Posts Tagged ‘Milk Records’

Tiny Ruins

While Hollie Fullbrook hasn’t made as much of a dent stateside, at home in New Zealand and neighboring Australia she’s becoming more of a known name, and with good reason. With her third album, she aims to make the same impact worldwide finding homes at Ba Da Bing and Marathon as well as Milk! (Courtney Barnett, Loose Tooth.) Olympic Girls might just do the trick too. Fullbrook has often skirted the boundaries between folk and pop, but here she’s draped in the tresses of deeply wounded and introspective folk – the kind that bore fruit in the ‘70s as lost presses just now getting snatched up for reissue. Echoing the bloodlet beauty of songs by Linda Perhacs, Elyse, Karen Dalton or Judee Sill, Fullbrook has a penchant for finding the saddest corners of the soul and lighting them up in dazzlingly brief beauty that lingers on the mind long after the light has left the room.

The album fills its coffers with more than just strums and swoons, though. With the help of bandmate Tom Healy, Fullbrook’s songs swell the banks of each song with the knotted-smoke embellishments of Laurel Canyon’s heyday and the rain-soaked humanity of Brigitte Fontaine’s Est… Folle. Fullbrook’s voice has a habit of rack-focusing the instruments to the background, something that works well on the cavernous sparseness of “School of Design,” but Healy gives her moments of competition wrapping her voice elsewhere in the bleary gaze of synth, echo and strings that feel torn from the reels of Jean Claude Vannier’s personal stash.

In her short career, Fullbrook has made a point of leaving listeners with pinprick impressions on their soul, but Olympic Girls digs the scars deeper. The record breathes only in vapors becoming an organism of anguish and memory. It’s a testament to loneliness and living in that loneliness like a comfortable skin. With this, Tiny Ruins enter into the greater vernacular, and hopefully, into a greater number of speakers as well.




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Loose Tooth

Melbourne’s Loose Tooth (not to be confused with the Father/Daughter band of the same name) had a promising EP out last year and with their debut for Milk! they more than make good on those promises. The full-length processes knotty post-punk bass lines and breathless jangles, then pastes them to wide-eyed indie pop for a record that’s constantly familiar and endearingly catchy. They’re passing over the threadbare fare that’s been popping up among their countrymen and instead pushing for a more polished sound that’s got its head in the past – think The Passions mixing it up with members Look Blue Go Purple and Close Lobsters – yet still winds up sounding timeless.

The crux of Keep On is the band’s ability to weave starry-eyed delivery with impeccable atmospheres. Snap on a keen use of three-part harmonies that never get syrupy and the makings of a damn fine debut begins to take shape. Their mastery of the moody vs. wistful approach to songwriting serves this up for fans of bedroom fare, with the band pining over an abundance of twisted love throughout the album’s eleven track run. They swerve from that humble pop path, though and the album elevates their love letters into a lush pop sound. There’s something sparkling happening in the details here – a hi-fi rumble, sax squawks, pillowy mounds of reverb. The deeper listeners get into Keep On the more it rewards with rippling subtleties and soft-touch hooks. While its definitely put together well, its not flashy and the band comes out all the better for it. Sadly, I feel that this one won’t get nearly its due on this side of the ocean, but for those paying attention it’s a lovely gem of a record.




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Loose Tooth – “You Say”

Getting genuinely excited for this Loose Tooth debut and I’m damn scuffed no one is talking about the record this side of the world. The band’s next single “You Say” is an even headier pop nug than the first taste of Keep Up. The cut is slightly brittle on the outside with a sinewy bass line knuckling its way through the track, but they open up for a soft gush of pop with those harmonies and a hook that’s all sunshine and swoon. They’re picking up goosebump punk from Cherry Red comps and 80’s indies and giving them new life for a generation ready for a little bounce in their post-punk discard pile. Can’t help feel some Kate Fagan or Holly & The Italians or The Flatbackers in this one, though it might just be that the band has gotten into the same bundle of twitchy pop rocks as those acts. Either way, its shaping ups to be a hell of an album.



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Loose Tooth – “Keep On”

Excited to hear that Melbourne’s Loose Tooth finally have an LP on the way. The trio’s last EP Saturn Returns was a taut indie popper built on the back of post-punk bass lines and a tangle of jangles. Good to hear from the first drops of Keep Up that the LP looks to be more of the same. “Keep On” unrolls with a stately grace, slow and creeping like the best widescreen ‘80s cuts. It maintains the build for the majority of its run until the song boils over with a rush of background vocals and colorful splash of keys, exploding like a shaken soda all over the speakers. The record is out on Milk! Records in August, so stay sharp and keep a lookout when it hits.



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