Posts Tagged ‘gold flake paint’

Eureka California at Gold Flake Paint

I’m sure we’ve all had those moments when, amidst the storm of real life, the clouds part above us and fix everything in place, little messy strands that suddenly fall in to place, for even the briefest of periods. ‘Sign My Name With An X‘, the blistering new track from duoEureka California sounds just like that. Jumping at the chance to record with MJ fromHookworms when they were over on these shores, his inclusion and influence has shaped the band in to something that sounds perfectly concise and brilliantly vital. They’ve always been loud, they’ve always been imposing, but they’ve never sounded quite this good.

The new track precedes the band’s third LP, Versus, confirmed for release on March 26th viaHappy Happy Birthday To Me, and though it spins itself in to a frenzy that last for just-shy of two minutes it makes an immediate mark; the kind of fizzy and frenzied introduction that is difficult to ignore. The guitars rip and roar from the outset, and from there they simply fill the entire space, leaving no space to breathe as they swarm around the luminous vocal of Jake Ward, which acts like a juggernaut as it propels the whole thing towards its breathless climax. The whole thing feels wondrously alive, setting the tone for an album which might well provide 2016 which the most affecting of backside-kicks. Hold on tight because this one ain’t slowing down. Listen below.

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Witching Waves at Gold Flake Paint

Continually one of the brightest sparks in the whole UK sludgy, guitar-slinging, DIY scene, Witching Waves follow up their brilliant ‘Fear Of Falling Down‘ LP with a sparkling new full-length effort next month, once again released via Soft Power (and Happy Happy Birthday To Me in the U.S) and one hopes that Crystal Cafe might be the moment that the trio make that leap from cult-heroes in to fully fledge mainstays of the circuit.

If lead-track ‘The Threat‘ is anything to go by then the odds are certainly stacked in their favour. Led by a restless guitar line and equally agitated vocal splurge, the track bubbles away incessantly before breaking loose for the final third where all the vocals pile in on each other as the guitars topple anyone left standing, making for an engrossing and thoroughly emphatic return.

Accompanying the track is a suitably darkened and unstable new video, all black-and-white hues and striking imagery that you can barely shift your eyes away from even if you’re intent on doing so. Filmed by Moe Meade, who also did the band’s Better Run video, the new film is premiering below; go and check it out.

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Frog at Gold Flake Paint

Oh, Frog. We’ll never forget the moment they came waltzing in to our life, bare-chested, mile-wide grins, channeling every American guitar band we’d ever loved and every dead-beat town we’d never visited. Their debut album was a favourite of ours, and yours, and everyone who heard it – which, sadly, of course, was far fewer than should have been the case. But isn’t that always the way? Our screaming in to the wind didn’t go altogether unnoticed, however. Somewhere along the line it fell upon the inquisitive ears of our fave commercial-suicide purveyors, Audio Antihero, and it’s via them that Frog’s brand new record, Kind Of Blah, will be released later this Summer. Up to speed? Not quite.

If you missed the recent unveiling of the lead single from Kind Of Blah then you should certainly go and check out ‘Judy Garland’ right now, but before you do, and perhaps after also, we’re very pleased to bring you an exclusive stream of the single’s B-side; the rip-roaring, chest-thumping gust that is ‘Rainbow Road‘.

While ‘Judy Garland’ hints at something of a more considered direction for the NYC duo, ‘Rainbow Road’ is a vehement dispelling of such notions. Somewhat cantankerous, predominantly rousing, it’s a heart-on-sleeve rock and roll anthem as spirited and unifying as we’ve come to rely on. A safer bet there’s never been – this record is essential. It’s going to be a helluva ride.

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Fireworks at Gold Flake Paint

How is it that keen observations about love blend so well with high-powered guitars? Half the joy of indie pop stems from the nuances, and especially the little feelings – the reverent touching for the first time, the fumbling for the right word, the agony in being ignored. The Buzzcocks celebrated rejection and the Wedding Present pined for acceptance, but both Shelley and Gedge strong-armed their personal tales into tangible, surging force.

Most of these things like kisses and touches are totally foreign to me – but the way the riffs churn, and the drums pound, and singer rushes ahead…well, if this whole love business could rev me up like the Fireworks do, then I want a piece of the action.

