Here, Hear Some Great New Tracks from OMD, The Orielles, Routine Death, Katy J. Pearson, and Siamese Twins

It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you, &etc. Please accept our apologies for the wait between posts, in the form of some phenomenal new tracks.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, “Don’t Go” (Universal/UMG)

“Don’t Go” represents the 40th, and most recent, single from new wave legends Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), whose music has been a constant companion to yours truly for longer than I care to admit. “Don’t Go” glides in on an arpeggiated melody that carries with it a whiff of Yaz(oo), but the achingly romantic textures are quintessential OMD. Andy McCluskey’s voice (which is in amazing form) remains as shot through with desperate emotion as ever. Paul Humphreys’ arrangement is stellar – the fill at the 1:25 is tear-inducing, either from the wistful tug of memory or the fresh pain of something more recent. Feels like it would fit equally well alongside tracks like “Hold You” (from 1985’s Crush) as with more recent tracks like “Metroland” from 2013’s English Electric. Gorgeous.

“Don’t Go” serves as 2019’s musical corollary to 1988’s “Dreaming” – i.e., the new track appended to OMD’s new (and massive), greatest hits collection, Souvenir, which is out now.

Web: site fbook twitt 

Routine Death, “Tubeway Revolution” (Fuzz Club)

Routine Death are the husband/wife duo of Lisa and Dustin (also in Holy Wave) Zozaya. The track “Tubeway Revolution” is taken from their sophomore long-player, 2 Weeks to 4 Months (the follow-up to 2018’s excellent Parallel Universes), and it’s a great mélange of the hypnotic and the terse. Tensile synths and a woozy bassline lull you in before a jagged guitar scrawl jars you awake – while Lisa’s multi-tracked vocals beguile throughout.  There’s a bit of a “lost 80’s” vibe in the arrangement, its icy cool goth-new wave veneer peppered with with exhales of psych vapor. The press release accompanying the track mentions a shared drive through a desert as a catalyst for the song, and it feels apt for anyone who’s experienced time in such vastness.

From 2 Weeks to 4 Months, which is out now on Fuzz Club.

Web: label fbook

The Orielles, “Come Down on Jupiter”

The Orielles are, without doubt, one of our favorite new(er) bands here at tgh hq. From the first time we heard 2017’s “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” we were hooked, and the band haven’t let us wriggle free since. Excitement, then, for “Come Down on Jupiter”, the (now) quartet’s dizzying new track – and it proves justified. While adding depth in its arrangement, the track happily retains the insouciant charm of earlier efforts. As with those previous tracks, “Jupiter” sees the band donning several musical styles over the span of 5 minutes or so – bouncing back and forth between cinematic psych that sounds like the soundtrack to an impossibly cool, 60s bohemian movie, the dreamiest, Lush dream pop, and a full-on freakout of an extended outro – and doing so seamlessly. It’s marvelous, each member in top form – though, for my money the (not so) secret killer is Sidonie Hand-Halford’s drumming, which rearranges each of these scene changes with aplomb. Can’t wait for the record.  

Taken from forthcoming long-player, Disco Volador, due February 28, 2020 from Heavenly and available for pre-order here.

Web: label site (store) fbook twitt insta

Katy J Pearson, “Tonight”

Bristol, UK’s Katy J. Pearson recently released the brilliant single, “Tonight” – billed as her first solo effort following the end of a joint project with her brother.  Arriving on an inspired, strings-based melody, the track weaves a vignette in which the characters are made to choose whether to take the proverbial leap, in spite of all while being “so vulnerable/in the eyes of our beholder”. Pearson’s voice is sweet without being saccharine and, while carrying a bit of a twang, the song isn’t country – I kept hearing a bit of Gwen Stefani, a dash of Kirsty MacColl. The chorus will follow you around for days, and you won’t mind a bit. It’s light (but not lightweight) indie pop that should be popular – make it so. 

“Tonight” arrives November 15, courtesy of Heavenly, and will be paired with a cover of “Poison Cup”, by M. Ward.

Web: label fbook bcamp twitt insta

Siamese Twins, “Listless/Second Skin” 7” (self-released)

Siamese Twins are a “cross-continental” band, currently based out of Leverett and Cambridge, MA and Chicago, IL and featuring members of bands including Ampere and Libyans (a personal fave). Their bio suggests that the group “don’t get together often”, which helps to explain why new 7” single, “Listless/Second Skin” is arriving roughly five years on from their debut full-length, Still Corners. However long it took, it was well worth the wait for these two new tracks. Both feature haunting vocal interplay and guitar melodies reminiscent of early Cure under heavy washes of synth. Slight edge goes to the b-side, which adds rockabilly noir to an otherwise wistful beauty. Death-dream rock? If Beauty and the Beat had been produced by Martin Hannett? Ladytron goth? You decide – I’m going to keep listening. 

