Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Fade’

Program

These days the most potent indie emanating from Australia is coming from the ranks of Anti-Fade, no question about it. The label continues their winning streak in 2019 with the debut from Melbourne four-piece Program. The band’s sound is rooted in the tangled punk ends of Pavement, the twang-tipped offerings of Toy Love and even a touch of Go-Betweens’ pop romanticism, but the band stews it all together without letting one flavor favor the top end. There’s even a beefed up whiff of what The Verlaines were aching about, though to be fair Program pair their strums and lyrical pining with a more gnarled and snarled sensibility that gives these songs a rib-sticking quality. They seem so versed in the cross-hairs of Aussie / Kiwi lore that the result is an instantly classic album that feels like its been kicking around the racks for years, just waiting to be plucked from cracked-case obscurity in dollar bin hell and put into regular rotation on the speakers.

The album’s got a breezy effortlessness that doesn’t come off cocky, just surefooted. The players have been knocking around a few other hook-knackered bands in their tenure (mems belong to The Stroppies, The Blinds, Meter Men, DARTS, The Faculty) and their collective consciousness channels the best qualities of their tangential projects into a potent sonic slap. They shuttle between wounded janglers and cock-eyed Aussie self-deprecation with ease and slip on into something harder, licking at the boots of power-pop without ever quite completing the jump. There’s a ‘90s nuance to what they’re doing, but it doesn’t come off as overtly backward tumbling or nostalgic, just reverent about sorting through their influences and making ‘em stick. There aren’t too many stateside that are finding this same uncanny valley and making it their own, though Omni, Uranium Club, and The Hecks come to mind, and Program can hang right next to any one of those bands. I’ve said it before, can’t lose with an Anti-Fade record, so don’t fight it. Get it on the table as soon as you can.



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Program – “Memory”

Melbourne’s Program hit back quickly with a second single from their upcoming Anti-Fade debut Show Me. Slashing their strums with staccato stabs of guitar, the band’s still running down the edges of post-punk and punk and dousing their driving rhythms in a kind of detached delivery that suits them well. “Memory” coils slightly before unfurling into a cozy chorus, but the band’s quick not to linger in the sun too long, diving right back into those driving chords and gnarled twang. The way this one’s shaping up, if you don’t already have Program on your radar, this ought to seal it. The video is a simple setup, feeling very ‘public access TV’ but they don’t need any flash to make this one stick. The album’s out October 18th.

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Program – “Motorbike”

A tightly-wound indie throwback from The Stroppies adjacent Melbourne crew Program is a real charmer with a classic sound and a damnable hook that keeps coming back for more. Twang-curdled guitars light up the the speakers while the band sings about the frustration of social stagnation. It’’s got whiffs of Yo La Tengo,The Go-Betweens, Flying Nun and something more ineffable — a classic rock root that’s leathered and lean giving it a tougher exterior than it lets on. The LP is out October 18th from the constantly consistent Anti-Fade Records.



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EXEK – “Unetiquetted”

Aussie noisemakers EXEK are back with a new LP and a move from Superior Viaduct subsidiery W.25th Records to French post-punk outpost SDZ in Europe, Digital Regress in the US and Anti-Fade at home in Australia. The slinking “Unetiquetted” finds the band haunting the halls of a greasier vision of post-punk — dark, damaged, but still riding a groove that’s hard to ignore. The track is shrouded in a detached debauchery, exhaling cold confidence and oozing bile. The accompanying video in turn looks like staging a freaky dance party in the post-credits of ’90 first person players like DOOM. It’s a hypnotic pairing with the band’s strange magic. The new LP lands September 6th.

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Parsnip

With their move from short-form EPs to a debut full-length, Melbourne’s Parsnip flesh out their indie-pop pedigree while still keeping an off-kilter sense of freewheeling fun. The foursome throwback to an era of pop that was built on the no-frills post-punk model, but leaned heavily towards the whimsical end of the spectrum rather than bristle with the self-serious slingers. With digs into Athens’ long-loved Oh Ok along with touches of indie notables like Confetti and Tiger Trap and just a dash of Mo-dettes, the band revels in strums and sunshine harmonies that bounce around the room in giddy glee. They’re just as apt to twist fuzz bass and nauseous organ into a fit as they are to bounce plaintive picnic guitars off the treetops. Their voices fit together with worn edges — puzzle pieces punched out on a budget, forming gorgeously uneven pictures that win listeners over with their charms despite themselves.

Even though there’s a touch of melancholy that seeps into When The Tree Bears Fruit, its hard not to leave with a smile as this one clicks to a close. Its a quiet saunter of an album, never in a hurry to get to its conclusions, never rushing its ramble. The band seem to be enjoying each and every wobbly note as much a child spinning around in until the dizziness overcomes their ability to stand. Not that these aren’t’ accomplished tunes, the band has a proclivity for hooks and they know how to pack each song with as much crystalized creativity as possible, but theirs no denying that worries drain away while this one’s playing. The record remains on their longtime home at Anti-Fade in their home country — a label worth keeping tabs on if there ever was one, but they split ownership Stateside with Trouble in Mind, who’ve been having a particularly banner year picking up Aussie exports.

While the summer skies are clear and cloudless, it’s recommended that you pop this one on the headphones and take a stroll around. There’s hardly another soundtrack as fitting to keep your spirits up and and take the edge of the week than this album right here.



