Browsing Category Tracks

School Damage – “Scump Damage 1”

One of last year’s favorite albums around here came from Aussie upstarts School Damage. Featuring members of Ausmuteants and Chook Race, the band captured a kind of woozy, wobbly pop that drew comparisons to The Vaselines and Young Marble Giants. Their simple, yet potent brand of post-punk was full of charms that only get deeper on their new 7” for Upset The Rhythm. The new single works under the concept of four songs about one cat – which on paper sound like it could get real twee, real fast. However, the band maintains their usual off-kilter sensibility pinning Jake Robertson’s tale of Lumpy (aka Scump) to a headrush synth line and enough jangles to stuff your socks. They continue to be top shelf Aussie exports, and this little taste only makes me want more from the band. The single is out on UTR on May 25th.



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The Ivytree – “All The White Plumes”

There are a lot of things that propped this site up from the beginning but the works of Skygreen Leopards and the Jewelled Antler Collective were legion among them. In the pantheon of great, but sorely overlooked members of the Collective, The Ivytree has always stood as a particularly sad casualty. The band’s humble, human, creaky and calm LP Winged Leaves has long been a gem in the psych-folk / field recordings boom of the early aughts. Alongside The Birdtree record (which could stand more attention as well) the record culls together some of Glenn Donaldson’s best work outside of Skygreen proper. So, its with some excitement that news of a “new” Ivytree LP is on the horizon.

The Recital Program is culling together a collection of unreleased Ivytree recordings from Glenn’s archives, a time-shifted collection of songs that’s bringing back the rush of mossy folk from ’04 like a welcome pang in the stomach. First track, “All The White Plumes,” is a foggy, cold amble into the same caves that always marked the band’s sound and reason to believe that the rest of the record is full of gems rightly pulled from his archive by luck and luster.


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The Essex Green – “Sloane Ranger”

Love it when a band resurfaces that I didn’t even realize how badly I’d missed. I’ve never shied away from my overt love of The Elephant 6 around here, but it always cracks a smile when one of the alums keeps the train rolling. In the same respect that it was great to have Dressy Bessy back on the scene a few years back, its wonderful to see news that The Essex Green is back and still pumping out high quality sunset-hued psych pop that’s warmed by the sounds of the ‘60s and funneling the paisley pop revival right on into a new age.

The band shows no sign of dents or dings, picking up “Sloane Ranger” right where 2006’s The Cannibal Sea left off. Good to see them back on Merge and digging into their prime hooks. Gonna remain excited for the rest of this, but for now, I’ve got to keep this on repeat a few more spins.


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Flowers Must Die – “Oroa Dig Inte”

Swedish psych warriors Flowers Must Die follow up their Rocket Recordings LP, Kompost, from last year with a more abstract set of space rock scrapers. Where the previous record tapped into some Krautrock fueled psych-pop, this time the band stretches for the edges of the mind with a track that’s free floating in a psychedelic haze of feedback, flute and noise. Its a beautiful din, though, and makes the case once again for the band as high-level purveyors of expansion-minded music. The record is released in increasingly limited versions with 20 different covers spread over its run of 300.




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Landings – “Nod”

Oh man, Landing are back and like a good friend they’re still kicking up the same psych fallout that endeared them to me over all these years. The band turns up on the great El Paraiso Records, taking their Connecticut psych to the Danish hub and slotting in nicely alongside the label’s packed roster of home country haze wranglers (Mythic Sunship, Causa Sui). The track is pure dreamop reverberation weaponized by the low-slung rumble of guitar thunder. The motorik chug and woofer pushing volume slides this out of the wispy territory that can often trap dreampop like a pothole, instead balancing Adrienne Snow’s delicate vocals and the instrumental shred in perfect proportion. Produced by Justin Pizzoferrato (Dino Jr., Elder) the album looks to pack a pretty heavy punch when it lands in May.


