Sunday, 30 January 2011

Hits From The Box #5

Wow. Its strange to be back in Australia on what is the eve of the first anniversary of Sonic Masala! Whats even weirder has been my body sleep patterns. A 31 hour flight with very little sleep and a lot of Bloody Marys and Tiger beers set me up for a monumental does of jetlag, but Mother Nature is also doing her part, screwing me around with going from 7.30am sun ups to 5.30am sunrises. Im averaging 5 hours a day, and this is seeing me tell even lengthier, mindnumbing stories than the usual. Case in point - I spoke for an hour about The Woman In Black, Silent Hill, [REC] and The Strangers, all whilst not allowing my partner in conversation to say anything. No shit. Although we may have been incredibly hungover, it still was a subhuman feat of inanity. So we get to the first Hits From The Box from Down Under, and I am praying that I can hold it together to properly present what has been an interesting and easily our strongest week in new music.

Old Monk start us off. The Brooklyn indie three piece are readying to drop their first album, Birds of Belize, in February through Supermartyr Records, and its a very very good release that demands your attention. Simply put, Old Monk are a band that offer up concise cuts of aggressive indie pop, using cultural touchstones as varied as Cassius Clay and Thomas Pynchon to give us a skewed narrative of the world they, and we, live in. Its intriguing, beguiling, arresting, but overall joyous in its overt exuberance and penchant for the shiniest of guitar pop hooks. Modest Mouse via Superchunk? I think we're onto a winner here...

Old Monk - Butter And Toast
Old Monk - Warm Moustache

Halls is Sam Howard, a one man ambient master, who Ive been monitoring for a few months now. Im pleased to announce that his first self-titled EP is out now (through Two Tap Digital) and can be gleaned here. The tracks are artfully constructed to bleed the emotion out of every loop, reverb and hushed effect, offering a nuanced beauty that is often missing from such ambient soundscapes. Its a measured and assured release, and here's hoping this is the first of many masterstrokes we'll receive from the Londoner. And we wont have long to wait and find out either - a second EP will be out at the end of February.

Halls - Kaleidoscope

Firesuite are finally dropping their new LP, You're An Ocean Deep, My Brother. The UK hard rock act mesh emotive vocals with a wall of sound that for the most part doesnt mesh all that well for me - like fronting My Bloody Valentine with an emo crooner... There are some amazing tracks here though, none more so than 'Sammy Davis Jr Jr', a short blast of viscera that takes you utterly by surprise. I know I havent sounded that positive here, but Firesuite deserve kudos for this track alone, and their musicianship rivals anything being thrown up in the local shoegaze scene - making them an interesting band to check out live methinks.

Firesuite - Sammy Davis Jr Jr
Firesuite - Amity

London's Chapter 24 are prepping for a massive 2011, starting with a debut EP that has some amazing extras. The band have collaborated with artist/comic illustrator James Nash on both the ace cover art and a short comic for each of the four tracks - well worthy! Its a great release too, packed tightly together to paint a picture of sonic elasticity, bastardised tropical noise and manic maelstroms of stomping Slits-lite joy, best showcased by opener 'She Said' and 'LOVE', which we have below. Travelling hot on the heels of this are a few London shows in February, including the EP launch at the Drop, before they embark on their first US tour, including a stopover in Austin for the SXSW festival before assaulting both LA and San Fran. They are take take taking, and I cant wait to see how far they will explode come Jesus' bday comes around.

Chapter 24 - LOVE

Bare Wires are an Oakland California trio whose brand of garage rock errs on the side of stodgy glam greatness. Because of this the band have an uncanny knack of sounding older than the others of their ilk, transferring their sound into the 60s and 70s at will, yet retaining a sense of youthful exuberance. You can hear the differences that they create in tempo, melody and sudden bouts of ball tearing veracity in the below tracks - 'Dont Ever Change', the new single out on Robot Elephant, takes a 60s swinging rock feel and simplistic lyrics and smears it with a dollop of garage grease; whilst 'Family Heat' off LP Cheap Perfume is all long hair, leather, Ray Bans and spit. Bare Wires are playing no fewer than SIX shows at SXSW in March, also playing gigs in other parts of the US and a rad festival in Mexico called NRMAL (also featuring Thee Oh Sees, Strange Boys and The Black Angels) - they are plying their trade mercilessly.

Bare Wires - Family Heat
Bare Wires - Dont Ever Change

Our last band for the week are Londoners Pet Scenes. They may be a new band, but they are actually an old band - huh? Well, they were Panic Attract (whose offshoot A Sofa Made Of Dust we have featured on here numerous times, and will feature again next month), but have gone in a newer, grimier direction, hence the new moniker. They are still at the 'finding their feet' stage, but if their demos are any indication the change in tack is a sleazily refreshing one. You can check em out in their infancy before they Hiroshima the world with their warped pheromones - this Thursday (3rd February) at Catch in Shoreditch, whilst on Saturday (5th February) they plan to refurbish The George Tavern, on Commercial Road (E1) with their blood, sweat and manly tears.

Pet Scenes - That Thing On His Face

There, get that into ya! Happy Sunday!


  1. I love bare wires! my band the old in out are playing with them in san diego feb 28th at the soda bar... check us out tell us what you think?