Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hits From The Box #103 - Mother Of Election

Seriously Britain, what the actual fuck? I'm still gutted in almost every perceivable way with out the general election turned out, almost one month on. Five years of pain, that people seem to have willingly asked for. It's like getting the chance to eat in a three Michellin star restaurant and opting to eat the dead homeless guy in the alleyway next door. Too highbrow for you? Try like getting the power to resurrect any musical icon, and choosing Courtney Love.

Trust me, she is dead.

I need to cleanse the pallet pronto, so here are seven fairly different but nonetheless excellent bands to fill out this week's Hits From The Box.

To start us off on a sonically esoteric and not overly new, but quite grovelling bent, we have Great Waitress, a Sydney/Berlin duo that I intended to write about over a year ago. A YEAR AGO. I'm so sorry that I have been so tardy on this one - some subtle experimental jazz meanderings that are pregnant with fragility, tension and dis-associative atmosphere. It's a project that doesn't get much airplay which is a shame because it is a magisterial release. Grab Flock here.

I wanted to write an individual post about Hutt River Province, a release out through Ruined Smile Records, but seeing as this is their only real release (almost out of print) and they aren't in a position to play that often, here it is. The collective is from a gamut of bands scattered around Australia (Port Augusta, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin; No Action, Nebraska, Jerkstore, Celador...) and have crafted a release that swings from Codeine/Unwound indie to a massive B-side track 'West of Warradale', a thirty-minute miasma of field recordings and missives. The nebulous, spidery construction reminds me of the guitarwork of Paul Dempsey on his little-known Scared Of Houses "solo" project of 1998. It's a great little release; grab one of the last four cassettes here.

I haven't written about any Inner Islands Records releases for a while, yet I am still enamoured with the percolating, naturalistic sound collages that these artists hold in common. Channelers is another act that highlights this proclivity (Hear Hums, Peace Arrow and Braeyden Jae are the best examples of this), and the subtle, somnambulist rush that flows through me as 'Moving with the Great Motion' hits its stride is a stark reminder of how great this sound can be when done right. Light, sparse, with floating percussion and submerged guitar lines. Grab the cassette here.

Another interesting label bringing together like minds is Figbox out of Florida. Aside from the likes of Suede Dudes and Prison Warder (of which you will hear more of soon), there is Unholy Clone who have just released album Hypnotic Farm. It feels decidedly 80s England shoegaze era - The Jesus & Mary Chain dripfed on Ride in the darkest hours of the morning. 'Bankruptcy' has a slight Lee Ranaldo strain, and the pastoral psych of 'Phase My Mind' is warm and authentic. Keep an eye out for these guys.

Hannahband are a two piece hailing from Sydney. Their album Retirement is a ragged pendulum swing between moodist emotive punk, Mere Women-esque wistful post-punk and cantankerous hardcore explosions. It is a predominantly upbeat affair, glowing with hope of wider horizons, without letting down the angst and wailing maelstroms. Solid stuff.

NY duo The Glazzies have just released their EP Satin Stain, a grungy affair that reminds me of things like the first Blood Red Shoes offering. They have been incredibly lucky in acquiring Murph (drummer for Dinosaur Jr) to drum on some of the tracks, including 'So Strange' below. They have an album coming out later this year too - it was meant to be out before now, but they pushed it back when this seminal moment came to pass for them (both are through Old Flame Records). Expect to hear more from these boys in 2015.

Finally let's head to Paris to swim in the shoegaze waters of Venera 4, whose Eidolon record is rife with slick production, swathes of ephemeral distortion, and silken vocals. 'Red Blooms' has slight 'How Soon Is Now' undercurrents, 'Black Paws' is indebted to MBV, 'Colored Fields' flitters in the shadows of Jesus & Mary Chain... The opening is even named after Slowdive's Pygmalion! So the influences are well and truly prevalent. But it is a wonderfully constructed album, that is beautifully produced, having the cavernous echo and electronic simplicities around the edges that evokes the 80s and all its garish glories.

Happy Sunday everyone!

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