Reissue: The Blast Off Girls || The Blast Off Girls EP (w/ interview)

Every now and then, you come across a release that instantly intrigues but is clouded in mystery. Case in point: The Blast Off Girls EP. Perth label Igloo Records released it earlier this month, but it sounds like it’s from a different era. Songs like You’ve Been Messin’, Je M’apelle Femme Fatale, and Wrong Side Of The Tracks would fit right in on those sixties garage/girl group compilations we all love.

The Blast Off Girls look like they are from that era as well, with band members in ’60s dresses, gogo boots and armed with ray guns. It’s a lot of fun, and I was surprised how little I could find about the release. Fortunately, I came across the FB page of one of the Blast Off Girls, Hayley Comet. I reached out, and she was kind enough to uncover some of the mystery surrounding The Blast Off Girls. Read below to find out more about this short-lived project.

New album: Trey Batts || About Time

A lost and found funk treasure from the nineteen-seventies? That’s what I thought when I came across About Time by Trey Batts. It turns out to be a brand new release. Batts, who calls himself a child of the 70’s and 80’s, acknowledges that his sounds are heavily influenced by the artists of the era: ‘Groovy, hooky, warm, familiar and a bit quirky. Think Sly Stone, Frank Zappa, and Kenny Loggins high on Moon Pies back in 74 with a DJ kinda thang.’ This album is a culmination of ideas and musical experimentation meticulously woven together over the better part of the last decade. All songs are written, performed, produced, and engineered by Batts himself. Many hours to capture his soul into sounds, with influences ranging from psychedelic rock, funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, fusion, and more. Listening to the result is a mind altering trip. This could just become an overlooked funk treasure, good to have discovered it already.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Los Palms || Los Palms

I love to wade through the enormous amount of music that is coming out. But, in all honesty, 99% of the new releases do not click with me. That makes the discovery of a gem all the more valuable, the element of surprise creating an instant dopamine rush. The self-titled debut single by Los Palms is like that. The first ten seconds of Junkie Hotel feel like you have been wandering in the desert in the full sun all day and you suddenly come across a giant pool of fresh water. Los Palms are a band from Adelaide. They have created their own blend of classic California surf rock and Southern American 60’s music, and dubbed it desert jangle. It’s an apt description. The band’s sound elicits images of open plains, heat, dust, cacti, passing tumbleweeds and cowboys on horses riding towards a sunset. The band’s impressive artwork, illustrated by frontman Ant, strengthen that image. Clearly, Los Palms have the aesthetics and sound of a band with ambition.

Los Palms started in 2019, with their first (!) show opening for the Growlers. They are already making waves back home, with their single Roll On being in constant rotation on local radio. They’ve compiled four of their best songs on their first physical release, out March 27. The single is limited to 150 – good luck with getting that one. The band hopes to take their music on the road in Australia later this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do an international tour rather sooner than later. Listen to Lost Phantom for example (video below): a song that hints upon early Allah-las and the Walkmen in their Hundres Miles Off era.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! || Simon Jackson Shares “Five” Songs That Reflect The Eclectic Sound Of Hogchoker

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

I am not really open to electronic dance music and some extreme niches, but otherwise I try to listen to many different music styles. However, when I came across Hogchoker, my head almost exploded: the band from Shanghai plays original, theatrical, punky world music with a message of social justice and inclusivity, spiced by anarchic humor and big brass jazz, funk, salsa, klezmer and ska riffs, with guest musicians like Argentinian opera singer Ernesto ‘Ruso’ Bauer en reggae legends Max Romeo and Big Youth. That intrigued me to the extent that I was very curious about their sources of inspiration. Simon Jackson, singer, songwriter and sax player of Hogchoker, is kind enough to explain this to us in detail. A lot to discover – very interesting, very cool!

Simon Jackson (Hogchoker):
‘Having spent over a year recording what I hope is the most eclectic and entertaining set of songs you’ll hear this year, playing with artists from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Ireland, Jamaica, the UK and US, I’ve tried to put together a list of the songs that reflect the mix of genres, nationalities and influences on the album. I’m Simon, singer, songwriter and saxophonist for Hogchoker. The album is Roll Up for the Crazy Sound of Hogchoker, our 8th so far (with nearly as many line ups).

