Tag Archives: review

Check Out ‘Poison Future’, from Montréal’s Protruders

Taken from Protruders’ discogs.com page.

Protruders, Poison Future (Feel It)


Protruders are a four-piece band of miscreants from Montréal, who have graced us with a slab of proto-punk goodness in the form of Poison Future, billed as the band’s ‘vinyl debut’ following several, self-released tapes.

Though hailing from the great white north™, you’d be excused if the album’s seven tracks had your mind wandering firmly towards the midwestern US and its many punk forefathers who embraced the weird. Poison Future is, throughout, shot through with late-Stooges/early Iggy glam-sludge stompers and more experimental sounding Electric Eels garage skronk. The vocals remind a bit of Richard Hell, at times, as maniacal saxomophone punctuates jittery rhythm changes. ‘No Stone’ marries Dead Boys sleaze with Kid Congo cheek, while other numbers deconstruct into long-form jam wig-out sessions. It’s a glorious greasy mess of a record – and highly recommended.

Poison Future is out now, courtesy of Feel It. The band have a few shows upcoming in Canada, with the label promising US midwest and east coast dates soon – find those dates here (scroll down a bit).

Highlights include: “No Stone”; “Tax 101”; “Fruit Hang”.

Web: bcamp label 

Barcelona’s Fatamorgana Beguile on “Terra Alta”

Artwork by Monika Proniewska (Hekla Studio).

Fatamorgana, Terra Alta (La Vida Es Un Mus)


Fatamorgana is a Barcelona-based project featuring Patrycja Proniewska and Louis Harding, whose previous endeavors ranged from the sandblasted hardcore of bands like Good Throb and the gothic, post-punk textures of outfits like Belgrado. Following on last year’s excellent, self-released demo, debut long-player Terra Alta finds the duo striking a midpoint between the sparse, new wave mood pieces of bands like Visage, Yaz(oo), or early Human League (think Travelogue, or Dare tracks like ‘Sound of the Crowd’ – not ‘Human’) and the later, lushness of later 80s bands like Propaganda or Book of Love.  

A fata morgana is a type of complex mirage, its layers of distorted images at times resulting in certain shapes on the horizon appearing to float (and named, apparently, for Morgan le Fay). This seems a fitting name for the band, as the surface-level simplicity of these 11 tracks often beguile and distract from the complexities beneath. Nowhere is this clearer than on album highlight, ‘10 Minutos de la Tierra’, whose leveled beat and floating vocals must surely make Vince Clarke wish he’d written it 35-odd years ago. Elsewhere, ‘Universo’ shifts an elongated, processed vocal left and right for so long it becomes disorienting. Closer ‘El Desvanecer del Futuro’ is a strobe-lit dance floor epic built upon the sturdiest of synthesized bass and rhythm that gradually fades off over the horizon.

The lyrics are mostly in spanish, and mine is not good; however, a quick review of the titles suggests a lyrical focus on the magical/mystical places and times (Atlantis, labyrinths, the dawn, the universe/deep space) that fit well with the album’s feel. Terra Alta is out now, courtesy of the always fab La Vida Es Un Mus discos.

Highlights include: “10 Minutos de la Tierra”; “La Atlántida”; “El Desvanecer del Futuro”.

Web: fbook bcamp label insta

Sydney’s Low Life Return with a “Downer Edn”

From the band’s fbook page

Low Life, Downer Edn (Goner; Cool Death; Alter)


Sydney, Australia’s Low Life last week released Downer Edn (pronounced like “edition”), their first set of new material since 2014’s Dogging. Having expanded to a quintet with the addition of Dizzy Daldal and Yuta Matsumura to the ranks the result, as you might expect, is a fuller-sounding record that retains all of the roughness that made Dogging such a thrill. 

Opener “The Pitts” starts us along, wrapped in a gothic fog, music and vocals heavily cloaked in grit, before galloping off into a four squared mosh pit groove. Highlights are many, the group’s knack for a burying moments of melodic bliss amongst the gloom in tracks like ‘Lust Forevermore’, which feel like a rope thrown over the bow. The album’s mixing of death rock, psych, Magazine-style post-punk and flanged new wave is a heady concoction that’s as much fun to drink deep as it is to parse through. Personal fave, ‘Rave Slave’, sounds a bit like A Bell is a Cup or Ideal Copy Wire pushed into the red of the more dramatic Killing Joke on Brighter Than a Thousand Suns.

