Posts Tagged ‘Tenth Court’

Permits

Melbourne’s Permits come together like so many of the great bands circling the loose-knit scene in Australia these days — a few friends who all populate other great bands (in this case the Shifters, Pop Singles, Dag & Chook Race) knot up with a one-day session and wind up with a record that feels immediate, yet never half-baked. The band hit the studio in 2019 but due to pandemic life finished this one out over the course of 2020, swapping overdubs between the members via email. While the pedigree of bands the members are culled from speak to the crooked-smile careen that plays out here, the members seem to also be bringing the best out of one another in the studio, and more importantly having fun while they do it.

Pinned to a twang-riddled jangle, the songs on Time Permits are shaggy n’ shambolic, but not without a chewy pop center that’s hard to slough off as accidental. Underneath the saunter of drums and waggle of guitar, keys blush at the seams, a power-pop heart bleeds out the sleeves, and a tender brush of folk colors in the corners. The record takes a few listens to really slip under the skin, but once it does, its apparent that there’s a lot to return to here time and again. As with quite a few others this year, its a damn shame this one is coming out so late in the year, as I feel people are sleeping on this a bit, but here’s hoping this gets a few people into the ragged magic the band are making on Time Permits.




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Ostraaly

Still making a valiant attempt to round back on some of the great albums that got lost in the shuffle for me over the last year before I tie up 2020 and this album from Melbourne’s Ostraaly is definitely deserving of another look. The album came out on Cassette way back in January, but if you missed out like I did on the band’s slightly askew avant-pop, then now’s the time to at least grab it digitally. Like many of their fellow country-mates, this record shirks the frills for a spare sound, tinged with post-punk in places, but just as often wobbling woozily into genre’s that feel right in the moment. “Struggling” has a country lilt to it that’s only further amplified by the barroom piano pound. They stay loose as they toss the listener the following rumpled romp, “My Baby,” though the twang here starts to curdle in all the right ways.

The band manages to work in caustic folk pop that cribs from Josephine Foster alongside VU violin shivers that tangle with speak-sung incantations. By the time they swing into the last half of the LP, the light touch starts to fade and the band careens into what surely must be the highlight of their live show the back to back hits of “Kants” and “Daddyswims.” A crunch of fuzz barrels out of the start of “Kants,” which froths like a Fugs tune in the sun. Then they cap this one with a perfect pop strummer that gets stuck in your head for days. Over a galloping beat and knock down strum, Ostraaly tears out the quivering notions of their earlier folk and bent pop offerings to prove that when pressed they can and will knock you to the floor with a pop song, they just don’t feel the need to pack ‘em in edge to edge. Love this album and I’m longing for more from the band, or at the very least a US distributed vinyl version in the new year. A guy can hope, eh?




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Sachet

The new LP from Aussies Sachet threads the needle of ‘90s nostalgia, but winds up pulling its thread through some of the more admirable moments along the way. The band’s sound is fuzzed, and lightly flecked with an angst that soaks up the discomfort of the decade, while lacing Nets with a head-nodding melodicism that burrows under the skin to stay. Interlaced guitars, a thick froth of feedback, make the record a formidable contender, but they push it past the threshold with the quiet cool of Lani Crooks’ delivery. Her vocals add a coiled approach to the record, steady but always ready to strike with a hook that hurts and heals. In the past I’ve brought up Kay Hanley and Anna Waronker as touchstones for her sound and aside from the flashpoint closer of “Arncliffe Babylon,” the comparison sticks to the whole LP as well. Crooks slots herself in as a sly striker whose hooks take a minute to manifest but latch on for keeps.

The band grew out of the soft slip-away of Day Ravies, which contained both Lani and the band’s Sam Wilkinson. Where’ their previous band was more caught into the coven of jangles that’s spread far and wide across their homeland, with Sachet they’re moving into a thicker porridge. There’s a slower tempo, like the jangles were caught in humidity and then shocked to live with the gnarl of fuzz and froth. Despite the dodgy name, Day Ravies had an infectious reach, but Sachet seems to be the realization of what they were reaching towards all along. Reverence to an older sound can sometimes sink a band, but their influences and how they digest ‘em seem to make Sachet soar, making Nets one of the low-key charmers of 2020 that deserves a sight more attention. Friday’s a Bandcamp support day, give ‘em some love eh?



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Sachet – “Arncliffe Babylon”

Mid-last year Aussies Sachet released the standalone single “Nets,” which would not seem to be an actor piece and the title track of their upcoming album for Tenth Court. This week the quartet have a new low simmer jangler and its pushing Nets up the anticipated pile for sure. “Arncliffe Babylon” has an undeniable ‘90s quality to it, or rather, it has several that all pile together for a song that’s hitting several tips of the tongue at once. There’s the low-slung baseline that rips its riff straight out of slacker-punk pages – loping and bobbing with a bubbled indifference. The guitars are over toasted like an afternoon snack forgotten in the toaster over and just caught before the flames take hold. Then there’s the vocals of Lani Crooks, who’s delivery is wedged somewhere between the alt-rock quiet cool of Kay Hanley and Anna Waronker. There’s been plenty of ‘90s revivalism, but somehow the soft-punch and loosely braided melodies of Sachet feel like the right impulses are making their way back around. The album is out shortly on Tenth Court.


