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Psychic Ills – “Baby”

I’ve sung plenty of praises on both Psychic Ills’ new album, Inner Journey Out and standout country psych jammer “Baby,” but pairing a perfectly hazy song with a faded, ’70s Urban Cowboy treatment warrants repeating how worth your time this one is. Jason Evans sums up the sweaty summer vibes and pent up “Gimme Shelter” simmer that the band have created on the song. He’s created characters that feel sympathetic and real, balancing their hope against the songs deep burn. Apparently this is only the first half as the video’s credits tease a part two to come. If you are still standing there, not owning this Ills record then I don’t know what else I can do to sway ya.

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Chook Race – “Hard To Clean”

Melbourne’s Chook Race put out a scrappy but fun album last year that showed more than a few crinkles of promise and they’re making good on it this year with a follow up through Tenth Court on the home court and Trouble in Mind here in the States. They’ve never sounded cleaner or more at ease than on their new single “Hard To Clean.” The track is a crisp pop number that belies its hooky charms with a bittersweet bleat running under those jangled harmonies. The video seems like more of a lark, but hell some nice nostalgia for the heyday of the Thighmaster or Sit and Be Fit is always a worthwhile trip. A solid sender and laying a pretty good dose of anticipation for the rest of the album comin’ up down the way.

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Terry – “Hot Heads”

Aussie post-punk scrappers Terry have a new video for their cut “Hot Heads,” a standout from their recently released HQ. The track’s got a boatload of jangle and plenty of tension burbling in those tightly wound horns running underneath. Its a prime example of what makes their debut so endearing. The clip is basically the album cover come to life, watching the band watching themselves work through some line dance nostalgia that’s straight out of Footloose. Hell, if this had been the soundtrack to bootscootin’ maybe I would have paid more attention. If you’re not already on the Terry train (you should be) then now’s the time and below is the place. This is a constant on the RSTB headphones this year.


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Wyatt Blair – “Monday Morning Mess”

The sad demise of Pop Zeus’ Mikey Hodges left the fate of his collaborative LP with Wyatt Blair in permanent stasis, and the fate of Blair himself open ended in the wake of his friends passing. True to form though, Wyatt has picked up the pair’s indomitable vibe and parlayed it into a solo record that has the same lust for power pop as screened through the 80’s dayglo sheen of MTV, nervy new wave excess and an untitled buddy comedy starring John Cusack and Corey Feldman that only exists in my head. Lead off single is chowing down Eddy Money mania while channeling a version of The Kings enamored with The Cars’ syth sound. There’s never a glut of power pop but Blair sends those chills of excitement down your spine, getting it just right along with other crunch pop heroes of today like Barreracudas and Warm Soda. Pair it all up with a grainy video that feeds on the best of the the video vault cliche’s and its hard not to crack a smile for Blair’s double slice of fun. The album’s on the way in August and that’s just in time to crank it for some Summer sendoffs.

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Scott and Charlene’s Wedding – “Don’t Bother Me”

After a solid sending EP that’s lead the charge up this year, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding return for that full length romp and, like the EP namesake, “Delivered,” their new cut, “Don’t Bother Me” perfectly sums up the band’s slack atmosphere and shaggy vibe. In the Aussie spectrum, there are plenty who know just how to make that jangle work and even more who know that the suburban ethos of bored, broke and nonchalant go a long way. That said, Craig Dermody fills those phrases with more weight than most and makes the slacker soul seem enlightened, or at least merely charming. The video appropriately stages a walkabout through the band’s home life, wandering the rooms and leading up to packing it all in a truck and taking off. The band has recently relocated back to Melbourne after stints in NYC and London and they’re sounding all the better for it. Nothing like home to fan the embers that flame in your heart, eh? This clip leaves me only wanting more.


