Australia is ‘on point’ – like a hip prepubescent character from Neighbours would probably say – when it comes to endearing indie music. Dick Diver and Courtney Barnett for example are just two excellent acts from Melbourne. For today’s track of the day though, we turn to Brisbane for The Goon Sax.
Formed in 2013, they consist of Riley Jones, Louis Forster (son of Robert from cult favourites The G0-Betweens) and James Harrison.
Their album Up to Anything, released this March via Chapter Music, is a wistful collection of songs which perfectly encapsulates that awkward phase of adolescence. The opening title track is a personal highlight though.
The guitars scrape together nicely with a hint of melancholy that always feels present with bands like The Goon Sax and The Pastels, one of the Brisbane trio’s favourites. It also includes what feels like one of the most effective couplets on depression in pop music: “I can’t walk this sadness out/I just walk these things around”. Up to Anything is indeed ‘on point’.
The Goon Sax grace Glasgow tomorrow with The Pastels helming the decks. If you’re just reading this at time of publication, then chances are it’s short notice. If you read this the day after the gig…emm…get off my back – just make The Goon Sax your new favourite band!
Every man and beast has probably watched Stranger Things now, the Netflix show that’s captured people’s imaginations with its blend of Spielbergian Sci-Fi and unadulterated nostalgia for the 1980s. The excellent soundtrack has also pricked up folks’ ears – it’s the brainchild of Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein who are one half of S U R V I V E, a quartet from Austin, Texas.
‘A.H.B.’ – a track taken from the new album RR7349 -naturally wouldn’t sound out of place on Stranger Things – it’s an eerie, synth-ridden instrumental with lashings of John Carpenter and Depeche Mode:
RR7349 is out Friday via Relapse Records. If you want more infectious synth music, there’s a whole bunch o’ stuff on their Bandcamp page, and the Stranger Things soundtrack (Vol 1 and 2) is out now via Lakeshore Records in all good music outlets.
Canada has been producing a lot of excellent records this year – Oh No by Jessy Lanza , IV by Badbadnotgood, and 99.9%, by producer Louis Celestin a.k.a. Kaytranada. It hosts an array of artists such as Craig David, Little Dragon, Badbad themselves and AlunaGeorge.
Recently, 99.9% won this year’s Polaris Music Prize, a sort of Canadian Mercury. So it’s apt to conclude Track of the Day this week with Lite Spots. With a masterful sampling of Pontos De Luz by Gal Costa, it’s what one would describe as a ‘banger’.
There’s one moment where the beat rattles the ribcage and could cause a minor earthquake in any hip dancefloor. Lite Spots demonstrates how artists like Kaytranada and Jessy Lanza are putting Canada on the musical map with panache.
99.9% is out now on XL Recordings
Hoops are not a band from the East End of Glasgow (one for the football fans out there) but come all the way from Bloomington, Indiana. Their output so far has consisted of sunny, low-fi psychedelic rock – Tape #2, Tape #3 and EP sound like someone’s set foot across a treasure trove of demos from a legendary 80s cult indie band.
It doesn’t feel like we’ve seen Hoops at optimum level, and it would be interesting to see how they develop their sound on LPs. This track however on Tape #2 shows their potential. Granted, the production is a tad raw, and it sounds like someone’s frittering about with the headphone jack. But it’s a track that causes a tingle in the same way bands like Teenage Fanclub, The Lemonheads and early Prefab Sprout manage to create.
The guitar riff is effortlessly breezy, and the drums rattle away like someone enjoying the school summer holidays in their garage. The overly optimistic lyrics (“Keep your head up, you’re doing fine/I know it’s hard, but you’ll be alright) don’t sound disingenuous against the understated and melancholic nature of the track. As soon as the whistling part kicks in, it feels like you’ve known this track for a long time.
Hoops’ stuff, including their new live album released this week, is out on Bandcamp and all other good music outlets.
For some odd reason, Soccer96’s name conjures memories of International Superstar Soccer 98, the stellar Nintendo 64 game. On its cover, former Dundee player Fabrizio Ravenelli looks sternly at Paul Ince, like a souped-up version of the Smith and Jones head-to-head sketch. The track title for today’s track Megadrive Lamborghini fittingly references video games (of course there had to be some convoluted and tenuous link to the start of this blog post).
Soccer96 is the brainchild of Dan Leavers aka Danalogue and Max ‘Betamax’ Hallett, who are also two thirds of The Comet Is Coming (Melt Yourself Down‘s Shabaka Hutchings forms the final third). The latter band were nominated for this year’s Mercury Music prize with Channel The Spirits.
Megadrive Lamborghini distances itself from related acts The Comet is Coming and Melt Yourself Down. In fact, you’d be forgiven that Soccer96 has any association at all with Comet and MYD (well, based on this track certainly – the opening track for upcoming album As Above So Below sees us in similar territory) Megadrive..’s opening salvo of synths and claps is a frenzy of friendliness that would fit any mid-afternoon radio show. In the middle, it flirts with crazy video game blips that wouldn’t sound of place on a MYD record, but it’s just a brief flurry into that universe.
On their Bandcamp page, this London-based duo are described as transmitting “epic synth-scapes over poly-rhythmic drums and infectious dance grooves in a brutal cocktail of tight electronica and the spontaneous energy of improvisation.” Well, this track certainly has a groove. Now excuse me, I’m going to dig out the N64 and play ISS98.
As Above So Below is out this Friday via Slowfoot Records