Posts Tagged ‘Mikey Young’

The Green Child

Closing the gap in their long-distance music project and crystalizing the scope of their radiant, baroque strain of synth-pop, Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control) return as The Green Child. The sophomore LP has smoothed many of the discordant edges off of their recordings, without losing any of their brand of warbled weirdness. Propulsive, but staggering slightly, the songs on Shimmering Basset aren’t beholden to many of the ‘80s touchstones that normally bubble up when synth-pop is at play. The pair’s wide array of past endeavors and likely deep shelf record collections may be at the heart of the schism here, and we’re all the better for it. While Total Control is a decidedly more caustic branch of synthesizer storm, a good deal of the band’s tendency towards squirm-addled sounds makes its way into the formula on The Green Child’s sophomore outing. Likewise, while Raven’s vocals add a perfectly icy air that’s throwing the fantasy dreampop of Strawberry Switchblade into a stainless steel vortex with Siouxsie’s offshoot The Creatures, and perhaps a whiff of Altered Images.

Though they’re less straightforward than those influences might lead one to believe, the same spirit of taking pop and letting it warp nicely in the sun appears to be at work. They let their baked Flexi vibes infect the album completely, with a slight psychedelic sheen forming. It can feel as if their songs are born from beaming 8mm videos of the band playing through a wall of prisms, letting the melodies through in blurred brilliance, haloed by rainbow ripples dancing into view. The blending of jangle n’ strum with the pound of electronic pop is tightened on the new album, letting their obsessions bleed into one another as symbiotic forces rather than song to song impulses. The record is darker, with its nails dug deeper into the railing than ever before, this album opens itself wider with each relisten. It’s by no means an immediate catch — the “grower”-type of album in true form. Yet, once the band’s under your skin its hard to extract their grip from your heart nor their silvered hooks from your head.



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The Green Child – “Fashion Light”

The pieces of this new album from The Green Child (Raven Mahon & Mikey Young) are dripping out and their blurred vision of synth pop swims up from the subconscious desires of dreams. The synths defuse through the barrier of sleep on “Fashion Light” with Young adding a restraint swipe of guitar and Raven laying on a glaze of sax. While there are many who are content to simply dig into the past and recycle, The Green Child is creating a sound that could have easily sat between the shelf with Strawberry Switchblade and The Creatures. The band’s truly refined their sound since the first album and that’s in no small part due to this one being put together together in Young’s studio rather than cross continents. The pair don’t play to the expectations of their past bands, creating a gauzy universe within the bounds of these few minutes.

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The Green Child – “Low Desk : High Shelf”

It’s a good week for RSTB faves around here. After a nice entry to the ongoing series over at Looking Glass The Green Child, the duo of Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Total Control, ECSR), are back with a sophomore LP that’s strengthening their sound into something more concrete than their debut. Done trading demos from California to Australia, the pair are now both based in the Aussie seaside town of Rye with access to Mikey’s studio and more time to concentrate on reverse engineering dreampop. “Low Desk : High Shelf” is a propulsive synth-pop cut that’s more than it lets on. With themes cut from Camus’ The Stranger revolving around our ingrained perspective and the absurdity of the angles we find ourselves perched and perceiving the litany of life, its hardly . Raven’s vocals poke through a waft of haze, though the track is decidedly pulsing along on bubbled synth strains and a shimmer of guitar.

The accompanying video attempts to contextualize the themes with a contemporary note from the director, Nemali Hypolite, who sums it up, “When directing this video, I kept one thought in my conceptual orbit; the pursuit of happiness. In the year 2020, it seems irrefutably obvious that racism and its disciples continue to ride on our coattails. An unwelcome guest whose presence rewards only those willing to condemn their brothers and sisters to a life of defeat. If at the root of it all, we’re all sentient beings seeking happiness, who’s to say some of us are less deserved than others? I wanted to experiment with the soft whimsical notes of this song, it’s lyrical depth, and my own indignant interpretation of the insider’s club we call the pursuit of happiness. Thus created a calculated, narrative visual piece. One that employs obvious metaphors, basic colour aesthetics, and tacky gore, but perhaps evokes a more metacognitive reflection.” The LP, Shimmering Basset is out Oct 9th on Upset The Rhythm. Check the video and get this in rotation.



