Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

King Tuff – “I’m Free”

Well, I’m nothing if not a sucker for more music from King Tuff. This one’s a nice curio that recasts a cut Kyle wrote for Ty Segall’s Freedom’s Goblin. The song’s always been a highlight of that pop Frankenstein, and there’s definitely an air of Tuff’s charm smeared between the bars. For this one-off single version KT gives the song a more pastoral rendition, still capitalizing on the sunny strums but subbing in some plaintive piano and airy whispers of wind threaded throughout. The Segall version acts as a respite from some of the sunburn blasts of Freedom’s Goblin, but here, on its own, the song is a cool drink of water in parched times. It’s got a fuller firmament in Tuff’s version, taking back the track and giving it a wash of his latter-day pop instincts. Good to have even a little bit of Tuff on hand, though I’d take news of a new album anytime this year if that’s what this is hinting at.



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Sunwatchers – “Brave Rats”

Seems that not only is the world being blessed with a new Sunwatchers full length in April, but now news comes down from Amish Records that a follow-up EP will surface in May as well. The EP is a bit of Odds and Sodds, led by new song “Brave Rats.” The title track comes down hard with synth layers that squeal, tumble down rhythms, a second-degree sax burn, and plenty of other aural chaos inspired by rats in a grease-induced frenzy in Williamsburg. They round out the EP with a Sonny Sharrock cover recorded in 2015, as one of their first studio sessions, an alternate version of “Everybody Play” from last year’s Illegal Moves, another early cut from that 2015 session and a live version of their Alice Coltrane cover, “Ptah, The El Daoud” recorded at Baby’s All Right. Looks like Oh Yeah? just got itself a necessary companion piece right here.



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HITS – “Tried Bikinis”

Thanks to the tip from the best ears on the ground in pop, Glenn Donaldson, on this one. There are plenty of cuts on Hits that radiate with a faded pastel charm, but the perfect pop of “Tried Bikinis” is unstoppable. The band captures the ‘80s ideals of thriving outside of a system that’s not built for bands that don’t scrub clean and fit the video-ready rabble of pre-fab pop. Infected with the kind of wonky wobble that made Raincoats, Dolly Mixture, and Kleenex work wonders on the spools of a yellow sport Walkman, this cut from Hits comes with the built in feeling of having been passed from mixtape to mixtape before it hit the foam phones wrapped around your teenaged head. The bass is so thick and rubbery its practically tactile through the speakers and just as the hooks start to dig the band pulls the carpet from underneath the catchiness. Its a cacaphonic, saccharine bit of aural bliss and I want it to go on waaaaay longer than the bare minute that it gets. Thankfully there’s plenty else to love on this cassette from the band — downer drowned pop, scotch tap traps, fuzzed hooks and hi-bias jangles. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this yet, go. Don’t wait.



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Cold Meat – “Bad Mood”

Perth punk hammer Cold Meat graduates from the singles bin to a proper full length stretched across a slew of proper litmus-test labels threaded through the US/UK and their home habitat (Static Shock, Iron Lung, and Helta Skelta). They’ve offered up a couple of cuts from the LP and both flay the skin from the listener immediately, peeling back the bullshit layers from their outer core with a breathless punk assault that’s as snotty as The Dead Boys ever got, but with the added bonus of Ashley Ramsey’s vocals turning the once upon a time sneers of The Saints and Dum Dum Boys into the gnashed teeth yelp you need right now. Every inch of this song reverberates catharsis. If the mood’s this bad, only a proper sore-throated throttle could shake it loose and Cold Meat aim to be the bludgeon to knock ya sideways. The album’s out March 20th.






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Matt Lajoie on Lula Côrtes e Lailson – Satwa

Over the years Matt Lajoie has shown up here under many names — with psych folk searchers Herbcraft, alongside his partner in Ash & Herb, traversing folk under his own name, honing kosmiche waves in Starbirthed and Eastern enclaves as ML Wah. He’s back under his own name with one of the most blissful offerings in his vast catalog this year, but before that graces the waiting turntables, Matt sat down to pick out record that’s been lost to the ethers for Hidden Gems. Matt picked Lula & Lailson’s 1973 album psychedelic opus Statwa. Check out how this one came into his life and the imprint it left on him and his own writing below and nab a pre-order of the entrancing new LP Everlasting Spring.

