Sophomore album from LA exhilarators Starcrawler is one great big body of goose-bumped attraction as muscle-y they peel back the sleazed grime of the Hollywood Boulevard to reveal a plastered slab of thrash lustre.
Like dipping your tongue into a bag of powdered fizz only to subsequently tear the sides with greedy impatience- hissing raw releases straight into the atmosphere and staining your fringed trousers in an un-filtered display of instant chaos, Devour You (via Rough Trade Records) is thirteen tracks of unhinged thrill that time and time again will make you want to start a band.
Swelling as a bruise which, theoretically may have formed in 70’s era rock ‘n’ roll yet exteriorly has only now decided to resurge it’s bloody might, age is but a mere acknowledgment of existence as slickly the four-piece capture teenage toughness and turn it into something even more all-consuming.
Don’t however come searchin’ for churned out nostalgia with this one. Devour You is untainted scabby twang sweat for the new-age. Vocalist Arrow de Wilde takes badass to a whole new level of ‘I’m too scared to watch but also really can’t look away’ punk-ed paralysis. Opening taunter Lizzy is a playground for the marvellously mis-fitted cool kids whilst Bet My Brains carries so much power-chorded clamour it’s as if even the dirt underneath guitarist Henri Cash’s fingernails oozes anarchist authority. Drawing inspiration from “the underground village of people who live in the sewers of the L.A. River” – de Wilde, you can run and you can hide from all the pitch-black adapting’s of the world outside our comfort zones but with Starcrawler it’s probably best you do neither. Instead, take a walk on the wild side and bask within your unease.
Perhaps un-surprisingly, squatting amongst all the bloody gear is a band whose gift of the un-glam is so brutally brilliant that not even all the ‘Toy Teenager’s’, penniless pockets and drummed un-subtleties can tarnish it’s gloriously gut sexy deadliness. Clocking off with the delicate venom dripping duet that is Call Me A Baby– a nightmarish soother with a wobbling chorus sung by what seems like clown children (just in case you weren’t already terrified), this is a beast that with attentive indulgence will only get fatter and furiously fatter.
You’d better just shut up and listen.
Turn your spirit towards the sun as everyone’s favourite Cali crooners Allah Las release ‘Lahs’– a homage towards the frequent misspelling of their name and fourth LP release (via Mexican Summer). Running as a richly wholesome trip over acres of gently growing garage-folk, brush your fingers across a faded painted night sky on the white stone walls of freedom and get groovin’.
Allah-Las have the most water-painted formula for creating music that speaks to ‘glossy eyes’- the dreamers and the landscaped realists. If we’re talking day-one ambitions turned fourth time around ‘this is the ultimate level of marbled marvel and my psychedelic heart has now reached full dreamscape’, then Lahs is as picture perfect as things could possibly get. Like receiving a salt water faded letter from a sweetheart of days gone by, this is a record of capsuled joy- a love letter to language as Portuguese pleasantries play with Japanese journeyed judgment, wise worded wonder and constellational crotchet are all knowingly entertained and then sprayed with the most sunshine- citrus of perfumes (for that added human touch).
High-delight instrumentals with swoon must be Allah-Las’s middle name as falling down a sanctuary staircase into a lapsteel of collected vibe, from the tops of their heads to the bottom of their ‘blank aura’ these guys are undeniably cool. Perhaps this is because the very definition of cool swirls within their LA bloodstream or, for reasons only to be discovered by the soon-to-be indulged ear, there’s something sparkling to be lapped up in ‘Mirror Lake’ and this four-piece have it bottled.
A record described as “inspired less by time, but by place”- Keeping Dry in a desert dwelling climate is a surely easy-going feat but, with a rock-pool of silver fish scaled cymbals at your fingertips, things are at least a whole lot more fluid. Previously released single In The Air is a lyrically shufflin’ delight as intuitively things can’t go wrong when word of chameleon is sung with such effortlessness, whilst solar-sweeping numbers Polar Onion and On Our Way offer alternate reality lenses on all too familiar worldly drifts of mood. As back and forth rhythm sections jangle wind-charmed call outs to anyone with a mind to listen, Star masterfully breezes a universe of speckled confidence with zero restraints and it’s high time we all took four minutes to breathe in the lo-fi riffed atmosphere.
Lahs is thirteen treasures of unadulterated magic and a current of horizon drifting breath that will be returned to with endless impulse.
