Thursday 20 October 2011

Hits From The Box #37 - Rugby Wonders & Blunders

Well, tomorrow marks the bronze medal match of the Rugby World Cup between Australia and Wales. its a bit naff really - no one really remembers who comes 3rd in these types of things - but its a last gasp effort for the Wallabies to salvage some credibility. That is a bit harsh a statement too - they have made it this far, over England and South Africa amongst others - but it hasnt been a pretty tournament... But what has any of this got to do about Sonic Masala? Nothing, really. Just felt like waxing lyrical about it. I could go on for ages actually - but Id probably become more bitter and twisted than I already am. So go the Wallabies - now on with Hits From The Box!

When the press release for a band includes the reference points Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Ride, Ive gotta say I get a bit excited. Los Angeles’ Tennis System certainly showcase these aspirations with 'Arcane', the second track off upcoming album Teenagers (check out the sonorous 'Hey We Tried' also, a heady mix of Deerhunter and Wavves). Its suitably noisy, but shimmers with warm gold. There is a huge amount of lovely melody here too, which makes this infinitely more likable. Hey, if they can be booked to play alongside Ty Segall, Japandroids and A Place To Bury Strangers, they are well worth the listen.

Tennis System - Arcane
Tennis System - Hey, I Tried

Al Torchia & The Tattered Saints out of Tampa, Florida thrash out rock anthems created by the over-driven guitars, low bottom bass, thunderous drums and growling rock sax that isn't far removed from the great Mr Springsteen. The lyric content is also what you might expect from this type of genre, growing up in American life and the everyday struggles and triumphs getting through it. I have to say that I wasnt expecting to enjoy this record as much as I do - American Glory is an accomplished album, worthy of your time and money if you're into this sound (which, face it, you should be).

Al Torchia & the Tattered Saints - American Glory
Al Torchia & the Tattered Saints - Avenue
Al Torchia & the Tattered Saints - By The Way Of The Night

Here's a duo from Australia - Sydney, to be exact. pHader have just released Rock Electronica Instrumentals, an EP that uses live drums and guitars, electronic synths, basslines and liberal use of movie dialogue to evoke a sense of bizarrely melodramatic hyperreality.

pHader - Breathless
pHader - Bassicity

Hello Electric hail from Portland. Their upcoming EP Dead Champion, due to be released on October 25th on Spaceman USA, is a dark gem. The song embodies this Portland band's signature elements, showcasing unique rhythms combined with dark keys and thick synths. Frontman Kirk Ohnstad describes "Hook" as a "retelling of Peter Pan" with a "conceptual feel to it that is a characteristic of Hello Electric." They are touring the US at the moment, so if you're in the neighboorhood check em out - sounds pretty electric (sorry...). Their EP will be for sale at every show as a limited release 10" gold vinyl with a screen-printed sleeve - which sounds like a fantastic find. It will be available digitally and physically online on October 25th with the digital copy for less than $5! Cant beat that...

Hello Electric - Hook
Hello Electric - Introduction

Magicks isnt averse to using emoticons in song titles. Dont hold that against the Chicago-based artist, however, because 'Angry Tiger :(', off latest EP (available on cassette or digitally) Triangles, is a goddamned great track. Magicks is creating music as one person based on techniques Jason has learned as an audio engineer, blending layers to create a more complex sound as a whole. He combines electronic and DJ equipment with guitar, bass and a microphone to create atmospheric sounds. It will invariably draw comparisons to the likes of Animal Collective, yet there is something epic about this track that takes you more into Sigur Ros realms. Sure, many of the tracks on Triangles veer in about five different directions to this one, but you get the idea. Its pretty special...

Magicks - Angry Tiger :(

Dirtblonde are a Liverpool two-piece who have a new EP out, Token Rose. Im a massive fan of the title track that also opens up the release. There are inklings of PJ Harvey admiration, but with a darker, razor bent that befits bands like Australians Magic Dirt, or even the slinkier numbers that the Kills often whip out in their sleep. The EP doesn't always light my fire - the acoustic 'Broken Glass' feels underdone when considering the raucous numbers fit them like a studded leather glove - but they are a band to take note of.

Today I am finishing with these Wisconsin chaps. There are two reasons why Porcupine find themselves on today's Hits From The Box. Firstly, their The Trouble With You LP reminds me of local stalwart Ben Salter, both in terms of vocals and penchant for addictive melodies - an excellent thing indeed. Some of these tracks grow claws for hands and dig into your psyche, never to let go. The second reason (and just as important in my opinion) is their promise of a cheese tray and an assortment of the world's finest mustards. A well-known fact about me - I fucking love me some cheese. Now Im not into bribes per se, but some killer cheeses goes a long way with me. A loooooooooong way. Im not adverse to stinking a cinema out because I like eating blue cheese whilst watching a film. So sue me. Anyway, as Ive stated, this is a great record, get amongst it.

Porcupine - Dead Mint Club
Porcupine - Your Next Move

Happy Days Kids!

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