Sunday, 21 September 2014

Hits From The Box #85 - It's Been An Age And A Day...

I said the old columns were making their presence known! The inbox is overflowing, and I won't lie - a lot is going to remain overlooked. Sorry to anyone who posted me stellar sounds from June back. Things got real around here, and I dropped the pie. But onward and upward. Here are some great releases that everyone should be checking out post-haste...

First up we have the newest "discovery" on this list (I came across this this morning), LA-via-Chicago band Young Jesus have just released 'G' which is apparently their first new song in two years. This reminds me of bands like Spook House and Pile - the kind of indie guitar music that did the rounds in the mid to late 90s, but with the 21st century sweaty urgency that pervades those bands' progeny. The five-piece have the literate emotion, the emotive riffs, the slight grit of the teeth, the cathartic grins. 'G' was made for me.

Leading on from the new to the old - William Alexander's Girls' Basketball release has been sitting in this post since I started writing it months ago, and I'm glad to say that this is still a real corker of an album. One of the Juniper Tree crew (AKA bedroom manipulations in the key of pop) and formerly known as The Meanest Boys, this album is actually quite beautiful - a breezy gossamer glide through Alexander's sensibilities. So you can have the guitar pop malaise of 'You Can Take It', the brooding psych grooves of 'Strange Rules', the backwards blues swagger of 'Itneverdies' (which is a killer song - something Beck might have done in the earliest days if he wasn't as much of a nerdish upstart), the spaced out languidity of 'Drones' - there is something for everyone here. Think Kurt Vile lying around in Long Beach covering Ariel Pink covering Gram Parsons . Stupid analogy - but it was the first one that caught like a burr in my mind months ago, and that still stands today.

Sticking to home recordings but heading a little closer to "home". Perth artist Fait (AKA Elise Higgins) has quietly put out this EP Atmosphere - an apt title. The tracks are on the more sonorous side of shoegaze psych, with darker riffs emanating on almost post-rock efforts like 'Slow Glow'. There is piano and strings on 'Halcyon' that seems destined for the typical brooding soundtrack score - but this could easily soundtrack an overcast day with weights pulling down. Atmosphere has been produced by Darren Lawson who has worked with MBV - so that explains that then.

The pulse rises here. Scuzzy punks Mumrunner hail from Tampere in Finland - which I have actually been to, strangely, but never thought I would here this echo out from this Scandinavian outpost. Zit/Rut offers two tracks of squalling power, more in the vein of regional brethren Lower's later stuff, interposed with the harsh distorto drive shoegaze of the likes of Whirr (speaking of, have you heard their new album? Awesome...). This is an incredibly strong opener, enough abrasion to knock the amps into gear, approachable enough to get sucked in by the sinuous grooves and hovering vocals. I'm hooked.

Now for Dilly Dally. This Toronto band have unearthed a type of grungey rock crawl that has those effortless pop stratosphere moments a la Pixies in their prime (listen to the guitar in the "chorus" and hear the ghost of 'Where Is My Mind?' whisper in your ear), but its the nonchalant way Katie Monks delivers her lines, in an almost-throwaway, almost-angsty way, whilst also alluding to earnestness without giving sway to it, that delivers the true goods. And yes, that was all one sentence. Dilly Dally is the kind of band that close friend Liz would have fronted in high school - she even has the blue hair to add some aesthetic credence. There is a power here though that outstrips such teen dalliances - hence Fat Possum showing interest in the four-piece.

Let's finish up with San Franciscans Blood Sister (formed out of the ashes of Night Manager RIP). They have just released the single 'Ghost Twin' off their EP (out soon through Bloodmoss Records), and it's a vibrant mess. Im about to make two Pixies references in the same post, aren't I? See, Frank, there is no need o persist when there are young-uns doing what you did thirty years ago, and in their own way, and better than you are doing it now. This is scuzzed up to the eyeballs, and a lot of dark fun. What's more, Blood Sister launch the EP at Thee Parkside on Friday Sept 26 with Aussie noisy bastards and great dudes Zeahorse as support. If you live in SF, you need to get to this - and buy some Zeahorse merch too, those guys need all the help they can get (plug OK, Morgan??)

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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