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Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network – “Is The Season For New Incantations”

Among the picks on my Best of 2020 (so far) list last week was the smoldering debut from Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network. The LP showcases the Oh Sees member front and center, crafting a hybrid of lounge, darkened shadow caster psych, and jazz scars with the help of Sunwatchers, Mikey Young, Shayde Sartin, Mike Donovan, and a few other friends with likeminded leanings. The album opener is a dark patch of sky that heralds ominous clouds and turbulent waters ahead. She’s paired the track here with a prog-tipped video that’s flipping through Roger Dean landscapes and etched with runic signatures of unfathomable meaning. Though perhaps director Arturo Baston can better surmise. He cites inspiration “from alchemist transmutation circles to meditative sacred geometry. Mystic, occult, and spiritual graphic devices adapted and mixed all together to illustrate the relation between the forces of nature and the stupid human lust for power.” If you’ve yet to let this one grace your ears, I’d recommend setting that right soon. The vinyl arrives mid-July.

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Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network

It feels like this album from Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network has been sorely overlooked in the lead-up to its release. Its a damn shame because the ex-Oh See has put together an album that pushes her range far beyond the garage and psych roots attached to her. Within Oh Sees Dawson always provided the light to the rest of the band’s brooding dark — washing in areas of harmony and humility to the band’s rhythmic furor or blood-spattered psychedelics. On Ballet of Apes she’s filtering through the frames of folk and jazz, lounge and a hopeful strain of soul. Her songs crouch and coo, then open wide and soar. The album is bruised but resilient and its some of her best work in any context.

As for those lumped into her Mothers Network, Dawson has assembled a rather enviable crew. The backing musicians range far and wide, picking up friends from New York, San Francisco, and Melbourne. The Mothers Network are at any time Mikey Young (Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring), Mike Donovan (Sic Alps), Shayde Sartin (Fresh & Onlys, Flying Canyon), Mike Shoun (Oh Sees, Peacers). Then as the album slides into its latter half Dawson pairs with RSTB faves Sunwatchers for a bout of jazz smolder that slips beyond the veil of light and into a space that’s inhabited by smoke and smudged by hot coal chemical interactions. The band and Dawson make a particularly potent pair and here’s hoping that they might make it more of a regular occurrence. Highly recommend digging further into this one again and again.




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Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Couldn’t have been more surprised to see this one pop up on the radar for 2019. After a lengthy hiatus that saw rise to tributaries like Total Control, the aughts’ most potent punks are back and bashing with a new long player this year. The record would probably daunt lesser souls – a pristine reputation left dangling for a decade is dusted off and the band feel like they’ve made the logical next step in their sound. Still walking the line between the bar fight bruisers of pub rock that crept out of the gutter in the ‘70s to become punk’s nascent form, the band also finds a way to skip over the meat of those very same punk years and add in the wiry wreckage of post-punk fallout to the mix. They’re the alpha and the omega hurtling through the speakers in riot-wracked glory.

Ten-odd years behind the mixing desk and twisting the knobs on a synth set hasn’t dulled Mikey Young’s guitar attack one bit. He’s still bashing out angles that others would overlook – slinging hooks like a tried and true record collector who’s absorbed an era’s worth of wreckage by osmosis. Then there’s the gloved-menace himself, Brendan Huntly, who brings the nasal hammer once again, a punk-poet who doesn’t go for the pretense. He’s Richard Hell if Hell spent less time artfully arranging holes on his shirt and just got straight to the jitters. They update the invective for a new round of political punishment by the worldwide punters of 2019 but through the faces change the burn remains the same. This is a band that pretty much touched off what’s been ripping through the Aussie underground in the interim since they left and its good to see them kick the kids off the throne and casually tip the crown on their heads. A late slip into the 2019 fold, but this one should be on your year’s best for sure.




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Eddy Current Suppression Ring – “Our Quiet Whisper”

There have been plenty of talks lately of the best of the last decade, dredging up a few names that I haven’t heard in years. One of the truly sad omissions, though, from the last ten years has been the punk sweat stain of Eddy Current Suppression Ring. The band helped define the end of the aughts with a vicious run from ’06 – ’09, but following that year’s Rush To Relax the band fell silent with only a few singles trickling out ending with 2011’s Captcha send-off Walking in Unison. Sure, Total Control helps heal the wound, and Mikey Young has built a cottage industry out of mastering every great Aussie release in the interim, but I’ve missed the Current. So, great news today comes with an announcement that the band is making their low-key return to the album format. They purportedly told Castle Face “not to make a big deal of it,” but they have a new album, All In Good Time, on the way shortly. I’d probably make a big deal of it.

