The Guardian just did a roundup of new Australian bands, failing to mention The Frowning Clouds or Clouds/Ausmuteants side project Hierophants. They have a new single out on Italian label Goodbye Boozy called “Nothing Neu” which mixes Spencer Davis Group with Neu! Also out on the same label is the Clouds’ first single off of the new album. “Beetle Bird” is coupled with a remix by Rhys and Josh from The Horrors.
Archive for category new releases
Anyone who has heard The Children of Nuggets box set will know who The Nashville Ramblers were. Carl Rusk who lead that outfit was previously in a group called The Mystery Machine. Equally obscure, they only played three gigs and had one song released (on the third volume of Battle of the Garages). Rusk played guitar in this group, which also featured singer Ray Brandes who later went on to form The Tell-Tale Hearts with British ex-pat Mike Stax. While the Hearts are often quoted as the best garage revival band, I’m tempted to say the Carl Rusk original “She’s Not Mine” is the best garage tune of the 1980s. The group also looked about as cool as the Music Machine, as you can tell from the incredible footage found on Brandes youtube channel. The band was filmed in 1983, doing covers of The Remains, The Blues Magoos and The Easybeats.
Last summer two new Mystery Machine recordings appeared, “Wood and Smoke” is an original song you can hear above, and “Show Me the Way” is a cover of The Free-For-All’s classic Canadian garage 45 (same band as The Great Scots). “Wood and Smoke” is a very Byrdsian composition with Rusk’s ringing 12-string. The lyrics are good and the solo just nails it. Not surprising really since Stax is still making great records himself in this day and age (with The Loons). If you liked the recent Higher State album, these two songs will be right up your street. You can still only get them on itunes or amazon, but as the picture (above) suggests, let’s hope they get a release on Stax’s Ugly Things label soon.
One of the best new bands of last year, along with The Neumans, I’ve only just heard. The Kumari had their first 45 put out by Heavy Soul about a year ago. Doesn’t sound like anything else on their roster, pure jangly psychedelic vibes with an authentic American sound typified by their cover of “Don’t You Dare” by The Impacts on the flip (one of the most overlooked songs of the 60s). Led by Claude Pelletier and Benjamin Craven, these guys recorded their new single at The Higher State’s studio in Folkstone, not surprisingly. Lost In Tyme signed them, and now the 4-track EP Watching You is out. They’re not going to cause a big sensation, but for anyone into moody garage it’s clear that this is the best release since last time Frantic V reared their heads. But anyone into popular groups like The See See or The Black Angels are sure to see the qualties of the title track “Watching You”. One of the other three tracks is a cover of Black and the Blues’ “I’m Sad” on Rigby. Hear it, along with three outtakes from the same session here. All of equal caliber, “Until the Day” might even be their best track, can I guess it will get a State Records release this year?
You’ll actually get a really good deal on their bandcamp, if you download their first 45 you also get two tracks off of the new ep as well as the Spacemen 3 flavoured instro “Kumari”.
Greek label Lost In Tyme is back with an all-domestic release featuring The Basements, whose LP I’m Dead I reviewed two years ago. The top side of this split single is an unreleased cut from Greek legends The Sound Explosion, called “Every Day and Every Night”. This is not a Trolls cover, but a brilliant original sung by the talented John Alexopoulos. Propped up by consistent fuzz and the farfisa as always, this is one of their best tunes.
The Basements’ side is a tough RnB tune called “Stop Rolling”, and once again they’ve taked a stylistic turn. After the debut ep’s straight ’66 moody jangle, to the fuzz-heavy garage of the LP, this is another surprise, but one they pull off extremely well. Better than The Strypes/The 45s at least. The song finishes with a great fuzz rave-up that carries on right through the final chorus.
Today I was going to celebrate my birthday, cause it’s the 28th and I’m turning 28 on Monday. But since my friends seem to be either sick or away I spent the time making a new podcast instead. If you’ve checked out the spotify playlist I posted yesterday you’ve only heard some of the records I mentioned in my Top 15 lists. Here are 20 more tracks, that you can’t find on spotify, most of them released during the second half of the year. As I was pondering what the best record cover of the year has been, looking through some lists of mostly mediocre choices, I concluded that there haven’t really been many iconic record covers this year, Kanye West and Bowie getting bonus points for trying though. This Energy Gown 45 I have used above, is probably my favourite though, especially since it’s not plastered all over the web, and I couldn’t even find a high-res file.
Tandyn Almer – I Get High
The Young Sinclairs – Mona Lisa
Energy Gown – Diamond Bun
Mozes and the Firstborn – Peter Jr.
