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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Some new reviews

Lakes is a new album that is on it's way to me now.  All these reviews are from

Naked On The Vague Abstract Figures 7″ (R.I.P. Society)

This “full band” Naked On The Vague hasn’t moved me like their earliest records did, but after catching it live (good show), and spinning this new single a few times, they seem to be coming into their own a bit (or I am just finally opening up to the idea). “Abstract Figures” isn’t ’90s Alternative in the way that Heaps Of Nothing was, this is bleak and moody death-rock that plucks the petals off black roses faster than you can say “Bauhaus”. Very cool tune, it’s like what I wish Effi Briest sounded like. Same goes for “Reflections of Strangeness”, soaked in a Cocteau Twins bath and left to dry in Ian Curtis’ unmade bed. Both tracks just seem like a much more comfortable band than I was getting used to, settling into a very specific sound but throwing it down effortlessly. I’m not one to celebrate bands who “mature”, but this single is nearly enough to change my stance. Nicely done.

Lakes Winters Blade LP (Inverted Crux)

As an American, sometimes peering into the Australian underground is like looking into a mirror that displays a slightly cooler version of yourself. Up until this point, I didn’t think that Cult Of Youth’s vibe had any representation down under, but now we’ve got Lakes, the sigil-worshiping, crux-inverting, Death In June-ing occult rock group. Corny in their exact specificity, perhaps, but Lakes ain’t half bad - the drums are big and round, and the guitars never as Ren-Faire as Cult Of Youth often get, leading to a nice set of funeral seances that refuses to wither in the sun. The vocalist is a little off-putting at first, as he’s clearly trying to sing in a register deeper than his chest cavity can provide, but I got used to it halfway into the first side and enjoyed Winters Blade through its finish. Could’ve just been a pile of bones, but these come with sacred potential.

Knife Fight Hobbies 7″ (Aarght!)

Second Knife Fight to be reviewed within YGR, and while this flailing garage-punk band is pretty sweet, my loyalty still remains to the American hardcore group of the same name (they’re like a Thanksgiving dinner compared to the junk food and soda of Hobbies). Hobbies kind of sounds like one of those crazy French garage bands, like Cheveu before they got talent, or the Cheeraks, or some other disposable-yet-cool band whose 7″ you keep putting in the sell pile but never get rid of. There’s essentially zero bass on these four songs, yet it’s still a loud record at any volume, resulting in an appropriately self-conscious listening experience while my neighbors are home. Definitely reminds me of where this whole scene was like three years ago, not where it’s at now (which makes sense as this was recorded in 2008), but while flame-broiled garage-core was never the coolest thing around, a band like Knife Fight never really goes out of style, either.

Boomgates Layman’s Terms / Nothing 7″ (SmartGuy)

Nice to see another Boomgates single, as their debut was an adorable pinch of indie-pop that’s still sticking with me. “Layman’s Terms” sounds good from the start, a sort of mid-period Pavement groove with Brendan Suppression (or is he Brendan Boomgate?) waxing poetic about something romantic, eventually joined by Steph Hughes’ comforting voice, windows open and Ray-Bans on. I’d expect a title like “Nothing” to be at least mildly pessimistic, and while it may be the least happy Boomgates song I’ve heard, it’s still a friendly handshake of an indie tune, strutting with a cool beat and Brendan’s spoken vocals. Reminds of something Eddy Current would’ve done on Rush To Relax, really, as there’s a manic guitar freakout toward the end, and the general pulse of the tune plays out in classic Eddy Current fashion. It’s hard not to hear echoes of Eddy Current in Brendan’s voice no matter what he’s doing, but let’s face it, I am yet to hear any Eddy Current influence I haven’t enjoyed. Maybe this single’s not as strong as the Boomgates debut overall, but it’s an enjoyable follow-up to be sure. It’s a rule that after two vinyl releases, your Australian punk band has to book a tour of the United States, right? It’s about that time…

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