Hound – ‘Drown’ [Punk/Emo]

Hound.

Hound have created a straight up baller of a track in ‘Drown’, that’s for sure. The moody DIY group take that distinctly Brisbane sound that you hear in so many Triple J acts and turn it on its head by adding the melancholy of an early Smashing Pumpkins or Interpol and the franticness of Black Flag. The vocals feel genuinely pained, but not in a way that comes off as offputting, just emotional enough to belt out as you jump around in your longue.

Great News

Great News – ‘Secrets’ [Synth Pop]

The not so great news about Great News is that ‘Secrets’ isn’t a particularly memorable experience. The woodwind intro (hopefully the majestic panflute) helps bring us into an airy world, haunted by the breezy voice of vocalist Even Kjelby. It’s a pleasant experience but almost as soon as it’s over, it completely vanishes from your head.

Babymetal

Babymetal – ‘Karate’ [Metal/Pop]

When Babymetal first burst out of Japan with the hyperactive ‘Gimme Chocolate’, while the metal community gave the alternative idol group praise, it’s difficult to refer to that praise as good. Most inferred the act was a novelty, some attacking their Lolita dress sense for not being metal enough, others deriding their ties to the idol scene, and more testimonies feeling like they’re one second away from using the adjective ‘exotic’ (funnily enough, all of these comments could be applied to Mariko Goto, one of the greatest minds and voices of the Japanese alternative scene). Which is why it’s such a pleasure to hear the first major release for the band since 2016 is such a solid track. The vocals fall into the more typical sense of Epic Metal, but the unique blend of the idol genre does make an appearance in the form of various harmonies and hooks scattered through the vocals, and the instrumentation is tighter than half the acts usually playing Wacken.

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Tiger Army – ‘Prisoner of the Night’ [Rockabilly]

The first offering from the rockabilly legends since 2007s Music from Regions Beyond, ‘Prisoner of the Night’ isn’t a return to form, but it isn’t exactly a departure from it either. Nick 13’s signature wail hasn’t changed a bit, nor has the guitar dunked into the musical equivalent of a sepia tone filter, helping keep up the Tiger Army tradition of sounding like a punk rendition of the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack. But there’s a less frantic air about it, the double bass slowed right down and moved out of the spotlight. Not that these disrupt ‘Prisoner of the Night’ like the frankly out of place piercing synth solo ending, but it’s interesting to see Tiger Army messing with their sound in a way they haven’t really done in their 20 year existence, even just by some minor tweaks.

Ask For Joy

Ask for Joy – ‘Pinprick Eyes’ [Shoegaze]

We’re willing to beat $20 that at least one of the songwriters of ‘Pinprick Eyes’ regard’s Disintegration as the greatest The Cure album. The echoing drums as if the skins were wrapped atop barrels, the synthline that shimmers like a lighthouse lamp in a stormy night, and guitars that act like flooding fog. The sickly sweet chorus of ‘She’s got pinprick eyes’ latches into your head and refuses to dig itself out, though frankly, it’s not like this earworm is a bad kind.

Mike and the Melvins – ‘Limited Teeth’ [Heavy Metal/Noise Punk]

Mike and the Melvins

We’re assuming The Melvins Mike is playing with on ‘Limited Teeth’ are the acclaimed and oftentimes unrelenting Melvins that have been blowing eardrums since 1983. Otherwise it’s just a coincidence that 1) Buzz Osbourne’s iconic ‘fro makes an appearance and 2) ‘Limited Teeth’ sounds like the inner monologue of someone quickly sinking into a swamp. Sounding like if QOTSA actually packed a punch behind them, ‘Limited Teeth’ oftentimes subverts its sludge elements within itself, speeding up the normally lethargic noise.

Being as an Ocean

Being as an Ocean – ‘Dissolve’ [Post–Hardcore/Emo]

‘Dissolve’ falls for a trap many post–hardcore acts following Alexisonfire have, and that’s trying to turn their chorus of a hook. Here the vocals fail to leave a mark and instead come off as just another whiney interlude. The verse vocals however are interesting for this style of music, an approach unseen in acts like Glassjaw or We Are In The Crowd, the voice not overtly gravelly but still low. It’s a nice subversion, but unfortunately it’s the only real thing of note.

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Tinpan Orange – ‘Rich Man’ [Folk]

‘Rich Man’ is destined to be the downtrodden soundtrack to the end of a Western like Deadwood. Emily Lubitz’s voice doesn’t make an effort to hide the pain behind her miserable yet bizarrely hopeful cries to change her life, but they don’t overwhelm. The sparse guitar and string section that grows during the track too tinge it with a taste of beaten optimism, making ‘Rich Man’ the track to end your trek across the desert with.

Fuller

Wesley Fuller – ‘Melvista’ [Lofi Pop]

The only thing that would make ‘Melvista’ more Beach Boys is if it was revealed Scooby Doo style that Fuller is actually Brian Wilson in a mask. It’s all there, the harmonised group “wooooahhh”s, the cheesy yet loveable riffs, be they guitar or keyboard, or that typical ‘recorded on an 8track’ feeling. Definitely one for your Bluesfest road trip playlist.

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Digging Roots – ‘Hwy 17’ [Roots]

Most of the time band names lend nothing to the overall sound of a band. Such is not the case for Digging roots. Immediately the North American South tinged guitar (the geographical of the America’s are really hard to label accurately) sets the tone as ShoShona Rish lays down a riff like a biker picking up an acoustic guitar. The bluesy husky voice of Raven Kanetakta only serves to cement this mental image even further.

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Violent Soho – ‘Viceroy’ [Hard Rock]

Perhaps it’s just because Violent Soho have spoiled us with bangers for the past few years, but ‘Viceroy’ just falls kind of flat compared to previous efforts from the group. The chorus lacks the punch Violent Soho has made their own, from ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ to ‘Like Soda’. The lyrics at times don’t really stick and it’s a bit forgettable. It’s not an unforgivable track, but given the standard of radness Violent Soho has cultivated, a misstep like ‘Viceroy’ hits a bit harder than normal.

iggy pop

Iggy Pop – ‘Sunday’ [Alt Rock]

The first taste of what Mr Pop has declared his final album, ‘Sunday’ cements the man as good to the last drop. A rolling bassline serves as a foundation to the legendary artist’s typical moan as he effortlessly and typically destroys in his roll as frontman. Every word is clung onto, and it’s clear from ‘Sunday’ that if this is the last Iggy Pop album, well there’s a damn big hole in the heart of the music world that needs filling.

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