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Parsnip – “Rip It Off”

The anticipation on this upcoming debut from Parsnip marches on today with the release of the band’s latest video, an intricate, costume-heavy workup for “Rip It Off.” The Aussie foursome lays down an indie pop vision that skews pastoral – strums and plucks, swoons of organ and a gallop of bass. The video is no less a celebration of things less pedestrian. There’s an opulence to the visuals that stands in stark contrast to the folk sway of the song. The video is striking of its own accord, but paired with the band’s plaintive ode, its something of a wonderful contrast, a surreal dip into confusing dreams that beg meaning.

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Parsnip – “Lift Off”

Melbourne four-piece Parsnip have been banging around the Aussie underground for a few years now, showing up on Anti-Fade comps and singles with a delightfully simple sway. The band’s always captured a sort of sun-kissed vision of where post-punk and indie pop clasp hands — the kind that brought the Marine Girls into focus or the type that let Tiger Trap releas smiles on an infinite loop inside your brain. Throw in a good nod or two to late ‘90s power poppers and paisley fallouts like The Apples in Stereo and they’ve been hard resist. The band’s latest single, a prelude to an album on both Anti-Fade at home and Trouble in Mind here in the states, is just as damnably hummable as anything in their catalog. The song jangles and spins, breaks down into girl-gang choruses, and in general brings the rush of childhood back for one more go-round the in the soul. When the Tree Bears Fruit is out August 30th. Be sure to keep it in mind.



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Hierophants

Aussie squirm-pop savants Hieorphants landed a propulsive chunk of post-punk on the chin of 2015 with their album Parralax Error. While the band issued a few singles before and after, its largely the last we’ve heard from the band until a surprise resurfacing this month on Anti-Fade. Spitting Out Moonlight is as twisted and taut as their previous effort, squeezing strains of synth-pop, jumbled jangle, and post-punk pounce into thirteen packed tracks that squeegee the soul. The band, which contains members of ORB, School Damage, The Frowning Clouds, and Ausmuteants revels in knocking the listener off their axis, while at the same time, providing just enough of a blistered beat to shake a dose of dance out as well.

The record benefits from a cache of strong songwriters, and while the needle vacillates through genres pretty freely, it all comes together like a lovingly curated mixtape adorned with shades of crushed velvet, plastic, and chrome. Peeking through the haze, the synth wobble of tracks like “Thoughts of Speech,” and “Carbon Copy” give the album a glue-huffed giddiness that’s immediately wiped to the waste bin by bent tin tangles guitar on “Memory Card,” and there are even a few prog-pegged whiffs that come seeping through the floor boards on opener “Shoemaker Levy” and closer “Everything in Order” with the latter taking the winked patter of Daevid Allen to heart. Its good to have the band back as they solidify their catalog with a sophomore platter as vital as the first. Who knows how long it’ll be before the stars align and a third hits, so enjoy this one while it lasts.



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Hierophants – “Limousine”

Very excited to say that Aussie pop-manglers Hierophants are back on the scene this week. The band, which features members of ORB, Frowning Clouds, Ausmuteants, Parsinp, and School Damage among others returns with their first album in five years and the first track’s a perfect extension of their warble-pop legacy. Among the ranks of the Geelong punk panel Hierophants have always stuck out for their adherence to a slower, slimier, hot-house vision of post-punk. There are no brittle edges in Hierophants world, but the floor gives way without notice and everything seems to be covered in a pungent gel of pop weirdness. “Limousine” is a slow-motion shuffler with an ode to dubious wealth. There’s a feeling of artifice that crumbles under the band’s used-car slink. The track feels as if its constantly slipping away like new money hustlers trying to impress with style over substance, and ultimately lacking either. Gonna want to keep an eye on this one when it comes out May 24th.



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Gonzo

Geelong sweat merchants Gonzo offer up a sophomore LP, for Aussie garden of delights Anti-fade and its a twitchy whollop of an album that hits all the sweet spots like a sack of oranges to the face. The record jumps straight back into the battery-acid bash that surged through the synapses of their debut, only more refined and running a newer razor down the face with twisted blasts of guitar. Like US contempo’s in Uranium Club and Lithics or UK chord chewers Sauna Youth, they have a penchant for mixing mangled metal licks with a socially sour attitude that walks through the streets swinging the mic from the neck, begging to be beat, berated, or bested. The record is more than no-frills. It might actually accrue negative frills and owe a debt of audio drapings to the listener by the time the last bars click to a close.

Gonzo doesn’t seem fussed about it in the least, though. The band is comfortable at home scraping the sores for inspiration and they channel every inch of their chafed n’ chapped aesthetic into Do It Better. I for one have welcomed the caustic crush of the new wave of nihilistic rock action figures and Gonzo are a collector’s bunch (grab the four pack to trade with friends). The band spends the bulk of DIB‘s run licking the 9V for just a twinge of feeling. The record fizzes and flails just the right ways. It spends a good five minutes slamming its head into the cinder block basement to get enough blood to slide down the strings. Gonzo will chew wire for you. Gonzo will drive you to the airport, Gonzo will sit your kids and sell them back at market value. Gonzo will notarize your post-it notes. They’re living the mundane and spitting it back into grey lumps so you don’t have to. Its about time you locked in and appreciated it.




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