Tuesday 26 February 2013

Three Ominous Beaches


Its been a very hot summer. Best time to be in a country that loves its pools - and even better, that has incredible beaches. It hasn't been the best for me though - in the UK for most of it, then in hospital, then banned from water like a Mogwai. Sigh. The beach holds so many great memories. Here are three beaches though that you should be wary of though - don't go burying your stash in the sand or off into the dunes with a handsome stranger here. Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water etc etc.


This first Beach band (and the impetus for this post) had a release out in the dying light of last year, Pacific. Canberra's Danger Beach is the solo project of Lachlan Thomas (formerly of sadly now defunct Assassins 88). His debut record Milky Way was somewhat a hit out there in the global internet ether, whilst the video for the track 'Apache' was nominated as a finalist for the 2012 Vimeo Music Video Awards. Those lo-fi meanderings aren't entirely gone, yet there is a slicker, darker perspective to these tunes that, if the glossy cover art is anything to go by, lurks in that in-between state between dark and light in the city - where the darkness never truly invades, but never truly leaves either. Think of Michael Mann's Collateral. There are sunny moments like 'Bee' or great track 'Idle Hands', but above all the devil is in the twilit details - especially the sirens that light up the stone-cold classic that is the closer 'Dark Blue' - fucking rad. A great album from a great up and coming band, you can get Pacific through Dream Damage here.


Whilst Canberra isn't that far from the golden sands of a quintessential beach, there aren't places much further from such a destination as Scandinavia. Yet this is where we find Cannon Beach, and befittingly the Danish/Norwegian duo aren't likely to break out the Shangri-La leads anytime soon. Having met in the countryside of Denmark, the tracks on Concrete, People And Things stem from approaching music from different perspectives (from folk-oriented Americana to ambient compositions and tape manipulations, with a common neutral ground in shoegaze noise). The result is sparse, eclectic, but oft-times electric. Example in point is ‘Sacred Harp’, an instrumental made up essentially of an autoharp connected to a Leslie amplifier, one guitar-amplifier and one bass-amplifer, a drone experiment that bleeds into the moody atmospherics of 'Loki'. Out through Ikenai! Records, you can grab Concrete, People And Things here.


Out of these three beaches, Menace Beach probably has the most recognition, at least potentially. A Leeds-based quasi-"supergroup" featuring members of Pulled Apart By Horses, Sky Larkin and Hookworms, I was immediately enamoured by their scuzzy nature, although they are also the closest to beach guitar pop of the three - their PR even pushes references of Wavves and Ganglians onto us. They are not bereft of ideas though, already rolling out a couple of tracks for Too Pure Records' Singles Club to back up their self-titled debut EP. 'Dropouts' sounds as much Breeders territory as anything else, or mid 90s Britpop that flirted with noisier, more whacked-out guitar settings, whilst 'Tastes Like Medicine' comes from the Williams/Cosentino school of shimmering lightweights that still somehow manage to remain fun and relevant. Pre-order this sucker here.

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