Posts Tagged ‘aussie’

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – “Back In The Corner”

Very nice to see Aussies Scott & Charlene’s Wedding back on the release schedule this year. After a three year break the band is back with a new EP, When in Rome, Carpe Diem and the first cut has them hip-swinging and pouting through their very best Velvets take. “Back in the Corner” is loose and strummin’, bringing out that Lou flair and swagger that they’ve hinted at prior and leaning into it wholesale this time around. Making songs feel like an effortless pop gem is what the band does best, but there’s some thing more malleable about their sound this time around. They’d always had a mussed hair quality to their songs, but this one feels like its got the coif greased and the leathers on. It’s a bit sinewier than their last couple of records. A real stunner that begs for the listener hear more of this EP. The record lands November 29th (so you don’t have to wait long) on Bedroom Suck.





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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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Thigh Master

Aussies Thigh Master tackle their sophomore LP, jumping to US garage enclave Goner for a wider release this time around. Pushing the palette far beyond their debut, the band digs into the jangled jewels in the catalogs of The Bats and The Clean for inspiration, without making it sound like they’re too stuck on the past. Shot through with the requisite amount of shaggy confidence, affable hangdog humor and self-deprecation that makes up a good portion of their homeland contempos, Now For Example tumbles and squelches its way into your heart. The songs ramble, loose and lean, like a good conversation rather than a pitched and prim vision of pop.

The band picks apart the barbs that stuck from the early Flying Nun days, letting their guitars snag and tangle through hooks that just barely hold together, but always manage to hit their mark, nonetheless. They’ve got charms, as the inclination to name yer band after a Suzanne Sommers TV-marketed weight loss squeezer might imply, and those charms go far to endear Now For Example in a field crowded with Aussies hitting similar marks. The band’s harmonies warble, but sound sincere, with an urgency that turns to smiles every time. It’s a damn fine record that should do the Brisbane set proud. Gonna want to get this one on the table and get the windows thrown wide. The neighbors need to hear this.



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Possible Humans’ Steve Hewitt on bZARK – The Welcome Storm

If you’ve spent any time haunting the halls of RSTB you’d probably notice that I have a soft spot for Australian indie. While most of their countrymates have been mining the offbeat jangles of The Clean or the scratched punk proddings of Toy Love, Possible Humans have taken a scrape through some American alternative highlights – Dinosaur Jr., Volcano Suns, R.E.M. – and come out with a sound that’s payed homage to the era without becoming a complete love letter. Their debut was issued in a scant run of 200 on the great Hobbies Galore and now gets its own US / worldwide issue on Trouble in Mind. Steve Hewitt from the band sent over a pick for the Gems series and it shines some light on an Aussie nugget from his youth.

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Hideous Sun Demon – “Can’t Live Like That”

Been a while since I’ve had a track from Aussies Hideous Sun Demon, but they’ve been constantly plugging away in their homeland, slinging sweat rock for the indie crowd. With their latest EP, Good Time out now, they hit on another basher of a single. “Can’t Live Like That” espouses some level of self-care, at least to the point of not letting one’s health completely slip from view. Vocalist Vincent Simpson rattles off his woes before finally blurting, “Don’t Want to end up like Mark E. Smith, dead at 60, dead at 50, dead at 40, dead at 30”. The song starts off tightly wound, rhythm section clicking and then devolves into a cacophonous splash of sound. This year has been slightly quieter on the Aussie front for me, but this one proves there’s still a lot of juice in the South Hemi motor. Check the frothing video above.

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Sachet – “Nets”

A nice cut outta South Hemi enclave Tenth Court works as a great introduction to Melbourne’s Sachet. The foursome makes springy indie pop that’s tethered to a muscular strum, male/female harmonies swirl above a flex of bass and head nodding snap of drums. The band has emerged from the hollowed hull of Day Ravies and they share an affinity soft angles and gentle harmonies. “Nets” starts in sweet and swaddled, seemingly a doe-eyed indie-pop strummer before it turns the tension up in the second half, crashing through the speakers with steely sincerity. The song precedes their sophomore album of the same name set to be released in September. I’d advise keeping an ear out for that one.



