Friday, 14 August 2015

Hits From The Box #109 - Holiday Comedown

It's Friday; it's miserable; I haven't left the house other than to hit the off licence since coming back from Spain. Netflix, Bandcamp and Heinz have been my friends. Ah, the holiday comedown. No amount of sight and sound can stop me from realising that the bubble has burst and I am back in the "real world". So I need some real tearers to get me to the end of the normal "working" week. Here are six bands who are getting the adrenaline going for obvious and obtuse reasons...

I'm gonna start with Happy Forever, the fourth LP from Austin noiseniks Coma In Algiers. These guys aren't exactly unheard of, nor is this the freshest cut (the album came out in January). But as I trawl through the backwaters of the inbox, I stumbled across this just as I read a review of it on Terminal Boredom. I'm going to put my neck out there and say this is the best record Ive heard this month - alongside Deaf Wish's newie (which I will speak of soon) and Newcastle psychers Blown Out. It fits into many of the musical sensibilities that I have - the narcotic abrasion and gleeful, manic disregard of Jesus Lizard or Pissed Jeans; the frenetic multilimbed guitar insanity of Action Beat or Don Caballero; the hushed tension of Unwound; the unkempt, acerbic tension of Spray Paint or Shellac; the explosion of said tension like Big Black or early's all there, a million ideas at a million miles a minute. Whether they are as good as any of these acts remains to be seen, but Happy Forever is a damn good tilt at the title. Stay weird (and come to London/Europe ASAP).

Now this self-titled album from Italian weirdos Tetrolugosi actually came out last year, but has just been released on cassette last week. I absolutely love it. The OTT Gothic baritone, crackling thunder and Castlevania synth of opening track 'The Golden Bug' is worth the price of admission alone. The horror pastiche is corny yet prescient - a seductive afterthought on both 80s New Wave glow and 70s synth other-worldliness. Would definitely love to see this act in a live setting, a small darkened room, all faux-Nosferatu and quasi-ABC - sounds amazing to me. (I've also watched some Giallo films lately so...)

I have actually written about Canadians Zuzu's Petals back in 2013 when they released The Fire Breathing Dragon (read and listen here). The five-piece have just released their new album At Long Last, and it continues in the same ramshackle indie rock vein. Favourites - the punchy bark (sorry) of 'Family Dog', the dark brood of 'Scorpio Woman', the rambling down-home burn of 'Loretta Lynn Madam' - which reminds me of Jason Molina, which makes me sad. A good little album, this one.

This Heel is a solo dude from Malmo in Sweden, Martin Månsson Sjöstrand. He has just released his second album of sorts, maybe an EP, called This Heel II, and this understated, slightly cracked 60s/70s pop is pretty great. The guy on the front cover is Sjöstrand's father in the 60s - the closing song 'Cold Outside' (a cover of The Choir) was one of his favourite songs - and it feels like the whole release is an ode to the man. I really can't get 'Empty-Headed Man' out of my head - I was singing this into an empty spaghetti tin over lunch. This could say a lot about my cabin fever, but it could say a lot about the hooks inherent within these songs.

Another song to burrow under the skin today is 'Pell Mell' from Ontario dudes Bronx Cheerleader. It starts off light and jangling, a twinkling daydream, with slight krautrock undertones, but this shimmering dream starts to colour darker at the seams. It never really bursts its beautifully cultivated bubble, but things move from carefree to careful, from infectious to infected, in increments. It's a wonderfully calibrated slice of indie rock. More please.

Rounding out the post (and the week) is Yorkshire act Grass House. The four-piece just started a month long residency at The Waiting Room here in London on Tuesday, and their track 'Unknown In The Scene' is an alt-pop gem that reminds me of Grandaddy dusting off the cobwebs with Malcolm Middleton while entrenched in Edinburgh in the 90s. It's a lot of fun, even if the sentiment of the song is somewhat maudlin. Next week though is the show to go see, when they play with Moon Gangs and have Winter Drones DJing - get a ticket here.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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