As with Dogging, these tracks can barely suppress a sneer at the general state of, well, most things – a kind of equal opportunity disregard that tends to underpin most worthwhile critical pieces, musical or otherwise. Mitch Tolman’s vocals generally idle in a fixed simmer, as though he can’t be arsed to indulge the anger underneath and, when so moved, can only summon a withering “fuck it” (‘Glamour’). According to the notes accompanying the record, it was heavily influenced by their hometown, and I think many can relate to a heavy ambivalence towards the place they grew up (either from inside or from a distance) – particularly one as iconic as Sydney. The changes (the good, bad, and eye-roll worthy) that take place over time can inspire both pride and dismissal in equal measures. Downer Edn feels as much an embrace – without sparing the rod – as a mirrored shield held up against the cities ills. 

Downer Edn is out now, courtesy of Cool Death (AUS), Goner (US), and Alter (EU/UK).

Web: fbook insta bcamp Alter Goner Cool Death 

Highlights include: “Lust Forevermore”; “Rave Slave”; “Lad Life”.

New Music from The Murder Capital, Hash Redactor, NOTS and Olivia Neutron-John

The Murder Capital, “Feeling Fades” (Human Season)

Dublin, Ireland, quintet The Murder Capital are a rising force, and not in a cheesily histrionic, Yngvie Malmsteen kind of way. Having stormed out of the gates with debut track, “More Is Less” (which, I believe, is only listentoable via live video (and worth it)), they come for the castle on follow-up, “Feeling Fades”. James McGovern’s intensely sung/shouted vocals are equal measures antagonizing and resigned (not a million miles from Birthday Party-era Cave) like a heated discussion with a stranger at the bar at closing time, climaxing in a wordless paean. The music tip toes the proverbial razor wire, building tension if not release, putting them of a piece with other modern post-punk purveyors like Protomartyr. The band have a host of upcoming tour dates, which can be found on their site.

Web: insta site fbook twitt 

Hash Redactor, “Good Sense” (Goner; Upset the Rhythm)


Can a band featuring members of two great bands be, unto itself, great? If that band be Hash Redactor then, gentle reader, early evidence suggests a resounding hell (to the) yes. The contributing bands in question are NOTS (bassist Meredith Lones and drummer Charlotte Watson) and Ex-Cult (singer/guitarist Alec McIntyre) – whose musical stylings have often rattled the bookshelves at tgh hq – joined by guitarist George Williford. Debut track “Good Sense” welds a brilliant, lurching bassline onto phased-out guitar swoons and deadpan vocals. A bit reminiscent of the Butthole Surfers in spaces, the track just continues to build across its 2:50 run time, before abruptly downing tools. Hash Redactor’s long-form debut, Drecksound, is due April 26 from Goner (US) and Upset the Rhythm (UK/EU) and is now available for pre-order here and/or here.

Web: Upset the Rhythm Goner fbook twitt

NOTS, “Half Painted House” (Goner; Upset the Rhythm)


Speaking of NOTS, the Memphis psych-punks have a new album – 3 – coming out May 10 (also) from Goner (US) and Upset the Rhythm (UK/EU); it will be the band’s first new music since 2017’s “Cruel Friend” 7” and its first as a trio, following the last year’s departure of keys player Alexandra Eastburn. Album teaser track, “Half Painted House”, is one of the best things they’ve done. Further tightening the loosely-spooled, straight out of the garage ravers of their earliest output, the track glides along a solid groove (those basslines again!), providing a north star through the hazy, fogged synth sounds and stage-left siren howls. Each new release from this band makes us antsy to hear the rest, and “Half Painted House” is no exception. Pre-order 3 here and/or here.

Web: Upset the Rhythm Goner fbook twitt 

On-J, “March” (Sister Polygon)

Olivia Neutron-John (bka, On-J) – self-proclaimed leader of the ‘post-bro movement’ we all need – is the project of Washington, D.C.’s Anna Nasty, who has also done time as a member of the Ian Svenonius-fronted Chain and the Gang (see what we did there?). “March” is her first On-J release since 2014’s “Injury Train and I’m Never Getting Off It” single, and serves as a teaser for a forthcoming, eponymous debut long-player. The simplest of rhythms and basic melody – the titular, casiotoned beat and one note key – is soon wrapped in a truly beguiling, serpentine bassline, Nasty’s words sounding as though processed through a megaphone as she vocalizes a relationship’s push/pull (“is this what you want?/..but it feels good at night/doesn’t make it right”). Olivia Neutron-John is due May 10, on Sister Polygon, and is available for pre-order now. On-J is also currently on tour (including some dates with Priests), with dates to be found on her site.

