Posts Tagged ‘Aussie Indie’

Smarts – “Real Estate Agent”

Another jolt here from Aussie band Smarts and it’s just as fun as the first. The band’s really nailing the Midwest boredom breakers — echoing an era of punk that was caustic yet careening towards sneered and smeared fun. This time around the band ups the pacing past practical and lets the track wobble in and out of control with only the thick blast of horns keeping this one tied to the tracks. “Real Estate Agent” truly chomps down hard on the Geza X and Black Randy vibes they profess a love for, but there’s a bit more of a party atmosphere to what Smarts are laying down, feeling like they might have hit a raucous house party alongside Pylon down about Athens in the ‘80s before a tour of the American rust belt. The band throws a bit of glitter into the eyes of punk purists, blinding the ornery itchers in the process. They don’t take themselves too seriously and like a few of their Geelong peers the feeling makes the hooks hit twice as hard. This one’s coming down from Anti-Fade and Feel It in tandem and believe me the whole thing is a damn delight.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE or HERE.

0 Comments

Chloe Alison Escott – “Back Behind The Eyes Again”

The last time I had mention of Chloe Alison Escott, it was with an entry to Chapter Music’s healing Midnight Meditations compilation. The song was a far cry from Chloe’s work with The Native Cats. While the spare delivery remained, she’d traded propulsive post-punk for a midnight sigh of piano. There was mention of a full album in the same light and now further pieces of that album, Stars Under Contract fall into place. “Back Behind The Eyes” is just as worn, weary, and smudged with rain as her last single and it precedes an album of worn resolve, self-acceptance, and growing into the person you’re trying to be as an adult.

While it seems this one has been bubbling under the skin — a part of Escott’s live repertoire in flux for several years — the feelings finally fit into the emotional puzzle that’s laid out on Stars Under Contract. Escott mentions “I wrote “Back Behind the Eyes Again” 12 years ago. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get around to recording a song, and the lyric and the structure will evolve over that time; in this song I changed one word (“another” to “better”) and it’s otherwise exactly as I played it at shows in my 20s. It’s about drifting in and out of yourself, and about dramatising life with music.”

While the nervous energy of The Cats has been burnt off of these songs, the scars that Chloe brings to light are still there, acting as a thread tying the new album to her past. The song seems like a moment of healing, a reminder not to pick at the wounds, but to be mindful of them to let them heal. The album is out October 16th from Chapter Music.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Smarts – “Cling Wrap”

A defibrillator to the soul from a new Aussie unit (with some familiar names) out of Geelong. Smarts nail nervy, synth-jolted punk to the wall and the first cut off of their upcoming LP Who Needs Smarts, Anyway? is an absolute bumper car wreck of sprinting guitars, gulping at serotonin and slamming into whatever’s in their way. The band brings Anti-Fade helmer Billy Gardner (Cereal Killer, Ausmuteants) back together with his Living Eyes bandmate Mitch Campleman. They round out the crew with Sally Buckley keeping the synths greasy, Anti-Fade regular Jake Robertson (School Damage, Hierophants), and Stella Rennex (Bananagun, Parsnip) on sax. Like Devo knocked up half a speed and bent through wonky wiring, the band is chomping at the squirm-punk pedigree of the loner class of the ‘70s. They’re picking through the garbage of Suburban Laws and Black Randy & The Metrosquad while finding some purchase with the Midwestern glue brigade from Ubu to Dow Jones and on through the anti-social teardowns of The Uranium Club. Somehow the players in this crew are constantly exhuming Geza X, but I think that’s a more of a pet project than a selling point. If they connect it to enough bands one of you listeners is bound to check that lost classic. The LP is split between Anti-Fade in Aus and Feel It for US, and I’d recommend getting it locked on your speakers soon.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE or HERE.