I’ll admit, on the first few listens, I only caught the sweetness – the boy-girl harmonies that define any respectable pop group with guitars, the clear chorus-refrain structures, the exclusively romantic content. These folk are, after all, alumni of such bubblegum guilds such as the Popguns, Big Pink Cake, and, indeed, the Wedding Present.

But even on dulcet hits like “Runaround” and “Tightrope”, you soon hear just how LOUD and scruffy those guitars can be. Not as loud as those jerkwads who max out their amps in a tiny concrete club, mind, but the Fireworks could certainly bash down any bullies that dare call them “twee”. “Took It All” plows ahead in a Ramones-ish blitz; “On and On” charges with such a bruising stomp that it’ll knock ya flat before you can pin it down. But even at their gnarliest – like on “Final Say”, with the heavy, heavy bass and jagged, Buzzcocks-ish edges – the Fireworks mean no harm. No siree, listen to how they lift up into the chorus, and the singer pleads for a happy resolution, somewhere “far away”, away from a world of nasty bickering (and nasty riffage). Does it work out? Who knows – although the shrieky solo that rages in the latter half of the song is a rather ominous sign.

Of course, the Fireworks can and do slow down. And that’s how Switch Me On works so damn well. The title track, for instance, floats in a House of Love-like haze at the LP’s center – if we wanna talk contemporaries, Hobbes Fanclub best take note. Meanwhile, “Let You Know” dials down the teethy riffs without shriveling into wimpy acoustic drivel. The warm twangs here embrace the classic sensitive-type tale, of a guy that’s gotta confess his love to a girl that would otherwise live the rest of her days alone – and the tune doesn’t drag or gush, just skips and swings and reaches for your hand. (And I’d take it! O heart, be still! I was just thinking this week, “Right-o, Lee, now’s the time to get yourself together and prepare for a very long life on your own, because –“ Oh, wouldn’t YOU want to know.)

As is often the case on such bangin’ albums like this, Switch Me On races by in such a pink-and-yellow blur that it’s gone before you can catch the license plate. For that reason, you’ve got to ride this sucker several times to see all the colors in the Fireworks’ arsenal. And trust me – you will, whether to relive the loop-de-loop finish of “On and On” or gorge on cracker jack treats like “Back to You”.

It’s love between friends, love as company, love as respect – love without beer, gifts, or sex. And I want it bad. Damn it, Fireworks. You’re that good.

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Mind Brains at Gold Flake Paint

Beware. A supernatural force emanates below. Weaker minds may be sucked into the screen.

Behold. The collective intelligence that is MIND BRAINS teach their occult insights to the shrinking masses. Wrapped in the cloths of ritual, their identities remain unknown – yet locals from the village Athens (GA) whisper of sorcery from guilds like The Olivia Tremor Control, Marshallow Coast, and of Montreal.

Take heed. The black magicks of MIND BRAINS can delay time itself. Armed with synthesizers and drum machines of their own creation, the rogue occultists chant night and day to their electric idols.

…okay, enough of that. Mind Brains rock, dudes. And no, I haven’t been brainwashed. This debut LP of theirs transcends the ordinary psych pop stylings that Elephant Six alumni fall into, weaving in kitsch 80s-esque spookiness with Gregorian refrains and krautrock-like grooves and non-grooves. Songs waver between the sublime and the absurd, striking that glorious limbo where you recall all those fantasy worlds you mapped out on the playground and what utter bliss they brought you. “

Even here, with the chug-a-chugga tattoo and the Numan-like blunt buzz riffs of ‘Body Humor‘, you can already hear hints of the alien, of blocky toy robots marching in rows that don’t run on batteries. Elsewhere, from Silver Apple-esque plastic spaceships rains down the motorik stomp of ‘Whistle Tips‘. It’s on the double-whammy of ‘The Era of Late Heavy Bombardment‘ and ‘Sea Shore Minor‘, though, that you cruise into alien territory. The first sails through drifting asteroids and squalling space junk; the latter sees us staring out from the wreckage of our cardboard rocketship, peering through no-mans-land dry ice fog to the wide-open moonscape.

Closer ‘Bouncy Clock’, with its clattering pistons, represents just what’s so striking about Mind Brains – the converging of spiritual union and surreal disarray. Voices join in one refrain, but seething synths and harrowing strings and barreling drums and static run amock until they dissemble. And it’s that strange combination that renders Mind Brains as neither laughably bleak nor unbearably bright. Is it sorcery, or just make-believe? Who knows. But I want in on the next ritual dance.