“Our Quiet Whisper” sees the band return to their angular acumen, reminding listeners where the Aussie boom of the last few years really kicked off. The song is a slow-burn, full of the tempered tension the band employs so well and coupled with a new video scattered with geometric visuals that play well with the band’s prickled parlance. It feels like an ease into the album and I have a feeling there are a few burners on the way, but for now this is hitting the spot. No concrete date yet, but whenever this lands, its great to have ECSR back in the fold.



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Sad About The Times: An Exploration of North American 70s FM

Anthology is really digging in this year (not that last year was slouchin’) and they add another solid compilation to the collective wantlist. Compiled by Mikey Young, who’d previously worked on a comp of ’70s folk and psych tracks from his native Australia, the new compilation focuses on the barely there bands who breached the walls of FM in the ’70s. Young expresses the impulse behind the compilations as an extension of frustration with finding brilliant overlooked music and coming up short from sharing his finds with those in his immediate reach. I can relate, to be honest. And given Mikey’s already picked out a damn fine gem for RSTB’s Hidden Gems series, I’d trust his taste completely.

Mikey breaks it down, “”For nearly all my 41 year old life, my most constant joy has been to find new music to love. My next move is usually to force the people around me to listen and hope they feel the same joy. Teenage friends and crushes didn’t care at all about the knowledge I was imparting or the mixtapes I was laboring over, I’m pretty damn sure. City life was a little more receptive, though dj’ing what i heard as totally life changing, life affirming jams at bars to dudes requesting GnR didn’t always make it feel so. The occasional radio show gives me an outlet to continue sharing tunes but sometimes that feels like firing noise into a blackhole filled with all the other bazillion archival radio streams. Doing these comps with Keith (of Anthology) seem like the logical progression of what I’ve always loved doing. ”

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The Green Child

Sometimes it’s hard to resist a combination of favorite forces, and such is the case for The Green Child, which brings together the long-distance relationship of Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control). The duo jumps off from their inspirational namesake, Herbert Read’s 1935 utopian, communist, sci-fi novel for a sound that’s slaloming into the valley of retro-futurist synth, with a dollop of jangle. The two have mostly shed their past personas to find common ground in works that are antiseptic, but with a human heart. They dress up in the veneer of ’80s new wave, synth wave and goth and work the weave of the three into an oddly invigorating set for the dawn of 2018. If a certain measure of numbness is anthemic in the new age of world politics and daily life, then The Green Child is a magnetic beacon – part armor, part intoxicant.

The record feeds off of Young’s recent excursions into instrumental synth and it’s apparent that the same inspirations for his entry to Moniker’s “Your Move” series also fueled the bedrock of The Green Child. Though, here he’s less interested in the Kosmiche serenity than striving to balance Mahon’s distillation of icy detachment with the the proper amount of Teutonic cool. By the end, the record finds an even keel in a subdued slickness that wards off the caustic deluge of modern life. There’s something comforting in the future perfect sounds that the band rouses up out of the weeds. With the year just cracking in, The Green Child’s eponymous debut is a balm for these modern times, taking inspiration from somewhat psychedelic and strange texts, to endure some what strange and unbelievable times.





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The Green Child – “Traveler”

As the year winds down its time to get excited about 2018 recs already, and topping the list is this collab from faves Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control, Lace Curtain) and Raven Mahon (Grass Widow, Bridge Collapse). The record eschews the comfort zones of both, going for a synth-driven sound that’s dark, terse and sinewy. The pairing feels like a good fit, with the two having built the record over the last couple of years since meeting at an Oakland show in 2014. The band’s name was inspired by Herbert Read’s 1935 utopian, communist, sci-fi novel called The Green Child and the novel plays a part in some of the album’s lyrics as well.

The record features fellow traveler Al Montfort (Terry, Total Control) and finds a home on RSTB fave Upset The Rhythm January 12th. Highly Recomended!




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