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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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Big Supermarket

If you’ve had an eye on Australia over the last year, then it would be difficult to ignore the lot of talent that’s been bubbling out of Hobbies Galore’s corner of the country. The label’s given us excellent records from Possible Humans, Alex McFarlane, Blank Realm, The Green Child, The Stroppies, and Blank Statements and they slipped this little gem out from Big Supermaket last year. The issue in the States has always been that Hobbies G’s works are hard to come by, so its always good news when someone like Tough Love gives a wider bullhorn to their bands (they’ve also issued Blank Statements and Stroppies records). Big Supermarket shares a great deal of aesthetics with their labelmates – employing the jangle vs. jitter of keys that The Stroppies prefer and the low-key charisma employed by MacFarlane on his own solo works.

The band’s an offshoot of Aussie stalwarts The Stevens, with songwriter Travis Macdonald taking the lead here. mumbling his way through the obfuscation and clawing at the haze of pop through a plastic bag. Worth noting that The Stevens also features MacFarlane (who runs Hobbies) so it’s all in the family here. There’s a more muffled charm to Big Supermarket than MacDonald’s previous haunts though, turning down the scrappy jangle for a more introverted wade into the lonely waters of downer pop. Compared to their compatriots they’re exploring a murkier muck at times, hiding their soapbox behind a soap-scummed shower curtain of bluster and noise. Big Supermarket’s drums lope and stumble, the keys lurch and the guitars scrape the dead skin secrets out of the back of the mind. There’s a discomfort that puts the band more in league with Total Control’s nihilistic scrape or Native Cats’ anxious anthems. If you missed this the first time around, then Tough Love’s giving you a second chance to creep into the bath, crank the transistor static and submerge for a listen to 1800.




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Possible Humans – “The Thumps”

Another top-notch jangler out of Melbourne and the hotbed of Hobbies Galore. Possible Humans blend roiling twang with the crunch of fuzz and a quick-step beat pushing it headlong down the hill. “The Thumps” builds on their previous LP and a single on Strange Pursuits (home to Day Ravies, Sachet). Like Stroppies, they’ve also cleaned up their act a bit for the new long player and their sound has cohered into a mash of the Stropp’s organ-laced jangle-pop, Twerps loose shuffle, and the taut bass work of The Go-Betweens. The first single offers a lot to love, so its understandable that hopes are high for the full-length coming April 1st. The record was recorded by Alex MacFarlane with the usual Aussie shine-up by Mikey Young. Grab a listen below.






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U-Bahn

The debut from U-Bahn arrives as a right proper wobbly chunk of New Wave weirdness out of Melbourne. The band, formed by synth savant Zoe Monk and guitarist/engineer Lachlan Kenny, holds nothing back in its dedication to the legacy of jerkin’ jitter-punk in its purest forms. The band’s eponymous LP is a frayed-nerve Booji Boy banquet of toasted-cone freak fritter – chomping down the detritus of DEVO, The Units, Starter, and Magazine then spitting them back as hot plastic pellets of song. There are quite a few that want to genuflect at the alter of Mothersbaugh’s heyday, but to truly don the Dome is to embrace the band’s boundless affection for subverting pop’s principles with a dose of torqued perspective.

U-Bahn aren’t just playing dress up in this regard, they’re swimming in the deep end of squirm rather than just soaking their sound in crushed angles of guitar and Stretch Armstrong bass wiggles. The record’s got an undercurrent of kink and cocked-eye towards technology – going so far as to construct a future funk interlude draped in samples from vintage erotica on “Damp Sheets” and waxing poetic about right swiping their way to ecstasy, placenta, the ruling class, and beta male blues over the rest of the slab.

The record’s both timeless and timely. The recent upswing of band’s embracing the plasticine snap of ‘80s miscreant pop is telling, and I say viva the bellyache bliss of Mind Spiders, Uranium Club, Andy Human & The Reptoids, Future Punx, Alien Nosejob, and Wireheads. Now add U-Bahn to the list. We’re back in an era of larger than life political pinatas, its time for some audible chaos to reign. If that starts with a dose of synth punk sizzle, that’s just fine with me.


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