Posts Tagged ‘Indie’

Lucille Furs

Chicago’s beat/psych revivalists Lucille Furs send their ’60-dripped pop on export for their latest album, getting a release from French Magazine and boutique label Requiem Pour Un Twister. The pairing seems like a perfect fit. While Chicago’s got a thriving garage scene, there’s something about their lush, starry-eyed pop that seems like it must come from somewhere other than the heartland. The exact mix here shifts like a kaleidoscope and remains a bit hard to pin, but it seems like they might have tripped through London on their way to meet up label heads in Paris. Other than the strong twinge of British Invasion kicking through, the band rifles through a half-stack of your favorite psych-pop touchpoints – swooning over Blossom Toes, Billy Nicholls, and The Pretty Things with some more high-minded harmonies that dip into Nuggets fodder like The World of Oz, Mortimer, and anything connected to Curt Boettcher.

Yet the strongest wafts seem to come from their penchant for dragging all these bits through the silken brambles of Jacques Dutronc and Serge Gainsbourg. These overtones make the Francophile connection all the more understandable. They share both artists’ love for the deeper blades of grass, wrapping their pop in swirls of sound that envelop in verdant tones. That doesn’t leave them swimming in symphonics though, like Dutronc, they know when to swing and when to swoon and they tend towards the former over the bulk of Another Land. The band’s definitely grinding up the past to mix their paint, but rather than recontextualizing it like Temples or Morgan Delt, they’re often painting masters in shifted hues. That’s not to say that their referential tendencies haven’t produced an album that’s a fun ride all the way through. There’s a lot of tip-of-the-tongue, back-of-the-mind moments but the band’s accomplished enough to make their pastiche play perfectly.




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Nots – “Half Painted House”

Memphis’ Nots return to the fold to slap a little more post-punk into an already teeming 2019. The first track off of their upcoming 3 is a tense and taut affair, but unlike many of their peers its not brittle or bouncy in any regard. The band excels at injecting something of a pillowy anxiety into their music – dragging lines down both the shoegaze and post-punk playbooks without committing fully to either one. Bass and snare hammer at the base of the skull while those keys just fill the mind with smoke and Sulphur. The lights seem to flicker and dim in response to the track, charging the air with static, while the walls confusingly sweat with condensation and the lungs fill with humidity to the point of choking. The song’s a conduit of contradiction.

If “Half Painted House” is any indication of where the band is headed on the album, then this threatens to up the expectations on Nots exponentially. This is definitely Nots at their bitten best. The record lands May 10th on Goner.






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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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Chris Forsyth – “Tomorrow Might as Well Be Today” & “Mystic Mountain”

The last record from Chris Forsyth was a monster of guitar grit – his style is emotive, fire-ridden, and fluid, but not flashy or maddeningly technical. Dreaming in the Non-Dream felt like it barely fit into the one LP allowed, especially the namesake shaker. For the follow-up Forsyth has spread the fire onto four sides of wax, for an even heavier statement that begins with these two tracks. “Tomorrow Might As Well Be Today” is a pronouncement of what’s to come. It’s a gauntlet asserting Forsyth’s place in any imagined pantheon, but its quickly supplanted by the hearth-hammered rocker that follows it. “Mystic Mountain” is Forsyth and the Solar Motel band taking root and burning a circle of ash around them not only with the power of their performance but with the fire-throated growl of Chris’ vocals as well. The song-writer doesn’t always chime in with words, but “Mystic Mountain” makes its case for quality over quantity. Like that David Nance LP from last year, this has all the earmarks of an album ready to writhe. Make sure you’re paying attention.



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Kevin Morby – “No Halo”

Excited to see a new offering up from Kevin Morby today. The songwriter’s post-Babies career has only seen him perfect his shaggy L.A. troubadour persona, and with “No Halo” he’s sliding into a refined space – adding a cascade of flutes, stabs of sax, and smoky background vocals to his palette. The song is both a long way from his debut Harlem River, in terms of production, and yet not so removed from the heavy-lidded, heavy-hearted delivery that’s made each new of his records essential. With the expansive approach, Morby also turns in a high-concept video directed by perennial collaborator Christopher Good, who’s been putting his imprint on artists like Mitski, Waxahatchee, Anna St. Louis, and Okkervil River. The new record’s out April 26th from Dead Oceans, which you can apparently pre-order with, a, uh 24-page hymnal and sheet music. I guess. Sure, why not?



