Posts Tagged ‘Post-Punk’

PRIMO! – “Machine”

Another gem out of the Aussie cabal of excellent musicians today. In anticipation of their upcoming second album, PRIMO releases the driving jangler “Machine” — a sandpapered, yet loosely slung bit of post-punk if there ever was one. The band’s seemingly perfected their sound on this one, and it stands as one of the band’s most engaging songs yet. The standout single crackles with life — anchored by the brittle drum snap, worn-in guitars and those four-part harmonies that make it all gel just right. The band pairs the song with a motor-heavy video that has a ‘70s charm. There are plenty of Aussie exports that tend to get overlooked here and PRIMO’s last album got glossed over here, hoping that audiences abroad don’t make the same mistake twice.

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Cold Meat

There’s a time for cool waters and calm heads and there’s a time for the righteous infection of fire-forged punk. Somehow its been time for both in these past couple of weeks, but right about now the latter is feeling pretty apt. Perth scorchers Cold Meat have graduated from their early short-form firestarters to a full length that showcases their pounding, primal, elastic scratch. Built on a foundation of tire-thick rubber riffs, the band kneads and pounds the basics of punk through an emotional and musical ringer. The riffs are meaty and land with enough force to bruise heavily. The bass ricochets around the speaker space with a sinewy menace. While squarely in the mold of punk purveyors like Magazine, X-Ray Spex, or The Adverts, they borrow the alternating current corruption of post-punk terrors — finding common ground with the hot bile invective of The Au Pairs and the writhing discomfort of Pylon.

None of the garments of the past quite fit them, though, and that’s to their credit. They chafe at categorization, but Cold Meat mostly look to take a hammer to the societal mirror and do it with a wicked smile on their face in the process. Doesn’t hurt tat they’ve got the twenty megaton howl of Ashley Ramsey in their corner as well. While the music beneath her squirms in pain, Ramsey rounds up every last inch of sneered and seared animus and hurls it at the listener. I’m a sucker for a voice that packs a versatile volley of grievance, pain, disappointment, and derision and she nails the nuance every time. While I can’t say I levy Andy unsettled scores with ZZ Top and their fanbase as the band seems to, elsewhere Cold Meat seem to bring good reason and welcome harbor to their various picked bones. Its a record of its time — bred on the scraps of the past but fueled with the earned anger of a younger generation left in the cold to fend for itself.



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The Native Cats – “Sanremo”

A short while back I shared the a-side to Tasmanian band The Native Cats’ new single for Rough Skies and now the band has sent over a new video for the flip. Not as bracing as the front side, but no less affecting, “Sanremo” is a gauzy creeper doused in post-punk and just a touch of shoegaze haze. The song buzzes with an incessant energy like raw nerves being slowly dulled by their surroundings. The video is equally narcotic, with singer Chloe Alison Escott being dragged towards a body of water like some sort of baptismal captive, shrouded in a veneer of pinks and purples. She gives a little insight into the clip below.

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Lithics – “Hands”

The heavy hitters of 2020 continue to roll out today with “Hands” from RSTB faves Lithics. The Portland foursome makes a jump from Kill Rock Stars to the ranks of Trouble in Mind for their new LP Tower of Age and the fist listen proves they’re still slicing. There’s never a shortage of post-punk popping up in any given year but little of it can cut like Lithics cut. The band’s got Glaxo Babies in their veins, a dose of Contortions minus the sax blast in their brain, and a vocal veneer that goes toe to toe with Au Pairs for its sheer “no bullshit” approach. Their last album was a reminder why wiry hooks and desert-dry delivery still sand the rough edges off of life in the 2010s. The band wields the hook here like a garrote — tensile and deadly. The track crouches for the first half, but when the band lets the restraints loose, “Hands” unfurls its floodwater riffs with full force. This one’s a crusher for sure. With former Trouble in Minders Omni having left the nest, Lithics slot themselves into the stable nicely as the deadpan dealers with a crushed glass grit. Get familiar. Checkout the video for “Hands” above and pick up the new LP June 5th.

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The Cowboys – “The Beige Collection”

Bloomington’s garage-soul swelters The Cowboys are back and the carefree flow that was palpable on The Bottom of a Rotten Flower seems to have evaporated overnight as we head into their new LP, Room of Clons. “The Beige Collection” is a dark, brooding introduction to their new LP, driving deep into the night with a hungry riff and the vocals of frontman Keith Harman hovering over the listener with a sinister edge. Seems the rest of the album might return to some of their homegrown punk roots but here, for the moment, The Cowboys are post-punk purveyors of a measured menace that’s hard to shake. The record hits shops and mailboxes alike on April 4th.


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Rubber Blanket – “Rock Today”

So, back in the early Aughts, ‘round about the birth of this blog, Wounded Lion ruled the speakers. The band was acerbic, witty, rough, and weathered in a way that instantly entered their songs into the grander scheme of what made garage and punk work. They merged the past and present visions of what punk could be — they were post-punk in as much as they sanded off the pretense of punk and experimented with form, but you’d be remiss to say they didn’t grind into your glands with a guitar fire that could take any of the tape-hiss competition to task at the time. While Lars Finberg has never flagged in his dominance over the shredded ends of punk and noise (see: A Frames, The Intelligence, Puberty) bandleader Brad Eberhard took a break from the wilds of rock for a while. He and fellow former Lion Jun Ohnuki return with Finberg to scrape the sense from synth and new wave in the same way they did for punk.

