Sunday, 6 September 2015

Hits From The Box #113 - Re-Breaking Bad

Has anyone got a good show I should watch? At the moment I'm in the last four episodes of Breaking Bad after watching it again for the third time. Not complaining, mind, it's a great show. But I need to move on a bit. So hit me up with suggestions, and in exchange, here are six more Hits From The Box...

One of the premier bands in the PNKSLM Records roster is Stockholm's Sudakistan. Normally known for more party-central garage rock, new single 'Mundo Mamon' is a more visceral beast, with the scuzz wall shot with percussive Latin beats and psych phasers. It is a heady precursor to their debut record Caballo Negro, out at the end of October - you can pre-order it here (on transparent/black spattered vinyl, no less).

Olympia traveller Tapes & Tubes has crafted a quiet introspective gem in Man In The Window. The hushed vocals of the title track evokes Iron & Wine or a narcoleptic Pedro The Lion, with stories told in maudlin half-tones, the acoustic strums and echoed effects pushing us further into contemplation. Rustic ruminations sung from the peripherals.

Boston's ugly pop gurus Lady Bones released their LP Dying (out now through Midnight Werewolf Records) and its a corker. Following in the footsteps of Pile and Big Mess and the rest of the brilliant Boston bunch that are bursting into the stratosphere of late, Lady Bones employ a rambunctious and muscular delivery that is both avuncular, louche and rigid, the vocals warbled and rough, the bassline steely and fused to the centre, the constant that the pounding drums and growling guitars stay bound to. It remains somewhat skeletal too - this is sinuous, barebones rock, delivered with lackadaisical verve. Therefore, GET IT.

The second half of this post heads to Australia, starting with Melbourne collective Mallee Songs. Originally a solo project for Michael Skinner, Natural Times is a fully realised band concern, and like Antipodean contemporaries The Middle East it revels in harmonious multilayered instrumentation and a lyrical nous focused on an insular meditation on the world as it winds by - going from the warm amble of 'Since The Kingdom' and swirling jangle of 'A Warm Breeze'. 'Christmas '93' reminds me a lot of Karl Smith and Sodastream - so big win there. The band supported Lehmann B Smith launch his new record last month and are doing a monthly residency at The Old Bar this month, with the likes of Hideous Towns, Zig Zag and Sleep Decade in support - get down there.

To Brisbane now, Paul Donoughue AKA Big Strong Brute. His new release, the EP Good Work, is a fair jump in electricity and verve from 2012's Avalanche Of Truth. Not that doing away with acoustics and plugging in has skewed his songwriting nous in any way. 'Start making sense' are the first words sung on opening track 'Wait', a slight play on Talking Heads, but also has a buoyant drum machine and air-punching lack of inhibition. 'Wedding Pages' holds more gravity and chagrin ('Why throw it up if it just comes down') but the ebullient undercurrent to Donoughue's edgy yet tempered exasperation turns an anthem into a magnetic revelation. And when the electric guitar swaggers through 'Heavy Mountain', you know that Big Strong Brute is more confident than ever - good work indeed.

And I'm going to finish off with some Brisbane rock royalty here. Screamfeeder's frontman Tim Stewart has been plying the trade with his We All Want To project for some years now, and has just released new album The Haze. Steward has always had a enigmatic yet charismatic presence, his lyrics elliptical, poetic and at times acerbic, and his delivery is easily identifiable - so much so that when he launches into opener 'Eileen Afternoon' a sense of welcoming bonhomie, of feeling like 'home', floods through me. We All Want To lacks the buzzsaw edge that Screamfeeder revels in (and with new songs apparently in the can, we might get some latter day 'Feeder treats soon!), but 'Everybody's Damaged' holds more emotional heft while songs like 'Party Girls' and 'Road To Ruin' shows shadows of that rawness. 'Remove The Arrow' on the other hand sees Skye Staniford take the vocal reins and is one of the strongest songs on the record, hands down.

Happy Sunday everyone!

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