Web: Sister Polygon site bcamp fbook insta twitt

Reviews: Salad Boys, C.A.R., Ravyn Lenae, Zed Penguin, Ten High, Smokescreens

Part the second of our ‘apology tour’, in which we continue to dig through the list of records that touched us last year and make sure that we spread the good word. 

Salad Boys, This is Glue (Trouble in Mind)


Christchurch, New Zealand’s Salad Boys returned last February with their latest album, This is Glue, and it’s a thrilling listen. Opener, “Blown Off” lifts off with a thrum like a motorik “Kids in America”, before dissolving into a blissful Buzzcocks charged guitar run, and the remaining tracks employ shades of indie disco, the purest power-pop, pearlescent strum-pop (“Exaltation”), orphic psych and early REM jangle (“Psych Slasher”). It’s lush, without being cloying; polished, but still retaining scuff and patina. Highlights include: “Psych Slasher”; “Right Time”; “Going Down Slow”.

Web: label bcamp site

C.A.R., Pinned(Ransom Note)


Also released last February, Pinned, the latest from C.A.R. (the recording project of London-based Franco-Canadian Chloé Raunet) features elements of icy, Yaz(oo)-like new wave sensuality, post-punk empty spaces, and dubby trip-hop – all blended into transportive art-pop. There’s a Nina Hagen art-bounce meets Grace Jones cool on tracks like “Heat”, “Growing Pains” gradually adding gorgeous layers of glacial synths and ethereal background vocals to a stark bass/drum combo. C.A.R. has since released several remixes (I particularly enjoyed Peaking Lights’ remix of ‘Daughters’), one of which included a new song, “All But…”, as a b-side. Highlights include: “Growing Pains”; “Heat”; “Cholera”.

Web: label bcamp fbook insta site

Ravyn Lenae, Crush EP (Atlantic/Three Twenty Three Music)


Ravyn Lenae hails from Chicago, and released a smoke bomb of an EP last February called Crush. Lifting off even higher than her dizzying 2016 debut, Moon Shoes, the EP provides an intoxicating cache of silky smooth, new-old school r&b tracks. Lenae’s effortless voice balances featherweight highs and funky gnarl, moving stealthily through hazy grooves that evoke everything from Funkadelic, the Isleys, Erykah Badu, and Prince. Steve Lacey’s head-swimming production provides highlights as well (see the introduction of the bass in “Computer Luv”, on which he also provides vocal accompaniment). More of this, soon, please and thank you. Highlights include: “Closer (Ode 2U)”; “Computer Luv”.

Web: site twitt insta youtube fbook 

Zed Penguin, A Ghost, A Beast (Song, by Toad)


Sometimes, an album comes along whose constituent parts may seem familiar, but taking a step back to view the entire picture reveals something new and difficult to describe. A Ghost, A Beast, the debut full-length from Zed Penguin – the musical project of Edinburgh-based Australian, Matthew Winter – is such an album. The shapeshifting arrangements meld psych, chamber-pop, the wry, arty-rock of Zevon, and tensile post-punk, Winter’s tremulous tone recalling a mix of Joe Jackson and Ian McCullough. Some moments transcend – to wit, the glorious ‘End of Time’, with it’s shimmery jangle. Highlights include: “End of Time”; “Wandering”; “Violent Night”.

Web: label bcamp fbook twitt

Ten High, Autobondage EP (Hexbeat) 


Our Arkansas pals in Ten High released the Autobondage EP this past October, and it slays. Five fuzzed-out, gonzo tracks held together by a steady, powerful bass/drum battery. The roiling opener, ‘Dr. Choice’ (featuring vocals by drummer Devan Theos) couldn’t possibly be a more apt, ‘in the red’ introduction to the splendor on show here. Trading in the same gloriously trashy garage/blues/punk sleaze as debut, Self-Entitled, these tracks manage to tighten things up a notch, without losing any of their edge. Highlights include: “Dr. Choice”; “You Want It”.

