New releases from Evvol, Strange Wilds, Creeping Pink and more
You know about the big releases each week, but what about the smaller albums which may have passed underneath your radar? We’ve rounded up five of the best new album releases from this week, from the cubby post-punk of Evvol to Creeping Pink’s white noise: don’t miss out.
Hyde & Beast – Hard Times Good Times EP
With The Futureheads quiet since 2012’s a capella album ‘Rant’, drummer Dave Hyde continues his ’70s revival with Hyde & Beast. The duo’s new EP follows the glam-tinged shuffle of last year’s second album ‘Keep Moving’. The title-track sounds like Tame Impala locking horns with T-Rex beneath a brass section, while the barn-dance melody of ‘Never Get To Heaven’ bears a not unpleasant resemblance to The Stereophonics’ ‘Pick A Part That’s New’ and glittery closer ‘Get Up’ struts into the territory of glam-rockers Mud. An exhilarating experiment in nostalgia, Top Of The Pops 2 style.
Evvol – Eternalism
Dubliner Julie Chance, Sydney native Jon Dark and French drummer Valentin Plessy have been creating darkwave electropop since 2010, previously as Kool Thing and, since the beginning of this year, as Evvol. Under that moniker comes the refreshing sound of ‘Eternalism’. ‘I See You (I Am You)’ begins with Krautrock melodies before erupting into a dubby, post-punk blur, ‘Starcrossed’ is pure ’80s synth-pop, while ‘Your Love’ and ‘No Love’ are dark, sultry numbers combining disco with processed vocals that merge into beats. Best of all is ‘Four Steps From Home’ a straight-up house classic with Dark’s vocals urging you to “Run, run to the desert”.
Strange Wilds – Subjective Concepts
Pronoia is the opposite of paranoia, essentially the happy delusion that there is a conspiracy that exists to help people. It’s also the name of the hellish four-minute blast of noise that’s the best song on this debut album by Seattle trio Strange Wilds. The follow-up to 2014’s four-track ‘Wet’ EP, ‘Subjective Concepts’ sounds like it was raised on ‘Bleach’-era Nirvana and aligns the band with their Washington peers Milk Music and Naomi Punk. They build a monumental wall of hardcore noise on ‘Egophillia’, before taking a wrecking ball to it and screaming wildly into the mess. Elsewhere, there are tight grooves on ‘Disdain’ and ‘Terrible’, and the guttural riffs on ‘Starved For’ offer plenty for bleeding gums to gnaw on.
The School – Wasting Away And Wondering
Following the release of 2012’s swinging ‘Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything’, The School frontwoman Liz Hunt founded Wales Goes Pop! festival, and her eight-piece indie-pop collective are pretty much its house band. Third album ‘Wasting Away And Wondering’ tightens up the Cardiff group’s ‘60s indebted, horns-and-strings sound with rhythmic stompers like ‘Do I Love You?’ and The Supremes beat of ‘Love Is Anywhere You Find It’. Hunt’s lyrics lean towards the lovelorn humour of likeminded revivalists Camera Obscura and Belle And Sebastian (“So you want to move to Amsterdam?/You never liked it there before” sighs upbeat opener ‘Every Day’) but there’s none of those bands’ ironic distance with The School, just pure pop.
Creeping Pink – Mirror Woods
Halfway through ‘Mirror Woods’, the title track and centrepiece of Creeping Pink’s debut album, a pleasant synth melody morphs into a startling passage of white noise, distorted robot vocals and piano. It’s a weird moment, and one that makes it easy to identify what Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer saw in this Los Angeles bedroom producer (real name Landon Caldwell). Signed to Dwyer’s Castle Face label, Creeping Pink shares Thee Oh Sees’ tendency to veer in unexpected directions, only at far slower pace. These 14 songs drone and drift into one another imperceptibly. It can get a bit too Ariel-Pink-on-downers, but the melodies on ‘Come Into My World’ and ‘Sour Fruit’ are indelible.
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Mr. Jones – Sounds For The Mute
Jonas Uittenbosch, a Dutch creator of panel-beating widescreen techno, is something of a late bloomer. Now in his mid-30s, he only decided to pursue music seriously five years ago, and his chosen production moniker is deeply forgettable. The patronage of surly British techno don Dave Clarke gave Mr. Jones a healthy boost, though, and ‘Sounds For The Mute’ upholds the thumping no-bullshit style Clarke established in the ‘90s with his three-EP ‘Red’ series. Uittenbosch occasionally prioritises headphoned home-listeners over sweaty ravers (‘Forced By Low Frequencies’), but this album is epitomised by ‘The Truth About Robots’: 10 minutes of galloping vocoder-voiced techno with mental acidic synth bits.
Rat Columns – Fooling Around EP
This new EP from David West’s Rat Columns project features a trippy, seven-minute version of ‘Fooling Around’ from last year’s debut album ‘Leaf’, but the three songs on the B-side show off the Perth experimentalist’s abilities best. It starts off with opener ‘Waiting In The New World’ jangling like now-defunct LA duo Girls. Things get murkier on ‘Strays’, whose dribbling guitars and repetitive basslines will attract DIIV fans. Closer ‘Should I Leave You Alone?’ unsettles most, as West ratchets up synth, guitar and bass to make a song as fierce as those on his old band Total Control’s 2014 record ‘Typical System’. Like that album, ‘Fooling Around’ is a thrilling document of modern Australian punk.