Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Clamm – “Keystone Pols”

A new one to knock you off your moorings from Aussie threesome Clamm. The band hits the same volume-fried, hardcore chewed rock action that fellow South Hemi alums Civic and Bench Press seem to be socking at and it sweats as hard as any of their compatriots. Featuring members of Gamjee and Dragoons, the trio engages in a breathless punk pummel that uses its brutality to lift up an anti-violence, anti-consumerism screed that nails the leadership to the door in less than three-minutes of whiplash hit on “Keystone Pols.” Like the bulk of their album, the song feels driven, sealed tight, and set to crush with each new spin ‘round the turntable.

Jack from the band gives a little insight into the push behind the track, “Keystone Pols was a song written from the perspective of a government,” he notes. “It speaks of this ominous and aggressive body that seems to see all but will be quick to forget certain groups of society (or never recognize them at all really). I remember watching these old silent comedy films called the Keystone Kops that show these incompetent policeman running around the place. When we were writing the song I just started shouting Keystone Pols because I thought it was funny that behind this ominous body referenced in the song are just some incompetent politicians.”The band’s new LP Beseech Me is out January 24th. Take a few runs through the track and tell me that doesn’t grab ya.



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Mythic Sunship – “Awakening”

Two years back Mythic Sunship released an album called Another Shape of Psychedelic Music, a bold title that the record lived up to easily. The band had long been carving out a niche in exploratory space-psych, but they added saxophonist Søren Skov to the mix and the record dived deep into the vibrations of free jazz and added them to the top of their bottled fury. As the band embarked on Roadburn the following year they uncorked the bottle fully, bringing Skov along for three nights of psychedelic singe. The set included a couple of tracks from their previous album but also adds three more new collaborations, mutating into a chemical burn of blast-force sonics that need to be heard to be understood. Thankfully all three nights were captured, the best of which is being presented by El Paraiso to commemorate the band’s mercurial manifestation right there on the stages of Tilburg.

The band sent over the opening cut to Changing Shapes, one of the new debuts of the night called “Awakening.” The track creeps out of the caverns slow and sinister before exploding into a ball of gaseous flame. A necessary listen for the start of 2020. The new LP is out January 17th and is, naturally, quite recommended.

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Floodlights – “Nullarbor”

This cut landed a bit earlier last year, but its being revived for a wider audience as the band settles into their new home at Spunk Records. Their EP, Backyard, which helps to highlight the plight of the indigenous population of Australia, is being given a re-release and a new LP issue. The Aussie outfit captures a weathered, worn-in vision of rock that’s shifted from a few of their hometown janglers. There’s less of a scrappiness to Floodlights’ sound, but even with the whiff of twang and bar-toughened riffs, singer Louis Parsons’ battered, but hopeful quiver gives the song an openness that draws the listener in. “Nullarbor” doesn’t loose the drawl that comes naturally to the singer, but its not pretending to be anything other than Australian, kissed with the soil of the continent and stuck through with a labored sigh from travel and time. The EP gets a new life in February.



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Sarah Louise, Sally Anne Morgan & Kryssi B – “Cherry Tree Carol”

Black Dirt has been kicking out some real gems from their NATCH series in the last year and it looks like 2020 is off to a similar start. Entry number 11 in the series is a collaboration between Sarah Louise and Sally Ann Morgen of House and Land and Kryssi Battalene of Headroom/Mountain Movers. The set finds a balance between styles, feeling neither as heavy as anything Battalene is typically involved in or as pastoral as Louise and Morgen’s duo or solo works. Some of the best moments of the set comes in the longform pieces that the trio puts together, weaving the folk with Kryssi’s gnarled guitar. “Cherry Tree Carol” is a particular highlight of dark, shadowy folk. In other news Black Dirt is looking to restructure the studio game, and working towards a patron-based system of keeping the doors open so they can do more great sessions like this and keep bands from having to hammer out their best works at hourly rates. One of the best studios running so give ‘em some love it you have the means.




