On an all-new Discologist, two newbs take on the new release from one of the most prolific bands of the past 10 years. After releasing FIVE full-lengths in 2017, Australian psych-kings King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard slowed down the pace and discovered the power of boogie for their first album in a year, Fishing For Fishies. Jam-packed with technicolor freakouts and enough groove to satisfy old and new fans alike, Fishies is the sound of a band ready to take on the mainstream, one face-melting trip at a time.
There are two sides of Alex Cameron that fans need to know: the calm, collected leader of a six-person band, and the schlocky, insecure character he channels in his music who wants to stuff losers into school lockers. Why? If you haven't listened to "Marlon Brando" yet, off of Cameron's latest album Forced Witness, you'd probably get the wrong idea: "So I'll tell you something sister, I'm feeling mighty fine / You tell that little faggot call me faggot one more time." It's strange hearing lines like these in 2017, but it’s all part of the hilariously insecure persona he’s crafted for these songs. His lyrics are so pointedly sharp that if you didn't know any better, you’d assume he was an internet troll who decided to make some music about it. But if you dismissed him, you'd be missing out on one of the funniest and most straightforwardly 80s pop albums of the year, drawing inspiration from the likes of Rick Springfield or Eddie Money to great effect.
To say that Courtney Barnett’s star is rising might be an understatement. Only a year ago, the now 26-year old singer and guitarist from Melbourne, Australia was playing DC9 when she came to Washington, DC – a venue that, even packed, only holds a couple hundred people. In October, she sold out the Black Cat (capacity 700), but as a co-headliner with the also popular San Fermin. This past weekend, though, she and her band (which she refers to as CB3, for the trio of Barnett, Bones Sloane on bass, and Dave Mudie on drums) played back-to-back sold out nights at the 9:30 Club (capacity 1,200) to a crowd that was there all for her. Her audience in DC has grown by a factor of at least twelve in just over a year’s time (and that’s not counting those who were shut out after the last tickets were sold).
One of the great ironies of psychedelia, especially modern psychedelia, is that despite all the implications of mind expansion and far-out-ed-ness, the tropes of the genre are actually fairly limited. Take some wavy vocals, a fuck-ton of fuzz, and a hefty “dose” of delay and you’ve got an instant dorm room classic. That formula usually works best when it’s plugged into a more rigid structure, like that of a pop song, forcing its flights of fancy to remain tethered to some more focused center. But more often than not, the formula doesn’t work, and the resultant music can tend to come across as not just boring and meandering, but amateurish.
Pond’s latest, Hobo Rocket, finds itself floating amongst the space whales somewhere between those two extremes, a position which is not only disappointing but fairly surprising. On last year’s Beard, Wives, Denim, the Aussie collective (which features several members of Tame Impala) managed to reign in some of the more experimental facets of their previous efforts and came away with a solid gem of a pop record. Make no mistake: These tracks were still as sticky with resin as anything Pond had ever done. But the freakouts weren’t just tasteful; they served as a satisfying seasoning to the songs…which is precisely where Hobo Rocket loses its way.
SOUNDS LIKE: Jenn Wasner sits in with SilverSun Pickups
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Two great sounds that sound great together
The band Husky is just completing its first US headlining tour and headed back to Australia, but they are leaving us with the upbeat and infectious “History’s Door,” a song whose momentum will leave you trying to decide if it’s better suited for listening to while driving with the windows down, wearing earphones as you stroll the city, taking a rain ride across the wide open country. It’s the kind of pop song that gets stuck in your head after two listens, urging you to keep playing it till you find the perfect scene, but it’s not all lightness and momentum. On top of the irresistible push forward is an equally urgent message to shed the past, to move on from a love affair that, though difficult to leave, is even harder to stay in.
Husky is made up of cousins Husky Gawenda, vocals and guitar, and Gideon Preiss, keyboard, plus bassist Evan Tweedie and drummer Luke Collins. The band had the good fortune to win a contest for Australia’s best unsigned band on the strength of “History’s Door” and caused a stir by getting signed to Subpop right away. This may have been Husky’s first US headline tour, but it seems unlikely that it will be their last.
Forever So is out now on Subpop.
Melboune’s own The Temper Trap is coming to town tonight and we’re pretty sure you should be there, mate. After winning Best Band of 2010 in their native Australia, Temper Trap was nominated in Britain for Best International Breakthrough Band in 2011, and 2012 finds them with a dreamy new self-titled album (released in June) and coming to visit the Fillmore in beautiful downtown Silver Spring tonight. If you haven’t heard “Sweet Disposition,” their most popular single and a song that is both gorgeous and pervasive in a Sigur-Rosy kind of way, you must have been traveling on the Mars Rover for the past two years. Since the Snallygaster Beer Festival at the Yards ends at 5 p.m., that gives you plenty of time to Metro on up for an evening of Aussie chillaxing.
Blending soaring, hypnotic vocals with driving bass lines and shimmery synthesizers, Temper Trap promises to grace the stage with some space-rock cool, so come on down to see what the best band in Australia sounds like. Hopefully they’ll toss in a lot of banter in that killer accent. Tickets are still available HERE.
Hopefully you’ve been reading our (almost) year-by-year trip through musical history here at ChunkyGlasses. A project like that compels you to dig through old reviews and articles, and a recurring story is one of bands trying to capture some sort of “late 60s/early 70s sound,” if such a thing exists. Frequently the sound is referred to as modernized psychedelia, and through the years Echo and the Bunnymen, Jellyfish, The Apples in Stereo, and anyone in the Madchester or Paisley Underground scenes were cited (or accused) of borrowing liberally from or even flat-out ripping off the Beatles, Pink Floyd, or King Crimson.
In every case those influences are present but don’t tell the whole story. So it is with Perth, Australia’s Tame Impala – no question you can hear the influences, but they are just that; influences. This is a band with its own flavor and identity, and their sophomore record, Lonerism, is a fantastic example of how those influences, properly channeled, can lead to something completely new.