Posts Tagged ‘Spunk Records’

Pop Filter – “Laughing Falling”

Kinda loving this new cut from Aussies Pop Filter. A low-slung jangler that employs a New Wave beat, “Laughing Falling,” is an instant charmer. The song attempts to wrangle the fuzzy delight of being a bit buzzed and walking around and its got a nice take on that out-of-body delight wherein you can almost watch yourself having a good time while simultaneously being sad that its going to end. That curdle of sadness ripples underneath, and in the sunset hues that streak the song, but mostly its a romp. The band takes a nice stab at the distanced video with a steampunk exploration that’s not just band members playing parts in different houses — a trope that’s already worn too thin. The song sidles alongside previous single “Romance At The Petrol Station,” and both will appear on their album Banksia in August.



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Floodlights – “Nullarbor”

This cut landed a bit earlier last year, but its being revived for a wider audience as the band settles into their new home at Spunk Records. Their EP, Backyard, which helps to highlight the plight of the indigenous population of Australia, is being given a re-release and a new LP issue. The Aussie outfit captures a weathered, worn-in vision of rock that’s shifted from a few of their hometown janglers. There’s less of a scrappiness to Floodlights’ sound, but even with the whiff of twang and bar-toughened riffs, singer Louis Parsons’ battered, but hopeful quiver gives the song an openness that draws the listener in. “Nullarbor” doesn’t loose the drawl that comes naturally to the singer, but its not pretending to be anything other than Australian, kissed with the soil of the continent and stuck through with a labored sigh from travel and time. The EP gets a new life in February.



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The Ocean Party

Its hard not to view the latest melancholic masterstroke from Melbourne’s The Ocean Party in the tragic view of the recent loss of one of their members. Just over a week out from the album’s release the band lost member Zac Denton (also of Ciggie Witch, Pregnancy) to the sudden onset of a brain cyst. At six members deep, the band is stuffed with songwriters, but like the rest, Zac’s voice added to the band’s surprisingly complex resolve and gorgeous glimmer of hope in an overwhelming world. The Oddfellows’ Hall, was recorded in the titular building, a community meeting center in New South Wales, and the out of studio locale adds its own bit of character to an album that’s also a bit unconventional. The record merges styles seamlessly, slipping from country-flecked indie to pulsing new wave offspring while offering a bit of a buoy and ballast to listeners in need.

There aren’t any hard divisions between the genre hops and that in itself gives the album a welcome cohesiveness. When the drum patterns rise up, there are still a few melancholy slides that find their way into the mix and even the downbeat strummers still have an undeniable pop center. To their credit, despite Ocean Party’s deep bench of songwriters, the tone retains an even whiff of bittersweet bliss. While each member adds their own color – sometimes adopting the laconic lounge licks of Kurt Vile, sometimes picking at an updated vision of the bedroom dancing that inspired The Postal Service, and most often finding themselves tangled in a jangle n’ twang that’s all their own – they all seem to keep a collective spirit in-tact.

Its humble and human, warm and weary. There’s an everyman appeal to the album that’s endearing. It’s a fitting swansong for Denton, albeit one that comes far too soon. As the album examines the personal anxieties, quiet triumphs, and daily stumbles that each member endured and exemplified, it’s a little piece of the artists to hold onto – a balm for the listener and players alike.



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The Ocean Party – “What Its Worth”

The second single off of The Ocean Party’s upcoming The Oddfellows Hall takes a more autumnal turn than the jangly hues of first peek “Off and On.” The new track creeps in slowly, stretching out amid the quietude and a gentle lap of tape hiss. When the band cracks through they’re careful not to break the spell, as the song hinges on a loping beat, three-part harmonies and a slew of sunset slides. The band relocated to the titular community hall in New South Wales to record the album and that homeliness and humbleness comes shining through the track. There’s a bittersweet pang to the song, but in many ways its more of a warm hug to help that pang pass. If there were such a thing as scarf weather rock, then this would certainly be the forerunner of the sound. The album is an attempt to crossexamine landmark moments in each of the six band members’ lives, and as such its wrought with sly smiles, self-doubt, anxiety and gentle resolve. Don’t let this one sneak out of view in the bustling release days ahead, as “What Its Worth” should attest, The Oddfelows Hall is full of lovely little gems to soothe the soul.


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Crepes

When Crepes’ debut LP hit the speakers last year, it was a sparkling collection of indie pop that leaned towards a matured early ‘70s hangover of breezy touchstones – from George Harrison solo jaunts to Todd Rundgren’s more reigned in Runt years. Just below the breeze, though, was a dark current, a chill that occasionally braced against their otherwise sunny strums. The ripple reared its head on standout “Tough” and the bittersweet gem “In A Dream,” giving the album a nice bit of shading that kept it from ever skewing saccharine. The band seems to have enjoyed those moments as well, because on their follow-up, In Cahoots, they seize on the darker driven pulses wholesale. The album is tinged with a kind of slinking funk, a spaced-jazz sizzle, and a propulsive pop instinct that infects the listener with an urge to move. They then cool the whole thing down on the b-side with a sunset scratch of country cool to ease the simmer out of the stylus.

The band padded out their sound for the sophomore LP, adding an additional guitar and perhaps most vitally, keys, to the mix. The keyboard shading picks up where the debut left off, perching on the edge of ‘70s pomp, but sidling down easily into puddles of power pop and nascent New Wave. In Cahoots is a subtler record than its predecessor, and as such the songs need to sit in the headphones a few more rotations to really embed themselves. It also proves to be a richer collection, though, and Crepes fuses their influences in ways that don’t always paint by the recommended numbers. It doesn’t hurt that the songwriting from Tim Karmouche (The Murlocs) is as biting as ever, burrowing hooks under the skin with a sly wink and a subtle tip of his cap. His songs endear themselves, but stop just short of showy touches, giving them a lived-in comfort that doesn’t wear out on repeat visits.

The band’s last record didn’t really anchor itself too well Stateside, and I fear that this record may suffer the same fate, due to little physical distribution in these parts. It’s a damn shame though, because In Cahoots is yet another Aussie export putting domestic competition to shame. The record latches onto just enough nostalgia and classicism to feel familiar, but this time around the band are pushing the brick forward a few wide strides. Their pop stew is damn enjoyable, not to mention a perfect accompaniment to the crisper days ahead. Do yourself a favor and skip out of the US zip code for one of 2018’s hidden pop gems.



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