Posts Tagged ‘David West’

David West with Teardrops

Ah goddamnit, just when the term supergroup lost its last shred of meaning, David West had to go and assemble The Teardrops, a backing band that would fit the term if they really needed a set in stone label. Thing is, they don’t. The record plays like a collaboration of friends sketching out the best Aussie pop that’s been hurtled down the belt this year. Featuring Bob Jones of Eaters, Louis Hooper of Rat Columns, Mikey Young of Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Raven Mahon of Grass Widow, the friends in particular flesh out a well-oiled pop machine that churns hooks and makes it all just look effortless. It would be impressive on its own if West hadn’t also cobbled together the charming new Rat Columns record earlier in the year, making this his second spotless classic of 2017.

Cherry On Willow is rife with cream-thick basslines that squirm underneath a frothing batch of new wave pop cut high with enough sparkling pleasures to fill out any dream playlist. Taken together, though, the album zigs though the many tessellations that made new wave and post-punk such indefinable genres. He’s dubbing out to blissed atmospheres one minute and cutting us down with knife-edge guitars in the next. West is a master pop chameleon, but his most enduring quality might be his ability to stitch stylistic gaps without making an album sound woefully disjointed.

Cherry On Willow sounds like an arc, a journey mapped out by someone writing a soundtrack rather than an album. He’s put together the highs and lows with precision. West nails down the euphoria and giddy sheen on the title track, then dives into melancholy on “Time To Forget” and the haunting “Swan’s Beat.” There’s plenty to love on his third solo album proper, and for those that are already in David’s corner this album comes as no real surprise, but a pleasure nonetheless.




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Premiere: Rat Colums – “Blinded By The Shadow”

One of my true faves this year has been Rat Columns’ Candle Power LP on Upset The Rhythm. The band turns in a stark video for the absolute standout, “Blinded By The Shadow. The track eschews much of the album’s propensity for jangle in favor of slinking keys and staid bass line; by the time those melancholy strings kick in, you’re more than hooked. It’s a post-punk gem that calls back on all the right bits of the ’80s for inspiration and proves that West and co are truly hitting a peak with this album. The video is as appropriately dressed down as the track, whitewashed and buttoned up. If you’re still missing out on Rat Columns, take today to right that wrong.


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Rank / Xerox

Circling the complete opposite side of the spectrum from David West’s latest Rat Columns LP, which appeared here earlier in the month, Rank/Xerox dives into the claustrophobic chest pains of post-punk. This EP is a scant four songs but each of them are packed with a sense of paranoia and pain that paints a bleak picture of an artist running from some form of truth, be it internal or external. Rank/Xerox have, in the past, facilitated some of the darkest moments in West’s catalog, barring maybe his work with Total Control. After a rather long hiatus since the band’s 2011 LP, it’s good to see them storming back without any thoughts on softening their approach.

From the title-track opener to the lingering grind of “Deletion” the trio bends bone bitten anxiety into a nervy dance with plenty of threats hidden behind it’s teeth. Jangles to popped veins, West is one of the masters of what makes the underground of the ’80s still vital and worthwhile today. M.Y.T.H. is proof that small packages with no room for error can level just as hard as any full length out there.




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Rat Columns

Rat Columns come out strong and swooning on their third album with a charming jangler that’s evoking all my ’80s crushes; from Field Mice to Razorcuts and The Sea Urchins. And with that one setting the tone, quickly followed by the equally hazy hummer “She Loves The Rain,” it feels like one could just buckle in for the kind of true to form homage to C86 that often graces the Captured Tracks or Slumberland back catalogs. However, those who know David West, know that he’s made a career of eclecticism and where he’s been finding his footing on the last few albums and EPs, here the band begins to nail down a record collector’s guide to what made the ’80s tick.

They trade jangles for a quickened pulse of post-punk augmented with soaring strings on “Blinded By The Shadow,” giving the album a subtle about face rolling into the its middle. They knock into Saint Etienne territory on the closer and head into sparse soundtrack work on the album’s title track. West has a true penchant for finding the guiding lines between genres and styles. Where others could easily get too ambitious with melding influences that don’t always click, he massages his songs into a persona that walks well in detached cool and romantic thrall. Perhaps the only part that gets away from him a bit is indulging the length of the aforementioned closer, “Dream Tonight.” The dance jolt is a nice note to end on but as a piece of the pie it could stand a bit of slimming. That aside, Candle Power feels like a real highpoint for West, and a perfect obsession for those of us who still need a dose of Thatcher-era pulse in our lives.

Check out the RSTB premiere of “She Loves The Rain” Below:



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Rat Columns – “Someone Else’s Dream”

David West’s Rat Columns have bounced around a slew of notable labels, from R.I.P. Society to Blackest Ever Black. Though the latter seemed odd for a jangle pop band, its just another testament to their quality output (and perhaps his time spent in Total Control). The band now finds a home at UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm and it seems like a pretty perfect fit. The first single from the band’s upcoming LP, Candle Power, is a sparkling piece of jangle pop bliss that sounds like it was ripped out of the catalogs of Razorcuts, Sea Urchins or early Go-Betweens. It’s completely swathed in a rosy glow that’s hard to shake long after the last chords come clanging to an end. A swooning organ adds just the right touch of fullness to the song’s strum laden lope, clipping along atop a drumbeat that urges listeners to dance uninhibitedly at every turn. Rat Columns have been bubbling at the edges of breaking out for a few years now, but with this album on the rise, it seems like 2017 might be the year they become a household name.

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