Monday 25 February 2019

Dumb Things

That's dumb things as in the line from The Go-Betweens' most moving love song, Apology Accepted: "I used to say dumb things, I guess I still do."

Similarly, Dumb Things are from Brisbane and their album is more proof that the very best tapes get a vinyl pressing. They're part of the increasingly countrified Australian indie sound - file them next to Dag, The Twerps and Grandstands.

Their woozy rock sometimes recalls the rustic beauty of Pavement's Crooked Rain. Maybe the lazy, insomniac California sunshine is the same in Queensland. Listen to No One Comes Around for proof.

One of the quietly pleasing outcomes of Australia's vibrant underground this past decade is some bands - Lower Plenty, Dick Diver, Scott & Charlene's Wedding most obviously - showing their Paul Kelly love. His time hadn't come for the previous generation of hip Australian guitar bands, but if anything his folky songwriting and balladry is now an overt and very welcome influence. I can hear it in Dumb Things.

Yes, Paul Kelly does have a song called Dumb Things, but since that's not his finest moment, I'm sticking with The Go-Betweens as the influence for the band's name.

Monorail are the only UK stockists.

Sunday 24 February 2019

The Anemic Boyfriends ‎– Fake I.D.

Nothing feeds the sound of the suburbs quite like alienation, parental discord and isolation. It's the same sound and spirit, only magnified, when it's made in Alaska.

The Anemic Boyfriends' teen rebellion anthem is the sound of Alaska, 1981. Our heroine is "getting tired of sitting around bored with nothing to do" because "you can't go out and party when you're only 15". So here's what she's going to do:

Going to find me some guy with a real big car
A ton of mascara and my real tight pants
Cos I want to go out and get drunk and dance

It's fabulously slutty like The Cookies' Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys and owes as much to Suzi Quatro's glam pop as it does to new wave's bare-boned catchiness. Hozac are reissuing this 7". You're going to want to buy it.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Sporten Ar Dod

They were the Swedish Dolly Mixture - three schoolgirls certain that punk’s greatest legacy was The Undertones’ second album, Hypnotised, and now you mention it The Jam made some pretty good singles.

In 1981 Eva, Ulla and Asa made a tape of songs about chocolate and boys. There’s a hymn to Twixes (Raider), a primitive, passionate tribute to Bruce Foxton (sample lyric: Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce….you get the idea) and a pagan tribute to John Peel (disappointingly, this doesn’t go John, John John…). That’s side 1.

Side 2 is a 1982 live recording proving, like their studio effort, their tinny trebliness was equal to the Swell Maps and they’d obviously been listening to the Raincoats. Sporten Ar Dod (Sport Is Dead - man, these girls hated PE at school) are DIY punk forged in the blind devotion to some other bands and declaring their love by forming a band.

And even if they only knew a handful of chords, that was enough. This fine reissue by Fördämning Arkiv, the new reissue branch of I Dischi Del Barone, captures their spirit. As someone once said - you know who, I suspect; Sporten Ar Dod swore their young lives on it - teenage dreams, so hard to beat.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

Body Type

The obvious starting point is Beach House, bedroom pop with the curtains open. Slightly less obviously, they want to be the Cocteau Twins and a 1970s AOR band (I'm going to say Wings, but I might be making things up).

Most obscurely, they remind me of a certain Sydney sound I was certain was coming through 4 years ago in The Cathys and Black Springs. Superior jangle, muffled beats and the very real possibility that the only dolewave band they gave a shit about was Scott & Charlene's Wedding. Okay, Dick Diver as well.

There's a video for Dry Grass featuring Lindy Morrison. They're keeping very good company.