Wednesday 30 September 2015

Grace Love & the True Loves

Yeah, I know I keep saying 2015 is a vintage year for soul revival sounds. There are 4 more reasons over 2 7" singles from this Seattle 9-piece to nail classic status to contemporary soul - all low-slung funk, dirty grooves, snaking guitars and polyrhythmic sass.

The album's out soon. All 4 songs from the (very limited) singles are on it. From what I've heard, this is going to be the soul record of the year. And that's beating some class competition.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Salad Boys: Metalmania

Remember four years ago when Real Estate and The Twerps went on tour and released pretty much the same albums? Salad Boys have in Metalmania picked up that template of drowsy folk-rock and lazy psychedelia and added more bite.

Metalmania is in part what Real Estate's and The Twerps' follow-up albums, Atlas and Range Anxiety, might have been. Which is a way of saying I instantly hold Metalmania closer to my heart.

There are two parts to this album that make it one step away from magic:
  • melodic and experimental inspiration from The Byrds 1967 - 1970 (pristine pop, countrified tenderness, fried minds)
  • the fire and fury of Snapper's krautrock: pummelling rhythms, waves of noise, insistently engaging

Friday 18 September 2015

Terry: Talk About Terry

Another 7" by members of various Melbourne bands? Bring it on!

Terry is four people. I'll name half of them, Al Montfort (Dick Diver et al) and Amy Hill (Constant Mongrel et al) not because they're a couple but because they both sang on Bitch Prefect's Adelaide.

Because Talk About Terry sounds like a Bitch Prefect song.

You know, the really good Bitch Prefect songs (what?! I prefer the first album) - spare, trebly, tinny, rough, jangly. Like it's Olympia or Glasgow in 1985. And off-key vocals. But not as off-key as Bitch Prefect (no one else is quite that wayward vocally).

Listen to Talk About Terry 

Monday 14 September 2015

Nancy Sin

Again and Again balances lightness with a hook-heavy riff. It's as if in 1990 Ride decided to play a song in the style of Teenage Fanclub's Everything Flows.

Room For Rent is explosive jangle pop, fast and furious like Gold-Bears. It's dispatched in 85 seconds because all its work is done.

There are just these two songs, both demos. I expect record companies the world over are opening their cheque books right now.

I suppose they're called Nancy Sin after the Beat Happening song, even though they don't sound like Beat Happening. Or maybe they were going to call themselves Nancy Sinatra but realised after a Google search there was already an act with that name. Wise. More new bands should check they're not using another band's name.

Friday 11 September 2015

Shit Present

They call it "period doom" but you can easily tag this excellent 5-track 12" with punk-pop or powerpop.

Evaporate features a guitar solo straight and direct from the punk class of 77 on top of huge, thundering Pixies-style noise.

Anxious Type can be seen as what happens next to the narrator in Martha's 1997, Passing in the Hallway. She's "still haunted by the girls from school" but historians will note that the yearbook didn't show that she sang a great song about her classmates who won't be cool enough to hear this.

There's even a ballad (sort of), Melbourne. It's about hating small talk, not the city's great music scene, because this is a record that fits in with the new British punk DIY scene like Pinact, No Ditching and Dog Legs.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Center Negative: Emotion Is Cringey

Usually this type of oblique noise and no-expense-spent recording reveals itself in Texas, but this fucked-up cassette of DIY psych-punk was recorded in a room without windows in Auckland. 

The opening track In (yes, I see what they did there) is a manifesto: "This album covers obvious truths in an accessible style to ensure that a gullible public will like it. Yet despite all its crafty licks and soaring pop  choruses it's actually quite good."

I like it partly because of those soaring pop choruses. But I'm a gullible type who enjoys budget anthems called Change Is The Most Sincere Kind Of Apology.

I also like it because it's a political album with barbed swipes at barbaric government, religious and business traditions.

Large parts of this tape, though, are unlikely to realise the manifesto's ambition of "scoring Micheal McClelland some kind of girlfriend". Unless, of course, NZ has fair maidens likely to be seduced by songs called Fuck You and Existential Arrogance. 

Emotion Is Cringey is uneven - a few songs sound either hurried or were recorded under the influence of something a bit more mind-altering than 2 cans of Speights - but this is a very strong tape that you could easily imagine being on Xpressway.

Looks like blogger isn't embedding streams. So listen to Change Is The Most Sincere Kind Of Apology on bandcamp

Friday 4 September 2015

Tacoma Radar

They were the Scottish Galaxie 500: songs like unsolved puzzles played precisely with a distinct mood.

There were just 2 singles in 2000-2001 and then a wait - Tacoma Radar were never in much of a hurry - until 2004 for the No One Waved Goodbye album.

Songs like Falling Dead Stars and Who's Gonna Hold The Line capture the outsider's alienation and mystique. Vocals are half-whispered, murmured guitars rise into loud surges before burrowing home again.

Maybe if they were American they'd have been part of the slowcore scene and there'd be a deluxe reissue. What was it they said? Loneliness Comes Without A Sound.

Tacoma Radar had a low profile. They were on Andmoresound, who didn't put a foot wrong. Labelmates Camera Obscura's first two singles were (wrongly) either ignored or dismissed as a band for Belle and Sebastian fans who thought Belle and Sebastian weren't indie enough any more.

Mac Meda's cut'n'paste sonic adventures over 2 singles got a bit more attention. Rightly so, because they were ace. Andmoresound was quite a label. Nothing fitted together - there was no label sound, just a mark of high quality. I wish they'd found more bands.

If you haven't found Tacoma Radar before, you're in for a treat. No One Waved Goodbye is a lost classic.