Web: fbook bcamp

Smokescreens, Used to Yesterday (Slumberland)


L.A.-based quartet Smokescreens released their latest, Used to Yesterday, last summer. Appropriate to that season, the album is jam-packed with absolutely gorgeous power-(psych)pop and Paisley Underground-style hooks. The band’s online bio mentions a mutual admiration for Dunedin sound between founders Chris Rosi and Corey Cunningham, and you can hear it loud and clear on tracks like ‘Buddy’. But there’s also a US spin on things, with ‘Steel Blue Skies’ adding a slacker-y take, and the band channeling the Velvets on ‘Fool Me’. Highlights include: “Steel Blue Skies”; “Jolly Jane”; “Used to Yesterday”.

Web: label bcamp fbook twitt

Roundup, featuring BB and the Blips, CB Radio Gorgeous, Zerodent, Constant Mongrel, Corey Flood, Beta Boys, Pious Faults, Pink Thing and Permission!

We here at thegrindinghalt.com are often overwhelmed by the amount of great, new music that makes its way into our lives – whether via email or internet rabbitholing, it’s fantastic to make more and more discoveries. The consequence is that, like the proverbial magpie, we are often distracted by the excitement of the new, to the detriment of giving the written props existing discoveries are due. 

With that in mind, please to enjoy the following first in a (likely) series of mea culpas to the ones we didn’t write up, with a new year’s resolution to do better:

BB and the Blips, Shame Job (Thrilling Living)


BB and the Blips are based in Sydney, Australia, comprising members of bands like the sadly departed Good Throb (we wrote about them here) and Housewives. Following (quickly) on the release of a blistering, low-fi demo (on Blow Blood (AUS/US) and Nervous Energy (UK/EU)), last September’s full-length debut, Shame Job, shows the band adding an amazing amount of depth in such a short time. Everything’s great, from razor-sharp opener, “Matribuxy” to to the acid-surf closer, “Whinge and Whine”. The vocals, in particular, are a revelation – so much passion and energy transmitted, but rather than being all ‘in the red’, there are subtler shades. Highlights include: “Lucky Country”, “Matriduxy”.

Web: Thrilling Living

Corey Flood, Wish You Hadn’t EP (Fire Talk)


Philadelphia, PA’s Corey Flood released the four-track EP, Wish You Hadn’t, last February, and we’ve been coming back to it ever since. Combining insistent, post-punk rhythms with the vertiginous guitar/bass interplay of 90s indie pop bands like Breeders, the band crafted a subtly sinister mood piece. The arrangements charm like that snake in the Jungle Book, while vocalist/bassist Ivy Gray-Klein’s whispers of lies and deceit are like a wasp in your ear. Excellent. Highlights include: “Feel Okay”.

Web: Insta Fbook Fire Talk

Constant Mongrel, Living in Excellence (Anti-Fade; La Vida Es Un Mus)


Melbourne, Australia’s Constant Mongrel released one of the album’s of any year last September with Living in Excellence. A potent mix of post-punk, garage and darkly melodic early new wave (I kept hearing early Psychedelic Furs), shot through with psychedelic drone and sung-spoken vocals. The overall mood of cloistered angst is shot through with moments of beauty (see the synth middle in “Lifeless Crisis”), and if you aren’t up out of your seat when the drums crash in at about the :50 mark of the title track (punctuated by a Tom Warrior-approved ‘ooh’), you need some help. Highlights include: “Lifeless Crisis”; “Living in Excellence”; “Action”.

Web: Anti-Fade LaVidaEsUnMus Fbook

Personality Cult, S-T (Drunken Sailor; Sorry State)


Personality Cult, a project led by Ben Carr of North Cackalack-based Natural Causes, released a self-titled debut back in August, and it’s one of the most rapacious earworms this side of those gross things in that one Star Trek movie. “Fed to the Lions”, while sadly not an interpolation of the Adam and the Ants song of (almost) the same name, does feel like a kind of sequel. In fact, as much as there are shades of everything from Devo to Cheap Trick to Magazine to Jay Reatard on display here, there is a strong whiff of the early Ants’ (e.g., pre-burundi drumming) buzzy playfulness. The album practically throws out infectious melodies like so much cake to assembled masses. Punky, new wave-y, power-poppy delirium. Highlights include: “Brazen”; “Fed to the Lions”; “Motivation”.