0 Comments

Bananagun – “Out of Reach (Maston Remix)”

The debut from Aussies Bananagun was packed with funk breakdowns, a polyrhthmic pulse, and a dash of ’60s soul. The band gives a nice bonus today with the release of a remix for their first single “Out Of Reach.” There’s few better people to tap for ‘60s psych than Frank Maston. He’s lent production talents to Paint and Bifannah, played flute with Olden Yolk and worked up a few great masterworks of his own that perfectly capture a ‘60s Library psych feel. For the remix of “Out Of Reach” he strips away the crackled production and slows the song down into a sultry bit of swooning soul. The chiming guitars are replaced with a gauzy soul-jazz aesthetic and a heavier emphasis on the bass. It’s a nice recasting of the song as summery lounge fare that cools as it caresses. You can nab both the extra track and Bananagun’s latest over at their Bandcamp.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Sunfruits – “Mushroom Kingdom”

Aussies Sunfruits dropping in a last minute dose of psych-funk to let the summer slide away on a proper breeze. The band’s been kicking around for a few years, but this one caught my eye with an Ardneks cover and a dual release between France’s Six Tonnes de Chair and Australia’s Third Eye Stimuli. The song’s pulses into view on bass ripple, liquid-lounge guitar and a barrage of horns, all filtered through a beach party heat wave vibe that feels out of step with 2020, but aspirational all the same. There’s always plenty to love from the South Hemi psych market and the band have been paying dues over the past couple of years. Yet, this double A single, broken up by interludes feels like the band grabbing onto the sound that they’ve been searching for all along. The EP is out September 25th. Grab it now in a handful of limited colors.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Pop Filter

It’s hard to think about The Ocean Party now without the specter of loss hanging over the band. The band’s Zac Denton was taken too soon and it seems that the band needed a break from their former name, leaving The Ocean Party behind along with Zac’s memory. Thus is born Pop Filter, a new nameplate, but with the same bittersweet heart beating underneath. Banksia is packed with rippling jangles, rhythmic twang, and a wealth of self-effacing lyrics that embrace a wistfulness that can only happen in your twenties. The band layers in a good dose of keys in combination with the shift to becoming Pop Filter and the slight twist of New Wave fits in nicely with their Aussie amble. The brightness is a welcome surprise, framing in a crop of tracks that pick at their scars with the kind of tenderness that forms a tightness in the chest.

“Open House” is a sparse, heartbroken track that anchors the midsection of the album. The scars don’t get much rawer than this. The feeling of betrayal, bewilderment, and disappointment is palpable and relatable. The band can often write songs that pull at doubt with a touch of underlying depression, but make it feel comforting. They swerve out of the ache before it becomes unbearable, but the feelings of melancholy never shake from the album completely, even when the melodies shine like blurred sunshine in summer. There’s happiness, but a feeling of guilt that hangs overhead, that nagging feeling that the brighter moments are undeserved. If The Ocean Party must be put to pasture, then Pop Filter is hardly a compromise for those who found solace in their works.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Vintage Crop

No secret around here that I have a penchant for Aussie punk, and some of the best singles banging out these days come not from Melbourne or Brisbane, but from Geelong via Vintage Crop. The band’s bit hard on the live socket swagger of Wire, The Fall, and other such ‘70s spitters with jagged leads and caustic choruses. The record swings from pit-sweat thrummers to the kind of writhing, coiled killers that have made the band such an endearing presence the last couple of years. Serve To Serve Again was recorded with Mikey Young and there’s certainly a reverence for Young’s own ECSR legacy in the mix. With Young at the boards VC are accentuating the spring-loaded attack and brittle ends that have let punk and post-punk copulate in the current Aussie environment to create a sickened and swinging brand of propulsive punk that won’t be pinned to the floor.