New album: Pop Levi || Juicy Diamond

Singer / multi-instrumentalist / producer / cult hero Pop Levi has been actively around in the music business for over 15 years, but now he’s back from never really leaving. The English born / L.A. based artist answers his return-to-form LP Mark Of Paradise from only a few months ago with the true-to-form Juicy Diamond full-length, a fun, sly, and infectious collection of bedroom glam rock. It’s a surprisingly strong and coherent selection of eleven great songs. Listen below to two tracks that stand out for me, Tia and Birthday Girl. Out now through Boiled Records. RIYL: Foxygen, Todd Rundgren, Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Mitchums || Lester Bangs

Lester Bangs (1948-1982) was an influential American music journalist / critic / author / musician. Maria Bustillos of The New Yorker described him as ‘truth-teller’ but also as ‘a wreck of a man, (…) fat, sweaty, unkempt — an out-of-control alcoholic in torn jeans and a too-small black leather jacket.’ In short, someone about whom many stories are still circulating (read Jim DeRogatis’s biography Let It Blurt if you want to know more). Several songs had already been made about him and today this promising (digital) single / video is added, of The Mitchums’ new album Wet Log due out this spring. The track – with a trombone in addition to the usual guitars and drums! – pays tribute to the memory of ‘the most famous rock critic of all time’, the lyrics are an excerpt from Bangs’s book Psychotic reaction & Carburator dung. The music is available via Espora Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp 

New album: Portabella || Return To The Fountain Of Olives

At the start of the new Portabella record, we overhear a discussion between its two band members Will and Jason: “We’re all gonna play our best, if people don’t like it, that’s okay, it’s not for you then.” Should we interpret this as management of expectations, a coping mechanism to mask insecurity? Or is it a disclaimer that this record is something different, and won’t be for everyone? My conclusion after listening to Return To The Fountain Of Olive? It’s definitely the latter. The record is full of experimental rock and psychedelica and quite the trip. No scratch that, it’s pretty weird. It’s probably further from my comfort zone than any of my other posts here. And yet, even though there are several songs that I don’t particularly enjoy, the record kept pulling me in. Album opener Angelic Super Slide (video below) offers a great taste of what to expect. It is arguably the most accessible songs on the record. Other cool tracks areThe Wrong Way, Nothing Left, Nothing, Insufferable Glow Boy and Earthworm Parachute. Out now on tape at the San Francisco label Paisley Shirt Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Honshu Wolves || Cosmic Creature Capture

You wouldn’t expect it, but somewhere in an alternative trailer park in the back alleys in Switzerland’s capital Bern, with a view on foggy cold mountains, three-piece Honshu Wolves play music you could describe as trippy psychedelic desert gospel Delta space blues – a combination of styles and influences that turns out surprisingly well. They already released the 10″ Shine On Me (2010) and the 12″ Silver Ashes Line The Lane (2014), but hopefully their new full length album Cosmic Creature Capture via Voodoo Rhythm Records will reach a wider audience. The songs of Maryanne Shewolf (vocals, guitar, percussion, piano), Fäbu (guitars, organ, backing vocals), and Mige (drums, percussion) are strong, dreamy, and fascinating. Immerse yourself for 40 minutes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Voodoo Rhythm

New album: Formerly the Fox || Stuck in Motion

I’ve listened a few times now to Stuck in Motion, the upcoming album from the American four-piece Formerly the Fox, but I need a few more spins to get it all in. And that’s a good thing, I think. They play dreamy psychedelic rock songs in which I keep discovering something new. Although the tracks are recorded from 2018 through 2020, the combination of old and new material still feels like a whole.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Noah C Lekas || Sounds From The Shadow Factory

Now this is an impressive release, which you can rightly call art. Noah C. Lekas is an American writer / musician, and the author of Saturday Night Sage, a collection of poetry about mysticism and menial labor, drawing inspiration from Jack Kerouac, Patti Smith, Bob Kaufman and Nick Cave. These poems turn out to be a great combination with rock music, as you can hear on the mini-album Sounds from the Shadow Factory. Very good beat poetry in my opinion (“It’s jazz for the mind // It’s blues for the soul”, as spoken in the track Out of the Storm Drains), very cool in every way. Not only the music and lyrics are impressive, so is the accompanying video for Saturday Night Sage (with Howlin’Rain and Garcia Peoples’ Pat Gubler) by Shelby Baldock with artwork by Alan Forbes – watch below. The EP is out now through Blind Owl, on limited edition 10″ vinyl or CD, including the book.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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