Web: Drunken Sailor Sorry State Bcamp Fbook  

Beta Boys, Late Nite Acts (Feel It; Erste Theke Tonträger)


Olympia, Wash-based Beta Boys (we previously wrote about them here) continue to align themselves with a proud Northwest tradition of in your face, cheerfully perverse hardcore bands like Poison Idea and The Accused. The band’s debut full-length, Late Nite Acts, was released in August, and it’s a cacophonous thrillride of blunt, flanged riffs fused with a brutally tight rhythm section topped off by a voice that is the closest I’ve heard to the seared larynx outbursts of M. Blaine Cook since, well, zippy himself. It’s a belter, from start to finish. Highlights include: “Laugh/Cry”; “Red Devil”; “Already Dead”.

Web: Feel It Erste There Tonträger

Pious Faults, Old Thread (Feel It; Aimless Wander)


Old Thread, the latest from Brisbane, Australia’s Pious Faults (who we previously discussed here), was released last August. The album’s nine tracks are thrillingly disorienting, each threatening to spin off their loose axis off into the ether. A claustrophobic desperation envelops the record, with tracks like opener, “Cope” and “Worship the Surface pt. 1” making this a kind of Damaged for a new era. Summoning as much old school hardcore like Black Flag and Die Kreuzen as freeform industrial experimentalists Throbbing Gristle and newer post-punk noiseniks like Girl Band, it feels somehow familiar and completely singular at the same time. Amazing. Highlights include: “Worship the Surface pt 1”; “Field”.

Web: Feel It

Permission, Drawing Breath Through a Hole in the Ground (La Vida Es Un Mus)


Drawing Breath Through a Hole in the Ground, released last July from London, England-based Permission, is a relentless hardcore record. From the first peals of distortion on opener, “Ambition” through (about 17 minutes later) the bent notes closing “Sequence”, it’s quite a ride. The stop and go tempos invoke that invigorating, yet slightly panic-inducing, feel of being in a circle pit you can’t quite make it out of, reminding of bands like Christ on Parade, Crucifix or Void (DC). Highlights include: “Atmosphere”; “Sick Things”.

Web: LaVidaEsUnMus

PiNK THiNG, The Curtain EP


Following on their 2017 demo, Dallas, TX-based quintet Pink Thing released The Curtain EP last May. It’s a powerful mix of old school punk/hc and death rock, with the kind of dead-eyed, taunting vocals that make you want to throw your fist up. While the opening bars of “Avoid/Devoid” summon the Sex Pistols, there’s an overarching early 80s SST feel, which makes the band’s choice cover of Saccharine Trust’s “I Am Right” apropos. Highlights include: “Creamy”; “Natural Thing”.

Web: Bcamp

Zerodent, Landscapes of Merriment (Alien Snatch)


Perth, Australia’s Zerodent returned in October with Landscapes of Merriment, released on German label Alien Snatch. Landscapes retains the ℅ ’77 punk and buzzed, Stiff Records’ style rock of 2017’s fab Soul Mender (which we fawned over here), now burnished with greyscale shades of post-punk. The inclusion of more active basslines compliment Predrag Delibasich’s soaring guitar melodies and the classically earnest vocals of Lee Jenkins, particularly on (current) personal fave, “I Live a Lie”. Fantastic. Highlights include: “I Live a Lie”; “Utter Power”; “The Ring”.

Web: Alien Snatch Fbook Bcamp

CB Radio Gorgeous, S-T


Chicago’s CB Radio Gorgeous feature members of local bands like Big Zit and Negative Scanner. The band’s debut, self-titled full-length, was self-released last June (followed by a cassette release on Not Normal Tapes). It’s a relentless mix of driving hc, downtown punk cool and pogo/Buzzcocks’ new wave – sometimes all at once, as on highlight double-shot “Love Countdown” and “Shelley”. Highlights include: “Love Countdown”; “Shelley”; “Babylon”.