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Massage – “Michael Is My Girlfriend”

Been a busy day around here, but there’s always time to squeeze in a post on new music from L.A.’s Massage. The band’s album 2018 album on Tear Jerk was a wistful, jangle-jolted affair that should have caught twice as many ears. They follow it up with the sprightly “Michael Is My Girlfriend,” a summer-sweet dose of indie-pop that’s got threads of Brighter, The Field Mice, and Another Sunny Day woven between those pastel-hued strums. The vocal harmonies sigh, the drums crackle with an effervescent snap and the hook gets lodged in your head for all time. With production by Jed Smith of The Jeanies/My Teenage Stride, the single precedes some news about a new LP coming later on in the year. Good news all around!



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Primo – “Best and Fairest”

So many 2020 stunners on the way and this new track from Aussies Primo is a solid killer. With members of Terry, Constant Mongrel, and Sleeper & Snake in their ranks, the band is already poised for interest around here, but the fact that their last album was a low-key constant on the turntable doesn’t hurt either. Chugging on a meaty strum, “Best and Fairest” draws parallels between life and sports, noting how those who play the game with a moral compass don’t always wind out with the cup at the end. The track picks up where their last LP left off — wound wire basslines, hummable harmonies and that slight twinge of squelch in the background. They pick at the spare end of the post-punk spectrum (Young Marble Giants, Oh-OK, Confetti) but they pull away from the aloofness of those bands just a touch and back towards a softer punch. While parallels between Terry and Primo certainly arise (with two crossover members), in truth Primo are like a complimentary pairing with the band — a fine wine that makes the flippant sneers of Terry wash down nicely. Their sophomore LP, Sogni lands on Upset The Rhythm / Anti-Fade on April 17th.



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Hollow Ship – “We Came Too Late”

Gotthenburg’s Hollow Ship have been spiking the punch of psych-pop for a little while yet, and the sound of it comes through in their latest single “We Came Too Late.” With a mix more suited to the crisp snap of pop and R&B than the murky waters of psych, the band adds a rhythmic kick to their swirling guitars and low-end growl. The band crosses the threshold bit more than the rest of the album here, pining for Tame Impala territory before the band was full enmeshed as festival headliners and seated into the high end of the radio dials pop charts. The ambition to dance sweats its way through the cut’s funk simmered core, and they actually land a lot closer to recent Aussie exports Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (man, that name) mixing the liquid lightshow swirl with the neon glow of glam. This one’s coming a little early in the year (April 3rd from PNKSLM) but maybe the summer sweat will help bring on a premature thaw.


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Moody Beaches – “Stay Cool”

Aussie trio Moody Beaches are back and they show no sign of tempering their turbulent brand of indie rumble. “Stay Cool” is the first thing I’ve heard since the band’s 2018 EP Weird Friends, and it kicks just as hard as anything on the short, but powerful, predecessor. The band taps into ‘90s alt-tentpole hooks, with a scathing fuzz attack and just the right quiet-loud tension between the bars. With a dark energy swirling around the track, the band pushes their bile and bombast out of the speakers with a turbulent force and its definitely whetting the appetite for their upcoming 2020 debut on Poison City. Ha, as I was looking around for pictures I noticed that the band self-described themselves as “Resting bitch-face, post punk, grunge trio from Melbourne. Australia” and there probably couldn’t be a better description than that. If you missed the EP, get into them here.





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Traffik Island – “Ulla Dulla”

The new Traffik Island LP is rolling out shortly and this time around Zak Olsen (ORB, Hierophants, The Frowning Clouds) has moved away from the private press folk that caressed his Flightless debut and into an arena of beat-laden psych-pop. Under the title Sweat Kollecta’s Peanut Butter Traffik Jam, it seems almost a given that the album would process Library, folk, and psych nibblets into plastic pop for beat collectors and oddball hoarders alike. The first offerings from the record have a feeling of being children of the big beat era, but without as much bombast – a quieter cool looking towards Shadow and Peanut Butter Wolf doing their crate digging darndest. Despite Flightless’ partnerships in the US (with ATO), this one, much like that indispensable Grace Cummings LP, doesn’t seem to be making its way Stateside. So, for the understandably fraught, you’ll have to head over to the Aussie store and pony up some cash for an import.



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