Up until now, I felt like I had New Zealand’s Wax Chattels pegged; the band offered a heavy hitting blend of noisy rock, sans guitars. Now, they’ve unleashed this dense new track from their forthcoming LP, and while it surely holds some of the noisier elements, the opening 2 minutes reveals a soft belly that I wasn’t expecting. Amanda Cheng haunts this tune, letting her voice drip all over, even when the band begin punishing your ears with electronic noise and pounding rhythm section. I like a band that can stretch their sound, and I’m always a sucker for a group on Flying Nun/Captured Tracks; their self-titled debut drops May 18th.
Not too long ago the youngsters in Mourn were dipping their toes into the indie pond with a huge push from their label Captured Tracks. Now, a few years on, and grappling with success, the band returns with Sorpresa Familia. Our first listen has these jagged guitar lines, almost as if the band were branching into the realm of art punk; the lyrics even at times seem to have a sort of call and response fashion. But, what ultimately makes this song so infectious, along with the video, is that it captures the band as a joyful entity; the line of “what a shame” shouted at full force while the band follow it up with boisterous handclaps…it’s okay to have fun, I promise. Look for their new LP via Captured Tracks on June 15th.
New Zealand music in the United States often gets boiled down to the swirling guitar pop we adore, but Wax Chattels aren’t going that route, and in fact, they’re entirely guitar-free. Here we have the band crafting this spastic blast of noisy punk, off-setting rhythms, and rounds of noise alienating more pop-centric listeners. This track has the same punishing quality early DFA 1979 (or whatever they’re called nowadays) had, as if they could destroy anything in their wake just by the sheer madness/volume of their tunes. Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but when the group drop their self-titled LP in May via Captured Tracks.
I can’t stop playing this brand new track from Jaala. At times it seems as if it’s a soulful R&B performance, but the edges aren’t as soft and the fleshed out sound seems a touch more artful. Singer Cosima Pay flirts with various nods to other artists, but she has a voice all her own; I’m particularly impressed by the range of notes she can pull of, even when she’s delivering vocals in a stop/start fashion. Ultimately, this track’s a soulful ballad under the umbrella of experimental pop tunes. The group will release Joonya Spirit on April 20th via Bedroom Suck Records/Captured Tracks.
As a huge fan of the work that Captured Tracks has done, particularly that of Mike Sniper and Blank Dogs, I’m extremely excited for Gift Wrap. The band is the creation of Brendan Avalos of B Boys, who you know I already enjoy, but this is something quite different. This is soulful electronica. Avalos delivers this heavy vocal, deep in the heart of the mix, contrasting against the vibrant musical touches; I really love the distant vocal effect that comes in around 1:30. If you’ve been missing thoughtful electronica, or maybe even Blank Dogs, then be sure to check out Losing Count, which drops on March 2nd.
What more do you need to know than that simple post title? You’ve got two great labels in Captured Tracks and Flying Nun, but are Wax Chattels any good? My answer? Absolutely. For starters, there’s a frantic force pushing through your speakers, all accomplished sans guitars; the trio is nothing more than 2 piece drum kit, bass and synths. In a way, its reminiscent of early Death From Above, though this feels way more like its willing to take that sound to the limits. Energetic and noisy, yet wholly consumable by the masses. Look for the New Zealand act to be high on everyone’s list of favorites from here on out.
One of my favorite albums from last year was B-Boys jamming Dada LP. So, news breaks that the band’s Brendon Avalos is releasing his debut under his solo Gift Wrap moniker and I’m salivating about what’s in store. You can see some sonic similarities, especially in the way some of the vocals are stretching notes, but overall, this has an entire different feel. Honestly, it sounds like a sharper produced version of Blank Dogs, which makes sense seeing that this project will be released by Captured Tracks. I will say that I think this is more guitar influenced in structure, but maybe I’ve yet to have enough coffee today. Losing Count will be released on March 2nd.
I’ve always appreciated the work of Widowspeak, but it’s also nice to see the members step out into their own light, as Robert Earl Thomas is doing here. You’ll find that it does resemble elements of War on Drugs or the Boss, but there’s a dreamier tone to the songwriting. It almost has this acoustic post-punk vibe to it that would have been a huge hit with the kids back in the 80s. So, it doesn’t seem like a huge stretch to find Robert in this musical place, but it’s a nice little dose of pop that never fails to warm you. Another Age will be released by Captured Tracks on February 16th.
Feel like we might all be taking Widowspeak for granted, but luckily Austinites have the chance to remedy that by heading to Sidewinder tomorrow evening. Through four albums, the band has been nothing but an example of musical consistency, though I feel it necessary to mention that Expect the Best might be their best release. There’s such depth to each track, brooding and coated in delicate vocals…and added textures of strings/accompaniment build to make swelling pop opuses. It’s an early show, with doors at 6:30 PM, with Clearance schedule to open just after 7. Buy yourself a ticket HERE. Stream the entirety of their latest release for Captured Tracks below.
I’m not sure exactly where Reptaliens are going with their album FM 2030, and perhaps that’s the most exciting thing about the band. Here, on their latest single, the band seems to be heading in the direction of casual indiepop, of which you know I’m a huge fan. The guitars seems slightly muted, yet jangly; the vocals are gentle and perfectly placed in the mix; you can hear little touches of horns and synths to flesh it all out. I mean, if you’re looking for a really chilled out pop song to spend your day with, then you’re going to want to take this one out for a spin. Look for the bands new LP on October 6th via Captured Tracks.