Out now – get yours here.

Web: fbook bcamp site

Check Out “Some Beautiful Species Left”, the New Album from Melbourne’s EXEK

Cover photo by Robyn Daly

EXEK, Some Beautiful Species Left (SDZ; Anti-Fade; Digital Regress)

Melbourne, AUS five-piece EXEK released their latest long-player, Some Beautiful Species Left,  last month. A follow up to last year’s double, A Casual Assembly and Ahead of Two Thoughts, the album finds the band further fine-tuning their kitchen sink production approach (the promo for the album mentions use of kitchen appliances in the recording, so I couldn’t resist) – and the results are phenomenal.

“Hobbyist” opens the proceedings along a discordant whine that sounds produced by something hand-cranked, unfurling into a full-on motorik headbuzz. Amidst the din, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Albert Wolski teasingly invites the listener to ‘go on/have a second guess’, like a spaced out Mark E. Smith fronting Clinic. It’s a fittingly bewildering start to a record that’s equal turns arresting, unsettling, chaotic, caustically hilarious and inspiring. Strings, horns, guitars, bass, drums, and persistent echo chambah effects swirl into a musical trail mix including dub, abrasive post-punk (pre-Brix The Fall, Wire, Metal Box-era PiL), jazz, and Syd-led Floyd experimentalism.

Highlights are many: the jittery dub of “Lobbyist”; the intriguing guitar/vibraphone (I think?) interplay on “Plastic Sword Retractable”; “Iron Efficiency”’s rugged narco-psych; the lightheaded, infectious melody of “Unetiquetted”. Instruments traditional and non- at times sound as if they’re being played forwards and backward simultaneously, Wolski’s gnomic sing-chant recalling bits of the aforementioned Barrett and Smith, Robyn Hitchcock and Jah Wobble in tone. 

The magic of Some Beautiful Species Left lies in how it all hangs together – even for a listener who maybe has a more punk-inclined/birdlike musical attention span (cough). Veering from sprawling to terse, short blasts, the album’s eight tracks go in many directions. But for all the experimentalism on display, EXEK’s jammier tendencies enthrall rather than disappear too far into the navel. Perhaps a cheeky reference can be found in closer, “How the Curve Helps” (at 8:11, the longest track on the album), Wolski intoning ‘about an hour ago/I should have left’. We’re good to hang out longer.

Some Beautiful Species Left is out now, courtesy of the good folks at SDZ (Europe/Africa), Anti-Fade (AUS/Asia) and Digital Regress (North America).

Highlights include: “Iron Efficiency”; “Commercial Fishing”; “Lobbyist”; “Unetiquetted”.

Web: bcamp fbook label label label

Fade Into “Gun” and “On the Attack”, from Moon Panda

Moon Panda, “Gun”; “On the Attack” (self-released)

Moon Panda is a quartet based in London and Brighton, UK. Led by vocalist/bassist Maddy Myers and guitarist Gustav Moltke (George Godwin and Alfie Webber round out the set), the band features members from the US, Denmark and the UK. They’ve self-released a trio of singles over the past year plus, including the two latest – “Gun” and “On the Attack”.

The group describe themselves as making ‘dreamy space pop for dreamy space people”, and you can’t accuse them of false advertising. The gauzy feel of “Gun” pushes the band towards a sound reminiscent of trip hop bands like Morcheeba or Zero 7, as well as Parachute-era Coldplay. Myers’ fragile, whispery vocals complement the mood, a pleasingly dark undertone provided by lyrical musings on the non-greeting card aspects of love (‘even the sweetest thoughts/get twisted’). The slightly more in focus “On the Attack” comes off a bit like a velvet-gloved PJ Harvey, a psych nibble on quietly lush chords invoking Bête Noire-era Bryan Ferry.

Both tracks illustrate Moon Panda’s aptitude for building engrossing tunes on serpentine grooves and echo-laden melodies. The band’s website mentions that these tracks, together with others, will be released as the Pastel Pools EP later in 2019. Looking forward to it.

