Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hits From The Box #48 - Holidays Taste Sweeter On A Black Friday

I never thought I'd say this, but...I'm loving being in Sydney right about now. The highlights - lots of crazy boutique bars, good cheap music, good (not so cheap) food, sun, surf, Harbour Bridge... Sadly I'm about to run the red lights and wing my way back to Brisbane. Not sad in that I don't want to go back - just that the holiday is over. Back to the grind, as it were. So let's find some tunes that will help me on that depressing drive back into reality...

Let's ease into things with Red Nightfall. The Toronto quartet released their debut self-titled album late last year, and their self-prescribed "sad bastard indie-rock" can be heavy going, but there is majesty in their austere approach to indie-folk, offering deceptively intricate foundations to their tracks. The genre has had a major resurgence due to the likes of Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver doing their tweaking, and whilst there isn't anything of the latter insofar of inventiveness, it's a solid record well worth a listen. Here is the opening track to Red Nightfall, and you can get the album here.

Red Nightfall - Forever Leaving

Cecilia Spectrum is the new moniker for Germany Germany collaborator Drew Harris. The first major effort is Eclipse, which can be viewed as either a 15-minute 7-part song, or a 15-minute 7-song mixtape. In Harris' words, "it's electronic and ambient and experimental or something." Such modesty will get you nowhere! This is an affecting suite of sound that elevates itself above mere ambient soundscapes and proves to be more of a dreamtych (yep, made that word up) that soundtracks your deepest slumbers. You can grab Eclipse for free here - it is well worth it, the perfect opening salvo.

Cecilia Spectrum - Untitled

Subburbia is an interesting beast. Hailing from Brazil, the foursome have pumped out PENTAGRAMA, a 24 hour expulsion of sound and noise. Describing their new sound as "witty, sexy, and chaotic," Subburbia are getting the inevitable comparisons to fellow Brazilians CSS, and whilst such notions aren't totally disparate, there are elements on the EP that suggest that they may break the mould there. There is definite synth driven numbers, all about getting people to move, yet there's a bit more snarl than bubblegum which I like. They have a new single out in June - will be interesting to see how that pans out.

London-based scuzzy pop/shoegaze three piece Model Railway Exhibition have released a cassette (through Verulamium Records) of their single (yep, a cassingle!!) 'Jennifer's Brother.' Funnily enough, I find the B-sides to be more alluring, yet there is enough moxy in these three songs to have me begging for something more substantial. I know it's in ya, fellas! Plus, for whatever reason, I love the crummy drum machine - almost unheard of in these here parts...

Another Verulamium Records release is the new mini-album by Palmz (AKA Lexie Corfiatis) called Grow. The rose-covered artwork and the bubbly, 80s high school font are a bit of a misleading notion, as underpinning this soaring sepia-tinged girl guitar pop is the combination of a 50's beach party with hazy, dreamy shoegaze guitars, effortlessly beautiful vocals and some delicious melancholia. The Californian band have released the EP on limited red tape - sweet!.

Palmz - I Only Want Good Things For You
Palmz - I Will Never, Never, EVER, Feel Again

It's been a while since I've skipped across the Tasman for some new talent (although Seth Frightening and God Bows To Math are two great NZ additions Ive been championing lately), so I thought I would shed some light on Christchurch's Hush House. The brainchild of Year 12 student Harry Guy, Hush House shows great maturity, with first single 'Objects' offering a love of psych pop and surf music that goes beyond mere apery, although there is a certain Nathan Williams-esque delivery here. He has been playing some shows recently, and is supposed to be releasing a five track EP also, which is entirely performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by him. For an outlet to relieve boredom, Guy has got something going on here...

Hush House - Objects

And lastly, to get me through the twilight hours and into the metropolis that is Brisbane, I have San Francisco rockers The Midnight Snackers who have just released their Sudden Death EP. Recorded in 72 hours in a one weekend splurge, the "champagne garage rockers" have done an excellent job of expanding their elemental horizons by placing such restraints on themselves. Is that the sound of sleeplessness and rancid liquor coming out of the pores? Quite possibly. "There was a moment, I think it was around hour sixty, when things got real difficult," recalls bassist Aaron Sankin. "I had been pounding my forehead on the baby grand for what felt like a solid 20 minutes pathetically mumbling, 'Is this a song?' at an oddly shaped stain on the wall when I think we all very strongly considered giving up and vowing to never speak of it again." But they stuck to their guns, and Sudden Death is an amazingly cohesive record as a result. I don't know how SF does it, but there is a glut of great rock bands working tirelessly to push themselves to the limit and beyond. Plus they have an LCD Soundsystem reference, and some slower songs that kill just as hard as the high octane burners - all is well in their world. Grab the EP here.

The Midnight Snackers - Thank You James Murphy (For The Fiber-Optic Cowbell That You Gave Me)
The Midnight Snackers - Borrowed Names

Happy Wednesday!

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