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Doe – “Heated”

UK trio Doe follow on their 2016 album, Some Things Last Longer Than You, with a sophomore record for Glasgow’s Big Scary Monsters (on Topshelf in the US). The album embraces themes of getting older, finding freedom in maturity and solace in death. While the subject matter is heavy, there’s still plenty of room for hooks. The first track, “Heated,” dredges up visions of ’90s crunch pop from Veruca Salt and they’re picking at a lot of the same alt bones that drove last year’s standout from Charley Bliss. The band aren’t content to be backed into a genre corner, though. The track pushes and pulls between quiet, grinning contempt and explosive fuzz riffs that push for the kind of catharsis that fits their aim of growing up without letting the anchor of youth weigh you down or tie you up. Gonna want to hear some more of this record, but this is a nice opening shot and a step up from their DIY past.

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Our Girl – “In My Head”

UK indie trio Our Girl have had some excellent run up singles in advance of their debut, Stranger Today. They pair their latest cut, “In My Head,” a dark, rumbling burner slashed by moody guitars, with a surreal cut n’ paste video that drops the second Michel Gondry reference of the day. The band cites The Science of Sleep as an inspiration and it’s easy to see how the collage work pulls from his melancholy love story. The track is a sobering tale of miscommunication with a cooldown hook and a frothing scratch of feedback that threatens menace from behind the somber vocals. The band’s record arrives next month and this video serves as a pretty strong argument in favor of putting in on the ol’ wishlist.

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David Israel – “Car Commercial”

Some prime jangle-pop coming your way from David Israel via his new single “Car Commercial.” The cut is off his recent LP for Austin Town Hall’s in-house (in-hall?) label. Built on a bed of buoyant guitar, the track lopes along with a quick step before aerating into a spacey mid-section that sends the sunny surf vibes off the rails and into the cosmos. Underpinning Israel’s deep-set vocals, the track is a bundle of contradictions that all work to form an alt-pop nugget that’s hard to shake.

The visuals here bring to mind Michel Gondry’s DIY dreamscapes, pulling prospective car buyers through a virtual reality headache with Israel giving the hard sell. While the single’s a standout, it’s definitely worth checking in to the rest of this record as well. Its got a bevy of Austin talent on board including members of Literature, A Giant Dog, and Sweet Talk. Check out the cable access vibes and sprightly jangles above.



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The Goon Sax – “Make Time For Love”

For their sophomore album, Brisbane’s The Goon Sax have taken all the scrappy sincerity and stripped back brilliance of their debut and pushed harder until they’ve shined their sound into pop perfection. The band is till hitting on some heavy hitters from the new wave / post-punk grab bag (they cite time spent with Liquid Liquid and ESG on the speakers) and much of that era’s rhythmic jerk comes through on “Make Time For Love.” The song’s nowhere as dry as either of those would let on though, pinning those rhythms to the grandiose melodies of Talking Heads and Talk Talk, then flooding the track with sprightly horns and swooning strings.

They do the song one better by conjuring up a dazzling video that’s filled with fantasy, animation and stark black and white relief. If I weren’t already pretty damn excited for this follow up to their 2016 sleeper hit, this would likely be the kicker. The new LP is out September 14th and from all accounts this one’s going to be a high-water mark for the band and 2018.



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The Babe Rainbow – “Eureka / Alan Chadwick’s Garden”

The Babe Rainbow shine on a second single from their newly released album Supermoon. “Eureka” blends psych-funk hooks with eastern touches of raga that blend right in to the instrumental follower “Alan Chadwick’s Garden.” While the album has a few lulls, both of these tracks show the band dipping into their pop and psychedelic strengths. They pair the tracks with footage from the 1971 documentary ‘Garden’ directed by Michael Stusser, and the period appropriate vibes and garden imagery feel like a perfect match for the tracks.

