Spent some of the day hanging around in a hospital waiting room, and twenty minutes in a thumping, shuddering tube. I got to play a CD in there - lucky me - and seeing as I don't own many CDs, I quickly burnt my own of stuff I've been listening to and wanting to listen to for Sonic Masala. Essentially "reviewing" music while having an MRI. Yeah, I'm pretty weird - especially seeing that a couple songs weren't good, but I couldn't shut them off, so had to listen to four minutes of bile in a claustrophobic tub. Fun times. Anyway, here are six acts that made things a little easier...
Now I know that most bands that grace a Hits From The Box post, they are either just breaking forth, have a small (and often rabidly devoted) fanbase, or have a release that has flown under the radar. The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die doesn't really fit into these three categories. In fact, I am the one that seems to have hidden under a rock - and willingly so. For some reason I shirked from listening to the Connecticut collective because of their name - I immediately thought they were likely to disappoint, being an overly pompous post-rock replica or a overly earnest post-hardcore chimera. Based on Long Live Happy Birthday, their latest EP and my first dip in TWIABPAIANLATD waters, their cantankerous grandiosity is pretty powerful, especially the constant build up on 'Katamari Duquette' - I felt like I was listening to a Slint meets Silver Mt Zion meets Built To Spill mash. I have heard that they have different sounds than this - an every-changing lineup which can flare out to twelve people can have that effect - but I absolutely love this 7" - you can pick it up here.
Chicago trio Impulsive Hearts have slowly built up their revivalist Vivian Girls in the Midwest sound the past year and a bit, and now the proof is in the pudding in their new album, Sorry In The Summer. It opens up with a plaintive swooner in 'I Wanna Be Gone' which builds into a sonorous explosion, ends with Broken Social Scene-esque groover 'Ykily', and touches many other colourful areas in between. The passion that bubbles up in every song here packs a quiet punch. It's just been released through London label Beautiful Strange - let's hope we see them over this way soon.
Heading over to Perth in Australia now, and we have 'Coyote', the new single from rollicking rockers Odlaw. It's a straight-up balltearer, and like it's namesake has a haunting howl and a hunted desperation throughout. It is a taste of what their forthcoming album Regret City will sound like - and it sounds like Odlaw is ready to rip off heads.
To a very new band outta Brisbane now. Cold Cuts have been around only a few months it seems, but their first two offerings really pack a punch. 'Crystal' has a rough growl to it, a bit of a motorik crawl, while 'Night Works' digs deeper and faster, shirking the post to take on a murky punk stance. Rough and ready power station, Cold Cuts are just warming up.
You might remember all the way back in 2012 that I was into the eponymous EP from Melbourne psych punks Sandcastle. I tried at one stage to try to get them to come up to Brisbane for a show, alongside another band called Pageants (and their only album Dark Before Blonde Dawn is still one of the greatest Aussie records never heard). Well one of the Sandcastle boys has upped sticks and moved to Montreal, transforming into Nothinge in the process. Real Boy is his latest album. With his black sack covering his head and with song titles like 'Kill Kill Kill Kill' and 'Die In A Daydream', you could be expected to be hit with harsh cyber punk, or electronic noise. No siree - these are wonky, weird electronic pop skewers, filled with sugar and spice and all things exotic. Other titles include 'Guyliner' and 'Professor Bum's Recapitulation'. He supported Pop. 1280 last month, and has announced a new album, Play Dead, that is in the works too. The boy is busy.
And finally we have Retro Burn, a collaboration between two Minneapolis sound artists that looks to take sampling into a vaporwave netherworld. Their album Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide is an existentialist cloudscape, an atmospheric suite of compositions that soars throughout the cosmos, the myriad sights met with innocence, confidence and awe. A extremely chilled sci-fi score for a film that doesn't exist except in your head - this is how I want my Sundays to end...
Happy Sunday everyone!