Web: Bcamp

Check Out Tracks from Peel Dream Magazine, Pigsx7 and Goatman

Peel Dream Magazine, “Shenandoah” (Slumberland Records)

Peel Dream Magazine is the nom de musique of NYC-based musician Joe Stevens, whose debut album, Modern Meta Psychic, will be released by the venerable Slumberland Records. “Shenandoah” is one of three trippy, psych-tinted dream pop confections – the driving “Qi Velocity” and spectral “Levitating Between 2 Chords” being the others – released to promote the album, and it’s our (current) fave. “Shenandoah” is the musical equivalent of a lazy drift down the titular river on a blazing summer’s day, staring at the sun until vision blurs and thoughts change shape with the clouds – Stevens’ cloaked vocals invoking the humid haze in the air; the persistent background drone the sound of cicadas thrumming along the banks. There’s much to be felt in this languid beauty of a track. Bring on the album.  

Modern Meta Psychic is due October 5, on Slumberland – pre-order a copy here. Follow along with Peel Dream Magazine on fbook and twitter.  

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Cake of Light” (Rocket Recordings)

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (mercifully shorthanded Pigsx7) is a Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK-based quintet. Stoner, psych, metal, doom – however you want to classify, the band’s chalice is full to the brim from the river Sabbath, and the resulting racket is glorious. Where previous efforts displayed a penchant for the long-form jam (2017’s Feed the Rats featured two tracks north of 15 minutes), the first offering from the recently released King of Cowards comes in at a tidy 3:45, and it’s all the better for it. It’s a masterclass in heavy – the drums fairly swing a la “Fairies Wear Boots”, the wailing vocals reminiscent as much of Ozzy or Lemmy as Jaz, feeling like an invocation (which would make sense, as the titular pastry is part of a eucharist associated with Alistair Crowley and possibly comprised of honey, red wine lees, oils and, um, bodily fluids of some sort – serve warm?). 

King of Cowards is available now, courtesy of Rocket Recordings. Follow Pigsx7 on fbook, where you can also find upcoming tour dates.

Goatman, “Jaam Ak Salaam” (Rocket Recordings)

The hooded Goatman is a member of the Swedish musical collective known as GOAT. “Jaam Ak Salam” was the first track released to promote his forthcoming long-player, Rhythms (since followed by the hippy gospel workout, “Carry the Load”). The track is an exhilarating, inspired fusion of African jazz, psych and middle eastern moods and textures. Lifting off on a furious wave of conga drums and sharply picked guitars, it quickly feels as though the players can barely contain themselves in the midst of the uplift (though, since Goatman himself plays most of the instruments, perhaps it is he whose control is suspect – and who can blame him?). Much is going on in the mix – declaratory horns, questioning keys and responsive palm wine (maybe?) guitar – all marshaled by guest vocalist Seydi Mandoza. Like the track itself, Mandoza’s heady voice flits from style to style, sounding a bit like a mix of Youssou Ndor and Charlie Chaplin (the toaster, not the actor) at points, before barreling through the last third of the tune with all of the fiery righteousness of a Richie Havens. It will leave you spent, and then have you hit ‘repeat’.

Rhythms is due October 12, also on Rocket – you may, and should, pre-order a copy here.

Check Out New Tracks from Mr. Twin Sister, Papercuts, Lithics, Molly Nilsson and Rat Columns

The past several weeks have seen the release of many great new tracks, from artists both known and loved, and new. Here are a few to get started on, with more to follow. 

Mr. Twin Sister, “Jaipur” (Self-Released)

Up first, New York’s Mr. Twin Sister, who return with, “Jaipur”, their first new music since 2016 and our favorite – if we must choose – of three (!) new tracks to emerge over this past summer (“Power of Two” and “Echo Arms” the others). “Jaipur” is a beguiling reentry, retaining the suave r&b/‘baby-making music’ sound of 2014’s self-titled effort, all swelling strings and lush vocals – but the storm here feels anything but quiet. All that smooth is jarred by a sped up Bollywood tempo and horn blasts, reflecting a more jittery, self-conscious take on love – anxiously looking for it, while simultaneously fearing that, once found, you’ll just fuck it up and run away, disappointing both the other and yourself.

It’s unclear whether any of these new tracks will be included as part of a forthcoming long-player, but take your chance to hear them live on the band’s upcoming tour, beginning October 18 in Allston, MA. 

Rat Columns, “Sometimes We’re Friends” (Slumberland)

Another welcome return, this one courtesy of Rat Columns, the recording project revolving around David West, who we’ve previously gushed over thanks to their sublime 2017 album, Candle Power. 

