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.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Wild Raccoon

Another release from the French underground, must be something in the water this week. Wild Raccoon is the nom de noise of Raton Sauvage, who performs as a one man unit, adopting the setup and actually quite a bit of the sound of early Ty Segall records. Sauvage bashes it out with stripped drums keeping time over ragged guitar that’s primed to peel the paint from any room. He augments things slightly on record and the sound winds up bigger than his man with mic and a plan ambitions in the live setting. There’s a bit of psych float oozing in on opener “Sasquatch Arms,” some acoustic tumble on “Half 01,” but in general think back to a young Segall bashing out the blood on his eponymous LP, Horn of the Unicorn and Lemons. In some ways its nice to roll down memory lane, even if that lane’s been well worn and left in the dust by most of the garage crew these days. What transpires is a release that’s fun but so familiar it leaves you checking the tags on the tracks and page on the calendar to see if you are indeed listening to something from ’08 or have perhaps slipped back in time altogether. And that’s probably giving a bit too much credit Ty’s way too. He didn’t invent the rickety bash of garage tracks, he just brought it to the world’s feet in a nice catchy package. In that regard, Sauvage is having fun and so too can you, as long as expectations are set and saddled and your lo-fi love is still in tact.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Le Villejuif Underground

I must be slipping in my old age. How is it that the first time I wrote up Le Villejuif Underground’s single “Since Everything Changes,” I didn’t realize that despite a move of country, the Aussie expat in question, Nathan Roche, was from RSTB fave Camperdown and Out? I must have been too excited about the sounds, but its an egregious oversight nonetheless. Camperdown’s record is by far and away one of those nuggets of brilliance that surfaced and then just disappeared without a trace. They perfectly boiled ’90s influences into the kind of reclined and worn slacker pop that feels like its always just been a part of your life. In that respect, Roche, with his new band are still finding their way down the roads of no particular haste with the same detached slink. True to the city pun this time ’round there’s more of a slackadaisical lean on the Lou Reed river of cool, but not to worry Camperdown fans, the Pavement vein still runs thick. Its just that now Roche is tracing the the tributary from Malkmus to Reed in reverse.

This is the record that acts as a salve for your pent up hopes on Parquet Courts. Its your true north star of bummed out bodega cool, late summer saunter and ground down penniless amble. Everything on their eponymous LP feels like the oldest sweater in your drawer; comfortable, stained and putting on airs for no one. Roche is the only holdover from the Camperdown dates, but he’s trained his new recruits well, they inhabit the rumpled reins of his songwriting with a kind of grace that feels effortless, but never lazy. Its noisy, scarred and bruised but not broken. Its the only way to follow up Camperdown. Drop the mic on one act and pick up in a different town, at a different time with a different name. Its the aimless drift of pop that needs to be in your life. LVF aren’t going to insist on anything but they will help you avoid responsibility for a little while. And is that too much to ask?




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Les Halles – “Thresholds”

Not Not Fun has skewed more mutant disco in the last few years but its good to see there’s still some melted psych odysseys to be found among the band’s varied stable. French musician Baptiste Martin has been crafting psych landscapes for a few years in relative obscurity on labels like Constellation Tatsu and Noumenal Loom and now he’s bringing a double shot of languid washes to NNF. “Thresholds” melds drifting keys with Amerindian flute samples and views them through the undersea ripple of a Jacques Cousteau nature doc, bobbing and lolling in the waves and peering at the sun through the refracted surface above. For those looking to cool down summer days or just melt into the deep green of leaves against sky, this is probably a best bet for the next couple of months.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

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.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Wireheads

Perennial favorite Wireheads are back on the scene with a third record, again for Aussie imprint Tenth Court, and its great to hear their caustic post-punk mature. The Adelaide band’s debut was ragged and unapologetic in its delivery, little wonder that I’d named it one of the great overlooked records of the last ten years. On their third record they ditch the alt pedigree of Calvin Johnson’s Dub Narcotic for homeland sessions that pull in just about everyone that they know. Driving force, Dom Trimboli sketched out the songs and invited friends into the sessions to help flesh them out, resulting in a roster of 20 musicians that includes members of Brisbane’s Bent, Sydney poppers Day Ravies, kindred spirits Bitch Prefect plus Fair Maiden, Men With Chips and The High Beamers. For the most part this ends up bleeding in a bit of beauty to Wireheads’ usual lemon in the wound attack. There’s a loose nature to the album, but strangely it results in some of the band’s most pop moments. The ravaged swagger of “Dedication”, the dark country shuffle of “Proserpina,” the psych pop warble of “Isabella Says” and the last-call balladry of “Banana Fish” all feel like leaps from their chewed wire beginnings.

