Traffik Island – “Charlie Is My Darling”

One of last year’s great surprises was the solo debut from Zak Olsen as Traffik Island. Zak’s been a fixture in Aussie indie for a while popping up in ORB, Frowning Clouds, Thibault and Hierophants before going down the road of psych-pop with a folk heart, dredging up come Syd Barrett, Simon Finn, and Kevin Ayers comparisons with his off-kilter warble. The last album was produced by Library recordings savant Frank Maston, though its Olsen’s new cut that sounds like its got more of Frank’s influence all over it. “Charlie Is My Darling” pulls away from the vocal folk and into an instrumental groove thats’ bright and soaked in sun and breeze. This time around Traffik Island is hinged on Mark Mothersbaugh synth quirk and looping samples, but its still got a timeless quality to it. There’s still a filter of the ‘60s laid over an aughts mentality. Apparently this ties together the past and the future, but that only makes me wonder what the future might bring. The new LP, Peanut Butter Traffik Jam is out February 21st from Flightless.



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OOIOO

As with her time in The Boredoms, YoshimiO’s own outlet OOIOO takes rock as a suggestion, moving instruments through clouds of noise in chaotic bursts. The sounds on nijimusi swarm from seething, stuttering percussive brambles through synth ether leaks and into angular guitars gutters choked by the angles and barbs. Entering into an OOIOO album comes with an understanding that, like surrealism or psychedelics, the world will shift and you’re likely not the one in control of when and how. Sounds penetrate from all directions. The listener must be ever vigilant or ever pliable, whichever suits your sway. YoshimiO is a master of mayhem, but she makes it seem like a sensible scramble once the gears start clanking into the second or third track.

OOIOO is like an auditory toss into the woodchipper, floating among the debris the patterns begin to emerge and the seemingly unhinged becomes a mechanism for rhythm and movement. The record enters itself high among the band’s ever-expanding catalog. Seemingly its no quiet coincidence that one of their best, Gold & Green was just given a new life by the label. The two pair well as poles of pulse in Yoshimi’s universe. Goes without saying, if you’re already plugged and pulsating on the OOIOO wavelength that this will continue to crinkle your soul. If this is the first time, quite honestly, nijimusi is a nice entry point as well, classic as ever but overwhelming just the same.

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Kyle Forester – “Know What You’re Doing”

On his sophomore LP Kyle Forester (Crystal Stilts, Ladybug Transistor, Woods) finds himself enmeshed in worn-in comfort and cracked bittersweet soul. It’s easy to feel the warmth of the record from the glow of “Know What You’re Doing,” but there’s more at work here than just a hummable melody. The song bends in the breeze, soaks in the late autumn sun, but it also sighs with an aged soul that’s quietly restless. The song has an ache to it that’s hard to shake. For all the auburn shimmers, the song has a lonesome shadow that trails long behind it – tied up with age and doubt.

Despite the melancholy mood, Kyle found the song came naturally, slipping out of his fingers quickly. He muses, “I read this thing one time about how John Lennon’s favorite songs of his own were the ones he wrote in one sitting, like “Across the Universe”. I’m no John Lennon, but I also wrote this song really quickly and it’s probably one of the reasons I feel a lot of fondness for it. I suppose it’s about being surprised by the expectation one feels as a adult to “know what you’re doing”, like just in general. That’s never felt particularly natural to me. Michael O’Neill (Crickets, High Time, MEN) plays what is in my opinion a killer guitar solo in the middle and I’m really proud of the fact that this one has a real “outro”, I really like outros.” His new LP, Hearts In Gardens is out February 21st.


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RSTB Radio WGXC: January

New year, New radio here at RSTB. Tying up some of the last bits to come in from 2019 with new tracks on the way for 2020, the first show of the year boasts songs from a new Brian Chippendale/Ty Segall collaboration, site favorite Cable Ties, plus new tracks from Matt Lajoie, Mapache, and Wax Machine. Check out the full tracklist below and stream the show over at WGXC.