“Sometimes We’re Friends” is released as part of a year-long tribute in honor of Slumberland Records’ 30th anniversary. Riding in on a lovely jangle, the track captures the same effortless charm as found on the album, with the kind of road-weary romanticism of bands like The Go-Betweens, Prefab Sprout and the Blue Nile married to an early Cure style guitar chug, uncoiling into an extended and repeated chorus. It’s fantastic, and hopefully means there’s a new full-length coming soon. 

Papercuts, “Laughing Man” (Slumberland)

San Francisco’s Jason Quever returns with Papercuts, bringing the kind of vertiginous psych/dream pop that made us believers on 2009’s You Can Have What You Want. “Laughing Man” was the first of the new tracks we heard (followed closely by “Sing to Me Candy”), and it grabbed us immediately with it’s “Be My Baby”ish beat and woozy harmonies. Sweetly melancholy vocals describing someone “staring into space”, gripped by a memory they “can’t face”, before requesting we be upstanding not for the mayor of simpleton, but the laughing man.

The track will appear on Papercuts’ forthcoming new album, Parallel Universe Blues, due October 19 on Slumberland.

Molly Nilsson, “Slice of Lemon” (Dark Skies Association; Night School)

Another returning fave – this time, Molly Nilsson shares “Slice of Lemon” from her forthcoming full-length, 2020 (that’s the lyric video, above). It’s another world-beating slice (sorry) of new wave-flecked sophistipop. Riding a woozy synth and laconic beat, Nilsson’s lyrical focus feels placed on the beginning and end of a relationship, viewed through the eyes and ice of the narrator and the other – there’s a pang of wistfulness, but without regret. The track feels simultaneously new and like the song that could have soundtracked an alternate version of the denouement to “Sixteen Candles”, in which Sam eats the birthday cake alone, bummed it didn’t work out with Jake, but ultimately ok with it.

2020 is released November 2 on the ever-amazing Night School Records and Nilsson’s own Dark Skies Association imprint. Follow along on fbook, where you can find Nilsson’s upcoming tour dates in the EU and North America.

Lithics, “Photograph, You of” (Thrilling Living)


Back in May, Portland, OR’s Lithics put out one of our favorite records of the year in the form of Excuse Generator. Last month, the band released a one-off single on the Oakland-based Thrilling Living label, and it’s every bit as vitally abrasive. The a-side is a fantastic continuation of Excuse Generator’s tetchy and tuneful post-punk, sneeringly cool vocals playing off the rambling rhythm and jagged one-two guitar lines. B-side, “Lost Signal” brings a kind of Devo meets Television vibe sure to invoke full body shakealongs on the dance floor. One of the best band’s going right now, no doubt.

Grab a copy of the single here. Excuse Generator is out now, on Kill Rock Stars.

Check Out the Split Release from Germ House and Far Corners

Germ House/Far Corners, Split Cassette (Fuzzy Warbles) 

Cover art for Germ House/Far Corners split cassette.


Jeckyl/Hyde, Bowie/Ziggy, Urkel/Urquelle – history is littered with famed alter egos. To this storied list, add Rhode Island-based bands Germ House and Far Corners, musical alter egos conjoined via frontman/guitarist Justin Hubbard. 

The bands’ split cassette, released in June on the New York-based Fuzzy Warbles label, is an excellent showcase for Hubbard’s (together, in Far Corners, with co-conspirators Joe Corluka and Dave Dougan) musical stylings. Side Germ House (a project described as both a solo project and “partially fledged live rock outfit”) is an artful indie pop collage recalling, at times, Beck and Devo with its shards of jangle, twitchy post-punk/new wave, garage, and 70s rock (personal fave, “Inside the Room”). Side Far Corners feels an overall heavier and headier endeavor, upping the fuzz and folding in psych, punk/hc and noise (personal fave, “Gold Choice”). Excellent.

Grab a copy of the split cassette here, and catch Germ House live at one or more upcoming dates, which you can find on fbook. 

Here’s Some of Our Favorite Tracks of the Last Few Weeks

In the latest installment of thegrindinghalt.com‘s ongoing  series, “oh crap, we’re behind on a lot of writing”, please enjoy our musings on several of the tracks we’ve been loving these past few weeks (or so…stop judging!). F

Sink Ya Teeth, “Substitutes” (Hey Buffalo)

We love, love, love Sink Ya Teeth, the dynamic duo of Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford. “Substitutes”, their latest dancefloor megablast, is a cowbell- propulsed tour d’angleterre. Hypnotic vocals soar above Detroit techno ‘dugga dugga’ synths and a rough and rugged bass line that reminds a bit of Timezone. The 80s electrofunk influence paired with the insouciant cool of peak Ladytron. Taken from Sink Ya Teeth’s debut album on Hey Buffalo. Divine. De-lovely. Diva voce. 

