I’m in the position at the moment where there isn’t a bunch of new albums I want to talk about. However, there is a lot of stuff on the horizon that I’m really looking forward to, so, in the interests of brevity (never my strong point) and the vain hope that more people might read something if it contains more than one thing, I thought I’d collect it all up here in a single post and save myself doing one for each. First up is The Goon Sax.
I’ve always felt that the youthful, pop-royalty-related Australian trio had a naive charm to them, but their debut LP Up To Anything never quite clicked with me in the way it did with a lot of other people. However, the two singles from their forthcoming second effort We’re Not Talking mark a path towards an altogether more promising affair. “Make Time For Love” is underpinned by a jaunty acoustic guitar but what really make the song are the ticking cowbell and lush strings, which provide a new dimension to their sometimes sparse sound. Louis Forster’s vocal has a suaveness and swagger that matches this more lavish tone, and there’s an ironic detachment to it that somehow makes the whole package just that little bit more winning. Previous single “She Knows” was of a similarly high quality and the stage is set for an LP that seems likely to surpass their debut with ease.
OK, so I’ve already talked about Fred Thomas’s excellent 2017 LP Changer, which was perhaps my favourite of last year. Never one to rest on his laurels, his new album Aftering is already set for release next month and, following the excellent, anthemic doom rock of previous single “Good Times Are Gone Again”, Thomas has now released a second taster, “House Show, Late December”. Stretching over an ambitious eight minutes, it is, to be honest, not the cheeriest of songs, resembling nothing so much as the savage slowcore workouts from Smog’s bleak “Dongs Of Sevotion” LP. However, hardy listeners will be rewarded in spades for their patience. A shimmering, funereal riff forms the basis of it, occasionally interrupted by atonal sax and keyboards, but what stands out is the section in the second half, where Thomas launches into a lengthy take on the modern world and his own life that feels both exasperated and resigned to the horror, and is as breathtaking as it is often uncomfortable. I had thought that it would be hard to top previous showstopper “Mallwalkers”, but “House Show” is something else entirely, a truly astonishing song from one of America’s finest. On the strength of this, Aftering will be hotly anticipated amongst the literally just over a thousand people who’ve already watched it on Youtube. Don’t let anyone tell you the public are always right.
Finally, Swearin are a band I’ve tended to admire from the sidelines, especially their brilliant 2013 single “Dust In The Goldsack”, without ever getting around to listening any further. However, their third LP Fall Into The Sun is due in October and I’ve really fallen for “Untitled (LA)’, which was released this week as the second glimpse of the record. Built around a skipping beat and scraping, poppy guitars, Alison Crutchfield channels Kristin Hersh on the vocal, as she waxes reflectively on the subject of love and separation. Does it do anything you haven’t heard before? Of course not, but it does it in such a wonderful way, especially the breakdown in the middle where the vocals cut out, the riff rips back through everything and the instruments return one by one, followed by Alison singing that soaring, poignant melody; why would you ever want anything more? Further proof if proof was needed that Swearin, like swearing in general, is always cool.