fuzzed-out with heavy stomping drums and bass that provides the repeating melodic phrasing amid the noise and heavy riffage. There’s a simple idea at the core of the song but they know how to stretch it out, adding and removing elements to create the feeling of droning perpetual motion. It’s dark and ominous like an approaching electrical storm.

 

NEWS: Light In The Attic Announce Livestream Festival

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This Friday from 4pm PST (Saturday morning 10am Australia EST) The label Light In The Attic are presenting a livestream Covid-19 relief benefit festival featuring an amazing line-up of label artists and friends.

In hopes of bringing some much-needed joy to the planet, acclaimed archival/reissue label and distribution company Light in the Attic will be presenting a free charity concert this Friday (4/3), streaming live on their Twitch and YouTube channels beginning at 4:00 pm PST. Light In The Attic & Friends at Home will feature new performances from legendary artists whose music LITA has re-released over the past 20 years, along with a handful of talented friends from the around the globe, each covering songs from the label’s renowned catalog. 100% of all donations will go towards MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, assisting those in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

While quarantined at home – from Rio to Tokyo; Cardiff to Austin; Barbados to Italy – each musician will be doing what they do best, sharing the gift of song, maybe in their pajamas and maybe with their kids, and wherever feels comfy and cozy in the privacy of their home.

The artist lineup for Light In The Attic & Friends at Home includes:

Texas soul queen Barbara Lynn
Fred Armisen
British folk legend Michael Chapman
Jarvis Cocker
Italian composer Gigi Masin
Devendra Banhart
Brazilian great Marcos Valle
Jim James (My Morning Jacket)
Sandy Dedrick of sixties soft-psych outfit The Free Design
Japanese ambient pioneers Inoyama Land (Kankyō Ongaku)
Alex Maas (The Black Angels)
Money Mark
Singer-songwriter Lynn Castle
Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)
Leonard Sanders of modern soul-gospel group the Supreme Jubilees
Jazz giant Azar Lawrence
Grant & Frankie Olsen (Gold Leaves / Arthur & Yu)
Beach Boys poet and lyricist Stephen John Kalinich
Mark Lightcap (Acetone)
Sessa
Ben Gibbard

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NEW MUSIC: Christopher Tignor – The Resonance Canons

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Christopher Tignor is a New York composer with an impressive CV. In his early days he mixed sound at CBGBs, was an assistant to La Monte Young. He gained a Masters in computer science from NYU, proceeded through Princeton’s PhD program in music composition, and was later recruited for a software engineering position at Google. He’s released nine albums and collaborated with a range of other artists including Keith Kenniff (Helios), Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, John Congleton, and This Will Destroy You.

Tignor’s latest album A Light Below features this track ‘The Resonance Canons’, an 11 minute instrumental journey that is based around the sound of tuning forks. It sparkles and glistens, clangs and pulses with bell-like qualities and both melancholic and slightly ominous undertones. Lovely stuff!

“Since the last LP, my technique for tuning forks also earned some attention (and an honest-to-God tuning fork sponsorship). Again, I wanted to push the musical possibilities here, dialing those gestures in to create locked, luminous polyrhythms alternating with left hand pizzicato. I combined these methods with cascades of triggered synths in “The Resonance Canons”, an 11 minute trip ending in complete vulnerability—as the tuning fork loses its resonance, I continue knocking it against my bridge, a final ostinato built from processed noise and resonant wood.”

 

NEW MUSIC: Bensnburner – Meanwhile

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Deep rhythms, warm tones and hypnotic glitches collide with hypnotic synth mantras and smears of post-rock guitar on this track from German composer Bensnburner. It comes from his new album (late September release) which was recorded in an empty 400 square metre hangar with a 30 metre high ceiling that created a seven second reverb.

NEW MUSIC: Orion’s Belte – Cherchez La Ghost

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It’s hard to ignore the killer groove and minimal exotic funk of this track from Norwegian trio Orion’s Belte. They released their debut album Mint last year and have already followed it up with the EP Slim in 2019.

‘Cherchez La Ghost’ is their brilliant take on the Ghostface Killah track, mixing a great breakbeat with effect-laden pedal steel and an nervous twitch of a magical low-slung bass-line.

ALBUM REVIEW: Big Thief – U.F.O.F

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Big Thief
U.F.O.F.
4AD

What started with a debut album in 2016, that introduced a fragile and poetic songwriter and her band, has blossomed into a fascinating and quickly evolving career for Adrienne Lenker and the rest of Big Thief. They’ve been touring relentlessly, Lenker even having time to record a well received solo record last year. From Masterpiece to Capacity and now U.F.O.F, the quartet have gently worked away at the canvas of folk and knotty guitar music that draws on both conventional song structures and avant garde curiosity.

This album continues the mystery and beauty of their previous releases while adding even more depth and textural minutiae. There are drone-like textures,  found sounds – like the rolling effect at the start of ‘From’, and fascinating percussive elements that rise and fall in the mix. There’s a feeling of perpetual motion in many of the songs due to the looseness of the arrangements and the playing which makes the music sound both improvised and highly arranged. ‘Jenni’ imagines a Cat Power-fronted Tortoise in the way they use organic instrumentation and allow volume and tone to fluctuate as the song slowly unfurls.

The straightest moment comes right at the start of the album with opener ‘Betsy’ and its sparkling acoustic guitar, gently shuffling drums and Lenker singing in a lower-than-normal register. It’s intimate and affecting and pulls the listener right into the album from the get-go. ‘Contact’ is dreamy and meditative until, as if waking in terror, the guitars gain sharp edges and Lenker emits piercing screams.

If they didn’t already, now Big Thief unequivocally have your attention. Lovers of inventive music would be foolish not to join them on their post-folk journey.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: 3ft – Mantra

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Swirling, driving, insistent psychedelia is the order of the day on ‘Mantra’, the new track from Detroit band 3ft. It’s one of those songs that feels like it could spiral on endlessly, much like Wooden Shjips or Stereolab at their most hypnotic moments. 3ft have more of a droning psych-rock edge though, filtered through Krautrock, The Clean and Velvet Underground style jangle and verve.

The song comes from their recently released album 21st Century Drone which has plenty of great tracks like this one.