::Playlist::

Matt Lajoie – Everlasting Spring /// Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane – Trillium /// The Serpent Power – Gently, Gently /// Wax Machine – Shade /// – The Proper Ornaments – Black Tar /// Teddy and The Rough Riders – Martini /// Mapache – Life On Fire /// Wooden Wand – Young Face /// Minami Deutsch – Bitter Moon /// Lay Llamas – Silver Sun /// Mythic Sunship – Last Exit /// “Blue” Gene Tyranny – for David K. /// Mikael Ramel – Flodet /// Dom & The Wizards – The Book of Timothy /// Sleeper & Snake – The Lucknow Sound /// Hierophants – Carbon Copy /// Program – They Know /// Gonzo – Never Say Never Again /// The UV Race – Act Like Them /// Wasted Shirt – Double The Dream /// Cable Ties – Sandcastles /// Sic Alps – She’s On Top /// Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Vicariously Living /// Alien Nosejob – Weight of the World /// Huevos II – Sandy Goes /// ABC Gum – Murder In My Heart /// The Gonks – I’m A Leaker /// The Lemons – Vegetated /// The Motorcycle Boy – Big Rock Candy Mountain /// The Telephone Numbers – I Took A Walk /// RVG – Alexandra /// Bill Fay – Filled With Wonder Once Again

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Alien Nosejob

Constantly in motion, Jake Robertson has kicked out records with Ausmuteants and School Damage over the last couple of years and is back spinning the genre dials of Alien Nosejob. His solo banner leaves room to explore and, in the past, Alien Nosejob has found footing among disco, electronic rumble and punk. This time the tides turn more to New Wave, with those punk impulses fading into a keyboard quease that’s got love for The Units and Devo, but also knows that the Mongoloid years were weirdcore at their best. Shades of The Clean crop up to give the record more of a close-to-home feel and Robertson manages to stuff all the influences into the grooves with a nice balance.

Alien Nosejob has seemed like its chafed to fit into its last couple of iterations, so its nice to see Jake finding a real comfort zone on this record without letting us feel comfortable. The record relishes the squirm that infected much of the best early New Wave and synth-punk. That feeling of getting saddled with this skin and figuring out how to mold it into a shape that fits comes through each and every note. Night sweat sucrose courses through the veins of the record, keeping it peeled and panicked even when it seems at its most accessible. This is a rock record for the insomniac armada, the ones kept awake by the EMF energies of a throbbing technological hangover. It can’t sit still so why should you? Cheers to Alien Nosejob for keeping the Aussie Underground from getting complacent. Suddenly Everything is Twice As Loud is a gulp of glue for a year that won’t let us ease in slowly. Drink deep.



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Clamm – “Keystone Pols”

A new one to knock you off your moorings from Aussie threesome Clamm. The band hits the same volume-fried, hardcore chewed rock action that fellow South Hemi alums Civic and Bench Press seem to be socking at and it sweats as hard as any of their compatriots. Featuring members of Gamjee and Dragoons, the trio engages in a breathless punk pummel that uses its brutality to lift up an anti-violence, anti-consumerism screed that nails the leadership to the door in less than three-minutes of whiplash hit on “Keystone Pols.” Like the bulk of their album, the song feels driven, sealed tight, and set to crush with each new spin ‘round the turntable.

Jack from the band gives a little insight into the push behind the track, “Keystone Pols was a song written from the perspective of a government,” he notes. “It speaks of this ominous and aggressive body that seems to see all but will be quick to forget certain groups of society (or never recognize them at all really). I remember watching these old silent comedy films called the Keystone Kops that show these incompetent policeman running around the place. When we were writing the song I just started shouting Keystone Pols because I thought it was funny that behind this ominous body referenced in the song are just some incompetent politicians.”The band’s new LP Beseech Me is out January 24th. Take a few runs through the track and tell me that doesn’t grab ya.



