Browsing Category New Albums

Hierophants

These chaps from Geelong have been a long time coming on this one, teasing with some singles, but finally cracking the egg wide open with Parallax Error. Cutting the swath down new wave’s long tail of influences, you’d be remiss not to notice the fingerprints of Mark Mothersbaugh littered on this one, but there’s plenty of room for Gary Numan via his Ultravox obsession and the quirkiness of The Buggles and Flying Lizard sprawled across those synth lines. That’s not to say that this sounds like an 80’s comp, rather that the band seems to have chewed on their fair share of pop laced outsiders and let the sound drive them to find their own antisocial corner to crawl in. There’s a Plasticine film pulled over the top of Parallax, refracting the light in angled shapes and making it hard to grip, but isn’t that just the fun part? Nothing here sticks easy, its catchy but catches in your throat just as often. A damn fine salvo from the South Hemi if I do say so.

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Together PANGEA

No lie, I think that the last full length from Together PANGEA was one of the most fun, deeply skewed and excellently rough-edged rock albums of the last ten years. It’s only with open arms that I’ll receive any new material from the band. William Keegan’s throaty rasp is on high power here, shredding skin as hard as guitar strings. It all comes from a similar arena as Badillac, loose woven pop songs that play the most of bombast but still feel fretted over, soaked in production that plays up their acumen for diving between fury and restrained quietude. Together PANGEA are a band that knows that passion passes for currency and they pour sweat and bone into their songs. This time around Tommy Stinson steps into the producer’s chair and while whatever nuance he’s adding seems fairly in line with the sound they’ve captured prior, I’m sure that the presence of frayed rock royalty can only serve to drive this further. It’s a stopover release, hopefully on the way to another full length, but still a pretty essential piece of their canon.

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Rabit

Houston based producer Rabit was folded into the Tri Angle roster with his EP Baptizm. The EP, along with his previous run of singles felt like a perfect match for the label’s band of otherworldly echoes.The label has always seemed like a beam in from a colder dimension, acerbic and mechanical but on the edge of whatever algorithm determines taste. That ethos and aesthetic envelop Communion, an album wrought with tension, like an organism coming to grips with itself from the inside out.

Slashed with noise and ballooning with dub bubbles that buoy R&B shards dismantled by remnants of techno; this feels like the haunted kin of drill n’ bass shot forward 60 years into the future and preferred as a daily soundtrack by inhabitants of some floating wasteland scrapyard. Which is to say it’s a perfect reflection of the political, sexual and social undercurrents that are all claimed as influences. It’s the seams of this world leaking into the next and for that we can all be grateful. This deserves volume, neighbor alienating volume and lots of it. So go work out some issues and make a few enemies who share your walls.

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Kelley Stoltz

Double Exposure was a fuller sounding Stoltz, proof that his life as a producer seeped well into his life as a songwriter. It hinted at the influences nagging him awake at night and the widescreen he could put them on, but where that album showed how bright Stoltz could shine, In Triangle Time shows how dark his corners are. Built on a taut bed of post-punk throb and an oil slick shimmer of new wave’s sheen, the album kicks up some dirt that was always rubbing off on his prior catalog. As in the past, it’s the details that make In Triangle Time stand out, the rubbery rumble of bass under “Jona,” the back to back psych warbles on “Crossed Mind Blues” and “You’re Not Ice.” The album’s a headphone wonderland, it lives well on the speakers but it dances through headphones like it was made for close company. For years he’s been lauded as the secret weapon of indie rock and with this album following up Double Exposure he’s made damn sure that his own name is above the marquee and not buried in the booklet. There’s no way this one doesn’t let its hooks grow deeper the colder the air turns, so make sure that come November is on your list.

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The Mantles

Ah man I’m such a sucker for the humid jangle of The Mantles. Coming pretty quick on the heels of both The Mantles’ previous record and a solo LP for Glenn Donaldson’s Fruits and Flowers label, one would think that Michael Olivares would be tapped out at this point. But, to the contrary, All Odds End seems to be just as stacked and stocked with catchy strums and unquenchable energy as ever. Maybe the introduction of new members Carly Putnam on Keys and Matt Bullimore on bass reinvigorated the driving forces. Its a more rhythmic record than perhaps they’ve produced in years past, but even more than that, its the clearest vision of The Mantles that’s ever come out of the studio. Could be the watchful eye of Jason Quever that’s helping here. The Papercuts leader was responsible for back catalog gem “Don’t Lie” and subsequently took over recording duties on this album. It seems that he and Olivares squeeze the best out of each other, the melodies and shades on All Odds End sparkle brighter than ever, wistful sighs given a lush field of color. If ever there was a perfect album to usher in the advent of sweater weather it might be this one. A pair of headphones and a brisk walk might be just the thing you need.

