Browsing Category Tracks

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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Flat Worms – “Market Forces”

Perennial favorite Flat Worms made the jump last year from small indies (Castle Face/Famous Class) to Ty Segall’s GOD? Imprint over at Drag City. Their sound has only widened in the process, shedding the threadbare punk of their early works for a burled and thick thump that comes to a head on “Market Forces.” The album was produced by Segall and Steve Albini and as such carries the studio heft of those two particular poles, soldering the austere ache of Albini’s works with the punk pummel and fuzz cloud rumble the band had been fostering in their come-up alongside. The song shares some of the same appeal that latter day Purling Hiss, pushing aside spindly hooks in favor of a punishing wave of guitar cresting the horizon with each new track. The band smears their Dino Jr. throb with the West Coast fuzz coatings of Meatbodies and the Midwest rumble of Axis: Sova. The album arrives April 10th.



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Wax Machine – “Birdsong”

A second peek behind the upcoming Wax Machine album dives deeper into the band’s lysergic depths, ferreting out their jazz impulses and melting them into the furthest reaches of acid psych. “Bird Song” is a damp, mossy cut that finds the band crawling from the coven of fuzz-ravaged West Coast psych into the arms of their own UK folk experimenters. With Joe Boyd’s specter casting a shadow over the track, the band creeps down the same caverns as Susan Christie or even Fairport Convention at their furtherst reaches of unconventional burn. The song stands as a highlight in their upcoming LP. As with like-minded souls such as Dungen before them, they aim to create a studied absorption of ‘60s eclecticism and give it life in a new era. The LP lands March 20th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond.




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Masaki Batoh – “In The Hour of Serpent”

Nice surprise today to have a new track from Masaki Batoh. With a solo release just last year, I’d not have expected more from the ex-Ghost frontman, but he’s sprung out of the fertile ground that brought forth Nowhere for a less solitary follow-up. Where that record was huddled around Batoh’s isolated reflections, Smile Jesus Loves YOU is more about reaching out in collaboration. Featuring members of Ghost (including percussionist Hiroyuki Usui) and The Silence, the record aims for communal transcendence and seems to be nailing it quite completely. Opener, “In The Hour of Serpent” is a lilting cut, buoyed by sweet flute curls and bittersweet plucks. The new LP is out May 8th fro Drag City. Dig deep on that cut below. If the rest of the record is half as good as this, its gonna be another stunner.



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pting – “Boo”

Nice shaker of a track out of Australia from newcomers pting. “Boo” is an airy jangler that makes the most of the soft-focus vocal yearn of Elise Langer that rides atop the spring-loaded drums and heartsick guitars. Without an air of pretense, pting work to make a song that’s simple and sweet, but sticks with you long after the last notes slide away from the speakers. Feeling ripped from the 80’s / ‘90s tipping point of CMJ saturation, the song makes its stake on an aura of refreshing ache more than catchy choruses, but sometimes its those tracks built on mood that get returned to the most. The song feels familiar in a cozy way – comforting, understanding, and supportive like a moment from youth that can be lived in forever on a loop three minutes at a time.


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Sunwatchers – “Sunwatchers vs. Tooth Decay”

After a damn near perfect run of jazz-psych barrel-rolls over the last few years, Sunwatchers are set to sear their name into the scrolls with Oh Yeah?. The title seems like both a question of incredulity (which is apt given the world climate of the past few years) and a statement of challenge. If it’s indeed a challenge, then Sunwatchers are more than up to it. They open the track with the flamethrower force of brass and then lockdown the rhythmic fire. The band’s socio-political agenda has long been tied into their ethos and the aura that surrounds them, though they match it with a winking humor that leads them to adopt the Kool-Aid man as a personal talisman and inspires them to tag their album opener with a sly reference to Muhammed Ali sparring with cavities in the ‘70s. Where they truly excel is at funneling their frustration into a porridge-thick ballast of rhythm and riff holding onto tumultuous psychedelia, burning the doubting hearts of anyone close to crossing them. Don’t let the in-jokes fool you. The band doesn’t come to play lightly. Oh Yeah? lands on Trouble in Mind.

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