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Dom & The Wizards – “The Book of Timothy”

I’m always a bit excited when new music comes through from Wireheads’ Dom Trimboli. This time he’s back with his outfit Dom & The Wizards, who up until now have only had a two-track single to their name. News that a full length from Tenth Court is on the way in January is excellently received news around these parts. As with past Wizards cuts, “The Book of Timothy” is a bit less shambolic than Wireheads, but its still go Dom’s gnarled pop pedigree all over it. The track gnashes guitars in slow motion, laces the set with organ ooze and slides out of the door with a disjointed pop pounce. No word yet on the exact date that the album lands but keep an eye to the Bandcamp rolls for The Ongoing Adventures of Dom & The Wizards next month and sink into this one in the meantime.

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Sachet – “Nets”

A nice cut outta South Hemi enclave Tenth Court works as a great introduction to Melbourne’s Sachet. The foursome makes springy indie pop that’s tethered to a muscular strum, male/female harmonies swirl above a flex of bass and head nodding snap of drums. The band has emerged from the hollowed hull of Day Ravies and they share an affinity soft angles and gentle harmonies. “Nets” starts in sweet and swaddled, seemingly a doe-eyed indie-pop strummer before it turns the tension up in the second half, crashing through the speakers with steely sincerity. The song precedes their sophomore album of the same name set to be released in September. I’d advise keeping an ear out for that one.



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Mope City

While its tempting to battle the deluge of current events with dips into sunny distraction and plastic pop, there’s something comforting about slipping into a narcotic pool of blissful disconnect. For a good swath of the ‘80s and ‘90s there was a production pinpoint to turn to when just such a sound was needed. As much as Steve Albini built his empire of sound on the unflinching light of austerity, his counterpart Mark Kramer built his own brand basking in the warm glow depression pop. Sydney’s own downer step-children Mope City are echoing the highlights of Kramer’s production canon – from the woolly jangles and slightly askew harmonies of Galaxie 500 to the grey-skied vocal wallow of ‘90s Low. Its only appropriate, then, that the band should dial up the legend himself to put a mix and master on their sophomore LP.

The band’s songs echo their moniker like a mission statement. There are cracks of light in that peek in through the blinds, but for the most part the band is lacquering the inside of the bell jar with the windows closed and the fumes bring on enough of a buzz to dull the pain awhile. It’s clear that of their aforementioned alt touchstones, the group has spent the most time with the catalog of Boston’s finest slowcore trio. Mope City’s got Galaxie’s disaffection and echo-chamber anesthetics pinned to the floor, though the band lacks the luster of Wareham’s liquid mercury guitar solos and their absence is definitely felt. The duo’s pulling off depression pop and a slowcore revival admirably well, if not necessarily moving the dial forward all that much from its 1990 heyday.

News From Home succeeds the most when it breaks just a touch out of its own head. The key change breather and ebullient strings on “Excuses Start To Thaw” floats the song to the top of their heap along with the slouched swagger of “Medicine Drawer”. Its clear that the band is onto something, and separating themselves quite nicely from the pervasive trends that abound in their home country’s indie union. The best mope-pop worked well when we listeners could believe there was some kernel of hope inside. When Mope City rest on their heels and let the dirge overtake the day then it muddies the songs a bit too much, but when they nail the balance of hope and despair, the record becomes much more than an homage to an era separated by time and 9500 miles of tide.



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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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Rex Wonderful & The Silk Sheets – “Mimosas”

Already spreading the Wireheads family out with the recent announcement of Dom & The Wizards, the Adelaide band has now grown a third arm in the form of Rex Wonderful & The Silk Sheets. The fancifully named side project was formed over a drunk brunch aftermath and brings together Wireheads’ Dom Trimboli, band videographer Alex Gordon-Smith, Liam Kenny (Workhorse, Wireheads) Elena Nees (Alume), and Dana Ashford (Gentleworms). Their first single is an ode to those hazy afternoon origins and it shows the normally acerbic Wireheads members playing things a bit cooler, melting into a ’70s strut that’s at odds with both the nervy cocaine rock of The Stones and the methadone shakes of VU, Iggy and the punks that swam back against their current at the same time. The single, along with five other tracks will be released as a cassette on Tenth Court this week and I’m interested to see where they take this tangent. Check out the Gordon-Smith directed video for “Mimosas” and lay back into the band’s stonewashed groove.



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Mope City – “Medicine Drawer”

Aussie trio Mope City dig into ’90s downer rock on the first single from their sophomore LP for Tenth Court. The album, appropriately featuring a mix job from iconic ’90s producer Kramer (Galaxie 500, Low), is preceded by the slow burn single “Medicine Drawer.” The track indulges in the same mescaline aesthetics of many bands the producer would put his stamp on, dirging its way through a cloud of ’90s disaffection that brings back more than a tinge of high school hankering. The song is ringed by a halo of cold humidity and the guitars pull themselves tight around the hangdog vocals of the band’s Matt Neville. Interested to see how this fleshes out into a full length affair when the record hits in October.



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