Web: site fbook soundcloud youtube bcamp twitt

Check Out “Manic Static”, from New Zealand’s Warm Leather

Cover art by MF Joyce

Warm Leather, Manic Static/Vocabulary 7” (self-released)

Warm Leather are a trio of initialed gentlemen hailing from Auckland, New Zealand (to be more precise, AT (guitars/vocals, JP (drums) and MF (er, ropes?)). We don’t know much about them, aside from what’s on their fbook and the fact they recently played Gonerfest, which is how we had our heads turned by their excellent debut single, Manic Static.

Don’t let any preconceptions of Warm Leather’s home country lead you astray – this is defo not the jangle-pop you’re listening for when you reflexively think of bands hailing from this part of the world. Instead, what you get is a punch straight in the gob (that’s the right term, n’est pas?). The a-side charges in on a riff that had me thinking of a heavy take on ‘Rock Lobster’, AT weaving a tale of insomnia  (“I got a buzzin’ in my head/tossin’ and turnin’ in my bed/… but the needle keeps on swinging into the red”) over rough guitars and a heavy, compact rhythm section (the drum sound, in particular, packs a wallop). The band cite such luminaries as The Birthday Party and Wire as influences, and who are we to argue? But the rather maniacal breaking point in AT’s vocal delivery on both tracks (b-side, “Vocabulary”, is equally good) reminds of Kurt Cobain at his weirdest/best (see, e.g., “Turnaround”). In fact, that’s what this single felt like most – early Nirvana, at their rawest. Tuneful, yes, but shot through with a paranoid energy. All good; rec’d.

The Manic Static single is available now, order your copy here. Warm Leather have a show upcoming November 1, at Cupid Bar in Port Chevalier, New Zealand – details here.

Web: fbook bcamp

Follow North Carolina’s ISS Down the “Elevator Shaft”

ISS, “Elevator Shaft” (Sorry State)

ISS is the North Cacalack-based duo of Rich Ivey and Eddie Schneider. Vets of local punk bands like Whatever Brains and Brain F# (a/k/a ‘Brain Flannel’), as ISS they make ‘punk’ (in the ‘outsider’ sense as much as, if not more so, rote musical form) that is among the more interesting out there. 

The band’s forthcoming long-player, Alles 3rd Gut (reference to third release and all’s good? I only took German in high school) features the streamable preview track, “Elevator Shaft”. It sounds like a brilliant, lost 80s cut, built around a conversation between Ivey – laying prone at the bottom of the titular shaft – and guest vocalist, Miss Lady (sounding a bit like Victoria Jackson). Questions abound: how did he fall (doesn’t remember)?; any damage done (lots of blood, gnarly looking ankles)?; will she lend a hand (maybe…or maybe she’ll push him back in)? A risible take on poppy, guy-girl indie, “Elevator Shaft” seems like what Jane Wiedlin might have done if she’d collaborated with Whammy-era B-52s, instead of Sparks. Righteous. 

Alles 3rd Gut will be released on Sorry State Records.

Web: bcamp label

Playlist for a Long Weekend!

Long weekends call for a long(er than usual, for us anyway) playlist! Here’s some of our current favorites that could be found on soundcloud:

Check Out “Mind Cancer”, from Virvon Varvon

ARTWORK BY @deuteromali ON INSTAGRAM

Virvon Varvon, Mind Cancer (Girlsville)


Assuming the internet isn’t lying to me (again, bastard), the words “virvon, varvon” form part of a ‘spell’ cast by young Finnish children dressed as witches during Easter, by which they offer decorated willow twigs in exchange for candy or other rewards. Fascinating, no? More pertinent to this review, Virvon Varvon are a five-piece wrecking crew of a band based – I think – in London (reading between the lines of a fine feature over at 50thirdand3rd.com). They’re debut EP, Mind Cancer, was released last month, and it’s been on repeat here at tgh hq ever since. 

Mind Cancer is chock full o’ turgid, roiling tracks best described by the umbrella term ‘rock and roll’. Like fellow travelers including NYC’s Vanity, Olympia’s VEXX (rip) and Perth’s Zerodent, Virvon Varvon decant a heady mix of punk (the hardcore, ℅ ’77, proto- and post- varietals), NWOBHM, guitar-oriented new wave (see, the chiming guitars in ‘Listen’), and 70s ‘hard rock’. At various points, I heard bits of Dead Boys, B52s, Black Flag, Judas Priest, Love Battery, and the Damned. While there’s plenty of roughness on display, some absolute melodic gems can be uncovered by sifting through the production’s layers of dust – but the real revelation here are the vocals of Hanne Highway, who has a knack for a tuneful roar. 