The Fighting League – Bad Surprises
The Squids – Drag
Drags – Sense
Thee Goochi Boiz – Something’s Missing
Geese – Love In All the Wrong Places
Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel – I Heard Her Call My Name
The Tone – Don’t Wanna Go
Slushy – Sunny Pair
Las Rosas – Black Cherry
Neo Boys – WWII
Habibi – Far From Right
Mane – Bloodstone
Gestapo Khazi – CA
Endless Bummer – Such a Drag
Adam Widener – Fake Flowers Never Die
Beach Party – Can’t Surf
Here’s a spotify playlist featuring 50 tracks from some of the best releases of 2013, or at least the ones available through their service. If you can guess the background album cover used here I’ll send you a link to the playlist featuring ALL those releases in full, in case you can’t be bothered to compile it yourself.
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for, but let’s not jump straight to the dessert. First I’ve got some honourable mentions of releases that deserve a list of their own. These are either records that came out late in December of last year, or really great records recorded by equally great friends.
Bad Indians – …Are On the Other Side CQ
Sam Lunsford – s/t self-released
Gestapo Khazi – The Jewel of the Land self-released
The Resonars – The Greatest Songs of… Trouble In Mind
Beachniks – In Color Neotomic
Sapphire Mansions – Over America 12″ It’s Raining
Amor de Dias – The House At Sea Merge
Now, picking the below 15 from the original shortlist of roughly 85 albums was hard, but there’s definitely no doubt which have been the best five albums of 2013. That’s why this year I’m presenting them in a non-ordered 5+10 list. As usual Thee Oh Sees have had a good year, with a new album that I think actually might be my favourite from Dwyer’s pen so far. They also released Vol. 3 of their singles collection, and an excellent EP called Moon Sick. The powerpop album of the year turned out not to be the new Bad Spors LP (despite opening track “Get You” being absolutely killer) but the debut from Nightmare Boyzzz. It includes one of last year’s best songs, “My Body Breaks Down” from their Younger Siblings split, and also, since Plateaus didn’t release an album this year, Bad Patterns stole the limelight. Fittingly, “Crying In the Limelight” was the best track on the new Audacity record… Cool Ghouls and The Shivas are my best discoveries of the year. And Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel is the latest inclusion, perhaps it will grow on me, or perhaps it will be forgotten as mere psych pastiche. That’s the unfair treatment you’ll have to consider when you’re comparing an album you’ve had 11 months to digest with one you heard last week. I haven’t written anything about either Night Beats or King Gizzard, but you’ve probably caught on anyway. If you feel like you’re missing stuff I recommend following Record Turnover on soundcloud and fb where I share a lot of things I don’t have the time to write about at length. Of course, Night Beats were guaranteed a spot even before I heard Sonic Bloom, since their Malmö gig was purely captivating.
The Higher State – s/t 13 O’Clock
The Shivas – Whiteout! K Records
Night Beats – Sonic Bloom Reverberation Appreciation Society
Jacco Gardner – Cabinet of Curiosities Trouble In Mind
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Float Along—Fill Your Lungs Flightless
Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel – Nico & Her Psychedelic Subconscious Burger
Fuzz – s/t In the Red
Dead Ghosts – Can’t Get No Burger
Cool Ghouls – s/t Empty Cellar
Elephant Stone – s/t Hidden Pony
The Frowning Clouds – Whereabouts Anti Fade
Paul Messis – Case Closed State
Nightmare Boyzzz – Bad Patterns Slovenly
Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin Castle Face
Mikal Cronin – MCII Merge
And that’s it for this year. It’s been a great holiday season reading other people’s list, catching up on heaps of records and remembering just the incredible amount of good music being recorded and released. Even if it’s just a cassette, like the new Goochi Boiz album for example. And I just saw that What Next? released a new tape in May. Please tip me about anything I might have missed in the comments, sometimes you don’t hear your fave record of a certain year until one or several years later. Apart from the releases here in the archives, I’ve been listening a lot to albums from Warm Soda, Running, The Go, Mozes & the Firstborn, Bad Sports, King Kahn, Useless Eaters, Bazooka, White Fence, Black Angles, Crystal Stilts, Psychic Ills, Catholic Spray, Lantern, Audacity, Mantles, Wrong Words, Pastels, Primitive Hearts, Limiñanas, Feeding People etc etc.
A couple of mixes coming soon, as a complement to the lists.
Here’s a tip about two debut albums both from all-female groups, which we’ve definitely needed more of this year. Be a luzer and join the La Luz hype. After being picked up by Hardly Art for their first ep Damp Face, that I’ve previously mentioned here, they’ve managed to release BOTH a stunning instrumental single on Suicide Squeeze called “Brainwash”, as well as their first album It’s Alive. For their Harly Art full-length they’ve taken the two best tracks off Damp Face, and added 9 more. There are a lot of instrumental passages, La Luz being rooted in the instrumental sounds of early 60s surf music. And lyrics may not be their strong point, but languid closing track “You Can Never Know” hits an almost hypnotic note. The ballad “What Good Am I?” also proves their voices deserve to carry more than “wooo”s and should be as much of a centre-point as the shimmery lead guitar. Some of the mixes would do well with a bit more punch too, but even without, this is a very enjoyable record as you can hear.
