Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Hits From The Box #71 - The Downward, Then Upward, Spiral

September is always a ridiculous month here on Planet Masala. With the day job it's the busiest month of the year, with most major projects due at the end of the month; with the freelance work there are two major musical events unfolding in Brisbane (the BigSound conference and its Live component; Brisbane Festival); and it's Spring, which brings with it a plethora of weddings (thankfully not mine). The death march that is September is also filled with high marks, most of which are the above-mentioned. It's a gruelling thirty days, but someone's gotta do it...

That said, the Sonic Masala juggernaut must keep rolling, and here are six acts that stood out this week from the inbox.

Montreal artist Paul Kasner (formerly of Silk Screamings) has independently release debut solo record End Of The Night, and it's pretty damn tasty. Eight tracks that swirl and stagger from dark pastoral pop to shoegaze malaise, maudlin psych folk and beyond, a plethora of instruments joining this deceptively fully guitar noise and Kasner's subtle lyricism. 'The Bloody Romantics' sticks out a little, with its British rock circa 2000s chug (although it makes a good fist of things), yet the other songs segue into each other quite nicely. The almost-eight-minute slowburn outro 'Stories From The Other Side' nicely fades things into oblivion.

When you are willing to settle on Dad Jokes as the name for your band, you know that nothing is going to be taken seriously. The Auckland duo don't disappoint then on their second EP True Love (out on Arcade Recordings and MUZAI Records) - five tracks of debauched idiocy.  There is some punk finesse in here that begets the pedigree of acts the guys consider influences (especially The Reatards on 'Drink The Beer') and their inane sense of fun (cheap beers, cheap girls, cheap pepperoni pizza, cheap jokes) is infectious. Sometime people need to loosen up and get dumb.

Long Island, NY based quartet Turnip King released the five-song  Moon Landing? EP via Fire Talk Records back in May, yet I'm only getting its hooks stuck in my earbuds now. Each song's title has some kinda sonic connection - 'Tidal' washes over you in a meshed wash; 'Cricketzzz' ticks and buzzes, infuriating yet hypnotic at the same time before shuddering into squalling life; 'Insulator' is a more straightforward hit, a sonorous dance in the afternoon, dust motes filling the room. A metronome between gentle pop and lulling fuzz, it's a great little guitar pop/shoegaze splice of life. Love Of Diagrams Does Dunedin? So damn good. Get it here.


Lil Huffy are a bunch of fuzzballs from Virginia whose music as encapsulated on their EP Old Volvo stands for pedal-mashing grungey mewlings, now with extended jams. It's rough and haphazard, green and growing, pulsing and perverse (but in an innocent kinda way). These songs could be half the size, but these four dudes like to play (ting!) so give them room (especially on the breakout two-thirds through 'KAC'), they're alright. Fave song - 'Hand In Pocket'. Get your Mascis cap on. If you happen to be in Harrisonburg tonight, they are playing at Blue Nile with Free Time and The Shilohs - sounds like rad times in the mountaintime.

Flamingo Bay outta Edmonton have this Loco Pony thing goin', and whilst they aren't no Ginuwine (but then again, who is?), it's pretty great, especially the A-side 'Serpentine'. The trio are stomping around in the Canadian swamp, all boozy maudlin blues ad hoc. Dirgey blues with Crazy Horse hues. The album itself should be out this month - keep your eyes peeled.

Let's finish up with a Twin Peaks reference all the way from Limerick in Ireland from a band that takes their moniker cues from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, OK? In 'Cooper's Dream', trio Slow Riot have molded a slowburner that lurks in the twilit shadows before smashing forth in the final third. It's the first taste of what the band has to offer, and although there are some generic commonalities here that become more obvious with each repeat listen, I'm intrigued to see how far these guys can push this. If they are willing to truly delve into dreamscapes and nightmares as their influences suggest, we could be onto something here...

Happy Wednesday!

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