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Lay Llamas – “Silver Sun”

Rocket Recordings are constantly on a tear and this taste of an upcoming album for Lay Llamas is psych-pop skronk at its best. Switched on like The Beta Band gone feral, “Silver Sun” is a lockgrooved thrummer that’s broken up by a lightning jag of sax scratch. The work of Italian songwriter Nicola Giunta along with a rotating host of psych slicers on assist – including members of Clinic, Goat and The Pop Group – the upcoming album looks to be another stormer from Rocket’s UK psych stronghold. The band’s come to some attention opening for Goat during UK shows and they share a kinship with their labelmates’ pan-global aesthetic towards psychedelia, though this hints at a deft ribbon of pop winding its way through Giunta’s version of psych, leaving a bit more linger on the brain. Gonna want to keep an eye on this one for sure. The album is out in June.


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The Wave Pictures – “Jim”

One of last years most undeservedly glossed over releases had to be the eponymous debut from The Surfing Magazines. It was a step back into indie’s heyday, throwing a touch of surf’s veneer into a stretched and snapped web of toughened hooks that proved guitar rock still had some legs in 2018. The backbone of The Surfing Mags was the trio normally filed under The Wave Pictures, they just pop in ringer Charles Watson from The Slow Club to make the transition. Now back to their old tricks, The Wave Pictures have two new albums on the way for 2018 and first up is Brushes With Happiness, an off-the-cuff recording that the band did in one day. The second offering promises a bigger pop picture but “Jim,” the first cut from Brushes speaks to the marked difference between the two albums. This is a pure product of the band’s blues séance held one January night.

The track is sparse, but still glowing with the guitar tones of Dave Tattersall, who seems to have a strange wrangle on the lizard writhe of rock. The track slinks in and huffs the firelight out of the room, feeling full of detached cool, – the kind of track that would underpin a killer’s saunter into a nest of unfortunate victims in a film with any taste. It’s all preamble here, though, and part of me wants it to explode at the end into a shambolic arc of metallic shred but somehow that’s not what I feel is at foot on this record. I’ll be eager to see if it’s all held breath and hushed menace like “Jim.”




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F.U.K. – “Road Kill”

If you’ve kept your eyes off of HoZac’s archival series, then you’re missing out on some choice punk gems that have slipped through the cracks. They’ve found all manner of leather bound ephemera and packed them back on the wax for eager archivists and crate diggers alike. Their next project documents a barely-there notch in Midwest punk history. The 7” bounds up the sole recorded existence of F.U.K. (Fucked Up Kids), the duo of Roger Miller and Sue Rynski. Miller did time in Detroit’s Sproton Layer and was brother to Larry and Jim of Destroy All Monsters, but you may best remember him as holding down the strings in Mission of Burma. F.U.K. played one show and spit out two tracks before they slipped away, but thanks to general biz wiz and musical oracle Byron Coley those tracks are finding their way back to you via HoZac and company.

The A-side is a pure primitive corker, tough and twitchy and cracking its knuckles at the back of the room lookin’ for a fight. The track bashes out a low-slung rumble before barreling headlong through the quantum mist for a static n’ acid solo that’s begging to burn the place down. Its easy to see how this beast was too weird to live, but I’m damn glad that it was recorded for posterity. Gonna want to grip this one when it comes out later this month.


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The Buttertones – “Baby C4”

So The Buttertones have been lurking around for some time and always on my periphery, but I’ve chalked them up to the bin of bands that tick of a lot of my normal musical triggers but never seem to get it together in a way that excites me. I have to say, I’m making an exception for the first single off of their upcoming, Midnight in a Moonless Dream. “Baby C4” is coming on strong like a deleted Cramps outtake, if The Cramps had spent more time drinking with The B-52s. It’s not a rote bit of garage, but rather a snarling, slicked and flexing piece of rockabilly chocking down exhaust fumes and preening for a paycheck. I’m hoping this doesn’t end up an outlier on the new album, but rather an embrace of underbelly aesthetics that bite to scar.




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Lithics – “Excuse Generator”

It’s been such an embarrassment of riches for wiry post-punk of late, from OMNI to Ganser, Total Control and too many more to name, there has been an upswing in the kind of crushed aluminum guitar stringers that sweat with nervous energy. I’m not gonna ask questions about what’s in the water, I’m just going to enjoy the pretzel bent singles that fall down each week. Following on an excellent bit of post-punk in the form of Taiwan Housing Project, Kill Rock Stars posits Portland’s Lithics as their next stellar export and first single “Excuse Generator” is a gem of chewed glass dynamics and nervous stomach nuance. Definitely gonna want to grip this one when it lands in May.




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