If anything should to be used to describe the way honey drizzled on warm, proper bread sounds then Bedouine’s, Bird Songs of a Killjoy is exactly it complete with delicately chipped, porcelain lyricisms. This is the kind of poetically meandering folk the world needs right now as orchestral swirls and crescendo tenderness present a distinctly voyaged sound that is unmatched and deep rooted special. Dreamy, gently intimate and wide eyed nostalgic, Bedouine’s lullaby guitars and freckled tales are brimming with daisies wrapped in soft linen vocals and woozy sun marked love letters from me to you.
credit: Polly Antonia Barrowman
Fruit Tones Natural Selection swirls more fizzy deliciousness than an ice cold bottle of Ginger Beer fresh outta the trunk of your older relatives Mini. A restlessly satisfying oddball for whooping to it’s garage slacker groovy drenched in a kick-ass itchy riff overload- oh guitar!
For all the Ringer- Tee wearers who dream of bombs-away drumming, a lifetime of surfy bone rattling and vocals that are equal parts howl and scuffed luring, these 14 tracks will wake you up in a fuzzy paradise and keep you jiving like a hay fevered giraffe inside a tin can zoo. YEAH, YEAH, YEAH.
credit: Fruit Tones
Tiña are everywhere at the moment. A recent addition to the very cool, very hip Speedy Wunderground family their limited 7″ I Feel Fine (Speedy Sessions) has increasingly become a sought after addition to all collections- South London and afar.
A playfully direct track that gleams ‘anthem for memory making instances and feel good shake outs’, I Feel Fine is an instant psych soaked pop favourite for all seasons and the ideal companion to post – shower – towel – boogies when you’re feeling fine and gotta let go and live a little in the moment. Like a really well layered outfit with a hat to match, Tiña have effortlessly created a distinctly personal and twinkling heart-on-sleeve accomplishment that addresses sexual freedom with gentley absorbed sincerity and a stunningly catchy jangle that evokes all the added bliss of being young, ambitious and looking like The Babe Rainbow dressed for a cowboy bike ride.
Uplifted and infectiously fetching, it would certainly feel fine to sit at the back of the bus and play this on repeat whilst looking out the window playing the indie movie protagonist of your imaginations. Unquestionably it’ll sound just as good a few more times afterwards and then some more whilst walking down the streets late at night feeling breezy, free and ultimately fine.
Essentially, at this precise moment why listen to anything else?
The Nude Party // Creatures
The Windmill, Brixton
23rd May 2019
credit: Sacha Lecca
North Carolina’s The Nude Party are everything you would want them to be and then some with added charm and a glittering glamour straight out of Roy Rogers glory days they take cosmic surf rides into electric dreamlands by route of London’s The Windmill, Brixton. Cheeky and super attractive in a cranked-up garage psych hayride type of way, (imagine the best bits of those dancing au naturel and free spirited at Woodstock fantasies we’ve all had crammed into 45 minutes and a pub in not so exotic South London) it was a night spent watching living astral through sun tinted lenses and, legit corduroy.
The whole affair was comparable to a glorious post – prom disco for dizzy cowboys and lovers complete with a disco ball as The Nude Party’s mixture of school yard chanted harmonies, nostalgia with the added bonus of youth kissed divineand winding guitars are just so god-damn likeable, all inhibitions were thrown into (hypothetical, The Windmill is ever well kept) dust as the crowd lifted up onto every ledge and bar corner they could get their boots onto in a howl at the moon choral frenzy. Frontman Patton’s flourishing twang is distinctly surfed up, lofty American cool and charismatic as he co-ordinated feel-good grooves with more grooves and all the groovy hair and printed shirts of the six piece and audience a like.
Fine-tuned to unrefined swelled perfection, with only a debut to their name but an unmatched lyrical aesthetic that suggest everlasting careers as rattling narrators to the trip of our wildest dreams. Bassist Alec performed with a possessive shoulder shimmy so all over the place and un-questionably enchanting to watch that it was equally as hypnotic as it was downright influenceable and all round effortlessly cool. A set of consistent never ending feel good, The Nude Party aren’t afraid to take things a bit slow and murky. Tracks such as Live Like Me and Gringo Che were achingly euphoric, sexy and woozy – get down and sweaty with the itchy synths and trance inducing guitar solos that charmed periodically and skimmed around the room with mesmeric force in full acknowledgement of its power to swirl around the inside your head for days afterwards; whilst Astral Man was all kinds of far out and a testimony to the groups live widest and weirdest instrumentalism splendour .
As if the evening could get any more Peyote feast for the soul things just had to end with Chevrolet Van, a number everyone knew the words to even if they initially didn’t walking in, it was a glorious tongue in cheek homage to summers of love, kaleidoscopic adolescence and an overall karaoke feast for the hip.