Innocence Mission, “Green Bus” (Bella Union; Badman; P-Vine)

Taken from Sun on the Square, the most recent long-player from long-running dreamy folk-pop group the innocence mission, “Green Bus” is a beguiling new track. Karen Peris’ vocals play like dappled sunlight through an intricate canopy woven by heavily arpeggio’d guitars and lush strings; the overall effect spiritual. Absolutely lovely. Sun On the Square is out now on the veritable Bella Union, Badman Recording (US) and P-Vine Records (JP).

Free Love, “Synchronicity” (Full Ashram)

Free Love – the band formerly known as Happy Meals (we loved their 2014 debut, Apero, via 2016’s glorious Fruit Juice EP) – graced us with “Synchronicity”. Following a detour into trance-like meditiative music, the track – happily, not a The Police cover –  sees the duo of Rodden and Cook return to the wellspring of divine, club-friendly new wave/late disco/electric r&b. Rubber bass, squelched keys and breathy vox.  Out now on the band’s Full Ashram label.

Totally Mild, “Take Today” (Chapter Music)

“Take Today” features on Her, the latest release from Melbourne’s Totally Mild. Opening with the strummy charm of early Ocean Blue dreampop, vocalist Elizabeth Mitchell’s halcyon lilt incorporates a bit of a Gallic touch, bringing in hints of St. Etienne or the poppier side of Stereolab.  A warm embrace of a song, blooming into a veritable endorphin rush of a chorus. “Why wait for a slow decay/take today”. Her is out now on Chapter Music.

Oh Sees, “Overthrown” (Castle Face)

My youngest enjoys the components of a burrito, but not wrapped up together.  In a bougie/“we watch a lot of Cooking Channel so I can” reaction to this, we’ve come to refer to this dish as ‘deconstructed’. Queue hard segue to the latest track from John Dwyer’s mighty Oh Sees (f/k/a Thee Oh Sees), “Overthrown”. The track’s raucous, main portion slashes and burns like a deconstructed thrash opus – the parts are there (jigga-jigga guitar, intense vox pitched up to a scream), but freed from a traditional thrash metal tortilla, er, song structure by virtue of a swinging beat and shards of hazy psych. New album, Smote Reverser, was released last week, courtesy of Castle Face.

The Sueves, “Stare” (Goodbye Boozy)

The lastest from Chicago’s The Sueves, who never fail to disappoint. “Stare”, the a-side to new 7” on the Goodbye Boozy label, is another storming slice of razor-sharp, earworm-worthy garage/punk/rock ’n roll. Vocalist Joe Schorgl sounds a particularly incensed Bon Scott, strangled shouts over brutally downstrummed guitars and a watertight rhythm charge. It’s a fantastic follow on to the band’s spring ’18 full-length, R.I.P. Clearance Event.

Fröst, “Record Still Spinning” (Lost Room)

Fröst is the duo of vocalist Johanna Bramli (who also sang with Stereolab offshoot, Imitation Electric Piano) and Fujiya & Miyagi’s Steve Lewis. Taken from their debut long-player, Matters, “Record Still Spinning” is the first taste, and the influence of the principals’ other projects is evident. The heady mix of a steady, motorik beat augmented by urgent driving bass, minimal synths and breathy vocals call to mind the aforementioned bands, as well as Broadcast and Hooverphonic. Matters releases September 28, courtesy of Lost Room.

Exploded View, “Raven Raven” (Sacred Bones)

Exploded View is an intercontinental project comprising Annika Henderson, Hugo Quezada, and Martin Thulin. “Raven Raven”, taken from the group’s forthcoming sophomore release, Obey, is a vertiginous slab of shuddering, danceable (read: swaying) psych. The lyrical flow reminds a bit of Suicide’s “Cheree”, though here the watcher has become the watched, the titular bird sitting on Henderson’s shoulder, eyeing her ‘every move’. Obey is due for release September 28, courtesy of Sacred Bones.