Cloth, Cloth (Last Night from Glasgow)
Cloth are a Glaswegian three-piece comprising twin guitarists Rachel and Paul Swinton (the former also providing vocals), as well as drummer Clare Gallacher (who, courtesy of a sample pad, also provides the ‘bass’). This past November, they put out one of our favorite records of 2019 in the form of their debut, self-titled, long-player.
The breathy textures on offer throughout Cloth reward close listening, adding more than a dash of psych and soul to an undercurrent of trip hop and dream pop. The XX (the earlier, not overtly club-friendly stuff) is a good point of reference, but I also picked up hints of bands like The Wake, early Doves and a downtempo feel of groups like Sol Seppy as well. A rhythmic current runs through voice-guitar-drum-‘bass’, propelling arrangements which tend towards insular but can flash more broadscale (‘Demo Love’, notably, featuring a mixture of both). It’s a kind of musical chiaroscuro which, particularly during highlights such as ‘Tripp’, ‘Curiosity Door’, and ‘Sleep’, is mesmerizing. Fall, into your speakers’ embrace, and enjoy.
Cloth is out now, courtesy of Last Night from Glasgow.
The Mind, Edge of the Planet (Drunken Sailor)
Featuring members of Homostupids (who we were not familiar with) and Pleasure Leftists (who we greatly enjoy), The Mind came together last year to make some kinda somethin’ on Edge of the Planet. And it was good.
Bleary is the head that attempts to describe something made so intentionally difficult to describe, but here are a few muddled thoughts. ‘Blah Na Nothing’ and ‘Running on my Head’ sound like Joy Division on an extended acid trip. There’s a lot of tape hiss, 60s sci-fi flying saucer f/x, and heady, disorientating sonic explorations anchored, unexpectedly, by sweetly disembodied vocals. There’s elements of dub throughout and trippy ambient tones. Some Devo (‘Space is Binary’), and the guitar bend of ‘Baby Rats’ is disarmingly lovely. It’s all very whacked out in an intriguing and beguiling way. Go check it – you know you want to.
Out now, on Drunken Sailor.
Thigh Master, Now for Example (Goner)
Brisbane (via Melbourne) jangle champs Thigh Master has been developing into a favorite over the past few years here at tgh hq, and their latest long-player, Now for Example, sealed the deal.
Incorporating prior singles ‘BBC’, ‘Pity Run’, and ‘Exodus’ (already a fave), Now for Example is a brilliant example of high-functioning indie rock with more than a whiff of the Flying Nun brigade. Matthew Ford’s delivery veers between sweet and mischievous sneer, delivering bon mots such as “this conversation’s going/south/and you’re pride’s glued to your mouth” (‘Entity’). The band know their way around a hook, pulling off both the intricate (the guitar/rhythmic interplay of ‘BBC’) or straight ahead with equal aplomb, while still finding ways to sneak in an unexpected sound or two (the demented doo-wop backing in ‘Mould Lines’, the tubular synth on highlight ‘Prospect Patent’). Closer ‘The Ballad of the Caxton’ sounds like a more laconic take on the kind of closing time pisstake bands like The Specials used to fling about – and did I mention how much I love ‘Exodus’? Ok, fair do. Brilliance abounds.
Out now, courtesy of the lovely folks at Goner Records (distributed by the equally lovely Tenth Court in AU).
Ben Woods, Put (Melted Ice Cream)
Ben Woods hails from Christchurch, NZ, and has played with/in local bands including Salad Boys. Woods released his debut solo record, Put, last fall and we’ve fallen for its surreal soundscapes incorporating elements of Spiritualized’s heart-crushing psych, slowcore, Velvet-y garage jangle and punk.
Including earlier singles ‘ROMANCY’ (which we wrote about here) and ‘Lozenge’, Put is stunning from beginning to end – both in the sense of being fantastic, but also more literally via the buzz emanating from the album’s nine tracks. Starting with the road-weary haze of ‘MARCHY’, it feels like a series of fractured lullabies, instruments and voice filtering in and out in all directions. There’s a haunted quality in the often muted production, focusing your ears on serpentine melodies that resolve at a deliberate pace. This sense of drain-circling makes the moments of relative clarity so arresting – notably, during ‘LOZENGE’, whose Buzzcocks’ worthy flounce feels like Ty Segall fronting a 60s girl group. ‘PRAISE’ encapsulates all of it beautifully, the track slowly slipping ‘neath the waves until, around the 2:30 mark, resurfacing with a gasp and riding to shore along a Bowie/Reed chug. Highly recommended.
Put is out now, courtesy of Melted Ice Cream.