Highlight, “Radical”’s opening riff sounds like a revved up “Livin’ After Midnight”, guy/girl vocals rapidly going off in different directions – like trying to listen to two people simultaneously describe how that fist fight last night really started. Another personal fave, “What Did You Say?”, marries a Damned-worthy drum crunch underneath a B52s-y guitar melody, all crescendoing to an absolute rager of a chorus. There’s even a rousing shout-along about allergies. The whole thing is damn good and, flying by in a little under 20 minutes, doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. Go get it. 

Mind Cancer is available now, courtesy of the good people over at Girlsville. Haven’t seen anything yet about a tour, but would be great to hear these tunes live.

Web: label

The hooks leave a mark on “EP2”, from Sydney’s Body Type


Sydney-based quartet Body Type was a ‘new to us’ band when we stumbled upon their fantastic EP2. Released in May, it’s quickly become a favorite here at tgh hq.

Self-described as “scuzz//rock” (or, alternately, “scuzzzzzzz”), the tracks on EP2 trace a majestic arc through driving, mid-90s indie rock to spikier, more 80s indebted post-punk. The blistering opener, ‘Stingray’, sets the tone nicely – the band’s taut, bright hooks counterposed against Sophie McComish’s vocal delivery, whose languid quality thinly veils a sneer as she warns that the titular, spineless fish is nonetheless able to “sting just fine”. Elsewhere, the slower pace of standout tracks like ‘Insomnia’ feel almost humid, but never cloying. The lead guitar melodies – in particular – are transfixing throughout and will rattle around in your brain for days. Sounding a bit more polished than last October’s EP1, there is more than enough of a Breeders-y off-kilter approach to the arrangements to keep it from feeling too safe.

EP2 is out now, courtesy of Partisan Records and Inertia Music. Head over to Partisan’s website, and you can purchase both EP1 and EP2 as one, long-playing vinyl release. Long live the “two ‘fer”!

Highlights include: “Stingray”; “Insomnia”; “UMA”.

Web: label label bcamp fbook twitt insta

Check out the video for ‘UMA’:

Check Out Tracks from Brandy, Too Free, JOHN, and Keel Her

Brandy, “Clown Pain” (Total Punk)


NYC trio Brandy features members of Pampers and Running (the latter one of our fave bands of the last few years in the ‘whacked-out’ punk space). Their recent “Clown Pain” 7” is an excellent mash up of the members’ other band’s respective sounds – the a-side, title track welding a wizened psych(out) on to sky-high, fist pumping riffs, while b-side “Rent Quest” underpins a buzzing drone riff with a ‘shake appeal’ rhythm. It’s kind of like a basement jam featuring The Stooges and AC/DC (Bon-era, duh) and it’ll make you want to do that Angus Young accordion dance thing. Great stuff.

The single is available now, courtesy of Total Punk. Brandy do have a Bandcamp page for your perusing delight, where you can also fine their fine debut long-player, on Monofonous Press. While you’re doing that, work your senses overtime by checking out this video of Brandy playing live video at Union Pool, Bkln.

Web: bcamp label

Too Free, “ATM” (Sister Polygon)


Too Free is a new band comprised of Awad Bilal, Carson Cox and Don Godwin. 

The lead single from their forthcoming debut, “ATM”, is an intoxicating, pose-worthy slice of early house and electric disco – the toms even reminiscent of the famed go-go of their DC hometown. The multi-step rhythm/elastic bass/synth combo is mesmeric, but it’s Bilal’s vocals that truly put on a show here. One part early house diva, another Anohni, Bilal glides through notes on diamond-encrusted wings, the inherent vamp and strut infused with raw emotion. “Engulf me”, indeed.

“ATM” is available now as a stand-alone download on Too Free’s bandcamp page (link below). The group’s debut long-player is due to be released later this year, on Sister Polygon.

Web: bcamp insta label

JOHN, “Future Thinker” (Pets Care Records)


John Healy and John Henry Newton are the two John’s behind a London (Crystal Palace, to be exact – go Eagles!)-based group named, erm, JOHN (aka “JOHN (TIMESTWO)”, in certain spaces). In a bit of online serendipity, we discovered the group via fbook shoutout from one of our current faves, We Wild Blood. 

Self-described as ‘four arms, four legs, two heads, wood, metal and plastic’, “Future Thinker” pushes a once familiar guitar/drum combo deeply into the red. Growling vocals and buzzy guitar roil and churn over a steady, almost glam rhythm. It’s a continuous sonic slap in the face over the duration of its 3:02 run time, with the addition of cacophonous sax squalls from Chloë Herrington towards the end a welcome one. Reminds a bit of Metz, Snakehole, or Sex Swing. Do as they say and “burn the proverbial bridge”.