Not to be side-stepped, support from London’s finest Wes Anderson fantasy child Creatures were an extravagant, theatrical psychedelic thrill that was fetchingly beautiful, heart strings tugging and highly strung linger-isms- the kind where you barely realise you’ve not paused for breath once throughout their suede clad spell.
credit: Bridie Florence
¡Viva la Revolución! And cowboys playing bongos.
Another dancefloor feast from Brighton’s Fujiya and Miyaga. An album made of polished and high-spirit funk meets genre bending electronica tracks, Flashback is so stylistically deadpan chatty and catwalk ready it’s as if Baxter Dury crashed London Fashion Week seven times over and then released an inspired capsule collection. Elevated and supercool, Flashback is youthfully brazen in its dripping with sequin upon sequin flash paired LED strobed beats and intoxications. Full of unrestrained impulses that breeze sparkling and with a hint of the distorted eccentric that lingers buttoned up within even the most stylish, Fujiya and Miyaga have designed a straight out of the volts and compacked 80’s inspired vogue sesh thats been publically showcased and that can now break free into euphoria.
South London’s Childcare‘s debut album Wabi Sabi is musical green juice. Specifically, Wholefoods green juice. A mindfully hectic mind mastery concoction it’s bitty and weird, probably contains hidden celery, and really doesn’t make much sense at all but like a strong cleanse this record is arguably good for us. It’s exactly what we needed to hear but didn’t know until neccessity called and even though things aren’t usually favourable when green and smelling like organic crayons (or in this case scratch and sniff lavender vinyl) we accept it’s pulpy addictivness for what it is and rest assured will want to drink it all up (including the bits at the bottom) and relish in our new found cellular glow. HEALTH.
A fully packed record of jungle fevered harmonic pulses and a heck of a lot of zen, there’s relentless straightforwardly disorientated electric funk playing with cleanly tasseled riffs and shifted spoken word nonsecalls and it’s just so bliss. Singles such as Omega Grey and Big Man have been floating around the Childcare -sphere for a while and make for welcome breaks inbetween the remaining psychotherapist psych punk equivalent of formidable face pose. Sugarcane is three minutes of gloriously enticing shoulder thudding drones and pulsations like dancehall for sweaty mosquitos whilst Bamboo is a wholly wholesome number that gives room for bassist Emma Topolski to take front with muggy vibes of doubt and a subtle sense of kaorake night for one wooziness.
There’s a lot to take in and a lot to take from Wabi Sabi. A wierdly divine aesthetic of Noel Fielding bop guru meets fused infectiousnes, everything is perfectly placed, essential, and confidently Wabi Sabi.
The argument of Australia’s scuzzy psych world conquer has already been won. But, just in case you need a bit more convincing before we all put on our coolest band tees and ride off into a psychedelic sunset of two drummers (always the answer) and slow burning, groovy garage bliss, you’ve gotta listen to Melbourne bone rattling freewheelers Money For Rope; specifically their latest release Picture Us.
OH MAN THIS IS RAD!
Picture Us is an all-encompassing, awe encompassing fuzz fest that’s grossly attractive in a ‘punch in the face from a band of five really beautiful haired Aussies’ kind of way, there’s only so many ways of describing the wildest of fevers without using the word fuzz way too much for anyone’s good. So, instead I’m going to give you a brief insight to my hypothetical music video series I would want to make as an accompaniment to this gem. I’m talking raucous zombies dancing the twist on surfboards, tambourines flying without any regard to health and safety codes and general rumbling chaos on a red-hot sandy beach in Tasmania. Yes.
credit: money for rope
Bess Atwell makes music unlike anything other than the purist of cherry lip balm . Nourishing, mood enhancing and physically soothing, Bess blends subtly tinted landscapes of gleaning folk with crystal perfect recorded polaroids of unadorned femininty and frictioned relationships.
credit: Bess Atwell
Swimmingly refined as a blushing exploration of emotional consciousness, Big Blue has all the rich fascinations ingrained within humanity of captured riversides and edenistic orchards nestled into five haunting tracks; and whilst her flushing peach harmonies compel standalone it’s the accompaniemet of her band that are the kernel to Big Blue‘s harvested individualisms. Each track is a weaved lullaby for the soul. Grace is daisy dresses and apple trees tucked into a blanket of silver mythologies of siren standard whilst three minutes into the felicitously titled Cherry Baby and our ears are gifted to conscientous roaming guitars of drizzly mountainscapes in autumn proportions that would make the likes of Ben Howard and Fleet Foxes proud.
To be listened to body and soul in an ivy trailed dreamland.