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Shannon and the Clams

Shannon Shaw’s voice is a lot of things; a lullaby, a force of nature, a time machine to the 60’s, a rallying cry for the heartbroken. On their latest album, Shaw is all those things and probably quite a bit more. The album is as crisp and clear as the band have ever sounded, finally kicking some of the hiss that plagued their recorded output and in the process its the most clearly indebted they’ve ever been to the girl group 60’s crooners that have undoubtedly served as some inspiration. The songs swing and pine with odes to love and loss but the real departure is that they’ve also pretty much shed their garage rock tag here. On Gone By Dawn Shannon and The Clams are a pop band through and through, albeit one that’s rocketed out of time and lodged themselves in the malt shop of your heart. And hell why not, Archie’s been reinvented for a modern era, perhaps there’s a kismet in this as soundtrack to the great American heartbreak. Perhaps its time to swoon again. If it is indeed time to wear a broken heart on leather sleeves, The Clams are there to help you cry and pick it all back up for another day.

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Wand

Wand are turning out to be rather prolific, eh? Third album on the way, second of the year and its proving to be just as packed with heady fuzz, psych weirdness and that sulfur burn sound that’s made them one of our favorites over the past couple of years. This time they don’t just barrel headlong into gravy thick riffs though, there’s a nod to the heaviness and hooks and then the band tumbles into caverns of echo that sound like they’ve been spending some time with A.R. and Machine’s 1972 opus Echo. After they climb out of the chasm they take a left turn towards Barrett-laced psych-folk that fits them quite well.

But while the detours are nice and make for a well rounded album, its a welcome return to testing the tensile limits of your speaker covers as they go for some jugular crushing, exorcism rousing riffs on the back half, bringing plenty of evil vibes floating over the veil. They bring it all down with one of the sweetest sounding cuts they’ve written to date, a perfect mix of sweet pastoral strums and soaring grandiosity that show Tame Impala and Temples how its done. Bu while those bands borrow from the book of niceties in psych, Wand find a few more ways to blend the weirdness of prog with the heavy boots of metal (just like Sabbath told ya) and come out a bit more fun and a whole lot louder. Perhaps you’re asking if your vinyl shelf needs another Wand record this year. The answer is, of course, that it definitely does.

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Gnoomes

UK label Rocket Recordings is mostly known for their heavier exploits, gargling on guitar fumes and the occasional tonal drift of Gnod. So the opening strums of Gnoomes album Ngan! come as a bit of a shock, though mind you only in context. The album eases into the monster that is “Roadhouse,” the fifteen minute opener that begins with a sweet lope, a nod to Neu and some shrouded vocals before bridging in some of that guitar fire that we’ve all been expecting since the Rocket logo stamped the back. But that’s about as rowdy as this one gets. The Russian band is from the far off city of Perm, literally translated to “Faraway Land” due to its proximity to Moscow and its history of being used for exile; and the band use their isolation well, tuning into a sense of amplified wonder that comes across in the band’s longform workouts. They tighten up ever so slightly for middle tracks “Myriads” and “Moognes” both workable bits of psych pop that swoon more than growl, and then it’s back to another stretch on closer “My Son.” The band are definitely most comfortable pushing the boundaries of their gauzy pop to the edges and its apparent that this record was built for the live setting. It’ll probably be pretty comfy on the turntable too. Not a bad intro to this band.

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The Host

Named after and inspired by new wave retreats, Esalen Lectures is a pseudonym of Barry Lynn, who is more often found carving bass sculptures under the name Boxcutter. But the waves of IDM drift away in a sea of sensory deprivation here, instead invoking the float and flutter of artists like JD Emanuel, A.R. Reichel and Ash Ra Temple. The tracks fold into one another, rippling and easing their way into a burned cortex until they begin to take hold and then totally release. If Lynn is aiming for a system reset, a cleanse of the mind, then he’s fairly on point with his delivery. The album doesn’t drone like so many analog purveyors but it makes use of synths to curl a bit of psychic smoke through the ripples of your grey matter until the subconscious takes the wheel.

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Tijuana Panthers

Following up Wayne Interest is no easy feat. The band crystallized their sound, shaved off some of the rough edges of the past few years and really found their stride in the foaming garage eddies and pounding pace of rock’s dark corridors. They never let themselves ascribe to a style wholesale and they continue that ethos on Poster. There’s a slacked summer hangover of slowed surf, that twang of garage that they always keep in a back pocket and a bit of pop bounce that holds it all together. When they’re at their best, the band is spitting headstrong anthems that stride into the room with enough confidence to turn every head. “Set Forth,” “Send Down The Bombs” and “Front Window Down” are some of the band’s most endearing tracks and highlights among the bounce, sneer and shimmy here. But the whole record is a nice compliment to Wayne Interest, making a pair of releases that swirl the radio dial through ’66 – ’80 with just the right sense of timing.

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