“Future Thinker” is set to be the lead track off JOHN’s forthcoming debut long-player, Out Here on the Fringes, due in October courtesy of Pets Care Records. It is available for pre-order here.

Web: fbook bcamp scloud twitt label

Keel Her, “Complain Train” (O Genesis)


We here at tgh love a good pun, especially one that’s ultimately self-effacing/deprecating. In that spirit, we present Keel Her, the musical alter-ego of Rose Keeler-Schäffeler. Get it? We’ll give you a sec…ok, then. 

“Complain Train”, taken from forthcoming long-player, With Kindness, is a lovingly crafted dose of psych-tinged indie pop, in the vein of Broadcast, Jane Weaver, and Rose Dougal. A woozy, almost playground-like synth melody provides the backdrop for Keeler’s reflective lyrics, before ultimately falling off to a rougher-edged solo/outro.  It sits nicely with other previews from the record, the dead-eyed girl group charmer “Empathy”, and slow-burning “No Control” – each one putting Keeler-Schaffeler’s incredible knack for vocal melody construction on pedastalic display.

With Kindness is due today (June 7), courtesy O Genesis, a label run by Tim Burgess, Nik Colk Void and Jim Spencer (fan boy alert!). Do yourself the favor of perusing her Bandcamp page (link below), whereat all manner of demos, EPs, covers, &etc., are there to be enjoyed (her cover of Robert Wyatt’s “Heap of Sheeps” is a particular fave).

Web: bcamp scloud twitt site fbook label

Check Out Music from Homeless Cadaver, Ben Woods, DMBQ and Khotin

Homeless Cadaver, ‘Fat Skeleton’ (Iron Lung) 


7” single from Homeless Cadaver – a band I can find basically less than bupkuss about online. Whoever they may be, they’ve released a great single in the form of ‘Fat Skeleton’. The a-side/title track features quirky, choppy punk full of gross-out humor and flashes of discordant synth lines a la Devo and newer acolytes like Austmuteants. B-side, “Art. Eat It.”, is a sludgier affair, cartoonishly violent lyrics shuffling into a zombiefied chorus. Whizzing by in the space of about four and a half minutes, it leaves a mark, together with a pleasant numbness. Eat it.

Out now (the vinyl is part the second of a five part ‘Systemic Surgery’ series of singles), courtesy of the fine folks at Iron Lung.

Web: label

Ben Woods, “Romancy”

Ben Woods is a musician hailing from Christchurch, NZ – currently playing drums in tgh fave Salad Boys. He’s also a solo artist, and was kind enough to send over the video (directed by friend, Martin Sagadin) for his latest track, “Romancy”. Floating along a sinuous drift, the track calls to mind a bit of Radiohead or Mogwai in spaces. Woods’ hushed delivery of lines such as ‘holding on to you/i don’t know what’s true’ feel like drifting off on the couch after someone important’s just left, the cigarette burning down between fingers. It’s gorgeous, emotive psych, portending a fine full-length which, the press release tells us, is due later this year. Bonus points for leading me to scuzzy girl group crash of last summer’s “Lozenge”. 

Web: bcamp fbook 

DMBQ, “No Things” (God?/Drag City)


Taken from last fall’s Keeenly, “No Things” is a load-bearing slab of psych-rock from Japan’s DMBQ (shorthand for ‘Dynamite Masters Blues Quartet’) that’s tight enough to walk on, loose enough to swing. The vocals, rather than being straight forward, are as jagged as the feedback-addled guitars; buried so deep in the mix they sound like as if they originated from inside the kick drum. The end actually kinda sounds like a sonic boom – perfect. 

Endorsed/released by Ty Segall, courtesy of his God? imprint for Drag City.

Web: label bcamp twitt site 

Khotin, “Water Soaked in Forever” (Ghostly)


Khotin is the nom de musique of Vancouver, BC-based Dylan Khotin-Foote. His track, ‘Water Soaked In Forever” feels like it’s titular subject: a warm bath, the proverbial babbling brook heard through the pines, ending with what sounds like a recording of falling rain. The track is pastoral with a slow, intentionally deliberate pace, but while certainly soothing, the vaguely discordant melody on top (played on the highest piano keys? the parts of the strings over the guitar head?) keep things more invigorating than narcoleptic. There’s shades of new age, the tropical dance of groups like 808 State, ambient – all to great effect.

Taken from full-length, Beautiful You, self-released in 2018 and now being given a wider release courtesy of Ghostly International.

Web: label soundcloud bcamp twitt insta