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Miquela – I A De Sers

I can always count on Finders Keepers to dig through the offbeat foreign language bins and scoop out the records that need re-examining. Prior to this review I could honestly not have told you that there exists a dialect native to Southern France, Northern Italy and parts of Spain called Occitan. I could certainly not have told you that a record label (Ventadorn) that was dedicated to solely releasing records in the dialect in the ‘70s, but this gem was sprouted from the Venn Diagram of these circumstances. The record is the sole album recorded by Miquela, though it was preceded by a single and she’d go on to work with a folk-rock combo called Lei Chapacans latter on. The record was recorded in a classroom studio, but sounds like it was given over to much more monied locales than this. The austere setup belies the fact that its threaded with strings, brass, accordions, and lush orchestration – jazz and folk touches that bump against the quietude of hidden harbors.

The record, quite properly, feels like a secret. The folk songs, indecipherable to those who aren’t versed in Occitan, seem like a scripture from a long-lost enclave. Miquela’s vocals hang in the air like cold fog, weighted with sadness and sorrow. The supporting cast is no less impressive, having picked up collaborators from her surround Occitan musicians, giving this less the air of a commissioned document (which it was) and more of a treasured gem (which it also is). The record has been long out of print, but with this reissue the movement of Occitan folk and Miquela’s contribution are reignited for a new generation.




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Cable Ties – “Sandcastles”

Super happy to have this track in the box today. Cable Ties have long been simmering in the Aussie underground and have positioned themselves as one of the most ferocious bands in the country. I’m pretty sure that RSTB yelled out every single that came through the channels in the last couple of years hoping that everyone would share in the joy, pain, indignation, and invigoration that the band embodied. Seems like someone else was listening.

The band are expanding their reach with a new record, Far Enough, released as a split between their old home at Poison City and Merge here in the States. The first single “Sandcastles” takes on the gatekeepers of activism who are more concerned with language and codes of behavior than inclusion and change. The song, like so many of their others, simmers with a barely contained bile. When singer Jenny McKechnie turns her sonic sweep on a target, there’s no mercy, no restraint. The band are heirs apparent to X-Ray Spex and Au Pairs, a guiding force for a new generation. Damn glad they’re out there steering the rudder of change. Far Enough lands March 23rd on Merge.



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Mapache – “Life On Fire”

Shortly after bringing the country croons of their eponymous 2017 LP back into print, Yep Roc announces a new LP from Mapache, From Liberty Street, due out March 20th. The distinctly West Coast duo spent their last record distilling the country-folk foldings of Flying Burritos, Gene Clark, Beachwood Sparks, and The Byrds, and they’re continuing to find footing in the salt-scrubbed eddies of similar terrain on “Life On Fire.” With veteran collaborator Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Allah-Lahs) in the mix, they settled down into a home-recorded setting that only gives the songs more intimacy. “Life On Fire” is practically reclining in its urge to strip the stress from your day. The song dips just below the horizon, squinting against the afternoon light and letting the bittersweet bliss sigh out in every direction. If you missed the last LP, catch up and get this on your calendar.



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Sore Eros

The histories of RSTB and Sore Eros are fairly intwined. A long running fixture on the site, the band also graced the first show ever booked under the banner of RSTB at Northside festival a million years back. So, its only fitting that as the band releases their swan song it should wind up here. Robert Robinson has been holding the spark, but the band drifted to different coasts and doesn’t find themselves working live so much any more. Enter engineer/producer (and the force behind The War On Drugs) Adam Granduciel, who was able to coax the band’s distant members back into the studio for a fitting sunset on the band. The band simmers in a brand of soft-focus psych — part folk’s whisper, part hypnogogic shimmer, and here, part sun-kissed West Coast foam rolling back out to sea. The low-light linger adds a nice touch to sound and gives the whole record a relaxed nature that reverberates calm and coolness.

The record orbits around the ten-minute plus roil of “Ocean Tow,” an unusually extensive cut from a band who usually keeps things in the pop song range. The stretch works and they slide down the movement chute as the track folds and unfolds itself in billowing layers . Floating around the centerpiece, the band pings through the echoplex quasars, feeling out the foam with a bittersweet bent. Though this may be their last, the record makes a strong statement of purpose for Sore Eros. They were never at the forefront, but for those that dug into their tender psychedelic heart, it was a welcome journey.




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