Posts Tagged ‘Native Cats’

Mixtape: This Is Aus

Ok please allow one more year-end indulgence here in the form of a recap mixtape. It should no longer be a surprise that I have a sweet spot for Aussie indie, and as the genre has made up so much of the site’s direction in the last year, I’ve decided to round up some of my favorites into a massive mixtape that should keep you busy for a few hours and serve as a primer to those looking to break the seal on their Aussie pop habit. Plenty of usual suspects arise in the label department here with representation from RSTB favorites Bedroom Suck, Anti-Fade, Lost and Lonesome, Poison City, Hobbies Galore, Milk! Records, Flightless, and Tenth Court alongside internationally friendly harbors like Trouble in Mind, Upset The Rhythm, Share It, Kanine, and Emotional Response. There were plenty of offerings to love this year from the South Hemi, so get cracking on that listen. Click below for tracklist and stream.

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RSTB Best of 2018

So, it seems that 2018 is finally coming to an end. It’s been a hell of a year by most standards, but musically its been damn entertaining. Perhaps its fair that there’s some bright spot in all the chaos. Not to diminish the chaos, but when the negativity is at an all-pervasive fever pitch, its feels good to have something to hold onto. I’ll choose to remember 2018 as a banner year for music and for the birth of my second daughter rather than the year that page refresh politics threatened to give me an ulcer any day. Below are my favorite albums of the year, taking care to highlight some that might otherwise get forgotten. They’re in (quasi) alphabetical order with no other particular weight on the list. Keep your eyes out for a few more year-end features this week before I reset for the new year. As always, thanks for sticking with RSTB for these 12-odd years or so.

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Native Cats

The new long player from Native Cats is proof that good things are worth a wait. The bones of the album were recorded well over a year ago – the slinking bass of Julian Teakle and the spare, cracker-snap guest drumming of Sarah Hennies – but the heart of the album lay dormant while songwriter Chloe Escott reordered her life. The singer found herself in a crisis of identity, transitioned, reconfirmed herself, christened a new name and re-approached the album with a renewed confidence and an eye towards gender politics. The subject’s the spark at the heart of John Sharp Toro, but the fire it sets ablaze is Escott’s sharp songwriting, built on the bones of post-punk’s heroes – echoing The Fall, Beat Happening and Au Pairs – but digesting them into something wholly her own.

The genre has often been a fertile ground for progressive ideals, and Escott uses her platform to speak to others struggling with the idea of self and the cultural norms that rise up internally and externally to hinder it. Lyrically Escott returns to themes of “process” time and again, and it’s clear that hers was not a journey taken lightly. To give her journey shape she and Teakle have fashioned a musical organism that’s lean and sinewy but deadly and effective. The aural snake of the music winds its way around Chloe as she sings. It’s almost impossible to divorce Escott’s lyrical sharpness and willingness to peel back the layers and layers of scar tissue from the music’s bone-dry, sonic scalpel approach. If ever there were an example of musical symbiosis at work, it is evident here.

Despite its deeply rooted reliance on bass, the music on John Sharp Toro doesn’t feel conducive to dancing – or rather it’s not an album that dances for others. Instead it feels like an album built for dancing alone, finding the rhythm that moves you and makes you comfortable, letting it slink from the corners of the bedroom to the tips of the fingers. There is darkness in this record, sure, but there is life as well, and ultimately that life wins out, spreading like a sly smile with each repeated listen.


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The Native Cats – “Soft Chambers”

Tasmania’s best kept secret Native Cats have gone off the radar for a piece but are now storming back with an album for enclave of taste R.I.P. Society. This taste off of their upcoming John Sharp Toro boils down post-punk aloofness to its oddly itching core. Hung on a bass lope that’s purely pining for Young Marble Giants territory and stretching the arc between the stately strains of ’80s UK pop befitting the c86 school and the ramshackle notions of Beat Happening, the song feels like it shouldn’t come close to working, but here we are. Despite dipping its toes in so many puddles the song comes out dry and dashing, a gorgeous mash of impulses that’s lonesome and proud and absolutely engrossing.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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