As the album unfolds there are still a few moments of the band’s squall’s – sax skronk ripping like an inter tube in distress, violin howling at the wind – but for the most part the mixed company seems to have taken them in new directions and those chances pay off. For a lot of bands, tempering their sound usually means losing a bit of vitality, but there’s little anyone could do to sand down the edges of Trimboli’s vocal bite. When he’s singing, its a Wireheads song; doesn’t matter if there are strums or saw tooth licks, the impact hits you just the same. Three albums on the band is still one of the most interesting kicking around guitar rock these days and Arrive Alive stands to prove it.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

1 Comment

The Tweeds – I Need That Record: Anthology

Usually Numero reissues come with lengthy bios and myriad facts about careers gone astray, labels that were pockets of talent or early careers that were overlooked. This one seems a bit oddly rushed for Numero, in that its only available digitally and there don’t seem to be any notes with it. However, for those familiar with their Yellow Pills comp, the name Tweeds should be familiar. They showed up on both the early CD version of Prefill and Numero’s later issue of Buttons. The band was from Massachusetts and issued a small string of singles and EPs from 1977 – 1981, the most famous of which is probably 1980’s Perfect Fit which contains their most lasting tracks “I Need That Record” and “The Girl Who Said No”

Pretty much all of their output is included here, even including an alternate recording of “Underwater Girl” from its inclusion on an ’81 b-side that saw it rerecorded for the release and added an intro. The band apparently included Kenny Gorelick (aka Kenny G, the band of your elevator existence) on keys at one point but its unclear how much of the material he may have played on. In general the band has a lot of delightful, but not especially hard hitting power pop and its safe to say this may be the most definitive release of their music that you’d ever need. The aforementioned “Underwater Girl” might be the best surprise, as its not included on many compilations and its a solid runner of a power pop jam and gives the band a bit of a harder edge. The rest is probably for the true power pop diggers but I’ve always been a sucker for the fringes of the genre. Not holding my breath for a vinyl issue of this but it would be nice to have a bit more background from the label on this one. Barring that, I’ll just cross my fingers that the Buttons series might start back up (please, please, please), it was promising but I’m sure it sorely undersold those soul comps. One can only hope this might be an indication of turning their gaze back towards power pop.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Glenn Donaldson on The Television Personalities – The Painted Word

Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. The kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle. The ones that got away. In the first installment I tapped Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Art Museums, Jewelled Antler Collective) to have his pick at a record that fits the bill. Glenn’s Twitter feed alone is full of enough overlooked classics to fill this feature ten times over, so needless to say I was intrigued. He’s picked Television Personalities’ fourth album, the darkly shaded, The Painted Word. I asked him how the record came into his life and how its affected him and his music.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

Spray Paint

Austin’s Spray Paint embrace the phrase, “no rest for the wicked.” On their sixth album in half as many years they’re hitting more than their stride, they’re pummeling listeners with the most tightly wound, cleanest cut version of their post-punk snarl yet. The record is, as usual, dark and biting, a hallmark of their steel wool grind. It would seem that any band that pushes as hard to release on the schedule that they do, would diminish their well of inspiration; but the trio have a seemingly endless supply of deranged deadbeats, human bile vials and damaged grey matter to chronicle with each impending release. Given their subject matter and no-wave lacerations, there’s little sunshine that finds its way into Spray Paint’s universe. Hell, the refrain on the title track is “seems like everyone’s getting cancer”. So, if you’re looking for that Summer funtime, breeze in the hair album, then maybe search elsewhere.

However, if you’re looking to take the back alley walk to a third shift job in the dead end days of August’s most stagnant heat. If you’re pushing head down through the kind of industrial, throat parched, food desert setting that’s rife with castoffs from the Repo Man casting couch, then by all means Feel The Clamps is perhaps your record of the summer. Its not just a soundtrack to disaffected youth, its a teeth grit grumble of a generation that got the short stick and the frustration that’s keeping them on their feet day to day – clock punching to Spray Paint as the house band of their slide into day’s end. The itching, squirming, pulsating nerve is in here and Clamps is a salve to shelter the soul.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

White Mystery

Outta Control sees White Mystery step away from a lot of their comfort zones and some excursions work and others don’t but in either case there’s a joyous ripple that runs through the record that kinda makes it ok even when things truly get outta control. The band is still at their best when hewing a bit close to the garage rock that bore them through, though here they bring in the jubilant pound of pianos, acoustic strums and noisy squalls to augment the raucous rip of fried amplifier fume that’s been their steadfast companion. In truth, at its heart, there’s a great explosion of bubblegum that’s rearing its head on the album and in that respect there’s a lot of crossover with one of my latter day garage faves, The Dirtbombs’ Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey album from 2013. It gives the album a sense of elastic fun that pushes towards a more pop sound, that’s big and brimming and worthy of its own cartoon band (albeit one that might land on Adult Swim instead of Cartoon Network’s daytime rotation).

The downside to pushing the boundaries is that it doesn’t always work, but any collector of bubblegum pop knows that any gum compendium is never 100% and in that respect the auto-tune laden, modern day pop satirizing “Pacci” is the bum sticker in the bunch, but hey life gives you skip buttons. Its not nearly enough to sour the absolute fun that gushes out of Outta Control. The rest of the album bounds by on spring loaded legs, bopping and swaying and generally sticking in your head like a pop-rocks coated aneurysm of fun. Been a long time coming seeing this band fully embrace their truly outsized personalities and run with it, on Outta Control they feel like they’re having as much fun as anyone listening.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments