#4 – January 26th (Change The Date)

Welcome back to this irregular music blog, where I have a gush about some of the new music that has hit my face recently. Don’t forget, there’s a Spotify playlist that is updated alot more than this here blog, go subscribe to that to keep up with all the cool shit I find on a weekly basis.

Napalm Death – Logic Ravaged By Brute Force

One of the finest purveyors of extreme music, an absolute stalwart and pioneering band, it’s hard to have enough plaudits for the career of West Midlands’ Napalm Death. There’s no clue about this appearing on their upcoming 16th record, but that doesn’t really bother me. If they can keep messing with their sound as successfully as they do here, I’m all on board. Logic Ravaged By Brute Force features some wonderful Killing Joke-esque guitar work, with Barney Greenway taking the vocals in a slightly less destructive direction as he does usually. The chorus is a catchy as fuck guitar line and a chant of the title, in a much more punk and post hardcore style than usual. They’re pivoting on this little EP, which also features a cover of Sonic Youth’s White Kross. Keep spinning, guys, I want more.

This double A side is out now on Century Media.

Disq – Daily Routine

I feel selfish and old for sometimes lamenting a the lack of nineties-esque tunefulness in my rock music. Big catchy vocal hooks over chunky barre chord riffs. Maybe it hasn’t been gone as far as I think, the ‘grunge’ revival of the middle of last decade definitely had plenty of that, and bands in Australia like Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays, and further abroad like PUP, Pile and Idles bring a much more contemporary to the sometimes very naive and simple alternative rock sound of the nineties. This single drips with the slacker themes us old folk come to recognize, a catchy as fuck pre-chorus and some honky tonk piano. I’m singing loud, hard, and happily along with this.

Their debut album Collector is out 3/6 via Saddle Creek.

Cable Ties – Sandcastles

One of the best bands in Australia right now, hands down. Jenny McKechnie sings with such a visceral punk energy that she owns every word she sings and sells everything this lead single from their new record, Far Enough, has to offer. The song is about the gate-keeping of progressive groups and the behaviour that goes along with being in a grass roots community and feeling like you have power of others when you’re supposed to be on a level playing field. It’s a fascinating look inside tight-knit groups, be they of whatever political belief. Go see this band if you have to opportunity.

Far Enough is out on March 27th and can be gawked at and preordered on their Bandcamp right now.

C.O.F.F.I.N. – Drug Baby

This tracks goes to show how behind I am, this track Drug Baby was released on an EP back in August last year. C.O.F.F.I.N. absolutely tore my face off when Amyl & The Sniffers hosted Rage at the back end of last year. Amy Taylor, the singer for the group, played a 4 song blast from C.O.F.F.I.N., and made me sit up and wonder why I hadn’t come across them yet. This EP, Be Gone, was recorded by the one and only Jason Whalley of Frenzal Rhomb in the Pet Food Factory, and was mixed right here in Canberra by Clem Bennett at Black Mountain Studio. C.O.F.F.I.N. bring a real classic Australian feel to their punk rock, channeling 80’s pub rock and 90’s pop punk, while their previous work throws in a bit of crusty metal into the mix, while addressing some socially conscious themes in their lyrics. Witnessing Ben Portnoy on the drums is an absolute must as well.

They’re touring the US and Canada in April & May, and hopefully delivering some new music later this year.

Baby Val & Paco Pack – Bloody Skies

This is an absolutely out of left field drop that appeared on the Independent Music Podcast, a show I edit on a weekly basis, back at the end of last year. It’s released on the German label FTP, and if you can find any more info about the label, or indeed the acts featured on this song, I’d like to know more. This is a fucking fabulous slice of footwork with some acid synth leanings, some fabulously repeatable samples and a killer beat. Please enjoy voraciously.

Hayley Williams – Simmer

I could put almost all 5 tracks from this Part 1 of an album release from Paramore lead vocalist Hayley Williams on this list (the last track, Sudden Desire, doesn’t quite hit the spot). However, let’s lead with track 1, and the first single from Petals For Armor. I’ve never been a Paramore fan, they were a little too polished for me as pop-punk act, and not scuzzy enough for me as an emo act. But Hayley is barely recognizable on this track as she mines some very St Vincent-esque territory, but channels a lot of so-called ‘art pop’, working with slightly off kilter arrangements and delivering some unbelievably strong vocal performances. I watched a few videos of her playing these songs live on the radio, and she’s almost note perfect from the recordings, which finally drilled into me what a wonderful performer and vocalist she is. The songs are just so catchy, angular and wistful, and I’m really in love an eagerly anticipating the second half of this record. Thanks Hayley.

The full album is out May 8, through Atlantic Records.

#3 – Eight Times Over Miss October

Welcome back to this irregular music blog, where I have a gush about some of the new music that has hit my face this month. Don’t forget, there’s a Spotify playlist of everything here, in reverse order, if that’s something that takes yr fancy.

EOB (Ed O’Brien) – Santa Teresa

It’s always fascinating to hear mostly silent members of really massive groups come forward and release something that is their own making. It adds personality and context to their playing within the band from that point on, for me at least, and sometimes you can lead the solo material directly back to moments in the larger bands previous work.

As is the case here, with this glorious piece of ambient loveliness from Ed O’Brien, the rhythm guitarist and tall handsome lad from Radiohead. I tried not to expect too much from the track, and there isn’t alot to it other than a very Eno-esque, guitar led ambient landscape, however the video is something that has captured my heart.

I don’t think I’ve seen much video work like this before. It’s a very generative, dynamically moving visual, thousands of granules sliding down the frame, occasionally forming images that quickly fade. The sometimes sharp edges of the frame give a boundary to the work, and this is as close to a moving painting as I’ve ever seen. It’s better experienced than written about. Go take a look with some headphones on, and the quality as high as you can get it.

EOB’s album has no release date as of yet.

Battles – Titanium 2 Step ft. Sal Principato

Eclectic 2-piece Battles have been forging a wonderfully wonky path for themselves since 2003, and first came to my attention in 2006 with their first few EP’s. The current members consist of Ian Williams, formerly of math punks Don Caballero and Storm & Stress, and the inimitable drumming of John Stanier, the man behind the iconic drum sounds of Helmet, The Mark Of Cain and Tomahawk. They’ve waxed and waned a few members over the years, and now find themselves resting as a two piece with various guests wandering in and out across their records.

Their newest, Juice B Crypts, dropped on the 18th of October, and includes this solid, fun and funky first single, Titanium 2 Step, featuring the scatty, sample-like interludes of Sal Principato (frontman of Liquid Liquid, whose track Cavern got sampled heavily by Grandmaster Flash for White Lines).

I just like this alot, haven’t heard the full record yet. But this is a core Battles track, through and through.

Dry Cleaning – Viking Hair

Peckham, London 4-piece Dry Cleaning have had my full attention since appearing on the Independent Music Podcast, an absolute favourite of this here blogger, with their sardonic monarch sulking track Magic Of Meghan, impressing such height and tongue-in-cheek deity on the most recent duchess of Sussex.

That EP, Sweet Princess, was wonderful start to finish, and they’ve dripped a couple of songs from their next EP already, and Viking Hair takes us further into the brusque, au-fait surety of personality that comes from Florence Shaw. The instrumental is always driving, solid and the chorus effect of the guitar, a strong characteristic of the band at this point in time, is really warm and captivating. They strike me as a cleaner, more compact Sonic Youth, with Florence like a british Kim Gordon but with more of a personal, honest thrust to her lyricism.

Their new release, the Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks EP, is out on the 25th of October.

SECT – Like Animals

Absolutely one of my favourite hardcore bands ever was Cursed, the Canadian band that ran from 2001 to 2008. On a whim after hearing about Left For Dead from a guitarist in my first band, I tracked down the vocalist Chris Colohan‘s latest band at the time, and I had my hardcore life turned upside down. The filthy, dust-fused vocals, the rough but satisfying production on the first two albums, and just a complete, bracing and unadulterated anger that I’d been lacking in my life.

But they were dead. DOA. They’d just released their last album, and on May 28 of 2008, they got robbed while at the end of their European tour, apparently an inside job from someone in their touring party, and they couldn’t continue as a band from there. And I threw my hands up. The same thing that had happened to me with At The Drive-In happened to Cursed, breaking up just as my interest in them peaked.

So I blanked on Chris Colohan for a while. Nothing he did could quite live up to the intense heights of Cursed, and I stopped keeping an ear out. Which makes this new development all the more satisfying.

SECT have been around for about 3 years now, flying under my Colohan denial radar up until their third record got release, at the end of August. SECT are everything Cursed could have been, Kurt Ballou making everything sound as crisp and perfect as he does with every record he produces. Colohan is joined by James Chang (Catharsis, Undying), Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis, The Path Of Resistance), Steve Hart (Day Of Suffering), and drummer Andy Hurley (The Damned Things, Fall Out Boy) and we get a complete, visceral, anarchic hardcore/metal experience.

I’m really happy, guys.

Common Holly – Joshua Snakes

Absolutely my pick from this week’s New Music Friday on NPR. Delightfully peculiar, angular pop from Montreal-based singer-songwriter Brigitte Naggar. Don’t let that singer-songwriter tag fool you tho, I often read that tag as ‘boring/stoic/repetitive meandering songwriter’ but in this case, Common Holly does some really interesting things on her second record, When I say to you Black Lightning, which came out on the 18th of October.

There’s some really satisfying production surrounding these lovely songs, some random hits and rough tones mixed with some rougher guitars to grit everything up, as well as some nice space mapped out on later tracks on the record. I get a more modern take on an early Cat Power vibe, but with a little more innocence.

It’s interesting, and that’s all I need.

Gang Starr – Bad Name

Posthumous records can be a real drag. They hardly ever really live up to what’s expected, because you know its the end, and there can’t really be any more, so it puts a stamp on the album and makes it feel dated and stale, especially if many years have passed since the artist in question passed, and what state the record was in when they did.

But I’m getting a great feeling about this upcoming final Gang Starr record. Absolute hip-hop legends, Gang Starr played by their own rules, with the inimitable voice of Guru fronting the deeply original and sample heavy production of DJ Premier. Guru passed in 2010, and their most recent album prior to that was 2003, so these vocals have sat for a good amount of time. But Premier has pulled in some guests who are so deeply stoked to be on the album, with J Cole stating that his verse on Family & Loyalty will be the last guest he will ever do on a track.

For me, my friend David introduced me to Guru‘s clear, concise and poetic lyrics around 2007, then a Canberra-focused twist on the chorus to The Planet appeared on the track Skyspike, on Finnigan & Brother‘s first full length Spend A Month In Colombia, which we recorded in 2012. I don’t know a hip-hop vocalist with a more original delivery style, one that is so devoid of drawl and rhetoric. It’s gonna be nice hearing some new stories from Guru. Let’s hope the record is as good as the last record from A Tribe Called Quest.

One Of The Best Yet is due out in December.