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Taxidermists – “Meet Again”

Massachusetts’ Taxidermists fire back with a tripleshot single after their sorely overlooked Feeding Tube LP from last year. Still tightly wound and ready to blow, the songs are pop rocks packets of angst and angles. There’s a brittleness that the duo shares with No Age, though they often come off like a scrappier Omni. Those overtones are present on all three tracks here, but the opener, “Meet Again” is laced with a lingering sadness that’s not always present in the band’s work. It’s brittle, but ready to crumble under the emotional weight behind it. The band, so far, has bubbled far beneath the radar but here’s hoping they keep pushing out great records like this until their catalog begs a look. The EP is out now on a pay as you wish version on Bandcamp. Throw the band some love and a few bucks if you can.




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Six Organs of Admittance – “Haunted and Known”

Breaking away from his run of Hexadic records, Ben Chasny returns to the fold as Six Organs of Admittance, knocking loose the ash from the air with his psych-folk slink. There’s no incendiary burn on “Haunted and Known,” just the slow stalk of Chasny’s guitar and an undercurrent of creeping unease. The track is consumed by fuzzed orchestration as it works on, pulling the listener under the oceanic pulse of Chasnys writing. The song, along with the previously released “Two Forms Moving” separate themselves from Chasny’s recent efforts, eschewing the hard-to-penetrate complexity of Hexadic and the clear-cut singe of “Burning the Threshold.” There’s a calmer veneer, even when the menace envelops the edges. This is a languid look at Six Organs and it feels like a balm on a bad year. The record is out 2/21 on Drag City.




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Matt Lajoie – “Everlasting Spring”

Matt Lajoie is another artist who never seems to rest. After a packed 2019 that saw offerings from Starbirthed, Ash & Herb, and his solo debut, the artist follows that solo record with his second as we tip-toe into 2020. Under the title Everlasting Spring, both the album and the track seek to bring an eternal vernal lushness to the world. Matt’s playing is often more spiritual than some of his fingerpicked brethren, and he showcases the wonder and patience that are his core on this track in particular. The song sparkles with a crisp dewiness that’s cooling, comforting and rejuvenating in a way that wipes away the worry that’s been accumulating in the wrinkles of 2019. The song inhales all the negativity in the room and exhales a peaceful surrender to joy. With the aid of loops and a soft blanket of reverb, Lajoie turns the acoustic ripples of this track into kosmiche meditations that pick up the yoke from Manuel Göttsching and Popul Vuh. Fans of either should find quite a lot to lay into here. Knock this one high atop the pile of 2020’s most anticipated, its shaping up to be an essential release.




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Huevos II – “My Time Is Gone”

A jangled gem out of Massachusetts gives off glimmers of ‘90s practioners of the palette. There’s a hooky, harmonious feeling to Huevos II’s rose-colored collapse and it’s littered with the debris of The Pastels, The Chills, and The Sneetches. Like those, the band exhumes some ennui, though theirs seems to be a more American brand of sadness than these others, perhaps snagging a few Eric’s Trip allusions on their way out of the speakers. “My Time Is Gone” is a delightful downer that sinks into the marrow and mellows. The song sets up the band’s upcoming LP for Sophomore Lounge with some nice expectations. The debut EP lands on January 24th. Get that one on the wishlist.




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Alien Nosejob – “Television Sets”

Excellent news rolling in today from the South Hemi as Alien Nosejob sets up for a new LP with Anti-Fade and Drunken Sailor. The band, led by Jake Robertson (Ausmuteants, School Damage) has been a pretty loose-genre affair, finding inroads in synth, disco and punk but it’s sounding like a combo of the synth and punk strands on this one, leaving the leanings of his disco days behind. “Television Sets” slings into the screen with a driving rhythm and both the guitars and the keys on full-bore fuzz. There are definitely a couple of Ausmuteants overhangs here, but this is less angular than their agenda, letting the teeth sink into the flesh a bit more. I’d definitely recommend hitting this one up and getting it on those wishlists.



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Handle – “Punctured Time”

Upset The Rhythm continue to scar the post-punk landscape with a new offering from Manchester trio Handle. “Punctured Time” is a jittery, jaundiced comedown of clatter-pocked noise punk, splattered with spittle and wrecked by rhythm. The band aren’t looking to invoke dance so much as they’re aiming to induce fits. The song pushes and pulls like they wrote songs on the page and then used silly putty transfers to distribute the score for the session. Notes crumble and cramp, disjoint and dislodge. It’s a righteous racket that consumes the tin foil tension and spits it back as brightly colored ball bearings of beat and squirm. The LP lands March 6th.




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