Sunday, 13 September 2015

Hits From The Box #114 - What's In The Box?

Finally - after months of being screwed around, the 8th Sonic Masala Records release arrived on the doorstep on Friday - Day Ravies' Liminal Zones. It will be out in all great record stores in Australia soon, as well as our first release to be distributed in Europe (through Beko Disques) and the US (Jigsaw Records). So I am pretty damn happy. Let's hear what else has me content this week...

Richmond band Positive No had me from the opening moments of 'Bonded Pair', which echoed Slint. They are a different beast, flirting with Breeders, Blonde Redhead and Screamfeeder territory, and their debut LP Glossa is a Petri dish of infectious harmonies with more abrasive instrumentation, moving sinuously between the extremes with an ambidextrous ease. 'Weird Hugs' is the perfect example of this balancing act. They are touring the States at the moment -

Portland's Helvetia have been in hiding of late, mainly due to their connection with Built To Spill and the exciting news that Doug Marstch et al have a new album in the can. Doubly exciting though is that there is also a new Helvetia album in the guise of Dromomania. First track off it is 'A Dot Running For The Dust', which has that sunswept haze and psych spin that Broken Social Scene are occasionally able to harness; while the news heightens further with the news that the initial album, believed lost to a dire hard-drive malfunction, has been recovered after Dromomania was recorded, so you can get the "original" debut LP too! It's all for a limited time only - you better head here to get it.

Let's move over to Duck Duck Grey Duck, a band so nice they had to say it three times. While their album Here Come... has been out for a while, this pretty great video for album track 'Spills and Chills' has just come out, and seeing as I haven't done a Video Vacuum in aaaaaaaages, I wanted to show it here. The album itself is garage blues baked in the sun - the hooks are plentiful, the songs ooze with cool, it's all effortless, although the trio aren't averse to sojourns into frenetic psych wailers such as 'Transworld'.

Now to Australia, although the name Magic America may throw you. Now these boys are more plainly enamoured with the psychedelic rock drawl, as is evidenced on opening track 'Comes and Goes' from their eponymous EP, all of which you can listen to below. While that track follows more well-worn modern psych trends (looking at Black Angels and their eternal acolytes there), they try other elements such as electronic undertones on a paisley psych theme on 'Shock Me Sober', a swooning dandy approach on 'I'm Not Dying', and some Pink Floyd outer reaches tinge 'I Thought I Told You'. Closer 'Holly' - no thanks - I felt like it was Alex Lloyd fronting Jet, so yeah, in the bin with that one. That said, they haven't really stamped an individual sound yet, but the strength of that opening number hints that they might be onto something - give it time.

Still in Oz, we have self-professed shoe-grungers Claws & Organs. The visceral trio are making a strong impression, and their track 'Alphabetti Spaghetti' is a belter. The grunge element is evident in part, but it's better when Heather Thomas keeps the growl on the edge of her lips; her silken vocals lend more menace in front of a wavering behemoth of noise that the band easily control. I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Flying back to finish in Vancouver where we can smash down some UCLA Yankee Cola with bratty four-piece TV Ugly. They are all about making compact, crunchy scuzz pop, where werewolfing and eating shit are viable options for any given day. There is a dark grit under the nails of these tracks at times, like on 'Slow Thighs' (which, at 2:47, is the longest song here by almost a minute). But hit the seas on TV Ugly's 'Thrash Party Island' and nothing can bring down your day. Plus they also put Cake's 'Comfort Eagle' in one of their Facebook posts - and this totally made my day even better. DUDE!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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