Click through to check out the video.

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Hobbes Fanclub at Gold Flake Paint

It’s true. Psychocandy never moved me. Maybe I’m too young.

But what I do appreciate, and what I imagine others recall fondly, too, is how much swathes of space were cut in the mid- to late-eighties. From the lingering burn of Galaxie 500 and Red House Painters, to the magenta haze shrouds of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, to the astral heartache of Spaceman 3, some gathering of souls were freezing their own moments in time. Probably wasn’t a conscious gathering of any sort – and how could it be – but nevertheless those eternities coalesced into an ethereal plane drifting away from the jangly C86 lot.

Some twenty years on, lines mingle. On Up At Lagrange, the Bradford-based The Hobbes Fanclub strike some balance between skipping and floating, between basking on rooftops and sharing mixtapes in basements. Like the lovely cover art suggests, the vocals resonate with the reverb of the cosmos – but the songs, with their bright pop structures and romantic scenarios, are grounded firmly on this planet, in the here and now.

Shortly after I received my copy of this album, I found an earlier version of “Your Doubting Heart”, a storming single with very maroon undertones, from the 2012 Indietracks compilation. Even then, the Hobbes ached from their bleeding hearts – but the LP cut, CHIRST. Some genius lifted the bare bones from the single and added flesh, muscle, and mind. Once it raced, and now it soars.

The same lush treatment permeates the entire album – and in some cases, such as the double-punch upbeat between ‘The Boy From Outer Space‘ and ‘I Knew You’d Understand‘, you do pine for some shadowy contrast. But ‘Run Into The Sea‘ blends that timeless (i.e -> from the Beach Boys to the JAMC to the House of Love) pop mentality with a beefy bass urgency; ‘Stay Gold‘ weds a glittering jangle with massive stomping cascades of longing,

But, to reach the fiery nebulas on the sleeve, one must plunge into the very soul of the album, its eternal moments. ‘How Could You Leave Me Like This‘ – well, the title speaks for itself, don’t it? Ay, sometimes they betray you, titles, but this one can’t lie –the abandoned lover, the one left in the rain after the show, the one too shy to invite you over but always came when you called, always listened and never demanded anything carnal. (How could you, you bastard/bitch?) In the same vein, two tracks down, shimmers the aching and equally devastating ‘Why Should You Tell The Truth‘ (again, titles), with just radiant female vocals beaming through from above. It’s THAT riff, though. THAT riff.

Together, these two glorious slices of crystallized woe more than make up for the slightly less stellar areas of Up at Lagrange – including, much to my disappointment, the title track, which in spite of its tousled glow, doesn’t quite resonate with the same distinctive force. Oh, but the closer cinches everything fabulously – like all good Cure finales, the intro builds into nearly the halfway mark, so that when the vocals finally descend, the crimson swell breaks into a commanding waterfall.

Now, yes – like the JAMC, the Hobbes embrace feedback, but it’s tinny feedback that trails off the songs like loose strings from a t-shirt. Mind, given the melancholic nature of the Fanclub, pushing the noise to the red would bully out the wondrous shades of blue – but those spare feedback intros do cast this illusion of noise. And deception doesn’t suit such aching beauty, if you ask me. Also, in spite of the soaring highs, the Hobbes’ pallet is quite limited, which does sadden me. (Compare to the Church or the aforementioned House of Love to hear what alien hues can be woven into dreamers’ visions.)

However, despite its shortcomings, Up At Lagrange still casts a potent spell. Don’t resist it – lean back and dream the day away.

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Lunchbox at Gold Flake Paint

Well, sometimes a good tune is just a good tune, innit?

There was a period last year when my last grandparent – my mum’s mum – lived in this very nice assisted living home in Atlanta. Very nice – like a very large house. And, on Saturdays, this tiny little guy would come over and sing oldie-goldie songs to the ladies (most of the residents there were women, as is often the case in most assisted living homes I’ve been in). Sequin vests, satin pants, the whole James Brown works. The Turtles, the Mamas and the Papas, the Jackson Five, Neil Diamond, all that happy upbeat jazz. And whenever he could, he’d drop to his knees and stare a lady straight in the eyes, and make her blush and smile like she were the belle of the ball (and who said she wasn’t?).