An album that really packs a punch, but on the other hand lacks a bit of low end, is Habibi’s follow-up to last year’s promising ep delivered by Born Bad. This 11-track party crasher includes new recordings of all three ep tracks, and they do sound much better. Pulling on a lot more post-punk influences than La Luz, Habibi’s songs are deceptively simply, with the secret ingredient being the vocal interplay between singer Rahill, bass player Erin (ex Girls At Dawn) and guitarist Lenaya. Now they’ve even fleshed out to a five-piece adding a second guitarist. Best track on the album might be “Detroit Baby”, which could prove to be as much of a floorfiller as Chain & the Gang’s “Detroit Music”. The slow ballad “She Comes Along” gets bonus points for having the most gorgeous harmonies of the year and a really understated guitar solo. “Persepolis” and “Let Me In” (below) are both enthralling too. Burger are releasing this on vinyl, but so far it’s only available on tape. Even if Neverever never releases anything ever again, Habibi should keep you going.
If you’re a garage head these would have been the two most anticipated releases of the year. Since bursting out of a Melbourne suburb in 2009 with their Lovin’ You EP, they’ve practically spawned a whole scene of garage and punk groups inspired by them and Straight Arrows. The Frowning Clouds have now found a home on Anti Fade, run by the people behind Living Eyes (one of those very bands). Still represented by Saturno in Europe, who have helped them sway a new continent with only two brief visits. And a fantastic tour tape to boot, that I wrote about earlier and which features in my recent list of 2013′s best singles and eps. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Whereabouts ended up on my list of the best 15 albums, which I will be posting soon too. Because although the Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology cassette didn’t show much progression from their ’65 revival sound of Listen Closelier, (except some ventures into ’66 sounds, like The Mods’ “Days Mind the Time”), this album is a completely different beast. While recent single “Propellers” is included here, neither that nor the preceding “All Night Long” hinted at the direction they would be taking here. This 13-track album is an ode to the psychedlic era Kinks and the folk-rock sounds of 1968. Without churning out catchy pop songs, they achieve the same success Woods did on their latest album, via quirky song structures, groovy bass lines and far-out 12-string sounds (check out the ending of first track “All Angles” for example). “Into the Ground” and “Dreamtiming” are among the most beautiful electric folk songs of the year. And on “3 O’Clock Habit”, “Beetle Bird” and “Product of the Peanut Butter Company” they could have been channeling Peanut Butter…. Conspiracy. But they’re at their absolute best when they are just Frowning Clouds: “Mayan Calender Girl”, “Much Too Much Too Soon” and “Heaps Deep” are unique and memorable songs in their own right. And still they’re not afraid to break out a simple braindead riff like that of “Human Being, Human Doing, Human Going”. Hear it on spotify
It’s true, The Higher State are here with their best album so far, aptly titled just The Higher State. Unassumingly packaged and presented, this masterpiece sounds like it could have been recorded in a casual 10-day session just like Younger Than Yesterday. Marty’s cut his hair, Paul Messis has come in on bass, no paisley shirts on the cover. As a band they’ve reached an age at which style and artifice is less important than just being yourselves. “Look here comes another trend, now you look just like your friends” to quote the album’s closing track “Try Slowing Down”. Even though the more psychedelic precursor Freakout At the Gallery was great, it’s this equally balanced mix of 12-string folk-rock and seething fuzz leads that they do best. With two razorsharp singles already released this year, only “Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” is included here, leaving you with 11 new songs that together make up the strongest material Marty and Mole have released since The Mystreated’s classic LP Looking Right Through (that, believe it or not, turns 20 years old next year). Perhaps it’s Messis who has re-ignited that spark, or maybe it’s the comfortable setting of their own Folkstone studio that just makes these songs come together naturally. Each of them so strong it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Hear it here, or get it from 13 O’Clock, along with their newest 45 “I Just Pretend”.
If this had been three years ago my favourite album of the year would have been Dream Boys’s self-titled debut. But today I’d rather recommend Sapphire Mansions if you’re into dream-pop. Since Golden Triangle broke up and touring with Zarjaz, Jay Hough has been honing his own songwriting and finding his voice with Matt, Josh and Serge (Beachniks/German Measles) as Sappire Mansions. You may remember me writing about their first tape Whispered In Sparks from 2012, and with their new mini-album Over America they’ve delivered on all the points in which they were lacking. Still lo-fi, but lovingly recorded at Marlborough Farms, these songs breathe the same confidence and flair as Felt circa Splendour of Fear. The vocals actually contain so much melody on tracks like “Too Shiny” they could have been mixed right to the front. All six songs earn the width of their grooves on this 12″, “This Swirling Image” alone has enough hooks and ingredients to fill a whole EP. The cover looks great, and Hough was nice enough to credit me on the insert (next to my friends Gary Olson and Emily Curtin) for design input, although I’ve not actually submitted any work. Here’s what my cover concept looked like. The record is out on Hough’s own label It’s Raining Records, and you can stream or pick one up here. The tape or cd version comes with two unique bonus tracks.