Bass lines bulge at the seams, barely fitting into their niche, guitars scorch, slash, dart, and dodge the microphones and atop the glorious din Jack Cherry lays into the louche life with a sneer that can be felt through the wobble of the speakers. Unfurled late-stage capitalism, wage slave doldrums, and the festering tension of a generation left in the lurch all leak into the lyrics. The band wraps Jack’s invective around their supple songwriting, mulling the bile before letting it loose into the water supply. Vintage Crop have been hammering out squirm-inducing sonics for the past few years, but with Serve To Serve Again I do believe they’re peaking.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Sleeper & Snake

With Amy Hill and Al Montfort on the marquee it seems as if their duo Sleeper & Snake should pound out a post-punk tattoo that’s built off of their jangle and jitter with Terry, Dick Diver, and Primo. As with their previous album however, which slunk out into the night last year, the new sounds from S&S are more of a noir dream half remembered through the cracks in the coffin of sleep. The pace crawls as Montfort and Hill sing heat-warbled harmony. Cello saws above a soft snap of drums before a bleat of sax cuts the song into chunks that don’t quite fit into any discernible crate. Unease curdles all around “Flats Falling,” like a nagging memory that won’t resolve or one that’s been pushed to the back of the mind and won’t stay put. Its an itch that refuses to be scratched. Montfort gives a bit of context to the song here as well noting, “Flats Falling is about corrupt, deregulated development in Australian cities producing shoddy housing options. These “investments” are fueled by gentrification and displacement, and they just fall apart. Realestate.com basically, don’t forget it’s all on stolen land in the first place.”

I dunno, living over here in a country disassembled by a real estate con artist and a few hundred or so profiteers, it all sounds a little far-fetched to me, eh? The forthcoming Fresco Shed is out in September from Upset The Rhythm and LuLu.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Buoys – “Linda”

Still hard to miss with the serrated edge of Aussie punk these days and jumping up the ranks of cutters from Cable Ties to Mod Con and Moody Beaches is this new EP / singles collection from The Buoys. The band’s been letting out some fraught and fun gems over the last couple of months but they’ve saved the most savage for last, letting out this video for the gnarled and snarled “Linda” on the eve of the EP’s release. The song’s built on a fifteen foot riff and the tension of toxic acquaintances. The guitars shift from rubber twang to a battering ram rumble by the time the song crashes to an end. Fans of Bleached who were looking for a little less pop on the last outing should find a lot to love here as well. All This Talking Gets Us Nowhere is out now.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Floodlights

The jangled goodness that rolls out of Australia never flags and Melbourne’s Floodlights have taken up the emotionally scarred mantle from many of their peers – echoing The Bats, The Chills, Goon Sax, and more specifically feeling like a less cheeky version of Scott and Charlene’s Wedding. Like the latter there’s a conversational, working stiff quality to the band’s debut. The songs act as pub rally points, but underneath the hooks, there’s a searching unsureness that’s looking to find where the band members fit into a world that seems daunting by any measurable standards. The discomfort bubbles through From A View giving the songs an itch even when their melodies sway towards earworms. On “Don’t Pick That Scratch,” and “Glory of Control” the band lays out a world that’s unforgiving, mired in wounds that won’t ever heal fully until they’re attended to properly. “Scratch’s” premise is perhaps a sentiment that engulfs 2020 more than any other, as each day pulls back a layer of systemic dysfunction and piles on a few more layers of dystopian atrocity.

While the lyrical content might get take the focus, the band’s not letting the underlying aesthetics fall by the wayside. While the references above might start to give you a picture of where the band is coming from they don’t stick to jangle-pop as a rote means. Goon Sax and Scott and Charlene act as good modern equivalents because like Floodlights they’re injecting a certain element of tension and Floodlights have that in tow. The more I listen this actually begins to cross this over into Billy Bragg territory. Though perhaps not as outright political in nature, there’s a bit of a Brewing Up feeling to Floodlights’ debut that can’t be completely shaken once its felt. After a soft lead in on their Backyard EP this debut establishes the band as ones to keep a watchful eye on in the coming years. It’s a grower that takes more than a few listens to latch, but I’d recommend putting in the work to let this get under your skin.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE (out in Australia now, US August 28th).

0 Comments