After his set, as he was packing his gear, the little guy would bubble with stories and small chat for us. And one time – I don’t recall how the conversation steered this way – he reflected on his choice of tunes. The 50s and 60s were the happiest times for music, he said. Where was that innocence now, he wondered?

Sweetness and light don’t have to be quaint little antiques. Any indie pop fanatic can tell you that.

From the get-go, Lunchbox Loves You sounds like a sunny day in 1963 with the transistor radio blaring across the beach. The little “ooohs” and the wistful chorus of “Tom, What’s Wrong?” would add up to a mega-hit five decades ago – or maybe even two decades ago, when the Elephant 6 brigade commanded the college airwaves. What happened to the “pop” of “indie pop”, anyway? Why aren’t super-casual flutes and blustery horns still a thing?

Really, once you let Lunchbox into your eardrums, they won’t letcha down. Especially not with the wondrous ‘Die Trying‘ – if that aching jangle-laced build-up doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, then I don’t wanna know ya. And oh my stars, “It Feels Good to Lose” features a xylophone. It doesn’t get more gumdrop bitter-sweet than that.

I mean, yes – that Byrds-like jangle permeates the album like maple syrup seeps into waffles. And yes, if you haven’t the sweet tooth for 30-odd minutes of knockabout pop, you’ll tire of this quickly. But at least hang on for the roaring finale of ‘Tonight Is Out Of Sight‘, which brags enough swingin’ bass and chugging guitar to prove that even these star-struck lovers can rock out if they want to, in good Revolver fashion.

At any rate, as thoroughly soda-pop lush as Lunchbox Loves You may be, it fulfills its promise. Yes, Lunchbox loves you. And that cake? All for you, babe. Go on, forget the forks (those are too pointy, anyway) – just reach in with both hands and scoop out a crumbly chunk for yourself.

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Bastards of Fate Video Debut and Review at Gold Flake Paint

Let’s be perfectly honest: I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. Too long a while. But then, when brilliance really strikes you – and I mean SHEER brilliance, with all the luminosity and force of a supernova just a light-year away – well, words are harder to form, see.

Who are the Bastards of Fate? Gremlins. Flutes. Flurries of quirky sounds (the old ringtone intro on ‘Chromosome‘ cracks me up EVERY TIME) and the blackest stew of beastly beat imaginable. A carnival long abandoned and left to the elements. Try sneaking on the dusty grounds of ‘One True Love‘ at nightfall and you’re likely to be eaten by a grue.

Simple labels fall short – you’ll have to compound hybrid after hybrid until, after toiling 12 hours without rest (but plenty of caffeine), you’ll have a new word to present the press. But what? What captures both the host train rattle of ’Identity Theft‘, or the dancehall ravaging ‘Own It‘, or the haunted skiffle fanfare (with its doorbell breakdown) of ‘Go No Further‘?

Oh, yes, The Bastards of Fate have precedents, but not the typical indie lineage. The baroque prog circus of Cardiacs comes to mind. And the whole Urgh! A Music War documentary, with its surreal new wave visions of the future, could be a likely launching pad, from the wired Wall of Voodoo to endearingly ridiculous (hyper-80s, I always thought) Oingo Boingo. But then where does ‘Credit‘ stand in that continuum, a dense swirling whirlpool of cyanide that sucks you deeper and deeper into its warbly depths until you’re down in the inky center –

You act like I starve you / Like I starve you / and I do

Now you’re in the thick of the labyrinth. I’m afraid we lost the compass three songs ago. An axe-wielding troll awaits somewhere in these halls. And what’s that crumbling sound behind us…? Oh snap. Run! RUN! At the closing track, ‘Optometrist‘, you’ll fly madly through the hall of mirrors, fleeing the vague shadows creeping behind you, but NO USE – phantoms will laugh in your face, from every angle, until…!

Intrigued? You better be. Besides, as all us dungeon-crawlers know, the richest treasures lie hidden by the trickiest puzzles. And this one’s a doozy. So grab your lantern. We’re going down.

 

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Close Lobsters Review and Stream at Gold Flake Paint

Whenever I see or hear the term “reunion” tacked on to any musical event, I always feel this knee-jerk skepticism. Oh, yeah? You and which bandmates? What’s your angle, eh? But most importantly, what’s this new material you’re peddling?