Rubber Blanket slashes the tires on the coolness of synth and inflates it with the experimental impulses that fed Fad Gadget and the detached air that surrounded John Foxx. They take away any perceptions of coolness that might have hampered the genre and let their instincts lead them down dark and degraded hallways. On “Rock Today” a rubberized bass swings the track up and down on a parachute of rhythm while Eberhard’s vocals are waxed clean of any swagger. Sax lines blow in with an air-conditioned chill, not flashy but adding a strange comfort to the proceedings. Despite their best efforts, the song does wind up with a certain uneasy coolness, but there’s enough itch that it’ll scare away most synth window shoppers. The band’s debut Our Album lands this Friday from Spacecase.



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Sub Pop Singles: Kikagaku Moyo & Terry

The ranks of the Sub Pop Singles Club are always a good place to keep an eye, and usually a good bet to go in blind when they announce. The label embraces the edges of what they’d normally consider for full releases (through sometimes I wish this embrace would extend beyond just a one-shot 7”) and they shine a light on some of the more deserving artists in their sphere. Last year’s series is now getting out in to the physical world, but that also means those who didn’t go all in can still grab the digital delights as they come piecemeal. Yesterday saw the release of two RSTB regulars and both are in fine form.

First up is a new single from longtime faves Kikagaku Moyo. The band lights into a searing cover of “Gypsy Davey,” and English folk traditional that’s been most often associated with Sandy Denny’s version. The band, rounded out with vocals from Kandice Holms (Bells), gives the cover a good nod, mixing the earthen smolder of the original with a bit of their own psychedelic smoke. On the flip they enter the folk-tinged whisper of “Mushi No Uta,” which laps at the listener with a gorgeous simplicity and tender soul.

The label sweetens the release day with a new single from Aussie’s Terry as well. The band has been pretty low key since their 2018 full length I’m Terry only releasing a short and sweet EP last year. “Take The Cellphone” hits all the right sweet spots for Terry – as post-punk throbber that’s tinged with a squeamish pop sense and winking all the way. The b-side’s an instrumental with a laconic feel, despite its rather political title, “Debt and Deficit Disaster.” The song’s a slow creeper, but as with anything from the band, its no throwaway. Both singles are great shots for the series, though I’d think that along with the earlier inclusion of Minneapolis’ Uranium Club, all of these could welcome full lengths from these bands into the Sub Pop roster.




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HITS – “Tried Bikinis”

Thanks to the tip from the best ears on the ground in pop, Glenn Donaldson, on this one. There are plenty of cuts on Hits that radiate with a faded pastel charm, but the perfect pop of “Tried Bikinis” is unstoppable. The band captures the ‘80s ideals of thriving outside of a system that’s not built for bands that don’t scrub clean and fit the video-ready rabble of pre-fab pop. Infected with the kind of wonky wobble that made Raincoats, Dolly Mixture, and Kleenex work wonders on the spools of a yellow sport Walkman, this cut from Hits comes with the built in feeling of having been passed from mixtape to mixtape before it hit the foam phones wrapped around your teenaged head. The bass is so thick and rubbery its practically tactile through the speakers and just as the hooks start to dig the band pulls the carpet from underneath the catchiness. Its a cacaphonic, saccharine bit of aural bliss and I want it to go on waaaaay longer than the bare minute that it gets. Thankfully there’s plenty else to love on this cassette from the band — downer drowned pop, scotch tap traps, fuzzed hooks and hi-bias jangles. If you haven’t gotten your hands on this yet, go. Don’t wait.



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Primo – “Best and Fairest”

So many 2020 stunners on the way and this new track from Aussies Primo is a solid killer. With members of Terry, Constant Mongrel, and Sleeper & Snake in their ranks, the band is already poised for interest around here, but the fact that their last album was a low-key constant on the turntable doesn’t hurt either. Chugging on a meaty strum, “Best and Fairest” draws parallels between life and sports, noting how those who play the game with a moral compass don’t always wind out with the cup at the end. The track picks up where their last LP left off — wound wire basslines, hummable harmonies and that slight twinge of squelch in the background. They pick at the spare end of the post-punk spectrum (Young Marble Giants, Oh-OK, Confetti) but they pull away from the aloofness of those bands just a touch and back towards a softer punch. While parallels between Terry and Primo certainly arise (with two crossover members), in truth Primo are like a complimentary pairing with the band — a fine wine that makes the flippant sneers of Terry wash down nicely. Their sophomore LP, Sogni lands on Upset The Rhythm / Anti-Fade on April 17th.



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The Native Cats – “Run With The Roses”

One of my absolute favorites back in action again. The Tasmanian duo strips post-punk down to its barest elements – rumbling bass that jostles the bones with a dogged glee, menacing drums, and sloshing synths pregnant with noise. Still, their most viable weapon remains Singer Chloe Alison Escott, who aims her vocal dress-downs with the pointed conviction and unnerving intensity of Mark E. Smith at his most chilling. “Run With The Roses” thrums with energy to the point of parching the body. It’s full of frustration and disappointment, and a demand for the world around it to do better. There’s a self-consciousness to the track and the overwhelming feeling leeches through the speakers and into the listener’s nerves. “I felt my body happening to people on the street. I had a hero for a couple of weeks,” she sings with the scowl of a fed up parent. The song is as barbed and baited as anything on their LP from last year, only begging for more from them as soon as possible. The single is out February 10th from Rough Skies.




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