Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Easy Love – “I’ll Be Fine”

New one here from Easy Love, the solo project from Justine Brown of Summer Twins. The song doesn’t stray too far from the Twins’ breezy ’60s pop overtones and general swooning appeal, but with a thickened sound and a grind of fuzz guitar backing her up, Brown’s new venture is hitting ticking all the right boxes around here. The song is drenched in longing, an ode to lost souls everywhere finding their way back to solid footing. The track is off of her upcoming album on Lollipop / Burger, which seems like a fitting home for her, given an already rosy track record with Burger. The track is probably one of the best I’ve heard out of Summer Twins or Brown’s previous solo work and it begs some attention when the full album drops in Feb.

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Ben Chasny on Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu

Chalkin’ up another great installment of Hidden Gems, RSTB’s series in which one of my favorite artists picks out an album that hasn’t gotten proper due in the scheme of things and shines a bit of light on it. I’ve found that the picks can often illuminate not only a deserving overlooked album, but also give insight as to where the chooser’s own sound developed from, and this entry from Ben Chasny is a prime example. Ben’s picked a PSF classic, the very seldom sung Live In The First Year Of The Heisei (Volume’s I and II), by collaborative trio Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu. Technically its two albums, but who’s to get picky around here. Ben gives his take on what makes this such a slept on piece of culture and how it’s played an important role in his own music.

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Gnod – “Bodies For Money”

I have no doubt that 2017 will be the year that as many voices as possible stand up with a political anthem to lob into the ring. From preachy to poignant, I’ve got a feeling we’ll hear them all and that each of them will find their right pair of ears. For now, I’m feeling UK psych/krautrock unit Gnod’s take on the anger. The band’s lead single from the quietly titled, JUST SAY NO TO THE PSYCHO RIGHT-WING CAPITALIST FASCIST INDUSTRIAL DEATH MACHINE, is the scathing “Bodies For Money.” The band strips away much of their Krautrock grind and noise obfuscation to go in hard for the heavy edge of psych, torn open with a touch of metal. It’s a track that is practically tearing itself apart at its own veins. There’s that terrible adage being thrown around that political upheaval breeds good music, and yeah that’s not untrue, but personally I’d shed that silver lining over and again to live every day under better rule. Since the fight is here though, its good to have some anthems to light up the speakers and spark a little righteous indignation. Gnod have, in truth, never sounded so focused and brutal and this feels like a good one.



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Rat Columns – “Someone Else’s Dream”

David West’s Rat Columns have bounced around a slew of notable labels, from R.I.P. Society to Blackest Ever Black. Though the latter seemed odd for a jangle pop band, its just another testament to their quality output (and perhaps his time spent in Total Control). The band now finds a home at UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm and it seems like a pretty perfect fit. The first single from the band’s upcoming LP, Candle Power, is a sparkling piece of jangle pop bliss that sounds like it was ripped out of the catalogs of Razorcuts, Sea Urchins or early Go-Betweens. It’s completely swathed in a rosy glow that’s hard to shake long after the last chords come clanging to an end. A swooning organ adds just the right touch of fullness to the song’s strum laden lope, clipping along atop a drumbeat that urges listeners to dance uninhibitedly at every turn. Rat Columns have been bubbling at the edges of breaking out for a few years now, but with this album on the rise, it seems like 2017 might be the year they become a household name.

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Mac Blackout Band – “Rise Up”

Mac Blackout’s been kicking around these parts since lo-fi was king and the tape hiss grew tall and wild. Now scrubbed up, glammed and rocking things in heavy psych boots, the man and his band are releasing Burning Alive next month and preceding the album is the bulldozer of a single, “Rise Up”. The track is ostensibly a call to arms, laid into the fold of a garage-psych juggernaut, and spraying fire at the very seams. Blackout’s outfit is hardly the same band that was sketching scratchy tales in the wake of Blank Dogs all those years ago and in fact this hews much closer to his run fronting Mickey. Now they’re finding their bearings somewhere between the codpiece bravado of Kiss and the iron gauntlet of Wolfmother circa 2004/2005. I mean that in the absolute most complimentary sense. Revolution rock could use a twenty foot tower of fire to stomp out the storm and Blackout’s making it fun to riot in the streets again.

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Ripley Johnson on Fabulous Diamonds – Commercial Music

Starting off the new year right with a new edition of Hidden Gems from Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips). Hidden Gems explores albums that haven’t gotten their proper due over the years, as picked by RSTB’s favorite artists. Ripley selected Aussie psych duo Fabulous Diamonds’ third album Commercial Music, which was released by Chapter Music in 2012. Ripley explains why the album is such a slept on treasure and the impact its had on his own music.

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Cable Ties – “Difficult”

Still can’t get enough of Melbourne trio Cable Ties. Details on the upcoming album are sadly scant, but they keep dropping gems along the way, so the wait’s not so bad. Following on their debut single and a split with Wet Lips, they have a new track featured on LISTEN Records compilation Listen 2. The comp sends 50% of the benefits to WAR (Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance) and the label itself seeks to promote female and LGBTQ artists in Australia. Good will and great vibes aside on the project, the track is another killer from the Aussie band, still hitting the boiling point energy that seems to make the walls sweat and the room spin. While vocalist Jenny McKechnie, as usual, draws the lion’s share of attention on the track, the underlying instrumental is a gnashed ball of fury and noisy bounce that’s proof that as the band evolves, they’re simply proving that the early excitement wasn’t misplaced in the least.



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Mozes and the Firstborn – Marianne EP

Dutch punks Mozes and the Firstborn laid an excellently simmering album of ’90s tilted power pop on us last year and preceded it with the fizzing Power Ranger EP. They add another bookend to the album with the subsequent Marrianne EP out this week. The title track is another dose of hook-heavy ennui, something the band have seemed to perfect within the last year, but its not the only track holding its own on the release. The EP sports four new tracks with no overlap on the album, and they all seem like they’re more than b-side hand-offs. The EP drops a nice coda onto their stellar 2016 and its posted at a wallet friendly price to boot. It was a crowded field for sure last year, and I feel like that may have left the band’s album somewhat overlooked. Its not too late to head back and get acquainted.



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Timmy’s Organism – “Lick Up Your Town”

When news of a new Timmy’s Organism release wafts down the halls, there’s a general feeling of dread and motion sickness that kicks in. The band aren’t made for these, or any times. The noxious vibes that emanate from their stacked amps can only be set to an irradiated boil and the newest slab from Total Punk is leaking its fair share of vileness. Even from a two-tracker, the band make their mark. Their profile was notched up to meet the public eye through a Third Man record last year. It was a well deserved escalation of terms that was meet with far too little thunder. Perhaps the populace hasn’t been to see Vulgar and co. tear down a stage. Its a sight to behold and a true marker of the band’s sci-fi punk prowess. New track’s a scorcher and well recommended fodder to heat up your turntable’s needle.



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Vices – “Cursed”

Chicago’s Vices are tacking their sails into a grunge revivalist wind that takes swipes from Nirvana and The Foo Fighters while embracing both heavier nodes (like Queens of The Stone Age) and decidedly brainier ones (Shellac, Drive Like Jehu). Heralding in their upcoming album with the arrival of three singles, the hard hitting, “Cursed” embraces all sides nicely. They have plenty of pop coursing through the song’s veins, but they coat it in a nice layer of flanneled fuzz and ramp it up with a touch of start-stop dynamics that pound like a grunge hammer. The full album’s out at the end of the month and its clear from these first tastes, that its going to hit heavy and leave them as ones to watch in 2017.

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