November 20, 2014
Today's Hotness: Hideous Towns, Her Magic Wand, Primitive Parts
They come from the land down under, but their name is lifted straight from a track on The Sundays' legendary debut Reading, Writing & Arithmetic, which is the reason why Melbourne foursome Hideous Towns first caught our eye. The quartet's stirring shoegazey ballad "Undone" is set to feature on a forthcoming Beko Records comp titled Oz Do It Better Vol. 2, which is slated for release in 2015. But a little Googling tells us that the swaying noise-pop gem was included on a self-titled, debut EP Hideous Towns self-released just last month, and you can stream the entire short set via the Bandcamp embed below. We recommend you do, as the Aussie act -- which has apparently only been playing shows about a year -- certainly channels a Sundays vibe, although the dense guitar work and pretty vocals on "Undone" and elsewhere on Hideous Towns aren't as uniformly intricate or fluid as those of Sundays' David Gavurin and Harriet Wheeler, respectively. We admit the comparison is an unfair one, and we should be clear that the merits of Hideous Town's EP are many and should be celebrated separate and apart from the work of the UK legends (who are apparently a functioning operation again, we learned in recent days). Where The Sundays are more literal and dour, the Aussie act is more abstract and aggressive. "Undone" and its shuddering, gigantic chorus is undeniably the highlight of Hideous Towns, but the song's beauty and majesty are recreated on the succeeding track "Devolution," and the vocal harmonies in the relatively spare and placid closer "Pets" are riveting and affecting. Hideous Towns fête their self-titled EP with a release show Saturday night at Boney in Melbourne; the bill also includes Bad Family, Zig Zag and Basic Spirit. We imagine most readers aren't going to be hopping a plane to make the show, so take comfort in the fact that the favorable exchange rate means you can get the EP for less than a buck a song in USD. We think you will find that to be money well spent.
>> Who remembers 2010? Anyone? Maybe a few of you? No... OK. Well. Way back when we devoted some of our attention to the Parisian dream-pop project Her Magic Wand, which had just self-released a notable EP titled Catch A Rainbow. We were surprised to get an email from mastermind Charles Braud earlier this month, reporting that a new single from Her Magic Wand was in the offing, and directing our attention to the understated, perhaps Dntel-inspired electro anthem "Everything At Once." Mr. Braud tells us that "Everything At Once" concerns itself with the phenomenon of synesthesia, which he ably defines as "a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway and where letters or music can be perceived as inherently colored." The lyrics do much of the heavy lifting in driving this point home, but really it is Braud's dreamy delivery amid stormy, electric crescendoes that provides the most exciting moments of "Everything At Once." The song chases a desperate electro pulse, the rhythm tracks drawing out cool synth chords that deeply layer as the canned beats pile up and white out in the tune's smouldering choruses. The tune is a taster for a forthcoming full-length set recorded over the course of 10 months and mixed last summer by Stephane "Alf" Briat, who has worked with basically every French rock act you could name if given 30 seconds. We certainly recommend the single to your attention, and you can stream it via the Soundcloud embed below; click through a link there to purchase that jawn from Apple's ITunes digital music store.
We feel compelled to mention here that at this point Apple = "The Man;" the company presently touts a market capitalization of $676 billion dollars and recorded a net profit of $8.5 billon dollars for its 2014 fiscal fourth quarter closed Sept. 27. Read about the alleged human rights abuses attributed to the company right here. If we choose to, we can make the world a better place. How's all of that for a tangent?
>> Nervy and spikey post-punk has been the Brighton, England-based Faux Discx label's stock-in-trade, and it is backing a winner in a forthcoming single from the sorta supergroop Primitive Parts. The trio is comprised of a who's who from label affiliates Cold Pumas, Sauna Youth and Male Bonding, and its new offering is the single "TV Wheels" b/w "The Bench," which you can stream in all of its glory via the Bandcamp embed below. B-side "The Bench" in particular is a strummy and cool hip-shaker, just a little bit of attack on the guitars, tambourine and hand-claps driving an inevitable groove toward a gloriously rudimentary guitar solo that emphasizes the band's garagey bona fides. "TV Wheels" would sell tens of thousands of singles if it were a new Dandy Warhols song, but we don't imagine that Faux Discx will be able to keep the single in stock no matter who recorded it, as the two-minute tune is air-tight (indeed, some pre-orders have already shipped). Primitive Parts previously issued in February its debut single "Open Heads" b/w "Signal" on Sexbeat, and also had its cover of The Yummy Furs' "Chinese Bookie" featured on Faux Discx's 2013 comp Collective Hiss. Faux Discx releases "TV Wheels" b/w "The Bench" Monday as a 7" single in a humble paper sleeve with insert, pressed in a limited edition of 300 pieces. Primitive Parts are planning a UK tour for 2015. We previously wrote about Cold Pumas here two years ago; the act disclosed in September it had recently wrapped recording on its own sophomore effort.