Fortunately, no one need worry about the Close Lobsters. As card-carrying members of the original C86 compilation, their feisty jangles helped spark a whole new generation of pastel pop (though the light groove of super hits like ‘Just Too Bloody Stupid‘ may very well bridge the gap between the Go-Betweens and Happy Mondays).

Now, after a 23-year hiatus, Close Lobsters have blossomed back to life. The transformation on Kunstwerk in Spacetime is astonishing – the new single, ‘Now Time‘, ripples like a curtain of light, rays dancing at the joyous chorus of “now now now now now”. Even when Close Lobsters return to their more jangly, Felt-like roots on ‘New York City in Space’, it’s with a warmth and confidence that can comfort even the most jaded 40-somethings who might mumble strange artifacts like Kitchens of Distinction or Cactus World News under their breaths. Between the dreamy A-side and the humbling B-side, the gang prove that their craft, like a select brand of wine, has matured into a sparkling delight. Listen to it below.

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Muuy Biien at Gold Flake Paint

You have to understand. It’s always tougher to justify the albums you love, the ones that shoot like endorphins straight to your head, like the first time you ever rode a loop-de-loop roller coaster, and dismounted screaming and whooping, fists pumping, beyond exuberant that living feels like this.

It’s also tougher to sit back and justify this recording – D.Y.I, the second from Athens boys Muuy Biien – after a maddening thirty-five minute with these blokes in a crowded little bar, merging with the shaking, shifting mass of slam-dancing bodies after ninety minutes of scrunching against the wall and failing miserably at invisibility.

(Granted, the hardest thing ever to do is to gather up the nerve and sing D.Y.I’s praises to the frontman himself, the truest-to-life punk you’ll ever meet that needs no flashy safety pins or leather to assert himself, who’s sitting on the directly opposite side of the room and is surrounded by his dudely chums. I decided that I was the wrong gender and chickened out.)

At any rate, D.Y.I should best be summarized as briefly as possible, if one is to capture the instant KO impact of the thing. So stupifyingly wicked is this album, that the band have built in periods of meditation to numb your boggled head before plunging chin-deep in diamond-clear punk fervor. Take a deep, deep breathe on ‘Cyclothemia I‘, because ‘Human Error‘/’White Ego‘ is a helluva one-two punch. SCREE! SCREE! The first is a flurry of collapse, the second a noodle-driving bass charge of ferocious rhythm that’ll bob your head right off its hinges.

Fuck fuck fuck. I try to sit down and sift out the influences, but the rush pounds out every rational critical process I have and I’m left with the obscure – Josh Evans spews with a tempered and jabbing fury that I thought was only peculiar to Mark Mothersbaugh (especially on ‘Frigid‘, which by the by is something like ‘Whip It Up‘ but leaner, smoothed clean of kinks, and studded with spiraling spikes that tickle your feet); riffs on ‘What Isn’t‘ and ‘Crispin Noir‘ split open in ways that evoke Daniel Ash’s spidery style. And meanwhile the bass rumbles underneath, ever beckoning with its relentless agility.

Now, albums like this are textbook examples of ye old mantra “all killer, no filler”, but the big money single is 100% ‘She Bursts (Reprise)‘. Lawdy lawdy, what a tight groove! What a pop-perfect blast of searing melody! What a massive motorik build! Like the flight path of a guided missile, the track is fine-tuned for maximum impact. (But no explosion – that’s “Virus Evolves”, which actually feels more like rounds of machine gun fire have been unloaded at your chest. BAM BAM BAM.)

Fuck fuck fuck. Now I’m cursing because I pulled a scab too far and formed a swelling pool of blood on my knuckle. You know what ‘D.Y.I stands for? “Do yourself in.” The band’s depicted an extreme and literal example on their cover, but somewhere between the three Cyclothemias of harrowing ambiance you see the nuances of the mantra. We are always our own worst enemy, aren’t we? There’s me, and this stupid open scab that I’ve dabbed three dozen times until the napkin itself looks pox-ridden; and then there’s the void, the realm of non-feeling, death that is ever present and always in reach.

D.Y.I ends in a moment like this – not with a bang, but with a dusty piano that guides us down to that quiet gray oblivion. And this only proves, kids, that Muuy Biien are more punk than you’ll ever be, because they have seen death and dance in its shadow.

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