Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hits From The Box #115 - Beery Kernel Of Truth

By the time you read this, I will be nursing a hangover, brought on by the bad boy above (NB: the hangover wasn't that bad - nothing binge Netflix and a couple more beers didn't fix). Last night (now; it's currently Saturday afternoon, so I'm pre-empting here) (NB: it's actually Wednesday - didn't quite get to pull the trigger on this post before the booze began to flow...) I went to a 30th at a pub literally a minute's walk from my house where they're serving this, so my night is sorted. I think I will need extra sonic aid to get through the day, so here are eight acts that will hopefully drag me through into the night...

Chain Of Flowers hail from Cardiff in Wales, and are making major waves. Their thundering Gothic post-punk has borne comparisons to early Cure and Birthday Party, while their support slots with the likes of Ceremony and upcoming Destruction Unit (tomorrow) and Uniform (October 26) shows prove that people are taking notice. There is more of a through-line with UK contemporaries Eagulls with their crushing sound and heart-bleed emotion in my opinion, which is a good thing, but the six-piece are carving their own path. Chain Of Flowers is out through Alter.

Going Swimming are a loose as garage band from Melbourne, as influenced by the garish psychobilly punk of The Cramps as they are by more contemporary psych-tinged fare, and their hi-octane meltdowns are pushing them into the stratosphere. Their new release Deadtime Stories takes on the iconic RL Stine kids horror anthology Goosebumps artwork, and 'Yoko, Oh No!' is a surf-instrumental hellbent on riding the wave into Hell, dragging us all with them. And this isn't a bad thing - like contemporaries Mesa Cosa, these guys are tearing up.

London punx Teenage Caveman are determined to tear a gritty hole in the faces of all who stand in their way on their EP, appropriately called Die Nasty. They are just as interested in finding an insidious groove to hang their clang and clamour on, lent dementia and verve by the theatrics and wails of Simone Grey-Ritson. 'Be The Waitress' shows the band in full flight, but each track is coloured by a different brush - 'Mars' plods along, a blues-esque dirge speared into delirium; 'From H2O' playing like Life Without Buildings having overdosed on Talking Heads, The Police and blue cheese; while closer 'The Fall' is a narcoleptic hallucination in a D-grade hardboiled noir set on a 60s space station. It's all suitably strange - something that pays to see in the flesh (if not the light of day).

Austin label Funny/Not Funny Records has a pretty consistent track record with their releases, and their latest looks to follow suit. Crystals For The Brass Empire is the transmogrified monster that is The Diamond Center's new album - a collective of artists that pass through the doors like a veritable carousel, all intent on laying down languid somnambulist jams that melt into the starry desert night. The centrifugal force is the mainstays, Kyle Harris and Brandi Price, and their woozy meditative take on psych folk fare seems nuanced and focused here, even as it floats out into the ether. A good album to hunt down.

Over to Bristol in England now, for the mathy melters Falling Stacks' album No Wives (with the great goat cover art). The Shellac comparisons are somewhat warranted, but there is a more angular and frenetic delivery to these tracks that set them apart and match them more to the Leeds-centric noise bands over the past few years, with an off-kilter sense of melody that the likes of Fugazi and the Minutemen owned. I would love to see these songs in action - the stop/start momentum is breakneck, a whiplash immolation from stasis to terminal velocity in tracks like 'No Stops' that slide nicely into the edgy rock of 'A Fly Would Slide', would make for my kind of live set. Their tour sets off next month, with a show in Worcester with Hey Colossus - nuclear meltdown imminent.

Spokane kids Wild Pacific whipped some feelings within me with their track, er, 'Feelings'. It's off their EP Stacy St Clair, and it's a cracker - both surf-swept and bruised cruiser, with some decidedly soothing solo twang helping push the urgent tempo and some impressive drumming. It is by far the strongest track here, and really says a lot about what this trio can be. Look forward to hearing if the boys can forge forth out of this buzzed earworm, that's for sure.

PNKSLM Records continue to push some great garage/psych hybrids, the latest being the laconic pop shine of The Foetals. 'Fine' has the nostalgic sheen of a 60s guitar pop matinee idol, backed up by second cut 'Malted'. The work from Pink Teens/Temple Songs' Jolan Lewis, Meet The Foetals promises to be the ode to a childhood spent playing air guitar in the mirror on a rainy Sunday as parental records spin lazily by, a portal into a seemingly sunnier time, where even melancholy meditations sound like daydreams.

And to finish off today, we are going with an act that links back to last week's Hits From The Box. We finished off that post with Vancouver's TV Ugly, whose Alie features in Supermoon, another bubbly guitar pop gem whose Comet Lovejoy EP is heaps of fun. There is a lo-fi fuzz and echoed malaise that keeps these tracks from turning twee, but the insistence and buoyant melodies and songs called 'Powersuits' steer close to the types of bands that litter the Fortuna Pop and Slumberland labels. There are 60s pop moments with doses of other touchstones - mild lashings of a sedated Deerhoof, a happily medicated Veronica Falls, a skittish, off-kilter Breeders... It's a really cool record, with grit in the likes of 'Cowardly' to offset the sugar - get in there.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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