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Wand – “Thin Air”

A second slip behind the curtain of Wand’s upcoming opus Laughing Matter lands today. “Thin Air” is a bit burlier than first single, “Scarecrow,” but it too is toeing into the skeletal indie prog left scattered by Radiohead, Mogwai and Godspeed around the turn of the millennium. Starting with the last album the band turned a corner from their garage moorings to push towards more ambitious rock pursuits with an eye towards stadium-sized epochs. However, the band is working decidedly in terms of alchemy rather than retread, picking sense memories from each of those sources and working them into something sinewy and barbed all at once. The track trickles in, only to roll into a ball of feedback by the second half – drawing the needle of their sound through shoegaze shimmers and psych bluster. Both of these pieces point to a bigger, leaner, and headier album from the band than before. I’m eager to see how these lock together and whether they can make the new album’s double length work in their favor or pose a challenge.





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Design Inspiration: Rob Carmichael [SEEN Studios]

I’ve got another great entry to the Design Inspiration series this week (if I do say so myself). If you’ve been even a tangential fan of indie rock over the past ten years, there’s a good chance that you’ve run into covers from Rob Carmichael aka SEEN Studios. From the iconic cover of Animal Collective’s Merrieweather Post Pavilion to career defining works for Panda Bear, Dirty Projectors, Dan Deacon, Born Ruffians, Beirut, The War on Drugs, Cloud Nothings, and Real Estate – Rob’s been shaping the look of indie as much as any designer in the field. As usual with this series, I asked him to name five of his favorite record covers of all time and to delve into how those covers have influenced his own works. Check his picks below and catch up with Rob’s work over at SEEN.

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Shana Cleveland – “Don’t Let Me Sleep”

Shana Cleveland lets out the second single from her upcoming, Night of the Worm Moon, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites of 2019. Much like the previous single, “Don’t Let Me Sleep” languishes in late-night vibes and spectral calm. The song, and album, are a departure from the taut garage pop of her La Luz days, but Cleveland proves that less is more with these affecting and dreamy tunes. The accompnying video is no less dreamy, in fact. Centered on an extraterrestrial concept, the clip is awash in shimmering colors and midnight locales. Its a perfect compliment to Shana’s lullaby pleas. The album is out April 5th, and I highly recommend looking into a copy.

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Drugdealer – “Fools”

To accept Drugdealer is to buy into the notion that reverence for influences can become so fervent that it scratches up against the edges of schtick. There’s a fine line between what Fred Armisen is doing with Blue Jean Committee and what Michael Collins and crew are doing with Drugdealer. It shouldn’t matter so much – 60’s adherents are a rampant among garage and alt-pop types. Riffling through the racks of Nilsson, Fleetwood Mac, Todd Rundgren and Carol King records should be met with the same acceptance for indulgence. This is specially true since here, with the aid of fellow smooth sailor Mac DeMarco producing, Collins nails the kind of studio rat sloughed confidence and slick earworm styles that dominated the AOR airwaves. Naturally these tropes only came to be seen as passe by a generation of ’90s kids railing against the music that dominated their parent’s car radio – hence the rub. “Fools” is almost uncanny in its appropriation and deadly in its accuracy in mining groove-baiting cocaine-cooled visions of Laurel Canyon folk heroes gone glossy. Love it or lump it (I fall in the former camp), you got to admit they’re pulling it off.



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Boyracer – “Strong Arms / Teardrops”

Emotional Response continues to be a lifeline to Sarah Records in the here and now. After a string of reissues, including Even As We Speak, Action Painting, and Boyracer’s own earl EPs, the label is now working with the band on a new album due out later in the year But, bonus on bonus, these two non-album cuts have found their way out into the world early via a 75-run lathe cut single. “Strong Arms” is picks up nicely where vintage Boyracer left off, pinning a splash of fuzz to the jangle that long pervaded the Sarah roster. The song tumbles over itself in pure exhumeerance, veering wildly in its lane and spilling confetti out of the windows as it speeds away. The flip isn’t quite as breathless, but its a jolt of joy nontheless, if you can wrap old habits around Boyracer sneering about streaming albums. For fans of the band’s career (which stretched long after the seminal label folded through Slumberland, A Turntable Friend and Fluff Records) this is another great entry to their pristine run.



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