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Ben Chatwin – “Euclidean Plane”

Another piece of the puzzle on Chatwin’s debut for Ba Da Bing, the gorgeous piece “Euclidean Plane” wavers between chamber pop bliss and the subtle underwater psychedelics of Sven Libaek. Aptly, like Libaek, the video for “Euclidean Plane’ takes to the seas, pairing the soft movement of an octopus with the burbling build of tension from Chatwin’s score. Though, unlike Libaek, Chatwin’s outlook is much darker. The edge of wonder is constantly in danger of being taken over by dread. The last dip into Heat & Entropy saw Chatwin move the dial a bit further from the clouded mist he’s been working in but this one fully emerges in bold and brilliant colors, albeit colors that are circling the reef and rippling with the light dancing on the surface of the water. Its a beautiful piece that bodes well for a full album that brings Chatwin the wider praise that he deserves.



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The Goon Sax – “Up To Anything”

The Goon Sax’s album for Chapter Music is a jangle-pop gem and they’ve setup the title track “Up To Anything” with a fittingly faded and pining video. The song’s a face-on-the-floor depression jam, the kind of upbeat on the surface, but ultimately soulcrushing pop song that sticks in your head and then squeezes your heart. They’ve given it a treatment like a Belle and Sebastian album cover come to life and that’s probably a pretty good neighborhood for the song to live in. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the band’s full album from earlier in the year, do yourself a favor and dip in. Its one of the most winningly truthful accounts of youth out this year.

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Omni

Atlanta band Omni keep their love of the Verlaine/Quine guitar axis close to their heart and that heart even closer to their sleeve. The band is flipping through wiry, vein pulsed post-punk like they were brought up on little else in their formative years. All the songs on their debut, Deluxe are bent and battered into metal shapes, though its their vocals that betray their new wave nods under the veneer of true grit punk spirit. Frankie Broyles’ delivery has a bit of dreamy-eyed wistfulness that gives the album a less rough sheen and an aproachability. They also walk it further away from the source material near and dear to their heart, feeling less like trying on your punk Halloween costume and more like a fitting digestion of the intervening years of post-punk and new wave hangover.

The aesthetic choice to rough up the edges on this one seems a bit misplaced. I know that it was recorded in a practice space, and for that its actually pretty crisp, but there’s an underlying crackle and crunch that feels out of place for the sound that they’re going for. For all its DIY aspirations, this specific pocket of the punk canon never felt an affinity for low fidelity. If its a matter of budget, then so be it, but since they are nailing this kind of homage rather bitingly, its feels deserving of a clear bullhorn. There are plenty that are trying to take the run at post-punk authenticity and plenty more that will pick up the itch, but this is a pretty prime example of how to do it right.




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Allah-Las – “Famous Phone Figure”

Well gotta be summer now because there’s a new Allah-Las on the rise and that means good things for record players everywhere. Temperate days and clear skies just are just begging for a soundtrack from the L.A. stalwarts. The new track marks a bit of a departure from their usual jangle and jump sound that’s been rooted in the garage aesthetics and ushers in a move towards a more lush, and dreamy sound that plays off of swooning 60’s touchstones like Pet Sounds, JK & Co. or Tomorrow. Fittingly they’ve brought in a whole host of new instrumentation for the album – viola, harpsichord, Mellotron and theremin – proving this to be Allah-Las embracing their 60’s experimentation in full. They’ve been studying their 60’s trajectories well, so expect some paisley Nehru jackets on this tour, because things have gone full psych (not that I’m complaining). They’ve also made a move to Mex Summer for the record which pushes them away from their cozy home at Innovative Leisure. Definitely interested to hear more on this one and the moody black and white visuals give the track a nice stately background to luxuriate in. Summer just got a bit breezier.

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Throws – “Punch Drunk Sober”

Thrill Jockey signees Throws have been mining a similar pop vein to Yeasayer back in their more rhythmic days, full of world inflections and lush atmospherics. New single “Punch Drunk Sober” gets a heartstung video treatment from Joe Martinez, Jr. who has directed clips for Tortoise, Oozing Wound and The Body. The song features vocals from múm’s Sigurlaug Gísladóttir and, in fact, the whole album takes full advantage of its Reykjavik recording location, roping in Gísladóttir and string quartet Amiina for collaborations. Both Mike and Sam from the duo spent time in Tunng, another fave around here and there’s a bit of a hangover from Tunng’s psych-folk inclinations. The record ducks expectations at the fragile history of Icelandic pop and goes full in for an update on 80’s touches with a more well rounded production than many mainstays of the neon pop era.

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