Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Hits From The Box #111 - Shattered iDreams

I realised this week that Sonic Masala relies so much on my iPhone. I realised this because my iPhone hit the bathroom tiles a little too hard and is now out of action. On the bus, at work, over a pint in the pub, I do a lot of groundwork/correspondence/idea-crunching for all facets of SM. Bizarre to think I resisted upgrading from my trusty Nokia brick right up until 2011. First world problems I guess... Anyway here are six bands that have been fuelling the fires...

BLiNDNESS is a loud shoegaze-centric trio out of London who released debut album Wrapped In Plastic through Saint Marie Records. It's a sonic blast that comes from Debbie Smith of Curve and Echobelly, a dark shivering slithering beast of a record.

Chile is a band that has become synonymous with some solid psych rock over the past few years, what with The Holydrug Couple and Follakzoid in their midst. Maff bring the intoxication and squall on their self-titled album. Mirroring the likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain ('Walking On Fire') and injecting it with infectious indie rock ('Million Year Picnic'), Maff is a continuous gift of sonorous highs.

Here is a great little oddity out of my hometown of Brisbane. Lucid Dreamtime is a apocryphal minor masterwork from Howling Cloud, a one-man sonic explorer who marries field recordings, world music mantras and Eastern desert drawl to create a sonic afterlife, scoring a mystic journey through the looking glass. Twelve minute Opening cut 'Enter The Everywhen' is particularly stunning, but the spacious dreaming of 'Acid Rain' and the swirling drone of 'Deadman Dreaming' are great also.

A totally different pace now with San Francisco rockers Void Boys, whose Glamorpus release blasts forth with barbed hooks and growling pop heft. The four-piece supported Screaming Females recently and this says a lot about what they are about. The bass is heavy and driving, the guitars propulsive, yet there is a vivacious positivity that shines throughout, in no small part to Shannon Bodrogi's vocals. They have quieter moments, such as the building 'Culling Song', but Void Boys are best when they let everything go like on aggressive opener 'Bruxism' or the explosive pop underpinning 'Starfish'.

Nottingham punks Soul Structure have a desperate belter in The Body Of Man, a heady invective that wastes no time punching in all directions. It's a fairly sparse production, with some sinewy precise guitarwork and breakneck drumming, and it plays well into the sudden breaks in direction and pace. Each song is fidgety, refusing to stay in one groove, even spitting venom can suddenly halt without warning. This unpredictability lends The Body of Man its pent-up urgency.

I'm gonna pull up stumps with listening to New Zealand's Lowlands, a gauzy lo-fi drifting dream. I don't know much about the act, but Lowlands holds firm in its slowburn, a brooding echo-laden pop paralysis, a cavernous contemplation of hopes and dreams, revelling in the dronal netherspaces and found sounds of an arctic otherworld. Lilting and arresting, I want more of this bedroom emancipation as it invades my senses.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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