March 6, 2013
Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, Popstrangers, Oval
>> Birmingham, England-based indie demigods Johnny Foreigner let loose a torrent of good news Tuesday at its webtumblrthingo, where it reported working on no fewer than three (!!!) new releases. According to this blog post, the quartet is prepared to self-release imminently via its BigCartel what it is calling a "mini album + photo set thing." Proceeds from the sale of the collection will apparently go to paying increased rent on the band's rehearsal space, which we think is an admirable goal. In June the band plans to release a new EP via its longtime UK label home Alcopop! Records that they've "pretty much written aleady" (no word whether the release will also be issued domestically by Johnny Foreigner's U.S. label home, Swerp). At the very tail end of the post, the band (probably Lex writing, yeh) states it has "this grand lazy arc of a plan that culminates in us releasing a CD at the end of the year like it's 1998 or something." 1998, we'll point out for no reason whatsoever, is the year that Interscope put out The Dismemberment Plan's The Ice Of Boston EP. Taken all together, Johnny Foreigner has just issued a colossal amount of good news. The band's summer festival schedule is already shaping up (Handmade, Now We Are, Y Not, ArcTangent, we're sure there will be others) and there is a very curious reference to Malta. What? Yes, Malta. Which Wikipedia tells us is an archipelago in the center of the Mediterranean east of Tunisia and south of Sicily. We here at Clicky Clicky can only hope that Johnny Foreigner intends to go to Malta to do something like this, although we have no idea what Malta is like, perhaps there's no place suitable for filming a self-indulgent concert film of psychedelic noodling. WE DON'T KNOW. Anyway, there's a few other tidbits of edutainment in the blog post, read the whole thing via the link supra. Needless to say, we are incredibly excited by this turn of events. How about some old songs to celebrate?
>> Remember Auckland, New Zealand's Popstrangers and their upcoming album of rich, noisy guitar pop? We highlighted the album's bright, undeniable preview track "Heaven" right here in October. Press for the trio's now-released long-player Antipodes (Carpark) is uniformly positive, and it is easy to hear why based on the album stream premiered by Popmatters a couple weeks back. Interestingly, as great as "Heaven" is, listeners will quickly grasp that the preview track was not the most representative indicator of the band's tone and demeanor. Unexpectedly, tunes on the balance of the record including "Full Fat," "404," opener "Jane" evidence a harder and darker band switched into full-on attack mode. This is emphasized by the follow-up single "What Else Could They Do," which turns on a thick, grungy riff that slams and sparkles with a 3-D distortion that the Kiwis very likely encountered on, well, every Butch Vig-produced album worth its salt. Elsewhere, Unwound-esque detuned guitars bleakly propel songs like the chilling "In Some Ways" and "Cat's Eyes," indicating that Popstrangers are as comfortable interpreting the aural idioms of '90s post-hardcore and math-rock as the threesome is with the celebrated dream-pop revival currently in swing. And so the brilliant Antipodes situates Popstrangers among those inspired by -- or hell, even still making -- the sounds of the mid-'90s, such as Sydney, Australia's brilliant and slept-on Line Drawings or the widely-cheered Cloud Nothings. With Antipodes, Popstrangers earn kudos for distilling the disparate influences of a surprisingly wide range of acts into some very catchy and curious numbers. You can stream Antipodes via the Soundcloud embed below; buy the record from Carpark right here. -- Edward Charlton
>> We tip our figurative hat to TinyMixTapes, who seem to be the only one with the very exciting news that Thrill Jockey will reissue Oval's mind-blowing 1996 sophomore set 94Diskont on vinyl for Record Store Day. After a mild and relatively unsatisfying flirtation with trance music in the early/mid-'90s, we were struck by 94Diskont like a bolt from the blue: where the trance we were listening to seemed sterile and limp, Oval's collection sounded like it was coming from 10 years in the future. The glorious centerpiece of the set is the epic-length dreamer "Do While," which some kind soul very helpfully uploaded to YouTube for you to listen to -- all 24 minutes of it. This year's Record Store Day reissue of 94Diskont is a double LP that features remixes of "Do While" created by such luminaries as Jim O'Rourke, Scanner, Mouse On Mars and Christian Vogel. Read the full details at TMT right here. Now, where are you going to get this stuff once April 20, 2013 rolls around? Well, fortunately for you, the Record Store Day web dojo has a store locator dealie right on the home page. Will the dealy tell you which stores will have the 94Diskont and its companion piece Systemisch, which is being reissued the same day? Doesn't look like it. But perhaps you can hit up the Thrill Jockey Twitter and they'll point you in the right direction. You want that.