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School Damage – “Assimilate”

In further proof that 2018 will be bad on my wallet, good on my ears, Melbourne’s School Damage have a new album on the way. Their sophomore LP for Chapter Music starts off with “Assimilate,” a slightly less bare bones take on their New Wave / Post-Punk bullseye that usually sees them working the wires of Young Marble Giants, Galaxo Babies and Devo into a nervy pile of art punk. The band still cuts Exacto angles out of pristine pop, tacking their guitar shards to staccato beats and pillowy synths that refuse to sit still. This time ‘round though the band is filling up every corner of the composition, fleshing out the edges with a bigger sound that’s a step removed from their brittle, yet charming debut. In particular Carolyn Hawkins (see also: Parsnip, Chook Race) fills the ‘phones to the brim with her barbed accusations and those synths buzz like a wasp’s nest rendered out of cotton candy. Can’t wait for the rest of this one to come tumbling down the line, but for now “Assimilate” and its equally effervescent collage barrage of a video are sating my need for pop wobble today.



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HoT To RoT – “Kindred”

A couple weeks back Melbourne’s HoT To RoT ripped the lid off their new single “Kindred,” a ferocious bit of agit punk that’s aerated by guitar shrapnel and fueled by the ripped n’ torn vocals of singer Blaise Adamson. The band compliments that already shining single with a dizzying video that only serves to put the track back on repeat around here. The song is off a planned EP for Hysterical Records due out later in the month. If you’re still unfamiliar, use this as a moment to get into the band’s brand of battered and bruised catharsis. Keep your eyes out for that EP, if the rest is half as potent as “Kindred,” we’re all in trouble.



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The Shifters – “Work, Life, Gym, Etc.”

Excellent crossover between my love of Aussie pop and my love of Trouble in Mind today. The label announces the release of the debut from Melbourne’s The Shifters. The LP was recorded by Total Control/Dick Diver/Terry shambolic pop treasure Al Montfort and it bears a bit of resemblance to the shaggy pop of recent work with Terry with spillover appeal for fans of the shaggy shake of The Stroppies or the discomforting burn of Wireheads and Vintage Crop. Definitely in line with the newer school players of South Hemi slacker pop, but the single also boasts a nice fidelity bump from their previous 7″s via Montfort’s production. All in all, bodes well for an album of similarly shaded jangle nuggets when this one lands in September.

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Warm Drag – “Cave Crawl”

Warm Drag’s first single slinks out of the gate, coating everything in its path with an ooze of psychedelic excess and basement lounge sex appeal. The band is comprised of Paul Quattrone, who’s done time in Oh Sees and !!!, and singer Vashti Windish. Blending the aesthetics of his respective resume entries, Quattrone is building guitar psychedelics on samplers, dropping fuzz-choked guitars and synths echoplexed beyond their breaking points on top of pounding beats that have him referencing The Bomb Squad’s production. The whole thing is tied together with a low-slung twang that gives things a touch of Western futurism – soundtracking the watering holes of lone gunmen preening through dystopian housing blocks.

Windish, for her part, bursts onto the track with a confidence and cool that is palpable. She’s wrapped Quattrone’s beats and dusted twang around her arm like a mic cable and her vocals seem to twirl the whole track in a practiced precision that’s almost bored with its own show of skill. How this all fits into their upcoming album for In The Red remains to be seen, but it’s a good first look for sure. Paired with remote control happy barrage of images, the video and track are a damn fine freakout that’s built for clubs that skew less bottle service and bros and more leather and blacklight.



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Doug Tuttle – “Twilight”

Embarking on a new tour, Doug Tuttle lets loose a new single that’s swaddled in autumnal psych pop. The track is brisk, yet humid, letting the curl of breath snake through the song’s bittersweet edge. Tuttle is a master of bumping the border of the kaleidoscope, never spinning the dial fully into ’60s pastiche and overt trippiness. Instead he’s making psych for the microdose set, crisping up the edges just a touch and popping those colors into pleasing focus. He accompanies the track with a simple and searching video that’s hitting the same well of longing that “Twilight” taps into. Its a good reminder to get out their and see him while you can, but even if he’s not within shot of a stage near you, this video is a welcome friend to start off the week.

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