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Premiere: Proud Parents – “Take My Hand”

Wisconsin’s Proud Parents have their hearts wrapped around a bright pop jangle and their new video for standout track “Take My Hand” from last year’s Sharen Is Karen cassette is uplifted even more by the band frolicking in a dog park with enough glee to warm every inch of your curmudgeonly soul. The band features Heather Sawyer from fellow RSTB faves The Hussy and the band shares their love of bright splashes of pop, but supplants the punk for a sunnier brand of bounce-addled jangle. Just what the week called for. The band is off on a US tour (dates below) and you can check out their Eva Marley directed video above.

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Ultimate Painting – “Song For Brian Jones”

Ultimate Painting have steadily smoothed their sound, found their footing and arrived at the autumnal opus that is Dusk. Standout elegy for troubled Rolling Stones member Brian Jones is pretty indicative of where the band have taken their sound for this album ironing out their VU love and wandering closer to the sunset psych of aughts mainstays like Dios (Dios Malos if you want to get litigious) or the less cavernous moments of Beachwood Sparks. The song is a fitting tear shed for Jones and as strong and argument as you could ever make for getting James Hoare and Jack Cooper together. The clip is appropriately swimming in double imagery and softly psychedelic shots of Hoare’s studio and a verdant landscape. Its not the most groundbreaking visual but its a nice accompaniment to the band’s pop flutter. Between this and the Pete Astor album, it seems that James Hoare is making himself responsible for some of my favorite moments of gentle pop hum this year. Here’s hoping he keeps it up.



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Las Kellies – “Summer Breeze”

Las Kellies have been working at their take on garage meets dub for over a decade, but they’re finally finding that sweet spot on their newest, Friends & Lovers, for Fire Records. They’ve chipped back the dub cave dramatics somewhat, but there remains a decent dublate’s worth of echo flitting around most of the album’s vocals. On “Summer Breeze,” they channel the “Wild In The Country” tom tom chug from classic Bow Wow Wow and drape the garage glimmer swimming above that beat in a glint of seaside ease and plenty of hazy dream pop inflections. As such, they seem to find that Bermuda Triangle of garage-psych coolness that they’ve long been searching for. The video’s a simple treatment, but one that fits the song soundly. Its all washed out shots of the band playing in the aforementioned “Summer Sun,” rocking in and out of focus like a sunburned delirium dream. For a taste of sweat soaked psych, there’s few others that are hitting these notes this year.

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Hockey Dad

Windang duo Hockey Dad push off the janglier, shaggier notions of the current wave of Aussie pop for something a bit more driving and explosive. Knocking down the doors from the opening chords with their first single “Can’t Have Them, Boronia gets off on good footing; the sun in its hair and no responsibilities holding it back. The record has the impetuousness of youth stamped all over it. The pair have been friends since Kindergarten and that kind of easy chemistry shakes out of the speakers, bringing the listener into Hockey Dad’s world of late night beers, early morning surfing and endless pining crushes like just one more member of the crew. Its hard not to get caught up in the record’s wistful exuberance, crashing highs and that sweet twinge of ennui that shouldn’t befit a pair so young. They’re already learning how to look back with a sigh on last night’s party like it might have been the best they’ll know.

But that’s youth in an nutshell, eh? That lack of perspective feels like everything has bigger import than it does; the nights are more intense and longing squeezes the chest with more force. Hockey Dad convey those qualities with a hand more skilled than most their age will ever be able to, and commit it to tape with a widescreen smash. That the record leans just as heavily on the sound of 90’s alt-punk as it does on a more complex hangover of 80’s harmonies with eyes towards the arena stages vs the clubs gives the record a grandness that digs them out of any indie pigeonholes. The band balances their small town roots and huge ambitions and they spin it into a record that feels bigger than the sum of two kids who started merely banging out tunes in their parents garage. By the closing crash of “Grange” it feels like the best summer of your past fifteen years just passed before your eyes in dizzying montage with a perfect soundtrack pushing it along.


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Marielle V Jakobsons – “White Sparks”

An entrancing video from Marielle V Jakobsons of Date Palms, who blends synth float with her self-designed macro-cymatic instrument, which manipulates sound and light to create stunning visuals in water. The track is deeply hypnotic psych reminiscent of her work with Date Palms but expanding into an even more meditative state. She blends synth, violin, flute and bass with her own whispered vocal passages for state of calm that dips into cosmic territory, bending drones into subtle shape over the course of the track’s five minutes. Her album is out August 19th through Thrill Jockey and sounds like an absolute stunner.

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Frankie & The Witch Fingers – “Get Down”

I’ve already heaped praise on Frankie & The Witch Fingers’ sophomore LP, but anything worth saying is worth saying again. The clip for album standout “Get Down” mixes creepy laundromat antics, psychedelic substances and 80’s graffix for a mindblow video that’s fitted to melt your brain into goo. “Get Down” is probably one of the choicest cuts from the LP, drivin’ and sweatin’ and shot solid with a bass riff that’s primed to dance. If you haven’t picked it up, its gettin’ to be time. Its out today.

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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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